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.