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Back to Panem: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Suzanne Collins, photo courtesy of the author

The Hunger Games is one of the most defining movie franchises in recent history. Before Jennifer Lawrence captivated the world with her performance, Katniss Everdeen was the protagonist of the dystopian series written by Suzanne Collins.

Brief Background:

The world of The Hunger Games takes place in Panem. In Panem, society is divided into districts with their own class structure and social hierarchy. The Capitol, which consists of the ruling class, is in charge of the annual games where districts must send “tributes” to participate.

The tributes must be one boy and one girl between the ages of 12–18. The annual games, known as the “Hunger Games,” is a battle royale where tributes must fight to the death.

Upon learning that her sister will become a tribute, Katniss takes her place and finds herself thrust into a world of violence and corruption as she struggles to survive.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: What We Know So Far:

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place before the trilogy’s events. Set sixty-four years before the first book’s events, the story’s protagonist is Coriolanus Snow, also known as “President Snow” from the original trilogy.

In this story, he has yet to become the complex character we know in the book. As a young man, Coriolanus “Coryo” Snow is a native of the Capitol, where the tenth Hunger Games is about to take place. Unlike the original trilogy, people weren’t as excited at the games as they usually were. In fact, many find it boring to see impoverished children kill each other or starve to death.

Of course, that all changes this year. To commemorate the tenth games, a few participants from the Academy—an elite school for children from the Capitol—will act as mentors to these tributes. The idea behind this mentorship is that it will inject some sense of unity between the Capitol and the districts.

Coryo, who has lost everything in the war of the First Rebellion except for his name and reputation, becomes a mentor. Unfortunately, he must mentor a girl from District 12, historically the worst-performing district in the games.

Nevertheless, Coryo isn’t going down without a fight. With the hopes of achieving greatness and recognition, he works hard to get Lucy Gray Baird the win. While she’s neither strong nor deadly, she is charming, which Cory thinks she can work to her advantage.

Eventually, Cory uses his wits and cunning to put ideas to the Gamemakers, ensuring they work to Lucy’s advantage. While it may work for her to win, what happens when Cory’s lust for power eventually consumes him?

Suzanne Collins does a fantastic job of building Panem back to its early days. While the book’s action is not like the original trilogy, it does a tremendous job of filling the gaps on what made the games the way they were today. Additionally, it deals with ambition, power, and how corruption spreads unexpectedly.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes Film Movie: Some Updates Before Its Release

Unsurprisingly, a film adaptation of the book was announced sometime after the book’s release. While Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson won’t return as the District 12 lovers, the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie still has an impressive cast list.

Some names you may recognize include Academy-award-winning actress Viola Davis as Volumnia Gaul, the head game maker; Game of Thrones‘ Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom, dean of the Academy; and Euphoria’s Hunter Schafer as Tigris, Coriolanus’ closest confidante.

If you’re excited about the movie, the release date for the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is 2023. Its trailer is readily available on YouTube. However, if you’re a fan of Suzanne Collins and would love to read the world through her words, then the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes book is available worldwide.

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