Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler as Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird
We all know The Hunger Games, right? The best-selling book series turned multi-million dollar movie saga returns this month with a brand new offering – The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes.
Starring Tom Blyth and Rachel Zegler in the lead roles of a young Coriolanus Snow and District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird, The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes serves as a prequel to the hugely popular dystopian film series, and is set 64 years before the events of the first movie.
Also starring are Viola Davis, Josh Andrés Rivera, Jason Schwartzman, Peter Dinklage and Hunter Schafer.
Fans have already expressed A LOT of excitement for this fifth instalment in the movie franchise, which is set to be released on 17 November.
Many are even using it as an opportunity to look back on the fascinating and often brutal world that author Suzanne Collins created, beginning with her first book published in 2008.
One such fan is Reddit user u/Birchtree16, who recently asked r/Hungergames: “what is something from The Hunger Games that is really kind of dark, but gets ignored?”
Now we know movies can’t include every single detail from a book, so here are 13 disturbing details that got overlooked...
1. The victors in the Games have been known to be sold into sex work after winning.
Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair
“The whole thing with victors being sold into prostitution after the games was pretty disturbing to me.” – u/korrasaami
“First thing I thought of was Finnick mentioning it when he was used as a distraction while they rescued Peeta.” – u/Crazyperson9
“It’s like, ‘hey, congratulations on winning a traumatising battle to the death. Now, have sex with these people who bought you or we’ll kill your loved ones.’” – u/Wanda_McMimzy
2. There is a system in which young people can earn food and other resources if they submit their name to the Games more than once.
Amandla Stenberg as Rue
“The tesserae system where children who are in poverty have greater chances of being reaped than children whose names are only in there in proportion to their age.” – u/Ill-Cardiologist-201
“How many times must Rue’s name have been in the reaping as a 12-year-old because of all the tesserae she took out for her younger siblings.” – u/Ill-Cardiologist-201
3. Tributes are often presented provocatively to the Capitol in order to earn their favour.
Jena Malone as Johanna Mason
“The books say that tributes have either been nude, or presented very provocatively at parades before; like, the District 12 tributes have been naked and covered in coal dust in the past. It also says that a female District 1 tribute was once in a see-through dress for her pre-Games interview.
“They are literal children and not only are they slaughtering each other for entertainment, they are paraded in the Capitol in a sexual way in order to gain sponsorships, which ultimately just gives the Capitol more money.” – u/Puzzleheaded_Truth14
4. Previous arenas are opened up to the public as tourist attractions.
Arena in the first film
“People from the Capitol can go there to take pictures with the ‘iconic’ spots where children died, and sometimes even recreate the events.” – u/OutlandishnessSoft34
“That always scared me. Imagine if there hadn’t been a rebellion, Capitols would propose in Katniss and Peeta’s arena by the cave or something.” – u/ezilo25
5. Pods designed to kill rebels were installed long before the war even started.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen and Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne
“I hated in the last film that they talked about the pods as if Snow had recently had them installed. In the books, they had been there for years, and it appears that Capitol citizens knew – they just apparently didn’t think about them. Snow could’ve killed a bunch of people at anytime with one and blamed the rebels.” –u/NoApollonia
“Those were definitely there before war broke out. People lived their lives walking by death traps that just weren’t ‘turned on’. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, everyone’s life in Panem was at Snow’s fingertips.” – u/teacher_of_ela
“Some pods sound terrifying – especially the one that melts people, the steam one and the ‘meat grinder’ (names to run away from really fast).” – u/SocialistClarinetist
6. Sometimes siblings competed in the Games together.
Willow Shields as Primrose Everdeen
“I think it’s not talked about enough how multiple siblings could go through the Games! We see a brother/sister pair from a career district at one point.” – u/wewerelegends
7. There was once a cannibal tribute who had to be ejected from the Games because he was eating other tributes.
The tributes from the first film
“He started to engage in cannibalism, seemingly out of desire and not survival, and the Capitol killed him off because even they were disgusted by that type of behaviour.” – u/KSAFD
8. Cray, once the Head Peacekeeper of District 12, pays underprivileged women for sex.
Patrick St. Esprit as Romulus Thread, who replaces Cray in District 12
“I’d say mine would be Cray paying the young starving girls of the Districts for sex, and the fact that there is a line at his door every night.” – u/According_Song2398
9. Rebels are sometimes punished by having their tongues cut out and being forced into slavery.
Elden Henson as Pollux and an another avox in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
“The avox had a big impact on me – such a great way of showing how desperate the Capitol was to keep people as subservient as they could.” – u/Human_Cake7284
10. Muttations – genetically engineered creatures that appear in the arena – are often imbued with the physical features of fallen tributes.
A muttation from the first film
“The mutts at the end of the first book were said to have the tributes’ eyes and human mannerisms. How would that be possible? Did the Capitol somehow clone the tributes AND human memories and then mess with their DNA? OR - and this is what kills me - did they resuscitate the dead tributes, mess with their DNA and personalities to make them killers?” – u/junko_kv626
11. Darius, a former peacekeeper in District 12, is dismembered in the Capitol for helping Katniss.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
“The fact that Darius was killed by dismemberment in the Capitol. That’s scary creepy.” – u/blodreiina
“Can’t imagine that poor guy getting all his fingers cut off.” – u/Ihatecyclists22
12. And Peeta is made to watch it as part of his brainwashing.
Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark
“Peeta literally watching Darius (a man he’d known all his life) be gruesomely tortured to death in front of him, knowing it was only done in order to further break him.” – u/pendle_witch
13. Just the whole concept of mentoring tributes after winning the Games.
Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy
“Take Haymitch, the sole mentor of District 12 – he had to watch 46 kids from his District die in the Hunger Games, starting when he was seventeen years old. Those tributes could’ve been his former classmates. By Katniss’s Games, they’re kids of his former neighbour’s – kids that don’t stand a chance.
The mentors have to go back to the Capitol every year and re-live their trauma. They have to suck up to Capitol citizens, their Games are re-run, they have to attend other Capitol events and presumably get interviewed all the time. Their life doesn’t belong to them anymore.” – u/amerophi
The Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes releases worldwide on 17 November.