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A Thank You From Jabberjays.net on The Hunger Games’ 4th Birthday

JJ-Poster

Four years ago today, on March 23, 2012, The Hunger Games hit theaters, and the world was never the same. Mockingjay pins, Rue’s whistle, Jennifer Lawrence, and Katniss Everdeen were all anyone could talk about. It was so popular that not having seen it or read the book made you instant living-under-a-rock material.

For people like me, however, the journey started long before that. In 2010, my aunt and cousin changed my life. My aunt, tired of telling me about The Hunger Games, simply bought me a copy and sent it to me for my birthday. The next year, my cousin, Jabberjay Jennifer, told me about a staff opening at a popular Hunger Games fansite.

I applied, and a month later, I began a rather scary addiction when I posted my first news story on Mockingjay.net on June 26, 2011. It was a post about Russ Bowen’s (ha ha, remember him?) latest batch of unauthorized set photos of Mellark’s Bakery in North Carolina. It was the start of a fansite “career” that would last almost five years.

2012-Los-Angeles

In 2014, I went to the premiere in LA, sat in the same theater as Neil Gaiman, and watched The Hunger Games go by in what felt like 20 minutes tops. Over the next three years, I made a lot of friends, my “Peeta Pals” as my husband called them. Friends from other fansites, friends from Hunger Games Fireside Chat, friends in staffers such as Ciara, Carla, Tash, Erin, Hannah, Cory, Luan, Jared, Sarah, Natalie, and Vivien.

SDCC-2014-Staff

In 2013, I finally got to meet Tash, Ciara, and Erin at SDCC. It was only a few days, but they were exhausting, special days. It took some serious mountain moving to get us all there together, and it’s a time I’ll never forget.

Jabberjays-StickerAs some of you know, myself and those named above eventually left to start Jabberjays.net. We officially launched the site on March 1, 2014 and have been loyal tributes to the end. We told everyone to join the rebellion, and even President Coin got on that!

Here are some stats, since I did mention a “scary” addiction, though it’s definitely not just mine, as you’ll be able to see:

Total Posts from MJ and JJ

  • Crystal – 1,948 (1,352 on MJ, 596 on JJ)
  • Carla – 693 (347 on MJ, 346 on JJ)
  • Ciara – 600 (258 on MJ, 342 on JJ)
  • Erin – 280 (267 on MJ, 13 on JJ)
  • Tash – 248 (207 on MJ, 41 on JJ)

We’re clearly very dedicated people, and all our Jabberjays, new and old, have done their part to make this site the experience it is, from Cory’s videos to Luan’s graphics to Hannah’s Instagram posts to our super twin duo Jackson and Jared. Fans like Jabberjays Zack, Ronnie, Phil, Jennifer, Grant, and Shannon all put their love for Panem into this site, making it what it is today. There aren’t enough words to express how grateful I am.

With the DVD release, things really feel like they’re winding down. The journey coming to an end. Each of us slowly making our way to different areas of Panem to go on with life after the rebellion. I know you guys, our readers, can feel it too. It’s sad, really, but it feels good as well. We’re no longer tied through the movies or the books. We’re now all connected to each other. The fire really will burn forever.

This summer, Carla, Hannah, and Tash will be flying to Hawaii, and we’ll be having ourselves a little Jabberjays.net retreat. I’ll cook us some lamb stew with dried plums. We’ll go see the Catching Fire beach. Take a look at the mountains that formed the arena. We’ll share photos and videos and record an in-person JabberCast. We’ll be the friends that distance and oceans have never let us be. It’ll be the first, but hopefully not the last.

To our Jabberjays readers, thank you for spending your fandom time with us. You made our experience richer and filled with laughter as well as deep conversations about the right and wrong in life. We hope you got as much out of it as we did.

Wherever you go from here, may the odds be ever in your favor.

About Crystal

A 35 year-old mom to two living in Honolulu, Hawaii, Crystal Watanabe is co-author of Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches.
  • Jackson Brooks Sharpe

    Crystal, I remember the days of obsessively checking MJ.net for news and reading it as my life line during college. I remember commenting on posts and entering the contests and feeling so satisfied and thankful there was a site like this. Then everything changed when Jared became a writer, and I was thrilled and jealous for sure. I’m so blessed to have had my part in Jabberjays.net and to have been allowed to be a part of the JJ family and get to actually use my writing major for the first time and to get to meet some amazing, loving, hilarious, and dedicated people. I never would have thought this would have led me to get to go to two premiers and ultimately lead me to be on set and see all the actors. Your post is so sweet and potent. Thank you for sharing and thank you for all of your time, talent, and effort you have put into The Hunger Games for fans and friends across the world.

    • Pulchritudinous

      And thank YOU for all of your reporting Jaskson (and Jared)! 🙂

  • devonwhpfan

    These fan sites have been such a big part of my life for the past 4 years. If there was a news story, you guys were always the first to break it and analyze it. I would not have been as big of a fan of the series if I wasn’t introduced to this loving circle of fans. I spent most, if not all my free periods cruising this site and getting into some deep discussion, or noticing details such as the dog from catching fire that showed up in mj (did we ever pick an official name?) I appreciate all the work you guys put into this site, especially with work and kids and life getting in the way, you guys always kept the site running. When this all started I was middle school and now I’m going into college! That is insane, but I’m ready to go out into the world with the lessons the Hunger Games have taught me. Thank you all so much for your dedication and kindness. I hope you all find the life of a victor. _|||_

    • Jackson Brooks Sharpe

      You are so thoughtful and kind for saying all that! I’m so thankful for hardcore fans who truly love the Hunger Games and all the thousands of side discussions we had about the small things that fed our appetite like naming the dog (and i forgot the name too!) and the crazy part is like what you said about growing up so to speak with the site. Regardless of age, fans have been on a 4+ year journey so we all have experienced so much.

