A Playlist for Katniss Everdeen
She’s a hunter, a master archer, a fighter, and the beloved heroine of the Hunger Games series. Katniss Everdeen didn’t ask to be thrust into the deadly televised competition the Capital uses to keep its districts docile. All she wants to do is protect her family and loved ones. She didn’t ask to become a symbol of rebellion against the government, and she resists the status and celebrity foisted upon her. Her victories are hard-won and bittersweet, and her music choices would reflect that. This playlist is a tribute (no, not that kind) to her triumphs and tragedies.
“Girl on Fire” – Alicia Keys
An obvious choice, to be sure, but come on. The most surprising thing about this song is that it was never used on any of the Hunger Games movie soundtracks, considering Katniss is dubbed “The Girl on Fire” the moment she shows off a flaming costume in front of the Capital. It could have been written specifically for Katniss, particularly the opening lines:
“She's just a girl, and she's on fire
Hotter than a fantasy, lonely like a highway
She's living in a world, and it's on fire”
“Invincible” – Pat Benatar
When Katniss needs a song full of empowerment, a song about rising up and fighting back, she can turn always turn to this Pat Benatar anthem. Its chorus gets everyone rallying:
“We can't afford to be innocent
stand up and face the enemy.
It's a do or die situation
We will be invincible.”
“Hunter” – Bjork
This song speaks of feeling abandoned and being put under pressure, something Ms. Everdeen can certainly relate to, as well as finding a newfound determination:
“So you left me on my own
To complete the mission
Now I'm leaving it all behind
I'm going hunting”
“Complicated Girl” – The Bangles
Katniss knows she’s not the easiest girl to have a relationship with, what with all the mandatory bloodsport in her life, and later rising up against the Capital. That’s why she relates to the chorus of this Bangles song so much:
“Hey, you better listen
'Cause I'm warning you
Love is never simple
With a complicated girl”
“Bizarre Love Triangle” – New Order
Speaking of relationships… Between Gale, the childhood friend with whom she has a friendship with romantic undercurrents, and Peeta, the boy she’s forced to concoct a fake relationship with for publicity, which evolves into something deeper, Katniss has one strange love life. Then there’s this song, which goes,
“I do admit to myself
That if I hurt someone else
Then I'll never see just what we're meant to be”
“Stronger” – Kanye West
When she’s preparing for a death match, Katniss needs a sonic push that will get her blood pumping. Enter Kanye, whose relentless beats will keep her moving, along with this song’s opening lines:
“Work it, make it, do it,
Makes us harder, better, faster, stronger”
“Bakerman” – Laid Back
This is obviously one Katniss closely associates with Peeta. The first line, “Bakerman is baking bread,” reminds her of the time, as children, he purposefully burned loaves of bread and took a beating in order to throw the burned loaves to her to feed her family. But it’s closing lines, “Slow down, relax, it’s too late to worry” reminds her of how far the two of them have come.
“Poison Arrow” – ABC
There aren’t many songs that use archery as a metaphor for heartbreak—hell, there aren’t many songs that mention archery period. Granted, with its “shoot that poison arrow through my heart” refrain, this may be the tune Gale and Peeta listen to when they feel emotionally stung by Katniss. But she keeps it in rotation, too, for those remorseful moments.
Full playlist is below! What other tunes do you think should be on Katniss Everdeen’s playlist? Let us know on Twitter at @QuirkBooks!
Margarita writes upmarket fiction and is represented by Victoria Skurnick at Levine Greenberg Rostan. She also transcribes and pokes fun at her old journal entries at The Diary Project. When not wrangling her ever-growing book and movie collections or feeding squirrels and chipmunks, she dreams of the day time machines are built so that she can return to the 1980s. Follow her on Twitter at @damiella.