- Lucy Gray Baird is the “anti-Katniss” in the new Hunger Games prequel, as she is a charismatic performer who wears her sexuality on her sleeve.
- While Katniss was celebrated for her empowering representation, Lucy’s portrayal offers a different kind of female protagonist who embraces intimacy and traditional femininity.
- Lucy’s story with Coriolanus Snow is central to the prequel and allows for a deeper exploration of their relationship without the weight of a revolution.
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes director Francis Lawrence explains what makes the new female protagonist Lucy Gray Baird so different from Katniss Everdeen, even going as far as to call her the “anti-Katniss.” Based on Suzanne Collins’s popular novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes takes place 64 years before the events of the original Hunger Games trilogy, telling the story of young Coriolanus Snow and his journey to becoming a ruthless autocrat and eventual president of Panem. In the prequel, Snow forms a relationship with Lucy, a young District 12 tribute competing in the 10th Hunger Games.
In an interview with Empire, Lawrence shares that Lucy is no Katniss, and questions whether audiences will want to watch The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes without their beloved archer. While Katniss and Lucy are both District 12 natives, that is where their commonalities seem to end. Lawrence explains why he believes Lucy is the “anti-Katniss.” Read his full comment below:
“Katniss was an introvert and a survivor. She was quite quiet and stoic, you could almost say [she was] asexual. Lucy Gray is the opposite. She wears her sexuality on her sleeve, [and] she really is a performer.”
How Lucy Could Be A Welcome New Example Of Female Representation
When the Hunger Games franchise was released, Katniss was celebrated as a refreshing, empowering example of female representation. Unlike other female protagonists in young adult fiction and movies, Katniss was not driven by romantic relationships and courageously took control of her own destiny, eventually becoming the face of a revolution and liberating her nation from an oppressive regime. She quickly became a figure that young girls reading and watching her could aspire to be like.
Katniss’s characterization is not without faults or criticisms, however. Much of her story is driven by strife and trauma, whether that be the physical suffering she experiences competing in two Hunger Games or the emotional loss of people whom she loves. She actively resists her relationship with fellow District 12 tribute, Peeta Mellark, when they first meet and struggles to open up emotionally throughout most of her character arc. She is praised for her exceptional combat skills, not interpersonal ones. Forced into constant survival mode, Katniss was denied simple human pleasures like intimate connection and creative expression.
Lucy, however, is a charismatic singer from a family of traveling performers who, in Lawrence’s words, “wears her sexuality on her sleeve.” While Katniss and Peeta’s romance often took a backseat to the revolution, the romance between Lucy and Snow is central to their story, and they do not have the pressure of mass insurrection weighing down on them, allowing more space to explore their development as a couple. Lucy’s portrayal as Katniss’s opposite in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes could be a welcome new example of a female protagonist who is as accomplished as Katniss while also being intimate and more traditionally feminine.