Erin Jamieson

Finding faith in a franchise

By  Erin Jamieson, Youth Speak News
  • December 5, 2014

I have a confession: I am a film franchise nut, and I fully immerse myself in whatever fictional universe the franchise engages in.

During the Star Wars years, I engaged in a lightsaber battle with my brother. During my Harry Potter phase, I bought a chocolate frog just for the collectable card. And during Twilight mania, much to my embarrassment, I teared up during the premiere. So my love for The Hunger Games Trilogy books, and the subsequent movies, is no surprise to those who know me best.

Now that I’m older, though, I sometimes pause and take a step back from the mania, to think about what I’m really watching.

I went to watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 on its opening day. This movie continues the story of teenage heroine Katniss Everdeen as she joins an underground revolution to overthrow a vicious and manipulative dictator. This film differs from the first two. Aside from the violence of the Games, or in this case, the revolution, this film also depicts the emotional issues Katniss struggles with as she deals with the loss from her past, combined with the huge responsibility of being the face of the revolution.

It is easy to look at a movie like The Hunger Games and only see the violence it depicts — the tortures a tyrannical government callously inflicts on its people and the manipulation used to subdue the rage of the oppressed. A deeper analysis might speak of the contemporary themes of political unrest, the power of social media and the malleability of a mob. These themes are integral to the film’s commentary, but so is the lesson about the power of a person, of love and of unity.

While the love triangle involving Katniss in the first two movies may seem to take a backseat to the revolution in this latest film, love and compassion still remain driving forces behind action. Katniss’ decision to represent the revolution rests on a deal to protect her friends and family, and the revolution itself rests on the idea that a single person’s story of strength is enough to unify an entire nation of the oppressed to willingly sacrifice themselves for the promise of a better tomorrow.

Love is the lifeblood of this franchise. It drives the decisions of the heroine; it influences the masses; it creates hope; it restores faith. In a dark world where manipulation is used on both sides, and where love can still be used as a weapon, it means suffering cannot destroy one’s ability to love. “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13). I believe this film makes an incredible statement about the truth of this Scripture passage. Despite how hard the people on both sides work to make their words alter society, it is Katniss in unscripted moments of love, heartbreak and compassion that sway the people.

(Jamieson, 19, is a second-year Knowledge Integration student at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont.)

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