Monday, March 19, 2012

The Hunger Games and China Glaze Capitol Colours: The Martyrs and Freedom Fighters featuring Riveting, Hook and Line, and Agro

It's a mouthful of a title, I know. But there was simply no more concise way to appropriately summarize everything that will be talked about in this post. See, this collection first started as a rumour that was fed by a company leak of photos of the actual colors. Then, there was the threat of lawsuits and even more drama. Thank goodness it was all sorted out to reveal the exact same colors that was originally leaked, albeit with different names that a quick thinking fan pointed out were a representation of each of the 12 districts as outlined in the books. And now, I am the happy owner of the entire collection with the enabling aka pre-order option of the awesome Nail Polish Canada (they even came earlier than expected, double yay!). I know there were some that were skeptical about the color choices, but I feel it did do the books justice. More on that in a bit. While I know that I probably won't wear some of the colors as often as the others, I still felt strongly about wanting the entire set because (to my knowledge) this is the first nail polish collection that's based off a book series. As a certified bibliophile and nail polish addict, this easily made the entire collection a must-have for me.

I wanted to be able to do in-depth reviews for each color in the same fashion as is my usual, but if I stuck to one color per post, that would take me months just to show you all of them! So while I'll still be doing in-depth reviews, instead, it will be with three polishes in the spotlight per post. That will make this series a 4-part one over the next couple weeks and just in time for the movie release on the 23rd (boo yah!). Now, I'm fairly certain that by now, you've seen a bajillion swatches and reviews of this much anticipated China Glaze collection. So I have to raise the bar. To set these posts apart from the flock, I'll be showcasing not just swatches and a review of the actual polishes, but as well as how it ties in with the books. I'll be picking key characters from each of the districts that the nail polishes represent and somehow, show you how they all connect. This is the part where I say beware of spoilers as I'm fairly certain there will be quite a bit. I'll be writing this with the expectation that you've read the entire series. If you haven't read any or all of them yet, read on at your own risk or simply skip the text after the district name and number in bold. Also, if you're a huge Hunger Games fan and disagree with whatever I've written, please don't flame me. Let's just talk about it in the comments, okay? Okay!

Needless to say this will be a preeeetty long post, photo heavy and with walls of text so grab a coffee, sit back and relax. All set? Here we go!

The first three pretties in this series!

The Quick Take and Fun Facts

Token bottle shot.

Quick color swatch.

Labels with serials at the base.

Standard China Glaze brush.

Seen at: Nail Polish Canada, Sally Beauty, Trade Secrets, Spa Boutique, Transdesign and wherever China Glaze is sold.
Price: $7 CDN for 14mL
***All nail swatches were done with Orly Bonder Base Coat and two coats of China Glaze Riveting, China Glaze Hook and Line, and China Glaze Agro unless stated.

Brand/Name: China Glaze Riveting
Color: Orange
Formula: Orange jelly base with gold glass flecks
Finish: Jelly

Riveting is very appropriate a name for this particular orange jelly. Its bright, highly pigmented orange base, accentuated by the gold glass flecks makes this stunner a riveting sight, indeed. It's almost as if your nails are on fire! The gold flecks add dimension and create the illusion of depth to an otherwise simple polish. It gives that glow-y look to it that's apparent even in low lights.

No Top Coat

Despite being a jelly, Riveting has such a highly color saturated orange base that it really only takes two coats for it to be completely opaque. Even then, it still retains that squishy-ness to it, as well as the insanely high shine finish that jellies are best known for. I have to mention though that with application, it is best to wait at least a few minutes in between coats lest you end up with some balding at the cuticle due to dragging. Otherwise, the formula on Riveting was one of the best in the entire collection. It flowed nicely and leveled itself out upon drying.

With Top Coat

Top coat seems moot with a jelly finish, but it does still serve to protect the already glossy finish for a longer wear time.

