To some this may be a philosophical issue, to others rhetorical (and I should just shut up). Or one can begin a debate, on principal, about the fundamental basics of good writing and the very best kind of storytelling. That writers can NOT gratify their reader too quickly.
All stories begin with the "set up"; the introducing of characters, atmosphere, setting, attitude, ambiance. Great writers never rush this "crossing of the Moat". Because the moat is where the tease begins; setting up anticipation with hints of conflicts to come. The tease is a must. It works, despite what we writers have been pressured to think, i.e. deliver the goods and get out. And where's the emotional hum; the hankering, the hoping, the falling for the guy and wondering if... for either writer or reader, in the "slam, bam, thank you, ma'am" experience? (Have we all been there or what?!)
So make your "crossing the moat" old school-‑ about finding the way into your story with unanswered questions, speculation and mystery that keeps a reader wondering when the "swimming" will dump them into a whirlpool of unexpected twists and turns, dangerous monsters and gut-wrenching revelations inside the Castle. Don't cheat yourself and the reader with new school thinking, that 'instant gratification' where the story opens in battle and all you know about the hero is that he's too cute to die (so you know he won't) or all you see of the heroine is her love for her granny (so you know the bank doesn't foreclose on her house). And you as the writer are left with the question... will a reader remember these characters? And will they rave about my novel to friends?
I devoured The Hunger Games Trilogy. I loved every well-written word, lived every edgy emotion alongside the characters. And know what? It takes a good while to get to the Castle (or in this scenario, the Capital) and the "swim" is a five star adventure I recommend without reservation. And will dive into again and again!