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Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark: A Realistic "Love Story"

Nalini combines her love of meaning, analysis, and critical thinking with movies, media, and discussion to bring a different perspective.

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark: A Realistic "Love Story"

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark: A Realistic "Love Story"

The Hunger Games trilogy has been called a love story by many. Looking closely at the story and at the relationship between Katniss and Peeta reveals fascinating aspects of human relationships but also reveals that it is not quite a love story. In fact, upon closer inspection, calling the relationship between Katniss and Peeta a "love story" neglects the questionable aspects of how their relationship develops and what their relationship is.

Continue reading for my analysis of the relationship between Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. This analysis is based off of reading the trilogy and watching the movies and goes beyond the text. Text support and further analysis related to the arguments I make in this article are presently provided in another separate article, The Hunger Games: A Romantic Analysis of the Peeta vs. Gale "Love Triangle.

This is your spoiler alert.

What aspect of the Katniss and Peeta love story do you like?

We Meet Katniss

Katniss is a complex and layered character. We come to know Katniss and her thoughts, traits, feelings, and motivations as she comes to share them with us and as she comes to know them herself.

Katniss is a character who has been both strengthened and hardened by her suffering and her need to provide for her family. She is not interested in romance but in trying to take care of her family, particularly her sister Prim. She volunteers to take her sister Prim's place in the 74th Hunger Games out of love for her sister. It is a selfless, self-sacrificing, and difficult act and decision. Katniss is doing something to take care of the one she loves most.

From the beginning, Katniss shows herself to be a person with clear motivations: she takes care of those she loves. It is not fame, glory, or social status that drives her. It is love and trying to give those she loves a chance at life.

We Meet the "Boy With the Bread"

Peeta is a character whose motivations are complicated, as his kind and sweet actions are paired with moments, actions, etc. that serve him and that do not give Katniss the space to make the decisions that she would want to make or have the responses that she would want to have without having guilt, pressure, judgment, etc. from Peeta or from others.

We come to know Peeta, his character, and his feelings as Katniss comes to know them and through the hints that the author Suzanne Collins drops through Katniss' perspective. Peeta is shown to be sweet, sensitive, smooth-talking, self-sacrificing, and steadfast. He has a way with words and with people. He knows how to charm, please, and persuade.

Like Katniss, Peeta comes from District 12 but he comes from a slighter "higher class" or higher group. He is not rich but he does not go hungry or struggle the way that Katniss does to survive. Katniss and Peeta have never spoken but when Katniss and her family were first starving after the death of her father, Katniss was sitting outside of the Mellark bakery weak and hungry. Peeta deliberately burns bread knowing that doing this will make the bread unsellable and after receiving a physical blow from his mother, he throws the burnt bread to Katniss. Katniss comes to associate Peeta as "the boy with the bread" who gave her hope when she had none and when her family was starving. She does not know or understand why Peeta did this for her and she always feels indebted to him for it.

"Thinking about your family?" he asks.

"No," I admit a bit guiltily. "All I can do is wonder about tomorrow. Which is pointless, of course." In the light from below, I can see his face now, the awkward way he holds his bandaged hands. "I really am sorry about your hands."

"It doesn't matter, Katniss," he says. "I've never been a contender in these Games anyway."

"That's no way to be thinking," I say.

"Why not? It's true. My best hope is to not disgrace myself and. " He hesitates.

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"And what?" I say.

"I don't know how to say it exactly. Only. I want to die as myself. Does that make any sense?" he asks. I shake my head. How could he die as anyone but himself? "I don't want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I'm not."

I bite my lip feeling inferior. While I've been ruminating on the availability of trees, Peeta has been struggling with how to maintain his identity. His purity of self. "Do you mean you won't kill anyone?" I ask.

"No, when the time comes, I'm sure I'll kill just like everybody else. I can't go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to. to show the Capitol they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games," says Peeta.

"But you're not," I say. "None of us are. That's how the Games work."

"Okay, but within that framework, there's still you, there's still me," he insists. "Don't you see?"

"A little. Only. no offense, but who cares, Peeta?" I say.

"I do. I mean, what else am I allowed to care about at this point?" he asks angrily. He's locked those blue eyes on mine now, demanding an answer.

I take a step back. "Care about what Haymitch said. About staying alive."

Peeta smiles at me, sad and mocking. "Okay. Thanks for the tip, sweetheart."

It's like a slap in the face. His use of Haymitch's patronizing endearment. "Look, if you want to spend the last hours of your life planning some noble death in the arena, that's your choice. I want to spend mine in District Twelve."

"Wouldn't surprise me if you do," says Peeta. "Give my mother my best when you make it back, will you?"

"Count on it," I say. Then I turn and leave the roof. I spend the rest of the night slipping in and out of a doze, imagining the cutting remarks I will make to Peeta Mellark in the morning. Peeta Mellark. We will see how high and mighty he is when he's faced with life and death."--Chapter 10, The Hunger Games

The Star-Crossed Lover With Bad Luck

Before the televised interviews with the tributes, Peeta distances himself from Katniss suggesting that he is preparing for what it will take to survive in the arena. But then in the televised interviews, Peeta professes his crush for Katniss, going from distancing himself from Katniss to bringing him and Katniss closer than he ever would have been able to do inter-personally. This is a strategic and manipulative move on Peeta's part both in the "game of love" and in the Hunger Games arena, which according to Peeta was not without planning.

"It was my idea," says Peeta, wincing as he pulls spikes of pottery from his palms. "Haymitch just helped me with it."-Chapter 10, The Hunger Games

By professing his feelings on national television, Peeta binds Katniss to him both romantically and in the arena. He blindsides Katniss and forces Katniss into a position where she has to give a response to his feelings and places her under even greater scrutiny. He changes Katniss from just another tribute to a girl holding on to the adoration of a sweet boy from District 12, who happens to be a fellow tribute.

Will she care for him in return? Will she give him a fighting chance in the arena?

Katniss is angry with Peeta for his stunt and Peeta places chains on her when he declares his attraction to her. Katniss is angry that Peeta makes her look weak. Haymitch argues that he makes her desirable. Both of these statements are correct and they are done without Katniss' consent. And so begins the narrative of the "Star-Crossed Lovers from District 12;" with Peeta playing a role in manipulating the hero, the audience, and both his and Katniss' fates. Peeta declares his feelings and crush for Katniss on national television and does not really have anything to lose in doing so.

In the movie, Katniss and Peeta have a conversation the night before the games and Peeta tells Katniss that he meant his remark as a compliment. This is a moment that hints at Peeta's manipulative nature showing how he can turn a situation in which he was clearly at fault into a situation where he had no fault. Katniss does not address his offense or the fact that declaring his crush on her and putting her in the position that he put her in was not a compliment. She lets it go and they have a sincere conversation about the games but this scene was different than the book.

In the books, Katniss and Peeta have a sincere conversation about the games but Katniss ends up upset with Peeta and they part on bad terms before the games. Katniss feels inferior to Peeta in this conversation and is upset over the way he responds to her desire to wanting to stay alive and is upset over the way he responds when she advises him to care about doing the same. Peeta shows some condescension in his anger to her advising him to try to stay alive. This scene shows a clash between Katniss and Peeta, and is important to the trilogy overall and significant in the questions it poses to the reader and viewer.

Contextualizing Peeta's Crush

Peeta comes from an abusive and dysfunctional home. His mother was abusive and his father was kind but unable to give him a more functional and loving home life. On the first day of school, Peeta's father points out Katniss and tells Peeta that he wanted to marry Katniss' mother but that he did not because she ran off and married a coal miner that had a beautiful song and voice. From there Peeta takes note of Katniss and her singing and watches her everyday. He watches Katniss, her sister, and her mother, and sees Katniss and her happy family. He has approximately eleven years in which to fall in love with the idea of Katniss and to fall in love with the idea of a fairy tale ending and happy home life that his father could not have and that he had not had in his own life. Katniss is the daughter of the girl that would have made his father happy and that would have given him a happy home and so Katniss is the girl that can do the same for him.

This information does not support that Peeta loves Katniss but that he loves the idea of Katniss and of who he believes Katniss to be. Further supporting this fact is that Peeta himself calls it a crush. For eleven years over the course of an unhappy, abused, and dysfunctional life, Peeta had a crush on Katniss and Katniss was his hope and his possibility of a better, happy, more fulfilling and meaningful life.

Peeta Is Sweet and Steadfast But Also Has Manipulative Tendencies

Peeta is noted for being sweet, steadfast, and self-sacrificing, and while he is sweet, steadfast, and self-sacrificing it is not all that Peeta is. Peeta knows how to charm, flatter, and persuade and he knows how to have a way with people. He says sweet, flattering, polished things to Katniss; things that are sincere but that are also meant to get a certain response.

Peeta knows how to maintain his outward image but Katniss is an open book to everyone but herself. Katniss' motivations are clear and she holds no pretense. In their dynamic, Peeta is not very successful with charming Katniss, but he does manipulate Katniss with guilt, acts of kindness and selflessness that Katniss cannot repay and a resulting indebtedness to Peeta due to these acts, knowing Katniss as no one else does, and being there for Katniss when she is most vulnerable and unstable. Peeta's interactions with Katniss in the story are a mix of kindness and actions that lack self-interest, and kindness and actions that have self-interest (manipulative nature).

