alexandral: (Winnie-the-Pooh - scratching his ear)
[personal profile] alexandral
I am living a pretty uninteresting life at the moment, much work is done and nothing else. Of interesting things, I have embarked on a full re-watch of "Jeeves and Wooster" with the family and so far this has been a great fun.

I am also listening to "Hunger Games" audiobooks. As expected, I love the series: it has lovely energetic writing, fabulous lead characters (especially Katniss), and is very comforting. After few months of "A Song of Ice and Fire" obsession it is nice to read something that is scarily realistic and tame at the same time. I am still in the middle of the first book of the series, but I have no fear. I am sure everything will be fine at the end, and Katniss and Peeta are going to get married and live happily ever after. I will be VERY surprised if this is not the case..

For the record, these are my predictions:
1. Katniss' sister and mother will die.
2. Gale will turn out to be evil
3. Katniss and Peeta will marry and have babies.

Among the interesting things in this series, I like the gender reversal with Peeta and Katniss where Katniss has traditionally more "male" role and Peeta has traditionally "female" role. Even the names sound in this way: if I didn't know who is who I would have thought Katniss is a boy name and Peeta is a girl name.

But!! (there is a BUT) From what I have heard of the series I was ready for something that heavily references "1984" and "The Running Man", but to add to this, the book seems to be very closely following Japanese novel "Battle Royale" (please see the picture below) . In fact, the resemblance is so noticeable that I had to Google the issue and to my disappointment discovered that Suzanne Collins maintains that she "had never heard of that book until [her] book was turned in,". Call me a cynic, I just can't believe it. "Battle Royale" was published in 1999, it has been adapted into a high-influence film ("Battle Royale") and manga of the same name, and Suzanne Collins (and her editors, etc.) have never heard of it?

PS: I am also finding out that there is a "Hunger Games" movie in making, with a 21-year old Blond actress playing Katniss. This sounds terrible!!!!!!!!

Date: 2011-12-05 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I read the Hunger Games trilogy a year after I'd read Battle Royale and I had the same feeling while reading the first book - that I'd already read this story before. But in its defense, HG goes way beyond what Battle Royale did and develops a much richer (and different) world and storyline. Still, I think having read Battle Royale first definitely altered my enjoyment of the series so I'm not quite as rabid about it as others on my flist.

Date: 2011-12-05 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I still like the "Hunger Games" trilogy (so far), but I guess for me the author's total dismissal of the earlier book does take away some enjoyment. I almost wish I have never looked for this in Google (and this happened to me few times before). I think the things the authors' say/do should not affect my enjoyment of their books. But in reality it does.
Edited Date: 2011-12-05 03:56 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-05 04:25 pm (UTC)
ext_15392: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I was also very much reminded of Battle Royale.

I liked the series a lot too, but I had to switch from audio to book, because I really loathed the whiny voice of the narrator. It started to damage Katniss for me, allthough I loved her in writing.

Date: 2011-12-05 04:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Actually, I feel the same about the narrator. I don't have any choice (my eyes too old for reading so the audio books are the only fast alternative for me), but yes. I think the narrator sounds fine when Katniss is "ok", but when Katniss is having a less than happy moment - the narrator slides into a whine.

but usually I stop noticing the narrator after a while, and I am sort of there with this narrator too.

Date: 2011-12-05 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*yay* you're reading The Hunger Games, I read the trilogy earlier this year to take a pause from ASOIAF :D
I shall refrain from commenting about the outcome of your predictions, but some of them have put a huge smirk on my face.

I heard about the "Battle Royale" controversy, but I do find it plausible that Collins never heard of it. I never heard of that book before and "Battle Royale" seemed like a rather more obscure book to me. But maybe I'm just too naive.

Don't be alarmed about Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss, she was nominated for an oscar last year, she has dyed her hair for the film and from the looks of the trailer fits the part much better than I ever expected. I do have my reservations about the actor who plays Peeta; he does not even come close to how I imagined Peeta to look like.

Date: 2011-12-05 04:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hope my predictions are right. :D I like to be right in my predictions.

I would find it believable if someone who is not "in the industry" never heard of "Battle Royale" (although the book and the film are huge all over the world, and particular, of course, in Asia, as well as in Europe) but I find it very very very hard to believe that a writer have never heard of it. Add into the mix the fact that the author must have had a professional editor whose responsibility is to notice these things and I find the fact that Collins have never "heard" of "Battle Royale" quite hard to believe.

