WARNING: THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE HUNGER GAMES SERIES OR HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIES AND DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED.
I have no idea if Collins is into astrology, whether this was a conscious or unconscious choice. Either way (and forgive the double pun), I think she hit a bull’s eye when she gave her heroine that birth date. Katniss not only embodies many of the characteristics associated with the sign of Taurus, her heroism is also very specific to those Taurean characteristics.
A brief overview of the story – Katniss Everdeen is a 16 year old girl who lives in a futuristic dystopian version of America, now called Panem. The country, devastated by war and ecological disasters, is now divided into the Capitol and twelve districts. One other district was destroyed in a war years before when they rebelled against the Capitol, which controls all the districts with an iron fist. Since then, the Capitol has held an annual event called The Hunger Games, where two teenage children from each district, called tributes, have to compete in a televised fight to the death.
Katniss lives in the destitute District 12, where the primary industry is mining. Her father died when she was eleven and Katniss has kept her family from starving to death by illegally hunting and gathering. On “reaping day” her younger sister Prim is chosen as a tribute. Katniss volunteers to take her place. In the course of the games, because of her bravery and her insistence on reminding viewers of the humanity of the tributes, Katniss becomes a symbol of rebellion.
Taurus is not a sign one would associate with rebellion. Taurus is a sign associated with tradition, with the status quo. Taurus natives don’t like change. So how is it that Katniss symbolizes a rebellion while at the same time exhibits the traits associated with her sun sign?
When we think of heroic characters, we tend to assign them traits that are associated with fire signs–Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. Ironically, Katniss becomes known as The Girl On Fire, because her stylist Cinna creates a dress for her during the pre-game interviews that looks like it’s on fire. Katniss doesn’t want to fight. She also didn’t want to become the primary caretaker of her family. In fact, she resents her mother for flaking out when her father died, leaving the responsibility for their survival with her.
This is where Taurus practicality comes into play with her character. If she doesn’t hunt, her family will starve. If she doesn’t kill in the games, she will die.
One of the unique aspects of the story is how rarely Katniss initiates a confrontation during the games. Another Taurean trait, because it’s a sign that hates confrontation. There’s one point in the first book where she’s doing such a good job of avoiding the other tributes the gamemakers (those who create and run the games) force her into a confrontation by hurling fireballs at her.
What she does do, what many Taurus natives do, is choose the battles she thinks she can win. If there’s a roundabout way to solve a problem without a full-on confrontation, a Taurus will find it. For instance, when she is driven up a tree and surrounded by tributes who want to kill her, she finds a nest of tracker-jackers (genetically enhanced wasps), waits until the tributes fall asleep, then saws the nest off the limb so that it drops on her opponents, killing one and driving the others away so she can escape.
In another instance, now allied with Rue, a young tribute who reminds her of her sister Prim, she plans to destroy a stash of supplies that have been rigged with explosives. Rue starts a smoky fire to draw the tributes away. Using her bow and arrow, Katniss causes a bag of apples to fall on the land mines, and succeeds in destroying the supplies.
These are interesting choices by Collins, because we expect heroic characters to be very pro-active. Katniss manages to be active while being confrontational only when given no other option.
The key moment in the games and in Katniss’ transformation into a symbol of rebellion, is when her ally Rue is killed. Instead of leaving Rue’s body to be picked up by the Capitol and carried away like the other fallen tributes, she gathers flowers, puts some in Rue’s hair and surrounds her body with the rest. Then, knowing cameras are everywhere, she give her district’s “three-finger salute” (holds three fingers to her lips, then holds them up).
This moment of forcing the audience to recognize the humanity of the tributes galvanizes many in the districts, which at this point is unknown to Katniss. Taurus natives are not comfortable with fame. Katniss finds it difficult to deal with the responsibility of being a symbol for the revolution.
Another aspect of Katniss’ personality that is very Taurean is her love of food. When Katniss first arrives in the Capitol, she’s entranced (but on another level disgusted) by the over-abundance of food compared to what’s available in the districts. Katniss’ primary occupation at home is putting food on the table for her family, even after she wins the games and the family is no longer poor.
Katniss craves security, which is something that eludes her throughout the books. Even at the end, with the rebellion over, married and with a family she never thought she could risk having, Katniss still worries that things can revert to the way they were.
Most of all, Katniss is a loyal friend. Her loyalty to and love for those close to her motivate nearly everything she does. That is the mark of a true Taurean heroine.