Surviving the “Wasteland”– Depression and Endurance in the Hunger Games

**Spoiler warning for discussion of events taking place in the Hunger Games trilogy and parts of Harry Potter. Consider yourself duly warned. **

I recently finished the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay.  I put it off for quite some time anticipating the darkness of the material.  I have never shied away from a well written drama but there are times when I have enough angst in my life that I don’t need to invite imaginary angst in as well. After seeing HG in movies, however, I knew I had to finish their story no matter how much it hurt.

So I did.  It was hard at times, the war so vivid and the pain of the characters so…recognizable. I’m sure I will sound like every other fangirl on the internet when I say that I empathized with Katniss’ mental challenges and identified with her on a potentially unnerving level.  Despite all the disaster, I found myself in a state of deep satisfaction.

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The Militarization of Femininity: Revisited

A while back, I blogged about how an image of Kristen Stewart as Snow White in armor from the upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman raised my hackles.  I’m not convinced I fully articulated my point, which meandered back and forth between defending Disney princesses, supporting the actualized woman warrior, and supporting a woman’s right to a more traditional (read: archaic and sexist) lifestyle.  I think the point I wanted to make was about the contrived nature of this version of femininity and why it’s not a solution to the problem of well-rounded female characterization.

In my original post, I was mystified: “My first impression was one of disdain; the last time I checked, Snow White was not Joan of Arc.  I don’t remember her having any martial inclinations or talents nor the socio-economic status to make such a transformation possible. The last time I checked, her enemy was one vain witch, not an entire army.

My second impression was one of conflict: I should be more supportive of this …modern expression of female agency. Shouldn’t a Snow White who can wield a broadsword be more awesomely great than one who prefers to spend her time cleaning up after 7 slovenly men before she gets food poisoning and largely disappears from the narrative?

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I Open at the Close: A Review of Deathly Hallows, Part 2

“I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future – there will be books written about Harry – every child in our world will know his name.” – Professor McGonagall

If given all the space and time in the world, I’m not sure I could accurately convey what it’s like to be a die-hard Potter fan. Perhaps I’d begin with a line, a long queue wrapping around street blocks for long-awaited books or movies. This time, it’s a movie line, filled to the brim with Potter fans anxiously awaiting The End of it all. Sad, overwhelmed, fearful, excited, proud.

Perhaps your friends managed to get in line 3 hours early, happily braving the heat for the chance at great seats in a sold out showing. There were people in handmade T-shirts reading “Sirius Lives”, “All was Well”, and “My Other Car is a Firebolt”. There were people wearing House scarves in the 85 degree weather; Slytherin, to be precise (ahem). A group of 30 year olds took turns passing around a pair of round-rimmed glasses, trying them on only to find that yes, your eyesight does suck, Harry.  Perhaps a friend in a Quidditch hat had the genius notion to bring a box of Bertie Bott’s All Flavor Flavor beans. Maybe you chose the EarWax bean just for the opportunity to repeat Albus’ line regarding that particular flavor.

Maybe everyone started cheering when the line moved and like 10-year-old barbarians, you elbowed your way to the best seats in the house. Along the way, you were passed by whole families, little girls walking in with their fathers in full robes and regalia, twirling their wands and casting silent spells on the theatre. The greatest spell, however, was yet to come. Continue reading