The problem with Peeta is that he and his actions are complicated. He is sweet and kind but he also is out for his own wants and needs. He does want to be there for Katniss and he does want to look out for her. He wants good for Katniss and he wants her to make it out of the games alive and for her to have a future. Peeta's kind actions are often paired with self-interest, emotional manipulation, or passive-aggressive comments. He pulls the rug out from under Katniss on more than one occasion (declaring her his crush and declaring her pregnant on national television, etc.) where she has to "play along."

The Kind, Selfless, and Unconditionally Loving Peeta

Peeta is too available and ready to be there for Katniss. He allows himself to be used in this way even though he knows Katniss has feelings for Gale and allows it because Katniss needs it. His being available for Katniss when she needs and when she wants is a double-edged sword. Due to Katniss’ mental condition and need, Katniss will not refuse and it benefits him to allow her to use him in this way. For the most part, this arrangement is enough for him in Catching Fire but in Mockingjay resentment and hostility surface.

In The Hunger Games, Peeta does not know that he is being used and that he is being used in this way because it is necessary for both his and Katniss' survival but in Catching Fire he is aware of where he and Katniss stand. And even with this awareness, he still makes himself as available or more available to Katniss than before. He is there for Katniss and he does not make any explicit arrangements or demands, he does not set any boundaries or terms for this arrangement, but he still has expectations and he is still getting something out of the arrangement. It is not that Peeta is just being used and used, and that he is not getting anything out of it. His actions are not entirely selfless. In Mockingjay, when some of Peeta has come back and he is trying to find out what is real and not real, he makes a comment about the nights on the train.

"Yeah, a lot of things should count for something that don't seem to, Katniss. I've got some memories I can't make sense of, and I don't think the Capitol touched them. A lot of nights on the train, for instance," he says.

Again the implications. That more happened on the train than did. That what did happen - those nights I only kept my sanity because his arms were around me - no longer matters. Everything a lie, everything a way of misusing him.”-Chapter 17, Mockingjay

Katniss reflects on how wrong Peeta’s comment is because he is implying both that more happened between them than what did and also that she was using him, or misusing him. Hijacked Peeta shows everything that sweet and kind Peeta would never express. He is expressing the fact that all those nights he was used and he did not get anything out of it, and that he was misused; which is not true because he did get something out of it, even if it was not exactly what he wanted.

When Katniss needs comfort Peeta gives it. When Katniss wants to get close and be physical, he reciprocates and has open arms. Even when Katniss does not necessarily indicate that that is what she is looking for, Peeta makes the invitation or initiates. When the right opportunities present themselves, he hugs, touches, comforts, and caresses Katniss. Katniss accepts what Peeta offers her but often feels guilty because she gives him “so little in return.” At times, Katniss catches herself and recognizes the fact that it is wrong of her to turn to Peeta in this way or to ask him to be there for her and refrains from doing so, but other times she gives in.

Peeta does not have to be available in this way and he can set boundaries that would allow him to be supportive as a friend as opposed to something more at any time, but he never does. Out of the eyes of the public, Katniss gets the emotional and physical benefits of a romantic relationship without having to be in one while maintaining a relationship façade when in the eyes of the public. But Peeta benefits from this arrangement as well. He would not have been so readily available for Katniss throughout Catching Fire if he was truly not getting anything out of it and if he did not benefit from it. In Peeta's case, some Katniss is better than no Katniss.

Falling in Love

Peeta and Katniss both begin to develop feelings for each other in the arena and over the course of The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. Katniss develops feelings for Peeta as she begins to let Peeta in and Peeta develops feelings for Katniss as he has contact and interaction with her.

Over the course of the first book, Katniss does not fully trust Peeta but starts to let him in and begins to have feelings for him in a gradual process while Peeta is still in love with an image of Katniss and sees his interactions with Katniss through idealized eyes. He does not yet see Katniss for who she is even though he is developing feelings for her.

In Mockingjay, Katniss comes to realize that she does have feelings for Peeta but that the Peeta that she has feelings for no longer exists and no longer knows her. The Peeta that exists no longer knows Katniss and now sees Katniss with tainted eyes but also with new eyes. He sees Katniss as a villain because he has been poisoned and has undergone trauma to see her that way but in this process he also comes to see and care for Katniss for who she actually is (or comes to see and care for Katniss as other than what he thought she was) and not for the image of Katniss that he had built up in his mind over the majority of his life.

Katniss' Distrust of Peeta

Throughout the games, Katniss notes of her indebtedness to Peeta and Katniss becomes increasingly uneasy about being indebted to Peeta over the acts that he does for her and the expectations that come with them.

Peeta has issues and has not worked through them and he laces his happiness and expectations on a person he does not even know. Peeta is sweet and kind but he is not entirely selfless.

Katniss is often reminded of the fact that she is not worthy of Peeta but Katniss refuses to give in despite being told by Haymitch that she could "live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him;" showing how even Haymitch shares the view that Katniss should want Peeta and reciprocate feelings because of what Peeta has done for her. Katniss knows that she does not "deserve" Peeta but the way the story is written and Katniss' responses and inner dialogue suggest that she does not necessarily want to deserve him.

When hijacked Peeta enters the picture, we see more than the Capitol's poison in Peeta's actions and words. Peeta's suppressed anger towards Katniss comes out. He is not just angry that Katniss used him in the games or that Katniss is a muttation and an evil creation, he is angry that despite doing all the things he was supposed to do to get the girl, he did not get her (given the "nights on the train" comment and the implications). Katniss used him and she does not return his feelings in the manner that he expects. In fact, he comes back and she deliberately avoids him and she shows no intention of apologizing to Peeta or admitting fault for the things he is angry about with respect to her.

What about Gale?"

"He's not a bad kisser either," I say shortly.

"And it was okay with both of us? You kissing the other?" He asks.

"No. It wasn't okay with either of you. But I wasn't asking your permission," I tell him.

Peeta laughs again, coldly, dismissively. "Well, you're a piece of work, aren't you?”

-Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins

Capitol-hijacked Peeta expresses anger towards not getting what he was supposed to get and anger about how things happened between them. He has also undergone trauma and does not understand his and Katniss' history. Peeta's questioning of Katniss about her romantic interactions with Gale and himself show expectations that Katniss should be showing different romantic behavior towards him and the fact that he asks her and the way in which he asks her shows the fact that he thinks he is entitled to an answer about what he asks. Peeta wants Katniss to explain why he did not get what he felt was owed to him but he does this without asking her explicitly.

Katniss does not have an answer for him. She cannot (or will not) tell him why he cannot have her, why she will not fulfill the debt, and/or why she is behaving romantically different and romantically distanced. This bothers Peeta as shown by his laughing "coldly" and "dismissively." Since he does not get an explanation for what he asks and Katniss does not feel she owes him an explanation ("But I wasn't asking your permission"), Peeta closes with "Well, you're a piece of work, aren't you?"

People normally come back with the phrase "I wasn't asking your permission" when responding to a person that feels entitled to tell the person how to live his/her life or when responding to a person that feels entitled to an area of the other person's life that he/she is not entitled to.

So when Katniss responds to Peeta she is not only telling him that it was not okay for her to kiss both of them, but also that he does not have a right to tell her how to work through and/or develop her feelings and relationships, and/or that she does not "owe" him/that he does not have a "right."

The exchange between Katniss and Peeta is worth noting because it shows a clash between them; both of them push but neither one budges. Peeta asks "and it was okay with both of us? You kissing the other?" Katniss responds "No. It wasn't okay with either of you. But I wasn't asking your permission." This is also worth noting.

Katniss does not say, "No. It wasn't okay with either of you. And I know that I owe you an explanation" or "And I know that I owe you and Gale an explanation."

And Katniss does not say, "No. It wasn't okay with either of you. And I should have done things differently."

Katniss says, ""No. It wasn't okay with either of you. But I wasn't asking your permission."

A Complicated Relationship

Throughout the trilogy, Katniss has a complicated relationship with Peeta, that becomes even more complicated as she develops feelings for him.

Katniss comes to have feelings for Peeta but she develops feelings gradually and as she lets down her defenses. Katniss falls for Peeta because he is sweet and kind, because he knows and understands her in a way that no one else can, because he is her rock when her world breaks down around her, and because he gives her strength, safety, and hope. But she does not develop feelings for him because she "owes" him or because he "wins her over."

Katniss knows and understands Peeta for who and what he is, but appears to have ambivalent feelings for him. The Peeta that gives her hope and strength is the same Peeta that manipulates her and makes her feel guilty. Her love for him is real but conflicted.

A Plateaued Ever After

By the end of the trilogy, Katniss is done fighting; this includes fighting against having a relationship with Peeta and later fighting against not having children. She is broken, she has lost everyone she loves, she has undergone significant trauma, and she is done with everything. Peeta can’t let Katniss go (he admits to this when he doesn’t let her take the nightlock) and Katniss comes to expect Peeta (she suggests as much when she reflects that she “seems to be waiting for something” when in District 12). So Katniss and Peeta are tied to each other.

Katniss never makes an active choice in the story about her romantic relationships but her passive choice is clear. At the end of the story, Peeta loves Katniss as she is, but more accurately, he is willing to take whatever Katniss is willing to give him both with respect to herself and a relationship. This is supported by the way in which Katniss leaves to rebuild her life in District 12 and Peeta comes back to Katniss. This is a marked change and it is an important one. Peeta goes from silently pushing and manipulating Katniss, to verbally demanding, to quietly accepting whatever she will give him. And because of the foundation of their relationship, it is only in this way that they can be together.

