Hunger Games prequel will reveal villain’s origins

A new Hunger Games novel is to be published in May, focusing on the back story of the villainous President Snow.

Suzanne Collins’s book series is a saga of rebellion and resistance in Panem, a dystopian version of America.

The US author’s original trilogy became a successful film franchise, starring Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss.

The prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, will revolve around the young Snow, who was played on screen as an older man by Donald Sutherland.

The new book is set 64 years before the events of The Hunger Games and details the “Dark Days” that led to the failed rebellion in Panem.

A first excerpt, available on the Entertainment Weekly website, depicts Coriolanus Snow as a charming university student who was born into privilege.

“The world still thought Coriolanus rich, but his only real currency was charm, which he spread liberally as he made his way through the crowd,” it reads.

“Faces lit up as he gave friendly hellos to students and teachers alike, asking about family members, dropping compliments here and there.”

The Hunger Games’ official social media channels have introduced Snow, who later becomes a brutal tyrant, as “your new hero”.

Some fans are not pleased by the news, feeling it unnecessary to “humanise” an ultimately murderous character.

“In the times we live in now, no one needs a prequel about a ‘misunderstood’ President Snow,” wrote one Twitter user.

“We have to stop this trend of humanising those who dehumanise everyone else around them.”

Yet others appear more sanguine about the idea, describing it as “interesting”.

“There are no good or bad guys in stories,” wrote another Twitter user. “It’s purely up to one’s perception and the viewpoint from which the story is told.”

The fictional Hunger Games has become a symbol of the fight for freedom over oppression for many people around the world.

Earlier this month protestors against the military-backed government in Thailand gave a three-finger salute – a gesture that featured in the series to convey unity amid struggle.

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