This Friday (November 20), "The Hunger Games" fans will finally say goodbye to the Jennifer Lawrence-led films that brought Suzanne Collins' already iconic book series to life. "Mockingjay - Part 2" is beautiful, somber, and completely honest and respectful in its portrayal of a nation wrecked by violence (read my thoughts on it here), but of course, knowing that it's the last time we'll ever see this story brought to life is a tough pill to swallow.
So, in honor of focusing on the sweet over the bitter, MTV News has rounded up the moments we all fell in love with the series. Whether it was Katniss volunteering to save Prim on the page, or JLaw shooting her first arrow onscreen, we all had that one, first moment that gave us chills -- the moment when we just knew that this was going to be something special. Reminisce with us below, and feel free to share your own story in the comments!
All about that Rue.
The thing with Collins' books is that they ended pretty much every chapter with a cliffhanger, so it was easy to get sucked in right away. But the moment that really hooked me in terms of "oh wow, this is really something different" happened in book one, when Katniss bonded with Rue. I'd been reading Young Adult lit on-and-off since I was a kid, and when I first picked up "Hunger Games," I was already so sick of the classic YA love triangle. So when "Hunger Games" spent so much time establishing the special bond between Katniss and Rue -- while Peeta ran off with the popular kids in the bushes -- I was truly touched, and happy that my younger cousins would have a role model like Katniss to look up to.
Oh, and as for the movies, it was "Catching Fire" that truly did me in. That movie is when JLaw came alive -- and when we fully realized the horrible impact of the Games, via meeting its victims' grieving families -- and boy was it spectacular. -- Shaunna Murphy
No BS, please and thank you.Lionsgate
I loved when Katniss had enough of the Gamemakers' BS and shot the arrow at the apple in the stuffed pig's mouth. It was at that point I thought, "Man, I want to be her." It really made me start thinking about just how far I'd go to get myself heard and respected. -- Stacey Grant
A sisterly bond.
The moment that made me fall in love with "The Hunger Games" books is sort of a cliché one, but I’m going to say it anyways... It’s the moment when Katniss volunteered for her sister at the reaping. I’m extremely close with my sister, so this moment really resonated with me. Reading such a powerful moment that I myself could imagine doing for my own sister made me desperately want to get to know Katniss’ character and witness the journey she was about to embark on. -- Molly Corbally
JLaw for the win.Lionsgate
I’m going to be honest here and admit that I didn’t have an emotional attachment to the books. As an avid reader of YA, I wasn’t a huge fan of Suzanne Collins’ world-building. It just felt lacking. It probably didn't help that we were seeing this world through the eyes of Katniss Everdeen. As far as YA heroines go, Katniss is fine. She really is. She's determined and strong and vulnerable and savvy -- all good things! But there was always something missing for me.
That all changed when I first saw "The Hunger Games" in theaters. I was completely won over by Jennifer Lawrence's performance. Despite the fact that I had read three books from Katniss’ perspective, I never felt like I actually knew her before I saw her, petrified and alone at the start of the Games. It suddenly felt real to me. However, it wasn’t until “Catching Fire” — and the expanded world view, meeting the families of the fallen Tributes from all of the Districts, that I really fell in love with the series. -- Crystal Bell
Listen to the kids, bro.
For me it was while watching the first movie. I was just switching careers (from art to journalism) and I felt very disempowered because I was starting from the bottom and was still nowhere. Watching a bunch of young people be much more formidable than any of the adults by the end of the first movie (especially Peeta and Katniss) made me feel a lot better about facing this new world I found myself in, in a strange way. -- Joe Lamour
A Tumblr spiral.
I fell in love with "The Hunger Games" before I even read the books. I kept seeing complete strangers talking about the series on Tumblr. It was around the time the casting decisions came out for the first movie, so people were voicing their opinions about Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss and Josh Hutcherson playing Peeta. Some people were really, really mad and others were really, really happy about it. I figured it must be something worth reading if it made fans so passionate that they'd write ~500 words about how so-and-so should be playing Gale instead.
I read the first book in one sitting. (It was the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, and I had a lot of free time.) I finished the second book the following day, and the third the day after that. I was hooked. --Deepa Lakshmin
Praise the Lorde.
I started loving "The Hunger Games" because of Jennifer Lawrence, probably. I've never read the books, but I'm addicted to the movies, and they always leave on such a cliffhanger that I can hardly wait 'til they release the next one. Not to mention that that Lorde-curated soundtrack made everything pretty dope as well. -- Emilee Lindner
In love with not being in love.Lionsgate
The very first “Hunger Games” pulled me in almost immediately, but if I had to pick a singular moment that stuck with me long after I’d put the book down, it was how Katniss reacted to Peeta announcing his love for her on live television. After all, girls are too commonly expected to be gracious when guys express an interest in them, so Katniss's anger over potentially being perceived as weak really struck a chord -- as did her realization that the “star-crossed lovers” story could keep her alive longer. -- Victoria McNally
JLaw caught fire.
I really enjoyed reading Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” books… They’re page turners, engrossingly written with some excellent characters. But it wasn’t really until the last shot of the second movie - “Catching Fire” - that I fell in love with the series. That’s also the moment I realized what an incredible actress Jennifer Lawrence was, and is, but in one shot she runs through a bevy of emotions, from exhaustion to sadness, to anger, to powerful determination, all without saying a word. That’s the beauty of Katniss Everdeen, and that’s the incredible, complex series of emotions that runs through the whole series. -- Alex Zalben