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‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’: The Melodic Prequel of The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games series returns to the big screen with their latest adaptation “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” as well as the flourishing excitement of many fans for the beloved series.
“The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” (Courtesy of IMDB)


It has been eight years since the last movie from the popular dystopian trilogy “The Hunger Games” was released, “Mockingjay — Part 2.” The Hunger Games series returns to the big screen with their latest adaptation, “The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.” The return has been met with flourishing excitement from many fans of the beloved series.

The Brilliant Mind of Suzanne Collins

In May 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, author Suzanne Collins released the novel “The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes.” The novel debuted #1 on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. It sold around 500,000 copies within its first week. As of now, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” has sold 3.5 million copies. 

Collins revealed in an interview that she got the inspiration for “The Hunger Games” one night watching TV when she was channel surfing. She noticed channels of the people in a reality TV show competing for $1 million, while other channels were talking about the war in Iraq. This is where she created the idea of Katniss and the Hunger Games.

Snow Falls on Top

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is a compelling prequel to the popular series “The Hunger Games.”

The movie focuses on the young Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) and his rise to power. The movie takes place all the way back at the 10th annual Hunger Games, long before Katniss Everdeen. Although, in “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” the games are set up quite differently from the traditional way many of us remember.

Snow, along with other students from the Capitol Academy, are chosen to mentor the tributes for the upcoming games. Here, Snow is assigned to the musical outcast Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler) from District 12. Snow displays his innovative mind as a leader and comes up with new ideas for the 10th Hunger Games such as sponsorships, performances from the tributes and the betting system that are still currently used in the modern games. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” reveals how Snow transforms into the dark wicked leader of future Panem and how he chooses his hunger for power over love.

Captivating Cast and Movie

What makes the movie so reminiscent of the original series is the return of Francis Lawrence. Lawrence directed the last three movies of the original series and now “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” We also can’t forget the captivating performance from Zegler, who brought the show-stopping Lucy Gray Baird to life. Her original haunting version of  “The Hanging Tree” is breathtaking.

The cast all display quite the performances. Standout portrayals from Viola Davis who plays head Gamemaker Volumnia Gaul, the stunning Hunter Schafer as Tigris and Peter Dinklage as Dean Casca Highbottom. There are many scenes throughout the movie that have you hooked. Many are quite unforgettable (especially the Wovey scene).

Speaking of great performances, Olivia Rodrigo wrote the compelling song “Can’t Catch Me Now” for the film’s soundtrack. It beautifully captures the essence of the movie.

With its curation of suspense, moral ambiguity and rich world-building, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” illustrates the dangers of power, survival and the gambling game of love.

You can watch “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” in theaters now.


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About the Contributor
Eliza Delgado, Assistant Arts Editor
(she/her) Eliza Delgado has written for the Chronicle since September 2022. She is a senior year at the U majoring in psychology with a minor in creative writing. Eliza joined the Chronicle to expand her writing abilities and has a new profound love for journalism. She is a huge Taylor Swift fan and loves to read, shop and practice hot yoga.

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