Harry Potter and The Hunger Games

So… while I was having my time with THE D, I attempted to see the last Harry Potter movie twice. Yes, twice. I took a shower, got dressed, headed to the car, got there and then turned right around and went home. Sigh. I was already late since it opened the weekend of our wedding and here I was, with the perks of working from home, totally incapable of seeing a movie.

But guess what? Last Friday, in my tiny window of wellness (ok, to be honest, I wasn’t actually well last Friday, I was well on Thursday evening, but on Friday the cold of doom had not yet gripped me within an inch of my life. So out I went!), I went with Kamel to finally see HP7 Part 2 and I loved it. Loved, with a capital L and not just because it was the first letter in a sentence. I realize that I’m a little late to this party, but I don’t care, and I know you probably don’t either because LET’S TALK ABOUT HARRY POTTER SOME MORE EVERYBODY!

Ok so first, I thought the movie was the perfect length. It was so action packed that I never felt like it was dragging or anything like that – where the first part was all about anticipation and pretty English parks, the second one was all WHAM BAM BABOOM! I also very much enjoyed HP’s constant infusion of humor even in the really stressful bits. Like when Mcgonogal says, “I’ve always wanted to do that spell.” After the cement warriors pop down? Remember that? One of the best moments because it was adorable but also really bittersweet because the moment was really about trying to guard against the big bad. Also? When Ron and Hermione go at it once they don’t die in a flood of water? I have to admit, I totally clapped a little in the theater. Yes I did. And I don’t even care if it was cheesy or weirdly placed because Harry Potter is not winning any awards, ok? It’s fun. Bottom line.


So the other thing I did, (totally pop culture over-load over here, obviously) was read all three Hunger Games books while on honeymoon. I had only a vague idea of what they were about before I started reading. All I really knew was that Kathleen had given me an amazon gift card for my birthday and Maris had demanded I read them all over my honeymoon. Directions followed. I also knew that it had something to do with randomly choosing people to go into an arena to fight to the death.

What I was pleasantly surprised to find out? That the main character, Katniss, is a bad ass lady protagonist. Something that you rarely find (Bella doesn’t count in my book, even if I do love me a good Twilight, because she is always being saved by the brutish men in her life) in popular literature unless it involves romance. And The Hunger Games, although romance plays a roll, is mostly about killing and politics. Pretty freaking bad ass. And I am super stoked that as the Harry Potter saga comes to an end in theaters, The Hunger Games is beginning production. I love books and I love reading, but I also love the two-fer of books made into movies. This way I get to savor it twice.

And even though the last book wasn’t as strong as the first two, I still cried the entire flight home from Cancun as I read it. Kamel just kept handing me little drink napkins and patting my hand.

So what’s the next big pop culture book series I should put on my to-read list? I’m not into the dragon tattoo books, though I’ll probably see the movies. What else ya got internet? What’s in? What’s hip? What’s happenin’?

57 thoughts on “Harry Potter and The Hunger Games”

  1. I’ve seen Harry Potter 7.2 FOUR TIMES now and I cannot get through the last hour without crying. Usually the waterworks start as soon as McGonagal does that spell and those badass concrete warriors jump down. My eyeballs well up and I get this shit just got real!!! lump in my throat.

    I will miss the anticipation of a new Harry Potter movie SO much.

      1. For reals. I was at St. Joe’s when I started reading the books. That was a long time ago friends. I had a little moment on the walk home from the movie.

        And yes the McGonagal part was totally the best.

    1. I felt like a crazy person because I cried through the ENTIRE movie. I think I was just so anxious about what what coming up and who was going to die that I couldn’t hold it in.

      1. This is slightly off topic and possibly also makes me a crazy person, but I have recently cried TWICE through the entire preview of the new Winnie The Poo movie. And every time Kamel does a double take and says “LAUREN! really?! REALLY?” oh yes. really.

        1. A girl after my own heart ๐Ÿ™‚ the fact that they used Keanes music, that’s what really puts it over the edge!!!

  2. also, you are so right about the length. Husband watched all the Harry Potters with me over the last few weeks to prepare himself to see 7.2 in theaters with me, so now, in return, I am watching back to back Lord of the Rings movies WHICH ARE THREE HOURS LONG OMG.

