we know. we know. Catching Fire just slipped into the rearview mirror, making it hard to think much of another young adult franchise. let alone one that has been advertised repeatedly ad nauseam as “the new hunger games!”.
for the record, it’s not. Veronica Roth’s Divergent Series features a young and determined female lead in Tris Prior (played in the upcoming film by Shailene Woodley), and takes place in a dystopian future where American society has been divided into various factions. That’s where the similarities end.
But there’s still a lot to learn in the world of Divergent, and following the release of the first full trailer, Digital Spy has put together a cheat sheet that explains the basics.
The Divergent Factions takes place in a dystopian future Chicago where the citizens are divided into five factions, each focused on cultivating a different personality trait. The factions are Fearless (The Brave), Candor (The Honest), Abnegation (The Selfless), Friendship (The Peaceful), and Scholars (The Intelligent), with each individual choosing a faction at the age of 16.
Children are raised within their family faction, and the concept of defecting to another faction is controversial but perfectly legal. To help make the decision, the government provides an aptitude test, which is designed to conclusively tell a person which faction they fit into best. think of it like the sorting hat, only with more psychological scars.
the aptitude test like the gcses, the aptitude test is an annual assessment that all 16-year-olds take with fear and apprehension. unlike gcses, no review is required.
The test is administered in a clinic-like room with mirrored walls, which closely resembles a dentist’s office. as we saw in the trailer, the subject has electrodes placed on his head and is given a serum to drink that connects him to a simulated reality.
In the simulation, the subject is thrown into a series of scenarios, and their choices in response to each will decide which faction they belong to by process of elimination. one scenario involves cheese. one involves a burn victim. one involves a rabid dog.
tris, also known as beatrice prior beatrice, who later calls herself tris, is the exception to the rule. your test results are “inconclusive”, which you’d imagine shouldn’t be that uncommon, as human beings are complex and unpredictable and usually not that easy to categorize into perfectly discrete groups, but apparently it is very rare.
tris’s result indicates that it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the five factions, meaning it’s “divergent”. she has the same aptitude for scholarship, fearlessness, and selflessness, the latter being her family faction, and she has to decide which of the three to join.
But tensions between the five factions are on the rise and it’s become very dangerous to be Divergent, which means Tris has to keep her true nature a secret at all costs. after choosing the fearless faction (which emphasizes bravery), he has to try even harder than the average initiate to fit in.
initiation once you choose your faction, there is no guarantee that you will be accepted: a long initiation process determines which people can stay permanently.
If a person fails their initiation, they will be factionless, a state described as “worse than death”. being factionless is a lot like being homeless; those without a faction will struggle to find even low-paying jobs and live like bums.
four aka tobias eaton until now, so creepy, but no young adult dystopia would be complete without a love interest. and refreshingly in the case of divergent, there is no triangle in sight.
four is assigned as the instructor of the intrepid initiates and is the first person tris meets after choosing. she jumps headfirst into a dark pit to show her bravery (just like you) and when she lands, four of her grab her hand and help her up. meet cute!
We won’t spoil where things go from there, but there is an especially memorable and very romantic moment on top of a Ferris wheel, which Woodley recently noted as his favorite moment of filming.
Divergent will be released on April 4, 2014 in the UK and March 21 in the US. divergent