      • Babs

        I thought we decided Dusty as a bit of a tribute to PSH in Twister.

  • owlcutie
    • owlcutie

      I read Catching Fire on January 12th, 2012, several days before Mockingjay translated version released. I am not sure when I read book 1, December 2011, I guess. I tried to remember when I found this fansite and which article I commented back then. I think it’s about Madge Undersee and what Undersee could mean in Panem-verse, along with another character why Capitol people had Roman name but people from D12 like Katniss had plant based name. And article about several character that didn’t make it to the movie, like Darius. I remember the disappointment because there will be no mention about Avox and showing that Katniss’ friend is not just Gale. Omg, I remember that one time just casually scrolling mockingjay.net and we got new Gale picture then somebody commented where’s Peeta then suddenly the whole comment section just become Peeta vs Gale. And that’s my cue to leave, usually. I love TTP, although I rarely comment on it, I still feel like that section above my level because my English only mediocre. How many times I rewind jabbercast just to get the hang what you guys all talking about. Lol I love it all.

      • Carla

        aw, thanks! your english is actually pretty good and hey, if our crazy ramblings helped you practice in anyway, then that’s an added bonus, i think. =)

  • http://www.goodolehickoryhammike.blogspot.com Snapdragon

    This…makes me so sad to have apparently been living under a rock prior to last February. Well, not entirely, but that was when I began doing a lot more than just enjoying the movies via Netflix. Hearing about the hype over the books and the first film, seeing people talk about the “Catching Fire era,” reading posts like this–it gives me this vicarious nostalgia for the beginning. >,.,< Wish I could go back and join the fandom well before the third film had already been released–but better late than never, and regardless, I will never desert it!! And without fansites like JJ, I wouldn't have known where to turn to get caught up, and keep up with everything! This site absolutely elevates the experience of being a fan. That next JabberCast oughta be a doozy. x3 And now…I must be off to order Target's exclusive Blu-ray to go along with my beautiful complete collection. 8''-D

    • Jackson Brooks Sharpe

      I can’t wait to see the Jabbercast from the group of JJ’s who is going to Hawaii! That’s gonna be awesome and I hate that I can’t be there!

      • http://www.goodolehickoryhammike.blogspot.com Snapdragon

        I’m totally envious myself–from Crystal’s description of the plan, it’ll be a blast!

  • Babs

    It took me til late today to open my Target dvd. I’m think I was procrastinating because it means it really is the end. My twitter feed is lacking the updates and the latest news (except as of late) and I do feel like something is missing. Wow-did you guys do an amazing job of disseminating info! I think I most enjoyed “Through the Pages” but loved all the BTS pics and info as well. Love the crew here at Jabberjays and I will miss looking forward to the next round of articles and breaking news from everyone. Its been great discussing our guesses, thoughts and opinions here with all your followers as well. Thank you so much for being so dedicated ( and obsessed) with us!

    • Jackson Brooks Sharpe

      I’m so glad we could be a part of your love for The Hunger Games and I’m happy to hear you loved Through the Pages (even though that was quite the undertaking haha and often was like homework!) but it did create great discussions, and I have loved having such a positive community of great people to join together and share a common passion.

  • Pulchritudinous

    I still feel the hole in heart after since like January. I feel like I’ve lost a friend since Part 2 came out. 🙁 But the friendships will never die and I’ll definitely keep talking with you guys. You’re all fantastic and passionate about your fandoms and it’s incredibly infectious. 🙂 Very few fansites give me that.

    At least the site will be alive a bit.That Hawaii trip sounds like a blast and hey, maybe if Lionsgate’s post-Part 2 plans for the franchise are shockingly good and respectful maybe they’ll be resurgence ala Harry Potter. 😀

    • Carla

      i’m really hoping the stage play at least is great, and it livens things up a bit around the fandom. don’t think that it would somehow prompt suzanne to start writing hunger games again like JKR did with HP, but at least it’ll be something for the fans to get excited about. i know i will! =)

    • http://www.goodolehickoryhammike.blogspot.com Snapdragon

      Yes! 8′-}

      And needless to reiterate, I don’t want anyone to try and rush things in pursuit of that, or do anything that tarnishes the franchise at all…but to have more new things to be all excited and chattering about could feel so good. ;; I haven’t heard anything about the play, so maybe it’s been postponed for some reason? Definitely hope to start hearing things soon.

  • Noveon

    Thank YOU for these incredible years. I remember when I first discovered the saga in July 2013 Mockingjaynet (together with some other fansites, too) was one of the first places where I found all the information I needed to get into the world of Panem! Then sadly many of these fansites were shut down…
    In the latest period you were one of the best and most professional sources for the HG saga. And not only that. This place felt like a good place to share one’s opinion, like the place where the fandom could unite and “fangirl”/”fanboy” about all the new stuff! I especially loved listening to your Jabbecasts, they were such a fun time but they also provided a lot of interesting discussions!
    Now with the release of the DVDs I feel like Katniss and Haymitch going back to District 12 after the war: the journey is coming to an end. Each one of us will find their own path, and will join other fandoms, and discover new things, but I think you can’t deny that these years will always have a place in our hearts (sorry for this cheesy ending 🙂 )