In the hero's shadow

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 July, 2012, 12:00am

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Each week Young Post takes a look at modern movie heroes and finds out what makes them tick. This week, we focus on Effie Trinket, the brainwashed P.R. in The Hunger Games

The importance of support

All movie heroes need two things besides fighting skills and courage. They need a good villain to fight, and support to help them on their heroic way. Some like to think they do things on their own, but this is rarely the case. Where would Captain Jack Sparrow be without his faithful crew? Batman has his loyal butler, Alfred. Snow White has her seven dwarves. And Spiderman has his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy. The supporting character is there in the hero's shadow to keep the hero on track and to make him or her look good. Heroes don't act alone.

A job to be done

When Katniss Everdeen is thrown into the horror of the Hunger Games, she relies on her own resources, but along the way she gets support from Effie Trinket, whether she wants it or not. The Capitol provides Effie free of charge to keep Katniss and Peeta on the right road to the Hunger Games. She has a long list of do's and don'ts, knowing that what the kids in her charge do reflects on her. Effie is adamant that they behave in the proper way. She has a job to do, and she always does it to the best of her ability because she knows there will be serious consequences if she fails.

High standards

Effie is the embodiment of the Capitol and all it represents. She is the Capitol's ambitious ambassador, sent to District 12 to spread the word that the Hunger Games is a positive event. Effie's job is to draw the names of the participants in the Games and to escort them from District 12 to the Capitol for training and media interviews, and then onwards to the Games. Effie strongly believes in the positive power of the Games and encourages her charges to be happy about their participation. She always offers them support, though her efforts are mostly in vain. Effie is good at her job, and she wants personal recognition. She knows it will only be a matter of time before she moves on to a better district. Poor manners and bad behaviour annoy her. She has high standards and expects the same from others.

Colour in the darkness

Effie marches onto the screen at the start of The Hunger Games with all the self-assurance and power of the Capitol fully on display. Here I am! Look at me! I am confident! Effie is no shrinking violet. We first meet her close-up, with her cotton-candy wig flawlessly styled, her vivid outfit and footwear immaculately put together and her scarlet smile perfectly in place. Colour is important to Effie, as it is to everyone in the Capitol. When Effie first arrives in District 12, she stands out from the crowd. Effie believes in the power of colour just as she believes in the power of the Capitol.

Light relief amid tension

It is easy to see Effie as a bit of light relief in the darkness of The Hunger Games. It is easy to look on her as grotesque and laugh at her appearance and strange behaviour. But this is the wrong response. Effie is essentially taking young people to their deaths. She never questions this in any way. This is what makes her an interesting character - an iron fist in a velvet glove. Behind the cotton-candy appearance, there is a brainwashed, obedient servant who is just doing her job - even if that job is horrific. Don't let Effie Trinket fool you. She is a dangerous piece of work.