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The Staff Reacts to the Capitol Portraits (Part 2)


Last week was a very exciting week for the Hunger Games fandom, with the release via Capitol Couture of a series of official Capitol Portraits for the main characters of Catching Fire. Here at, we fangirled over each portrait just as much as the next fan, and so here you have our reactions.

Now, we know a person’s opinion can change with time, reflection and discussion. So, here are our immediate reactions to the portraits (right when they were revealed), as well as what we think of them now that we’ve had a few days to process. Full disclosure, from our utter puzzlement over Caesar’s wig to the early arrival of Talk Like a Pirate Day thanks to Captain Odair. Warning: This is a long post. Long enough that we had to split it into two, in fact. But we hope you find these entertaining. Be sure to drop a comment with your own reactions!

If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

(Note: Click on each picture to see that portrait in super HQ! Thanks to Lionsgate Publicity).





First reaction: I’m conflicted about her weird hairstyle. It looks like a dead animal on her head.

On second thought: I can’t get over that hair. It really does look like a dead animal on her head, and I don’t like it. Even with the obscure styles of the Capitol, I still think it’s bad. Other than the hair, it’s okay, though. Honestly, I’ve never been a huge fan of the casting of Johanna, so maybe I’d like it more if I liked the casting. Regardless, I hope her spunk shines through, and she proves me wrong. We’ll see.


First reaction: First look at Johanna ! But hey, what’s that hair ??

On second thought: I’m not a big fan of her hair, but I love the dress, especially the tree-like part ! And the fierce look in her eyes is great as well !


First reaction: OH MY GOD. That… is not what I was expecting, LOL.

On second thought: Initially I just couldn’t get past the hair, but the portrait slowly grew on me. And when it grew, it grew exponentially. I’m not very observant, so it wasn’t until people online started pointing out details that they actually bowled me over: the wood-like panels of fabric on her neckline, the way the bodice wraps around her almost like tissue paper, her make-up which is all earth tones, the fact that her bracelet is made of nails (freaking NAILS, man! I can’t get over it). I swear, if Catching Fire doesn’t get a best costume Oscar nom this time around, I am going to be VERY upset. More than the costume, though, I think Jena absolutely transmits everything Johanna is meant to be in this picture. She looks fierce, she looks defiant and like she couldn’t care less about the Capitol’s stupid portrait but she’s damn well going to rock it anyway, and I love it. This is my second favorite portrait overall, and gosh, does it make me excited for this movie.


First reaction: That is one bad-ass stare! She looks like she could kill me with a thought!

On second thought: I think Johanna looks fantastic and I think this portrait might just be my favourite. I never even noticed the way the fabric on her dress looks like bark until someone commented on our Facebook. Her eye make up looks like a skeletal tree drawing attention to that death glare. Oh and the apathy of how she holds that rose is easily the best detail out of all of these portraits! This is Johanna, Jena Malone will knock this out of the park. And if you haven’t noticed in the 300dpi versions, her bracelet is made of nails!


First reaction: I flat out did not like Johanna’s portrait when I first saw it. I love Jena Malone, but she looks way too old in this photo. She looks 28-32 in this rather than 18-22.

On second thought: After I saw the nails bracelet, her Maleficent-like neckpiece, and her eye makeup close-up, I felt a lot better about how they were portraying Johanna. I guess I’ll just have to take a bit of time to get used to her longer hair. I still haven’t changed my mind about how old she looks and that’s going to be tough for me.


First reaction: I was looking forward to this portrait the most, but look at that hair…

On second thought: After I about fifteen seconds of profound disappointment, I began to appreciate this portrait. Just the way she’s holding the rose is Johanna enough for me– I mean, damn! What an absolutely and completely perfect to get across her personality. And her expression! She looks like she wants nothing more than to stuff that rose down the painter/photographers throat. Her dress is amazing, the bark-like pattern on the top flowing down into paper-thin wisps of fabric. And the bracelet made of golden nails is amazing! I still don’t like her hair, but I love the rest of this enough to make it my third favorite portrait.


