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Everything We Know About The Hunger Games Prequel Coming Out In May 2020

Set 64 years before the first book, the prequel is entitled "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes."
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With quarantine pass holders being referred to as "Tributes" on social mediaspawning memes about which District you belong to and gifs of JLaw's iconic "I volunteer as tribute" scene—the Hunger Games has gone back up to full trending status in the past few weeks. Additionally, the four-part film adaptation is available for streaming on Netflix, and even more excitingly, a novel that will serve as a prequel to the series, called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, is set to come out on May 19, 2020.

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With Suzanne Collins back as the writer of this arguably relevant-in-2020 prequel, let's revisit what we know about this uber-successful franchise and the pop culture phenomenon that is The Hunger Games.

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The Hunger Games Author: Suzanne Collins

Even before the publication of the first Hunger Games novel in 2008, Suzanne Collins was already a New York Times best-selling author of a fantasy-war series called The Underland Chronicles. The five-book series narrates the story of Gregor the Overlander, a kid who discovers Underland deep within New York City. The first book was released in 2003, and the last installment in 2007. The series has been sold into 21 foreign territories. (via Suzannecollinsbooks.com)

Prior to being a novelist, Collins worked as a children's show writer, and was even part of the staff of some iconic Nickelodean shows like Clarissa Explains It All. 

In an interview with her publishing house, Scholastic, Collins shares her personal reasons for setting stories in the future:

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"Telling a story in a futuristic world gives you this freedom to explore things that bother you in contemporary times. So, in the case of the Hunger Games, issues like the vast discrepancy of wealth, the power of television and how it's used to influence our lives, the possibility that the government could use hunger as a weapon, and then first and foremost to me, the issue of war."

On her advice to young writers, she says, "A lot of people tell writers to write about what they know. And that's good advice, because it gives you a lot of things to draw on. But I always like to add that they should write about things that they love. And by that I mean things that fascinate or excite them personally."

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What We Know About The Prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Set 64 years before the events of the OG Hunger Games novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes will begin on the morning of the reaping of the Tenth Hunger Games, and will tell the story of life after the Dark Days, a period "that took place following the First Rebellion, the civil war that was fought between the districts and the Capitol."

If you've seen Joker or Breaking Bad, it appears the prequel could similarly cater to the rise of the anti-hero, a move that has been met with both excitement and criticism online. In a chapter released exclusively on Entertainment Weekly in January 2020, it appears that at least part of the book will center on Coriolanus Snow, the main villain of the original trilogy geniusly portrayed by Donald Sutherland in the film adaptations. Although here, instead of being the future tyrannical president of Panem, Snow is a graduating college student from a once-rich family that is now struggling.

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In the preview, the story centered on a young Coriolanus Snow, whose final project in the Academy was to mentor a Tribute for the 10th Hunger Games (an effort to raise viewership and engagement from the audience). Success could mean winning a generous cash prize upon graduation, something Snow secretly needs.

Considering being an overperformining student, he expected to mentor a contender from one of the top districts, but is instead assigned the female tribute from District 12 (much to his dismay).

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The Hunger Games Movie Franchise

As far as adaptations go, The Hunger Games was quite loyal to the novel, and most critics would agree that Jennifer Lawrence, then 20 years old, definitely gave justice to Katniss Everdeen, 16.

Other notable characters were Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark, Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket, and Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy. The film was directed by Gary Ross, who co-wrote the screenplay with Suzanne Collins and Billy Ray.

The next few movies moved on with a different director, Francis Lawrence. Philip Seymour Hoffman joined the cast later on as Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire, as did Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair, and Jena Malone as Johanna Mason. Julianne Moore was also extremenely memorable as President Alma Coin in the two-part Mockingjay films. (via IMDb)

Here's the trailer for those of you who may have missed it:

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Katherine Go 2 hours ago

Cold Food

The most thrilling and delightful moment of any school day is opening up your baon during breaks. There is always so much excitement in unveiling your homemade meal and snacks housed inside matching heat-insulating containers. Because preparing packed meals is an age-old tradition of showing parental love, loved ones pour effort into curating a nutritious meal accompanied by a selection of side dishes, desserts, and beverages daily; it reminds us that we are being taken care of, even from far away.

Baon plays a significant role in a Filipino childhood. Almost every Filipino child comes to school with baon made especially for them by their parents or household helpers. Even Filipinos in the labor force continue to bring baon for varying reasons: to save money, recycle leftovers, cater to personal taste, or attend to special needs. Nonetheless, eating your baon is a heart-warming experience that allows Filipinos to bring a piece of home along with them wherever they go.

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Even other cultures practice making packed lunch. In Japan, mothers create bento--Japanese meals in partitioned boxes. Because of the popularity of bento, trends have emerged, such as the Kyaraben, or character-themed bento. Naturally, Japanese parents and students began competing for who had the cutest and tastiest bento, and this is similar to what I have witnessed in my own childhood. I remember seeing my classmates sharing their snacks and lunches. They would compare and boast about their parents' or yayas’ cooking. In my case, I never had the chance to join in the competition or indulge in homemade cooking. Up until this day, I have never brought any baon to school.

