The Hunger Games series introduces us to a lot of really fun and interesting characters. One of those characters, that I am a fan of, is Effie Trinket. She is interesting because she is not inherently evil, even though she is definitely a cog in the whole Capital system that is the Hunger Games. She at the same time seems incredibly selfish and caring. She is trying to help Peeta and Katniss in every way she can to get sponsors and she does seem to have genuine regard for them. At the same time she never thinks about the fact that they are being sent to their death really. She hopes they don’t die, but some of that I think does come from the fact that as the District 12 Capitol Escort there are some perks to being on the winning team and there has not been a winner from District 12 in a long time. The great thing about Effie is that she is a great contrast of between the Capital and the people in the Districts. District 12, in particular, is very poor and the outlandish outfits that Effie wears stand out as extravagant and indulgent, which are very accurate characteristics of the people in the Capital. (Spoilers for the Hunger Games trilogy after the jump)
Selfish or Caring?
There is a sense that Effie really does care about Katniss and Peeta, but does not fully understand the circumstances. To Effie being chosen to fight in the Hunger Gams for your district is a great honor that is sparing everyone from further bloodshed. In some ways the competitors in the games are the only ones who have a chance to experience anything different or move up the ranks. Effie sees this as a great opportunity to show these children the luxuries that they are missing out on, as a reward for their service. At the same time she is also helping them because if her tributes get noticed then it might mean a promotion or something better for her as well. She is not outright evil, but at the same time she is in no way altruistic. The actions of Katniss and Peeta reflect on her and so, like everyone else in the Capital she might want them to win, she is not exactly trying to keep them from fighting in the first place.
Scheming or Ignorant?
Now Effie could come off as someone who is just positioning herself for a promotion or a knowing cog in the system of the games playing her part. I personally do not think this is the case because Effie seems to be more representative of the average citizen of the Capital, albeit closer to the games than most. Effie does not question what she has been told about the situation, at the same time, why would she. She is provided for, gets everything she needs, and her biggest complaint is not getting invited to the nicest party. The Hunger Games works because it is the ultimate distraction for the citizens of the Capital, so that they never stop to think about what is really going on around them. Effie is so focused on the games and what has to be done to for them, she never stops to think about whether they should be happening at all. There might be some fear about speaking up, but dissenters get dealt with quickly and covered up. There is some gossip, but more fluff then anything else and usually not of much substance. Effie likes the facade and does not look past it. Part of her whole job is helping Katniss and Peeta keep up the illusion that they are happy little tributes.
Effie as Citizen
Effie Trinket is one of the people from the Capital that we get to know the most, who is not also part of the rebellion. In many ways what she did was not good. She willingly helped kids prepare to go into an arena to kill or be killed. At the same time she lives under the same governmental control as the rest of the districts the only difference is that she is a citizen of the Capital. It is harder to remain ignorant of the struggles when they are your own. At the same time at the first hint that Effie Trinket might not be falling in step with the Capital she is thrown in jail. When Katniss sees her again, she sees a woman who is a shell of her former self and just as much a victim of the Capital as people from her district. How do we understand right and wrong if we are not taught it and how does are environment color our perception?
You guys have a really cool blog here, I’ve popped in from A to Z to say hi.
Looking through your About section you list a lot of my reading/watching faves, although my blogging is about something totally different!
Fun A to Z series, will pop back later on to see who else you cover 🙂
Curling Stones for Lego People
Thanks for the comment. The A to Z post has been an interesting experience. It’s always fun to meet people with similar interests.
Effie Trinket in the books didn’t pop for me nearly as much as Elizabeth Banks portrayal of her for the movies. I felt great affection for her in the movies because of her portrayal. I think that has to do a lot with what you are talking about – that she’s certainly doing her job because she gets something out of it but that she also has genuine affection for her charges. As a representative of the Capitol I feel like she was a great upfront, in person view of all the nameless viewers of the games. I believe she’s meant to represent ignorant people of our own society. I’m not sure that I would actually pigeon hole people with this exact outlook though. It’s actually what I like about stories – things can be black and white while real life is mostly grey. Cheers. 🙂