‘The Hunger Games’: 5 Things You Need to Know if You Haven’t Read the Book

Don’t know much about District 12? Don’t sweat it

"The Hunger Games" madness is upon us, and you aren't among the millions that have read Suzanne Collins' best-selling book series, TheWrap is here to help.

Here five things to know about "The Hunger Games" as it prepares to take the box office by storm. 

Also read: 'Hunger Games' Premiere: Why There's No Nudity, and Why It Won't Need It

1. It's Dark…Like Really Dark

Thinking of bringing the wee ones? Well forget about it. The film may be rated PG-13, but "Harry Potter" it ain't. 

 "The Hunger Games" centers on a televised competition in which children battle each other to the death. 

Also read: How 'Hunger Games' Can Make Lionsgate a Major Hollywood Player

The movie was censored in Britain for bloodiness and there's been some hand-wringing online about the amount of violence, so get a sitter. 

In other words, don't expect any invisibility spells or quidditch matches.

2. Everybody Has Weird, Nonsensical Names

No, you didn't mishear. The heroine of the movie is really called Katniss Everdeen and the object of her affection is named Peeta Mellark. For good measure, there's also Haymitch Abernathy, Coriolanus Snow and Effie Trinket.

Apparently in the future, people are allergic to calling their children something as simple as James or Karen. 

Also read: 'Hunger Games' Censored in Britain for Bloodiness

Slate attempts to explain the origins of these gonzo monikers, but it essentially boils down to the poor characters being named after plants and their rich tormentors drawing on the history of ancient Rome. 

3. Finally, a Great Female Role Model

Katniss is a bow-and-arrow wielding badass. 

There's a reason star Jennifer Lawrence had to embark on an extensive training regime that included archery, rock and tree climbing, and fighting lessons, to get in shape for the role. 

Also read: 'Hunger Games' Review: Compelling But Implausible, Like 'American Idol' with a Body Count

Before she was picked to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss was illegally poaching food and looking after her family. Once she enters the games, she uses those skills to not only survive but beat the competition. 

Unlike Bella Swan, the wet handkerchief at the heart of "Twilight," Katniss doesn't just sit around mooning over boys and waiting for someone to rescue her. She takes action.

 4. It's Not All Action, There's Romance

The movie and book may sound like a "Rambo" story for the young-adult set, but it's not all running and fighting. What makes the film and the book so compelling is the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). 

Katniss and Peeta are pitted against each other in the Hunger Games, and they choose to play up star-crossed lovers shtick in order to capture the hearts of the crowd. That in turn enrages Gale, who carries a torch for Katniss. You get the drift. 

It's kind of like "Twilight," only the stakes are a little higher.

5. There Are Three More Sequels Planned

If you think you can bury your head in the sand and hope for "The Hunger Games" insanity to blow over, think again. 

Collins wrote two sequels to her best-selling novel — "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay" — and Lionsgate, the studio behind the film, will make three more films in its planned franchise over the next six years. 

That means there will be lots more midnight show madness and water cooler chatter over the next half-decade, so get reading unless you want to see a cultural touchstone pass you by.