First reaction: Beautiful dress but she looks too old, but plenty lethal.

On second thought: I was really unsure of Jena playing Johanna, I’m just really protective of that character for some reason. But I think with this portrait Jena showed us that she’s more than up to the task! She looks unbelievably deadly, which is perfect. Although I was unsure about her costuming at first, I’ve grown to appreciate how restraining its made to look with the high neckline. An interesting idea given that she’s the most cunning and unpredictable out of the contestants. Its about as near to a straight-jacket they could have gotten without having her in one.


First reaction: She is going to reach through the camera and kill me. And I love it.

On second thought: After Katniss, the Johanna portrait is my second favourite. Yes, I even like the hair, in fact, I think it will be even more dramatic when it is shaved off in Mockingjay given the length they have gone with for Catching Fire (assuming that does happen). I knew Jena Malone would absolutely nail the character Johanna and I see more than enough in this portrait to know that she is going to be perfect on screen. Look at her face! That total death stare, it is like she can see straight through you. I’m very glad they’ve portrayed her this way, even though I didn’t like the tagline ‘sly and cunning’ (so much more to her than that!) I’m a fan of her look in this, she looks every bit a threat and very willing to cause trouble. Just take a look at that bracelet of nails to know she means business! I also love how she is barely hanging onto the white rose, I can see it and the dress (which I think is perfect too) being tossed aside and trampled on as soon as she is done with the portrait. Massive points to Trish Summerville and co here as well as Jena Malone, perfect, perfect, perfect!





First reaction: He looks like a pimp. A sexy pimp.

On second thought: I don’t know what it is specifically about this picture, but I love it. It’s quite possibly my favorite from the bunch. I think it’s amazing how relaxed he looks. That’s typical Peeta, always being the charming one for the cameras. It’s brilliant. Not to mention, he just looks good. Very well put together and handsome. I love it.


First reaction: Finally Peeta ! We have been waiting !!

On second thought: A very simple outfit, but we never get too much Peeta it doesn’t matter what he’s wearing ! 😉 Peeta, come here so I can hug you !!


First reaction: In the words of our very own Jennifer Lawrence: A bad word that I can’t say… that starts with F. Followed quickly by: “…Can I get pregnant from this?”

On second thought: Get ready for an essay because Peeta’s portrait is my favorite of them all by like a nautical mile. Granted, I’ll take Peeta in a suit any day, but I really love this particular suit. I love the white-on-white because it’s very unconventional, and matches his Victory Tour poster clothes (as well as Katniss’s mockingjay dress). I like that it’s formal but not stiff. I adore the golden accents because, like I mentioned with Caesar, “mockingjay” gold is all the rage in the Capitol and of course Katniss’s biggest fan and future husband couldn’t NOT wear gold. His hair is absolutely perfect. I also love the fact that the metallic high collar and the bracelets are almost like shackles, because it’s once again a reminder from the Capitol that they basically “own” him. But more than the fact that he looks so hot it makes me feel very inappropriate, what I love the most about Peeta’s portrait is that it can tell you many different things depending on how you look at it. I’ve always said I get a lot of who Peeta really is through Josh’s eyes, and this is no exception. If you look at it from far away, his pose and expression seem confident, almost cocky, like the perfect little Victor the Capitol expects him to be. But if you zoom in on it you can almost see a wistfulness in his eyes, a sadness, like he knows this is all so wrong and wishes things could be different (the fact that they’re advertising him as a perfect Victor, or the fact that he’s only engaged to Katniss because they’re forced by the Capitol– take your pick). I’m not a fan of the UGGly boots, but that’s such a stupid detail to focus on compared to the rest of the picture.  It makes my heart clench every time.


First reaction: He looks like he’s in a boy band… and is that a hip flask in his handkerchief pocket?

