Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2013
If you love the slow budding, complicated and raw relationship between Peeta and Katniss and you just can't wait to read the ending that Suzanne Collins would write, because you just KNOW that she'll do right by them and give them the kind of ending that two people who have been through so much hurt, and pain, and hardship deserve, well- you won't find it here! The ending of a three book series consists of a five page wrap up. WTF Suzanne Collins... WTF. I sincerely hope whatever writers get hired to do this movie have a better understanding of your own audience then you do! With a story this complicated a wrap up is NOT the kind of ending your audience was looking for.
I wrote my own ending, if you'd like to read it go for it:
Continuing from where Katniss says, she gave all her bacon to Buttercup….
The days start to go by, somehow. Life continues. It's funny like that. Even when everything you love has disappeared from the face of the Earth, never to be seen again, their laughter never to be heard again, their smiles never to be seen again… life does go on in the cruel way that it does. What I had thought was impossible begins to happen without my knowledge- it crept up on me. I slowly started to accept the fact that the lives lost, the ones I cared for, are gone. I will have to continue my life without them here with me. At least not physically. Sometimes I would talk to them when I had no one else to turn to- after Greasy Sae left for her own makeshift home where the Hob used to be. It seems weird to admit it to myself, but I begin to crave human company. After being constantly surrounded by people, the solitude that I was used to before the madness of the Hunger Games seems so foreign to me now that I’m home. That's when I talk to Prim about random things that I see throughout the day, or to Cinna, describing to him the colors that I see around me, or to Finnick, telling him about how Annie was doing according to the letters she sends faithfully every month.
One late afternoon I muster up the energy and set off to the meadow, place my bow down next to me and throw aside my shoes to try to find a grain of peace here that my home can never give. The grass and leaves are lush and green- soft under my feet, I try to recount the good things that once happened here gail, my father, even the crew members from 13. I take a deep breath and close my eyes, willing myself not to think of the staggering loss that threatens the corners of my mind. I recite in my head the phrases I so often replayed in my mind, my meager attempt to hold on to my sanity: my name is Katniss Everdeen. I am eighteen. I live in District Twelve. I am the Mockingjay. I was the Mockingjay. The Capitol is gone. Gale, my best friend, is now in District Two. He is safe. I don't know where I stand with Peeta but Peeta is safe. I'm back home in District Twelv., I am finally safe. I let out a deep breath as I open my eyes and stare at the sky, lying down in the Meadow where the new buds of life cushion my body from the soil underneath. The sun has just begun to set and the sky was magnificent, painted in shades of light pinks, dull yellows, brilliant reds, and soft hues of orange. Orange. Seeing his favorite color painted all across the endless sky triggers an influx of memories. Its so hard having him live so close and yet knowing how far away we really are. I find myself longing for the feeling of his hand in mine- the way his eyes used to light up just for me. The way he always double knotted his shoelaces, the relief and the surge of warmth that I felt when we kissed. Really kissed. That relief and surge of happiness that I was too afraid to admit to myself was present when he was finally safe, when he was finally near, back at district 12. The feeling of elation when he wrapped his arms around me as we fell into the soft pillow of snow as one. That seems so long ago.
I closed my eyes, imagining his beautiful blue eyes which used to bring such warmth, trying not to forget them and the way they pierced into mine in the gentlest way possible, filled with undeniable love. The way he used to look at me never has fully returned since the Capitol hijacked his memories. Their plan did not prevail, but in some ways, the Capitol and Snow had their victory before their downfalls. Although Peeta was not successful in killing me physically, they took the only sure thing I knew. Peeta loved me, he loved the heartless girl who doesn't trust a soul in the world other than herself. It killed me to know that although he was pronounced "recovered" by Dr. Aurelius, he never truly will be. The light that always shined in his eyes is gone and replaced with something hollow. And that is how Snow and the Capitol took their final revenge.
Peeta and I haven't spoken since he planted the primrose bushes. He somehow managed to finish planting the bushes before I woke up in the morning and as a result my house in the Victor's Village is now surrounded with primrose bushes, waiting for summer to breathe in a breath of life. In the mornings I would wake up to the sweet aroma of bread wafting through the house and find downstairs a fresh cheese roll every day left on the counter. Even though the gesture was simple, it hit me every time with a pang of longing mixed in with a bit of sadness. It reminds me of the way he used to care for me, of memories long ago, how I would wake up from my nightmares and feel safe to be in his arms, and how ever since I got back home I would wake up screaming only to be comforted by the soft kitten mews of Buttercup instead. I relished his company and the way he protected me just as he did with Prim, yet it was nothing compared to waking up and feeling secure in the strong arms of Peeta. The one who understood.
