This weekend I watched the Hunger Games for the first time. I saw watched. What I mean is devoured whilst sitting at the edge of my seat, finger nails in teeth. The Hunger Games is a great film: great, complex characters, a thought provoking plot with contemporary resonances and a kick ass heroine who isn't an ass herself.
Suzanne Collins' got the idea for the Hunger Games when flicking between reality TV shows and coverage of war atrocities. It explores the impact of violence upon young people, the impact of celebrity.
It reminded me of another story.
More than sixty years ago Mary Renault wrote a pair of books based on the legend of Theseus and the Minotaur called The King Must Die and The Bull from the Sea. It told the story of Theseus being sent to Crete as part of Athens' tribute (seven young men and seven young women). In Renault's version they became bull leapers, different from their peers, facing death on a daily basis, become strong, lean and in the end, leading an attack on court that exploited them.
The young tributes had been torn from their homes, tasted violence and death and known celebrity. When they returned it was to a hero's welcome - and vilification. The young people who had acted so bravely in Crete struggled to fit in. They were different, marked and changed forever.
And that's why I can't wait to find out what happens next for Katniss. How will she deal with the challenges that Theseus faced? How heavy will her victor's crown be?
Damn I love Greek Mythology.
And the Hunger Games.