Study Guide

The Hunger Games What's Up With the Ending?

What's Up With the Ending?

There's a trick to franchises like The Hunger Games, whether in movie form or the somewhat quainter book form. How do you get closure with the ending while still opening the door for bigger (and higher grossing) sequels? In some ways, you can measure a franchise by how elegantly it pulls that off.

Luckily, The Hunger Games has a built-in blueprint: the book, which gives us a proper ending without closing the door on future entries. Katniss and Peeta survive the Hunger Games against all odds, then return to District 12 as champions. High-fives all around. A happy ending for our hard-working protagonists, and let the District 12 moonshine flow.

That's as good a place as any to bow out, and we can leave Katniss here satisfied that she's okay, at least for now. It covers the basics of what an ending should be and won't leave us feeling cheated or denied. Had there been no other books or movies in the series, it wouldn't feel incomplete.

Of course, not everyone gets to their happy place by the end of this. There's no high-fiving with the other Tributes, for example, and Seneca Crane's bungling earns him a locked room and bowl full of poisonous berries to eat. That's the kind of creepy, ironic death normally reserved for Edgar Allan Poe stories.

But the larger story still hasn't been told. President Snow is still running the show, after all, and next year's Hunger Games will still be going on as scheduled. District 12 is still collectively poor as dirt, and malcontents like Gale are still waiting for the moment when they can rise up and topple the regime.

Then there's the problem that Katniss and Peeta face personally. They have to keep up the charade that they're in love, even though Katniss made her feelings clear. That means pretending every time they step out of the house. Oh, and that comes on top of the trauma of almost being killed for the amusement of several million people, as they discuss quietly in the last lines of the film:

PEETA: So what happens when we get back?

KATNISS: I don't know. I guess we try to forget.

PEETA: I don't want to forget.

Clearly, it's going to be a long road to that final "happily ever after." And clearly there's going to be a few new chapters, incredibly profitable chapters, in this story, even as the credits roll.

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