By Jen Evans Fashion stylist
There are SPOILERS in this answer that give away plot points in THG book and the movie. Blah blah blah, please discontinue reading.......
The speech by Cato on the top of the Cornucopia was not in the book, but Suzanne Collins probably approved the speech because she was a screenwriter, along with the director Gary Ross, and Billy Ray, another screenwriter.
There were a few liberties taken in the movie that were not in the book (and vice versa), this being one of them. Other noteworthy additions or omissions can be discussed ad infinitum as to whether or not they streamlined the movie or added to the plot. Certainly this speech kind of threw a wrench into things but perfectly set up the next movie by signaling dissent even for career tributes, who supposedly have been training all their lives, are given special privileges, provided food, and then volunteer to go to the games to give their districts and families the pride and glory of winning (or dying a vainglorious death).
So for the entire THG book and movie (or from the time all the tributes reach the Capitol), Cato establishes himself as the alpha tribute. He is one of the largest boys, he is obviously strong, very smug, and is a natural leader. While training and being evaluated in the Capitol, Cato appears to be "the one to beat" with a survival score of 10; Katniss is announced to have a survival score of 11.
Cato's character stays in line with the book throughout the movie; he allies himself with other careers, he is the leader of this subgroup, and he seems to kill easily, without remorse. Cato seems without peer; although we know he should fear Katniss, he doesn't seem to fear Katniss, and we see little confidence that she should have in herself.
And then there were three; when it comes down to the mano-a-mano (a-mano) combat on top of the Cornucopia, the movie scene mirrors the book almost completely until Katniss has to make a decision to take Cato out and lose Peeta, because she is mocked by Cato that, "if I fall, I take loverboy with me." Completely in character.....Cato's going down, but he's going to kill one more person if he's going, too.
THEN.....the odd little speech. So out of character. Cato says killing is what he does best, but life hasn't been as great for a career tribute as everyone thinks. This, being broadcast to all the districts which are already beginning to uprise. So what's he saying? If your life sucks (which it does) and you think he's got a life on easy street, it ain't easy. More fuel to the fire......Catching Fire.
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