Having written an essay-length review of the movie (not the book) THE HUNGER GAMES, I am chagrined to read Mark Steyn, columnist to the world, so adroitly articulate my inarticulate misgivings about it:
What were your thoughts on the Hunger Games trilogy?
MS: It seems to me there is something empty about the Hunger Games. In the end the stakes aren’t big enough for it to quite work. There’s nothing primal at stake in the Hunger Games, in part because I assume the author doesn’t subscribe to any particular transcendent meaning to life. I think there is a kind of absence of that in the book.
You can read the interview here: http://www.hillsdalecollegian.com/2012/03/qa-mark-steyn/
I would make the broader point that Christianity is inherently dramatic, with its unfashionable insistence on the dangers of hell and the promise of heaven, whereas paganism is inherently tragic, or, in the case of Buddhism, inherently dispassionate. Gnosticism, except for the one narrative of the plucky rebel overthrowing the evil oppressive Demiurge, inherently robs narratives of drama, by making everyone an unheroic victim or an unheroic villain, and by insisting that the actions of the drama are either not worth doing, or make no difference in the long run. (And political correctness is a modern materialist version of Gnosticism).
But something was missing from HUNGER GAMES, which in my review I groped toward by saying I did not see what philosophy Panem stood for, or what the point was. Mr Steyn, with more clarity than I possess, identified the missing element as a transcendent meaning.
I am not saying this as a Christian, but as a writer: had Katniss been the daughter of Artemis, hounded by an inescapable fate, fighting alongside Arjuna against Grendel or Hector, some of the grandeur and nobility of the doomed pagan would have been in her tale.