Mockingjay: Gale Hawthorne and Active Resistance

I’m Team Peeta. So sue me. But this does not mean I don’t appreciate Gale.

It isn’t until the third book of the Hunger Games series, Mockingjay, that Gale Hawthorne really comes into his own. In Catching Fire, however, there is one key scene – when Gale is whipped by the new Head Peacekeeper, Romulus Thread, for possessing a poached turkey. The beating is so severe Gale is unable to work for two weeks, but it doesn’t matter anyway because the mines have been shut down in a form of reverse strike. The Capitol is flexing its muscles to show the already starving district just who holds all the power.GaleDavid.jpg

Gale goes home with no more talk of rebellion between us. But I can’t help thinking that everything he sees will only strengthen his resolve to fight back.

~ Katniss Everdeen, Catching Fire

The most famous of Israel’s kings, David, started with similarly humble circumstances. He was the youngest of seven sons working at the least respected job on the family farm – shepherd. As the youngest he was extremely unlikely to inherit anything. But there’s a problem for this ambitious and talented young man. Israel was being overrun by a neighboring nation – Philistia. The Philistines were fearsome warriors, better armed, better trained and the soldiers are quite literally giants.

Like Gale, David is a skilled hunter, he is handsome and respected by those who know him. And he has every card in the deck stacked against him.

The most famous of the Philistine soldiers was Goliath.  Like a modern day dance-off, the best soldier of each army duked it out one-on-one to determine the best army. Goliath was over 9 feet tall, and every day as he stalked back and forth along the no-man’s-land between the two armies, he roared insults. The Israelites cowered in their tents, just like the Districts did for decades under the thumb of the Capitol’s cruel Hunger Games.

The similarities don’t end there.

  • It was during one of these events when David was doing one of the most mundane chores – delivering food and suplies to his older brothers in the army – that he first hears of Goliath. It was as normal as Gale bringing wild food and game to sell to the residents of District 12.
  • David quickly learned that King Saul had offered a pretty incredible set of prizes for whoever took on Goliath and won: wealth, the king’s daughter in marriage, and his entire family would be exempt from taxes for life. The prizes Gale hopes to win are not that different: freedom to earn a living for his family and the potential to win Katniss’ hand.
  • When David’s older brothers heard he was asking around they accused him of being vain and told him to shut up and go home. Kinda like how Katniss told Gale to be careful what he said and who he said it to.
  • None-the-less, word gets to King Saul that a young man is interested in challenging the Philistine champion. Saul suits up David in his personal armor and weaponry. When Gale and his family find refuge in District 13, Alma Coin, the leader of the district, tries to suit him up as a leader.
  • David finds he can’t even move in Saul’s armor and rejects it for his own simple sling. Gale also chafes under Coin’s traditional military style and finds greater success when he can draw on his skills as a hunter and trapper.
  • David faces Goliath and brings him down with a stone to the center of his forehead. Gale brings down the capitol when he destroys its last stronghold,also with rocks, a mountain fortress called “The Nut”. He uses landslides, actually, strategically set off to trap all the workers inside.

There are times and places for active resistance – times when what is yours will never be willingly given. Times when the power disparity is so great, and the political gulf so wide that so amount of picketing will bridge the gap. Gale, much like King David, is that kind of guy. And King David is the only one God ever called “a man after His own heart.”

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