District 3: Technology

In the books, we don't get to meet the characters who will play a bigger role in the grand scheme of things till the second book, Catching Fire. Here, we're introduced to Wiress and Beetee, an older generation of past tributes who were reaped for the 75th Hunger Games, also known as the third Quarter Quell where the rules are different. Both of them are privy to the knowledge of an escape plan that would fuel the fire to a large scale uprising in Panem to end the oppression of the Capitol and the Hunger Games. Katniss easily takes to Wiress and Beetee during the training sessions as she finds them easy to trust, largely in part because the other stronger tributes have long dismissed them as crazy, calling them "Nuts and Volts". Yet to her, they seemed very upfront and without malice, things that made it even easier to believe what they said. In fact, they were the ones who taught Katniss how to discern that shimmering square that allows one to see an otherwise invisible force field. This helps her navigate the arena during the second games. Both are highly intelligent and are implied to possess engineering know how that might be expected from anyone in the Technology District.

Wiress is the weaker character between the two in that she's not completely all there from the trauma of participating in the past games. She relies heavily on Beetee throughout the event. Despite that, she remains highly intuitive and is the only one who figured out that the arena was shaped like a clock that timed when and where a particular death trap would be unleashed. With this knowledge, the rest of the group were able to avoid harm. This also allowed them to keep track of time to coincide with the coded messages they were being given via food gifts so that they may time their escape plan appropriately. Unfortunately, Wiress doesn't make it to the end of the series as she is killed by Gloss, a career male from District 1, while she is cleaning a special spool of wire for Beetee midway through Catching Fire.

Beetee continues the fight for freedom from the totalitarian clutches of the Capitol and President Snow. After Wiress' death, he hatches a plan to destroy the arena in the guise of killing Enobaria and Brutus in one go. He assigns the others who are part of Katniss' alliance with tasks to bring the plan to fruition. However, before he is able to do his part, Enobaria wounds him. Katniss ends up finishing what he started by shooting an arrow at the force field. Beetee survives the escape and becomes part of the research and development arm of the military of District 13. He creates a special bow for Katniss as well as improving on various weapons, oft times with Gale's knowledge as a hunter. He also successfully hacks into the broadcasting system, allowing the rebels a way to air their own side of the story and to further inflame and inform the already volatile masses. At the end of Mockingjay, it is assumed that after the uprising, Beetee returned home to District 3.

While both had very different roles to fulfill, each was important to the cause they believed in. Wiress, though she died early on, gave Katniss the knowledge to survive the Quarter Quell and destroy the force field so that they may escape. Even her death served as a warning to them that danger was near so that the alliance could suitably defend themselves. Beetee doesn't strike me as someone who relished the thought of bringing upon evil to unsuspecting innocents with his weapons. I think, for him, it was more a matter of survival and keeping the resistance toe to toe with the Capitol. Generally what I would consider a peaceable fellow, the cause he fought for gave him enough rationale to fight fire with fire, so to speak. In the end, he still chose forgiveness in that he voted no to the proposed final Hunger Games with the Capitol's children participating.

Riveting goes well with these two characters and the roles that they had to fill, especially so for Beetee. I can definitely see how this bright orange could've easily be part of the colors of his explosions: the one he planned in the arena and the one that killed the Capitol children including medics and Prim, with the gold shimmer as the sparks that come with these explosions. It could be the color of the special wire that Beetee created and took a stab in the back for just to get it at the Cornucopia. It could be the spark of electricity that enables their district, Technology, to flourish.

Hammie's Score: 
10 Hammie Points!

Brand/Name: China Glaze Hook and Line
Color: Pewter grey
Finish: Frost

After seeing the name Hook and Line, the first thing that came to mind was the grey skin that most scaleless fish have. It has that same almost-metallic finish to it, even the color is very reminiscent of it. Very appropriately named! The pewter grey has some yellow in it, keeping it in the warmer spectrum of the grey family. However, for a new 2012 release, the finish feels like a dated polish as frost finishes are something I'd equate with the '80s or early '90s. The brushstrokes are completely unavoidable although they do look a touch less obvious upon drying.

No Top Coat

The formula of Hook and Line is on the thicker side, so not only do you have to deal with the annoyance of highly visible brushstrokes but as well as struggle with the viscous consistency. Luckily, this one is opaque after a couple coats, even if it is very streaky on the first coat. Out of the entire collection, this is probably the second to the worst in terms of application and consistency. As for dealing with brushstrokes, I've read somewhere (I can't find the source right now but when I do I'll update accordingly) that you can get rid of them by sponging on a layer of the polish to finish off your application. I've yet to try it myself, but it does sound promising! Needless to say, you'll definitely need a heavy dose of patience with this one.

