The Hanging Tree by James Newton Howard featuring Jennifer Lawrence Cover

Here is a link to my cover of The Hanging Tree from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. I apologize for the poor audio quality. I don’t have the right editing software to get rid of the background noise.

I hope you like it! I’ve posted the lyrics (from the song in the movie not the lyrics from the book) below.



Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
They strung up a man
They say who murdered three.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree.

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where dead man called out
For his love to flee.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run,
So we’d both be free.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Where I told you to run,
So we’d both be free.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree

Are you, are you
Coming to the tree
Wear a necklace of hope,
Side by side with me.
Strange things did happen here
No stranger would it be
If we met at midnight
In the hanging tree

from MetroLyrics

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Characters and Friends

I love reading. I love stories. I have grown up with my nose in a book. And I am the weird person who says books are some of my best friends.

But when I really think about it, it is not the books who are my friends. It is the characters.

The reason we love characters is because we see pieces of ourselves in them. Whether it is the situation they are in, their emotions, or their fears, we look at characters and see reflections of ourselves and maybe even glimpses of our souls.

Books, films, and television shows lead us on a journey of events and stories. But they also allow us to discover and understand ourselves better by seeing our lives as played out by someone else.

One of the deepest and most moving emotional connections I have ever had is with Katniss Everdeen. I have never been through something as awful as the Hunger Games or war but I have experienced a number of fairly traumatic things. The first time I read The Hunger Games, I felt like I was meeting a part of myself. Katniss’ actions and emotions and thought patterns were not just relatable. I felt like they could have come from my own mind.

This type of understanding is a beautiful combination of self-realization and philosophy. As the words dance off the page and images flash across our eyes, they spiral through the room in a magical haze carrying you into a mind and place of strange comfort in a magical or fantastical place.

You are not walking side by side with the character. You are the character and you are part of the story.

So here’s to all the characters that have made me feel like I am not alone. To Katniss for showing me I am stronger than I think I am. To Sherlock for telling me it is okay to be different. To Mulan for reminding me I can make a difference. To Bilbo and Frodo Baggins for teaching me about courage. To Samwise Gamgee for showing me the importance of friendship hand loyalty. To Hermione for telling me it is okay to be a geek and an intellectual and to stand tall and proud exactly the way I am. To River Tam for reminding me broken is not all I have to be. To Jacen Solo for showing me that good intentions and well-thought out philosophies do not always lead to the right answers. To Lucy Pevensie for reminding to dream.

And to all the characters I have yet to meet: I look forward to our shared experiences and walking through the pages and spaces of life together.

The Hunger Games and Thailand

The us21thailand-master675e of The Hunger Game’s three fingered salute by Thai protesters can be viewed in a number of ways. To me, it’s an amazing instance of where art is inspiring society not necessarily because of the film’s success but because the themes of The Hunger Games are relevant to today’s socio-political culture.

Protesters began using the salute  a few weeks after a military coup “clamped down on all forms of protest, censored the country’s news media, limited the right to public assembly and arrested critics and opponents”. At the opening of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I, five individuals were arrested for using the salute.*

In an article for The Wire, Danielle Wiener-Bronner wrote the following: “In the Hunger Games series, the three-fingered salute is used to show solidarity against an dystopian government which forces children to compete to the death in televised events. In Thailand, the salute — along with the phrase”liberty, brotherhood and equality,” taken from the real French Revolution — seems to have been adopted to show solidarity against an unlawful, military-led government.”**

I am not writing this post just because I am a fan of The Hunger Games. I think that would be an incredibly naive perspective from which to comment on.

I am supporting these people–and others like them–because I have seen first hand the affect of government (military or otherwise) policies and socio-cultural atmospheres negatively affect the daily lives of people. Minority groups in China treated as lower class; the under privileged being oppressed; blue collar workers being underpaid for long, demanding hours.

I am not suggesting every person who lives under these circumstances are intentionally displaying signs of what can be called learned helplessness. What I am saying is they should not even have to feel inferior, underprivileged, or out of place.

I realize any discussions about equality are idealistic. Unfortunately, we live in a world that tends to crush ideals. War, terrorism, disease–the list goes on and on. I think people want the world to change but we are overwhelmed by the size and scope and immensity of the problems that are in front of us.

As a king in Middle Earth said, “So much death. What can man do against such reckless hate?”

I believe we make a choice. We choose to believe there is still good in the world. And we fight for it even when–or maybe especially–when the entire world is standing in our way.

So if standing with Thai citizens and raising three fingers inspires and encourages them I do it gladly even if it is only through this one post among millions.


*http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/21/world/asia/thailand-protesters-hunger-games-salute.html

**http://www.thewire.com/global/2014/06/thai-protesters-inspired-by-the-hunger-games-junta-responds-like-movie-villain/372054/