I called in to last night’s Fireside Chat huddled under the awning of a bank on 6th Avenue because I wasn’t able to get home from a screening in time to participate. And boy, am I glad that I joined the panel for Episode 8, because it was a doozy: We debated Katniss’ likeability, squealed at the Cinna casting announcement, and engaged in a little bit of role-playing.
It’s Kind of a Funny Story author Ned Vizzini, who wasn’t able to call in for Episode 6, joined us to discuss his essay “Reality Hunger,” from the anthology The Girl Who Was on Fire. (He’s the only male contributor!) While he wove his own experiences in learning to become camera-ready with the media training and scrutiny that Katniss goes through, we wound up debating whether or not Katniss is an inherently sympathetic character. It was refreshing to have an honest conversation really exploring Suzanne Collins‘ motivations in writing Katniss the way she did, rather than simply praising the books.
We also welcomed a girl known only as “The Mockingjay,” who’s leading the rebellion via her Tumblr The Capitol is Watching. She encouraged people to find out their districts and tweet them so that they could unite online, and said that the poems on the site contain clues for the rebels. I felt a little strange going along with the subterfuge — this almost certainly seemed to be a Hunger Games RPG unfolding on the air — but it was fun to witness.