It all began in November 2012.

Or actually about a year before. I have been in book forums since 2011 I think so for a pretty long time for someone who was 12 at that time. Maybe you know the Starcrossed trilogy by Josephine Angelini. I read the first book, liked it immensely. On the back of the book I found this link to a website, a forum. I joined it because I thought why the heck not. I wasn’t super active in the year that I was in this forum but I started reading fanfictions and I found people I liked. Then 1 November 2012 happened and a lot changed. The Starcrossed forum was merged with the Hunger Games forum (which was already really huge at this point) and a few smaller forums for other book trilogies/series. All those forums were official, made possible by the publisher of all of those books.

I have actually written quite a bit about this back in March but today I want to talk a bit more about Panem (obviously).

Now I have to tell you the other side of the story:

Maybe it actually all began in either April or August 2011. I stayed at my grandparents’ house for a week twice that year and I have read a lot of books in this time. In one of those weeks I have read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I don’t remember much about reading those books for the first time but I remember the feeling of sitting in the garden, totally in another world, in Panem, feeling for Katniss, sucking in every word. I remember staying up really late at night just to finish the book in time. I remember not being able to sleep because I finished Hunger Games in the middle of the night so I had to walk over to my pile of books, find Catching Fire and start it. I just couldn’t stop. And I didn’t have to because everything was easy, I was on holiday and I didn’t have anything to do.

I only had the first two books of the trilogy because the third one either wasn’t yet in the library or someone already took it, I don’t remember exactly. It took me months until I was finally able to get hold of Mockingjay and I swallowed it very quickly. It must have been Autumn 2011 by then. When the first trailer for The Hunger Games was released I was a bit shocked. I didn’t know a film would happen and I wasn’t much on the internet (yet) so I didn’t know how many people actually love those books. In March 2012 the film hit theatres. I think I watched it with one of my best friends who read the books shortly afterwards. Over the course of the time each of my friend has read the books, really, I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t.

So, now those two things collide:

When I found out the trailer existed I also saw an official Hunger Games forum exists. I thought about joining, but didn’t. A year later, my Starcrossed forum was merged with it and… yes, I was in the forum. My Forum.

So many things only happened to me because of the Forum. I don’t know how my life would look without it. Literally half of my friends are people I have met through the Forum, and one of them is my best friend aka the probably (platonic) love of my life. Some of them I have met in person, some of them I wish I could finally meet and some of them I would love to meet every damn day but distances are a thing that exist and beaming does not (yet). I also started writing fanfictions because of it, I found people to read my stuff, I read some of my favourite ffs in existence, I obsessed and analyzed those books and films that mean so incredibly much to me.

I don’t know how anyone could not love the Panem books and films but I also don’t understand why not EVERYONE joins a forum or something like that and finds people that love the same stuff you love. It can be such a lovely and helpful place, it can be your sanctuary, the place you go to when you want to relax or get out of your usual life for a bit. I wouldn’t be in half of the fandoms I am in now and I wouldn’t have read many of those amazing books. I definitely wouldn’t have gone to HobbitCon this spring and I wouldn’t plan on going to Sweden with two of my Forum friends next year.

Panem isn’t only three books, four films and an amazing message to me.

Panem is feeling at home, obsessing, writing texts that would fit on like three pages in a Word document, making friends that you love so much you miss them every day and more.

THAT’S why I can’t stop talking about it, THAT’S why I love everything Hunger Games related so much. Because it means more to me than every other book or TV show or film I have ever watched. Because it changed my life in so many ways and made it so much better.

Everyone always tells you to be grateful for what you have, not to always think about the things you don’t have. It’s hard to always think of that because we always tend to see the bad and want to have more or have it better but thinking about my Forum, my friends, my memories, my happiness I am grateful.

Grateful of all those amazing people I was fortunate enough to know and meet, and grateful for those three books an their author who made this all possible.

See you soon ❤

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