OK, this is the fourth Friday Frenching, so I suppose it’s time to get a little complicated. This kiss has a book version and a movie version, and they couldn’t be more different.
THE KISSERS: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark
Let’s do a little comparison, shall we?
THE MOVIE KISS:
THE BOOK KISS:
“Peeta,” I say lightly. “You said at the interview you’d had a crush on me forever. When did forever start?”
“Oh, let’s see. I guess the first day of school. We were five. You had on a red plaid dress and your hair… it was in two braids instead of one. My father pointed you out when we were waiting to line up,” Peeta says.
“Your father? Why?” I ask.
“He said, ‘See that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner,’” Peeta says.
“What? You’re making that up!” I exclaim.
“No, true story,” Peeta says. “And I said, ‘A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner if she could’ve had you?’ And he said, ‘Because when he sings… even the birds stop to listen.’”
“That’s true. They do. I mean, they did,” I say. I’m stunned and surprisingly moved, thinking of the baker telling this to Peeta. It strikes me that my own reluctance to sing, my own dismissal of music might not really be that I think it’s a waste of time. It might be because it reminds me too much of my father.
“So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She stood you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, every bird outside the windows fell silent,” Peeta says.
“Oh, please,” I say, laughing.
“No, it happened. And right when your song ended, I knew—just like your mother—I was a goner,” Peeta says. “Then for the next eleven years, I tried to work up the nerve to talk to you.”
“Without success,” I add.
“Without success. So, in a way, my name being drawn in the reaping was a real piece of luck,” says Peeta. For a moment, I’m almost foolishly happy and then confusion sweeps over me. Because we’re supposed to be making up this stuff, playing at being in love not actually being in love. But Peeta’s story has a ring of truth to it. That part about my father and the birds. And I did sing the first day of school, although I don’t remember the song. And that red plaid dress… there was one, a hand-me-down to Prim that got washed to rags after my father’s death.
It would explain another thing, too. Why Peeta took a beating to give me the bread on that awful hollow day. So, if those details are true… could it all be true?
“You have a… remarkable memory,” I say haltingly. “I remember everything about you,” says Peeta, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear. “You’re the one who wasn’t paying attention.”
“I am now,” I say.
“Well, I don’t have much competition here,” he says. I want to draw away, to close those shutters again, but I know I can’t. It’s as if I can hear Haymitch whispering in my ear, “Say it! Say it!”
I swallow hard and get the words out. “You don’t have much competition anywhere.” And this time, it’s me who leans in.”
WHY IT ROCKED:I’m a bit torn on this one. Here’s the thing–the book kiss didn’t make me swoony. At all. I don’t think it was meant to. Katniss is acting, and her romancing of Peeta is meant for the viewers at home. Yes, this is the point where she sort of realizes that it’s not as fake for Peeta as it is for her, but this book kiss is a bit disingenuous.
The movie kiss is something else entirely. Now, I’m not the kind of girl that goes around choosing teams (ie, Team Peeta/Team Edward/Team whatever), so I’m not trying to hyper-romanticize a relationship that wasn’t that romantic in the book. And during my first viewing I was appalled that they don’t relate the reality of this kiss–that Katniss is mostly faking it. But after I got over the initial THIS IS NOT HOW IT WAS IN THE BOOK! I was able to appreciate it for what it was. In the movie, I suppose, Katniss is beginning to realize her feelings for Peeta at this moment. It’s barely even recognizable as the same kiss, since the motivations seem so off. But right after, when Peeta says that now he definitely can’t let her go–I die. It’s so cute. So, in a rare case, I felt that this movie kiss trumped the book kiss by a wide margin.
What do you think about movie adaptations of kisses? How did you feel about the changed kiss in THE HUNGER GAMES?