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The Hunger Games Prequel: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Warning: The following content may contain elements that are not suitable for some audiences. (Explicit / Mature content)


On the Spoiler Special podcast, Slate critics discuss movies, the occasional TV show, and, once in a blue moon, another podcast, in full spoiler-filled detail. We have a very special episode this week! Sam Adams is joined by Laura Miller to discuss the new Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Suzanne Collins’ new novel explores President Snow’s origin and descent into one dimensional villainy seen in the Hunger Games trilogy. The story departs from the YA dystopian genre that Collins’ trilogy helped shape. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a more sophisticated, philosophical examination of human nature and the battle of nature versus nurture. How does Coriolanus Snow regain the power and money his family lost during the war? What is his role in the spectacularization of the Hunger Games? What can The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes teach readers about the realities of living in a surveillance state? You can read Laura Miller’s review here. You can also read Lara Miller’s explanation of the unusual names in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes here.Slate Plus members get ad-free podcasts and access to exclusive shows like Dana Stevens’ classic movies podcast Flashback. Sign up now to listen and support our work.You can also check out past Spoiler Specials, and you can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts. Note: As the title indicates, spoilers galore.Email us at Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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