Read a full summary of Mockingjay, book #3 of Suzanne Collins’ wildly popular The Hunger Games series, right here! This page is full of spoilers, so beware. If you are wondering what happened in Mockingjay, then you are in the right place!
Special thanks to Chewie the Mouse, a new BSR contributor who wrote this great recap! Visit her blog to read her book reviews, and check out her Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages (links at the end of the recap).
***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
What happened in Mockingjay?
Part I: The Ashes
Approximately one month had passed since the end of the Quarter Quell and the Capitol’s bombing of District 12. Gale had successfully led about 800 people out of District 12 before the bombs hit and kept them alive in the woods for three days until rescuers arrived from District 13. Gale’s family and the Everdeens were among the survivors; Peeta’s family was not.
District 13 was thought to have been demolished 75 years ago during the original rebellion, but it wasn’t. Instead, the citizens trained their nuclear weapons on the Capitol and made a deal: They’d pretend to have been demolished, and the Capitol would leave them alone. Everything above ground was bombed, and the people moved into already-existing underground structures and expanded them. At some point, an epidemic had killed many people and rendered others sterile, so they welcomed new people into the district.
Katniss had returned to District 12, accompanied by several hovercraft from District 13, to see the damage for herself. Her old house had been completely destroyed, as had the rest of the district, with the exception of the Victor’s Village. Katniss returned to her old home, which was intact. She gathered some things to take back with her: a photo of her parents, the family book of plants, her father’s hunting jacket, and Prim’s cat Buttercup. In her room, she found a fresh white rose, reminding her that President Snow still meant her harm. She left quickly, returning to the hovercraft that was waiting for her.
Upon returning to District 13, Katniss went straight to her family’s compartment, #307. Prim was thrilled to see Buttercup, and her mother was pleased with the wedding photo and plant book. They headed off for dinner, but Gale’s communicator announced that he and Katniss were wanted in Command.
They watched a televised Capitol interview between Caesar Flickerman and Peeta. Peeta claimed Katniss had no idea what she was doing when she blew the hole in the force field, as Beetee’s plan was too complicated for her to understand. Then he requested a cease-fire from both sides of the conflict. This would have resulted in a return to the status quo, and the rebels in 13 were quick to say Peeta was a traitor. Katniss was confused and angry about this and ran from the room.
Gale kept Boggs, President Alma Coin’s right-hand man, from following her and ended up with a bloody nose and the loss of his communicator watch for his trouble. Gale found Katniss in one of her hiding spots, and they discussed the interview. With Gale’s help, Katniss realized that Peeta was still trying to protect her but that the rebellion needed to keep going. She decided to officially become the Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion.
Katniss couldn’t sleep that night, and Prim came over to sit and talk with her. Prim pointed out that Katniss could probably make whatever demands she wanted to Command in exchange for her agreeing to be the Mockingjay. After further discussion of this topic with Gale at breakfast, Katniss went to Command as scheduled at 7:30am and presented the following demands: Her family could keep Buttercup, she and Gale would be allowed to hunt in the nearby woods, Gale would be by her side as a fellow rebel during her time as the Mockingjay, Peeta (and the other tributes who had been taken by the Capitol after the Quarter Quell) would receive full pardons, and she would get to kill Snow personally. Alma Coin accepted these demands but told her when it came time to kill Snow, she’d flip a coin with Katniss for the privilege. Coin said she would make a public announcement agreeing to these terms later that day and left.
Plutarch and his assistant Fulvia showed Katniss a sketchbook from Cinna, showing his design ideas for her Mockingjay outfit. At the end, he’d written a note saying he still believed in her. This reaffirmed Katniss’ belief that she was doing the right thing. Plutarch told her that Beetee had been working on a surprise for her, which she’d see later, but he had something else to show her first. They headed down to the 39th level below ground. A guard told them they weren’t allowed to be there, but Gale distracted him so that Katniss was able to sneak past and open the door to their destination compartment. Inside, she found her Prep Team in terrible shape, chained to the walls.
Katniss was furious and demanded that her team be released. The guard said he had no orders to that effect, but Plutarch said that he was authorizing their release. The three were unable to walk on their own, so Katniss, Gale, and Plutarch helped them to the hospital. Mrs. Everdeen took charge of them and reported that they had no permanent physical injuries, although they would be emotionally fragile for a while.
Katniss and Gale took advantage of their new privilege of being allowed to hunt and brought down a fair bit of game. Gale questioned Katniss’ concern over her Prep Team, and she defended them. They returned and turned their kills over to Greasy Sae, who was now working in the kitchens. Katniss went off to rest and realized her family had been moved to a new compartment on the top level where there was a small window above ground for Buttercup to come and go.