The ending of the trilogy is unresolved and things never do get resolved with Katniss and Peeta. Their relationship was built on manipulation and truth, power play and control, trauma and surreal circumstances, hope and strength, love and the lack of it, and there is no way to separate all that they have been through and the ways that they have used each other.

And even though Peeta comes back to Katniss willing to accept whatever Katniss is willing to give him, it does not stop him from pushing his wants on her in the future. Support for this is that Katniss does not want children but "after five, ten, fifteen years" she eventually agrees and gives Peeta two children because he wants them and because he "wanted them so badly." At the end of the story, Katniss and Peeta live in harmony, grow together, heal together, and make a future.

At the close of Mockingjay, Peeta triumphed where his father failed. He got the girl he wanted and the harmonious and fulfilling home that he did not have growing up. He struggles with trauma but tries to cope and heal with Katniss and has the children that he strongly desired.

Katniss' story arc leaves her without what she wanted most (her sister Prim living) or what she fought for most (her sister Prim living, Rue living, saving Peeta) but she finds hope and meaning in her relationship with Peeta and in the life that they have. She has a distant acceptance of life but she continues on, trying to live day-to-day raising her children and managing her struggles with trauma.

And this is the love story of Katniss and Peeta. Realistic, complicated, and bittersweet.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do they love each other ?

Answer: It's a complicated love, but yes, by the close of the trilogy/time of the epilogue they love each other.

Question: You make their relationship sound so awful, but in reality, it is very sweet and charming. Plus Peeta might not have had any idea that he was manipulating her in ways that were found harmful. Any healthy relationship has ups and downs. Don't you think that you could have made this article about the Hunger Games sound a little less judgmental?

Answer: This was a critical analysis based on the text with explanations provided so making it “sound a little less judgmental” is not what this article was about. Many people find the presentation of Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship very sweet and charming, which is likely why the romance was well-received. I make the argument that they had a realistic, complicated, and bittersweet love story and I provided support for this in the article.

Having a character trait and being aware that you have that trait are not mutually exclusive; just because Peeta is not aware that he was manipulating Katniss in ways that were found to be harmful does not mean that he did not manipulate her and/or does not mean that he does not have manipulative qualities. If Peeta had had knowledge of the fact that he was manipulating Katniss in ways that were harmful and still decided to manipulate her in those ways, he would not only be a manipulative person, but also a dark person and something of a villain in the story and in Katniss’ life. I do not argue that he is a dark person but that he is a manipulative person and that he manipulates Katniss. Any healthy relationship has ups and downs but these aren’t the ups and downs reflected in Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship in the story; these healthy relationship ups and downs could at most be argued in the epilogue of “Mockingjay” but it read more like a plateau and acceptance to a way of life and to their relationship more so than as ups and downs. Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship cannot be argued to be a healthy relationship or to be sweet and charming, but many people view it as such.

Question: I don't think Peeta manipulated Katniss into having kids. Katniss tells Gale that she never wants children because of THG. She never wants to see them reaped, even says in CF that she imagines a world without THG, 'where Peeta's child could be safe.' Seeing as she's supposed to be pregnant, I think it hints that Katniss was considering becoming a mother, if the Games didn't exist. Maybe she never had a strong want for her own children, but she thinks about the concept a lot. What do you think?

Answer: You present a good viewpoint for that and I think this could be supported given the story and text. It’s been a while since I’ve read the books, but when I read the part where Katniss imagines a world “where Peeta’s child could be safe,” I think I read it thinking she was speaking to the future life Peeta could have and that she was speaking about the world a real child of Peeta’s could live in but you make a good connection. I think what you pointed out is supported or could be argued given the text. It does not seem that she had a strong want for her own children but since she had that thought in Catching Fire when she was supposed to be pregnant and she included that she imagines a world without The Hunger Games, it could hint to or read that she was considering the idea of becoming a mother or that she had thoughts of motherhood as they related to a real child of Peeta’s.

I re-read the epilogue and I don’t think “Peeta manipulated Katniss into having kids” accurately captures the dynamic, based on both the epilogue alone and based on the epilogue combined with the points you made about Katniss not wanting children because she never wants to see them reaped. The lines most related to this are “It took five, ten, fifteen years for me to agree. But Peeta wanted them so badly.” The fact that it took five, ten, fifteen years for Katniss to agree suggests that Peeta was pushing, requesting, and letting his desires known to Katniss in those years and that Katniss was against having children in whatever forms she communicated to Peeta that she was against having them and then after all that time of him pushing and communicating his desires, Katniss gave him what he wanted because he wanted it so badly. She eventually got tired of pushing back and she gave him something that he wanted so badly but that she did not want because she loved him, she didn’t have the heart to tell him no anymore, and he wore her down with what he wanted. Her doing this does not negate that she did not want children or that Peeta did not respect her wants and boundaries, does not negate her reasons or rationale for not wanting children (i.e. not wanting to see them reaped), does not negate the possibility that she might have considered motherhood, and does not negate “the joy of holding her [daughter] in [her] arms” but it shows that she made a compromise, gave in, and gave someone she loved something he wanted after he kept pushing her to get it and it shows that all of these items exist together, which makes it much more nuanced than just “Peeta manipulated Katniss into having kids.” I’ve updated the article to reflect “it does not stop him from pushing his wants on her in the future” to try to better capture that.

Thank you for sharing your perspective and those parts of the text. It adds more layers to Katniss, her thought process, and to the nuanced nature of Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship.

© 2014 Nalini Marquez


Nalini Marquez (author) on August 19, 2020:

Hi, Halle low256789,

Thank you for taking the time to read my article and for the thoughtful responses. I appreciated getting to read and to think about them. I don’t think I’ll be able to address all of the items but to touch on some of them:

I think one of the weaker parts of my analysis was that it did not give more weight to or have more incorporation of Peeta’s psychological state/confusion and trauma in Mockingjay and I think the analysis would have been more “well-rounded” by including this and it would have brought more depth and complexity to Peeta as a character and potentially to the complexity and layers involved in Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship at that point in the trilogy and in later chapters but I don’t think including more of Peeta’s psychological state/confusion and trauma would have changed the parts about what I wrote about what was expected of Katniss given that Peeta was mentally unstable and had undergone trauma and this interpretation is supported based on Haymitch’s feedback and Peeta’s comments. Something to build upon if I’m able to revisit the books in future.

“The nights on the train comment” is a complicated one because of what Peeta expresses followed by Katniss’ thoughts following his comment. It can be argued that Peeta is just saying the comment and does not understand the context in which they were sleeping in the same bed but it can also be argued to be what I argue in the article. I think this part comes down to where the source of his comment comes from. Is the source of his comment because Peeta is confused and resentful that the nights on the train should have mattered and don’t seem to because he does not understand the context and does not know to what extent their intimacy extended (keeping Katniss sane when she was mentally unstable) or is the source of his comment underlying feelings that his trauma allows him to show in what he doesn’t understand? Years ago I read it as the latter, but I’m not sure how I would read it today. Maybe I would read it more as the former?

I thought the ties you drew to Collins putting Katniss in a position of owing Peeta the 3 times and putting Katniss in a position to repay him 3 times was interesting. I don’t think I had noticed that. Katniss not wanting to owe people is an important part of her character as it speaks to both her desire to be self-reliant and to be able to take care of her family, and it is also tied to what it means to be in debt to others and the implications that come with that indebtedness and also how that relates to her poverty level. It ties to a lot of things (character traits, relationship aspects, human nature/human laws, poverty, etc.) which is why I think it was in the story as it was and as it related to Katniss. It’s an important aspect.

I don’t know what chapter this is in but I did find a match for the quote online of where Peeta said in the books that he watched Katniss every day. “I remember the first time I saw you. Your hair was in two braids instead of one. I remember when you sang in the music assembly and the teacher said "who knows the valley song?" and your hand shot straight up. After that, I watched you going home everyday. Everyday.” I think this was the quote I was using when I wrote that but it’s been a while. In either case, it was included in the article as a piece of the picture. Thanks for reading and writing!



Halle low256789 on August 19, 2020:

Yeah, a lot of things should count for something that don't seem to, Katniss. I've got some memories I can't make sense of, and I don't think the Capitol touched them. A lot of nights on the train, for instance," he says.

Again the implications. That more happened on the train than did. That what did happen - those nights I only kept my sanity because his arms were around me - no longer matters. Everything a lie, everything a way of misusing him.”-Chapter 17, Mockingjay

Katniss reflects on how wrong Peeta’s comment is because he is implying both that more happened between them than what did and also that she was using him, or misusing him. Hijacked Peeta shows everything that sweet and kind Peeta would never express. He is expressing the fact that all those nights he was used and he did not get anything out of it, and that he was misused; which is not true because he did get something out of it, even if it was not exactly what he wanted.

When she’s saying “again the implications” she’s referring to it could be a joke if the tone wasn’t so cold, everything it IMPLIES IS WRONG. The open distrust of Finnick, the IMPLICATION that peeta has his eye on Annie, the Annie could desert Finnick, THAT I DO NOT EVEN EXIST.” (Her implying that peeta and her have more of a relationship).

