In addition to being an author, I’ve been a part of science fiction, fantasy, and horror fandom for 25 years. SFFH readers, writers, and fans are like family in many ways.
After meeting an interesting variety of Hunger Games fans on the internet, I began wondering what drives them. What is it about the Hunger Games that they love so much? What do they think about the upcoming movie? I had a lot of questions, and so I decided to ask Kira and Matt. During the past few months, I’ve been delighted to meet many Hunger Games fans, including the amazing Kira and Matt, who run a popular fansite devoted to the Hunger Games trilogy.
To start off, please tell us a little about your three fansites: Nightlock Podcast. How is your site unique from other Hunger Games fansites?
Kira: Nightlock is a Hunger Games Podcast that discusses the series through fun interactive segments. We start off each show with news happening in the fandom, then our Mocking Mail segment follows shortly after where we read messages from listeners. Our main segment is where we analyze the books through focusing on two chapters per episode. During this segment we also make connections to our world and society. Next is a fun segment such as debating which character would win in a duel. We always end the show with a song, which we relate back to the novel or more specially the chapters we conversed about. Our episodes are release on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month, so fans can check us out on iTunes for new and previous episodes.
Why do you like the Hunger Games so much?
Kira: The Hunger Games has so many aspects to it; it’s not just a love story or adventure. This series creates a new world with adventure, tragedy, inventions, and of course a love triangle. The Hunger Games stimulates so many excellent discussions, which is ideal for any podcast dedicated to a book series. We are able to converse about what Collins wants her readers to learn. We also analyze characters through our different segments. This series has so much to debate about, we have so much material to cover.
Matt: The Hunger Games contains a series of drastic plot-lines and deceiving motives from all the characters. The series also teaches the readers an important lesson about life and human nature. It focuses on how humans react to life or death situations, how materialistic human society has become, and what it truly means to fall in love with someone and to test if you would be willing to actually die for them.
Of the three books, do you have a favorite, and if so, why?
Matt: Based on all three books, I have to say that Mockingjay is probably my favorite out of the series. I have discussed this question with several people and many say that The Hunger Games is their favorite because it covers the main climax of the series, which is the Hunger Games. However, Mockingjay, to me, is sort of like the “real life” Hunger Games because (Spoiler) Katniss is fighting for the freedom of Panem, which everyone has been struggling for since the Rebellion.
What do you like most about Katniss in each of the three books?
Kira: Katniss is a great role model for kids of all ages, especially girls. There are so many famous series that have the main hero as male, the Hunger Games has the heroine. Her role influences girls in positive ways. I admire her maturity taking care of her family. How many 16-year-old girls can say they have that much responsibility? Her love for nature is an aspect I can personally relate to, it’s an escape from our lives. It’s the place where life is free and calm. Her knowledge of hunting is another way she is seen as a tomboy, another aspect I can relate to.
If you had to be a tribute, what particular strength or skill would you want to have, and why?
Kira: If I was the unlucky kid picked to be tribute, I would want to have sword fighting skills as well as nature knowledge. I think a combination of the two would keep me alive during the games. I would be able to support myself with finding edible plants, berries, and be familiar with different type of trees. As for protecting myself, a sword would be great in hand to hand combat. It is a strong weapon that wouldn’t run out unlike bows and arrows. A sword can easily hurt someone, in this case kill, with one swift move. It can easily be carried on a belt as well. Hopefully these strengths would give me a chance in the games.
It broke my heart to read what happened with Prim and Rue. Which characters affected you most deeply?
Matt: The character(s) that affected me most deeply are Prim and probably Peeta. (Spoiler:) Although Peeta did not die, I still find him one of the best role models in the entire series because he is more than just a manipulative being to the audience; he has an excessive amount of care and compassion for the people he holds most dearly to him. Peeta also has this strong-willed aspect about him that I’ve yet to find in any other character from any other novel. Prim touches me very dearly because of her actions, how she will do whatever it takes to help someone in need. Being that I want to go into the medical field, I can relate to Prim so closely, but when she died, it absolutely broke me and, to be honest, I cried for about an hour after reading that part because it caught me so off guard.
Lois: I was also horrified by what happened to Prim, and when she died, it brought tears to my eyes, as well. She represented innocence, hope for the future, and beauty.
What do you think is the scariest aspect of the Hunger Games trilogy?
