Get ready Hunger Games fans, Suzanne Collins is coming out with another book. However, you won’t be reading about Katniss, Peeta or even Finnick. This book, titled The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is a prequel to the original trilogy and will focus on the life of a young President Snow. The book, according to iheartradio.com, will begin on the morning of the reaping of the 10th Hunger Games, 65 years before the original trilogy.
Initially, like many people, I thought that this book would be problematic and vowed not to read it. I didn’t want there to be Snow apologists and people who would try and excuse the behaviors and harmful actions we know he eventually commits. Essentially, I was worried that this book would try and humanize him. There is an excerpt of the book online and it doesn’t seem like that’s where the plot is going, but nevertheless it is something that still concerns me.
However, a friend of mine pointed out to me that this book could go in another direction altogether. Perhaps rather than humanizing him, Collins will show us how the system influenced and created the man we know him as.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
Ultimately, in the original trilogy Snow is not the villain, just like Katniss is not the hero. The Hunger Games is a story about a cruel system, which we came to learn about through the experiences of the characters we came to love. There is a reason why Katniss does not kill President Snow in the end, and there is a reason why, even though she is the Mockingjay, Katniss hardly gets a say when it comes to the rebellion. Even if people chose to focus on the love triangle in the series, these novels were more than that. And, hopefully the prequel will be too.
Looking at the story from the perspective of a privileged member of the Capitol, while also having the unique vantage point of knowing what will happen in the future and who Snow will grow up to be, could be fascinating. It gives us an insider look into the people who created the system that Katniss rebelled against. It can show us how people like Snow get groomed into being villains and killers in order to preserve the status quo. It can show us how persuasive the system we live in can be, which is always a useful (even if unwelcome) reminder.
Obviously, announcing that President Snow is going to be the protagonist of the long-awaited prequel, was a controversial move. But there’s hope that Suzane Collins did it knowingly. Since the original three books are incredible pieces of writing, there are reasons to trust her.
On the other hand, we thought there were also reasons to trust J.K. Rowling, but we all know how that ended.