Then she rises to the bait and he rises back all he’s saying is that it should count for “something, he’s not implying in what way it counts” he saying that “he can’t make sense of them” that there is a current misunderstanding on what both of them are talking about. Even Katniss (not outwardly) in MJ, expresses that those nights count for something with them as well.

Halle low256789 on August 18, 2020:

To add I think your also mashing book peeta and movie peeta. Yes both of them do have there faults and can possible be a little manipulative (Probably w/o realizing it). But your putting together their worse faults. Your talking about her watching her everyday that’s only in the movie (creepy). I also will add that I don’t think either of them had much of a control over there relationship in the first games. Cinna forced that they are allies, Haymitch forced them to look like friends and Haymitch and peeta said star crossed lovers ( do I think it went too far ya-but remember that both of them were told that they had to follow whatever Haymitch said). And Seneca Crane forced them (Katniss) to be together/ Katniss to find peeta. And snow forced them to stay together. To add Katniss also has some manipulative tendencies. (Not till the point to confessing on tv), from THG pg.67 and ~117 I’ll also agrue that if you switch gender roles have Katniss a boy then Gale and peeta girls people would have a lot more to say about Katniss’s actions.

Halle low256789 on August 18, 2020:

Fantastic article, how I will make a few points to argue against you. You make good points but I do find that your rationalizing a few things from Katniss’s perspective or jumping to conclusions. Remember it’s Haymitch saying these things to her not Peeta. (About doing worse and not deserving).

The only thing I agree with is the confession of love and I would argue that he makes up for that in catching fire. A lot of people say that he feels bad that he forced her into that role. He also acknowledges in catching fire that he “has kept things from you(her) in the past.”

I am going to mainly touch on your comments on mockingjay. I’ve heard many different versions of his POV of mockingjay

But let’s start with not wanting the old peeta back: yes she mourns the old peeta but before going to see peeta she says “this wasn’t part of the plan. I wrote peeta off in two was supposed to kill snow and get taken out myself” that not not wanting the old peeta that’s just getting yourself killed.

- some say he doesn’t trust her- that would be accurate to- “the open distrust of Finnick” And after being told just to ask that’s what Annie does-his first impulse is “ask who?... who can I trust?”

- some say he’s angry at himself for being there for her when (in his mind) she doesn’t care for him. which puts him and katniss on an even field. Since even through I don’t agree with this (in some people mind’s she doesn’t deserve him).- some say he’s also angry at himself since he gets to regret being all lovey to Katniss in the first arena

- some say that it is what you are talking about but I took a lot to get it out of him (6 weeks of torture-only it was real and it didn’t stop after an hour) which is exactly what he didn’t want to become- did probably in the back back of his brain he felt a little annoyed that she was using him. Or that she was switching between Gale and him. Did he also know it was wrong for him to think like that? Yes. You know what didn’t take six weeks of torture to get out of Katniss “Gale is mine. I am his. Anything else is unthinkable.”

-some say that the train comment is him saying the comment and not understanding the context in which they were sleeping in the same bed

-some just say don’t even guess what’s going on in his brain because it’s just things spliced in between the capital memories and his own

(To add some say that peeta was sent to the canteen table that day to see if Katniss could still almost set peeta off)

- some say they are surface comments it looks like a girl switching between two guys and a girl wanting comfort from a boy (peeta) when she not being there locking him out when she doesn’t want him (even through he also might need help dealing with his nightmares) The old peeta would know there’s a lot more to it. (Darius or guilt)

Whatever it is when he does see what he has become he asks to be killed multiple times. And Katniss debates her actions “because I care to much about him? Or have I turned him into my own private games” I would argue when Collins does that it’s a mixture of both. (He also probably forgives her a little for shutting him out)

To add when Katniss “gives herself up” how she jeopardizes everyone in the pursuit of revenge. She has to explain how that “revenge” is about peeta and what the capital did to him.

I guess we will never know everything because we don’t have his perspective.

However here’s some passages in CF the show peeta can give Katniss space

“It’s true that peeta froze me out after I admitted my love for him was something of an act”- there was a few months inbetween there

After they come back from the victory tour “I know for some reason I can’t quite form I know I’m not aloud to ask that.”

And he goes for dinner with his family. Katniss sees and goes up to him. Gale happens. Peeta comes to look after Gale in the morning then leaves. It’s Katniss who calls him to talk about the rebellion.

I don’t know what I expected from my first meeting with peeta after the announcement. A few hugs and kisses. A little comfort maybe.

And “he’s always been like a very demanding trainer always insisting Haymitch and I run faster. Lover? forget that. He abandoned any pretence of even being my friend.”

Yes sometimes he puts her in a position of owing. However Collins doesn’t let him die when Katniss is in that position. He does this three times - the bread ( under the pretence where he doesn’t know that he’s going to be reaped with her), the confession of love, and from Cato. Collins actually is able to put Katniss in the position where she repays him (medicine, mutts, berries)

But to also add reading the books I’ve thought Katniss fixation with owing people was kinda annoying (but saying this I also come from a privileged family) but a lot of people who died had Katniss in a position where she owed them (Boggs, Finnick, Mags, the district six girl, Thresh(I would argue she owes him a little more than he owed her) Cinna, Jackson, Homes etc.) not that’s it’s justifiable but it happens.

I will give a few examples as well where peeta pushes and pleads:

- “I’m not going I’ll either disclose your position or hurt somebody else.” (See that’s not some Katniss is better than no Katniss that’s please leave me the fuck behind so I don’t hurt anyone) and ... He turns to me, pleading now. “Katniss, please. Don't you see, I want to be out of this?” (Some say that when peeta stops Katniss from taking the nightlock it’s not really “I can’t”” it’s “i won’t” if you’re not letting me out of my misery I’m not letting you out of yours (kinda mean, yikes but a little understandable).

- Peeta and I sit at the edge of the water, hand in hand, wordless. He gave his speech last night but it didn't change my mind, and nothing I can say will change his. The time for persuasive gifts is over.

( I’m not doing the whole thing because it’s so long but Katniss didn’t listen to it)

And “I can follow you. At least partway. I may not make it to the Cornucopia, but if I’m yelling your name, I bet someone can find me. And then I’ll be dead for sure,” he says.

See pleading and pushing or manipulating by him doesn’t work.

- To add Katniss is a very caring person especially for children or people kinda like children (prim, rue, mags,Wiress &beetee, Annie, peeta, posy& siblings, prep team and the capitals children.)

- the meadow in CF is the same in MJ Collins did that on purpose

- never once in the three books have we seen Katniss and peeta have an actual conversation about kids. (It’s always in Katniss mind or with Gale) in which she says “But there would still always be the reaping looming over us, over our children. No matter what I wanted ...”

and “I never want to have kids” I say “I might if I didn’t live here” says Gale

“But you do,” I say irritated

Peeta loved an image of Katniss until mockingjay- maybe true. A lot of people debate this and there’s two sides ones who believe in love or crush at first sight and one who don’t. I’m in the middle (I think that peeta is right about “no idea the effect she has” & “i don’t know but a lot of boys like her.”) he may come from dysfunction home however what’s funny is that he decided he liked her when she sang not before. I also believe that if you widened the perspective a lot of people watch the Everdeen family (they are impressive, kind, and have that ‘effect’) it’s noted in all of panem including the capital everyone adores Prim so much that there would be an uprising in the capital if she was hurt. To add peeta may be doing this stuff in THG because he liked Katniss but it’s also to subject to the horrible games because in a situation where kids fight to the death for sport and odds are you die the last thing you can do is choose how you are played & hopefully get food for your starving district.

- to add to the canteen table I feel like he was mad at himself and others for still being stuck in the star-crossed lover thing. CF he can’t say anything cause he’s the one who did it but he did try to get himself and Katniss out. Now he’s stuck since everyone knows Katniss was faking and he wasn‘t

Nalini Marquez (author) on July 26, 2020:

Hi there, itssolate,

You’re most welcome and thank you for taking the time to follow up. I’m not sure if I would make the argument that Katniss has an intimidating demeanor. The books present her as needing to make an effort in social skills/social graces and as lacking some “feminine softness”/being rough around the edges but do not really present her as an intimidating character.

It’s been a while since I’ve read the trilogy, but I’ve written some about the scene/quote that you referenced in a separate article (The Hunger Games: A Romantic Analysis of the Peeta vs. Gale "Love Triangle") but in that scene Haymitch tells Katniss “you’re punishing him over and over for things that are outside of his control…If you’d been taken by the Capitol, and hijacked, and then tried to kill Peeta, is this the way he would be treating you?” Haymitch’s comment is not solely about the fact that people were watching them the night of the wedding. His comment reflects Katniss’ treatment of Peeta after he tried to kill her but also the expectations of how Katniss is expected to behave towards Peeta, regardless of how she feels towards him. Katniss demonstrates a complicated dynamic and complicated feelings towards Peeta, which I think is shown in the different ways that she interacts with him.



Itssolate on July 24, 2020:

Hi again, sorry again. Thank you so much for writing this. And I found a website that explained more of this for me and I thought back to your article when I was reading it.

It’s called: you can’t take bread! Would you say Katniss has an imitating demeanor. If you read the line that says “I wouldn’t be shooting Peeta. He’s gone, johanna’s right......” it explained what they think Peeta’s confusion from the hijacking is.

And when Haymitch says your punishing him for things that is out of his control. Haymitch is talking about the fact that people were watching them the night of the wedding. Katniss goes something like “the angers returning this isn’t the business of the people behind the glass.”

