Translating a novel into a Hollywood blockbuster is not an easy task. Since there is limited time, a lot of the juicy tidbits get lost in translation. With a book as popular as “The Hunger Games,” fan criticism lurks at every turn and the screenwriters are careful to include as many of the beloved scenes as possible.
Luckily, the adaptation of the book to the big screen left this weekend’s moviegoers extremely pleased. While we are understanding of the time constraints — the movie is already over two hours — there were a few key “Hunger Games” book scenes we would have loved to see in the film.
For those of you who have yet to read the book, there are spoilers ahead. (Also, what are you waiting for?! If you enjoyed the movie, the book will fill in all the missing details.) From Haymitch’s drunken fall to District 11’s respect for Katniss to Katniss’ fight to get back to Peeta, here are our picks for the five key scenes from the book not in the movie:
Haymitch Falling Offstage at the Reaping
From the start of the Reaping scene with Prim stopped dead in her tracks to the end when Katniss is escorted to her holding room, the audience is left shaking in their seats. Katniss volunteering in place of Prim saw quite a few audience members already in tears too. In the novel, before Effie begins her infamous “Happy Hunger Games!” speech, there is a quick scene where Haymitch is so drunk he falls off the stage. It adds a little comic relief to his introduction, but it also sets up the mentor’s troubled state and shows the effect the Games had on him years later as a grown man.
Peeta’s Father Bringing Katniss Cookies
In the book, before Katniss and Peeta board the train for the Capitol, Katniss gets a surprise visitor: Peeta’s dad, the District 12 baker, brings her a plate of cookies and informs her that he’ll make sure Prim is eating. It’s a touching gesture that confuses Katniss at first. She is familiar with Mr. Mellark because he buys the squirrels she hunts in the woods, but he has no obligation to her or her family. Katniss comes to believe it is because everyone merely tolerates her but they cannot help but love innocent, friendly Prim. The scene sets the audience up for Katniss’ distrust of Peeta throughout the book.
District 11 Sending Katniss Bread
The District 11 uprising after Rue’s death in the movie adaptation is absent from the novel. In lieu of this scene, Katniss is sent a sponsor gift containing a loaf of bread. During their training before the Games, Peeta explained to Katniss the different types of bread in each district, and Katniss immediately recognizes the loaf as coming from District 11. In recognition of the gift, she says a thank you to the district out loud. While the movie scene shows the power Katniss already possesses against the Capitol, the book scene slowly sets up the other districts’ willingness to trust her.
Katniss Telling Peeta the Story of Prim’s Goat
While Katniss attempts to nurse Peeta back to health — to no avail, as his leg gets worse — a feverish Peeta asks her to tell him a story. Knowing that the Capitol and Gamemakers are listening to every word, she leaves out the details of her and Gale hunting in the woods and tells him the story of how she bought Prim’s goat, Lady. After selling a young buck at the Hob, Katniss has enough money to buy Prim a nice birthday present. She passes on a hairbrush and cloth for a dress in favor of an injured goat. Prim loves animals, and with her mother’s help, they were able to nurse Lady back to health. The milk from the goat helped the Everdeens survive after their father’s death. Katniss’ ability to open up to Peeta adds to the love-triangle dynamic. The more Katniss reveals about herself to Peeta, the more she starts to care for him and vice versa, whereas Gale was around to experience these moments with her.
Katniss Screaming for Peeta After the Games
One of the more powerful scenes in the book comes when Katniss and Peeta are airlifted out of the arena and onto a hover craft. Katniss sees Peeta being taken away, but at the time, she is unaware of the reason. As they are separated, Katniss begins pounding on a glass door while screaming Peeta’s name. While the audience is left to wonder whether Katniss is really in love with Peeta, this scene shows that, regardless of whether it was all an act, she cares about him. Later on, this scene is replayed in front of the Capitol during an interview with Caesar Flickerman and shows that the star-crossed-lovers act just might save her life — at least for now.
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