On second thought: Nothing about this one excites me too much but hey it’s Peeta and he looks as calm and solid as ever. I think Josh is very good at never making Peeta look fierce, he always has those soft eyes that seem to reflect what a nice and gentle guy he really is. And I love the way at first glance his suit looks so simple but has many tiny details that reflect the future designs of the Capitol.


First reaction: Peeta looked very over-Photoshopped to me at first glance. He honestly looked like a Madame Tussauds wax figure to me.

On second thought: I still think his outfit is weird in places, like the metallic “paper” or whatever in his pocket or the hard looking collar sticking out of his turtleneck. Josh looks great in white, but after a while it started to creep me out. It’s as if they dressed him all in white to show that he’s now an official tool of Snow’s. The gold around his wrists almost look like shackles. 🙁


First reaction: [Disgusted noise and then some comment not repeatable in polite company]

On second thought: Although this portrait has grown on me, I still don’t like it. I understand that he looks good beside Katniss, whose dress is so busy that she needs someone in a solid, plain outfit to stand beside her. But on his own, he’s not impressive. I hate the collar of his shirt. And the boots… His expression and posture are great, and the way he holds the rose, but I just don’t understand everyone who’s been yelling “Peeta Perfection!” when they see this. Maybe they’re the same people who look at the Gale portrait and hate it– I guess we’re all entitled to our vastly varied opinions.


First reaction: “Inappropriate thoughts. Lots of them.” Tash summed it up nicely for me there so I stole hers.

On second thought: Ok so this portrait basically breaks my heart and crushes it into a million different pieces, because once I got over the fact that it’s Peeta, my beautiful bread-baby, and looked at it more closely its just horrible. You can see metal peeking out of his sleeves, his neck and in his pocket, like he is wrapped in metal and already a prisoner and then that brought me into depression mode with Mockingjay feels so yeah, this portrait slayed me. But I love it so much still. Josh brings so much to the character and you can see it just from his expression. Flawless, my second favourite after Katniss.


First reaction: Inappropriate thoughts. Lots of them.

On second thought: If this is his wedding outfit well, colour me tickled pink! I can even forgive the ugg/moon boots. Thanks to whoever it was on Tumblr that photoshopped Peeta and Katniss’ portraits together, that was brilliant and will forever be etched in my mind. After I fanned myself out of my total stupor I just began to appreciate this portrait even more and more, so I’m one of those people Erin! I really like that the little gold accents tie in with the colour they use to symbolise the ‘D12 team’ and that he is a match to Katniss, his suit complements her dress perfectly. I also love the way he is sitting, it is a little awkward which I think fits with our boy with the bread, even laying the rose across his knee he is a little wary of The Capitol (and as Crystal pointed out I don’t think that both D12 Victors dressed in white is meant to go unnoticed). Points for the hair too, it looks a lot better than his last interview hairstyle. Very happy with everything Peeta-related I have seen so far and this portrait wins third place for me.





First reaction: Yowzah, show us more of him.

On second thought: I think we can all agree that it’s weird that Gale would get his own Capitol portrait considering he has nothing to do with the Capitol. This is simply Lionsgate’s way of doing promotion for the character. It’s a little odd, but I’m not surprised. Even though it makes the least amount of sense (really, what’s with the rose?) I still like it. Gale looks good, and I’ll never complain about seeing him in pictures!


First reaction: Gale ? Why is Gale in a Capitol Portrait ? He has nothing to do with the Capitol !

On second thought: I love Gale’s face and I just want to hug him !! His outfit is very Gale-like.


