After starting this book, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins, I realized that most of the books I have read are written from the protagonist’s point of view. In fact almost every single book in my collection is centered on a hero/heroine who faces some kind of obstacle in the form of an antagonist. So what’s the deal? Why are there less books told from the perspective of the bad guy?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the good guys. I cheer for them, cry for them and rejoice when they come out on top… but why is it that most books are told from the protagonist’s vantage point? Is it a part of the human condition to want to side with the righteous? Is it easier for writers to create novels that center on characters who have character traits that are seen as desirable?
In “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” the main character is Coriolanus Snow. He was the antagonist in the original Hunger Games Trilogy. Throughout the previous books, readers grow to hate him as he embodies evil. However, the new book which is a prequel is depicting him as the main character. The journey of “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is Snow’s origin story and provides clarity regarding his descent into the darkness that leads to his corruption. Yet, there is something about how the author is writing him in this new book that feels as though she wants readers to side with him.
Although I generally veer towards the more traditional protagonist character, this change has been refreshing. Is Snow’s main character status the beginning of a new wave of protagonists that skip the traditional tropes?
I am enjoying reading the perspective of someone who’s morale compass doesn’t always point north. It is different, surprising and entertaining to say the least.