The Hunger Games: when our past to dictates our future

The prequel to the Hunger Games saga depicts the traumatic villain origin story of President Coriolanus Snow. How can we avoid our own villain arc?


Have you ever had that feeling that someone just doesn’t like you when all you did was breathe?

Katniss Everdeen, protegonist of all the Hunger Game’s installments clearly had a target on her back for her pluckiness. President Coriolanus Snow clearly had an unexplained dislike for her revolutionary and rebellious affront and tried to squash that spirit from the very beginning.

Was it really Katniss Everdeen’s behavior that deserved that hatred or is it something within Snow himself?

In the upcoming Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie, we are given President Snow’s lore.

Here’s what we can take away from young Coriolanus’ story, which may just help us understand those who have a thing against us.

(Spoiler alert)

Coriolanus and Lucy
Photo via Tenor

Childhood experiences shape our future selves

Like other inhabitants of Panem, Snow’s livelihood was taken from him during the war that happened over 60 years before the coming of the Katniss’ era of the Hunger Games.

While Snow was born into wealth in the Capitol, the Panem War cause him to lose everything, including his parents and newborn sister. Snow was five when that happened and he was left under the custody of his grandmother and ith his also orphaned cousin Tigris. The fact that Snow kept up appearances despite the lost of his family fortune reflects his schema and value that he places on status and wealth. Perhaps his high-status upbringing was all that he based his self-worth on.

Losing not only his family but also his fortune created deep complex trauma that he carried on for the rest of his life.

The Snow Family Tree
Photo via 34th Hunger Games Fanon Wiki

Relationship issues with trust

Early loss either in childhood or adolescence has detrimental long term effects if the loss is not properly processed. A young person who experiences such loss may attribute the death as the parent or loved one abandoning them. This in turn could cause attachment issues in subsequent relationships.

Snow can be seen experiencing these symptoms first hand. The young orphan boy’s emotional scars persisted past the war and well into adulthood.

His first real friend outside of his living family was his mentee, a tribute from district 12, Lucy Gray Baird. He told her things he never told anyone. Even then, the relationship was complicated and intertwined with a complicated hierarchy and overall dysfunction.

Lucy Gray Baird
GIF via Tenor

Hollowed by the experience in his childhood, Coriolanus filled the emptiness with the desire to succeed regardless of the costs during the Hunger Games.  Human beings became a means to his end. 

When negative situation happens in our lives, it’s important to step back and assess it as much as we may prefer to sweep it under the carpet to avoid the pain or shame.

The effects of ‘pushing through’ a difficult time without properly processing our emotions can be disastrous. Unresolved negative emotions and experiences can resurface in very ugly ways.

Rationalization of the need for control

With unresolved past as a heavy baggage in his life, Coriolanus Snow believed that the success of the 10th Annual Hunger Games would help him rebuild his family name and regain control. This rationalization could perhaps be an avoidance of a loss he never came to accept.

Dean Casca Highbottom
Photo via The Hunger Games Wiki

“There has been a change this year. As a mentor, Mr Snow, your role is to turn these children into spectacles not survivors. Persuade them to perform for the camera.” – Dean Casca Highbottom

Turning the survivalist arena into a gameshow stage included adding a ‘game’ host, tribute interviews, and Capitol sponsors. As we know, many of these performance-esque practices continued on to the 74th Hunger Games and beyond (Katniss era).

Because Snow had no control over what happened to him and his family, he unconciously sort control over the lives of others

District 12
Photo via The Hunger Games Wiki

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Panem Civil war in Snow’s youth was not the last uprising by the districts’ rebels. Katniss sparked a revolution many years later that upturned the entire system! From the moment Snow met Katniss, he knew to be afraid. His old fears toward revolutionary thought were reignited.

Emotional trauma is often deeply hidden in our minds and memory. While a person may get on very well in daily living most of the time, a trigger or a reference to the past traumatic experience can reignite irrational fears.

Katniss Everdeen and President Sno
Photo via The Hunger Games Wiki

From victim to victimizer

Coriolanus Snow, a victim of his past ended up victimising everyone else.

Toxic individuals often have a back story that may explain their behavior. This however, does not mean that we condone their destructive behavior.

If you feel that you are being victimized, empower yourself and prioritizes your well-being. Remember that you have the choice to remain victim or emerge a victor, stronger from every experience you encounter.

If you feel unsafe and overwhelmed by your current situation, please reach out to a responsible adult. You are not alone.

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