I have seen Catching Fire three times. Twice in the past week. And during each time I watch it, I become more and more enamoured by Peeta’s innocence and naiveté. I mean naïve in a good way. In the first movie, his love for Katniss blinded him to the fact that she was using him. Using him so that they could both survive, sure, but still she used him. He can’t even stay mad at her in Catching Fire because he knows that whatever Katniss did was to save him. Even though he had his heart broken in the process.
I was just watching the first movie to reacquaint myself with Peeta and Katniss in the beginning. The way he talks about her when he’s delirious from his injuries? And the look on his face when he’s rubbing that salve on her face? That right there is true love.
“We were five. You had a plaid dress and your hair…it was in two braids instead of one. My father pointed you out while we were waiting to line up. He said, ‘See that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner.’ And I said, ‘A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner if she could’ve had you?’ And he said, ‘Because when he sings…even the birds stop to listen.’ So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She put you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, every bird outside the windows fell silent. And right when your song ended, I knew -just like your mother- I was a goner.”
And the kindness and selflessness he exhibits is extraordinary. Katniss may be a fighter and strong to the point of almost invincibility, but Peeta’s ability to put himself last is amazing. First for Katniss and then for Haymitch. And to think that all of this selflessness came from a home life with, let’s face it, some horrible parents. It’s demonstrative of his iron-clad sense of self: that he is a good person.
You know in the first movie when he knows that he’s not going to win so he allies himself with the Career Pack so he can look out for Katniss? And then in the second movie when he hands Katniss that medallion, to remind herthat she needs to live? Even if it means his death? It takes a special kind of person to be able to do that. Now, I’m not saying that Katniss isn’t selfless. As you know, she was the very first volunteer. No one else in all of Panem chose to sacrifice themselves for their siblings, but she did. What I am trying to say is that Peeta is strong. Just in a different way to Katniss. I think that’s why Collins wrote Peeta the way she did: to show that there are different kinds of strength.
“I just don’t want them to change me, if I’m going to die I still want to be me.”
Why am I pushing this point? Because I have seen a lot of articles online calling Peeta “weak” because of all the trouble he gets into in the second movie. He almost drowns in the water, blows himself up on the forcefield, and can’t outrun the poison. But you know what? That could have been any of those tributes. If any one of them had fallen on their run to the Cornucopia, it would have been them who almost died. And Katniss, and therefore the audience, only knew about the forcefield because Katniss had had the signs pointed out to her by Nuts and Volts. Without those two, Katniss wouldn’t have known what to look for. Let’s face it, District Twelve is not a particularly tech-savvy place. Slicing up that forcefield could have just as easily been Katniss’ mistake.
Then, because he almost died, Peeta was way more susceptible to that damn poison gas. It is actually more realistic that he would be the first to fall because of the trauma he had already experienced. There’s no way he could have outrun that gas. I was actually impressed that he made it as far as he did.
Everyone thinks that Katniss should end up with Gale in the end and I understand why. Those two are very similar people and grew up supporting each other throughout the hardships of Twelve. They understand each other. Peeta had a slightly more privileged upbringing, seeing as he worked around food. He didn’t quite understand what it was that everyone else in Twelve had to do to get the food that he was surrounded with every day. But is that his fault? He helped when he could, even though it could have gotten him in trouble. And he definitely wasn’t spoiled. When faced with that horrific pink potion that allows the people of the Capitol to be sick, so that they can keep eating, he is appalled. You can see that Peeta is just as committed to equality as Katniss. He just isn’t the symbol for the rebellion. He just happens to be in love with her.
Back to my original point, [SPOILERS] I like that Peeta ends up with Katniss in the final pages of Mockingjay. I mean, I hate how Gale’s story ends. It’s just brutal. But I think that Peeta and Katniss together makes more sense. He softens her edges and she makes him stronger. Plus, he is the only one that will understand what she has been through. And the same goes both ways. I feel that it’s Peeta finally getting some fair treatment. Because, let’s face it, he gets screwed over by Collins. Consistently. The next movie is going to be heart-breaking. I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch it.
This may come off as a rant, or even just a fangirl swooning over another male character, but that’s not my intention. Firstly, because my heart will always belong to Will Herondale. And secondly, because I want people to realise that Peeta is a strong character. No, he’s not Gale. He doesn’t hunt and doesn’t really know how to fight. But he is strong in different ways. Say, by sacrificing himself for the woman he loves. Even after she treated him so badly.
Thank you, Katniss, for waking up and realising just how amazing Peeta is. It just took you a little too long to see it.
“And then he gives me a smile that just seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me.”
- The Lesson I Learned from Peeta Mellark (ayearningsigh.wordpress.com)
- QUOTES FROM ‘Mr Nice Guy’-PEETA MELLARK (Hunger Games Trilogy) (bookaddictgurl.wordpress.com)
- 12 best things about ‘Catching Fire’ (and 3 not so great) (themovieclubbers.wordpress.com)
- 30 Quotes From The Hunger Games: Catching Fire That Will Make You Think (thoughtcatalog.com)