- she could’ve just walked out when he asked about Gale- or said I don’t want to talk about this in front of people but instead she decided to egg him on

Nalini Marquez (author) on June 23, 2020:

Hi, Itssolate,

Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to read the article.

I agree that it can be argued to be a lot more complicated than what I present in the article and that Peeta’s responses and interactions with Katniss in Mockingjay could be attributed to and/or to have had elements of Peeta’s complete confusion and instability. I don’t think I included as much of that as I could have in this analysis and primarily attributing the points I made in relation to the Mockingjay scenes to suppressed anger may have been reductive. If I re-read the books in future, I will see if it reads differently that time around and can add applicable analysis at that time.

That being said, I do still think the points I made played a role and are supportable and/or play a role in the overall dynamic between Katniss and Peeta. I don’t agree that Katniss would have been a lot nicer to him because of having owed Peeta and/or because of having felt obligated to Peeta because that would have been out of character. It’s in-character for her to avoid him; it’s out of character for her to have been nicer to him. And even so, I think she did end up being nicer to him in one of the nights when he was trying to remember things in Mockingjay?

The “piece of their games” is important to Peeta, later to Katniss, and to the overall themes and messages in the trilogy. It doesn’t matter if Peeta meant to make Katniss feel inferior on the roof; the fact is that he did and that he demonstrated a level of condescension in doing so (even if it was because not being “a piece in their games” was important to him). It may be Katniss’ problem to work through but it doesn’t mean that Peeta’s interactions and communications (whether at 17 years of age or at 32 years or older in the epilogue) don’t affect those around him (in this case, Katniss). Being 17 means that the characters lack life experience, maturity, and the growth to recognize what they could have done differently or how their experiences have formed the people that they are now and/or who they want to be in the future; it doesn’t mean that their problematic or flawed tendencies don’t exist or can’t be analyzed in their characters, story arcs, or as a whole. Thanks again.



Itssolate on June 23, 2020:

Also how would you feel if all your worst thoughts came up. Katniss had some bad thoughts about Peeta, Finnick and Johanna. What if those came up

Itssolate on June 23, 2020:

Somebody also mentioned that at that point when he made the train comment it was because he didn’t understand the context in which they were in the same bed. Just like the question about Gale he didn’t understand the context in which both of them were kissing.

Itssolate on June 21, 2020:

Idk the kid can’t remember his favourite colour. He’s 17 and just was tortured/ hijacked to specifically hate her. He says something very important like “don’t trust her I did and she tried to kill me, she killed my friends my family” maybe he doesn’t see her as a mutt but now he still doesn’t trust her. Also how would you feel if any horrible thought you had about someone or yourself just comes to the surface. It sucks

Itssolate on June 18, 2020:

I don’t know I would say it’s a lot more complicated than that.

1. Although he may make her feel like she owes him. Katniss never really falls into the owing thing w/him Because she knows he never expects anything back/ it’s done out of love. Otherwise she would’ve technically been a lot nicer to him when he came back since 1. He was tortured for her 2. He saved prim and gale

2. I feel like when they first talked after the wedding. No one has told him that it was for a show.

- so I feel that if Peeta thinks that she was just kissing the other at the

The boy literally can’t remember actually loving her. And “sometimes I don’t know what to think when they show me the tapes” he literally can’t remember being in the actual arena.


I would also say that it’s mixed w/ a lot of other emotions

-he hates her and wants to kill her

-he doesn’t trust her or anyone

- I think part of him still kinda liked her but had no clue why

- and he’s watching tapes of genuine and non-genuine moments between the two of them which is making it worse.

- he also acknowledged in CF being jealous of Gale. Which is fine being jealous is a healthy emotion

- however mixed w/ everything else it wasn’t good

i wouldn’t say it was suppressed anger as much as it was complete confusion. He was just incredibly unstable.

Also he may of fulfillment his father wish but I think that if he had a choice between saving his family and having Katniss he would choose his family.

Both Katniss and Peeta are the most important and well developed characters. They have flaws, they’re 17.

Also he didn’t mean to make her feel inferior on the roof. If she felt inferior that’s her problem to work through. But the “piece of their games” is incredibly important to him. And when she understands what he means/ the layers of it after Rue’s death, in CF and even again in MJ. It shows herself constantly aligning in his thinking. (Not Gale’s)

Nalini Marquez (author) on April 29, 2020:

Hi, Koralita,

Thank you for your message and I apologize for the delay in response. I started responding a few weeks ago and then didn’t get to finish. Manipulation normally involves managing or influencing a person to suit one’s purpose but it’s generally in a negative or self-serving way but it could be argued that we are a little manipulative when we are in love; that’s likely why we’ve often heard of the line “what are your intentions?” and “are your intentions honorable?” in film and media, because the actions we’ve come to identify as part of “getting a person” or “winning him or her over” do not always align with good intentions or do not always align with intentions that lack ulterior motives or that lack confining circumstances, and these actions may suit one member but may not be beneficial or good for the other member.

I think that there is something to the point you mentioned in Katniss coming to realize her feelings for him when he is the new Peeta; it adds another layer to those parts in the story and to the development. It was Peeta’s choice to come back to District 12 and to come back to Katniss and Katniss does love Peeta. It’s a complicated love layered in trauma and by the end they need each other and are “home” to each other. It’s a realistic love story in many ways and readings.



Koralita on March 25, 2020:

Hi! I came to understand the intentions of Peeta to gain Katniss love. But after all, arent we a little manipulative When we are in love? I mean we want the other person to love us, thats why often we find words like "win her or him over" or " get it",,, its true that in mockingjay peeta sees Katniss in a whole New light, and as while he is sorting out his thoughts on Katniss. Katniss is only comparing the old peeta with this New peeta, and realizing her feelings for him. Roughly, Its like When x guy stops chasing a girl and is moving on. The lack of affection that comes with it makes the girl realizes that she in fact cares for the guy. I think its superficial but it kind of happened with Katniss and hijacked peeta. Also how she yearns the comfort, she sees gale hard decisions and remembers little details of peeta, its clear that she loves him.

Love is not about passion and lust, but When you feel at ease and comforted and you can call that person home. And to Last, how nobody make peeta come back to the 12th, it was his choice. Because he cared and wanted to be with Katniss. Which, slowly in his own time, Katniss reciprocated. Because both of them needed each other, and needed healing and peace. Both of them needed love. Peeta went for Katniss and Katniss little by little accepted him in his heart. She loved him for Who he was and the other way around. I think its what we do in real life also, we hang in there with someone Who makes us feel good. Thats the point of it right? Its not the sweetest start of a love story, but its realistic and in term of pureness at the end and how they seem to enjoy peace, worthwile.

Nalini Marquez (author) on April 01, 2016:

Hi AOXE, thank you for reading the hub and for taking the time to comment and share your perspective. I didn’t think of all of this while I was watching the movies either; when I watched the movies there was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on and once I read the books and analyzed the series more closely, I began to see things I didn’t see before. I enjoy aspects of the Hunger Games and I have mixed feelings on Katniss and Peeta. The relationships in THG trilogy are complicated, very much highlighted by the relationship between Katniss and Peeta but also noticeable among the relationships of the other characters. By the end of the story, Katniss does love Peeta but she also settles for him; these are not mutually exclusive. Love is an action more than an emotion, and so love is not just about being “in love”—but love is tied to the emotions, and most of Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship was built on intense emotions/emotional states—which is worth noting. I think your point is correct in that Katniss went through too much in her life to ever really fall in love with anyone and Peeta was who she was written to be with. The quotes you included on Katniss and Peeta are nice and they do show that Katniss has romantic feelings for Peeta; I don’t disagree with that. I just think that there is more to their relationship and dynamic than meets the eye and that there are definitely more things to factor in and recognize.

If you enjoyed this hub, you might also like another one I wrote that is related to this and to some of the points you make (and that discusses some of the reasons why Peeta is/isn’t a “fit” for Katniss) which is called: “The Hunger Games: A Romantic Analysis of the Peeta vs Gale ‘Love Triangle’ ” ( ). Thanks again for reading, commenting, and being willing to consider a different perspective on the relationship. I wish you a wonderful day! Nalini

AOXE on March 30, 2016:

Hi Nalini, I am a big fan of the Hunger Games and of Katniss and Peeta. What you wrote really opened my eyes on the relationships in this series. I never thought about any of this stuff while watching the movies. There is more to a relationship than it meets the eye. It is a truly complicated love triangle. I also feel not all relationships are the same either. You can pretty much make a case for any which way of who should end up with who. I just always thought even if Peeta did return to District 12 after the war, Katniss if she really didn't love him would honestly let him know. I understand they went through so much together and the experience has linked them forever but if Katniss didn't really love him the way he wanted, she would be straight forward with him. I also understand Katniss might feel like she owes him as well. I still believe in Katniss and Peeta being together though lol. The dream scene of her and Peeta when she is having a nightmare and tells him to stay with her gets me everytime lol. When you dream of something I always thought that's what you really want in your life. She was dreaming of no one else but Peeta. It is also quite obvious that at the end of the story they are both broken but I always felt they are both not really in "love" with each other as well. I always felt love is more of an action than an emotion. You can choose to love someone and not just be in love. Love is different for everyone and has different meanings as well. Katniss went through too much in her life I believe to ever really fall in love with anyone but Peeta presented the best option for her.