And If (I mean if) this is true, this fact paints a picture of a person who is absolutely clueless to the fact that Asian literature also exists, which is also not a good thing IMHO. :D

The blond hair can be dyed, but the actress will never be 16 again, or have olive skin. I think this will make Katniss a different person. And nomination or no nomination, this was the actress from "X-men", right? I was not really impressed. But it might work out fine, just might. :D

The actor who plays Peeta? i am not too keen on him as well, but it might turn either way. I like Woody Harrelson , though. Love him.

Date: 2011-12-05 05:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
lalallalala not telling

True, someone who works in the industry ought to have known about it.

LOL *embarrassed* I don't think I have ever read a book written by an Asian author (by that I mean the far east). Last month I bought Doctor Zhivago because I thought that it was high time that I'd read my first book written by a Russian author. For some reason I have always stuck with reading books from European or American authors. I should try to broaden my horizons more.

Her performance in X-Men wasn't that noteworthy, you should check out Winter's Bone; it a wonderful film and she gives a stellar performance in it.

Woody is gonna be perfect as Haymitch, that was one of the best bits of casting.

Date: 2011-12-05 05:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am sorry I got on my "high horse". :D In a way, I think I was fortunate to grow up in Russia -we seemed to have strong influences from Asia as well as Europe. I would definitely rec "battle Royale"-the film, it is very good.

I feel it is a bit dodgy for my age, but have looked up the casting, I think I find Liam Hemsworth to be drool-worthy. Are they sure they haven't made a casting mistake? I think he would have made a perfect Peeta (muscles and all). I might turn to wrong-shipping in the film.

Date: 2011-12-05 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I read the first Hunger Games book, and honestly didn't really like it. But, I'm a huge fan of Battle Royale, and I think that was an issue for me.They were too similar, and it bothered me that the author denied knowing anything about the other book. Not because I think she stole the idea - it's been around for ages. But, because it seems. . .shady. Because, I just think she or someone at the publishing house had to have noticed it. I mean, not even the intern noticed? It makes me wonder how the book did in Japan.

Date: 2011-12-05 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree - there is something very very odd about this. I feel a bit stange too. I hope when the story goes beyond BR scenario things will swith onto full for me.

Date: 2011-12-05 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I understand your reservations because honestly, I saw Battle Royale the film ages before I even got into Asian dramas or music at all. I also bought the book, though I don't think I finished it, because I suck at reading and already knew the ending. XD

Anyway, it does seem like it's THE Japanese novel/film that has broken through to general pop culture consciousness in the English-speaking world.

But I don't know, at the same time I do believe it's possible that Collins' influences which she sites (switching channels between a reality elimination television show and war images from Iraq) did make her come up with a scenario. There's a lot of "do or die" kind of scenarios out there.

I don't remember much about the overall world of Battle Royale but I think the concept is definitely expanded in the Hunger Games, if nothing else. And yes, like you I also enjoy the fact that Peeta is the one looked after, and Katniss is the physically strong, capable survivor. It's a simple reversal but it works.

I'll be curious on your views once you've finished with HG trilogy. I remember liking the book, then suddenly in the first book, the games got super-interesting and full of suspense, and I was hooked, and consumed the 2nd and 3rd novels in quite a hurry despite working full time in the summer.

Oh - and if you've seen it by now, what are your thoughts on the latest episode of The Good Wife? (I keep meaning to post about it.)

Date: 2011-12-05 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I keep thinking it over - the most likely scenario that I can see is that at the "point of conception" Susanne Collins didn't know about the existence of "Battle Royale". This says some things about her: for example she tries to present herself as somewhat "international kid who knew about poverty in the world from the early age" of an Air Force father which doesn't add up with no knowledge of Japanese fiction, but still, there is nothing in it. May be she even heard something of BR in passing and forgot about it (these things do happen too).

But then, someone was bound to notice and tell her, at which point it might have been too late for her, and she might have been advised that "no-one will notice" and "tell everyone you knew nothing of it". But when everyone started noticing it and she already said that she knows nothing? It must have been too late.

OK, this is just my theory because I seriously cant believe NOONE noticed. Like walkwithheores said, there is just something very very odd about this.

