TikTok is highlighting why ‘Hunger Games’ remains a success

Hunger Games

By WVUA23 Digital Reporter Jas Orr

TikTok has a new obsession — or rather a new, old obsession. “The Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins has taken TikTok by storm, but this time, fans are taking a closer look at what made this series so good. 

The series consists of three books, “The Hunger Games” (2008), “Catching Fire” (2009) and “Mockingjay” (2010), plus a more recent prequel novel, “A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (2020) set 64 years before “The Hunger Games.” The original three novels were made into a four-movie series of smash box office hits, making more than $3 billion.

In November, “A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is hitting theaters, starring Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird and Tom Blyth as Coriolanus Snow. 

The original novels center around 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to take her sister’s place in the titular Hunger Games, a deathmatch starring 24 teens from the 12 districts surrounding an  extravagant Capitol whose residents eagerly watch the bloodshed.

Collins defined her books as “a war story, first and foremost,” as the books examine themes of love, loss, poverty and power in a war torn world. 

Much of the more recent rise in the series TikTok popularity may be credited to the account @luckyleftie, who has posted 95 videos as of reporting on the series, each amassing hundreds of thousands of views with several reaching into the million-plus view mark.

Her first Hunger Games video was posted on March 5; since then her content has focused on the series. Her presence is ubiquitous enough that it’s earned memes like this video from @kholscashcam. 

Another major factor in the series’ rediscovered fame is all four original movies were added to Netflix at the end of February. Throughout March and into early April, at least one of the four movies was ranked among the Top 10 Movies category on the platform.

The addition to Netflix came at a perfect time for the series, as Gen Z readers who enjoyed the series and movies when they were younger are now entering adulthood and can see their own life experiences reflected in the series. 

“The themes resonate with me way more now than when I read it as a kid,” said 22-year-old Mar Colborn. “I’ve noticed so many little details that are so messed up, but completely flew over my head the first time I read the series. You really start to understand that it’s about so much more than a love triangle, and Katniss choosing between Gale and Peeta is more about her picking her ideology than anything else.”

The popularity of the series may be a signal for something larger, however. Following the 2008 recession, the New York Times reported a notable rise in dystopian fiction on their bestseller list, a phenomena also noted during the Cold War and the Great Depression.

Cultural theorist Richard Williams made note of this in his writings, where he stated a sentiment echoed by many of those discussing “The Hunger Games” series now: “Often it is simply that in the good novel the ordinary situations and feelings are worked through to their maximum intensity.”

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