First reaction: Oh god, I am SO relieved he’s not like beaten, or bloodied, or in shackles or something like that…

On second thought: Gale wins for portrait that grew on me the quickest. I love Gale, so I was all up for him getting a portrait even though it doesn’t make much sense in context, but I wanted them to make it remarkably different from the others, and it really wasn’t different enough for my taste, so that disappointed me a little. I like that they didn’t give him any fancy clothes, it’s more like they just plucked him out of D12 and told him “okay, we’re going to take a picture of you, Katniss’s cousin” when he wasn’t even expecting it. (And Liam can wear those button-up shirts with rolled-up sleeves every day as far as I’m concerned, because yum, and I don’t even feel inappropriate about this one). Then on second glance (literally second glance), I noticed his posture and expression, and I fell in love. His portrait is a lot like Peeta’s in the sense that it tells you different things depending on how you look at it. If you see it from afar, his posture is almost like he wants to break into a run, his hands are held together tightly and he just looks so befuddled, uncomfortable and like he feels completely out of place– like he’s on the verge of blurting out “what the HECK is going on here?! I just want to go back to Twelve right now!” I can just imagine Gale feeling that way if surrounded by the Capitol publicity machine. But then when you zoom in on it, he looks so downtrodden, so impotent, like this is the last thing he ever thought he would be doing and now he feels like he’s sold out. Which is ABSOLUTELY Gale in my book. I wish we could’ve seen more of his fire but we’ll get plenty of that later. All in all, I do love the portrait, even though I’m still scratching my head as to how it fits with the chair and the rose and stuff.


First reaction: *sigh* Oh Liam, how can one man be so attractive.

On second thought: He certainly still looks like a resident of District 12 and the way he is sat forward, ready for action, makes a contrast with the other tributes. It’s true Gale doesn’t exactly fit in a Capitol portrait and it does detract a little from the in-marketing and the propaganda style of the others. But he is a big part of the story and Lionsgate had to include him. But I’m truly hoping by the time Mockingjay Part 1 comes around, the marketing will really become interesting. The Capitol and the Rebels battling it out- it was made for viral marketing!


First reaction: Although the portrait looks great, I just can’t get over my annoyance that Gale has a “Capitol Portrait”. I thought Lionsgate was full on roleplaying the Capitol with these and Gale is just so out of place. It took you out of the moment.

On second thought: I haven’t changed my mind. I think they should have had separate District portraits or something. Gale hasn’t been to the Capitol, so it makes me uneasy that perhaps he has one because they’ve written him into the Capitol this time around.


First reaction: Wow, just wow…

On second thought: I was nervous when I realized Gale was going to be next, wondering why in the world they would give him a “Capitol” portrait. Would they dress him up in some ridiculous outfit? And then I saw him and every concern vanished. He’s dressed so simply, so authentically District 12. And the way he’s sitting, clutching the rose (yes, it’s weird– why does he have a rose?), with that look on his face that just makes me want to hug him. This, by far, is my favorite of all the portraits, because it’s the only one that really screams the character from the books to me–even though it’s not his firey, rebellious side, which I’ve heard a lot of complaints about. I fell in love with this portait as soon as I saw it and, really, all I can say is wow, just wow….


First reaction: Why has Gale got a Capitol portrait?!

On second thought: I mean, I understand that Gale couldn’t NOT be a part of the first major marketing technique for the movie, but it just seems so wrong that he has a Capitol portrait. So once I get past that, I really like the portrait. His expression is perfect and even the way he’s sitting like perched on the edge of the seat, like he cant stand to be touching something related to the Capitol. And his clothes are great too, typical Seam wear – although a tad smarter. Maybe a consequence of Katniss’ new found wealth.


First reaction: When I first saw this it made me totally depressed, he just looks so sad!

On second thought: I have to admit I am in still total confusion mode as to why Gale is in this series of Capitol portraits. Don’t get me wrong he is certainly an important character and I don’t begrudge him having one, it just didn’t seem to fit with what they were going for and I had set myself up to see a second set of portraits if you like which would have had a more district-feel to them. At any rate I like the portrait, his expression just absolutely breaks your heart, and that’s coming from a hardcore K/P shipper! It’s not lost on me too that the outfit is a dead ringer for his reaping outfit and I like that Gale got to hold a rose too as his life is also irrevocably changed by The Capitol. I think it’s a nice touch that this is Gale “pre-rebellion” and that we will get to see his character change on screen – I am prepared to see a very different poster for Mockingjay!





