After the Destruction of District Thirteen and establishment of the Capitol's military prowess, the Treaty of the Treason was unanimously signed by representatives of the remaining Districts. However, much of our current way of life was yet to be established; there was no stable currency outside the Capitol, the Great Fashion Houses hadn't been founded yet, the President's Office had extremely limited powers, the Peacekeepers were yet to be established, and the First Hunger Games - and all the pomp and protocol that comes with our annual festival - would not occur for almost two years. To the average citizen who saw the Treaty signing, all of these things would have seemed as impossible to create as it would for a modern citizen to see these systems vanish, but, for the most part, they came into being incredibly quickly.
EXAM PRACTICE - DOCUMENT ANALYSIS QUESTIONS
- Review the text of the Treaty of the Treason on pages R3-R12 of this book. What does it say about the Hunger Games? The role of the Districts? What parts of it are you surprised by? What would you include that the Founders left out?
- What District concerns did the Treaty address? How could the Districts have sought resolution to these problems nonviolently? List three methods using three different resolutions.
- How did District Thirteen manipulate the Districts so effectively? Read and analyze the Famine Speech, delivered by despot Cassius Coin upon the burning of some seventeen thousand acres of District Nine grain, on page R13; contrast it with the Keystone Speech by first President of Panem Horatius Horneblower on pages R14-19.
Chapter Four: The First Hunger Games
Preparing For The Games
A lot of things had to be established before the Games could begin. Although the Treaty of the Treason called for the first Games to occur within two years of its signing, the exact nature of the Games was still to be determined. How many "tributes from every District" would be required? How would the tributes be chosen? How often would the games occur? How would the games "reflect and honor the history of Panem's reunification?"
To answer these questions and many more, President Horneblower decided to appoint a Commission of Games (Figure 4.1). This commission, which would later become the Captiol Commision for Gamemaking and Gambling (better known as the Gamemakers' Commision), would have members from every Borough of the Capitol and every District of Panem and would come up with the Hunger Games' rules and regulations.
After over a year of intense debate, the twenty-four person panel ratified and published the Games Charter, the basis for all Gamemakers' rulings to this day. It set that the Games would be annually, with a "special commemoration of the dead" every twenty-fifth year; that there would be twenty-four tributes in total, a boy and a girl from every district, to reflect the Commission's own number; that the tributes would be chosen at random; and that the ceremonies would occur outside the Capitol and Districts but also would be televised live and recorded for posterity. The Commission also established a method for amending the Charter, which has been done a handful of times over the years.
The Charter was ratified by the Senate a mere three months before the Games were set to begin. As the District members of the Commission of Games returned home to announce the momentous occasion to their districts. Capitolites rushed to prepare for the event.
When the news comes over the intercom, Clara knows why they've kept her alive. It's not hard to figure out. She's the youngest member of her cell that got caught, turning eighteen two days before the eligibility cutoff, and she's the only one still in a cell. Even if she were too old, if the eligibility date was shifted to the first instead of the fifteenth of March, she's sure there would be a "clerical error" with regards to her birthdate.
She's luckier than whichever kid they pull from the mills, at least. She knows how to hide, to fight dirty, to handle a knife, to defeat someone twice her size in hand-to-hand. (She knows how to kill someone in full armor, if she needs to.) She knows how to keep calm in a crisis, to keep her head down, to keep from crying when she passes her leader's body every day. She had learned a lot from clashes with Capitol troops during the Dark Days; a kid from the mills almost certainly hadn't.
They're both completely screwed.
After all, there are a lot of details that go into the Hunger Games, and few of them can be accomplished in a short time span. The Capitolite members of the Commission decided a deserted section of the Old Capitol Zone near the Rainbow Pass would serve well as the first arena, but a retaining wall (so that camera crews could easily cover the tributes' movements) and audience stands had to be built, and arrangements for the quartering and feeding of tributes had to be made. This was a task that would last until the tributes arrived.
EXAM PRACTICE - SHORT ANSWER QUESTIONS
- What did the Games Charter establish? What elements were later added via amendments? (The full text of the Charter, including Amendments, can be found on page R20-23.) When and why were they added?
