I haven’t really looked at the news of a possible prequel to one of my favourite series of books yet but it was in the news the other day with the tag line that people were unhappy that Snow would be the focus because they didn’t want him to be humanized.
It left me wondering.
Isn’t it more dangerous to present a villain like Snow without telling us why he is the way he is?
Love her or hate her JK Rowling tried to show how complex humans were by creating characters like Snape and Dumbledore. She wasn’t that great at doing what she thought she was doing but there is a very good reason that whilst I think she did a poor job of it her attempt at showing that good people can believe in bad things, bad people can deep down be good in some ways and basically that everyone is human is important.
That is because we get so caught up in the acts people do that we never ask how they came to be that person in the first place.
Does it matter?
Not when it comes to that person, they have done what they have done and there is no taking it back but there is that old saying that those who don’t learn from history are fated to repeat it.
In reality labeling someone as evil and therefore having nothing to learn from them because they are just evil means that we let other evil people get away with so much because we don’t see the signs. People don’t want to learn about the rise of Hitler because we know what Hitler did but by not wanting to learn we can’t see the patterns in how the Nazi’s came to be in power in the first place being repeated today with how some world leaders and political parties act and are managing to gain traction in the world right now.
This therefore needs to be shown in literature for young adults and adults.
Humans are complex and I think the Hunger Games did a good job of showing that. Therefore what better series to tackle this problem in not seeing “evil” people as humans with a story to tell then this one?
I really don’t get the argument that telling a story about Snow pre-Hunger Games is a bad thing or that humanizing someone that does horrific deeds is wrong.
Personally a villain who actually has a motive whether we think it right or wrong is much more interesting then one that just sprouts out of the ground evil. Humans aren’t really born good or bad and there is a lot to learn when it comes to how they arrive to be who they are not only that but learning where Snow comes from means we’ll learn more about how the world came to be the way it was too.
At the end of the day though it is strange to see people upset that they will humanize a human character.
Diving into the background of Snow is the most important thing the series could do if it wants to continue in any way. He is one of the only characters we already have a connection with who was alive before the Hunger Games was a thing so we can look through his eyes at how the world changes from being at war to having all these different areas and sacrificing kids becomes a normal thing that everyone kind of just agrees to do. Not only that but we get to see the birth of someone who doesn’t just agree with it but seemingly works towards streamlining it into less of a ritual like it sounds it was meant to be and more like the deadly entertainment show that it turned into.
We can all agree that the act of the Hunger Games was barbaric but whilst we kind of know why it came about and can see why it continued we don’t really know the mindset of the people who have the chance to change it.
Sure we see people like Effie and their opinion on the Games from the safety of the Capitol and never having had to participate themselves but Effie also had no say in whether the Games went on or not and was in her way brainwashed to see them as this good thing that people should be happy to participate in.
Snow had that ability and instead decided not just to push on but push his own agenda into the Games so why won’t we want to see how a normal human being came to be one of the most wicked characters you’ve ever seen?
To humanize someone isn’t really to wipe away the sins that they might commit for me. It purely means to give them a basic human story as a basis for their character and I don’t see why that is a problem. So what if the author gives him a backstory that makes us care for him in a way that we don’t want to? Isn’t that a good thing? To see that real humans who can be charismatic, normal, happy, nice, polite, intelligent and all the other positive traits you want to throw at them can also end up being evil and commit atrocities, because unfortunately that is the truth of the matter.
For me seeing more of what made Snow who he is now is more interesting then seeing another hero. Of course I would love to learn more about the world before the Hunger Games and during the early years but as we already know that the story of the Hunger Games ends with the MockingJay in the way that they did there is no point giving us a new name in a endless list of victims and it is much more interesting to explore that world through the eyes of someone we already know.
Finding out how this world ticks and how someone can go from being a normal kid on the street to the man who basically massacres children once a year to keep the fear in the poor and entertain the rich is a horrifying story that I very much look forward to reading.