May the odds be ever in your favor.
- Author Suzanne Collins wrote the first Hunger Games book in the mid ‘00s. She was inspired by Greek myths and her father’s experiences while working for the Air Force. Collins has also said the nugget for the series came from an evening she spent watching television. After seeing a news broadcast about the Iraq War, she switched channels to a reality show featuring young contestants about the same age as American soldiers serving overseas at the time. This made Collins wonder what a similar program featuring teenage combatants fighting for their lives might be like.
- In 2012, the trilogy surpassed the Harry Potter novels as the bestselling literary series on Amazon. Over 50 million copies of the books are now circulating in both print and digital formats in the United States.
- The books also feature foul language, tons of violence, and dark political themes even though they’re marketed primarily toward readers under the age of 18. These are among the reasons why the series has popped up on the American Library Association’s annual Frequently Challenged Books List. In 2013, the group put them at no. 5, right behind E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey.
- Actresses Jennifer Lawrence beat out for the lead role of Katniss Everdeen in the film adaptations: Abigail Breslin, Shailene Woodley and Kaya Scodelario. Woodley and Scodelario later got to star in their own dystopian film franchises: Divergent and The Maze Runner, respectively.
- While both the movies and the books have been very successful, a few critics have claimed that Collins’ stole the premise from prior material. Her plotline is very similar to those featured in Stephen King’s The Running Man (which was later turned into a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Battle Royale, a controversial Japanese film that follows a group of teenagers who are forced to fight to the death on an island.
- The Hunger Games features characters boldly defying authority figures by raising a hand with three fingers pressed together to express unity with Katniss and a group of rebels. In the spring of 2014, anti-government protesters in Thailand used the same gesture during public demonstrations. At least five student protesters were arrested for flashing the sign.