- Who were the members of the original Commission? What are its membership prerequisites now?
The Reaping and Opening Ceremonies
Reapings were originally conducted simultaneously across Panem. However, a modern citizen now would hardly recognize these as reapings; there were no balls, no Reading of the Treaty and Charter, no escorts, not even a camera to film this momentous occasion!
The first tributes' names were randomly selected by a computer, and the chosen two were pulled out of class on what we would later call Reaping Day. In some districts, there was acknowledgement of the seriousness of their duty; District Two's tributes (Figure 4.2) were saluted by their classmates as they boarded the train. In most Districts, however, there was barely a pause in the bustle of the school day for the tributes to exit. (Reaping Day was not made an official holiday until the Fifth Hunger Games.)
Ash doesn't know where he's being taken. He's been out of it for the past few days - or maybe it's been weeks? or just hours? - since about a week after the accident, whenever that happened - and when the men detached his IV and grabbed him under the arms, he thought he'd just been sick too long, too expensive, and they were throwing him onto the streets, but then they kept carrying him, past the infirmary and the mill.
Then they get to the train station, and there's a short special there - one engine, one freight car, no flatbeds for lumber - and the men dump Ash on the freight car's floor, and he understands. He almost wishes they'd left him to die in the dirt behind the hospital.
Ash lays down on the car's floor as someone else climbs in. Hair orange as a caution vest and as long as her reputation - even in his state, Ash knows what Ivy Harris looks like. The car doors are closed behind her, and the train starts rumbling down the track, and Ash chokes back a scream; the vibrations are almost too much to bear. Ivy puts his head on her lap and runs her fingers through his hair.
"Who are you?" It's a new voice, a new accent, and Ash peers into the dark, trying to see anyone, anything, as Ivy rises behind him.
"Ivy," she says curtly. "You?"
"Clara," the voice says. There's a soft clink of chains as she speaks; Ash thinks she might have a reputation like Ivy's.
"Batik." The voice, which has the same accent as Clara, is tiny and scared. "Loom 18. Are you the other tributes?"
"The ones from Seven," Ivy says in a softer tone. "Want to be a team? Stick together until we all kick the bucket or everyone else does?" Ash is about to ask why Ivy would want to be on a team with a dying boy when Clara answers.
"We're allowed teams in this clusterfuck?"
"Didn't say we couldn't." Ash hears Ivy's shrug as much as he feels it as he slips off to sleep.
Like today, the tributes were cleaned and made presentable upon their arrival to the Capitol; in this first year, with resources still so sparse, the traitor and fashion designer of some small talent Camilla dressed all the tributes in white tunics to symbolize rebirth and laurel crowns to represent the victory of peace their sacrifice brought to this country. This tradition of symbolic costumes (as befits such a significant ceremony) carries on to this day with the chariot costumes and Games stylists. However, unlike today, they were not paraded on chariots through the city; the parade first occurred in the Fifth Annual Hunger Games. Instead, President Horneblower greeted them all individually before delivering his speech (Fig 4.3).
The President is a tall, thin man, with a well-maintained toupee the color of spilled oil and a face permanently twisted into a sneer. It's from the Rainbow Pass Bombing, the bombing that kicked off the Dark Days, the bombing that razed the entire Rainbow Mountain Borough, population estimated at thirteen thousand, and left thirty survivors. It's the reason he became President, and it's the reason he pushed for the annihilation of District Thirteen, and it's the reason he wrote the Games clause into the Treaty of the Treason, and it's the reason the younger tributes flinch back from him.
The President walks down the line they've been shoved into, sneering at their bald heads (for hygiene, supposedly - it would be unbecoming for a soon-to-be-murdered kid to have lice) and asking their names. When he reaches District Seven, he looks down at the male tribute, half held up by his partner and with one arm swathed in bandages, and drops his outstretched hand. The female tribute glares at him.
"Ivy Harris, sir ." She makes the sir sound exactly like you bastard . Sapper admires her for it even though they'll both be dead within a week.
"Best of luck to you and your… friend, Miss Harris," the President says, and he very quickly moves on.
