Thursday, March 29, 2012

Perfuming The Hunger Games: Scenty Thoughts and Drawing!

Thoughts, Perfumey and Not, on Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games, Part 2

Part 2: Hunger Games Related Musings, Olfactory and Auditory

So, now that I've said all that about Katniss and YA and Feminism in Part 1, let's talk perfume, a little music, and giveaways, shall we?

I've been thinking about what sorts of scents I would associate with the characters, because if I try to imagine the perfumes that would actually appear in the word of The Hunger Games, all I can imagine is horrible, fake, overly sugary fruity florals scents coating the Capitol, like the worst collection of boring celebrity scents in history. Seriously -- can't you just see someone suggesting to Cinna that Katniss needed a celebrity scent of her own? She's be as offended by that as by the idea of a Katniss Barbie. FN1. FN2.

He smells like food....hmmmmm...
No, instead I'm focusing on scents I think capture some of the spirit of the characters and world. It is hard not to think of L'Artisan Bois Farine when you see fans wearing buttons that read, "I heart the Boy with the Bread." I also think of it when I think about the District 11 gift to Katniss during the games, which sadly did not make the film. FN3. My other option was the intensely sweet marshmallow of By Kilian Love because I always think of Peeta as kind of soft and sugary. I don't mean that in a bad way; softness is a rare and delightful find in any man, and particularly here in a romantic lead. Even if that softness is worn away somewhat by circumstances, it is wonderful to think of the Girl on Fire ending up with the boy who frosts the beautiful cakes for the bakery windows. He isn't even the stereotypical bad boy baker/chef. He's sweet, vulnerable.

As for the Girl on Fire, I skip directly to CB I Hate Perfumes Fire from Heaven, which I once described as possessing a kind of "holy fire" and is therefore connected with my notion of Katniss as a warrior-saint, the Joan of Arc figure Lawrence referenced. Other options I think of are Comme des Garcons x Artek and Crazy Libulelle Encens Mystic, a solid perfume that was once recommended to me by a reader that I have since enjoyed (and can still be found with a little hunting). FN4. I also sometimes think of DSH Perfumes Festive, but that reminds me more of the triumphant girl on fire than the one strapping herself to trees to sleep and running from fireball cannons.

It's possible that in seeing Katniss only as "The Girl on Fire," I'm playing into a media-centered stereotype, and in turn I miss Katniss in her complexity, Katniss the sister, the daughter, even the lover. The Katniss that exists after she finally lays down her arms, and begins to love. The Katniss who hopes. That girl I want to give something vulnerable, something still innocent. But maybe I'll save that for later.

As for Prim, I like to think she smells of the herbal tinctures and salves that she and her mother use to heal the injured brought to their door. Medicinal but general, a little floral sweet, not foodie sweet.  Pretty, but not beautiful.

I think of JoAnne Bassett's Enchant, though that seems a little to adult in some ways, as is Serge Lutens Borneo 1834 EDP, though that also has a sweet/medicinal/earthy quality I'd look for. What little we see of Primrose is so young and innocent in the first book, I want to put her in some sort of delicate rose scent, something young and sweet but possibly edgy, like Juliette Has a Gun Miss Charming?

Speaking of innocence, I have to give Rue a little love, mostly because this will be her only appearance. I love how clever she is, how every part of her life is used to her advantage.  She's a wonderful character, perhaps one of my favorite minor/side characters in all of YA.

For Rue, perhaps, something sweet, smart, acceptably youthful and light but...special. Maybe CB I Hate Perfume Wild Pansy or Borsari Violetta di Parma? I keep wanting to go floral with Rue...perhaps because of Katniss' impulse to honor her with wildflowers.

Generally, when I think of District 12, I cannot help but think it might smell like Olympic Orchid Perfumes Kingston Ferry, because it smells of woods and dampness and hard work to me, though wasn't exactly what Ellen Covey intended, I'd wager. FN5. I guess another way to go would be L'Artisan Al Oudh, which also reminds me of a walk in the woods, but on a dry sunny day...maybe the memory of an almost happy day Katniss spent with Gale hunting, the kind of memory she clings to during the Games?

Which brings me back to Gale. I don't know what to scent Gale as. Is there a scent that captures, in turn, angry, desperate, defiant, lost? I don't know. Maybe Esscentual Alchemy Lumberjack Man? Better to save him for later.

Interestingly, I found a perfumer who has been similarly inspired. SaraWenn Perfume Art popped up in my Hunger Games swag-related searches, and on sheer impulse I ordered some. There are three Hunger Games-inspired scents coming my way: Run Away With Me, Girl on Fire, and The Baker's Boy. And not just for me, dear reader. FOR YOU!

