It’s interesting how the Hunger Games is often applied to modern situations and problems. The three-fingered salute, for example, has come into play in real-life during the last few years, notably in the Taiwanese protests. We look at the books as social commentaries and often draw connections between the Capitol and corrupt politicians and corporations.
We’ve applied The Hunger Games to many different “faces of evil,” if you will.
And yet The Hunger Games really only has one single main antagonist: President Coriolanus Snow.
Behind the constables, the career tributes, and the game makers, there’s a single man pulling the strings and inflicting devastation across Panem. He doesn’t really have the stereotypical henchmen you often see when dealing with villains. There’s no Hunger Games version of Bellatrix Lestrange or the Death Eaters. It’s just him.
But at the same time it’s not.
You could probably make a good argument that The Hunger Games has left a lasting mark on our culture (of course, the following couple of years will tell us if that’s true). At the very least it’s probably safe to say that it’s contributed to our culture more than any other YA series since Harry Potter. And there’s a reason for that. There’s a reason why people are comparing The Hunger Games to everyday life. It’s because Suzanne Collins was very deliberately making a statement on our society. She was showing us the good and the evil in our culture.
And that’s who President Snow is. He is the evil. He is the face we see in the difficulties surrounding us.
Fictional? Yes. And yet so much more realistic than we’d ever hope for.
President Snow is Caesar Flickerman. He’s the pomp and circumstance behind atrocious crimes against humanity. He’s the fabricator of the false illusion of the “glory” of war and the pain hidden behind it.
President Snow is Seneca Crane. He’s the author of death and destruction. He’s the one who will prolong suffering solely for his own amusement and gain.
President Snow is the explosion in the mine. He’s the one who forces the innocent to risk their lives for himself. He’s the reason why so many mourn the loss of a loved one.
President Snow is the cornucopia. He is the keeper of medicine, protection, and shelter. He is the false hope. Too many pay the price of blood just to receive his gifts.
President Snow is the Quarter Quell. He’s the reminder that cruelty exists. He’s the murderer of peace and rest.
President Snow is the terror in a tribute’s mind. He’s the fear in the hearts of children who go to sleep, the hopelessness felt in the face of death.
President Snow is poison. He’s society’s cancer, inciting decay more than beauty. He replaces unity with hatred.
But President Snow is not the Mockingjay. He’s not the free spirit in the skies. He cannot sing because harmony is foreign to him. He’s not the hope that flashes before your eyes, nor is he the smile between friends. He’s not the beauty. He’s not the peace.
You won’t find him in bread, or in a pin, or even in a meadow.
So when you come across Snow in your everyday life — when you’re faced with corruption, deceit, misery, and pain — know that there’s so much more in the world.
Remember the love between siblings and family. Remember the sacrifices of good people. Remember the songs you were taught as a child. Remember the patch of grass beneath the willow.
But most of all, remember that President Snow is not the end.