I closed my eyes, blocking out the hues of orange in the sky that reminded me so much of him, and whispered to no one in particular his name. Peeta. It felt good to say his name out loud and not hear it revolve in my head with the list of others I’ve hurt. As I let another quick breath out, my experienced hunting senses felt the vibration of someone's footsteps ever so gently shaking the Meadow. The footsteps stopped next to where my bow was, and not bothering to open my eyes I asked, "Done recovering from your latest hangover, Haymitch?"
The voice that answered me back wasn't what I had been expecting at all.
"Last time I checked, I wasn't intoxicated out of my mind, but to answer your question, probably not. I went into his house to bring him some fresh bread this morning and he was completely out of it. But Greasy Sae's doing a nice job of keeping his house clean. I hardle recognize it without all the mold and clutter."
My eyes snapped open. The view that greeted me was such a surprise, his body so close to mine, his voice finally sounding the way it did before the Capital got him. Its taken months for even minor healing, but this is the greatest improvement of all. To hear his voice, the voice of reason, of comfort, the voice that could change the world. His eyes were a clear yet smoky blue, staring at me with hesitation of what my reaction would be seeing him here- yet I did nothing. My eyes stared into his searchingly, looking for the piece of Peeta I longed for to come back. And it was there. Almost completely. The care that I was so used to seeing, the love that I had taken for granted. He was almost there.
I couldn't believe it at first. The fact that he was standing there, in front of me, as if we didn't ignore each other for the past two months. As if we didn't secretly keep track of where the other went so that we wouldn't bump into the other despite being neighbors. Yet he was still there after I closed my eyes briefly to make sure that I wasn't imagining it. Sometimes I would see Prim next to me, with her shirt untucked, making her look like a little duck. But he was still there after I opened my eyes. This was real. He had finally come for me.
"Hi Katniss" he says. His tone full and sounding steady, and at that moment I wanted to melt into his arms as if nothing happened, and just tell him all the things that only he can understand- things like nightmares about the arena, the fear and paranoia of the Capitol and Snow somehow reappearing back in power. The constant flashbacks that haunt my mind. Resisting my urge to dig my way into his arms, feeling the hollow places of my body crying out for him. I managed to choke out a "Hi yourself".
He sat down next to me in the grass, looking not at me, but up at the sky. Then he closed his eyes and sighed.
"You were right, this kind of orange is my favorite color. My memories are starting to come back. My real memories. It's like the effects of the hijacking are finally wearing off and my brain can distinct what is real and what is not more easily than it could before. Some days everything seems fake and I can't remember what's real at all, but I somehow manage to get through it and the truth comes back."
I hear him rambling, searching for the right things to say- things that won't bring up sensitive topics that will hurt me, cause me to run. But I don't. I go back to closing my eyes and soak in the sound of his voice and let it soothe me. Its been so long since we’ve talked like this. To have him so near me, his hand so close to mine without touching- it feels strange. Wrong, in some way. I couldn't remember a time where we were talking like this and not touching him in some way. I craved the soft touch of the skin on his hands- the smell of spices.
In a moment of weakness, I can’t fight it anymore and tentatively reach out my hand, closing the space that was between. I felt my fingers find his, and fill in the spaces between his fingers, wrapping mine around his. I felt him stiffen, and for a brief moment, I opened my eyes in fear that he would pull away, revolted by my touch. His eyes were squeezed shut and he seemed to be in battle with himself. Yet the battle was over as soon as it had begun. He muttered something under his breath… something that sounded like the word "always". Then he opened his eyes and looked right into mine for few glorious seconds before flitting away. As he stared into the sky once more, I gave his hand a squeeze, remembering the first moment his fate intertwined with mine. And for the first time ever, a memory associated with the Hunger Games brought a smile upon my face- remembering the reassuring squeeze he gave me that very first day. He was there for me even before I knew I needed him.
Peeta closed his eyes and gave a small sigh. Then, he squeezed my hand back and I saw a smile slowly unfolding across his face, reminding me of the Peeta I knew. The yellow dandelion in the spring, representing all that is good and hope for the future. We lay in the Meadow until the sky turned into night, revealing a magnificent myriad of stars spreading infinitely across the sky, hand in hand, then arm in arm until he’s holding me just as before. Just lying there, grateful for the other's company. As we begin to drift off he whispers, “ You love me real or not” and after all we’ve been through and wrestled with I know I can finally say “Real.” He nestles his face in my neck and we both drift in to a peaceful sleep.