Katniss Everdeen has nightmares. This is important. This means something. Luke Skywalker blew up a space station that housed millions of men and women without shedding a tear. James Bond remembers the dozens of women slaughtered by association by naming martinis after them and glowering at the baccarat table. Bella Swan slurps blood from a Styrofoam cup. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire doesn’t allow its heroine much time to rest after her victory in the franchise’s titular organized bloodletting, but when it does, even her few moments of rest are shattered by memories of the Games. A nation believes they’ve gained a young star. In reality, they’ve rendered a young woman a hollow shell.
Having made history as the first ever co-winners of The Hunger Games, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) clearly suffer from PTSD. Twenty-two children were killed in the Games, and while they weren’t personally responsible for even the majority of them, they lived for months expecting knives in their backs, finding solace in the report of an unseen cannon. Back in District 12, they try to return to something like a normal life, but even if nobody from home treats them any differently for making it out of the arena, the state has relocated them to the district’s Victor’s Village, whose only other occupant is Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), whose alcoholism probably makes a little more sense to them now. Though they barely know each other, Katniss and Peeta survived by convincing a nation that they were star-crossed young lovers. Thrust into the role of celebrity, they have to maintain that ruse before the cameras and the fawning millions in their living rooms. Both wonder if eating the poison berries that won them the Games would have been a kinder fate. Read more