Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! I'm counting the days until Tuesday's release of Mockingjay, the final installment in Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games series. Apparently I'm not the only one, because the book is listed as the #1 bestselling book on Amazon, days before its release.
I've been thinking a lot about what to expect, and have crafted some speculations based on the novels themselves and also from Roman history. These aren't really spoilers so much as theories, so take them all with a grain of salt. Just before Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, I had fun blogging my wild theories about the book and then seeing which ones were correct, and which ones--rather spectacularly--were not. (Regulus Black did not turn out to be Crookshanks. But it was a great idea!)
Just as names are important in Harry Potter, they're an important clue in The Hunger Games. Some District names derive from plants (Katniss, Prim, Rue); others from nature's elements (Gale), others from the agricultural process (Thresh, Seeder, Chaff, Haymitch); and still others from food (Peeta, "the boy with the bread"). In the Districts, names are related to nature in some way. These contrast sharply to names in the Capitol and inner districts, which have come straight from the Roman Empire: Octavia, Flavius, Portia, Caesar, Claudius, Brutus, Plutarch, Cato, Venia, Cinna. (This last one is especially telling, because in the play Julius Caesar, there are two characters named Cinna: one conspires against Caesar, and the other is a humble poet who dies because he is mistaken for the first Cinna. Collins's Cinna has embodied a little of both.)
The land in which this story is taking place is called Panem, a Latin word meaning bread. In the Roman Empire, a vast network of conquered peoples, the emperor asserted both his authority and his magnanimity through panem et circenses ("bread and circuses"). In this approach, the Empire appeased the people's basest desires by distributing free food to the provinces and providing gladiatorial spectacles for their entertainment. Over time, the people of Rome demanded larger and ever more violent performances, using conquered peoples from around the world who were forced to fight each other to the death as gladiators.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/flunkingsainthood/2010/08/hunger-games-speculation-spoilers-speculations-about-suzanne-collinss-mockingjay.html#ixzz0xWmNejYt