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Unveiling the origin story: ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ enriches ‘The Hunger Games’ series

Poppy Harrington ’25
The AMC Royal 6 movie theater in Norwalk previewed the trailer for “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the prequel to “The Hunger Games” series, on the big screen ahead of its official release on Nov. 17.

The unique plot, dystopian setting and compelling storytelling are a couple of reasons why “The Hunger Games” remains one of my favorite movie series. When I went into the theaters with my friends to see the prequel the first night it was released, I didn’t know what to expect. Although I have read all “The Hunger Games” books, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” was one I had yet to read. With my lack of knowledge of the prequel, I had low expectations and thought it would be an extra movie to a series that felt like an add-on since the first four are classics. However, when I walked out of the theater, my thoughts had completely transformed.

The prequel introduced a new perspective, creating a whole new storyline that was still related to the previous four movies. Despite being a considerably long movie consisting of two hours and 40 minutes, and walking out of the theaters at almost 1 a.m., I felt as if I could watch even more. 

In the original series, Katniss Everdeen was a tribute in both the 74th and 75th Hunger Games. However, the prequel takes a different perspective, focusing on a young President Snow who serves as a mentor to a District 12 tribute named Lucy. This perspective sheds light on the mentor’s role, which I hadn’t previously considered. Initially, I thought following a mentor’s experience might not be as captivating as witnessing the tributes’ journey, but as the movie progressed, I realized the significant role mentors like young Corialanus Snow play. It was fascinating to see the games from both inside and outside the arena, providing a unique viewpoint not found in the first two movies.

Throughout the entire film, I had no trouble empathizing with the characters and experiencing their emotions—whether it be exhilaration, anxiety, grief, or something else entirely. 

— Poppy Harrington '25

The plot itself was intriguing and unique, being set 65 years in the past. Learning about President Snow’s background helped me understand his character and how he became the leader of Panem, supporting the annual inhumane games. While his corruption was evident in the original series, the prequel revealed that he was not always that way, and exposure to the games and Capitol leaders like Dr. Gaul and Dean Highbottom influenced his descent into evil.

When Snow acknowledged that the mentor with the most deserving tribute would win money, Snow was determined to win. Yes, I think that Snow had a desire to win for the money, However, I believe that he cared for Lucy’s survival even more. Contrary to others’ opinions, I believe his love towards Lucy was real. Despite his Capitol upbringing, he brought all the rules to ensure her survival. Their relationship gave a captivating twist to the film while also demonstrating Snow’s love for Lucy, giving insight on his earlier generosity and innocence.

In addition to having a fantastic plot, I thought the film’s cast was excellent. Throughout the entire film, I had no trouble empathizing with the characters and experiencing their emotions—whether it be exhilaration, anxiety, grief, or something else entirely. 

My deep affection for the original series enhanced my experience with the prequel. Extensive knowledge of the series enriched my understanding and allowed me to make connections that heightened my enjoyment. Those unfamiliar with “The Hunger Games” trilogy or the dystopian and fantasy genres, on the other hand, may struggle to fully appreciate the plot’s nuances. Nevertheless, I believe it’s worth giving the prequel a chance for everyone due to its unique storyline, exceptional cast and more.

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About the Contributor
Poppy Harrington ’25
Poppy Harrington ’25, Social Media Manager
Social Media Manager Poppy Harrington ’25 discovered her love for journalism after taking Intro to Journalism.  “It [social media] is a very cool form of journalism,” Harrington said. “I get to see all the different kinds of things students want to post about across our social media platforms.”  When writing articles, Harrington likes to talk to other students.  “I like to write articles, mostly because I love interviewing many different opinions,” Harrington said.  In her free time, she loves to play basketball and field hockey. “One fun fact about me is that I have a twin sister,” Harrington said.   

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