The Ship Debate: The Hunger Games Edition

To ship or not to ship. That’s a debate we’ve had for many years, about many shows, many couples. And even though we here at Fangirlish agree on many things, we don’t agree on everything, and one of the things we don’t always agree on is ships.

Especially when we go way back, apparently.

But here at Fangirlish we also believe that you can ship what you ship, and you can defend what you ship, but ship arguments between friends can actually be fun and constructive. So we don’t agree on ships. Big deal. Does that mean we can’t be friends? Nope. Does that mean we’ll just change ships? Hell no.

It means we can have these fun kind of arguments.

Continuing with our series, we’re focusing this week on the eternal Team Peeta vs. Team Gale argument. Joining me for this are Erin, Lyra, Gillian, Grace, Jasmine and Ashley. So, let’s do this!

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The Hunger Games is an eminently political book series. Why is it that we’re here discussing Katniss love life? Is it because the political messaging is easier to agree on?

Lizzie: Yes, I ask the good questions, so of course that’s part of the answer, but I think also because …well, because we don’t read books to remind us of reality, most times we read books to escape, and there’s a lot about real life in this day and age that requires an escape. So focusing on the bad part of a book series that is pretty darn bleak, well, that’s not really the best for our brains. So we’ll just focus on the love story!

Erin: I think that politics is always hard. Politics is draining. A love triangle though, it’s not easy. It’s equally as hard. BUT the reality is that we like to talk about love instead, because it’s relatable. It’s not as volatile as talking politics.  

Lyra: Honestly? Life has become a shit hole, especially when it comes to politics in the United States. Having a little fun discussing the ins and outs of who I ship Katniss with is the kind of fun I want and need to keep my day sailing. Plus, this isn’t some wistful group of women only entertained by romance. We’re talking partners here, people! That’s what Katniss deserves and what we’d all be lucky to have. And breaking down the BETTER partner for the strong headed & badass known as Katniss, is totally worth it.

Gillian: I think we focus on the love triangle because it’s light. I never really thought about it before. Of course, if we were in that situation, our love life would be the furthest thing from our mind and it is for Katniss up to a point. The love triangle is a spark of hope in this bleak story.

Grace: When the majority of the films and books focuses on the romantic triangle of it’s lead characters, it’s hard to ignore. I wonder what The Hunger Games would be like if it didn’t try to shove a love triangle down our throat. We definitely would be talking about the political ramifications way more instead of the Team Gale or Team Peeta debate. Though, I will tip my hat to this franchise because it does handle a love triangle much better than others I’ve seen.

Jasmine: Let’s face it, The Hunger Games is a depressing ass series. Young people are dying because a dictator basically said having kids fight to the death controls the population. I think the love triangle is what we focused on because it really does take your mind off the horror if only for a moment. I enjoyed the progression of the Katniss/Peeta/Gale thing while I read the books and while I was curious who would come out alive, I was even more curious as to who Katniss would end up with.

Ashley: I personally appreciate how the romance in the books/films gives us an extra something to fight for. Yes, we fight for a just society. Yes, we fight to beat oppression. Yes, we fight for liberty. But we also fight for something that makes life beautiful, and love does just that.

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Pick a side: Team Peeta or Team Gale. Explain why.

Lizzie: I don’t even think Team Gale is a thing, sorry. In the end, Katniss made the choice, and it never seemed to me like she was anywhere close to picking Gale. I feel like she would have settled for Gale if she had to, yes, because the world she was living in would have forced her to, but even before she volunteered for the Games, she never truly wanted Gale enough to overcome her fears and her issues. He was just …convenient, and there, and that’s not love.

Peeta, on the other hand, was the boy she was forced to work with, and the boy she came to care for her despite her best attempts at ignoring. And yes, she was forced to get over her issues because she literally had to care for him, to survive, but when push came to shove, Katniss chose Peeta over and over again, even over herself. That’s not settling for someone, that’s love.