I am about to start watching The Good Wife. I take it that it was a good ep - YAY!!!!!!!!!!
Edited Date: 2011-12-05 09:24 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-05 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, if you get right down to it, the mythology of the Hunger Games owes a great deal to the story of Theseus and the Minotaur and the tributes exacted from Athens by the Cretans. So it's not as if the idea was original to whatever this other book/movie that I had actually never heard of either. :P

As for Jennifer Lawrence, she was BRILLIANT in "Winter's Bone" which is from a brilliant novel that stars a young woman who is pretty much Katniss in a non-dystopian setting (like, if Katniss had been living in the Kentucky of "Justified", she would be Ree Dolly, the heroine of "Winter's Bone.") So I think she'll be fine. I posted the first trailer in my LJ a while back, and I have to say that it looks amazing.

Date: 2011-12-05 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
** laughs ** It is no that the methology of the two books is the only thing that is the same, this goes further: the more detailed aspects of the story in "Hunger Games" are very close to "Battle Royale", and whilst I can believe that any single individual can easily never hear of "Battle Royale", I can't believe that such a slip can happen with editors/copyright,I just can not. If you just Goodle the story , you will get plenty of references to Battle Royale, and in the World where population of Asia (China, Japan, Korea taken together) is actually WAY larger in proportion than the population of USA I honestly can not believe that someone didn't research and/or didn't notice and/or didn't care!

I was not convinced in X-Men by Jennifer's performance, not at all. It all might go fine, but I am not pre-disposed to like her Katniss. From the book description I can't get over her in my mind as "Hispanic, smallish and 16", not "Blond, big bosom, 21" as Jennifer.
Edited Date: 2011-12-05 11:31 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-05 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've read the Hunger Games too, and when I heard about the actress playing Katniss in the movie I certainly had my doubts. But the trailer totally convinced me she fits the part.
Also, 21 is not that old. Certainly not for Hollywood. They rarely cast age accordingly.

Date: 2011-12-05 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It can work out.I Google more about the actor that playes Peeta and he certainly is even worse. For one thing, it is not as if they can turn him into a blond/blue eyes .

Date: 2011-12-05 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I keep hearing great things about HG. I just might have to snatch the book from my younger brother some time. The only thing that's really making me reluctant is the pov... I'm not very fond of 1st person. And there's also the BR issue. When I first saw the book in a swedish store and read on the back, I thought it was some weird translation.

As for book - film differences, now I'm not familiar with these ones, but I sometimes find it relieving when the film characters clearly differs from the ones in my head... as long as they still are good, that is. Then I can keep "my" characters and enjoy the film without paying to much mind to other differences in characterisation or story. Because no film is ever perfect, it's better to separate book and film and enjoy both.

Date: 2011-12-05 11:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So far, I find the book one of those "I can't put it down" books that are actually very rare for me as I only have a short attention span. I am going to Bigmigham to a conference on a train tomorrow and all I can think of is finishing the first book whilst I am on the train.

I think the film might work out fine as well, everyone is saying the actress is good, I will try to believe and stop worrying for now.

Date: 2011-12-05 11:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Here's the thing, even if they had heard of Battle Royale, they wouldn't have cared. For one thing it's Asian, which means that the publisher and her editors wouldn't have cared for it, believing that it's not mainstream enough for a large audience (in other words not American). Collins was very lucky or very clever and wrote books 2 and 3, which are a world away from Battle Royale, thus removing the similarities with the book/film. Some have noted that the Hunger Games and Battle Royale are very much alike and like you have had a hard time believing Collins.

As for the casting, that too is showing just how Hollywood and the industry feel about the whole thing. They don't believe that an Olive skinned girl can be the leading character in a big budget film. It's just the way things work over there and that's why I've pretty much given up on anything Hollywood spits out all the time.

Date: 2011-12-05 11:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with you - I think it is the facts that "they don't even care" and "how can this go through copyright" I don't understand. For me yes, she musst have gotten the idea from Battle Royale somehow, but just didn't think and/or didn't care. This makes me think how this affects the worldwide sales of "Hunger Games".

YES ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD THING> I agree completely. It is not as if I have anything against Jennifer personally, but! This is not right! ** shakes her fist **

Date: 2011-12-06 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The main actress is actually really good! She's done amazing work in other films like X Men first class where she played young mystique. I think she'll play the role wonderfully. Critics have been showering praises for her lately..