"And who might you be?" the President says in the most ridiculously patronizing tone when he looms over her (even bending at the waist, she couldn't touch his head unless she jumped), and Sapper very much wants to kill him. To rip out his throat with her teeth. To get in the face of the cameraman behind him and scream sic semper tyrannis or this is for my parents or go fuck yourself you fucking fuck, fuck you, fuck you…
"Sapper Hawthorne, Mister President," Sapper says quietly.
"Zapper, eh? Seems like a rather Three name to me, but you District folk do have funny names all around! Best of luck to you, Zapper." He shakes her hand. Sapper wants to correct him. To kill him. To survive this.
She says nothing.
The President's speech occurred the night before the Games; the full Opening Week Ceremonies would not occur until the Ninth Annual Hunger Games.
EXAM PRACTICE - RECALL
- Name 3 similarities and 3 differences between the First Opening Ceremonies and opening ceremonies today.
- Why did President Horneblower shake the tributes' hands and when did this practice end?
- What treasonous acts was Camilla executed for?
- Orchestrating the Rainbow Pass Attack
- Aiding the Six Senators coup, which sought to return this country to the Dark Days, by spreading propagandist rumors about President Horneblower
- Protesting the execution of Rebel Leader Cinnabar Carter, who orchestrated the May Massacre
- Conspiracy to destroy the economy by producing counterfeit currency
- All of the above
By modern standards, the First Arena was quite tiny; only three arenas, all from the first two decades of the Games, were smaller. Its terrain was degraded urban, and the main environmental threats were entirely natural: building collapse, small scavenger species like coyotes, and war hazards.
When they announce the arena, lay out its details in small words that their small minds can grasp, Clara wonders what the catch is. She's from District Eight; her tenement doesn't look that different from the gutted cyan remains of what she guesses was once the Capitol version of Eight's "high-efficiency apartment blocks". Then she sees the mines.
There's the mounds of freshly tilled dirt in front of the tributes' entrance they'd been warned about, of course, but Clara swears there's a Mark 1 Stormmaker, the Capitol's most unreliable missile, nestled in a nearby alley. As the timer ticks down, she looks for her allies. Batik is staring at the Stormmaker as if it's about to explode (which it might - the thing that makes the Mark 1's dangerous is that the ones that their components degrade over time until a moderate heat wave or the vibrations of a supply truck can set them off), and Ivy is frowning at the dusty road ahead of her in a way that makes Clara nervous. They know. Good. (Ash is staring off into space, but she expected that.)
When the gong rings, Clara grabs Ash by the collar and sprints away. There's rainwater from a recent storm and pigeons; they can survive without whatever's in the Cornucopia. She sees Ivy dive towards the Cornucopia and Batik scale a nearby building - gets him a terrain advantage, clever if the roof's still intact - as she tries to stick to places where she can clearly see the pavement.
She's maybe a block away from the Cornucopia when something - an outstretched hand trying to catch itself, or maybe some mortar that Batik knocked loose, or maybe just a stiff breeze - sets off the Mark 1, which sets off all the mines surrounding it.
Although it was a very natural games - there wasn't even climate control!
It's day five - day three - day twelve, and Ash knows he's about to die. The water's at his chest now, well above the hole for ventilation ducts that he had used to enter the building, and rain just keeps pouring in. He can't tread water for more than ten minutes, and he's not sure he could float on his back for much longer with the currents in the room.
It's been raining for days - for hours - for weeks, and the storm clouds show no sign of going away.
When the water comes up to his neck, Ash takes a deep breath and holds.
- there was a much higher amount of audience participation in the First Hunger Games then we see today - arena viewers could even throw aid to their favored tributes!
Sapper knows what you're supposed to do around bombs. You don't go near mines unless you have no choice. You don't poke at their inner workings unless you're willing to lose your arm and maybe your life. You certainly don't try to disarm mines by yourself with half your attention on what's behind you.
However, she does have some experience with explosives - even with mines, though if the Capitol knows about that she's done for - and it's the only weapon in the arena she knows how to use. (Not that she's sure how she'll use the mines, yet, but she already has a half-dozen in her backpack.) The only people nearby are the Eight girl and the sick boy, neither of whom are paying attention to her in their search for shelter, water, birds to eat, expired asprin. She watches the pair stumble towards the center of the arena out of one corner of her eye, but most of her focus is on the wiring in her lap.