Erin: I am Team Gale. Peeta is not a bad guy. He’s annoying, sure. BUT I feel like Peeta only stepped up when it was on the big stage. I know what you’re going to say, he was there for her, he gave her bread. And yes, I know that in a lot of peoples eyes I am minimizing what he did. HOWEVER, the thing is Gale was there for her through out thick and thin. He was loyal. He knew that she was everything to him and wasn’t about to ever let that change. He was unbreakable. I think that Gale was true to Katniss and that they understood each other. And I know that people may not agree, but I don’t blame him for Prim’s death.

Lyra: Team Peeta all the way. Peeta admired Katniss from afar but never pushed himself upon her or expected anything because of the game/world they lived in. And Katniss, she needed and was given the time to get to know Peeta and expose the soft underbelly parts of her that she wouldn’t show ANYONE ELSE. Not even her mom, Prim, or Gale. Peeta proved himself, time and time again, and earned Katniss loyalty, trust, and compassion. Also, they provided each other with things that they did not possess themselves and came out stronger for it. And that’s why I’m Team Peeta!

Gillian: Peeta. I am drawn to sensitive boys but also, he truly understands what Katniss went through because he went through it too. Also, you can tell he always really liked her and respected her decisions.

Grace: There is no doubt in my mind that Peeta is the one for Katniss. He has proven his love for her over and over — both in the games and out. Even after Katniss gives him the cold shoulder after winning the games, he still is there for her when she needs him. Announcing that she is “pregnant” as a last ditch effort to save her life gets me every time. Gale would never.

Jasmine: I’m team Gale. I understand why a lot of people are team Peeta. I get that it’s because they both understand what the other went through because they were in the games together. I know Peeta was there for her in many ways but so was Gale. He promised to look after her family while she was gone and he did. (until what happened with Prim of course) Gale loves Katniss with all his heart and they grew up together. Katniss and Peeta’s “love story” initially started off as a ploy to keep them both alive during the games because people liked that couple angle.  It wasn’t like Katniss truly loved him then, so I’ll be honest, at the end of the series when Katniss ended up with Peeta, it made me a little mad. I felt like it was the easy safe way out. Like ok, I get it, with Peeta she never has to talk about their time in the games because they both know what happened but, Gale could have been there for her too. I’m sure he would have understood she didn’t ever want to talk about it. I still wonder what would have happened if she chose Gale.

Ashley: I am Team Gale as well. I like Peeta and I appreciate why they had to do the whole “fake dating/fake marriage” thing for political reasons, but I also feel like Gale didn’t get a fair shake. Gale was there for Katniss from the beginning. It’s not his fault that Prim went down when the bomb went off. I feel like Katniss was being unreasonable in that respect. Honestly, it also felt a little too tropey for her to end up with Peeta, in my opinion.

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Gale was Katniss’s childhood love, so to speak, the boy she would have ended up with without the Hunger Games. What do you like about their relationship, or, what do you have issues with?

Lizzie: I’m not even going to go into how Gale got a little fanatical with the rebellion and how he sorta lost sight of the consequences or the little people he’d so long fought to protect – which puts him at odds with Katniss – because the thing about Gale in general, and Gale and Katniss together, is that they’re SO BORING. Talking about them bores me. Looking at them bores me. I’m bored. And I don’t read books or watch movies to be bored.

Erin: If it wasn’t for the games, Katniss would have been with Gale. Look, I get that circumstances change with everything. I get that fate brings changes. But I always think about the way that things could be. And I am all about the loyalty, and Gale is loyal. Sure, I have some issues with their relationship, but I have issues with all relationships, because all relationships have issues. I feel like Gale would be there regardless for her. No matter what, he would be there for what really mattered.

Lyra: Honestly, Katniss and Gale were cute. That’s it. No great bounding love that changes your entire world. Gale was just there, convenient and a complete mystery to Katniss no matter how long they’ve known each other. Also, it kind of felt like Gale expected Katniss to be with him because of their history. Sorry Gale, but Katniss is not the expected and does not go for that in her life. Yeah, Katniss will always love you in a familial way but that’s it. You are family, probably her first love, but definitely not the last.

Gillian: Normally, I would have gone for Gale but there are so many issues with his character, especially in Mockingjay. While he does protect her and her family, he is too possessive and his own views on how to topple the Capitol are reckless. I mean, his actions directly cause Prim’s death and the whole story was driven by Katniss’ need to protect her.

