Initially, I did not want to read The Hunger Games trilogy. Bad memories from reading another series about teenagers fighting and killing people meant I never wanted to pick up a book with such a premise again. But between the urging of a friend and my own curiosity, I gave in and read Collins’ books, determined not to like them at all.
That changed while I was reading Catching Fire.
For anyone who has read the series, watched the film, or cheated and read the Wikipedia files on the trilogy, they know that in Catching Fire Katniss and Peeta end up allying with other tributes from other districts during the Seventy-fifth Hunger Games. One of their new ‘teammates’ is Finnick Odair, a victor from District Four.
Known for his good looks – which send almost every female citizen in the Capitol into a swoon – Katniss dislikes him for his reported string of Capitol lovers and shallow character. And until he enters the arena, Finnick makes himself appear to be a genuinely dislikable ladies’ man.
In the course of the Games, however, he proves to be a noble and generous fellow. He even shows a deep sense of humor. After he, Katniss, and Peeta escape a poisonous fog, they are left with scabs on their skin as they heal from the effects of the toxic mist. When a sponsor sends the three tributes medicine to cure the itchy scabs, Katniss and Finnick are the only ones awake when it arrives.
They begin applying the ointment to each other and discover that, while the medicine eradicates the itching, it also turns their skin an awful shade of green. Katniss then decides to awaken Peeta, whereupon Finnick says they should both do it in order to surprise him with their new color, which makes their appearance hideous. They do manage to scare Peeta awake, and his reaction to their startling “new look” subsequently sends the two into fits of laughter.
It is the one scene in the entire trilogy which actually made me laugh out loud while I was reading it.
In Mockingjay, however, Finnick’s vulnerable side is revealed as he struggles with the knowledge that Annie Cresta, a damaged District Four victor he is in love with, is now in the Capitol’s power. I have to say that I hated reading about his death in that book. I had grown to really like him by that point.
Finnick’s presence in the final two books went a long way to softening my view of the trilogy. It is strange how a second tier character can become so interesting; Finnick’s swashbuckling chivalry, wit, and fun-loving attitude both lighten the hard moments in the books and furthers their point. If I had to choose only one favorite character out of the entire trilogy, I think it would be Finnick.
The Mithril Guardian