Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Why I Give a Crap About Katniss Everdeen by Julie

TODAY’S BREW: Fancee coffee described as “fruity, jammy and bright.”

By Julie

Most of my life I’ve been pretentious enough to assume that if everyone likes it, it can’t be good, resulting in me becoming obsessed with stuff waaaaaaaaay after everyone else. So when it came to THE HUNGER GAMES novels, and me becoming a superfan a million years too late, the odds were ever in my favor.

Get it?

But more about me.

You guys might know I write books, and currently the only ones you’ve had access to are RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY. Readers really seem to connect to Eliza, though she’s not someone I would even call particularly likeable. Yet, I’d go so far as to say the series has somewhat of a cult following due in large part to her.

My books you haven’t read? Yeah, the female characters are even less likeable probably.

So I am OBSESSED with Katniss Everdeen.

The things Katniss is not:

  • funny
  • quirky
  • pleasant or even friendly
  • sweet
  • romantic
  • fearless
  • occasionally foolish

katniss 4

Things Katniss Everdeen is:

  • brave
  • kind
  • unapologetic
  • resourceful
  • a self-taught survivor

She’s one of the downtrodden, she feels like one of the downtrodden and for the longest time doesn’t think it’s worth fighting against. She’s not just inherently amazing. She made herself a survivor out of necessity and practicality. And here’s this:

KATNISS ISN’T DIFFERENT.

She’s not the exception to the rule. She’s not DIVERGENT. (I’m not bashing those books, I like them very much and to see the value in one is not to discredit the other.) Katniss isn’t a born hero. She’s a product of her environment that rises every so slightly above it due to her love of her sister and her selflessness (though she would say she is selfish and most certainly is sometimes). Then she makes choice after choice and becomes the person that anyone in District 12 could have been.

That’s the beauty of her to me. She was the face of a revolution but she was “nobody.” She is the hero anyone could become–reachable. Given the same tools, but used them differently. She is someone to aspire to be and the possibility of being like her is actually realistic.

katniss 1

Here’s where I ramble a bit. I chose that image of the quote over this one:

katniss

Because as lovely as it is, it implies she’s this unwavering ray of sunshine. She’s anything but. Katniss is uber-serious, calculating when necessary, a stumbling survivor learning to cope at other times. This is what her world has made her into. She wouldn’t be realistic otherwise, like the slightly oblivious Delly. Katniss uses what the world has made her into as best she can and creates the best future she can with it. A product of an oppressive society that still manages to build her own life out of it.

She makes you think, “I want to be that person.” And “I could be that person. She’s not so different from me, really.”

Not to mention that she will sacrifice her own life even if she’s not entirely sure why. She knows what’s right, even if she doesn’t know the reasons for it, and she’s not afraid to say that she’s too weak to live with the idea of destroying someone that way. Despite that she has killed in the Games. Her choices aren’t black and white and can be self-serving, regardless of whether or not it’s the right thing to do.

She’s this emotionally closed:

katniss 2

But would do this for the same boy by choice:

hunger games

(That’s the part with the berries, guys.)

I could go on and on, but I have an imperfect character to write.

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8 thoughts on “Why I Give a Crap About Katniss Everdeen by Julie

  1. YEAH! *flips tables of tiny food and weird gravy*

    I fell in love with Katniss around the middle of CATCHING FIRE for all the reasons you’ve discussed here. What I desperately wish for myself as a writer is not only that I’d come up with such an awesome character, but that I could keep other people’s ideas of what a Strong Female Character is out of it.

  2. AMEN SISTER. I love tiny food and weird gravy.
    But I love what you said about what other people think a strong female character is. To me, this is a woman who tries to be like a man.

    • RIGHT? And that’s wrong. I like what Sunil Patel said a while back on Twitter: That we need to write the spectrum of women, not just buff ones or aloof ones or mean ones (I’m paraphrasing here), but soft ones and broken ones and romantic ones. Women are ALL these things! “Strong” shouldn’t be the only adjective that makes a female character “good”.

  3. NOT TO MENTION that NOBODY is just buff, or just romantic, or just ANYTHING. Nobody is romantic all the time. Nobody is buff all the time. Everyone is a lot of things, not just women.

    • YES THIS THING. We allow men to be dynamic and multiple things. Shit, we let ANIMALS be more than one thing when they’re the “hero” of the story. I don’t get why we think women can’t.

      What’s WORSE is that these ideas infect LADYWRITERS, too. We feel so much pressure to do it “right” when I comes to our female characters that we make the focus on living up to what Society is telling us “strong female characters” must be so we mess them up, end up making them too one-dimensional or out of their character because we don’t want someone to point to US and say “you’re a bad writer who doesn’t support women”. And then we fail. And then they point anyway.

      Dammit.

  4. Like you said there are so many ways to be strong, and TRYING to be strong or showing how strong someone is rarely hits the nail on the head.

  5. I love how Julie writes…:)

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