The Hunger Games: The Musical – “An Innocent Man”

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Note: This post contains spoilers. So if you haven’t read the books up to Mockingjay or seen the movies up to Mockingjay Part 2, then you shouldn’t be viewing it. Even if you’re a die hard Billy Joel fan like my mother.

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You have to feel for Peeta who doesn’t seem to catch a break. In the first book, he’s reaped for the Hunger Games the same year the girl he’s been completely head over heels for volunteers to take her sister’s place. And even though he and Katniss survive as victors, he’s utterly heartbroken when he finds out that Katniss was just playing it for the cameras. Add to that suffering PTSD and terrible nightmares. In the second book, he goes into the arena again with Katniss (voluntarily), only to end up captured by the Capitol, where he’s held prisoner through part of the third. During that time, he’s tortured, hijacked, and forced to be a mouthpiece for the Capitol. And when he’s rescued by District 13, he ends up attacking Katniss, which breaks her heart. Later, Alma Coin puts him on the Star Squad in hopes that he’d kill her. Luckily by this point, Peeta has recovered enough from the hijacking that he becomes aware on how much he has changed. Yet, he begins to view himself as a mutt and loathes what he’s become. Fearing that he might hurt Katniss or anyone else, he’s now asking the Star Squad to kill him because he poses a danger to the group as well as doubts whether he could heal. But he keeps going.

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As for a song depicting his state of mind at the time, I decided to go with “An Innocent Man” by Billy Joel from the 1980s album of the same name. In the original version, the narrator is telling the girl to give him a chance since he really likes her and thinks love is worth it. But he understands that she’s been broken before, possibly many times. Perhaps to the point she’s suspicious and skeptical of any guy who shows any interest in her. Yet, he insists that he’d never do anything to hurt her and sees no reason why she should distrust him. However, he also tells her that he’s not going to put up with her crap lying down and will dump her if it becomes too much for him. In the Hunger Games version, I have Peeta being skeptical of his own sanity as well as willing to have Star Squad members kill him if he poses too much of a danger. Yet, he also shows the determination to fight off the hijacking and regain his old self, despite his doubts.

 

“An Innocent Man” (Hunger Games Edition)

Sung by Peeta Mellark

 

Some people stay far away from my door

If there’s a chance that I’d see a mutt

They think I was this on Snow’s designs

And think that my old self has died

 

Sometimes I live with the fear of a mutt

And the anger of having been a tool

Can I ever listen to anyone

When nobody tells me a lie

 

I know you’re only protecting yourselves

I know I’ve acted like somebody else

Someone who’d hurt you

But I’m not above

Being put into cuffs

Though I’m denying I could ever heal

I’m not above doing anything

To restore your faith if I can

Not sure if how I can retain self-control

Before I feel my mind slipping away

Yet, I won’t let my old self die

Because I am an innocent man

Oh yes I am

 

Not even sure I will ever believe

Another promise I hear in the dark

Because I don’t remember too well

What what’s real or what’s not anymore

Not sure my mind is in any way right

Or whether I am better off dead

Guess it’s not always easier to see one

As a monster before

I know you don’t want to hear what I say

I know you’re gonna keep turning away

But I will fight it and if I can survive

You can keep me alive

As long as I don’t go through it again

I’m not above being cool for a while

If you’re cruel to me I’ll understand

 

Some people run from a possible fight

Some people figure they can never win

And although this is a fight I can lose

The accused is an innocent man

Oh yes I am

An innocent man

 

I’m not a guy who’d ever hurt out of spite

I guess I’d rather be a martyr tonight

That’s your decision

But I’m not below

Anybody I know

If there’s a way I can recover my soul

I’m not certain I can go back to the start

To find out where the hijacking began

 

Not sure if there’s any miracle cure

Or should I just accept my fate as it is

But if you want me to lay down and die

Just know I am an innocent man

 

I am an innocent man

Oh yes I am

An innocent man

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