My children and my wife turned me on to Suzanne Collins’ book, The Hunger Games.  The original and the sequels have become family favorites, right up there with Ender’s Game, Skullduggery Pleasant, Harry Potter and many others.

We saw the movie today, which was remarkably true to the book.  I was impressed.

But afterward I began to wonder, as so many do, about the meaning.  I’m no literary critic, and I have no idea if the author intended this or not.  But I found myself thinking about the way we view war.

Now, I don’t think The Hunger Games is an anti-war novel by any means.  Slaughterhouse 5, by Vonnegut, is an anti-war novel.  Catch 22 is an anti-war novel.  Even ‘All Quiet on the Western Front,’  is, in its own way, an anti-war novel.  Heck, any true representation of war becomes a de-facto anti-war novel if we grasp the suffering of the characters fully.

But watching The Hunger Games, and the way a fictional society gathered around screens to view death, the way they assessed and worshiped the ‘players,’ made me think that we do this a little.

Please realize, I’m no dove.  I believe war is often necessary, though always terrible.

But we so love to adore soldiers, don’t we?  We watch them, study them, make movies and television shows about them. We dream of being snipers.  We are fascinated by SEAL teams.  We love the political value of a good assassination, a proper invasion.  On both sides of the political aisle, thank you very much.

And most of us do it from the cozy safety of our living rooms, before fires and too-large televisions, our own sons and daughters safe by our sides.  Our own bodies well-hydrated and well-fed.

We would do well to remember, as Katniss and her fellow Hunger Games characters remind us, that those entertaining us, those fighting for us, those suffering horrors and spending lifetimes trying to cope, are more than characters. They are humans bearing burdens we can never fully comprehend.

And we would all do well to wish for war far less than we do.

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