Suzanne Collins made a name for herself writing for children's tv shows, such as "Clarissa Explains It All." She eventually tried her hand at writing children's books, to moderate success. Her life would change while channel surfing. On one channel she saw a reality competition show, on another, news coverage of military combat. As the story goes, an idea struck her. The result would be her wildly successful 2008 novel, "The Hunger Games," and its sequels. Much like other franchises, 2018 marks an important anniversary for the series.

The premise and its influences

In the future, unidentified events have led to the dissolution of the United States. In its place, it became the nation of Panem, made up of 13 districts and one capital. Each year, the vicious regime in charge take a group of children from the districts. They are placed in an elaborate arena and forced to fight until a sole survivor remains. By law, the residents of Panem are forced to watch like it's a sporting event.

Along with news coverage and reality programming, Collins also drew on other aspects for inspiration. These include Greek mythology, Roman gladiators, and the experiences of her father. A decorated U.S. Air Force officer, Collins' father served in Korea and Vietnam.

The impact and legacy

Not surprisingly, the violence and the involvement of children were off-putting to some. The Washington Examiner reports that "The Hunger Games" was banned in some schools. But the novels were a critical and commercial smash. They were soon adapted into a film series which was also a major hit. As indicates, the love for the series would grow to be passionate and intense.

Conservatives and liberals alike have used "The Hunger Games" to illustrate their political views. Spiritual leaders have used it as a religious parable. The three-fingered salute popularized by the series has become a source of controversy. It has been used by political protesters in various locations around the world. So much so, that the salute and screenings of the movie adaptations were banned in Thailand.

The series' main character, Katniss Everdeen, has been viewed as something of a feminist icon. Additionally, the series has frequently been cited as proof the female-led action franchises can be highly profitable.

The series has also remained impactful financially. Throughout the years, the books have become a mainstay on best-seller lists. In addition, the movies have remained popular. Several of the filming locations for the movie adaptations have become popular tourist destinations.