Matt: Probably the scariest aspect of the Hunger Games Trilogy is tributes killing one another in order to stay alive and children leaving their families behind with the chance that they won’t return. Everything else that happens in the series (Storming on the Capitol) is equivalent to many wars and fights in the real world, but to be pulled from your family and put in a fight to the death, that’s pure torture and horror for a child.
Do you think the actors and actresses who have been cast for the roles in the Hunger Games movie fit the images of the characters in the books?
Matt: Yes, Kira and I both agree that the actors and actresses have been perfectly cast for the film. Kira actually said that she pictured Peeta to look exactly like Josh Hutcherson, as I did as well. Since the movie hasn’t been released yet, it’s difficult to determine how well they fit their roles, but based on the trailer, they seem to capture their characters in an way that’s indescribable.
Lois: The trailer gave me a zing of excitement! While the still photos of all the actors and actresses made me wonder how they might look in their Hunger Games roles, the trailer coalesced all my images into crystal clarity. (Oh wow, Effie Trinket was amazing!)
How did you become involved with Hunger Games fandom?
Kira: I heard about the series back in early 2010 from a friend (she has actually guest hosted on the show: Mariah) who had read it. She loved it and passed it onto me. Right away I knew the series was very unique. I quickly read through the first two books and, after a long wait, the third. A year later I was looking to start a podcast. I then asked Matt if he was interested in hosting one with me. I passed the book onto him, during finals, and he read a good portion that night and was thrilled to have the podcast dedicated to the Hunger Games.
Matt: Our school does a summer reading program where teachers choose books to read for students and one teacher was reading The Hunger Games, so we both decided to read it, even though Kira had already read it. I absolutely feel in love with the books and couldn’t stop reading them, even when we had finals the next day. After reading the first book, Kira came to me and said “Hey, how about we do a Hunger Games Podcast?” And thus, Nightlock Podcast was born!
What are your roles with Nightlock Podcast, HungerGamesMovie.org, and HGGirlonfire.com?
Matt: Both Kira and myself are the Founders, Hosts, and Producers of Nightlock Podcast. Nightlock is the official podcast for HungerGamesMovie.org and for HGGirlonfire.com, we are affiliated with them as well. Kira handles most of the advertising with Nightlock, including our Twitter account (Nightlockpod), our e-mail ([email protected]) and our Facebook Page. I, on the other hand, do most of the technical work, which includes working on the website (nightlockpodcast.com) and the segments on the episodes, but to sum it up, Kira does a lot more work on it than I do.
Are you engrossed in any other fan bases other than Hunger Games?
Kira: I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and grew up with my mom reading the books and friends constantly talking about the fandom. Most of my teachers know me as the Potterhead. I was a big fan of a Harry Potter podcast, Mugglecast and that’s what inspired our podcast. As that fandom is coming to a close, with all the books and movies being released, I did fall back on the Hunger Games as well as the Mortal Instruments. The Mortal Instruments is another book series with four books released and two more to come. The first book, City of Bones, is being currently casting for a movie. I believe both fandoms will be a great success, maybe even up there with Potter.
What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
Kira: Other than obsessing over book series, I do have something of a life. I play on my high school’s field hockey team which takes up my fall. I love nature, particularly the woods, and am currently pursuing my Gold Award (which is the equivalent to an Eagle Scout award) by showing families that nature can be a great escape from our crazy lives. Going along with my nature-loving, I am a president of my school’s Green Team where we make our school more environmentally friendly.
Matt: I am a huge classical music nerd; I absolutely love that kind of music. I also play in a youth orchestra with my clarinet; I’ve been there for about five years.
Lois: Interesting. I can easily see why you (Kira) like Katniss so much. You seem to have a bit in common with her: athletic and helping families appreciate and enjoy nature. Matt, as for loving classical music, that’s a sweet beauty in itself. My daughter majored in classical flute performance in college, and our home was filled with beautiful music for many years. I hope you have a cat—ours loved the combo of flute and harp music!
Many thanks to Kira and Matt for joining me today—please make sure to stop by their Hunger Games fansite and support them! They are running a contest now through mid-December, two winners will receive a copy of my book, The Hunger Games Companion.
Nightlock is the official podcast for HungerGamesMovie.org, created and run by Will Wright, and for HGGirlonfire.com, created and run by Sheila Cordero and Lindsay McComber. My thanks to both of these sites, as well!
Stay tuned to http://loisgresh.blogspot.com for more from these fine Hunger Games fansites!