New Hero in an Old Villain?

It has been over a Decade since the Hunger Games books entered our bookshelves, the popular book trilogy spawned 4 movies that launched several stars careers.  Now the writer, Suzanne Collins is re-entering this world in the form of a Prequel about the trilogy’s main Antagonist before he came to power. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will focus on a young Pre-President Snow as he is forced to Mentor District 12’s contestants of the Hunger Games.  

Entertainment Weekly released a preview of the soon to be released Prequel, which followed a young Coriolanus Snow before he became the tyrant fans knew and loved (to hate). The entertainment outlet referred to the new Protagonist as “a teenager born to privilege but searching for something more, a far cry from the man we know he will become. Here, he’s friendly. He’s charming. And, for now anyway, he’s a hero.” The novel will hopefully focus on his descent into madness and rise to power. The book will also give more details and information on a world that fans have only ever seen a small portion of in the original series.  

President Snow in the Original trilogy was written by Collins to be cold, calculating, and truly evil. In the books he is shown to take down any obstacle by any means necessary, whether this is by poisoning his fellow politicians or by sending his enemies into the ‘Games’. The choice to have a young version of him be the so called ‘hero’ of the new books is certainly an interesting way to take the new series. However, fans of the book series were disappointed that the new prequel will not focus on a beloved Character’s journey.  

Joseph Cranor, a fan of the original book series had this to say about the recently announced prequel: “I think I’m mainly just a bit anxious about the whole thing. Personally, when I heard Suzanne Collins was writing a prequel, I was hoping it would be about some of the earlier games or centre on some of the other characters, like Haymitch or Mags.”  

Crandor also made an interesting point on the choice of a future dictator to be the new ‘Hero’ being quite problematic: “I really don’t think the way to go about that was through centring the story on Snow. There are a lot of examples of writers giving sympathy to villains where audiences latch on to those characters’ ideologies, and that’s particularly dangerous in the case of a dictator like Snow.”  

While this is a good point as this book will most likely find a new fanbase in an impressionable, younger audience. Perhaps, by showing his rise to power and his thoughts may give an audience that relate top this character a few bad ideas. That being said, the author Suzanne Collins, has an excellent track record in condemning war and fascism by showing the actual politics that are involved. This new angle for the prequel could show the actual development of Snow’s fascist ideaology, which could put this new book in line with the original blunt politics of the Hunger Games. At this point in time it is hard to say he exact message the prequel will put across.  

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will be released on the 19th of May, 2020. 

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