  3. Oh yeah. I absolutely loved the “โ€œIโ€™ve always wanted to do that spell.โ€ part, laughed and clapped a bit. I loved to see them in the end as “grownups”, though young as they are they didn’t really look old. My suggestions are going to be old but did you read:
    “The curious incident of the dog in the night time ” ?
    And did you read ALL of the Narnia books (I guess you did, but I LOVE those) and read them waaaay before the movies.
    And maybe you will like Lovesick by Angeles Mastretta… Oh but you have something in the post ๐Ÿ™‚ with bad ass girl main characters. (Though still a bit romantic in many ways). Wait and see…..

  4. Ahhh loved the final HP, and also excited you read The Hunger Games! I have to say that I was disappointed with the final book, though… The first 2 were pretty amazing, but the ending just kind of stunk. I felt like the author was in a massive rush to push forward the final book and in turn her writing turned to crap. It was more “telltelltell” instead of showing what happened… and things were very abrupt.

    Overall though I’d recommend the series to people, and I am pretty excited for the movies… Not sure how I feel about how they casted for Gale and Peeta, but we’ll see. I was also totally rooting for Hailee Steinfeld from True Grit to be Katniss, but Jennifer Lawrence is a good actress… She just seems too pretty I guess? Haha. I’m just being a nitpicker though.

    1. This is pretty much word for word how I feel about the casting for the hunger games. And i think its totally legit to think that jennifer lawrence is too pretty- it kind of takes away from how tough and gritty she is. And i’m REALLY skeptical about the peeta casting in particular. AND! AND! I think they look way too old.

    2. Hailee Steinfield was exactly exactly who Maris and I thought should play her! I’m sure Jennifer will do … alright … but she is just TOO pretty. Seriously. And I like the Gale character since seeing him in his outfit and hair etc, but now I’m really doubting the peeta character. I’m not sure how he’s going to look complicated and troubled… at first I thought he was a good fit, but now I kinda feel like he looks like a Doof.

      1. Well, the one thing that gave me hope was the actor’s interview with EW and what the author had to say about his casting. I think LOOKS-wise, he does not fit the part at all (and hello! Peeta has those blue eyes that she described so well in the book!), but it seems like everyone who has seen him act the part has total faith in him, so I will give him a chance… Still not entirely convinced though. I just pictured Peeta so differently.

        And I agree, they all look too old. But then again, in Game of Thrones they changed the ages of the kids (because hi, you can’t portay underaged girls having sex on TV), and it totally worked out great for the show.

  5. Not really “hip” or new, but read the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman. SO genius. They were my absolute fave as a tween, and I just re-read them last week…even better. Main character is a young, but pretty bad-ass girl. LOVE love love.

    1. YES. Read these! I just got my man started on them (after I’ve read them twice) and he can’t put them down. I’m having reading envy and might go back a third time. Sadly, I have to warn you, do not watch the movie.

      1. wait, lauren, you haven’t heard of these?! i find that hard to believe… the golden compass, the subtle knife, and the amber spyglass?

        They are meant to be teenager books (I think), but they are really intense and contain a lot of religious allegory. pretty awesome.

  6. Harry Potter 7.2 was wonderful and bittersweet since the excitement of “waiting for the next one” is now over. But I thought it was well done and exciting.

    I love Love LOVED The Hunger Games! Read them and finally convinced my beau to read them. I was just curious to see where he was in the story (ok, I wouldn’t normally hover but in my defense, he had walked away so I picked it up) and ended up re-reading them last week. And zapped any productivity I may have had. I’m super excited to see the movies (being filmed in Asheville, NC!) and think you have good taste in relaxation choices!

    Also, this is certainly old news but if you haven’t read the Ender’s Game series (especially the ones that follow Bean (Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, etc)) you would totes like them, too!

    1. I’m going to second all of Ender’s Game and the series. (It’s my favorite!) Not too hot on the badass females in the first book, but it certianly picks up. I FINALLY got my hands on “Ender in Exile” this weekend, and I’m practially inhaling it.

    2. oh my goodness! you’re right! I totally forgot all about those! Ok, so explain this to me … there is Ender’s Game and is there a bunch of those books and then a brother series off shoot? I might just buy all of them for the kindle. Best decision I ever made with the hunger games, just bought them all and never had to pause.

