So basically, you either didn't read my post at all, or you just don't understand the concept of being too poor to train people how to fight. I don't think that particular part of the plot is that far of a stretch really.
It's not about officially training them though. If you grew up your entire life knowing that there was a chance that you might randomly be selected at some point to have to fight for your life in these games, wouldn't you take every opportunity possible to prepare for that? Even if no one's providing you training, you and all your friends are going to practice fighting, laying traps, hiding, tracking, etc. Because it's a skill you might need (and someone *will* need). Doubly so if by doing this, your district (and thus everyone in it) gains some benefit (or avoids some harm).
This doesn't require any official interaction to occur. The kids themselves will do it because if they don't, and they're picked, they're screwed. Everything else being equal, the result will be a higher percentage of folks in a given population capable of fighting in some way than you'd have otherwise. That's why it's a bad idea. There are a whole lot of other better methods to punish/control the districts which would not have the same negative side effects (and might actually be better at maintaining the districts in a subservient position).
Also, another thing worth mentioning is that the Capital is surrounded by mountains. This is the main reason why the rebellion lost. The way it is described in the book, the rebels had to scale the mountains surrounding the Capital to reach it, and the Capital had enough air force technology that they were able to just shoot them all down before they got anywhere close. That's not really that far of a stretch either.
Not my point. Assuming that the previous rebellion was enough of a threat for the capital to take action to try to prevent another one (which is also part of the premise, right?), then an action which maximizes the potential capable enemy warriors would be the wrong way to do it. Everything else being equal, the next rebellion will be more likely to succeed because of these games than if they didn't have them. Doesn't matter how great or how little that chance is, they're still being counter productive to their stated purpose by doing this.
Don't get me wrong, it makes for a great story potential (random chance of being picked, so no one is safe, fight to the death, arbitrary rules, etc). But the underlying premise is pretty silly. No one would actually ever create such a thing. Not for the reasons given anyway.
Oh. And as to your point about the impossibility of attacking the capital, that's somewhat short sighted. All of the resources they use come from the districts, yes? All it takes is for the districts to collectively decide not to deliver any more supplies to the Capital, and the Capital's defenses are automatically breached. They have to come to the districts to fight (just as they had to destroy a district the last time). But if they all refuse even after that, then the Capital is doomed. Their survival is dependent on the districts continuing to provide for them. Thus, their objective should be to maintain conflict and/or competition between the districts with an eye towards preventing them from ever thinking about forming an "us versus the capital" alliance. And while creating conflicts between them is a good approach, doing it the way the games seem to be structured is exactly the wrong way to do it (as I explained in my first couple posts).
You want the districts to hate each other and fight with each other (but not enough to disrupt their supply actions). Whatever control systems are in place *should* be aimed towards that. I just don't see how the hunger games contributes to that goal and I see a lot of potential for it creating common cause among the districts. If they're all fighting with each other for some benefits, that's one thing. But the requirement that they all send their kids to their deaths would seem to be reinforcing a common fear/hatred among the districts and IMO is at odds with what should
be their goal here. The last thing they want is for the districts to decide collectively that they hate the Capital so much (and their own lives are so poor and uncomfortable) that they're willing to risk all being completely wiped out rather than continue to provide their oppressors with their food and power.
The games seem almost designed to ensure that happens. Which is why I find it a questionable premise except to write a story about a really stupid system which pisses off the people under it to such a degree that they will inevitably finally fully join forces to rise up and destroy it. That's fine as a story, but let's not forget that it's incredibly contrived to ensure that result. Edited, Apr 3rd 2012 8:09pm by gbaji