Posted in Belles-Lettres, Character Analysis

Finnick Odair: Not Just a Pretty Face

Bluestocking's essays
Bluestocking’s essays

One of the things that struck me about Mockingjay was the incredible amount of character development that took place for most of the characters. When we are first introduced to past Tributes in Catching Fire, the characters appeared very flat. Most of that was due to the way Katniss viewed the other Tributes. If there was any character that Katniss wronged by being judgmental, it was Finnick.

The reader is first introduced to Finnick in Catching Fire. He was the District 4 Tribute 10 years prior to the Quarter Quell. At the time of the second book, he was 24 years of age. As district 4 was known for fishing, his weapon of choice was the trident, which he used to great affect.

The following is a description given of him:

He was tall, muscular, and athletic, with golden skin, bronze-colored hair, and incredible sea green eyes.

When Katniss first meets him, he uses a seductive purr. He comes across as a colossal playboy, and she does not trust him. Finnick had the reputation for going through women like crazy during each Hunger Games. At least 100 women claimed to be his lover. In fact when he reads a poem that he has written about his one true love, many women claim to be the woman to whom he is referring.

As we know, Finnick proposes that he, Kat, and Peeta form an alliance. At fist Katniss does not want any part of it, but eventually she agrees. Finnick turns out to be a valuable ally. He performs CPR and saves Peeta when he goes into cardiac arrest after touching the force field. He also helps carry Peeta to safety when the group is trapped in the mist.
Although the first that we see Finnick has a softer side is with the poem that he writes, the real first time we see this is when the jabberjays are imitating Annie screaming. It’s clear from his reaction that, he cares about the half-mad woman deeply. Also we see that Finnick is good friends with Joanna Mason who we see has a giant chip on her shoulder. Much like Finnick saw something desirable in Annie, he no doubt saw something good in Joanna.
So the Quarter Quell ends in diaster, and Finnick and Beetee are rescued along with Katniss, while Peeta, Joanna, and Annie are left behind to be tortured. The kinks if Finnick’s armor begin to show. In addition to breaking down in tears at various points, the only way Finnick can deal with Annie being left behind is to tie knots in a rope repeatedly. When Annie is finally rescued, we see that Finnick is truly a nurturing man. Annie required the patience of a saint, and Finnick was that saint.

One of the biggest shockers in this book is what Finnick reveals about his supposed reputation as a lady’s man as well as President Snow’s ascension to power.
We learn from Finnick that being the winning Tribute does not mean that you have a luxurious life forever. The Capitol will always own you, particularly if there are people for whom you care (Katniss learned this in Catching Fire.) President Snow prostituted Finnick out to the wealthy citizens. Although it is never said, it is implied that Finnick was rented out to both women as well as men. If he refused, well then Annie would pay the price. It is a really sick world when the women and/or men could pay to force someone to have sex with them, yet imagine that they were Finnick’s true love. Clearly the term love had no meaning for those people in the Capitol. It’s really not surprising that they felt this way though. I personally think that are society has already taken many steps in this direction. As it is women confuse love and sex. True love is determine by how well one performs in bed.

As a male prostitute, Finnick heard many things. In particular, he learned how Snow came to power. Snow apparently was very fond of poisoning people in order to clear his way to office. To keep suspicion off of himself, Snow would have his food and drink poisoned a little bit as well. The rumor was that Snow wore a rose to hide the smell of blood on his breathe. The blood came from sores in his mouth that did not heal from a poison attempt on one of his opponents. Finnick’s revelation really put the final nail in Snow’s coffin.

Let us turn to more pleasant topics. After waiting for what I’m sure felt like an eternity, Finnick was able to marry his true love Annie. For me, I think this was the happiest moment in the entire series. As you can imagine one of the most devastating moments in the book was when Finnick died. Finnick, along with Gale, Peeta, and several others accompanied Katniss on her mission to assassinate Snow. Finnick was decapitation by the lizard muttations that smelled like roses. He never got to see the son that he had with Annie. It is not even clear that he knew Annie was pregnant when he left.

Finnick was nothing like he appeared to be. Men who are that good looking tend to be ridiculously arrogant, somewhat shallow, and generally like women who look good on their arms. Finnick was the complete opposite. He cultivated a certain image to him those he loved alive, but he was a deeply caring man who possessed the ability to see people for what they truly were.