Date: 2011-12-07 12:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thinking more, I don't have anything against the actress, but I see the casting as race-related, which spoils the whole thing for me. Katniss is clearly described as Hispanic or Native American ethnicity in the book.

Date: 2011-12-06 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know this is late, I've been so busy, but I had to come back and comment lol.

I read the Hunger Games series earlier this year, and overall enjoyed it. The first two books were a lot better than the final one imo though, I really enjoyed the role reversal between Katniss and Peeta as well.

I never heard of Battle Royale or any controversy over the similarities between the two though, I think it would be understandable to not have heard of them as an author. The publisher is the one you would think might have...

As for the movie, I am very skeptical. I just don't know how the brutality of the books will be able to come through in the movies, I feel like it could very easily get the "hollywood" treatment, where the political and human rights parts are brushed over by the need for action and explosions.

Date: 2011-12-07 12:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I do believe that the author might have not hard of the BR novel and film when she started writing, but I would expect similarities to be discovered by her agent/editor/publisher/friend/whatever, so I don't believe the statement Collins keeps making I "had never heard of that book until [her] book was turned in" can be true, and this does spoil the enjoyment a little for me. I should not care what the authors do/say, but I somehow do.

The film can go either way, but I agree - I don't think Hollywood style suits the story in general, and I personally would not be able to forget that they cast Katniss (who is clearly Hispanic or Native American from the book description - olive skin, dark eyes, dark hair) as white
Edited Date: 2011-12-08 08:12 pm (UTC)

Date: 2011-12-08 08:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As for the movie, I am very skeptical. I just don't know how the brutality of the books will be able to come through in the movies, I feel like it could very easily get the "hollywood" treatment, where the political and human rights parts are brushed over by the need for action and explosions.

IA. I think I will wait to see the Cato scene to be relieved about this. If they don't sweeten that one, then I will believe that they can hold it for the second and mostly for the third one.

Date: 2011-12-07 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I also saw the Battle Royale similarities but in the end, I thought it could stand on its own.

Also, I was skeptical with Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss - until I saw the trailer!

Date: 2011-12-07 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think it should get better in the book 2 and 3, and I definitely love the series. The main problem I have is the writer's "character" - I can not believe that her statement ""had never heard of that book until [her] book was turned in,". I can't believe no-one (her editor, publisher, agent, friend, ect.) noticed the similarities.

I saw the trailer and I think the actress might be fine, but the fact that katniss is described as Hispanic (or native American) and the actress is white will always be there.

Date: 2011-12-08 08:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How did I miss that post?!!!!

Héhé love your predictions ^^. Waiting for you to hit at least middle book 2. But I'm glad you're giving it a shot. And IA about Battle Royale. It's total ripp-off tbh but I think it 's an intelligent one so it's fine.

Date: 2011-12-08 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
** jumps up and down ** hehehehehehe! My predictions must be at least half-right. I am almost through the book 1 - lol, they did find a way for both Peeta and Katniss to survive, I KNEW IT. Little Rue was bound to die though and I was soooooooooo sad because she reminded me of my little daughter.

I am totally not-worried about the rip-off, I just wish the author wasn't saying things like "I have never heard of BR before I submitted the book". WAS SHE LIVING IN A VACUUM?

Date: 2011-12-08 08:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*shrugs* Battle Royale is so huge though. And the all symbolism of Youth vs Establishment is gigantic in the two stories so I don't know... she either is lying, either lives in denial-land.

Rue :'(. It was so quick I had to re-read the thing because what? Then again, yeah, predictable that one.

I adore Peeta. I have no words for my love for Peeta. He might be one of my favourite male character ever.

Also, Katniss is totally channeling her inner Meera Reed XD. That's all I can think of every time she takes her bow lol. Meera Reed would have slayed those games :p!

Date: 2011-12-08 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep. I think for me the most likely scenario is that she has heard about BR in passing (which micght have never registered, but the idea did register), but anyways, it's odd.

I LOVE Peeta too, I am not in full-blown love yet because I don't think anyone but Katniss are given enough depth in the first book, but I see where his charcter is going and I am loving it. And yes, he might grow into one of my favourites too. he is a bit of a younger version of General Ta Ha from Chuno. :D

I THOUGHT OF Katniss as MEERA REED too , which again made me think. :D This said, I am still bitter about Reeds (unless there gave been some news about them whilst I was wooooooorking).

