Recap: Hunger Games Seattle Mall Event
At what age is it appropriate to wake up before the sun rises and stand in the pouring rain for hours on the fleeting chance of meeting a celebrity starring in a film from your favorite franchise?
I can’t seem to tell anymore. It seemed like an awesome plan in theory, but then when my mother and I drug our sad carcasses out of the sweltering hot Motel 6 room and drove in slow circles to the University Village Mall in Seattle, WA…our hardcore endurance as fans of the Hunger Games was put to the test.
Turns out – we fail.
We just couldn’t hold up against the relentless tide of youthful shrieking young girls and their caffeinated but sleepy and skeptical parents. About 90 minutes after we’d staked a pretty reasonable patch of grassy knoll next to the Q&A area we came to affectionately refer to as “The Cattle Pen,” we exchanged a glance. Left our belongings on the grass with our new best friends and strolled to a nearby smoothie shop.
“Do you wanna just hit up the pier, get some fish and chips and go home?” Was the question on both our lips.
Turns out – yes.
We missed our golden opportunity to see the far-away but still bronzed flesh of Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson for a drive around the University of Washington campus, a stroll through Pike’s Place Market and a casual lunch on the Puget Sound. During the car ride home my mom, in between cat naps, finished reading the current draft of the book I wrote and we chatted about the plot, characters and future edits until we pulled in the driveway.
The event itself? Was badly managed. The Father of the Year, complete with coffee in hand and an adorable nickname for his equally adorable daughter “Peanut” confirmed this several times during our two hour wait. As we tottled closer and closer to the end of the long, long line, he would dip out and chat up security officers and Microsoft staff to determine how successful our venture was, and just what the heck was happening.
The official rules on the website indicated there was to be no camping out on Mall property. Nowhere did it read you could camp just outside of the mall property. So, the people who played by the rules and arrived to queue up at 7am were greeted by a line already 1,500 people deep. The first 100 had secured their tickets around 4pm the Friday before the event.
Blergh to that.
The whole event echoed a similar emotion I felt during certain parts of San Diego Comic Con, and another reason I’m not too bummed about probably never going back. The obvious attempt at generating hype is obvious. While I wouldn’t mind hyping it up for my favorite franchises, age-wise, my mother and I were in the minority.
Something about jostling for a view with a bunch of twelve year olds really rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t regret reading YA Fiction, but I do regret on some level going to this fan event because it’s made me feeling indescribably old. The whole time we were there I was scanning the crowd in desperate hope of finding somebody, ANYBODY that resembled my age (who wasn’t babysitting their minor child or sibling). Alas, I could find no such person.
The crux of the day came when they were handing out posters from the secured area to those of us loitering outside the gates. Only you had to perform a mad scramble through some bushes to retrieve one. My mother and I were hovering around this area, looking for some way to secure a free mini-poster without getting caught in a tree. I looked at my mom and uttered a statement which captured the entire mood of the event for us.
“If I have to crawl through bushes to get a poster, I’m kissing the last shreds of my dignity goodbye.”
Instead, we waved goodbye to the Hunger Games mall event, and ate some incredibly delicious seafood on the pier, happily turning our thoughts to Emerald City Comic Con, where it’s not strange to see 40 or 50 year olds dressed as their favorite characters. Where queueing in line for hours actually pays off in the ability to see the actor of your choice. We had a good laugh about the event and the people we’d encountered and marked our adventure as a success because of it’s adventure like properties.
If the real Hunger Games were a test of the endurance or lengths fans will go to in order to secure their ability to meet a celebrity, we would lose. But I think we’d die happy. 🙂