Real.

I saw Mockingjay Part 2 last night. Big surprise. The Hunger Games is one of my biggest fandoms, if not THE biggest (hard to measure, though). I’m obsessed with it for so many reasons, but today I just want to talk about one.

Alert: Spoilers (should be safe for those who have read the book).

Peeta Mellark.

He is the single most desirable fictional character that I’m aware of. And I’m aware of an awful lot of desirable fictional characters. But Peeta takes the cake (pun totally intended).

You people who are just movie fans may lean towards Gale, and I don’t blame you. Without the rich background of the books, Liam, I mean Gale, is a more obvious choice, according to the expectations society has ingrained in us. He’s tall, dark, and *profanity* look at those lips!!!

But Katniss marries Peeta. She doesn’t see it coming, the men don’t even see it coming, until the very end of the revolution.

Thing is, Gale is her best friend. He knows her inside and out. He can predict her movement, literally and figuratively. They have the same drive, the same instincts, and the same values.

Peeta and Katniss are very different. He’s quiet, but good with words when he needs to use them, where Katniss is short and often tactless. He’s really good at looking at the big picture, while Katniss can only see one step in front of here, and sometimes not even that. He is extremely level-headed, while Katniss gets so swept up in emotion, she is often blinded by it.

I’ve had a few guy friends express to me their deeply rooted upset at the finale of The Hunger Games, because they despise Peeta. “He’s not even manly,” is the primary reason for their displeasure with him.

The reasoning I usually give is: Katniss is the masculine partner and Peeta is the feminine. It’s fine. They still work together. Sorry that it doesn’t meet your expectations of a traditional romance, but for those of us women who have a calculating, logical, one-track, hyper-focused, generally-more-masculine psychology, Katniss and Peeta’s relationship gives us a lot of hope and comfort.

However, their relationship isn’t just attractive to male-minded women. It’s attractive to a huge majority of women (at least those that I’ve talked to about it). Here’s why, as stated by Katniss herself:

I personally have had a Gale in my life. A man who knew everything possible to know about me, who could still predict my reaction to any situation, I’m sure. We shared our intellect and our passion about pretty much everything, and he even was physically ideal and imbued with traditional manliness. But that fire…our fires…competed with each other, tore each other up, and eventually burned the bridge between us. Because, though we loved each other, we couldn’t meet each other’s needs, the real, deep needs that can only be touched, healed, by someone who sees life differently.

That’s when I realized I needed a man who was patient, kind, even-tempered, and above all, willing to fight to the end for the things that matter: family, freedom, and peace. And that’s what Peeta did. That’s what he had always done. From the very beginning, he had the bigger picture in mind: “If I’m going to die, I want to still be me.” Peeta never forgot what he was fighting for, except the whole hijacking thing, and even then, he was able to claw his way back by picking up the pieces of what he believed in the first place, and stitching them all back together.

The world out there is scary. Anyone who says differently is lying to themselves. But there are sweet moments, there is hope, and there is always a reason to keep going. And what could a woman want more than a man who kindly, gently, always reminds her that spring will come, no matter what?

And honestly, I don’t know what is more manly than that.

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