Grace: Yes, she totally would have ended up with Gale had it not been for the games. But they would never have been a passionate love, in my opinion. Katniss became a different person after the games. Maybe the Katniss before would’ve been happy with Gale, but we’ll never know. Gale would never understand what she went through and I don’t think Katniss could ever be with someone who doesn’t get her completely.  

Jasmine: Gale and Katniss would have definitely ended up together had it not been for the games. They grew up together and while I do agree he was reckless in some choices he made, I feel he made them because of how much he loved Katniss. He wanted her out of the games and was willing to do anything to accomplish it. You know what they say, Love makes you do crazy things. I don’t agree with all of his decisions for sure but, I truly believe he loved Katniss. Who’s to say they wouldn’t have had a passionate love? Their relationship never even developed  because of the games in the first place. And I’m sorry but when I hear Peeta, I don’t think passionate love.

Ashley: I appreciate the trust that Katniss and Gale share. She trusts him to look after her mother and sister when she’s pulled away to the Games. He was her confidant and without the catalyst of the Games, I think they would have ended up together. I admire Gale’s drive and courage to fight as well, but unfortunately, that same drive cost him his entire relationship with Katniss.

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Peeta was Katniss’s partner through the worst moments in her life, and in many ways, the only one who could understand what she became. What do you like about their relationship, or what do you have issues with?

Lizzie: Peeta is so perfect for Katniss and the ‘choice’ was so damn obvious they had to come up with the whole hijacking thing to add some level of suspense to this thing. Because the entirety of the series could be subtitled: WHY PEETA IS THE ONLY CHOICE FOR KATNISS. But I’m going to go into a few of the reasons, anyway.

He was there for her. He didn’t save her over and over before the Hunger Games, no, but Katniss wasn’t a damsel in distress that needed it. He threw her a bone (bread) when she was desperate, and that was enough. But when it came to the Games he was there, over and over, he was willing to sacrifice his life, so she could live and be happy without him. He always put her first, even when she might not have deserved her. And he was her quiet place in a storm, the one constant in a life that took so much away from her, and kept taking. That’s the love story I signed up for.

Erin: Peeta used Katniss. I said what I said, people. He was afraid to love her when it wasn’t on the big screen. Peeta was an opportunist.

Lyra: Katniss and Peeta were each others rock during the entirety of The Hunger Games trilogy. Peeta showed her that he was there, had her back, and would always do his best by her. And Katniss, she took the time Peeta gave her to get to know him in a way she hadn’t done since her father’s death. Over time she opened to Peeta, becoming more dependent on him (not in a toxic way because you can depend on those that you love), and understanding that his love is given freely and that she can do it in return if she wanted to. Luckily, she did. No take backsies, please pass go and collect $200!

Gillian: As I stated above, Peeta is sensitive and understands why Katniss is the way she is after the Games. He doesn’t try to change her or expect her to go back to who she was. He lets her be and gives her space when she needs it. The two of them fit together well. She is hard and he is softer. I did not expect them to end up together but I’m glad they did because their relationship made the most sense to me given the events of the books.

Grace: I can go on and on about how much I love their relationship. Peeta has a heart of a lion and I think Katniss compliments that. She doesn’t pretend to be compassionate when she’s not, and Peeta accepts her for who she is. The fact that Peeta can get hijacked and STILL they find their way back to each other just goes to show how perfect they are together.  

Jasmine: I agree with you ladies on Peeta being compassionate and supportive of Katniss the whole way through the games (until the hijacking incident). I think he was a great friend to her and you’re right, he understood everything about what she went through because he lived it himself. They share a bond that she and Gale could never but, I still only really thought they would just remain friends. I never thought they would end up together but surprise surprise.

Ashley: I agree with what Jasmine has said. While I like Peeta very much, I think his relationship with Katniss was a bit forced. I mean, part of it was literally forced for political reasons before it became reality. As I mentioned previously, the way Gale got shafted by Katniss has just never sat right with me. It made the relationship she had with Peeta come off as too tropey, which is not what I expected after the excitement of the rest of the series.

Agree? Disagree? Share with us in the comments below!



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