Things are still a little crazy at home, getting used to living with an infant. Since I made her an aunt, my sister volunteered to write a guest post for The Christian Nerd. She is one of my biggest supporters and best friends. Please enjoy her post about Katniss Everdeen and the dangers of the lone wolf.
Last month Mockingjay - Part 2 was released on dvd, and although I read the book and saw it in theaters, I had to watch it again. Overall, I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games series. I’m a highschool teacher, so anytime I see a book series that ignites students’ desires to read, I have to get behind it. Jennifer Lawrence literally and figuratively kills it as Katniss, and I have to admit I loved the movie Mockingjay - Part 2 better than I liked the book.
In most ways, that is. There is one major problem I have with the movie that could be present in the book, but I don’t remember it. My problem is with Katniss’ complete and reckless lone wolf attitude that appears in the final standoff with Coin. The lone wolf character is celebrated in our society. Oftentimes he loses his family or must leave them behind in order to fight a power much larger than himself. Think Rambo, Jason Bourne, and The Punisher (in the current Daredevil Netflix adaptation). These (usually) men have only themselves to rely upon and make questionable choices in order to defeat a real or perceived enemy.
For the most part, Katniss is at her best when she listens to her own moral compass. When she falls in love with Peeta, when she takes action rather than making speeches for promos, or when she continues to have faith in Peeta even after his mind has been destroyed by the Capitol. But unlike a lone wolf, she relies on those around her for guidance like Gale, Cinna, Peeta, Prim, and Haymitch.
In fact she relies on them so much that one could argue that Katniss has little involvement in her own decisions. Katniss seems uninterested and possibly incapable of maneuvering through the complicated world of political intrigue and power plays. Haymitch, Peeta, Cinna, Plutarch, and the other tributes manipulate Katniss on path to becoming an icon. However, the audience doesn’t see her manipulation as a point of weakness or even naïveté. We recognize that her own selflessness, her candor, and her desire to protect others make her incapable of creating the schemes necessary to counter a villain like Snow.
However, in the end she shoots Coin instead of Snow. Never before had she killed unless threatened. Never before had she felt the duty to be judge, jury, and executioner. We do not see her seeking out advice from any of her advisors before she decides to kill Coin. In the end she becomes a lone wolf.
What worries me about lone wolf heroes is that they view their own judgment as infallible. Most are motivated by revenge or an overwhelming sense of duty to fight a battle that may not be their own to fight. The second season of Daredevil examines the problems of the lone wolf mentality. Without someone to hold us accountable, without a group of trusted friends to give us sight into our blind spots or help to lift a heavy load, even a small misstep in judgement can send us hurtling down a path of destruction without anyone around us to pull us away from the edge of the cliff. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
We need trusted friends around us in our most important decisions as well as our everyday life.
When are you most tempted to live like a lone wolf?