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2012-03-20-MKothariProfile.jpg By Monika Kothari, Anthropology and political theory student

Using the positions of Team Peeta and Team Gale outlined by Cristina Hartmann, I decided to see if my results corroborated with hers.

I I began my quest to answer this question by popping over to FanFiction.net, where I did a search for fanfics tagged with Katniss and Peeta as the two main characters, versus fanfics tagged with Katniss and Gale. (I also added the "romance" genre tag to weed out most friendship stories.) I figured this would be a good place to start, as fic writers are among the most passionate, detail-oriented, die hard of fans, often with very strong preferences. Here are the results:
  • Katniss and Peeta: 934
  • Katniss and Gale: 336
  • Peeta and Gale: 34 (There are always slashers. Always.)


Based on these results, Peeta fans definitely have the advantage in terms of numbers, but the Gale contingent is too large to be negligible. Peeta fans have the canon ending of their side, and a large amount of these fics take place post-Mockingjay, so perhaps it's unfair to make a direct comparison, considering the books really screw Gale at the end, without any closure. (Also noteworthy, there appears to be one Peeta/Gale fan for every ten Katniss/Gale fans...)

II Then, off to deviantART, where I searched for "katniss peeta" first, yielding 6941 hits. Keep in mind that this fanart isn't all necessarily "Team Peeta", as some of them are literally just drawings of Katniss and Peeta standing next to each other. (Unfortunately, searching for "Team Peeta" wasn't very useful in this context, a most results for the term juxtaposed images of Peeta and Gale.) Anyway, this was the first hit back when I searched, but of course the results change all the time:

2012-03-20-MKothari01.jpg

Searching for "katniss gale" gives us 3338 hits. As opposed to the "katniss peeta" results, these tended to be less romance-oriented and often included images of the characters engaged in some friendly activity like hunting, or in isolation. The first result was just Gale, interestingly enough:

2012-03-20-MKothari02.jpg

III Then I conducted my own mini-survey, sampling a few of my friends that I know to have read the entire series, about their preference. The results:
  • "Team Peeta" (4 total - 3 female, 1 male)
  • "Team Gale" (1 total - 1 male)
  • Neither (1 total - 1 female)


Okay, so a survey with a sample size of six is probably worthless, but it's worth noting the gender breakdown here. Among the people I know offline, women seem to prefer Peeta. I can't draw any conclusions from my sample of two men, but the one person that preferred Gale is male, so there's that. I asked him why he liked Gale better, and his reply was something to effect of disliking Peeta and Katniss's unhealthy mutual co-dependence, Peeta's slightly manipulative tendencies, and he also detested this whole section, particularly the last exchange:

Peeta and I grow back together. There are still moments when he clutches the back of a chair and hangs on until the flashbacks are over. I wake screaming from nightmares of mutts and lost children. But his arms are there to comfort me. And eventually his lips. On the night I feel that thing again, the hunger that overtook me on the beach, I know this would have happened anyway. That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that.



So after, when he whispers, "You love me. Real or not real?"



I tell him, "Real."



But if he dislikes Peeta, why does he choose Gale for Katniss over nobody? (Well, I probably should have asked him that, but I didn't think of it at the time!) He did say something like, "Gale's a fighter, a survivor, like Katniss. They're best friends." But the same could be argued of Peeta, in a slightly different way. Anyway, moving on...

IV Still, even if Peeta fans have greater numbers, Gale fans seem to have louder volume. Just perusing the forums on sites like Goodreads and the Scholastic page, I come across posts like this:

GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE! GALE!



Or, alternatively,

GALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!1!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



This went on for pages, so I'll spare you the rest. This leads me to believe that a large faction of Gale fans are either 1) preteens and teenagers, or 2) trolls. I'll go with the former, especially since a lot of these posts contained illuminating content such as

katnis can hav peeta cuz them gale would b mine!!!!!11!!!

and I'm sure that not even trolls could produce this volume of deep analysis.

End I don't mean to pick on the Gale fans, because there are definitely valid reasons to prefer him over Peeta. I've noticed, however, that adult women generally prefer Peeta over Gale, while teenagers are more evenly split, as are men. My results are probably skewed towards Peeta because...
  • 1. Most readers of The Hunger Games are girls or women.
  • 2. Most fanfiction writers are women in their 20s and 30s.
  • 3. Most of my friends surveyed are women.
  • 4. People that post about this on online forums--where the fandom was most evenly split--are most likely to be teenagers.


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