Three quotes I really like for Katniss and Peeta lol

"This is the first kiss where I actually feel stirring inside my chest. Warm and curious. This is the first kiss that makes me want another."

Gale's kisses never made her feel like that?..

"I drink in his wholeness, the soundness of his body and mind. It runs through me like the morphling they give me in the hospital, dulling the pain of the last weeks."

Katniss really must be thinking about Peeta lol..

"You're a painter. You're a baker. You like to sleep with the windows open. You never take sugar in your tea. And you always double-knot your shoelaces."

Only when you're in love do you notice the smallest details of the other person or unless you're a stalker as well lol.

That's all I got. I apologize if my words look sloppy. Great writing Nalini.

Nalini Marquez (author) on March 30, 2016:

Hi Misfit Chick, thank you for your comment! I love analysis too and I am glad that you enjoyed mine. I agree with you that Peeta did have lots of help and prodding (like Katniss did). It's been awhile since I've written this and re-visited it after re-reading the books, but I do think that I could have put more in that regard in the analysis and I re-read that part in my analysis and it does read harder than I meant it. I have modified it some but will probably need to re-visit it when the material is fresher in my mind. You are very welcome and thank you for taking the time to read the analysis and comment! :-) Have a wonderful day!

Catherine Mostly from Seattle, WA - USA - The WORLD on March 26, 2016:

What a terrific analysis - I love stuff like this, ha! Maybe it's just me... But toward the beginning, I felt you were being a little hard on Peeta about it being HIS idea. He did have LOTS of help and prodding - as did Katniss. It seemed to me like neither one of them was in control of their 'relationship' after that first public reveal. I only read the first book, though. Thanks again and keep it up!! :)

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 09, 2015:

Me too. I have all summer though.

Nalini Marquez (author) on June 09, 2015:

I don't know if it's on there but I hope it is so you can watch it :-).

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 09, 2015:

Yep. I just saw it on Facebook. I hope so, if they're all on Netflix. :-)

Nalini Marquez (author) on June 09, 2015:

They did! They just released it today I believe. So you have time to catch up on the other films before Mockingjay Pt. II ;-).

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 09, 2015:

I will real soon. I've just heard they just released the trailer for part 2 of Mockingjay for later this year to finish out the trilogy.

Nalini Marquez (author) on June 09, 2015:

Hi Kristen,

Thank you for your comment and feedback! I am glad you liked the analysis. The movies do a fairly good job of capturing the books but there are still a lot of things that they miss, including some of the Katniss/Peeta dynamic. I hope you are able to see how the story plays out!


Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on June 08, 2015:

Great book review on the trilogy, Nalini. I've only seen the first movie when it was on TV. I would have to get caught up to see how it played out on film, since I didn't read the trilogy. Voted up for interesting!

Nalini Marquez (author) on December 19, 2014:

Hi Party1999,

Thank you for taking the time to read my hub and comment. I am glad that you enjoyed reading it! I agree that Mockingjay left much to be desired in terms of resolution, especially in resolving Katniss’ relationships at the end of the war. I am re-reading the trilogy at present so I am not sure how I will find Mockingjay this time around but the first time I read it I found it to be rushed and uneven. I am with you in that I’m not sure if Collins meant for it to read as such, if she wrote the last installment feeling rushed, or if it was a mixture of the two.

At the end I do not think Katniss is in love with Peeta. I think she loves him and grows to care for him, but is never really “in love” with him but a lot of Peeta lovers will argue otherwise. I think the reason I find the dynamic between Katniss and Peeta so interesting is because it is not black and white. If it was black and white, I don’t think there would be much to talk about or look at. From the way the book is written, I agree with you that Collins intended for Katniss to be with Peeta and their union is indeed bittersweet--which is fitting, but more bitter than sweet when looked at closely.

At the ending, Katniss and Peeta are broken beyond repair in different ways and it is haunting. It’s an interesting point you make about Gale and his suffering as a result of the war: his suffering is not to the same degree as Katniss’ and Peeta’s but it’s also not of the same kind. Katniss and Peeta are united not only by the same degree of suffering, but also by suffering of the same/similar kind. If they had not suffered in such similar ways and to similar degrees they would not have ended up together and that is a pretty big part of the foundation of their relationship. One could even argue that that IS the foundation of their relationship and since Gale does not share that with Katniss, there is not really a way for him to share and continue with the Katniss she was and became. So it is like you said, more of a consequence of similar experiences and loyalty—which is another reason why it’s a realistic romance and not just a typical one. I enjoyed reading your thoughts regarding THG, and Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship! Thank you for writing :-).

Party1999 on December 15, 2014:

I enjoyed reading your insights into the Katniss' and Peeta's relationship. I just completed reading the series and watching the first installment of "The Mockingjay" "The Mockingjay" left much to be desired in terms of resolution - particularly resolving Katniss' relationships with everyone in her life at the end of the war. I'm not sure if Collins meant for it to read as such, or if she wrote the last installment feeling rushed. In reading other opinions on what Katniss' genuine sentiment is towards Gale or Peeta, the consensus seems to be that in the end, Katniss is in love with Peeta. In reading your opinion, I could finally see that the Katniss/Peeta dynamic is not so black and white as Peeta lovers would like it to be. I think Collins intended for Katniss to be with Peeta from the beginning but wanted their ultimate union to feel bittersweet, which explains the lack of sentimentality at the conclusion - even though Katniss and Peeta get married and have a family. In reading the ending, I got the feeling of Katniss and Peeta being broken beyond repair because of the war and the Games. She portrayed two characters that lost everything and everyone dear to them as a consequence of the rebellion and who suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Gale did not compete in the Games and while he suffered as a result of the war, it did not seem that he suffered to the same degree as Katniss and Peeta. Perhaps Collins wanted the readers to get a sense that Peeta was the natural choice (if you want to call it a choice) for Katniss and that their relationship is more a consequence of similar experiences and loyalty more than sentimentality. At first glance the Katniss/Peeta dynamic could be reduced to a just a typical romance, but I like how your article described their relationship in much more dynamic, realistic and complicated terms.

Nalini Marquez (author) on March 31, 2014:

Hello Jennifer Walsh, thank you for reading my hub and for commenting. Your comment was right on the money. I almost wish that I could un-read it so I could write it. Peeta outing Katniss as the object of his decade-long affection is completely wrong and his lack of accountability and his disrespect in how he addresses Katniss regarding his actions shows how little regard he has for her and for his actions. It also shows that he is self-motivated and self-absorbed (in addition to dismissing Katniss' feelings). He didn't do it to help her. He did it to help himself and if it helped her it was a bonus. The parts of the book that you highlighted and the explanations you provided are great examples of some of the issues with Peeta. Thank you for including them.

You bring up such a thought-provoking point. A lot of people bring up the question of whether or not Katniss actually loves Peeta but no one ever asks if Peeta actually loves Katniss. It's assumed that his actions must mean that he does without actually looking more closely at the dynamic. I don't think Peeta loved Katniss or that the story ever makes it clear enough to argue that he does but I do think he grew to care for her on some level and that he came to accept her as she was or as other than what he thought she was. He was definitely obsessed with her and obsession really only requires possession of the one the person is obsessing over, which Peeta gets at the end of Mockingjay. Obsession is an extreme enough motivator for a lot of what he does towards Katniss, so it can be argued that obsession, and not love/caring for Katniss is what motivates his actions towards her (along with self-motivation for his own survival). Although I do think that there is some caring for Katniss mixed in there somewhere; even though it is not enough for him to stop manipulating Katniss and it is not enough to argue that it is a healthy relationship. In fact, arguing that Peeta manipulates Katniss "because he loves her" only supports it being an unhealthy relationship.

I was troubled that Peeta ended up with Katniss. The whole development and ending was problematic. I initially considered their relationship somewhat co-dependent or with co-dependent elements but their relationship wasn't exactly definition-supported co-dependent. Abusive is more fitting, especially because Peeta exerts his control through guilt and manipulation but it is not immediately visible to be as such. It is difficult to identify exactly what kind of dysfunctional their relationship is but it is dysfunctional.

Katniss did settle for Peeta because she was too broken to do otherwise, which is one of the things that bothered me about Mockingjay and about the Katniss in MJ. She's never in love with Peeta but she does love him and/or does grow to love him. Which is sad given the dynamic and development of their relationship.

I agree with pretty much your whole comment but I also totally agree with this:

"Katniss was a BAMF for much of the trilogy but in the end, she's a shadow of her former self. She eventually agrees to have children, not because she wants them but because "Peeta wanted them so badly." Even at the end, Peeta dismisses her feelings. She's worried about how to explain their trauma to their children but hey, no worries, because "Peeta says it will be OK." "

The epilogue is realistic but disturbing. It captures so much but it is hard to see it for what it is. It is a haunting ending and even more haunting than the ending is the fact that no one addresses the dynamic and the overall message. Everything is: "Peeta is sweet," "What did Katniss do to earn a guy like Peeta's affections?," "Peeta is such a wonderful guy for coming back to Katniss after everything," "Real or not real? Real. So beautiful." Etc., etc., etc. It's like, did we read the same books? Are we reading the same Katniss and Peeta?

