When it comes to Young Adult novels, you can pretty much expect a love triangle to be in the mix. Perhaps we should all thank (or curse) Twilight for this trend, but love triangles are usually a large part of the drama in most books aimed at a younger readership. The Hunger Games is no different: you only have to take a quick peek to see the Team Peeta versus Team Gale debate raging.
But reducing The Hunger Games trilogy to its rather small romantic subplot does a huge disservice to the message of Suzanne Collins’ prickly books. The books (and hopefully the films) are actually about an exploration of the effects of war and violence on society. They’re about the way we champion aggression, by showing readers an extreme version of our own bloodlust.
The Hunger Games books are many things: a scatching indictment on war, a critique of reality television culture, and the story of a girl fighting to survive. What the books aren’t, however, is a romantic drama revolving around a love triangle. Katniss Everdeen is a tough-as-nails survivor, not just a heroine with two handsome boys fighting for her attentions.
In the books, Katniss often puts her romantic confusion on the backburner in order to survive. Her romantic confusion serves as a reminder of just how young Katniss truly is; after all she’s just a teenager with all the raging hormones that time of life entails.
Yet whether she ends up with fellow competitor Peeta or lifelong best friend Gale is completely beside the point. The message of these books isn’t about romance, it’s about the devastating impact of war and violence on everyone, from society at large to innocent children.
Focusing only on the romantic subplot does a disservice to the tale Collins has lovingly crafted. It’s too soon to tell how the future films will deal with the story’s love triangle, but hopefully they don’t let the romantic tension take over. After all, at its heart The Hunger Games isn’t a romance, it’s a story about survival and rebellion.
What do you think? Do you love the romance in The Hunger Games? Sound off in the comments!