A Closer Look at the Hunger Games Trailer; Pins, Mockingjays and More


I’ve just finished a re-read of the Hunger Games trilogy, and one look at that new poster sent me scrambling back to the superstupersplendiforous trailer, where I noticed a few things and wanted to bring up a few others:

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Prim wears the Mockingjay Pin

Dost mine eyes deceive or is she wearing the Mockingjay pin? I read that Madge might be taken out of the script and really, I’m fine with it. When you think about it, honestly, it’s one of those things that would have been fine in the books, too. If it’s Prim’s pin – which surely the Capitol would have noticed later – that Katniss wears into the Arena, then certain events-that-shall-not-be-named later make a lot more sense and are more suited to the lack of rumination time an audience gets in a film. Prim as a [SPOILER FOR THE THIRD BOOK, GO AWAY AND READ IT NOW] final weapon, as it were? Saved until the very last moment to break the Mockingjay?


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The shfiting mockingjay

Such questions. Is the above scene at the reaping or does the shift in pin position indicate she’s wearing it later, perhaps to watch the games? OR was a continuity person really confused?

Unless they are very crafty, Prim being the one to give Katniss the pin decidedly shifts who is to blame for a certain atrocity, at the end of the third book. Then again, a lot will happen in this series between now and then (and if this trailer is any indication we WILL get to “Mockingjay”; LionsGate has already announced November 22, 2013, as the date of the release of “Catching Fire.” TOO LONG! That’s two years away!). I’m one of those people who truly believes the despicable despicableness was Coin’s doing and not Snow’s: I would explain why, except I would spoil the entire third book (and you shouldn’t read the comments if you haven’t read Mockingjay).

Right, so, the pin. OK, well, after this, I scoured the trailer some more and found this:

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Whose hands are whose?

It raised a question. Why is the Mockingjay pin being HANDED BACK to someone? Those are both girl hands. The only girl Katniss comes in contact with after the reaping are her assistant stylists and Effie. Those are all Capitol people. With decorations and colors and tattoos. Those are Katniss’s and Prim’s hands.

So, what, then? This implies the pin was taken off, Prim tried to give it to Katniss, and it is now being RETURNED to Prim. Because as we’ve seen in the trailer, Prim wasn’t able to talk to Katniss after she volunteered, much less give her the pin. Katniss isn’t handing Prim her pin back to remember her by – and if Prim is giving Katniss the pin to wearing the arena, why is it being returned to her?

Sense, it does not make much of it. Maybe Katniss encourages Prim to keep it but Prim finds a way to get it to her, by giving it to Peeta (as it seems the families of each Reaped visit the other). Or, maybe I’m making entirely too much of it, and Prim gives it to her, and Katniss simply tries to give it back and is denied. Finds it in her pocket later. A last gift from Prim.

Well, it can’t be too consequential. Katniss gets the pin. She has to be wearing it in the arena or the plot falls apart. She certainly looks to be holding it here:

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Katniss saying goodbye to Prim - attempting to memorize her face

(Ah, the little puzzles that try fans’ souls. I love it.)

(Also if there was ever ANY doubt about Jennifer Lawrence’s ability to portray Katniss, this trailer should have put it soundly to rest. She acts with all of her. More than 19 viewings of the trailer in, her “I volunteer!” still gives me epic chills.)


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Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark

I think they picked the perfect Peeta.  His look on the reaping stage, his Boy-with-the-Bread arms that end up being so very important to Katniss. He exudes the kind of quiet confidence, kindness and thoughtfulness of Peeta – the goodness – while also showing us someone with capacity for intensity and power. Immensely likable.


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Peeta running at the Cornucopia

Yeah. Perfect.


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Seneca Crane?

Head Gamemaker. Swirly beard guy. Clearly reacting in shock to Katniss’s private training antics.

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Woody Harrelson as Haymitch

Here is the ONLY point at which my excitement ebbed in the trailer. Haymitch is haggard, a drunk, barely ever conscious, in terrible shape, deeply sarcastic, sometimes darkly hilarious. There is another photo in which Harrelson looks like he might be drunk. But this put-together Haymitch isn’t doing it for me, and though we may be seeing the odd moment out here, I worry. Haymitch is a rich, colorful character – mysterious, troubled, more than he seems in book one, indispensable in book two and essential to Katniss’s survival there on out – and I wonder if we’ll just get a wise, generic advisor instead. Stripping Haymitch of his character would be a crime. He’s a great one. He’s this series’ Snape.

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It COULD techinically be D12. But this is likely D11 during the games.

There’s one of two possibilities here: this could TECHNICALLY be the moment after Katniss volunteers for Prim, and her whole district sends her their regards in this manner (a moment which, if it is not in the film, I will riot): however, given what comes right before it in the trailer (Katniss on screen, clearly after a significant death), I think this is a shot of District 11. The screen is slightly different and as hard as I looked in the District 12 crowd, I didn’t see anyone of color. They do make a point in the book that Rue and Thresh are both black, and that appearance matters when figuring out what district someone comes from. Also, this just makes sense. The film gives us a wonderful opportunity we didn’t have in the book: to see what is happening outside the arena. A shot of District 11 at this moment, giving this salute (which, incidentally, except for the kissing of fingers, is the same as the Boy and Girl Scout Salute), would be perfectly heartbreaking. Hands up if it destroyed you in the trailer.

