Ten years after The Hunger Games was first published, quotes from all three novels in the series feel even more impactful than when we first read them.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was released on September 14, 2008, and since its debut, it has become a cultural phenomenon. With two more books in the series, and a total of four film adaptations, The Hunger Games can go down in history as a wildly successful franchise both on the page and the silver screen.
The realism of The Hunger Games is what drew so much attention, and that was even before we entered our current political climate. Now, it feels like we’re closer than ever to Katniss’ world. What a terrifying thought.
Here are 10 Hunger Games quotes that feel even more relatable and poignant than they did a decade ago.
‘May the odds be ever in your favor.’
This one is a classic. Effie says it in honor of the Hunger Games, but we hear several other characters say it throughout the series, both genuinely and sarcastically, enthusiastically and remorsefully. You’ve probably said it yourself at one point or another. And it applies, doesn’t it? It seems like the odds are rarely in the favor of the rebellion, but we must have hope, regardless.
‘Destroying things is much easier than making them.’
Katniss says this to Rue when she’s figuring out how to destroy the Careers’ food stash. It took the other tributes quite a while to gather and organize everything, but only seconds for Katniss to blow it all up. And it’s true in real life as well. It feels as though we’ve been working toward a better world for generations, only for it all to start collapsing within a matter of months.
‘Stupid people are dangerous.’
Is there anything more true than this line uttered by Katniss? Stupidity is willful ignorance, and ignorance leads to misinformation. You need only look around to see how misinformation can affect everyday life, and especially the lives of minorities. For some, it can be life and death. Those looking to push their agenda don’t often care whether or not they’re speaking the truth, as long as it justifies their cause. It’s our job to continue spreading truth to combat the ignorance and keep the world a little safer.
‘Here’s some advice. Stay alive.’
Haymitch’s advice for Peeta and Katniss is pretty straightforward, not to mention practical. In today’s day and age, we would hope that many people are thriving more than just surviving, but for refugees in particular, it’s the least they can ask for. When the world seems like it’s too much to bear, the best we can hope for is to continue on. Take it one day at a time and hope one day you can do more than just stay alive.
‘For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.’
This is a big part of what hurts so much in the current political climate. Lines are being drawn in the sand between neighbors, friends, and even family members. Where you once trusted the person you knew was good and descent, now it looks like you never really knew them at all. The hope is that your fellow human beings care about your well-being regardless of whether they know you or not, but this betrayal hits even harder when it’s personal.
‘As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.’
Katniss’ father is talking about the plant she was named after, but the line is obviously metaphorical. And it applies to the real world, too. Sometimes the only person you can rely on is yourself, and if you truly know who you are and where you stand, that will give you sustenance. There is nothing stronger — or more dangerous — than a person who’s assured in their convictions.
‘I’m taken aback by the directness and even the sincerity of this speech. As if his primary concern is the welfare of the citizens of Panem, when nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t know how I dare to say the next words, but I do. ‘It must be very fragile, if a handful of berries can bring it down.’
Katniss is remarking on President Snow’s monologue about his concern for the safety of Panem and its citizens, but we know as well as she does that its complete bullshit. He doesn’t care about his people; he only cares about his power. Sound familiar? Katniss knows she’s toeing a line when she makes the comment about the berries, and it’s in a similar fashion to the way journalists operate in this day and age. If the truth is such a dangerous weapon that our government fears its impact, then maybe what they’re trying to hold together isn’t as impenetrable as they’d like us to believe.
‘Remember who the real enemy is.’
In The Hunger Games, this is a reminder that Katniss’ fellow tributes are not the real enemy, but rather the Capitol and President Snow. These days, it seems everyone is quick to anger, and while arguing with your neighbor over their behavior is a valid response if their actions endanger your livelihood, it’s important to remember the root of the problem goes much deeper.
‘You’ve got to go through it to get to the end of it.’
This line is in similar fashion to Churchill’s famous saying, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” It’s easier to tell someone not to give up than to be the person who struggles every day to continue fighting. But it’s still the only way we’ll ever see the end of the fight. Greasy Sae knew her words were only a slight comfort to Katniss, but they were full of truth, nonetheless.
‘We fight, we dare, we end our hunger for justice.’
Can the hunger for justice ever really end? Probably not. But it can be sated, even momentarily, and sometimes that’s all we can truly expect. The Hunger Games is an entertaining and heartbreaking fictional story, but art imitates life, and there are plenty more quotes that reflect the world we currently live in. There are many ways you can continue to fight against injustice, and hopefully Suzanne Collins’ story will continue to inspire you.