Have you been infected with Hunger Games fever? If not, chances are you soon will. For those new to this, The Hunger Games is the first of a wildly popular trilogy written by Suzanne Collins. Published in 2008, the book is set in a future country called Panem that is divided into 12 Districts, all of which are tightly controlled by the Capitol, a highly advanced metropolitan.
The first book follows heroine Katniss Everdeen and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark as they fight to stay alive at the 74th annual Hunger Games, a reality television show where 24 youngsters (2 from each district) between the ages of 12-18, are forced to pit against each other.
Gruesome as the theme is, between all the struggle and mayhem, the book is also a tale of love, hope and triumph. And now, the world of Panem has come alive with The Hunger Games movie that premiered worldwide on March 23rd, to terrific reviews and overwhelming hype.
Pulling in $155 million in the US its first weekend, the movie debuted with the third highest opening of all time. It was also the best opening for a film not released during summer and the biggest opening for a non-sequel. It is therefore no wonder that just like the recent blockbusters, Twilight and Harry Potter, Hunger Games mania has now spread beyond the book and movie screens, into the real world.
As is always the case, the best way to show devotion is to imitate the characters. In this case the lead heroes were pretty normal looking, so fans have to seek out some of the more interesting looking supporting characters, which in this case happen to be Effie Trinket who plays the escort for the two District 12 nominees. Her colorful wardrobe and rather bizarre makeup has fans quite mesmerized, inspiring numerous companies to conjure up Effie Trinket-inspired costumes and makeup, either for Halloween, other costume parties or, just for fun! Also available, are 12 new Hunger Games nail polish colors - One for each of the Panem Districts.
Meanwhile, head gamemaker Seneca Crane garnered his own share of followers thanks to his wacky beard. Victor's Village, a blog devoted to The Hunger Games series, recently held a unique contest for its readers asking them to send in a photo of them sporting a Seneca Crane beard. Some submitters grew real facial hair, while others used their creativity to produce makeshift beards - with makeup, construction paper, or anything else they could find!
Many fans even hope to train like The Hunger Games stars. The New York Sports Club, a chain of gyms in New York City is giving their members a chance to do just that. The themed workout class includes wall-climbing, archery and sprinting - Katniss and Peeta style. For those looking for more thrills, there are also 'Katniss kickbacks' or 'Peeta presses'.
Also available, is an unofficial Hunger Games cookbook that provides recipes ranging from the chocolate cake that Katniss devoured on her first day away from her family to everybody's favorite lamb stew to even the fried squirrel, that was the mainstay of the residents of District 12.
And of course, what is a hit movie without toys - Katniss and Peeta dolls have already been spotted at a recent Toy Fair and we are sure that the other characters are not far behind.
If you are a Hunger Games fan, be sure to add your opinion about the book and movie at our sister sites DOGObooks and DOGOmovies. Not convinced they are for you? Check out the reviews and see if you can be persuaded by your peers to join in the mania called The Hunger Games! May the odds be ever in your favor!
Resources: Guardian.co.uk, Dailymail.co.uk, victor'svillage.com