Fandom: The Hunger Games
Pairings: Katniss/Peeta, Katniss/Gale, Katniss/Haymitch, Katniss/Cinna, Annie/Finnick, Johanna/Haymitch, Johanna/Finnick, Johanna/Gale, Madge/Gale, Foxface/Thresh, Cato/Clove
Spoilers: ALL THE SPOILERS. Right up until the last page of Mockingjay.
To get it out of the way, I’ll say it now. I am a multi-shipper. I can’t think of very many fandoms where I don’t ship multiple, conflicting, pairings. I’m usually very good at coming up with evidence for why couples should be together, even if they are superficially incompatible, don’t share a single moment of screen-time, or just aren’t involved (for any reason whatsoever).
So, The Hunger Games.
The three books in the trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay), are three of my favourite pieces of young adult fiction. Katniss Everdeen is a wonderful example of a modern heroine. She’s incredibly, intensely, and sometimes irritatingly, human. She’s put in one impossible situation after another, and, though she makes some questionable choices, she survives right to the very end.
But she wouldn’t be anything without the rest of the Hunger Games world. So many wonderful, amazing people appear throughout the three books, some as main characters, others on the side-lines, and a whole host of others appear for a moment or are merely hinted at. Despite the critics, who disparage the politics of the Capitol, the violence of the situations that the characters endure, and the general themes of children killing children for the delight of the general public (not to mention the hints of what those victors might have to do after they win).
However, they usually seem to ignore the fact that the vast majority of the characters have the same issues with their world. Katniss doesn’t go into the arena because she wants to kill people – she does it, almost without thinking, to protect her little sister. And even at the end, when push comes to shove, she doesn’t allow Coin to continue to perpetrate the same vicious acts as Snow, she kills her, to protect the children of the Capitol from the Games.
But I’m getting off point. My point is that there is so much more to these books than the premise. They’re full of complex, faceted human beings, and luckily, there’s a wide and varied fandom out there who understand that too. So, in my fic rec choices, I didn’t want to confine myself to one ship, or even two. I’ve tried to find a good (preferably un-recced) fic for eleven of the many relationships that I enjoy reading.
I hope you find something new!
Fic Rec #1: Zero Sum
Length: 7,835 words
Why This Must Be Read: Starting off with the most canon of ships – Katniss & Peeta. I chose this one, partly because it’s an AU. I have a real love of this type of AU, the “What If?” fic – in this case, what if Rue survived the attack by Marvel?
Fic Rec #2 Four Times Katniss Wasn’t Reaped (And One Time She Was)
Length: 3,944 words
Why This Must Be Read: Katniss/Gale is a weird ship, to me. I prefer to see it as a strange sort of half-unrequited love, half-comfort in someone who knows. I also far prefer Katniss/Gale fics either set before the 74th Games (like this particularly wonderful example), or in some sort of AU. I guess I just see the girl Katniss was before as a very different character from the one who entered the Arena.
Fic Rec #3: To The Victor, The Spoil
Length: 13,360 words
Rating/Warning(s): Explicit, underage, prostitution, very dark
Why This Must Be Read: This one has been recced here before, but I just couldn’t resist choosing it again.
I love AU fic, and this one is a particularly brilliant example. In this, Katniss won the 74th Games alone, killing Peeta. Now she has to live with herself like any other Victor, and of course, she turns to the only other person who could understand – Haymitch. It features some brilliant stuff from Finnick, Johanna and Cinna, but the basis is Katniss and Haymitch’s twisted relationship. Amazing stuff.
Fic Rec #4: and his actions, a gift (for a god without a name)
Length: 1,335 words
Why This Must Be Read: I’m surprised that Katniss/Cinna isn’t a more popular ship than it is, to be honest, but there we go.
This one is just a short one, but I think it really hits on the reason I love Katniss/Cinna as a couple. He believes in her. He’s the first person, outside of District 12, who really believes in Katniss. I truly think that she never would have been able to become the Mockingjay without him – not because of the clothes, though they are feats of practical magic – but because she needed his faith. The faith of someone who only met her after she became a Tribute, who hadn’t known her her entire life, but saw the beacon of light and hope she could become.
Fic Rec #5: Scylla And Charybdis
Author: Mithrigil & Puella_Nerdii
Length: 61,326 words
Why This Must Be Read: I think Finnick/Annie is one of the most compelling ships in the entire canon. Finnick is originally portrayed as this hyper-sexualised party boy, whose greatest talent is extracting secrets from the Capitol citizens who are desperate to conquer a Victor. Then we hear about Annie. Poor, fragile Annie, who became a Victor almost by the sheer fluke of being able to swim. And suddenly Finnick gets layers. He’s a Capitol whore because he will do anything to protect his girl.
This is the story of them, all the way from her Reaping. (And it’s wonderful.)
Fic Rec #6: Another Little Piece Of My Heart
Length: 1,817 words
Rating/Warning(s): Mature, dark
Why This Must Be Read: This is actually an interlude fic in a much longer series, but it works okay as a stand-alone if you prefer.
I have a particular soft spot for ships between two previous Victors, and Haymitch/Johanna is one of my personal favourites. They’re both such broken people, dark and twisted and half-destroyed by what they’ve done. However, when written well, they can take such comfort and protection from each-other.
Fic Rec #7: Interlude
Length: 2,748 words
Why This Must Be Read: And the natural follow-up to Johanna/Haymitch is Johanna/Finnick. I must admit, I find this image of the younger Victors really compelling, them as careless, derisive cynics, using alcohol and sex to cope with their lives as State-sanctioned whores. Of course they take their pleasure and comfort in each other, because only the people in the club understand what it’s like.
Fic Rec #8: Feel What It’s Like To Be New
Length: 7,525 words
Why This Must Be Read: I think Johanna is my favourite match for Gale. Particularly post-Mockingjay as this one is. As with most Hunger Games ships, they’re both broken people. Johanna has endured the Arena twice, as well as the war, and Gale had his inventions turned against him, killing one of the people he loves most in the world. This fic is about them learning to fix themselves, together.
BTW, I would also recommend everything else this author wrote. She’s marvellous.
Fic Rec #9: Comfort
Length: 6,207 words
Why This Must Be Read: Madge/Gale is often a background ship in Katniss/Peeta fics, and it’s easy to see why – pair the spares and all that. But they can be more. I love this version of them, left behind in District 12 while the people they love are sent to the Capitol, learning that they have more in common than they think.
Fic Rec #10: the dice was loaded from the start
Length: 4,226 words
Why This Must Be Read: One of my absolute favourite tropes in fanfic is the “untold story”. You know, the subplot that was never seen or heard about in the canon material, but which absolutely could have happened. The one that takes two comparatively unnoticed characters and gives them a story which not only fits perfectly with the canon, but makes both stories even better.
So, here, read the untold story of the other star-crossed lovers of the 74th Hunger Games.
Fic Rec #11: Knife’s Edge
Length: 4,173 words
Why This Must Be Read: The Career tributes are often the most interesting. The ones who have been trained and honed and born to murder each-other in the Arena. In the 74th Games, the most intriguing pair are obviously Cato and Clove.
This fic tracks them from their first meeting (she’s 8, he’s 9), all the way up to the training preceding their Games. It’s a wonderful journey, and I particularly love this version of Cato.