The Hunger Games, and it’s Unlikely Bad Guy

WARNING: SPOILERS!

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So, I’ve been a fan of the Hunger Games since I read the books a couple of months before the first movie came out.  I read all three books within a week, and have been hooked on the franchise ever since.

Now that the movies have all come out and I’ve reread the series again, there is one character that seems more despicable than the rest, at least on a personal level.  Oh, you’ve got President Snow and his league on pompous minons, controlling their little slice of the world through cruelty, suffering and callousness, but he’s always been the antagonist…the thorn in nation’s side, shall we say.  And then you’ve got President Coin, who came along towards the end of the series, originally positioned as a saviour, though it was hinted the whole way through her story that she was basically just a female version of Snow.  No, there’s someone in the books and the movies who’s betrayal really upset me, probably more than it should have.

Ceasar Flickerman.

Aka, this dude:

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Yeah, I bet you didn’t see that one coming.  In a book full of people who fall into two categories – brave and noble or weak and untrustworthy, there are plenty of people I could have said.  While it’s true that Gale’s betrayal (though unintentional) was tough, I still didn’t find it as uncomfortable to read/watch as Caesar.

I’ve thought about why this is for a little while now.  I mean, on paper it doesn’t make sense – he’s the embodiment of everything that is the Capitol.  His perfect teeth, his expensive outfits, his garish coloured hair and eyebrows.  He’s the face of the Hunger Games, and thereby all it stands for.  He’s shallow and fake.  Yes, on paper I should feel nothing at all about this character except mistrust and disgust.

I don’t though.

He seems like such a friendly guy in the first two books/films.  He helps the nervous contestants on stage, getting them through situations they’ve likely never even envisioned themselves in.  If it wasn’t for him, a lot of them wouldn’t get sponsors, and if they don’t get sponsors, they’re basically doomed in the arena (“If no one sponsors me, my odds of staying alive decrease to almost zero” – Hunger Games, Book 1, Chapter 8).  Plus, even as an embodiment of the Capitol, his crazy hair and over-the-top personality really make him seem like a good guy.  Even Katniss – who doesn’t seem to like anyone much, even her pretend-boyfriend most of the time – seems to get along with him.  Surely that’s saying something?

Then it all changes.  Once the dramas happen after the Quarter Quell, he becomes another minion of the Capitol.  He interviews Peeta several times, watching him appear increasingly unwell, and pushes him along.  In the films, he’s also the one that puts out the alerts for Katniss, which adds a whole other level of betrayal, and I think is what got under my skin the most.  It’s one thing to side with the Capitol, but quite another to speak in such a horrible way about someone you knew personally, who never did anything to intentionally harm you.  Yes, her rebellion affects his way of life, but he saw firsthand that she never wanted to be the figurehead of anything.  When she revealed the wedding-come-mockingjay dress, he saw her surprise.

He also saw what she went through in both Games.  I think, underneath the betrayal, his character upsets me because he had the chance to really help out the rebels.  He was centre stage.  The audiences ate up every word he said.  After watching the Games for the last fifty years, meeting all these kids, interviewing them…then watching their gruesome deaths, surely even he could understand the rebellion.  Surely he could see what they were fighting for.  If he came across as heartless from the start, or distant, or uncaring, then maybe it’d be easier to swallow.  The fact is, he was never any of that.  He seemed like a genuinely nice guy, and nice guys don’t throw kids under buses like that.

I guess the other reason he upsets me is because he is basically positioned in a similar light as Effie Trinket.  Both preening, pretentious, yet ultimately wonderful people from an otherwise messed up, wasteful city.  In fact, Effie was probably written as much more of a Capitol lapdog than Caesar, and with less power to help.  Yet, when it came down to it, Effie chose her side not on how it will affect her, but for her loyalty to Katniss and Peeta, and for knowing how completely messed up it is that she’s had to see so many kids she’s gotten to know personally die.  She lost her whole way of life by doing this, and it would almost be understandable if she didn’t join the Rebellion.  Caesar, on the other hand, fought the rebellion, betrayed people he could have done so much for and ultimately played a part in the deaths of so many people.

War is never easy, but that doesn’t excuse the actions of some people.  Especially people like Caesar.  He felt like a friend, someone I could trust, and then went and stabbed everyone in the back.  The worst part is, I should have seen it coming, but didn’t.  I just hope that whatever happened to him after the war ended, it was something Katniss and Peeta had a hand in.  After all, what goes around, comes around, right?

Time to Change – Day Eighty-Four

I’m back again!  Another long gap between posts full of long days at work and trying to squeeze sleep in between.  How’s everyone going?

The last time I posted was the day prior to my new store opening.  Wow, that feels like months ago.  Hard to believe it was less than two weeks.  I’m really settling in and starting to feel like one of the team, and getting used to how everything runs there.  There are still teething problems and small issues here and there, but for the most part I’d say it’s going really well.

Launch day wasn’t as big as I (and probably the company) thought it would be.  I mean, it was busy, but not chaotic like I thought it would be.  It was actually kind of good that it wasn’t, as it gave us time to properly adjust to the new store and take our time with each customer like we’d been trained to.  If it had of been busy, it probably would have been a lot more stressful.