With Top Coat

Top coat helps some with the brushstrokes. It doesn't eliminate them completely but it sure helps with blending it all out for a more even-looking finish.

District 4: Fishing/Aquaculture 

As with Wiress and Beetee from District 3, the characters I chose to represent District 4 are ones we don't meet until the second book, Catching Fire. Mags and Finnick are both past tributes who are also reaped for the third Quarter Quell. Annie Cresta was initially chosen as the female tribute but with her unstable mental state, a much older Mags volunteers to take her place. Both Mags and Finnick are also key players that are aware of the plans of the resistance and their impending escape to District 13.

Despite her advanced age, Mags is still very handy with her hands. It's said that she can turn anything into a fish hook which would definitely come in handy for acquiring food during the games (assuming there's anything edible in the bodies of water, of course). This quality alone endears her to Katniss. Along with Finnick, she weaves some grass into bowls for water and a hut for shelter during the games. She is also very resourceful and seems to know a lot about living off the land. When Katniss uses nuts to locate the force field, Mags eats the singed nuts even when Katniss is fearful it might be poisonous. She uses readily available moss as a handkerchief, giving some to Katniss for her to wipe away her tears. All this even though she has a hard time walking for long by herself.

Finnick is the veritable ladies' man. At first glance, he seems like every other shallow pretty face. It is later revealed to be part of an act he has to put on to go along with the prostitution President Snow has forced on him to take advantage of his popularity in the Capitol. Katniss is initially put off by his pretty boy antics but decides to trust him after he saves Peeta's life. He proves himself to be a huge asset to their alliance, being a skilled and strong fighter. To the very end, he fights alongside Katniss for a cause they both feel strongly about when they go on a mission to storm President Snow's mansion. Lizard mutts are sent out to neutralize their group in the sewers. As they are surfacing, Finnick guards the rear and ends up fighting the mutts when they reach him before he is able to go up with Katniss and the others. One of these mutts decapitates him before Katniss can do anything to save him. At the end of the series, he is survived by his wife, Annie, and their son.

To further their cause, Mags ends up giving up her life when faced between a choice of keeping herself alive or sacrificing either Peeta or Katniss. She knew that both would serve to be instrumental to the rebellion and would have a bigger part to play than she ever could. I'm thinking that this decision also has to do with the fact that she has already had the chance to live for as long as she has, being the only person mentioned in the books who was alive before the Hunger Games were instituted. She dies because of a poisonous fog that Finnick, Katniss and Peeta barely escape from. Finnick keeps up the fight so that Mags death wouldn't have been vain. Though there are moments after they are rescued from the arena where he is beside himself with worry and grief when it is made known that his one true love, Annie Cresta, the same girl Mags volunteered for, was taken by the Capitol and possibly tortured for information about the resistance. In that respect, it allowed him to strongly empathize with Katniss so that she may be able to sort out her own jumbled feelings. Once Annie is rescued and they are consequently married, having her with him only serves to fuel his desire for the resistance to triumph so that he may have a world where his son would never have to go through the torture of possibly participating in the Hunger Games.

Hook and Line is obviously a shout out to the fishing ties of District 4. Easily reminiscent of fish skin, it could also be the color of Finnick's preferred weapon: the trident, as well as the the possible color of fishing lines, nets, and fish hooks. The latter being something that Mags was a master artisan of. More interesting though is when you find out that pewter is in fact a metal that is a combination of primarily tin and lead with a ratio of 80-90% of the former and 10-20% of the latter. When you think back on the length of exposure both characters had even just in Catching Fire alone, with Mags dying by the second day of the Quell, their ratio would easily be about 80% for Finnick and 20% for Mags. 

Hammie's Score: 
6 Hammie Points!

Brand/Name: China Glaze Agro
Color: Deep olive green
Formula: Olive green base with gold shimmer
Finish: Shimmer

Green is an obvious choice to represent the agricultural district in the same way that grey was an easy pick to represent the fishing district. But instead of a vibrant green that might be construed to represent new life in spring and hope, we get a strangely tarnished looking green that looks more like the leaves during fall when they're about to turn colours. Despite that, this is a gorgeous deep olive made even more striking by the gold sheen about it. It gleams so much that I'd call it a borderline metallic, drying to an almost semi-matte finish that needs top coat lovin' to really make it glow.

