Starvation Video games Prequel Courts Controversy Over Its Selection of Principal Character

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Readers have been anticipating Suzanne Collins’s prequel to the Hunger Games trilogy since 2019, when the writer introduced her plans to revisit the dystopic world in a brand new e book.

A brand new excerpt of the upcoming novel, named The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, reveals the prequel will middle, not less than partially, on a younger model Coriolanus Snow. To followers of the books (and flicks) that identify rings a bell: Snow is the villainous and authoritarian chief of Panem launched in The Starvation Video games, which takes place about 64 years after the occasions of the prequel.

The excerpt, printed in Leisure Weekly on Tuesday, finds a younger Snow as a high pupil at a school known as the Academy on the morning of the reaping (the lottery-style choice course of by which the Video games’ “tributes” are chosen) for the 10th Starvation Video games. Like in The Starvation Video games, the story begins as two kids between the ages of 12 and 18 are chosen from every of Panem’s twelve districts to combat to the dying for the nation’s leisure. Panem holds the Starvation Video games every year as retribution for a wartime interval generally known as the Darkish Days, when the districts rebelled in opposition to the Capitol.

Learn extra: Here’s What We Know About Hunger Games PrequelThe Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’

However because the prequel reveals, ten years into the Starvation Video games, the organizers of the brutal competitors have discovered that viewers engagement is low — seemingly as a result of watching teenagers homicide one another in an previous amphitheater just isn’t that entertaining. In an effort to spice up viewership of the Video games, Snow and twenty-three different college students from the Academy have been tapped as mentors to the tributes to assist them make the competitors “evolve into a more meaningful experience.” It’s a not dissimilar — and thus, all of the extra chilling — parallel to the methods through which long-running actuality TV reveals change up their formulation to retain viewers’ curiosity; it’s “jumping the shark” besides this time the sharks are designed to kill you.

Snow’s project finally ends up being a lady from District 12, notably the identical district that Starvation Video games protagonist and hero Katniss Everdeen will come from a number of many years later. Whether or not this tribute survives the Video games, as Katniss did (twice, technically), stays to be seen.

The selection to give attention to Snow drew some fast backlash, as followers on-line criticized Collins’s obvious try and rehumanize a personality already well-established as a foul man. Origin tales about villains have drawn extra controversy lately, as critics query whether or not it’s vital to clarify why individuals turn out to be evil (see, for instance, final yr’s Joker film) and, specifically, to take action in a manner that provides potential justification for his or her actions retroactively.

Some followers mentioned they had been dissatisfied by Collins’s choice to middle on Snow, particularly as a result of she has launched so many different compelling characters within the Starvation Video games universe.

 

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com.

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