In general, the job is great and I’m really liking it.  One of the phone reps who I knew from my previous job even told me that I look a lot happier here than I did previously, and although it caught me off guard for a bit, I realized she’s right.  I love the store, I love the team, I love how there’s no pressure to get customers out the door.  I mean, they don’t want you wasting time but there’s so many staff on that it’s okay to take an extra five or ten minutes if you need to.  Plus, like I may have mentioned in previous posts, the atmosphere is just more professional.  The management team actually feel like managers.  The store manager actually feels like the leader that everyone looks up to and can trust.  Don’t get me wrong, at my previous job, we tried to emulate that, but really, we were just kids faking it til we made it…and we just didn’t quite get there.  I also find it more professional in the sense that they’re very clear about what their expectations of you are – what your monthly targets are for everything, what else they expect from each sale (eg, leaving notes on the customers account).  They follow up on things if you do something wrong and explain clearly how to do it properly.  It’s worlds apart from what I was used to, and it wasn’t for our lack of trying as managers.  The company itself just didn’t explain itself clearly, didn’t have procedures in place to allow managers to check things, didn’t put enough emphasis on things they should have.  It’s where a lot of my frustration stemmed from, so it’s wonderful to be in a job where all this is not only in place, but seen as completely normal.

I think I’m also doing well in sales.  We have a tracker we get sent each morning and I’ve been up and down a bit, but overall, for my main targets, I think I’m doing better than expected.  I was nervous about this as although I know I can sell, I’m competing with dozens of others who have similar targets to me.  I just wasn’t sure how I’d go up against so many people.  It turns out, it’s not really as big of an issue as I thought it might be, mostly because the store is busy enough for it not to matter.

Aside from work, there isn’t much else new.  I feel like all I do is go to work then come home and sleep, sometimes fitting in a little catch up TV, sometimes not.  It’s exhausting, not just work itself, but the travelling to and from.  I’ve been catching public transport most days, with the occasional exception where I’ll drive.  Either option usually takes around an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how long I have to wait for the bus and/or train.  Driving is sometimes faster if it isn’t peak hour, but then I pay more in parking (and petrol), which is why I’ve been avoiding it.

One of the most painful things about working so far away, I worked out, is that my train doesn’t run after 8.20pm weeknights.  I mean, I know I’ve said previously I don’t want to be on a train at night – and I don’t – but when I have a 2-9 shift, I don’t have anywhere to park that won’t cost an arm and a leg (if I get into the city before 10am, I get ‘Earlybird Parking’ rates, which is basically a flat fee of $17 provided I leave after 3pm).  I looked into Uber, but even that would cost me $40+ each way.  From January, I’ve had to put in that I can’t work after 7.30pm for this reason.  In the meantime, I’ve got two choices – I either go in early and get Earlybird rates and kill time until my shift starts, or I park somewhere close to the city, then train it the rest of the way.  I took the first option last week, and killed time by seeing Mockingjay for the second time.  This week, I’ll probably do the latter option.

Last night, I went and saw Taylor Swift as part of her 1989 World Tour.  I’ve reviewed the whole event here.

Aside from that, I don’t think there’s anything else worth writing about.  I’ve spent a majority of today sleeping (as I do most Saturdays).  Tomorrow I’ll go grocery shopping and wash my hair.  Nothing really interesting, but it has to be done.  I wish I had more to write on, but with all the travelling, it doesn’t leave room for much else.  If I didn’t love my workplace like I do, I’d probably be asking for a transfer to somewhere closer.  Instead, I’m gritting my teeth and dealing with it.  At least I’ve started reading on the train on my tablet, which is making the trips go quicker.  I’m still rereading the Hunger Games, but I’ve almost finished it.  I’ll have to find something else after that!

As for Christmas shopping, I have no ideas and no money.  Standard for me really.  I know I’m gonna have to start making some decisions soon, but right now I’m trying not to think about it.

My diet still hasn’t really gotten back on track.  That’s another issue with working weird hours and all the travelling – it makes having regular meals difficult, and makes having Lite n Easy even harder.  I’ve had maybe two LnE meals in the past two weeks because for the most part, I’m not home for dinner (at least 3 shifts a week I finish around 7), and even if I finish early, by the time I get home I don’t feel like eating.  It’s tough.  I know I’m going to have to find a way around it, but I just don’t see how.  I can’t really take the meals to work because the trip in will cause them to melt.  I’m just going to have to try to pack a healthy lunch (which I have been doing) and actually eating it (which I haven’t been).  At least I haven’t put any weight on, and am sitting right on 90kgs, which is still the lowest I’ve been in a long time.  I just can’t seem to get under it.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous posts, working in the city and catching public transport is at least giving me more exercise.  I’m averaging anywhere from 6-9000 steps a day, up from an average of 4-5000.  I also run up and down a huge flight of stairs many times a day, and each time I can feel that I’m getting slightly less breathless.  Maybe sometime soon I won’t even get winded at all.

Last night after Taylor Swift, I checked my step count and I’d done almost 15000 steps for the day.  That’s blown my previous record of 9000 out of the water.  I guess that’s what happens when you go to work then walk to and from the concert.  I was really happy that I wasn’t even winded after the walk back.  I mean, I know it was cold and we weren’t walking particularly fast, but it would have been a good couple of kilometres (maybe more).  I really do feel like I’m getting fitter, slowly but surely.  Yay!

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Screenshot of my fitness tracker prior to my walk back

Anyway, I think that about wraps up everything worth talking about.  How’s everything going with you?  Hope y’all had a good week too!

– JD