Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Team Peeta

As you guys should know by now, I have some serious love for The Hunger Games trilogy by the brilliant Suzanne Collins. And as you may have guessed, I am Team Peeta. Very much so. Now, don't get me wrong, Gale is an interesting character and he plays a very important role in Katniss' life, but of the two I think Peeta is the better match for her. Let's dissect why I believe that, shall we?





Ahem. Now that that's out of the way...

Let's start with how our two leading men are introduced. Before Katniss' world changes drastically, we have Gale.

There's never been anything romantic between Gale and me... It took a long time for us to even become friends, to stop haggling over every trade and begin helping each other out.

Besides, if he wants kids, Gale won't have any trouble finding a wife... You can tell by the way the girls whisper about him when he walks by in school that they want him. It makes me jealous but not for the reason people would think. Good hunting partners are hard to find. (Both excerpts from Hunger Games, p. 18)

These passages tell me that Katniss depends on Gale and cares for him, but I don't get even a hint of romantic feelings from Katniss. However, I think it's clear that Gale loves Katniss, and I think on some level she knows this, even before he kisses her in book 2.

I believe that a great deal of Katniss' internal conflict choosing between Peeta and Gale is because she knows Gale loves her, and while she may not feel the same way, she cares for Gale a great deal and does not want to see him in any pain. Gale is also very close to her and very close to her family. Their relationship would be a "smart" match, as they compromise and get along well with each other for survival. But what if they didn't live in a world where people married so they could better survive?

Then Peeta is introduced as his name is pulled from the jar. And Katniss initially freaks out.

Oh, no, I think. Not him.

Why him? Then I try to convince myself it doesn't matter. (Both from Hunger Games, p.26)

But clearly it does matter. A little bit later, we have Peeta and Katniss being set on fire for the parade. They make a deal to rip off each other's capes before they burn to death, they laugh about Haymitch not being near open flames, and they hold hands as their chariot takes them around the loop. And at the end, Peeta compliments her.

"I'm sure they didn't notice anything but you. You should wear flames more often," he says. "They suit you." And then he gives me a smile that seems so genuinely sweet with just the right touch of shyness that unexpected warmth rushes through me. (Hunger Games, p. 72)

After this passage Katniss reminds herself that Peeta is planning to kill her, and that they are enemies. But isn't it odd that she has to remind herself? It seems to me that she's already warming up to him.

When Katniss first meets Gale, they act like enemies, they act like they are in competition, though there's enough wildlife to go around. When she meets Gale she is not in a situation where it is certain that only ONE of them will survive. It's not a competition. And still, they have a hard time learning to work together.

But with Peeta, it IS certain that only one will survive. It is a competition. But before they even get to the arena, Katniss and Peeta are becoming friends.

Peeta takes off his jacket and wraps it around my shoulders. I start to take a step back, but then I let him, deciding for a moment to accept both his jacket and his kindness. A friend would do that, right? (HG p.83)

Once in the arena, Katniss and Peeta risk their lives over and over again to save one another. Peeta teams up with the Careers to keep Katniss safe. Katniss goes to the "feast" to get Peeta medicine. When Katniss and Peeta are away from one another collecting food and Peeta does not return Katniss' signal right away, she freaks out. She's upset and yelling-- she's scared. She thought she lost Peeta, and that terrified her more than Cato does.

At the end of Hunger Games, Katniss refuses to leave the arena without Peeta. If her and Peeta don't leave together, then neither wants to. So they eat the berries, hoping the gamemakers will save them both, but if they don't, they both would rather have no victor than be the lone victor of District 12.

I think a lot of what Katniss feels for Peeta in the first book confuses her more than anything. She shouldn't be feeling for this boy-- this boy she barely knows, this boy she has been pitted against in a battle to the death. I think Katniss convinces herself that the romance is not real, that her feelings aren't real because she doesn't know how to deal with her feelings if they are real.

How can she manage loving someone so much when they could be killed at any moment? It's the same reason she doesn't want to have children. She doesn't want to love anyone because then they can be taken away from her. Loving someone opens her up to possibility of pain and heartbreak.

I want to tell him that he's not being fair. That we were strangers. That I did what it took to stay alive, to keep us both alive in the arena. That I can't explain how things are with Gale because I don't know myself. That it's no good loving me because I'm never going to get married anyway and he'd just end up hating me later instead of sooner. That if I do have feelings for him, it doesn't matter because I'll never be able to afford the kind of love that leads to a family, to children. And how can he? How can he after what we've just been through?

I also want to tell him how much I already miss him. But that wouldn't be fair on my part. (HG p. 373)


Out of the corner of my eye, I see Peeta extend his hand. I look at him, unsure. "One more time? For the audience?" he says. His voice isn't angry. It's hollow, which is worse. Already the boy with the bread is slipping away from me.

I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, and dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go. (HG p.373-374)

Now let's get to why I don't think Gale is good for Katniss. Someone on Team Gale argued that Gale is a man, whereas Peeta is a boy. Gale hunts and works himself half to death to support his family. He's super protective of Katniss. But he's also possessive over her. Gale is a very strong character, I will say that much, but just because he assumes responsibilities like an adult, doesn't mean he is one.

