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How Glimmer’s Brutal Hunger Games Death Is So Much Worse In The Book

While The Hunger Games film showcases its fair share of brutal deaths, how Katniss kills Glimmer with a nest of tracker jackers is worse in the books.

While The Hunger Games features many brutal deaths, Glimmer’s (Leven Rambin) end by tracker jackers is even worse in the book than in the film. The Hunger Games depicts some of the most violent, yet creative deaths in YA fiction, with the juxtaposition of this violence against the opulence of the privileged as part of what gives the books and the films their staying power. However, it makes sense that all of what made the books so impactful couldn’t be brought to the screen without losing the movie’s PG-13 rating, making it interesting to see which graphic details made it from the page to the screen and which had to be left to the imagination.

The Hunger Games movie is based on the novel of the same name, where 24 children are selected every year to compete in televised death battles. In the dystopian Panem of The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) ekes out a living in District 12, the poorest district, before she is forced to enter the games and must fight to survive. During this experience, one of the first deaths Katniss witnesses personally is that of Glimmer, a tribute from District 1. In the book and the film, Katniss kills Glimmer after the District 1 tribute and her group trap Katniss up a tree. She escapes by dropping a nest of tracker jackers on those below.

How Glimmer’s Hunger Games Death Is Worse In The Book
In both the book and the movie versions of The Hunger Games, tracker jackers are genetically engineered wasps whose stings are incredibly painful and inject those who suffer them with a hallucinatory poison. Additionally, the creatures follow those that disturbed their nest long past the range of a normal wasp, culminating in one of the longest, most lingering deaths in The Hunger Games. While Katniss and Glimmer are both stung in the book and the film, the consequences are much more graphic in the book, especially due to the visions Katniss suffers in the aftermath of her attack.

While dying at the hands of tracker jackers is bad enough in The Hunger Games film, the book depicts a much more grotesque description of Glimmer’s demise. The novel describes the once-beautiful Glimmer as disfigured in death by plum-sized welts that ooze green pus, as well as how the girl begins to disintegrate when Katniss touches her body. Admittedly, this aspect could very well be Katniss’ hallucinogenic tracker jacker stings working against her, but she does have to break Glimmer’s fingers to retrieve the bow the other tribute was carrying, adding to the scene’s grimness. These graphic aspects of Glimmer’s death are cut from the film.

Why Glimmer’s Death Is So Important
Despite the horror of how Katniss kills Glimmer in The Hunger Games, it remains a critical part of both the original novel and the movie. Not only does this death earn Katniss her bow, but it also highlights the lengths to which she’ll go to survive. For even greater impact, Glimmer’s death is technically Katniss’ first kill in the Games, albeit indirectly. All the same, the gruesome aspects of the deed and the impact of Katniss’ attack not just on Glimmer, but her group show both Katniss’ ruthlessness and ingenuity, all of which are key to her survival in The Hunger Games.


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