Prim woke her when it was time to go to the Collective, a room large enough for everyone to assemble, to hear Coin’s speech. Katniss saw Finnick with a group of mobile hospital patients and went to talk to him. She told him she’d demanded immunity for the other tributes as a condition of being the Mockingjay. Finnick was relieved because this meant Annie would be safe. Katniss realized she hadn’t mentioned Annie, so she went to Coin and asked that her name be added to the list. The end of the agreement stated that if Katniss failed to follow through in deed or intent, the agreement would be void. If she messed up in any way, she and the other tributes would probably all be executed.
Katniss spent the next morning with her Prep Team, getting re-set to “Beauty Base Zero.” She took them to the cafeteria at lunchtime, and they ate with her and the Hawthorne family. Gale’s little sister Posy made Octavia feel a bit better by telling her that she was still beautiful.
After lunch, Katniss and Gale headed to Special Defense to meet with Beetee. They found him in a special room made to look like a meadow and filled with hummingbirds where they’d been studying the birds’ flight patterns. He then took them into a high-security weapons area, where he let Gale pick out a fancy bow to use when appearing with Katniss in her Mockingjay role. Beetee had designed a special bow for Katniss. It was supposed to be just a prop and part of her costume, but he made it functional as well. It was programmed to respond to her voice and came with various specialty arrows.
Next, Katniss went to her first photo and video session. Mostly, she just stood there while everyone made adjustments to her appearance, the amount of smoke, the lighting, etc. At the end, she was asked to recite a special slogan. It did not go well.
The next morning, Haymitch called a meeting. After getting everyone to agree that what they’d filmed the previous day was a disaster, he asked everyone to name moments where Katniss had genuinely moved them. Answers included volunteering for Prim, singing to Rue, and risking her life to get medicine for Peeta. Haymitch then led the group to the conclusion that Katniss was only effective when allowed to act spontaneously. Coin agreed to let her go into a combat situation with a film crew (and plenty of bodyguards). She would go to District 8 later that day; they’d had some bombing earlier, but things were starting to quiet down, so it should be fairly safe.
On her way to the hovercraft, Katniss ran into Finnick, who was upset that he wasn’t being allowed to go. She distracted him by telling him that Beetee was designing a new trident for him, and he’d need to practice with it first. On the hovercraft, Katniss learned that all the districts except 2 were currently rebelling. Two was loyal to the Capitol and supplied them with weapons and troops. The general plan was to gain control of all the other districts, take District 2, and then attack the Capitol itself.
When the hovercraft landed, Katniss was accompanied by Gale, Boggs, and two other bodyguards. A director named Cressida, her assistant, and a couple of cameramen were also part of the group. Katniss was led to a makeshift hospital and initially didn’t think visiting it was a good idea. As she made her way through, greeting and chatting with patients, she began to realize how much seeing her alive meant to them. By the time they were ready to leave, Cressida felt that they had gotten some good footage.
Before the group made it back to their hovercraft, Boggs got a message through his headset that there were incoming bombers. He shielded Katniss with his body during the first barrage. Another message came in telling them that there was a bunker a short distance away. They ran toward it but didn’t make it before the next round of bombs.
Katniss realized that the target must be the hospital and also that someone was returning fire from a nearby rooftop. She and Gale ignored orders and made their way to the roof, where District 8 Commander Paylor and others were trying to shoot down the bombers. Katniss and Gale helped using their bows and successfully shot down several enemy planes. The cameramen had followed and got footage of this.
After the bombing stopped, Cressida told Katniss (on film) that President Snow had televised the attack as a warning to the rebels. She asked if Katniss had a message she’d like to share. Unlike the scripted remarks, her natural anger and response was compelling and believable. Cressida was pleased with the resulting footage. They returned to a hovercraft for the return trip, and Katniss promptly passed out.
When she awoke, she was in the hospital in 13 with her mother tending to her wounds. She was still in rough shape from the battle and nauseous. She attended the required Command meeting in a wheelchair. The propo was shown at the meeting and was quite good. It ended with the new tagline Katniss had created on the fly: “If we burn, you burn with us”.
Beetee had hacked into the television network, and it had been shown in all the districts (but not in the Capitol) multiple times. The next propos to be created included one with the hospital footage and Katniss’ other tagline: “You know who they are and what they do.” Fulvia was going to begin work on a series of “We Remember” propos, showcasing dead tributes from the various districts.
