So, I have been reading The Hunger Games.
This is why I never get anything done, you know? I’d decided that I was going to bide my time on the blackwork, really study for it and plan it and make it the best it could be.
And then I read the first book of The Hunger Games, and, for some reason, I thought “Oh wow, the best way to get out this new fannish excitement is clearly to immortalise it in cross stitch.”
So I did.
And I still am.
And I probably will be for the foreseeable.
My love of children’s and YA literature isn’t exactly a secret. I think that at its best it can be more original than adult fantasy and sci-fi, and more fun than any amount of quirky midlist fiction. The woefully underrated Robin Jarvis’s Whitby Witches trilogy changed my life, as did his Deptford Mice, Deptford Histories and Wyrd Museum books. Mortal Engines, Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan and Behemoth (still need Goliath), The Edge Chronicles, Terry Jones’s children’s books, Harry Potter (come on, he doesn’t need a link), and now The Hunger Games. It’s a good time to be learning to read, guys.
It’s strange – I hate horror films with a passion, can’t stand them and can’t watch them with my eyes open, but I adore books that horrify me. The Deptford Histories were probably the first books I read that genuinely scared the hell out of me. The Alchymist’s Cat is technically a book about talking cats in Tudor London. Aww, right? No. These cats dick each other over in the most horrendous ways, as do the humans in the story, and Jarvis seems to revel in the filth of the period. These are not books that would make you want to live in Tudor times. Plague doctors and evil magic cats. No thank you.
One of the things I was tempted to do when I first heard about The Hunger Games was to compare it to Battle Royale, which I also love in all its forms (and which also deeply affected me back in secondary school/college when I first watched it at like 1am on the Sci Fi channel, back when it was called that. I was pleasantly, pleasantly surprised that I couldn’t compare them. The premise of “kids kill each other as part of a state campaign to keep the people down” is the same, but that’s it. Both Takami and Collins have made it their own, and made it a product of their own countries and times. The subject is dealt with in completely different ways. Takami takes an entire class of kids and uses those dynamics and the students’ histories with each other and personal lives to explore this awful scenario, while Collins focuses on her viewpoint character and links the “kids killing each other” bit in with a larger narrative of revolt and rebellion. Battle Royale relies on traditionally Japanese classroom dynamics and the desire for conformity, touching on a lot of Japanese societal issues (look at any of the female characters, and the way the students have so often been failed by the adults responsible for them, each bringing years of baggage onto the island for their motivations), whereas The Hunger Games is about a government who wants to keep the masses down not to enforce mass conformity and the appearance of equality, but to keep themselves in the (ultimately unsustainable) lives to which they are accustomed. These stories are coming from vastly different places. The differences far outweigh the superficial similarities.
There is no way to compare the two, and certainly no way to claim that Collins plagiarised anything, unless you’re an internet hipster who desperately wants to be controversial and/or doesn’t understand how reading works. End of story.
And, all that said, here’s part one in a short series of Hunger Games cross stitches!
For this I basically smushed together two different patterns that I came across. I found this pattern here, which has fabulous shading, but it was too small for what I wanted to do. So I tried and mostly succeeded to transpose that shading onto this pattern here, which was big enough, but I wasn’t too big on the way it’s shaded.
And voilà! Mockingjay cross stitch!
I’m currently working on a Foxface cross stitch, because Foxface is awesome. Then I’m going to have to do a Rue, and a Johanna Mason, and Peeta, and oh god, it’s never going to stop!