First reaction: Arrrghhh walk the plank!

On second thought: Sorry folks, but I can’t get on board with this. He seriously looks like a pirate, and I really don’t like that vibe. It would have made more sense to just have him go shirtless, or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my end. But seriously, this was probably the most anticipated portrait, and this is what they give us? Hopefully he doesn’t look like this in the movie.


First reaction: Aaah Finnick finally ! But he looks like a sequel of Pirates of the Caribbean !

On second thought: His outfit looks a little strange but his face is just too pretty, it totally distracts me 😀


First reaction: JESUS. He looks like a freakin’ pirate! And is that a KILT of some kind?

On second thought: Okay, the pirate thing took me off guard initially, but it grew on me, I must admit. I can totally see little!Finnick wanting to grow up to be a pirate, so when he gets his chance, of course he would charm the photoshoot stylist into letting him wear a pirate costume. 😉 I like what it does for him, though, because it shows some skin without being entirely fanservice-y. I love that you can find some very Finnick details if you look hard enough past the pirate thing. The fact that Finnick is probably the only character in the series confident enough in his masculinity to wear a skirt. There’s the necklace that looks like coral, the pendant that looks like a spile/conch/fang (take your pick), and the print in his skirt/kilt thing (I still don’t know)– I’ve heard two ideas as to what it could be: either a sealskin print (reminiscent of a selkie, a nordic sea creature), or a lizard print (which, knowing what’s coming up in Mockingjay, makes me want to scream “Break my heart, why don’t you, Trish Summerville!!”). I like his expression enough, he looks like he’s a pro at photoshoots, but at the same time he really does look more than just pretty, but more like someone who has seen too much even being so young. Not in my top three, but I think he definitely pulls it off.


First reaction: If there was a pirate in The Village People, he would look like this.

On second thought: I wonder are The Village People still together? *Checks Wikipedia* They are! They should totally add a pirate to the mix. I’m in the mood to listen to some Village People on Spotify. I’m much more intrigued by that nugget of information than the character of Finnick here. I think there’s a difference between fisherman and pirate.


First reaction: I actually laughed at Finnick’s upon first glance. It was way too pirate for me and I couldn’t help thinking I was supposed to be looking at a portrait of Orlando Bloom.

On second thought: After I got over my initial giggles, I felt more at ease about Sam playing Finnick. His hair looked so much better and his expression so much more Finnick-like than his awful EW cover debut. I think overall, Finnick’s was my favorite if I can stop looking at the clothes. I have to wonder if his golden chest hairs were digitally added in though, hahaha!


First reaction: You’ve got to be kidding me. He’s a #!@*%$& pirate!

On second thought: Second impression: He’s a pirate… still not a fan. Third impression: I can’t believe they thought that look was a good idea, still not a… wait, does that kind of look like lizard skin on his skirt? And… and is that a reptilian claw around his neck? *cue flashback to the lizard mutts in Mockingjay, of Katniss looking down the manhole and seeing Finnick–* Fourth impression: OMG, poor Finnick. 🙁


First reaction: Pirates of the Caribbean – One man show. Seriously, is that a freaking skirt?!

On second thought: I’m a huge Sam fan, so I had exceptionally high hopes for this portrait. And I think as far as him, it’s perfect – the costume is what lets it down. His expression is just the right mix of quietly confident and fearful which helps distract from the outfit that Jack Sparrow would be proud of. All that’s missing is a pirate on his should and he could be off sailing the seven seas. The lizard skin used for the skirt/kilt slays me though – its like a twist of the knife.


First reaction: Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Somehow still sexy.