No Top Coat

While the consistency is pretty good with Agro, it does have a tendency to dry really fast when using thin coats. I found that using medium coats was best to get the best coverage in as less coats as possible. This is a highly saturated shimmer so you can probably get away with one thick coat though I used two medium ones for the swatches. Since it does dry faster than usual, using less strokes to apply your polish is also ideal. Best to use the method of applying a stroke each on both sides of the nail then finishing with a third stroke straight down the middle to even everything out.

With Top Coat

See that shine difference, especially in the natural light/no flash photos? Top coat really helps Agro reach its shine potential!

District 11: Agriculture

We meet Rue and Thresh early on in the series. Both are District 12 tributes who participate in the 74th Hunger Games along with Katniss and Peeta. Katniss immediately feels an affinity for Rue who reminds her of her own little sister, Prim. She is appalled that no one in District 11 thought to step up for such a young girl, only 12, who looked all the more fragile with her small stature. Thresh, on the other hand, is decidedly a force to be reckoned with. His large build and apparent strength from years of toiling in the fields easily mark him as a potential tribute to win the games.

Rue plays a huge part in this first games that Katniss participates in. While merely clocking in at a couple inches shy of five feet, she uses her size to her advantage and opts to hide in the trees. It is later known that she learned to jump from treetop to treetop as part of her duties on the fields in District 11 to give out messages and signal the end of the workday to the other workers. She's very lithe and fast on her feet, with a fantastic sense of balance. Her knowledge of flora and fauna that she's acquired coming from a primarily agricultural district allows her to scavenge for edible food for sustenance and medicine to treat injuries, as well as discover otherwise hidden threats like the trackerjacker hive that she points out to Katniss. This event starts their alliance. Both decide to take away the advantage the careers have by getting rid of their food supply. Katniss will be doing the deed while Rue is tasked with creating a distraction. Katniss succeeds even though she hurts herself in the process and has trouble with her hearing. Unfortunately, things don't go so well for Rue who succumbs to Marvel, one of the career tributes.

Having an alliance with Thresh is immediately seen as an advantage early on during training for the games. Even though he comes from one of the poorest districts and is without any training in fighting, the career tributes still recognized his strength when they approached him and asked if he would like to be part of the career pack. He refused them. This gesture made Katniss think that he didn't seem to be the same as the others whom she'd dismissed as ruthless and mercenary. This also earns him her respect for playing the games on his own terms. Not only is his physical strength his only asset, he's also resourceful and seemingly agile. In later parts, it is said that he looks even bigger than when the games first started possibly because he was now eating more than he's ever had in his entire life. This only points to his resourcefulness in food gathering as well as his superb survival skills.

Rue's presence in the games keeps Katniss grounded throughout the games as a reminder of the family she left behind. Her death catalyzes the killer instincts in Katniss when she avenges her friend and kills her killer. Instead of leaving her discouraged, the event serves to ignite a fire within Katniss (pun very much intended) and fuels her will to survive no matter the cost and in the process, to beat the Capitol at its own game. Apart from this, because of the bonds she had formed with Rue, her death also makes her realize how the Capitol has reduced the tributes to mere objects, pawns, that they feel they can do whatever they wish with. Even the casualties are not given proper accord of burial. In her first blatant act of rebellion, she covers her with flowers to signify a proper burial and does the gesture of District 12's farewell as a sign of respect. Thresh who's been a lone wolf since the games started, ends up saving Katniss by killing Clove who was attacking her. He does this when he hears her make mention of Rue's death and their alliance. He spares her life as his way of repaying her for trying to protect Rue and honoring her death. Apart from that, he also takes Cato's backpack along with his in hopes that he would be drawn to attack him and hopefully keep Katniss safe for longer. His death is never explicitly mentioned in books although it is assumed by Katniss that he is killed by Cato. As his death also occurred during a huge thunderstorm and the area Thresh chose as his shelter is a wheat field, it is also possible that he died from drowning in a flood.

