This is my favorite kiss in Catching Fire. Period. This kiss says so much. She knows that they are splitting up and she can’t do anything about it without breaking the alliance, and even though she knows that, it also pains her deeply. She pulls him into that kiss. It’s a promise from her, she needs him, she doesn’t want to leave him, and she has every intention of coming back to him.
But it’s also what breaks my heart, because from Peeta’s point of view, he is terrified that something will happen to her, that someone will try to kill her and he can’t defend her. He went back into that arena to ensure her survival, be her guardian (as it were), and to make sure she made it home. And here she is, splitting up from him, when what they’re doing is so dangerous already. In the book it says…
“I want to go with them as a guard,” Peeta says immediately. After the moment with the pearl, I know he’s less wiling than ever to let me out of his sight. – (Catching Fire, pg. 369)
And then in Mockingjay…
“I can’t believe you let him out of your sight that night,” says Haymitch.
I nod. That’s it. "I play it over and over again in my head. What I could have done to keep him by my side without breaking the alliance. But nothing comes to me.“ (Mockingjay, pg. 77)
That’s why this scene is so hard, and so beautiful, because no matter how much they love each other, they know this is what they have to do.
Like it or not.
And they don’t.
(gif by the one and only, amazing seaquell that was gracious enough to let me use it. Go follow her for more awesome gifs and heartbreaking gifsets!)
So I saw something on tumblr the other day that kinda bothered me. Now I have nothing against the person who wrote this, but I just wanted to comment on an opinion they had regarding Peeta. I can’t find their original text post, but it went something like this:
“if there’s anything Peeta Mellark ever taught me, it’s that bad shit happens to people who are too nice.”
However that’s not at all what he taught me:
Peeta Mellark taught me to be strong and stay true to myself. He gave me hope. Yeah, bad shit happened to him even though he was caring and kind, and chose to see the goodness in people. He was abused as a kid and sent into the arena twice. Then he was brainwashed to kill the girl he loved. But he prevailed in the end. He overcame the hijacking and and learned to live with the trauma. He could have given up, and stayed a mutt version of himself forever. It probably would have been easier, but he fought through it instead. He tried to grasp on to every bit of his old self that he could. He taught me that even when all hope seems lost, there is a bright side to the situation. That things can get better. And I think that’s one of the things that Katniss loves most about him. That he doesn’t change who he is, no matter how bad things get. He remains that dandelion in the spring, that beacon of hope. Peeta was able to show Katniss that there were still good people left in the world at one of the weakest points in her life: “To this day, I can never shake the connection between this boy, Peeta Mellark, and the bread that gave me hope, and the dandelion that reminded me that I was not doomed.” (Katniss, THG).
And at the end of the last book in the trilogy, Peeta still represented the same thing to Katniss: “What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.” (Katniss, MJ). Peeta did nothing to deserve what he went through, but bad things happened anyway. Being nice is hard, and shit happens that can make you question whether it’s worth it to be kind. In the beginning of Catching Fire, Peeta still looks out for Katniss, even when it’s hard. He knows it wouldn’t be right to abandon her. “As badly as I’ve hurt him, he won’t expose me in front of the cameras. Won’t condemn me with a halfhearted kiss. He’s still looking out for me. Just as he did in the arena. Somehow the thought makes me want to cry.” (Katniss, CF).
Peeta taught me that you can either let the world knock you down once and change who you are, or you can keep picking yourself up, and forever stay the person you want to be. “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” (Kurt Vonnegut).