Peeta does have redeeming qualities but overall he is a double-edged sword. On one end he fights off Katniss' demons and gives her hope, strength, and safety and on the other end he manipulates and tries to control her. At first glance it is meaningful that they grow together and are able to work towards healing and a future, on closer inspection there are other "games" being played (even if, as Katniss reflects in the epilogue, there are worse games to be "played"). I still can't decide where to place Mockingjay and the scene/character-relationship development/plot element where Peeta tries to kill Katniss. For me, it presently falls under the "Mockingjay was all over the place/a mess" category. I will have to see how I find it when I re-read the trilogy.

Jennifer Walsh on March 30, 2014:

I have also been bothered by Peeta. Peeta always struck me as being kind of petulant. Outing Katniss on national television as being the object of his decade-long affection was just plain wrong. I know a lot of people take the view that he only did it to help her but if that were really the case, he wouldn't have been so bitter when she confronts him after the interview. He doesn't apologize or try to explain his actions. Instead, he grumbles that, "she's just worried about her boyfriend." When Katniss insists she doesn't have a boyfriend, he goes, "whatever." He completely dismisses her feelings about what he's just done.

And later that night, on the roof, when she tells him to care about "staying alive", he's very condescending towards her. Here he is, face to face with the girl he's supposedly been in love with for 11 years and he spends what could very well be their last moments together mocking her and making her feel bad for wanting to survive. Again, he just dismisses her feelings.

I won't go through the entire series and point out each time he says something passive-aggressive or pulls the rug out from under her (all for her own good, of course!) but suffice it to say, I didn't see that Peeta truly loved Kantiss, only that he was obsessed with her. In fact, I can't think of a single instance in the trilogy where he directly tells Katniss that he loves her.

I'm really bothered that Katniss ended up with him. First and foremost, Peeta tries to kill her with his own hands twice. And she feels guilty about it because she thinks his hijacking was her fault? That is a textbook abusive relationship. Second, it felt to me like Katniss settled for Peeta because she was too broken to do otherwise. At no point during the last two chapters in MJ did I feel like she was truly in love with him. Even Peeta has to drag it out of her, saying "you love me, real or not real?" Seriously, dude? You just had sex with the girl of your dreams. Give the needy talky-talk a rest. For once.

Finally, I was horrified with how the epilogue portrayed Katniss.

Katniss was a BAMF for much of the trilogy but in the end, she's a shadow of her former self. She eventually agrees to have children, not because she wants them but because "Peeta wanted them so badly." Even at the end, Peeta dismisses her feelings. She's worried about how to explain their trauma to their children but hey, no worries, because "Peeta says it will be OK."

This is not to say that Peeta doesn't have any redeeming qualities, because he does. He's certainly brave, he's a strategic thinker and he willingly sacrifices himself. But Collins' decision to have Peeta try to kill Katniss ruined their storyline for me.

Nalini Marquez (author) on March 28, 2014:

Hi Haaffa, thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read my hub. I really appreciate it. I find the Katniss and Peeta dynamic interesting, especially because it is so layered and complicated. I also couldn't put my finger on what was not quite right about Peeta and still think that it is difficult to articulate, and I think that there is still more to look at/analyze. Even though I wrote about Katniss' and Peeta's relationship, I find it difficult to explain. Your statement "the heart of this confusion is because Peeta's manipulative nature coexists with his tendency towards compassion" nicely highlights both the complexity and confusion resulting from the Katniss/Peeta dynamic as well as the complexity involved in the coexisting aspects of Peeta's nature which are present in THG. You captured in one sentence what I tried to explain with many. Thank you for bringing it together.

I agree with you that Peeta is a natural performer (either naturally born or as a result of his childhood circumstances) and I like the points you make about how Peeta knows that revealing his crush on Katniss during the interviews will make for great television, that it not only makes Katniss "desirable" but that it also makes Peeta memorable, and the idea of the sharing of the spotlight vs the competing for attention with 24 others. I had not thought of it that way but it is a good insight and it adds another layer to understanding Peeta and how he functions.

I did not initially make the connection between Peeta and his own father but once I saw the connection it, I wondered how I had missed it. It is an understated/under-emphasized aspect of the book which makes it a puzzle of sorts. It is interesting to think of Peeta as the only one who achieved his childhood goals and changed his destiny, especially since he did it in a nearly undetectable way and since he did pay a steep price (as did Katniss and other THG characters). Following that train of thought, a lot of different arguments could be made about some of the messages in THG and about the way that THG trilogy closes. Thank you again!

Haaffa on March 22, 2014:

Thank you for putting into words my sentiments towards the Peeta and Katniss dynamic. Since the beginning of THG there was something not quite right about Peeta that I couldn't put my finger on. Explaining why was difficult to articulate. The heart of this confusion is because Peeta's manipulative nature coexists with his tendency towards kindness and compassion.

He deceives Katniss "for her own good" many times throughout the games. It's almost as if he can't help but understand what people want from him and he's a natural born performer. He knows that revealing his crush on Katniss during the interviews will make for great television. It makes her "desirable" as Haymicht points out, but more importantly it makes Peeta memorable. Sharing the spotlight with one is much easier than competing for attention among 24 tributes.

Also, thank you for pointing out the parallels between Peeta and his own father. It was the first time that I thought about it in that way. And it makes so much sense. From this perspective, Peeta's the only one who really achieved his childhood goals and changed his destiny. You could argue that he paid a steep price, but so do all the other THG characters - especially Katniss.

Nalini Marquez (author) on March 18, 2014:

Hi The boss, thank you for your comment and for reading my hub. Peeta is kind to others that are not Katniss. I do not make the argument that he is unkind or that he does not show moments of genuine kindness or sincerity. Peeta shows both genuine kindness and questionable motives/approaches. Gale and Peeta both have anger with respect to Katniss and try to control Katniss in different ways, and Peeta is arguably the one that gives her more freedom to respond to her true feelings that develop out of complicated circumstances.

Reducing Katniss' emotional development with respect to Peeta and Gale as "kissing two people and leading them on" and Peeta as only wanting "some respect and not to be used like he was" disregards the other factors that come into play for THG trilogy, for the characters, their relationships, and development. If it only came down to that, then the other aspects would not matter and it would be ethically/morally clear cut but it's not.

The boss on March 18, 2014:

Peeta never expected to get Katniss, he expected to die saving her.

He never thought she "owed" him anything, all he wanted was a little respect, kissing two people and leading them on shows a lack of respect, it's not that he felt he "deserved" her. But that he felt that she shouldn't have treated him like something she was wiping off her shoes.

Gale has the same anger, he wants to control Katniss more, asking her if she loves him, Peeta is shown to be kind to others that are not Katniss, it is who he is.

Peeta just wanted some respect from Katniss, which is fair considering he was prepared to die twice for her, he never felt he "deserved" her like some object, he only wanted some respect and not to be used like he was

Nalini Marquez (author) on February 05, 2014:

Thank YOU for your additional responses. I also read the trilogy months ago and still find it a fascinating topic for discussion. I enjoy discussions about topics of interest and enjoy challenging and respectful discussions--so you are definitely giving me a run for my money :-).

I am still not convinced about there being that much hope in the ending. From what I remember there were only sprinkles of hope and the ending was pretty subdued in several ways. You make a good argument about the hopefulness of the ending so I will be checking that out when I re-read the books and will pay attention to the points you mentioned to see how it resonates.

You also make a good argument about the locket. And the more I think about it, the more ways I see it, especially when taking the motivation into consideration. I really like the argument you made about the locket and I think it is a valid and supported/supportable one. The locket is manipulative! Unless it was never meant to be shown to Katniss, in which we would not be having this part of the discussion at all and it would put Peeta on the path to being a less-manipulative person; but since this is not the case, the motivations and desired results of the locket are many and can be multiple ones at the same time. Nice.

I don’t really see where what you’re saying and what I’m saying in my hub are mutually exclusive.

“Throughout the trilogy, Katniss refuses to be manipulated. She continually fights against it”—Yes, mostly.

Places where I support this in my hub (specifically as it relates to Katniss’ and Peeta’s relationship and not the trilogy):

“Over the course of the first two books, Katniss does not fully trust Peeta but starts to let him in and begins to have feelings for him in a gradual process.”

“Katniss distrusts Peeta and distances herself from him.”

“and is why she refuses to give in despite being told by Haymitch that she could "live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him;" …She knows that she does not "deserve" Peeta but she also never wanted to deserve him and does not think that she should have to try to deserve him just because he wants her.”

“In fact, he comes back and she deliberately avoids him and she shows no intention of apologizing to Peeta or admitting fault for the things he is angry about with respect to her.”

“She cannot tell him why he cannot have her. She cannot tell him why she will not fulfill the debt. This angers Peeta even more.”

“Even though Katniss has feelings for Peeta she can never fully embrace Peeta because she knows and understands Peeta for who and what he is…This is why she cannot fully love Peeta or let Peeta in any more than she already has.”

These are all ways in which Katniss refuses to be manipulated (specifically in relation to Peeta).

“and if she has no choice, she endeavors to do it on her terms.”

For the most part yes; except for when she gives up, goes through the motions, and/or when there isn’t really a way for her to do it on “her terms.” Katniss unfortunately is a pawn and one of the things that make her strong is that she does endeavor to do things on her terms even though she cannot always do it on her terms.

“She doesn't give in to Gale or Peeta, no matter how bad she feels about hurting them, if it's against her own inclinations.”

True for the most part.

“When Peeta's manipulations do succeed it's in accord with Katniss's own inclinations. For example: Peeta sharing a bed with her.”

