1. The books aren't perfect. I know that. I think the third book is the weakest of the three, with a lack of the cohesive focus the first two demonstrate (even if it does work overtime to drive the overriding themes home). The author also doesn't know how to write endings. She has an annoying propensity to use the last chapter as an info dump/time jump which ends up diluting the effects and taking away a lot of Katniss's agency. That being said...
2. I love so many of the characters, which excuses much of what frustrates me. Starting with...
3. Peeta. Okay, I'll say it now. I'm a Peeta girl. I love his devoted strength, his heart, his level of trust. Alicia complains he's weak and Katniss is always saving him, but that's just not true. He does as much saving, just in other ways. I cried at the end of the first book, because I felt his betrayal when he learned the levels of Katniss's lies for the sake of the games in the aftermath. The ending of the second book wrecked me knowing the Capitol had him. And his hijacking in the third? Finished me off. The ending of the series didn't pack the wallop it should have (because of point #1 above) but his line when he asks Katniss if her love for him is real or not? Did the job where the rest of it didn't quite.
4. Katniss. Loving her is sometimes difficult but I do, because I understand her, in so many ways.
5. Haymitch. As hard as he is to sometimes swallow, his relationship with Katniss is one of my favorites in the series. These two practical people understand each other in ways few others in the books do.
6. Finnick. Oh, poor Finnick. His story is as much a tragedy as Peeta's, Katniss's, and Haymitch's are. Broken and yet surviving. Somehow. Until they don't.
7. The theme of "real or not real" that pervades through the series is half of what keeps my thoughts swirling. Don't we question this every day? Isn't this what we try and teach our children? Craig is in the process of trying to teach Alicia and Alex how to question, not to accept things on blind faith but instead to not be afraid to ask why or why not. This is our duty, more than anything else. Question. Decide for ourselves.
8. The definitions of love. So many different types on display. Katniss's constant sacrifices. Peeta's devotion. Gale's rebellious passion. Finnick's tragic romance.
I can't stop thinking about these stories and characters. Not all my thoughts are pleasant. I had nightmares last night based on what I read in the first half of Mockingjay, and I don't see that changing with the bleak nature of the ending.
But clearly they've affected me. Strongly.