The Panem Free Press was given the honor of reporting on the scene of the Association of Former Victors Banquet as they celebrated the fifth anniversary of a Games-free country.  Many were there, among natural favorites Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark (74th Hunger Games victors), and unexpected but pleasant surprises such as Annie Cresta Odair, victor of the 70th Hunger Games and widow of the late Finnick Odair, victor of the 65th Hunger Games.

Much was discussed at the event, including possible memorials to go up in honor of the victors who have passed away, at the arena they mastered while players in the Games.  Most popular of these late victors is Finnick Odair, whose skills with a trident and talents as a swimmer made him a shoe-in for the victory in the 65th Hunger Games.  Finnick, a valiant warrior for the rebel cause and a catalyst for many of his fellow victors and friends, was killed by former President Snow’s muttations while aiding in the invasion of the Capitol.  He leaves behind a wife and a young child, whom Odair’s former friends affectionately refer to as “Finn” throughout the night.

Among speakers at the event was 62nd Hunger Games victor Enobaria, a resident of District 2, who brought up the poor dealings with victors from the richer districts.

“We are discriminated against and shunned from the rest of the country because of our eagerness to join in the Games and our propensity for winning.  But what people don’t realize is that we’ve lost and suffered as well at the hands of these cruel endeavors.  My best friend was reaped in the 60th Hunger Games and did not survive the excursion.  I am still haunted by what I experienced in my own Games, and I can still taste the blood of those whom I murdered.  We trained, not to bring pride to our districts like everyone so adamantly believes, but instead to survive, so we could come home and be with our families again.  I was forced into training at the young age of four as a result of my athletic excellence in school.  I did not choose this life.  I never wanted any of it.  I refuse to be mistreated due to a misunderstanding.” 

When asked to comment, Peeta Mellark replied:

“It’s hard for me to have an opinion, because I came from the opposite side of the spectrum.  I was not provided with the opportunity to train for the Games, nor was I in any way given a lavish lifestyle before.  But I do think that Enobaria has a point.  We cannot discriminate against any citizen of this nation because of their past.  History needs to stay exactly where it is — behind us.  We should learn from it, most certainly; I believe we have learned, but we should also be sure to consider that history isn’t always the fault of the individual, but rather the majority.  Because we cannot know one’s intentions or opinions at a first glance, we cannot judge them like we do.” 

The discussions came to a close when 40th Hunger Games victor Beetee suggested the possibilities of each victor becoming involved in the Panem Senate and House of Representatives.  A recent poll that Panem Free Press ran asking readers what they wished would happen in the country’s politics resulted in a dramatic desire for victors to have involvement.  When Beetee took the floor to initially discuss the propensity of this, reactions among the victors were mixed, ranging from positivity to blatant disapproval from 71st Hunger Games victor Johanna Mason.  The country listed Peeta Mellark as the most desired candidate, but his reaction was ambivalent, and he declined to comment further.

All in all, the Association of Former Victors banquet was deemed a success, and each participant walked away with what seemed to be satisfaction on their faces.  The country is coming together quickly after such a long spell under Snow’s totalitarian regiment.  Things are looking up and faces are hopeful, and to put a positive spin on a negative saying, “the odds are ever in our favor!”

There is hope yet, Panem.

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