When the first crossbow bolt lands a few meters away, Sapper startles; the only thing that keeps her from jumping is the knowledge of the mines and caltrops around her. At the end of the block, the boy startles, too, and the girl's head whips around, looking for the bolt's source. The second one hits her in the gut, lethal but slow, and she collapses into the dirt. The boy stumbles down the alley Sapper cleared this morning. Up on the balcony, a group of teenagers, one of whom is holding a gilded crossbow, points and laugh
Sapper ducks behind a wall, keeps her head down, and hopes he doesn't decide to shoot her, too.
Due to its quick construction time, the first arena lacked the Warren and tribute tunnels of modern arenas; instead, the tributes all entered through a gate in the retaining wall near the Cornucopia, which was well-stocked with supplies. The resulting Bloodbath - the very first! - was massive ; only eight tributes survived the first hour of the games. This resulted in the tradition of the families of the Final Eight being interviewed; the preliminary interview footage of the other tributes was never aired, though it was preserved and is included in the Deluxe Edition of the First Annual Hunger Games' Highlight Reel.
The favorite of the final eight tributes was Sabina Slater, the female tribute from District Two. The daughter of an infamous rebel, Slater led the counterattack in Two's mountains at the tender age of fifteen, killing her father and two of her brothers when they refused to surrender. At eighteen, was the first ever Games volunteer and is widely regarded as the first Career tribute; after her District partner, Lode Rockthorton (the uncle to Victor Brutus Rockthorton), was killed during the Bloodbath, Sabina put her war training to good use as she hunted down the other tributes.
Sabina (if the name the audience is yelling is hers) seems ridiculously big; at over six and a half feet tall, she's taller than anyone in Twelve but the Peacekeepers, and her arms are more heavily muscled than most miners'. Sapper knows that she can't win a head-on confrontation with her. She also knows that she doesn't have to.
When Sabina, already soaked, stomps out of her tent and off to hunt the other tributes, Sapper waits five minutes - she counts the seconds under her breath - and crawls out of her hiding spot. The audience screams, and for a second Sapper is worried Sabina will come back, but after a minute, she kneels in the mud around the Cornucopia and opens her bag.
She has ten mines, half of which are probably duds thanks to her pack getting flooded the first night of the rain. She plants four in a cluster at the mouth of Sabina's tend, very carefully stands up, and puts the other six in a ring ten feet out from the tent. Then she walks away, in the opposite direction Sabina had headed, and doesn't look back even as the crowd's yelling picks up again and the earth shakes.
Unfortunately, Sabina was sabotaged by Sappa Hawthorne of District Twelve, who became the First Victor. Sappa, three months from her thirteenth birthday, remains the youngest Victor ever crowned. She became a proponent of nature preservation in the Capitol, perhaps inspired by the woods around District Twelve, and was the only non-Capitolite Founding Fellow of the Panem National Zoo in the Capitol; its aviary is now named in her honor. Heartbroken by a near-win in the Thirty-Second Hunger Games and decades of failed mentoring, Sappa died more than a decade before the next District Twelve Victor, Haymitch Abernathy.
EXAM PRACTICE - RESEARCH AND PERSONAL RESPONSE
- Imagine you became a tribute. How would you react? What district would you be from? What would your strategy be? would you team up with other tributes or go it alone? How would you find food and water? How would you gain sponsors? Which tributes in the past five Games have done something similar, and how well did they do? (Find at least two tributes per strategy decision.)
- Pick one arena from each decade of the Games. What do they have in common? What are the differences between them? What general trends can you see over time? If you were a Gamemaker, what elements of arenas from the first decade of the Games would you bring back?
- Create a Victor Profile for Sappa Hawthorne. What did she do after she won her Games? What was her talent? What was her mentoring style, why was it so unsuccessful? How was Twelve's other Victor influenced by her strategy? Alternately, make a fictional Victor Profile for Sabina Slater or one of the other tributes: who would they have mentored? How would they have reacted to famous Games? Could they have engineered another win for their district or perhaps have caused another loss?