Yes and no. This one’s the most complicated one.

I do not view Katniss as the victim of Peeta’s inclinations but she is a pawn in them. She refuses to be manipulated as a person but on the greater scale of things she really only resists being manipulated (by the Capitol, by the Rebellion, by Peeta). One of the beauties and strengths of Katniss’ character is that she resists being manipulated. One of the tragedies of her character is that she still ultimately IS manipulated. This is part of the complexity of her character and one of the things the trilogy makes an indirect statement about.

In response to the example you chose about Peeta sharing a bed with her: How much can you refuse to be manipulated when you are in a mentally and emotionally unstable state and you need comfort and stability and there is a safe, sweet, and trusted male that runs in to your bedroom at the height of your instability? He is only successful in manipulating you because it goes along with your inclination or need to be comforted and reassured? He is only successful because you chose to let him be successful and because you drew the line at your need (his being there for you) but not at his need (it leading to another kind of intimacy)?

I don’t agree with that argument and there are other places in the trilogy where when looked at closely, Katniss’ giving in to manipulations are not necessarily on her on terms or in alignment with her own inclinations.

My hub was not so much about Katniss being a victim of Peeta’s manipulations and inclinations so much as the fact that there was more to their relationship than meets the eye and this included Peeta’s manipulations and inclinations. Peeta manipulates and Katniss resists his manipulations but she still does give in to (some of) them in ways that are not immediately visible or directly correlated. (An example of this is how she feels indebted to Peeta and does in turn save him a couple of times in the arena and looks out for him. This of course, could also be argued to be due to her loyalty and compassion). Katniss is generally sincere and Peeta is selectively sincere. In part Katniss lets Peeta in and in part Peeta weasles and manipulates his way in. Being manipulated into having children and still finding joy when they are in your arms for the first time are not mutually exclusive. Loving someone or choosing to love someone that you know has a tendency to manipulate you and others and then choosing to resist and at times give in to their manipulations are not mutually exclusive. Trying to get through life day-to-day, going through the motions, being ready to leave the Earth and still finding pieces of hope in others or in life are not mutually exclusive. The Hunger Games Trilogy addresses a lot of things in the mental, physical, psychological, political, romantic, social, moral “grey area” (some things are addressed much better than others) and it does this by showing things that are not mutually exclusive to each other.

Meg on February 04, 2014:

Thanks for your response. Although I read the trilogy several months ago, I still find it a fascinating topic for discussion.

I find the epilogue hopeful because Katniss uses the word 'joy' to describe the feeling of her daughter in her arms for the first time. Her fear is based on having everything taken away from her. This doesn't suggest that Katniss's happiness is muted/dulled. Indeed, it suggests otherwise or else the fear would be less intense. Katniss's decision not to have children wasn't because she didn't want them per se, but because she was afraid that they would be reaped. My impression of her decision to eventually have them was a combination of factors - Peeta wanted them, the arenas were being dismantled and memorials built, and she had enough confidence in the future to follow her own inclinations in spite of her fears.

Peeta IS manipulative. He knows how to read people - a legacy of having an abusive mother. And that locket is manipulative. It's the motivation that's under question. Why I think he genuinely means for Katniss to accept his gift of her life and a future with Gale, is his reaction to Katniss's acceptance of the pearl. He's not happy that it's had the opposite effect that he intended. It reminds me of the adage that if you love something, set it free. If it's truly yours, it will come back. Peeta doesn't appear to have planned on that.

Throughout the trilogy, Katniss refuses to be manipulated. She continually fights against it, and if she has no choice, she endeavors to do it on her terms. She doesn't give in to Gale or Peeta, no matter how bad she feels about hurting them, if it's against her own inclinations. When Peeta's manipulations do succeed it's in accord with Katniss's own inclinations. For example: Peeta sharing a bed with her. So while I agree with many of your points, Katniss as the victim of Peeta's inclinations, no matter how benign, just doesn't convince me.

Nalini Marquez (author) on February 03, 2014:

Hi Meg, thank you for reading my review and for commenting! From the ending I did not see Katniss having children as hopeful but if it were to be argued that way I think it would be hopeful for Peeta and a muted/dulled hope at best for Katniss. While I do not see Katniss' and Peeta's relationship as a happy one, I do agree with you in that the relationship they have at the end of the trilogy is "stripped of illusions and staged scenarios that comprised their early relationship" which allows them to go forward.

It's great that you noted something I didn't include especially since it was such a meaningful moment! I had forgotten about that part when writing the analysis but it is a good piece to think about. Peeta giving Katniss the locket is not necessarily evidence that he had no intention of collecting so much as his giving up hope of collecting. His actions towards Katniss for the rest of Catching Fire are more genuine and less self-interested towards her after giving up this hope. He frees her of obligations to him but more because there is no hope for him to survive the arena and he thinks that there is no hope for Katniss to return his feelings and thinks that he has nothing to live for. Once he lets go of this hope and is real with Katniss, Katniss is free to be real with Peeta. (He frees her of obligations at the end of Catching Fire but then his anger and expectations resurface in Mockingjay).

(While I think this part with Peeta is genuine, one could argue that on some level it is a bit of a "guilt trip" since when someone says that he/she has nothing to live for/is not needed it makes the other person feel like they have to do something or respond in a way that makes the other person know that he/she does have something to live for/is needed).

Meg on February 02, 2014:

I've enjoyed reading your review. I don't have such a bleak view of the ending though. I see Katniss having children as hopeful and that Peeta and Katniss's relationship as being a happy one, stripped of illusions and staged scenarios that comprised their early relationship.

Katniss hates feeling in dept as evidenced by her inability to get over the bread Peeta tossed to her. So I fully agree with your following statement.

"Katniss knows this and becomes increasingly uneasy about being indebted to Peeta over the acts that he does for her. No matter how sweet, kind, and charismatic the male may be, at some point he will come to collect."

I note that you didn't include Katniss's 'turnaround' when Peeta gives her the locket. Do you think it's another of Peeta's manipulations to get Katniss on side in order to get her to favour him? Or, as Katniss seems to think, evidence that he had no intention of collecting and frees her of any obligations to him?

Nalini Marquez (author) on January 20, 2014:

The more I analyze the trilogy, the more Mockingjay fits. But it still needed so much work before being published. Mockingjay as it was published had to have been a rough or early draft because there is so much wrong with it and Collins was clearly unfocused, rushed, and not as dedicated. You really have to dig to find the pieces that were done right and have to separate them from the mess that Mockingjay was. I agree that the book did not make its point clear enough; which is a shame because Collins could have finished strong.

I see the problem with moving your work over as it does take a long time for Google to pick things up, even without moving things. Making over $150 a month is something though! I realize that you're not making that now but that's some good traffic. With all the problems with Squidoo it sounds like you will be on to bigger and better things in the spreading of eggs among other baskets. When I first ventured out into writing online, I considered a personal blog but I realized that I did not have enough time to dedicate to one and I wanted more flexibility in terms of what I could write. Right now HubPages works with what I can invest in terms of time, topics, indexing, etc. but in the future I might consider a personal blog. From looking at your hubs, I can tell you will have a lot to write about in whatever basket you decide! :-)

Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on January 20, 2014:

I hated everything about Mockingjay on the first read around. The second time, I began to realize that it's then that we see how much Katniss has changed and how she's losing control of her own life. It's not Snow who controls it any more: It's Coin, it's Peeta, it's Panem itself. Peeta changes. Johanna changes, and everything is different. The book itself failed in many ways, and I don't feel that it made its point clear enough because it was so rushed.

Moving anything is worthless because it takes too long for Google to pick it up if I do that. Writing for Squidoo right now though is also worthless. I've been getting less than $10 a month for the last six months or so and once upon a time I got over $150 a month. They're doing something messed up over there. I was dropped from the Giant Squid program because I don't write recipe lenses, so no. I'm done with them. There are other ways to split my eggs among other baskets, including a personal blog.

Nalini Marquez (author) on January 20, 2014:

After reading your comment, I went on Squidoo to see what kind of posts they had about THG and saw what you were talking about with respect to there being a focus on HG merchandise and selling stuff. And from looking around I agree that there are definitely differences between Squidoo and HubPages. Some people recommend not putting "all eggs in one basket" when it comes to writing online; so if you have the time to diversify your online writing portfolio and if Squidoo is doing well for you, it might be worth keeping vs changing over? Or you could still bring work over to HP and do one of the options that you mentioned or do both staying on Squidoo and moving some work over to HubPages or another platform. I totally understand about the stats. As of yesterday, I returned to a medium that I strongly dislike (Facebook) in an effort to bring my hubs to a wider audience. Getting those stats to work is a compromise at times.

I don't get to read a lot for enjoyment and THG trilogy was the first thing I have read for enjoyment in a very long time and likely for another long time to come. There definitely is something unique about the character complexities and that is one of the reasons I like it so much. I love things that make me think, that speak, work on several levels, challenge ideas and encourage discussion, and that are well done which is why THG is my latest enthusiasm. Peeta is "cute" in the movies but if you look very closely, there is something that seems not quite right about him in the movies but it is harder to put one's finger on and easy to miss, especially without reading the book. Even with reading the book, you still have to put the puzzle together. I did not think Mockingjay gave that much more, in fact I thought it failed as a book. I was so upset with it, that I wrote a hub about it before I ever did any other hubs for THG. While it failed as a book, one of the things that it got more or l