That evening, the new hospital propo aired, and Finnick watched it with Katniss in the District 13 hospital. It was also well-done. After that, a new interview with Peeta aired. In this one, he looked terrible, as if he’d been tortured but the Capitol was trying to hide it. His message to Katniss was that she was being used, she shouldn’t trust the people she was working with, and (if she had any influence) she should push for a cease-fire.
Katniss figured the earlier interview, where he looked so healthy and happy, must have been taped right after the Quarter Quell, and he’d been tortured since then. Almost immediately after the interview, Plutarch and Fulvia approached to do damage control with Katniss. At Finnick’s suggestion, the two pretended they hadn’t seen the interview but had turned the television off right after the propo aired.
The next morning, Katniss was released from the hospital. Since Gale was working with Beetee on weapons, she got permission to take Finnick with her into the woods to hunt. They walked around for a while and then sat and talked about Peeta and the interview. She was able to shoot a buck, which Finnick drug back for her.
The following day, Katniss and Gale went back to District 12 to do some interviews and film footage of the destruction. En route, Plutarch explained that after their earlier propos aired, the rebels rallied and gained control of Districts 3 and 11. Eleven was particularly important, as it was the Capitol’s main supplier of food. Cressida asked Gale to reenact the night of the bombing of 12, leading the crew to film the relevant places as he told the story.
During the group’s lunch break, Katniss pointed out a mockingjay to Pollux, an Avox member of the film crew. He whistled back and forth with the bird for a while, and then asked Katniss to sing by writing the word in the dirt with a stick. She sang “The Hanging Tree,” and then the birds sang it back. Cressida had filmed the whole thing, and Plutarch was happy with the resulting footage.
Next, Cressida filmed Katniss and Gale at their old hunting rendezvous point, where she encouraged them to talk about hunting and various related anecdotes. Then Katniss asked Cressida to film the bombed remains of Peeta’s family’s bakery along with a message that none of his family had been heard from since then.
At the remains of the gallows, Cressida asked if either of them had ever been tortured; Gale took off his shirt to show his scars. At that point, Katniss was done and headed to her old Victor’s Village home under the premise of picking up some jars and glass bottles for her mother. Gale met her there, and told her he remembered that she had kissed him when he was drugged up. He was near tears, and she kissed him again. Gale told her she only kissed him when he was in pain.
Back in District 13, Katniss was called to Command the next evening. There was to be a broadcast from the Capitol, and Beetee had plans to hack the nation-wide feed and air some of their footage instead. President Snow appeared onscreen; Peeta was in the background, looking even worse than before, and still talking about the need for a cease-fire. Then the feed cut to an image of Katniss standing in front of the destroyed bakery. The feed then cut back and forth between Peeta and short clips interjected by Beetee. Toward the end, Peeta said, “And you…in Thirteen…dead by morning.”
Part II: The Assault
Haymitch explained that obviously Peeta was trying to warn them that District 13 was about to be attacked. Coin thought this was plausible enough to order a Level 5 security drill. Boggs led Katniss and Finnick to a large cavern very deep underground. Everyone else made their way down as well, heading to pre-determined locations. Plutarch found Katniss and told her that the others would look to her, and if she remained calm, they would, too.
At her assigned space, Katniss found and read over the “Bunker Protocol” instructions. As directed, she went to the Supply Station and got three packs, one for each member of her family. Eventually Mrs. Everdeen appeared and was surprised Prim wasn’t there already. Katniss realized she had probably gone to look for Buttercup. The doors were closing, but Katniss managed to stop them by shoving her hand into the gap. This bought enough time that everyone could hear Prim and Gale making their way to the door. They were allowed in, but the doors closed immediately behind them.
Prim had rescued Buttercup, and Gale had retrieved the box of medical supplies Katniss had brought back from District 12, plus her game bag containing the plant book, her father’s hunting jacket, her parents’ wedding photo, and some personal items from the drawer in her Compartment. Mrs. Everdeen was summoned to the first aid station, leaving the sisters alone. They got to spend time together and talk for the first time in a while. Prim explained that she thought she would be trained to become a doctor. Katniss told her about Peeta, and Prim said that Snow wouldn’t kill him because Peeta was the last leverage the President had to use against Katniss.
Everyone stayed in the lockdown area for the next three days. A silly game Katniss played with Buttercup and a flashlight became popular entertainment for many people. She realized that Snow was playing the same game with her: She was Buttercup, Peeta was the elusive beam of light that could never be caught, and Snow was the one holding the flashlight.
