Back in high school and in college, I was an avid reader. I would go through the pages of multiple young adult (YA) novels like Twilight and any John Green book in the span of a week.
Many would say that JK Rowling’s Harry Potter was the series that put the YA genre on the map. But unlike Potterheads, it was hard to resonate with Harry because he’s not as competent as Hermione Granger, who is an intelligent witch. She was turned into a side character and never got her much-deserved spotlight in the end.
If there’s one YA novel series that redefined how we see female characters, it’s Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games. Aside from the lead, Katniss Everdeen, the trilogy also introduced several strong girls and women—those who weren’t eclipsed by their male counterparts. All of them had a part to play in the Hunger Games and the eventual revolution in Mockingjay.
The first book came out in 2008, but the series gained even more international recognition when it was adapted into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence. By 2012, the trilogy reportedly sold 50 million print and digital copies—it surpassed Harry Potter in Amazon’s list of top-selling stories.
Recently, it was announced that a prequel book is coming in 2020. It’s still untitled and the only detail we know is it will be set 64 years before the main story. Many fans have theorized it will be about Mags Flanagan, the quiet elderly woman from District 4 and victor of the 11th Hunger Games who was introduced in Catching Fire.
— Scholastic (@Scholastic) June 17, 2019
While we still don’t know the full details for the prequel, let’s talk about the strong and capable women who’ve made the Hunger Games series. We know the next set of books will be introducing new characters, so we want to look back on the ones we already admired from the original trilogy.
Anyone who’s read the books and watched the movies knows that Katniss Everdeen is an archer you shouldn’t mess with. She can hunt, had the balls to volunteer as tribute to save her sister from the Hunger Games, used her skills and wit to battle the other tributes, and was the only person brave enough to defy the rules to save Peeta Mellark.
Katniss later became the face of the revolution against the repressive regime of Panem president Coriolanus Snow, including the tradition of hosting Hunger Games. She also fought in the Capitol rebellion and became one of the heroes once they won the battle. A badass through and through.
Prim is Katniss’ younger sister who grew up to become a nurse and medic. She rarely showed up in the story, but one of the bravest things she’s done is help during the rebellion. Sadly, she was killed in a bombing while tending to the injured. Not to be cheesy but she died a heroine.
This 12-year-old tribute from District 11 was Katniss’ close friend during the 74th Hunger Games. You could say she’s also her adoptive sister in their batch since she’s almost the same age as Primrose. Rue had skills in music, which she could use to communicate with mockingjays, and could move around silently to spy on people.
Rue’s sudden death in the Games affected the outside world greatly. The movie also showed how the farmers of District 11 revolted against the Gamemakers of the Hunger Games when they saw her death and funeral (arranged by Katniss).
Johanna from District 7 was introduced in Catching Fire. She’s the winner of the 71st Hunger Games who’s skilled with axe-fighting, wrestling, and hand-to-hand combat. In the main arena, Johanna was part of the secret team who would revolt against the Capitol and the Hunger Games. She struck Katniss’ arm to take out the tracker, and also helped in destroying the forcefield around the arena so they could escape. She was later captured and tortured by the Capitol, and later joined the rebellion against president Snow’s tyranny.
In the main trilogy, Mags was portrayed as a sweet elderly woman who mumbled a lot. Many would underestimate her in Catching Fire because of her age and frail body. But during their training for the 75th Hunger Games, she would display her skills in making fishhooks out of anything.
Mags also proved to be a caring and protective figure in the life of her District 4 partner and student, Finnick Odair. Mags volunteered to participate in the 75th Hunger Games in the place of Annie Cresta, Finnick’s SO. It’s clear she didn’t want both of them to have to battle each other in the arena. During her final moments in the Games, Mags sacrificed herself to save Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick during an acid fog in the arena.
Hopefully the prequel does show her full potential during the 11th Hunger Games because her heroism in Catching Fire is one for the books.
Cressida is a propaganda filmmaker who first appeared in Mockingjay. She’s part of the team who shot Katniss’ rebellion videos, as well as footage of the damage caused in the poorest districts. When they’re not creating anti-administration content, Cressida would fight Capitol soldiers—she’s not bad with a rifle, we’ll tell you that.
Featured image screengrabbed from Mockingjay Part 2
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