Ok now raise your hand if you thought The Hunger Games was original. Everyone's hand should be up. And The Hunger Games IS amazingly unique and original and just all around awesome. But did you know that The Hunger Games was based off of really ancient stories told thousands of years ago?
We're going to look at two of those stories: Theseus and the Minotaur and Spartacus (both of which Suzanne Collins admits were influences on the work).
Warning: This Post has Spoilers for The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. You've been warned!
The Myth of Theseus and The Minotaur Versus The Hunger Games
Theseus: Every 9 years 7 Athenian Boys and 7 Athenian Girls must go to Crete as tributes, enter the labyrinth and be killed by the Minotaur.
Hunger Games: Every year 12 boys and 12 girls must go to The Capitol, to enter a labyrinthine like playing field and be killed by each other.
Theseus: Theseus takes the place of a slave to join the others
Hunger Games: Katniss takes the place of her sister to join the others
Theseus: Theseus survives partly thanks to Ariadne who has fallen in love with him
Hunger Games: Katniss survives partly thanks to Peeta who has fallen in love with her
Theseus: Theseus defeats the Minotaur, a hybrid of a man and bull
Hunger Games: Katniss defeats/survives the mutts, a hybrid wolf and boy/girl (part wolf, part fallen tribute)
Theseus: Theseus escapes the labyrinth with all of the Athenian tributes
Hunger Games: Katniss escapes the Games with all the district 12 tributes (her and Peeta)
Theseus: Theseus leaves Ariadne and eventually marries Hippolyta
Hunger Games: Katniss leaves Peeta and eventually hooks up with Gale (Don't throw tomatoes at me, trust me, I know we have no clue who she will end up with at this point, but I think it's clear from the end of book 1 and a certain section of book 2, that Katniss and Gale have thier moment)
See how she did that? She was able to borrow a lot of elements from ancient myths and legends and refresh it. Instead of Crete, we have Panem a dystopian USA. Instead of a monster that needs to be satiated, it's the Capitol that needs to be satiated in a monstrous way.
Spartacus versus The Hunger Games
While it's easy to see a lot of plot points that are similar between The Hunger Games and Theseus, The Hunger Games is much closer thematically to Spartacus.
Spartacus: Spartacus is a slave under the Roman Empire
Hunger Games: Katniss is essentially a slave--she has very few rights in The Capitol which is modeled after the Roman Empire
Spartacus: Spartacus is a gladiator, fighting to the death in an arena while the aristocracy watches and celebrates.
Hunger Games: Katniss is a tribute, fighting to the death in an arena while the aristocracy watches and celebrates and also films it on live tv.
Spartacus: Spartacus wants nothing more than to go home--he has no intentions of rebellion.
Hunger Games: Katniss wants nothing more than to go home--save herself/save Peeta and has no intentions of rebellion.
Spartacus: Spartacus rises from nothing to being the face/symbol of a rebellion in Rome
Hunger Games: Katniss rises from nothing to being the face/symbol of a rebellion all over Panem
What Next? My Predictions
Now what does this tell us? Well, one that Suzanne Collins knows the classics. Two, ancient myths and stories can make an awesome YA novel when updated properly and mixed with something else to make it new. And three, this might give us some clues to what will happen in book 3.
So these are totally speculations based on the similarities mentioned above, and Suzanne Collins is by no means locked into either plot or story, she borrows freely whatever she needs and when she needs it.
But here's the big question: Peeta or Gale.
Well, Peeta becomes the equivalent of Ariadne and and Theseus leaves her for another. So IF Suzanne Collins is following that myth through than Team Gale has something to celebrate.
Next big question: Will Katniss survive book 3?
Well, Spartacus leads a massive rebellion in Rome, travels with a bunch of soldiers and is almost home when for some reason they turn back and soon Spartacus is killed. This could possibly turn into Katniss leading district 12 survivors and anyone else to the mysterious district 13, only they stop short for some reason (possibly they are betrayed or starvation mixed with rumors of food elsewhere steer them off course) and then with that mistake made, just before Katniss reaches District 13, she is killed.
So...those are just speculations and not necessarily what I want to happen in book 3, but...we shall see.
Hope you enjoyed!
Next up...Twilight and no that post won't have anything to do with Pride and Prejudice. Stay tuned...