In book 2, when Katniss suggests running away from District 12 to Gale, he is all for it. Laughing, hugging Katniss, telling her he loves her. Until he finds out Katniss wants to bring Peeta along as well. Gale gets all scowly and snappy at Katniss. His mood changes in an instant.

Then, when Katniss is thrown back into the arena with Peeta, we have someone showing true love for her. Peeta plans to protect Katniss no matter what. He plans to die for her so that she can go home. To Gale, if he is what makes her happy.

I realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me. (CF p. 352)

Peeta truly loves Katniss, and wants what is best for her, what makes her happy. Even if that's not him. Gale cares for Katniss too, but his love is selfish. He wants Katniss for himself, he doesn't want to share.

This is getting rather long, so I'll present my final argument:

In book 1, Katniss is brainstorming how to act as though she is in love with Peeta.

Never having been in love, this is going to be a real trick. I think of my parents. The way my father never failed to bring her gifts from the woods. The way my mother's face would light up at the sound of his boots at the door. The way she almost stopped living when he died. (HG p. 261)

And then at the end of Catching Fire, something horrible happens. President Snow has captured Peeta, and Katniss is feeling helpless because there's no way she can rescue him. So what does she do?

I give up. Stop speaking, responding, refuse food and water. They can pump whatever they want into my arm, but it takes more than that to keep a person going once she's lost the will to live. I even have a funny notion that if I do die, maybe Peeta will be allowed to live. (CF p. 389)

Hmm, isn't that how her mother reacted when her father died? Seems like Katniss fell in love after all.

Of course, I have a great deal more to say on the topic, so feel free to carry on the discussion in the comments.

Are you Team Peeta, or Team Gale? Why?

I'm especially interested to hear from those who favor Gale. Give me your best argument. Show me your reasoning. You probably won't convert me, but I'd love to hear your take on it all!



  1. Okay I love these arguments. I love hunger games. I love katniss. And Peeta and Gale. *sigh*

    I could just re-read those books all day long...

  2. Oh crap I'm Team I Love You BOth though I lean more towards Gale just because he seems like more of Katniss' equal and was there first and she nearly dies when she finds him being beaten in the marketplace and is so scared for him when the president shows and threatens that he knows Gale's not her cousin. I just read an awesome argument for Gale but you kind of persuaded me, I have no idea. I love them both!

  3. I love how you're so into this! Honestly, I've never felt swayed either way and can't decide. But you do make a good argument for Peeta! I might now just have to pick a team. You've made me more excited to read the third book!

  4. Absolutely fantastic argument! I am on Team Peeta too and I think your strongest point for which way Katniss leans is the last one - how she responds to Peeta's capture in the same way her mom responded to her father's death. Your defense is so well-researched and I love how it relies on the text. I am so worried about what will happen to Peeta in the final book! I do think the beauty of the series is that Collins has given us two tremendous choices for Katniss and I was broken when Gale was tortured in the marketplace.

    Still, my heart lies with Peeta, for the same reasons yours does! Here is the best defense of Team Gale I have seen - it's by Persnickety Snark! http://persnicketysnark.blogspot.com/2010/01/team-gale-shipper.html

  5. This is actually one of the best arguments for Peeta that I have read. You almost have me but I am still seriously Team Gale. I think Adele at persnickety snark blog does the best at summing up my feelings of "why Gale?" - better than I can ever say it. And personally at this point I don't think Katniss should or could honestly chose either one fairly. The emotions of the circumstances are too high. I think she needs to be able to step away from it all and put some time and distance in there to determine where her heart really lies.

  6. :) This is great. I am an essayist at heart, so reading something that is backed up by block quotes makes me warm and fuzzy.
    I personally am Team Polyandry...I love them both. I think you make great arguments for Peeta, but I do want to say one thing:
    The first quote you mention where Katniss says she doesn't love Gale and that she's not jealous for the reasons people think she is I would actually call a good argument for her *having* feelings for Gale. It's a bit 'lady doth protest too much' etc., etc. And she's that type of character. She doesn't seem to know herself, and she likes to deny what's really going on and what she's really feeling until it creeps up on her and she can't deny it. I think it's a fear of getting hurt, but it makes the things she says (about Peeta *and* Gale) suspect...

  7. I am totally TEAM PEETA for life!!!! I LOVED your reasons that makes me feel more attached to peeta more than ever...

  8. I thought about your last point after the second book, how she just "checked out" after he was taken by Snow. TEAM PEETA ALL THE WAY!!! :p

  9. I have 6 simple reasons as to why be team peeta
    -gale is a fail
    -men who ice cake are sexy
    -if peeta and gale were in the hunger games, peeta would camouflage himself to a tree or something, then when gale walks by peeta would throw something heavy at him and then frost gale to death
    -are you kidding? this team literally offers cake
    -katniss loafs peeta and peeta loafs katniss, it's as simple as that
    -Peeta has a kind heart and awesome buns!!!!!