Date: 2011-12-09 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
i'm horribly late but had to comment. i read the hunger games trilogy early last year and was completely swept away. most of my colleagues had or were reading it as well so there were tons of heated discussions. there was this whole thread of discussions about katniss being the "anti-bella" which was right up my alley since i hate twilight. in any case, i loved katniss in the first book. and i liked peeta, too. it felt a little weird because i usually don't swoon over the characters that are loved by all. (starks, anyone?) but swoon i did.

i've heard all the battle royale references but haven't read or seen it. i know, bad geek! but i think i'll try to rectify that over the holiday break.

i love your predictions. i echo one of your flist and say, they made me smirk. please post your thoughts when you finish each book - they should foster great discussion and i'll chime in as soon as rl allows :)

as for the movie, i dunno. i loved jennifer in winter's bones and cannot say enough about that movie or her performance. i told all my friends to run and see that movie! on an aside, i also loved hailee stienfeld in true grit who was the other actress being considered for the role of katniss and i admit to preferring hailee but understand that she wasn't practical given the very aggressive shooting schedule and that her being a child actor made it impossible. still.... anyway, the previews have left me solidly on the fence. i'm hoping for the best but haven't been sold on what i've seen so far. (on the other hand, the trailer of the girl with the dragon tattoo may make me change my mind about nothing good coming from hollywood anymore. please deliver!)

can't wait to hear what you think when you've finished and i'm eagerly awaiting the film.

Date: 2011-12-10 12:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have finished the first book! I am reading the second one now! Like you, I also love these series, mostly because the characters are like nothing out there in the Western literature. I don't really hate Twilight (I can see the emotional appeal, even though these are definitely not the series I will recommend to my daughter), but I see what you mean about Hunger Games being anti-Twilight.

I don't really mind Jennifer (although you mentioned the girl from "True Grit" and I think I would have liked her more), but here I am not happy with the casting "on principle". More I read into series, more I think that the physical description of Katniss is that of Native American ethnicity (straight dark hair, olive skin) or at least Hispanic. Casting her as a blond and bosom-y (and quite tall - 1.70) Hollywood actress is just another "race" thing , I feel. In this case casting of Hailee (who has ancestors from Philippines).

I am so glad Hailee will be in "Enders Games" (I LOVE THAT BOOK!!!)

Date: 2011-12-10 02:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
yes, i definitely think it was a race thing but after seeing many, many heated discussions over the casting of this movie, i'm starting to have a bit (really very slight) of understanding of it.

when katniss was first cast, there were a few who complained katniss was not blond. but the majority of readers replied that despite words like olive and dark hair, they could only picture her as white. ditto for rue (many, many don't like rue being black despite the description in the book).

finally there was a very interesting post that most readers only use their own definitions of the world to interpret what they read and that is why white readers read white people. and since america's dominant culture is white, i suppose hollywood is responding to that.

on the other hand, cinna was written as white, imo, and when they cast lenny kravitz, i think they were trying to even things out a bit. and of course, there was a great deal of backlash about that since he's a favorite character.

all in all, with the exception of haymitch and rue, i am not in love with the casting at all and as i said before, i am not expecting much. but i am eager to see what the movie will be like.

i read ender's games earlier this year. i've been trying to get better versed in young adult lit. anyway, i loved it as well. i googled and heard there have been rumblings about a movie for a long time. you seem to have heard something more concrete. is that correct?

twilight makes me cringe. especially when i see so many girls reading and swooning over it. sigh. i've read tons of heated debates about grrm being misogynist but imo, meyers does more to make women powerless and foolish than any other writer i can think of right now.

Date: 2011-12-12 11:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I perfectly understand how this works, but I think this is what "unconscious racism" is all about. And it is not as if Katniss' appearance is mentioned once or twice, the mentionings of her "olive skin", "dark straight hair" and small statue are all over the place.

And someone is complaining about Rue? I really despair!Racism is still there!

And I don't think they can make it better with Cinna, his descriptions are not as detailed (AND he is not the main character)..

As you, I like Haymitch and Rue though. My biggest problem from "how I think I like this actor and how he fits the role" is the actor playing Peeta. I just don't like how he looks (his smile is creepy!), plus it will take some convincing for me to accept non-blond Peeta. :P

I just saw "Ender's Game" mentioned when I Googled Hailee Steinfeld. It is not concrete, though, indeed. Oh, what a pity.
Edited Date: 2011-12-12 12:00 pm (UTC)


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