Today’s blog post has been inspired by my re-read and re-watch of The Hunger Games trilogy. I love this series and Finnick Odair is truly one of my favourite fictional characters of all time. But he deserved better. He didn’t get the treatment he truly deserved by Suzanne Collins. Therefore, today I am going to argue why he deserved better in both the books and films so prepare yourselves. Also this post is going to be full of spoilers for The Hunger Games so beware.
Finnick is introduced in Catching Fire as one of the victors to watch out for. He won his games at FOURTEEN, the youngest victor in history (this itself is so interesting and I wish we saw more) and he is very skilled with a trident. However, I don’t think we truly get to see him shine in battle scenes. This is a very minor point and if it wasn’t for all of the other stuff, I wouldn’t care as much but I feel like he needed more time to showcase that he’s very skilled.
RIGHT. This is one of my biggest issues. Suzanne Collins gives him a fantastic and interesting backstory as he was sold as a sex slave by the Capitol. However, I feel like we don’t dive into this far enough. He says it during a propos filming but that’s it. I think we needed at least one conversation of him talking about exactly what happened and his feelings because that is a lot to go through at FOURTEEN. Especially because it clearly caused him to suffer a lot and it should really be something we delved further into.
Finnick and Annie
My next big issue is with the disregarding of Finnick and Annie’s love story. We are introduced to Finnick and Katniss believes he is a bit of a man whore, so we believe he is too. However, in the jabberjay scene, it becomes clear that this is not the case as it is revealed that he loves someone called Annie who we know is the ‘mad girl’ in District 4 who Mags volunteered for. HOWEVER, do we ever get this love story? No. We never get told the backstory of how they fell in love. AND THEN we get their marriage in book 3 however, this does not have enough of a focus on them. It happens very quickly and is mainly seen as a distraction for those in District 13 and they deserved better. We could have had at least one conversation between him and Katniss at the wedding to see his point of view. Especially because soon after, he joins the squad and leaves Annie behind. It would have been great to see a scene between them before he left.
ALSO, Annie’s pregnancy is mentioned very quickly in passing on the second to last page which is ridiculous. It would have been great to have more time to realise what that meant for her.
Now, Mockingjay. For most of this book, Finnick is going through a bit of an intense mental breakdown, understandably. The Capitol has Annie and he knows they’re torturing her (though we never really find out what they did to her). This shows how much he really loves Annie because he goes crazy when he knows she’s being tortured. However, I feel like his breakdown is sort of brushed over. Katniss does try and help him and there are some great moments with it but it would have been great for Katniss to talk to him more about it, similarly to how she does with Johanna when she returns. There’s a scene where it is mentioned that Finnick and Katniss go hunting in the woods, however we never actually properly see this scene. This was a perfect opportunity for them to have a conversation and I’m mad that Suzanne Collins didn’t do it.
So, the main thing that irritates me with Finnick’s treatment; his death. I mean first of, the fact that he dies at all has always bothered me but I think that’s just because I love Finnick so I didn’t want to accept it. However, his death is too quick. He just sort of dies and the story moves on. I understand that they’re in the middle of the battle so there’s no time to sit and mourn, however it would have been great to have a scene later on after Prim dies and they’re all in the mansion that mourned him. At least a conversation with Annie. But no, we don’t get that. I do appreciate the part where Katniss experiences Finnick’s life flash before her eyes because it gives him a brief moment but I want more. I feel like we as readers were never given the chance to grieve him as the characters never truly grieve him which I hate.
Catching Fire Jabberjays
Right now let’s talk about the films. Now the scene with Jabberjays in Catching Fire is one place where I thought the films did him justice. It truly shows how crazy he goes, especially because even after they get out, you still see him struggling to go back to normal which I love. It really helped to humanise him in the film and show that he is vulnerable in the film.
If I wanted more of his love story in the books, there’s even less of it in the films. The wedding in particular is even worse in the films because it is just so randomly out of place in the film. We never even talk to him in the film, even though there was a perfect opportunity to do that when Katniss joins them on the dance floor.
Related to his love story, his backstory is EVEN MORE TERRIBLY DONE in the films. When he talks about his background, no one even reacts to it and the audience aren’t even thinking about it because they cut it with the rescue of Peeta, Annie and Johanna which was a stupid decision. There’s literally no conversation about it and they act as if it never happpened. Honestly, what a waste.
Another element that isn’t shown as much in the films is Finnick’s breakdown. They never once show him having his breakdown in the films and he is sort of glossed over entirely in Mockingjay until he joins the squad which is stupid. Honestly, in the films they reduced his character to nothing.
Now, all of these factors with the lack of development meant that his death was glossed over even more. He gets a brief moment to shine in battle before he dies but then he just sort of dies. The way they showed his death also made it seem like he was asking for Katniss’s help and then she blows him up which I assume was meant to be her way of making him suffer less but it wasn’t shown well in the film. They have no moments of grief in the film at all. In fact, when they get to safety after that battle, they have a moment of grieving Castor, a very minor character and no mention of Finnick which is crazy.
In conclusion, Finnick Odair deserved better and I am willing to die on this hill.