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For a long time, I envied others. As trivial or petty as it may seem, not having baon became a problem for my grade school self. During that time, I had to sit in a separate cafeteria away from my friends because the kids who bought food were assigned to sit elsewhere. You could consider me spoiled, but I wanted to experience something most kids did. I had food at home, so what made it so hard to bring some with me to school?

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Now that I am on my final year in high school I have come to realize the benefits of purchasing my own food. Since I spent on food everyday, I learned to budget my allowance at a young age. Over the years, I learned to practice self-control whenever I wanted to eat more greasy fries and drink sweetened beverages. I have tasted the strangest viands at the school cafeterias, and I have repeatedly satiated myself over my latest delicious discoveries. Despite the struggles, I am thankful that I have never had baon because of what I have learned. Not to mention, I never had to experience eating cold food.

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Choosing between dreams and practicality is never easy. My CETs season just ended with the release of the UPCAT results. Anxious as I logged on the website, I started to think about what would happen if I didn't pass UP. Ever since I was six years old, I fixated on the idea that I will become an iska, serving the country and studying at my dream school, which is UP. I strived and studied hard for the UPCAT, sacrificing a lot of things like hang-outs and gala weekends for reviews.

Throughout my CETs journey, I started seeing myself studying only in UP, and while there were no results yet, my friends and I already started planning our lives around the fact that we're gonna study in UP. It was a big deal for me, my friends and my family that I get the chance to study in UP since it's so far from my hometown which is Benguet, and better yet, it's a very well known university.

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January 2020 came and universities started releasing CETs results. I was expecting my DCAT and ACET results that month. I passed DCAT but brushed it off because even though I liked the school, I never really saw myself studying there. Same thoughts with Ateneo, since it never really crossed my mind that I might study in ADMU. In fact, Ateneo was never really a choice for me, I only took it just to have another choice in case I failed the UPCAT. I also applied for financial aid not because I was really planning on studying there, but more of "para lang sure na may college ako". I know it's a bad thing but they were just my back-up schools because my main goal was really UP.

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One Friday afternoon, ACET results came out. I passed, managed to get a scholarship, and in that moment, my plans just started to crumble.

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Seeing that I got a 100% tuition and fees discount, free dorm fees, and an additional book allowance got me into considering studying to Ateneo. Suddenly, I got torn between UP, my dream school, and Ateneo, which offers so much more.

As the months passed, and after talking to my parents, my plans and decisions got more jumbled and messy. I still wanted to go to UP even if there were no results yet but Ateneo offering so much would mean a lesser burden to my parents in terms of finances.

Even though my parents told me that they'll support me no matter where I choose to go, the practicality that Ateneo offers in terms of finances was not an easy thing to waive. Sometimes I would laugh at the fact that I'd spend less on a private school than on a state university. Talking to my friends helped somehow, but they also have various opinions about the two universities. I managed to tell myself to hold off the problem until UPCAT results get released, and so I did.

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UP released the UPCAT results and seeing that I passed made me scream and cry, literally. At that moment, all I was thinking was that I passed my dream school and I'm officially a QC college student.

My parents were so proud of me even though they got scared because I screamed, but ultimately, they were happy for me. The next day, I sat down, stared at my UPCAT and ACET results, and told myself that I needed to decide. This was the hardest part. I tried deciding using the pros and cons method but it didn't really work. Talking to my parents also didn't help because they'd support me either way, so their judgement was not a factor at all. I also had the same course in both schools so that wasn't a big help. I was 99% close to letting go of my dream university and decide to go to Ateneo.

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I weighed options and Ateneo was the cheaper and more practical option. I also started to see myself studying as a blue eagle, roaming around the campus etc. And financially, I didn't need to worry much except for food. At that point, I started to really like the idea of going to Ateneo more than studying in UP. But then, as the weeks went by, the Ateneo Plan started to lose my interest.

I realized that studying in Ateneo would be a great opportunity, but not something that will really make me happy. The finances and all would be so much better but I wouldn't be happy and content, and I felt that Ateneo couldn't give me everything that I wanted and needed. Then a light bulb lit up.

As I was imagining myself at UP, I ultimately felt that happiness and content that I didn't feel with Ateneo. I realized that, if I didn't study in UP, I know later in my life, I would regret it. I would regret not choosing my dream university because I didn't choose what would make me happy.

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In short, I chose my dream over practicality. I know that I would be successful in both tracks, but I simply chose my dream because it is where I'm happier and more content. Besides, we can make our dreams practical but not all the time can the practical choice equate to our dreams. So to those having a hard time choosing between dreams and practicality, weigh it out and always remember to put yourself and your happiness first. And of course, choose the choice that you know you'll not regret later on.

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