On second thought: Obvious pirate comparisons aside I love what Sam is bringing to this picture, they have put him in just about the craziest get-up out of the lot of them (aside from Cinna, that award still goes to him) and somehow he still manages to totally own it and seduce the hell out of me. I think it is the boots that are the most distracting but I can’t think of an alternative shoe for him, barefoot would probably have made the pirate comparisons even worse than they already are. His hair and expression are great and like Johanna he is barely grasping the rose. My reaction was like Erin’s though when the lizard print and necklace were pointed out to me, I was totally devastated. To keep from breaking down every time I look at this poster I have been looking at him from the waist up. I hope that all of the nitpicking about Sam as Finnick can finally be put to rest as when I look at this portrait I see Finnick and they have nailed it.





First reaction: Just as creepy as ever.

On second thought: This one is just as expected. He’s creepy and in control. I really can’t think of much else to say on this one because I feel like it needs no explanation. Yep, there’s President Snow.


First reaction: Not much surprise here, he looks very much like Snow’s look on the stills that were released a few weeks ago.

On second thought: Just looking at his eyes got me freaking out ! A perfect Snow face in a perfect Snow outfit ! Loving it !


First reaction: He looks like a wax sculpture. So stiff. Too much botox?

On second thought: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Donald Sutherland as Snow will never not be creepy. And as far as I’m concerned, if there’s any character in these books that SHOULD look like the stuffed corpse of Voldemort you may find in a taxidermist’s shop, that’s Snow. The fact that he looks so waxy and overtly tan makes him look more Capitol than his fancy furs ever will, and I love that. Apart from that, I love the way he’s sitting so stiffly, almost holding tightly onto the armrests like he’s saying “if you want to get me out of this chair you’ll have to go over my dead body.” And his eyes stand out so much, the blue makes him look so cold. I think this portrait says what it was meant to say.


First reaction: This looks like it would be hanging in Snow’s mansion. Wow!

On second thought: Authoritative, calm, in control with just a hint of arrogance. It’s perfect. It looks like an all-powerful propaganda painting from history. I’ve seen many a dictator depicted this way in artwork and Snow fits right in with all of them.


First reaction: Like Peeta, I though Snow looked fake or painted.

On second thought: I think this was the outfit we saw in the set photo of him doing the reading of the card, so that was definitely cool/creepy. If they hadn’t made him look so overly tan and fake, I might have liked it better.


First reaction: What’s wrong with his face?

On second thought: Donald Sutherland is such an amazing, emotive actor… so why does his expression remind me of a frozen corpse? There’s nothing great about his outfit. The rose on the lapel is a nice touch, and I like the scarf/cape, but my eyes keep focusing on his eyes and I can’t shake the impression that they’d made a portrait of a dead man.


First reaction: This gives me creepy chills – in the best way.

On second thought: Sutherland knocked it out of the park with this one, I’m totally creeped out whenever I look at it. There’s something about the coldness and distance in his expression that just really works at conveying how detached he is from his humanity and emotion. I like that they kept the hair and the general look the same, I also love the fur cape thing. Very regal and daunting, reminds me a lot of the mutts which is probably where he got it from!


First reaction: The creep factor here is off the charts! Like Effie my eyes were instantly drawn to the gloved hands, talk about cold (haha, sorry, bad pun).

On second thought: Either Snow has spent some serious time in the sunshine and surf of D4 or he has succumbed to The Capitol’s dyed-skin craze as he has gone from white as snow (haha oh sorry I just can’t help it!) to toastier than the sun. My only other explanation is as Erin said, we are looking at a corpse and its the formaldehyde preservatives that we can see. At any rate I am severely creeped out and I imagine that was their intention – can you seriously imagine anyone wanting to hang this on their wall!? I do like his outfit though, although we have already seen it in set pictures (which I’d say is a good indicator for seeing the other portrait outfits on screen). He is also cold enough to have some form of Mutt skinned and turned into a shawl which is seriously bad ass. I’m glad they didn’t change his hair but I have to say I’m a little disappointed in this one too, would have liked less fake tan and more emotion.


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