If you have not read these books but wish to, I suggest you not read this post. If you have read the books….
I won’t bore you rehashing the details. These books are fantastic. Intrigue. Love. Heroism. Suspense. Action.
It’s easy to understand why Suzanne Collins (or Aunt Suzanne as I sometimes refer to her) has taken the young adult and teenage readership by storm. The trilogy’s first part was published in 2008, the original 50,000 copies having doubled twice since then.
However, if you have read the Hunger Games Trilogy as a whole, there is something missing.
Book 1 – Leaves you hopeful
Book 2 – Leaves you confused but triumphant
Book 3 – Leaves you despairing in one key fact. Katniss failed.
She does not truly resolve her relationship with Peeta and Gail. Only through her arch enemy does she realize that she’s given control to a government who’s leader is as morally corrupt and power hungry as the last. Even after killing Coin, there is no firmly established government that believes itself to be able to enact permanent change. In fact Plutarch admits he thinks the “fickle stupid beings” will fail again. She is estranged from her mother. Haymitch goes right back to his drunken stupor. Gail’s fate is only mentioned in a line, and Katniss’ reaction to the absence of her life-long friend? RELIEF. All that to end the book with a page and a half long epilogue that declares “but maybe there is good in the world”. But you doubt it…you must…Suzanne has already done her job. And if there was any hope you had left you remember the one thing that destroys that whole philosophy.
Prim is dead.
Katniss failed. The very thing she set out to do, she can’t. She steps in, as a sacrifice for her sister, taking her place. But it wasn’t permanent, it wasn’t enough.
As a reader you should feel the emptiness that this brings. Don’t write it off as someone’s philosophy or personality and try to come to “grips” with it. There is something not right about the way this story ends.
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we know what the problem is sin. Collins’ paints a morbid but accurate picture of sin. But her worldview will not allow her to solve it. Almost unwittingly she presents Katniss as a saving figure. But that figure fails, her sacrifice is not enough.
Praise be, this is not how our story ends. Jesus Christ died, sacrificing himself for us, of his own choice, he took up the cross paying once and for all a PERMANENT price for our sin so that we would never have to die. As believers we have to recognize that people are looking for this solution, the solution of “savior” in everything but Jesus. We must bring them Jesus.
Those who do not have Christ are seeking something. They have the law of God written on their hearts. Deep down they know something is wrong. But they have been blinded. They seek after a savior in pornography, alcohol, government, materialism, until finally they are left with the conclusion that history is doomed to repeat itself and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
As pastors and believers, we need to recognize that this makes the task of spreading the name of Christ so very urgent. When we see the alcoholic who’s lost his wife, what he needs is Jesus. When we find the broken single mother who has just lost her job, what she needs is Jesus. It won’t take you long to convince them that their world is broken…they already know. It similarly won’t take much for them to admit that they’d love for it to be different. They have seen all the elements of the Gospel…Creator, Sin Death, Need to be Saved. The difference is that you have good news. A perfect sacrifice once and for all. You have the truth. He is the one that makes a dead heart beat again. His name is Jesus. He’s the River of Life. They don’t have to be thirsty. The Bread of Life.
They don’t have to be Hungry.