That's right. Once again, it's drawing time here at Feminine Things. Winner will receive a sample of several of the perfumes referenced above, plus a sample of SaraWenn Perfume Art's Girl on Fire, along with a Hunger Games bookmark, mix Cd of songs that remind me of Collin's stories, and yes, even a custom made hammered silver bracelet made by Serenity Storms that reads, May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favor.

Perfume! Music! Jewelry! What fan wouldn't want that kind of swag?

So come on: what scents do you associate with Katniss and her band of rebels?

POST A COMMENT ON EITHER PART 1 OR PART 2 OF THIS PIECE talking about Katniss, YA books in general, feminism, perfume, whathaveyou on or before 11:59pm PST on Friday April 6, 2012 to enter. Will ship internationally.

I will leave you now with this, an oldie but goodie, and a song I always associate with Peeta and Katniss.


FN1. This comes on the heels of Lionsgate sending a cease and desist letter to Oxfam/HP Alliance for trying to use the series' popularity as a tool to fight actual hunger because, you know, Hunger is not a Game. And can I just say, thanks HPAlliance! "The Weapon We Have is Love!"

EDITOR'S NOTE:  It appears Lion's Gate has since changed their minds re: OxFam. ('Hunger Games:' Lionsgate relents in charity kerfuffle, LA Times Blog.)

FN2. And before you ask, yes Bella already has a Barbie. In fact, she has two: normal and bridal. Sigh.

FN3. This is what I wore to the release.

FN4. I really need to do a round-up post of solid scents, which I have some of enjoy, and never talk about.

FN5. Reading the books, I kept thinking of The Capitol as being pretty recognizably in the location of Denver and District 12 more like being in West Virginia. Did anyone else think that? I know they filmed in the Appalachia, so I guess Gary Ross did, too. I just wondered.


solace said...

wait... let me get this right:

Lionsgate sent a cease & desist letter to OXFAM? so... they are saying they don't want to be involved in ending hunger and empowering families to be self sufficient?

if this is the case, not only will i nor see The Hunger Games, i will boycott every other Lion's Gate film made for here on out.

Their film makes millions and not one dollar of it's fame and fortune should be used to support those dying of hunger?


please tell me i am reading this wrong.

Diana said...


It appears they may have relented.

'Hunger Games:' Lionsgate relents in charity kerfuffle (

But sadly, yes,trademark/copyright-wise, Lion's Gate's initial reaction was to send the cease and desist letter. Whoever made that choice is obviously now having a very bad couple of weeks.


Beth said...

You are not the only one who thought District 12 was located somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains. Most of the fan created maps have District 12 located there. Also, a lot of people were upset that Jennifer Lawrence was cast as Katniss since the character had olive skin and grey eyes (possibly coming from a Native American/Cherokee background). However, this became overshadowed by people claiming she was not skinny enough for role (malarkey!) or that Rue was black (also malarkey!). Collins has also stated that District 11 is located around Georgia. I think the books describe the capitol as being located in the Rockies.

These are just some things I have seen around the internet. :)

Have you listened to the soundtrack (Songs from District 12)? There are definitely some bluegrass influences in some of the songs that I just love!

monster said...

I believe The Hunger Games is the Star Wars of our time. Both tell serious stories of war, rebellion, and death through the well-drawn characters you come to care about as if you personally knew them.

The story itself is as old as time, it's the storytelling that brings it to life.

Diana said...


Thanks for confirmation. You're very helpful (in making me feel sane).



Diana said...


Here, here! I hope Hunger Games is that successful, truly. It has a lot of layers and lends itself to both popular appeal, philosophical reflection, and academic dissection and discourse.


mals86 said...

Lovely post! I hadn't seen it when I wrote mine - and I had, sadly, left Rue off my list in favor of characters from the later books.

I also had not thought of Katniss in her Girl on Fire persona, since it seemed a mantle bestowed on her by other people. Strong, yes. Earthy and unwilling to accept what other people decide for her, yes. Fierce and independent and mama-bear protective, yes. Fiery? I'm still not really buying it.

But I will say, MY GOD DO I LOVE PEETA. I love him almost as much as I love Sam in LOTR, which is huuuuuge. I'm a little taken aback thinking of him as being BK Love marshmallowy, because in his own way he is stubborn and strong. Sweet and soft, I agree, with a tenderness you rarely see in a "leading man" character. Of course, marshmallowy-BK-Love might describe my heart concerning him ever since CAtching Fire, which is when the character really starts showing that impressive backbone.