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Brutal, hardfaced Cato

More perfect casting. The type-A jock, the blond popular jerk stereotype we all know so well. From smirk to spikey hair, this guy is Cato to a T.

Let’s do some more quick spotting!

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Likely Foxface, from District 5, who is never named
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The Career bunch (no sign of Glimmer yet)
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Most likely the male tribute from D11
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The tribute from District 6
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D4: Technically a career. He seems teeny to be one.
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The two tributes from D11: TIny Rue and enormous Thresh
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The Gamemakers watch from above

And I can’t believe I missed this in the first two watches of the trailer but check it out: You can see Katniss and Peeta ON FIRE:

LeakyNews.com The Hunger Games
Katniss and Peeta enter the Games' opening ceremonies ablaze

Oh, March 23. WHERE ARE YOU?



All images (c) Lionsgate Films, 2011.



  • http://twitter.com/bowiebookgirl Jordan

    I think the hands with the mockingjay pin might be when Katniss attempts to give it to Rue, but Rue won’t let her.

    • Melissa anelli

      Nah, Rue is smaller than Katniss and much darker skinned. -Melissa

    • T-Rex923

      OH! I totally forgot about that. That is a good chance.! Thank you!

  • http://ipresentyoutheworld.tumblr.com Shana Debusschere

    Why can’t it just be Prim giving it to Katniss the first time?

    • MelA

      Watch the trailer – it gets handed back to someone, apparently Prim. What I wonder is how it actually gets to Katniss.

      • http://ipresentyoutheworld.tumblr.com Shana Debusschere

        You’re right, it looks like Katniss gives it to Prim.. Weird..

        • T-Rex923

          Maybe.. when Katniss comes home she gives it back? It wouldn’t surprise me.

          • http://ipresentyoutheworld.tumblr.com Shana Debusschere

            Or maybe Prim gives it back before Katniss leaves… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see..

            It’s actually quite funny how we’re all wondering what the meaning is behind something that lasted only a second, but that’s part of being a fan! :-)

  • Vip Mona

    Prim is going to visit Katniss after the reaping instead of Madge and give her the Mockingjay Pin.

    • Melissa

      I know: the question is why Katniss is giving it BACK.

  • http://twitter.com/sharkie59 EJ

    This is a great analysis, thanks for sharing! : ) Man, I can’t wait for March!

  • http://twitter.com/flo1190 Pippa Lockwood

    uh… in the book, the tributes’ families DO visit them. Katniss is visited by her mother, Prim, Madge (who gives her the badge), Peeta’s father and Gale, and Peeta is visited by his family. So, how Katniss recieves the pin is very simple. when her mother visits her, Prim gives it to her, just like Madge did

    • Melissa

      Yes, I know an actually pointed that out in te post as a possibility f how she ultimately gets the pin. Ive read these books three times and know this part (all parts) of tenstory bery well. The point is, it is being given BACK to Prim. Not TO Katniss.

  • LaurenFF

    I’m pretty sure by the time the movie comes out every fansite will have gotten posts from me squeeing about the fact that MARCH 23RD IS MY BIRTHDAY!!! I’ve been referring to this movie as my birthday present from the universe, and the amazing trailer has brought my excitement levels way up! I CAN’T WAIT!!!

  • Patricious

    I’m glad you’re posting about the Hunger Games, Melissa.
    Can you guys do (even a one-off) podcast about HG?

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  • Russ

    I don’t think the scene is Katniss giving it BACK to Prim. I think its her just giving Prim the pin before the reaping happens. Then, Prim gives it back to her when she comes to see Katniss off.

    • Melanelli

      THIS. You are likely very right.

  • Patricious

    The true story of a girl tribute, her mockingjay pin, and whose hands it passed through anyway.

    P.S. Guess what I’m reading right now :)

  • http://twitter.com/kzhines Katie Hines

    At the very end of the trailer, listen carefully. You’ll hear four clear, whistled notes. We all know what they are. Chilling and perfect!

  • Evie Brightwater

    The Hunger Games: The New Harry Potter :D x

    • Scratchythegreen

      No. Harry potter was awful. The hunger games will be better.

  • Belly

    The hands might be when Katniss gives Prim the pin BEFORE the reaping, and Prim gives it back after.

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  • bubbles

    could be. but both hands seem too fair colored to be rues. i think Katniss owns the mocking-jay pin then gives it to Prim before the reaping. because the hands that the pin is in is fair skinned and smaller than the other pair. and the image of ‘Katniss saying goodbye’ could be when Prim gives it back to her after the reaping.

    how bout it? :D

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  • Katniss

    me and my sisters and her friends are seeing it today

  • Muffinz!

    Ah Katniss does give it to Prim in the beginning!! Then after the reaping Prim gives it to Katniss for good luck!!

  • Muffinz!

    The hands are when Katniss gives the pin to Prim in the beginning after she got it at the hob. Then later Prim gives the pin back to Katniss for good luck

  • MariaJ

    The Mockingjay pin was bought my Katniss in the Hob. Katniss gives it to Prim, before the reaping, and tells her it will keep her safe. After the reaping where Katniss has taken Prims place as a tribute, Prim gives it to Katniss telling her it will keep her safe.

  • tasia

    i just got a mockingjay pin and im hoping for good luck because all my life i have had no luck now that i saw the hunger games and read the book i felt like i now have a chance of luck
    happy hunger games and may the odds be ever in your favor