      1. Something like that. Here’s how it goes, in publication order:

        Ender’s Game (Series 1)
        Speaker for the Dead (Series 1)
        Xenocide (Series 1)
        Children of the Mind (Series 1)
        Ender’s Shadow (Series 2)
        Shadow of the Hegemon (Series 2)
        Shadow Puppets (Series 2)
        Shadow of the Giant (Series 2)
        Ender in Exhile (Series 1)
        Plus other random short stories that fill in little bits.

        But I’d read Ender’s Game, then all of Series 2, then Ender in Exhile, then finish Series 1. That way most of the characters age in normal ways.

        Confused yet?

  7. **So whatโ€™s the next big pop culture book series I should put on my to-read list? Iโ€™m not into the dragon tattoo books, though Iโ€™ll probably see the movies. What else ya got internet? Whatโ€™s in? Whatโ€™s hip? Whatโ€™s happeninโ€™?**

    –Yes,yes, whats next people…besides dragon tattoos?!! Im so pumped from the hunger games series, im ready for something else super awesome, but nothing on my Kindle looked too interesting. I caved and got The Help..peer pressure. Also, you mentioned Bella always getting saved by her british vamp…by the end of the hunger games series…i was kind of over Katniss waking up in a room, all alive and healing and good and gravy whenever she was really in trouble. At the beginning of the series, she was a badass and did some serious butt kicking on her own…but as the series went on, she would be about to die, and then wake up all saved. I know part of it was because they were trying to keep their celebrity Mockingjay alive…but i was like oookay enough. But i can NOT wait for the movie! Even a trailer would hold me over for a while!

    1. Yeah, the last book with all of it’s forced sleeping and hospital beds and crying got REAL old REAL fast. But the whole memory manipulation thing? Had me sob-bing. Hard core in public like a crazy person.

      1. YES, the mind manipulation was so hard to read about…because you SO wanted Peeta to just go back to being Peeta and not the asshole he turned into ๐Ÿ™ And you felt so bad for Katniss for losing one of her best friends! But alls well that ends well ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1. I loved The Help! It was one of the most stressful books I’ve ever read, and reaffirmed that I am not a fan of the South. Yeah, that doesn’t sound great. But I promise…I loved it.

      2. I loved it, inhaled it and then, on more reflection, had some serious mixed feelings. As a story, it was well constructed and well-paced. As subject matter and the way it was handled I had some beefs.

        1. The dialect writing for the maids but not the white ladies? Lizzie no like.
        2. The white girl driving through the black neighborhood in her big Cadiallac and no one noticing? Seriously.
        3. The Stuart character mostly annoyed me.

        Again, Entertainment Weekly has a great cover on the book and movie this week (apparently not yet available online) that takes up this question.

        1. Thank you! 1 and 3 for me especially. I felt like I was being a snot and reading too much into it. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  8. If you guys like fantasy, i LOVED A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I think it is going to end up being a trilogy, although only one book is out now. It has the fantasy side, but isn’t cheesy at all (ahem, twilight) and i’ve read it multiple times.

    Also, if you did like the twilight series, I actually REALLY enjoyed Stephanie Meyers’ other book, The Host. I think it has better writing and a really engaging story line. It’ll suck you in. A bit of a disclaimer though, the beginning is slow. Get through the first couple chapters and you will be hooked.

    1. weeeird – I absolutely HATED the Host. By the middle, I was pretty sure I knew how it would end and I was suddenly really annoyed that I had to keep lugging that big book around with me for her to finally just GET TO IT.

      but I will check out Discovery of Witches ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Booooooks, honeymoooon boooooks. I cannot wait to have time to read again. So excited to revisit these recommendations.

    (Also, could just not get behind dragon tattoo either.)

    And see Harry Potter. It’s on this week’s agenda. FINALLY. I can remember the years and years that I went to Graumann’s Chinese on opening night like it was my JOB. I’m such an awful grown up now. *Sniff*

    1. I haven’t seen it yet either, I was skimming this post and comments trying not to read any spoilers. Zach is reading the series for.the.first.time. right now, so I’m waiting for him to finish before we go see the movie. we may even work in a movie marathon before seeing 7.2.. so it’s gonna be a while I think! :-/

      aaand +1 to Enders Game (from comments above), so good! though I never read any others in the series.