While neither Rue or Thresh were privy to the impending uprising that would be catalyzed by Katniss and her subsequent actions later on in the games, both still represented ideals that the Capitol sought to crush. In their totalitarian political system where the Capitol has an all-encompassing control over all the districts and its populace, individual thought is frowned upon. People are expected to act as a unit and follow instructions without question. Thresh demonstrates exactly the opposite and refuses to submit to the games unless it was on his own terms. Even the possibility of having a better advantage at survival with an alliance with the career pack did not entice him to break his own rules. Pandering to the audience at the Capitol to earn sponsors that can help him with gifts throughout the games wasn't even something he considered doing as he probably wanted to win the games simply using his own strength and resourcefulness. Rue, on the other hand, symbolizes the importance of life outside of the games. Once in the arena, tributes are expected to become more savage and cutthroat to survive. Yet she chose to take the passive route and flee where others would fight. She built on her own strengths that others might have thought to be her downfall. She chose to go about things rationally without submitting to the killing impulses. Even her death was a rebellion in itself, rather, the subversive acts that Katniss did were spurred on by her passing.

Seeing as neither of the two survived the 74th Hunger Games, it suddenly makes sense why the green that was chosen to represent the agricultural district was a sad-looking green that spoke more of fall than spring. Nonetheless, Agro still shows a sort of elegance with the addition of the gold shimmer. I would attribute it to the respect that both Katniss and Peeta displayed when they toured the different districts. Katniss, in particular, said a tribute to both Rue and Thresh on their victory tour to District 11. Another subversive act on her part as she empowered the district people in that respect. The gold shimmer on the olive green could easily symbolize the flowers that Katniss covered Rue with.

Hammie's Score: 
9 Hammie Points!

Hammie says: Happy Monday! If you made it this far, we applaud you! We hope you enjoyed reading about our (possibly) far reaching connections between the characters in the books and the nail polish colors. Comments, suggestions, violent reactions are all welcome in the comments!

Which of the three mentioned is your favorite nail polish color? Do you have a favorite character among those mentioned to represent the districts? Would you embrace a resurgence of the frost finish?


  1. My son enjoyed reading at your post this morning!
    Great swatches, definitely Riveting is my favorite here.
    Great post and swatches!

  2. Love Riveting!! It just glows! I'm not usually an orange fan but Riveting looks like liquid fire! Agro is nice as well. Hook and Line is the only one I can do without--I do not like frost finishes at all. I really like how they came out with this nail polish based on a book series. Now I'm picturing what a Harry Potter nail series would look like, hahaha.

  3. It's a definite favorite, that Riveting. :) I second you on not being a fan of frost finishes. The visible brushstrokes are a huge no-no for me.

    OMG. I think I would have palpitations in anticipation. How seriously awesome would that be? Let's hope some enterprising nail polish company reads this and makes it so. ;)

  4. Aww, that's got to be one of the sweetest comments ever! Totally made my day, thanks, Carolina! Is he a huge Hunger Games fan too? :)

    Thank you! Definitely, hands down. I think for the other two, it was hard to compete with a color your face. ;)

  5. Oh Yes, he's a big fan an a great reader... he read the three books in one week.
    I'm planning going with him to the movie premiere this friday.

  6. Wow, that's amazing! I bet he's a smart kid. :) If he liked the Hunger Games, I've heard The Maze Runner is a similarly themed book, in case he might be interested. I just got it but haven't read it yet. Young Adult/Teen Lit seems to have so much more interesting books these days!

    Oh, lucky! I probably won't have time to see it till Sunday. I hope you guys have a blast! :D

  7. Thank you Carmela, definitely he's a very talented kid. When he was in third grade he won a prize at school because he read over a 100 books in one year (100 kids books). Thank you for your recommendation, I will let him know.

  8. I had to go back and pick up RIVETING... I don't normally wear oranges but I couldn't NOT have it in my collection... *sigh*

    I really liked "Rue" as a character. The author made her very likeable :)

  9. How can you not wear oranges? I think Riveting will look beyond stunning on you, Marta. I guarantee it. ;)

    True! I think it had a lot to do with being compared to Prim, who's another very likeable character and shares a lot of similar traits with Rue. :)

  10. Love Riveting!! It just glows! I'm not usually an orange fan but Riveting looks like liquid fire! Agro is nice as well. Hook and Line is the only one I can do without--I do not like frost finishes at all. I really like how they came out with this nail polish based on a book series. Now I'm picturing what a Harry Potter nail series would look like, hahaha.


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