      I am horrible at following hip reading trends, I’m such a bad reader lately, lugging books on metro is so unfun. Need Kindle! Also all I want to do is re-read The Wheel of Time. Not that hip and hugely long books (13 so far all are 600 – 800+ pages), final book is coming out next March-ish, I just started the re-read) but I SO RECOMMEND. and there are bunches of bad-ass females in the series.

  10. The next big pop culture series — I’m pretty sure it’s Game of Thrones aka A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, isn’t it?

    I am still trying to figure out what every sees in the dragon tattoo (Millennium trilogy?) books. They’re decent, but not the absorbing and fast-paced read they’ve been made out to be.

    1. I’m obsesssssed with the Game of Thrones show, but I’m totally uninterested in reading the series. Too many characters, and I can handle a complicated plot, but with a million POVs I just get tired of it all.

      1. It’s truly an exhausting series to read. (I’m on the second one now– what am I doing to myself??!) The show, in my opinion, is just as good AND definitely more enjoyable.

  11. Ok – a few other suggestions:
    Young Adult Fantasy: The Books of Pellinor (but I’d read Dark Materials first, already suggested above)
    Fantasyish: Neil Gaimin, I liked American Gods the best (but almost no ladies) and Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem (although again almost no ladies)
    More books without ladies but are funny and really good:
    Motherless Brooklyn
    Straight Man
    AND lastly, I just found this website and it has saved my reading drought: http://www.whichbook.net/

  12. I feel like either Alyssa or one of the commenters on her summer reads post a couple of weeks ago mentioned The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I put that on the ol’ reading list… 13 books in the series so far!

  13. I feel exactly the same way about both HP7.2 and the Hunger Games. I would have picked out those same two scenes as my favorites (McGonagall’s saying she always wanted to use the spell and THE kiss – Epic!). I also thought the Hunger Games third book was lacking, but loved the first two.

    I am bookmarking the comments section so I can come back and find book suggestions.

    I recently read City of Embers and its sequel People of Sparks. They were good. Also has a bad ass lady protagonist. There are two more in the series that I haven’t been compelled to get yet. It is pretty similar to the Hunger Games so you may want to wait a bit for those.

    Also on my to read list is the Southern Vampires Series (the books True Blood is based on). I didn’t get into the TV series but am going to try out the books (there are a lot of them).

    1. Ohhh I have a few friends that are raving about the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse Series too! Same here, i thought the series was just kind of eh. Ive only watched the first and second season and heard it gets way better.

  14. i am such a huge hunger games fan. agree with you though that book 3 was the weakest. but i finished them in the same position you are in, wondering where to turn my ravenous appetite for reading next.

    can’t wait to look into some of the suggestions listed here.

  15. I really hope they change the ending of the Hunger Games trilogy in the movie. I just felt empty at the end. Like it was all for nothing.

    I found that Hunger Games sucked me in and didn’t want to let me go. If you’re looking for that feeling, another author I’ve found to do that is Sheri S. Tepper. Her books are older, but I highly recommend them for stories that will completely absorb you and make you think. I particularly liked Beauty, Grass, and the Companions.

    These are squarely in the fantasy category, but for strong woman protagonists, I recommend:
    … anything in the Tortall universe by Tamora Pierce, especially the Kel or Daine series
    …the Weather Wardens series by Rachel Caine
    … Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
    … if you like twists on fairy tales, Stepsister Scheme (and sequels) by Jim C Hines

    Sorry if that’s too many, haha.

  16. I get to teach the Hunger Games to my students, how awesome is that? Can you imagine getting to read something like this for school? I’m pretty excited because this year we may have the opportunity to teach the book as a whole-class novel vs. a small group discussion group (literature circles). If you enjoyed the Hunger Games I would recommend reading Scott Westerfield’s series Uglies, Pretties, Specials and Extras. They just re-released the books with new covers and they are a pretty quick read, and again female protagonists. One of the perks of my job is that I get to stock my shelves with great new finds. I’m a fan of YA lit because it is coming into its own right now.

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