On the last night in the bunker, after everyone else was asleep, Katniss went to chat with Finnick. She realized Snow was using Annie against Finnick the same way he was using Peeta to hurt her. Finnick confessed he hadn’t believed in the Katniss/Peeta romance until Peeta almost died when he hit the force field in the Quarter Quell. After that, he knew Katniss truly cared for Peeta, even if it wasn’t in a “star-crossed lovers” kind of way.
Finally Coin announced that the bombing was over. The old compartments had been destroyed, but everyone was given directions to new ones. Boggs intercepted Katniss, Gale, and Finnick and led them to Special Defense instead. They were to dress immediately and go above ground for filming. Their goal was to show the effects of the bombing, that the military functionality hadn’t been damaged, and that Katniss had survived.
As they walked through the area, they found a bunch of fresh roses all over the ground, another message from Snow designed to upset Katniss. Between the previous sleepless night, the coffee she’d had a bit earlier, her increased worry about Peeta, and the roses, Katniss was in no shape to speak to the cameras. Cressida tried to help by asking her questions, but she ended up collapsing into hysterics.
Katniss awoke a day later after sleeping off a strong sedative she’d been given. Haymitch was there waiting for her, and told her Finnick had collapsed and been sedated right after her. He also said that Boggs was going to lead a mission to attempt to rescue Peeta and Annie. Gale was one of the volunteers for the rescue team. Of course, Katniss wanted to be part of the team as well, but Haymitch told her it was out of the question, and the team had already left anyway.
Haymitch suggested that Katniss come up with something post-bombing related to film that Beetee could air in the Capitol as a distraction during the rescue. She asked Cressida to question her about Peeta on camera; in response to the questions, Katniss opened up about how she and Peeta had met and about how Snow’s abuse of Peeta had helped her commit completely to the rebellion.
After her interview, Finnick took her place and talked about how Snow had sold him and other desirable victors to wealthy people for a high price for an evening (or more). If the victor refused, Snow would have one of their loved ones killed. Finnick explained that his “patrons” often felt guilty and offered him valuable gifts but that he preferred to be paid in secrets. He then proceeded to tell lots of dirty secrets about prominent Capitol citizens. Then he shared that Snow rose to power by poisoning enemies and allies that he thought might become threats. He talked for quite a while, offering up lots of names and details.
Beetee was able to air almost all of Finnick’s statements against Snow. Afterwards, he took Katniss and Finnick to a private room and explained the whole rescue plan to them. Eventually, Haymitch tracked them down to let them know that the team was back. They reported to the hospital.
Finnick and Annie were reunited. Katniss saw that Gale was injured, but not badly. Johanna was unconscious and badly wounded. Boggs reported that everyone had been rescued except Enobaria. Haymitch and Katniss went to Peeta’s bed to find him already sitting up. Peeta then locked his fingers around her throat. Boggs jumped in and knocked Peeta out, saving Katniss’ life, but she had significant bruising and pain and wasn’t supposed to talk for five days.
Later, Beetee explained that they believed that Peeta had been “hijacked” by the Capitol. It was a form of fear conditioning torture involving tracker jacker venom. The effect was the alteration of the memories of the victim; in this case, Peeta’s memories of Katniss had been altered so that he would see her as a threat and try to kill her. Beetee said they’d try to help Peeta, but they had no records or information about doing so and had no idea if they’d succeed.
After being released from the hospital and told to rest in her compartment, Katniss quickly grew bored and headed to Special Defense, where she found Gale and Beetee working on a project involving adapting Gale’s hunting traps and snares into war weapons. Katniss found this disturbing and was on her way to get some air when Haymitch found her and told her they were about to try something to help Peeta.
The idea was that Peeta would be allowed to interact with someone he knew from District 12, as long as that person had no association with Katniss. They’d chosen Delly Cartwright. Delly and Peeta had been childhood friends, and she was a warm and positive person. Katniss, Haymitch, Plutarch, and the medical team watched from an observation room.
Peeta was being kept in restraints, and Delly entered his room. At first, Delly was able to engage Peeta in innocuous chatter about things they did as children, but he kept asking about why they were no longer in District 12. Delly kept things vague, but Peeta remembered that 12 had been destroyed. Then he freaked out and claimed Katniss was a muttation sent by the Capitol to hurt them. He claimed Katniss had killed his friends and family and had tried to kill him.
Someone quickly pulled Delly from the room. Katniss told Plutarch she needed to leave District 13 if she was going to keep being the Mockingjay. Plutarch told her that they were almost in control of all the districts except 2, the large district that was the source of much of the Capitol’s military power. Katniss requested to go there, and her wish was granted. Boggs went with her.
She quickly learned that the bulk of the Capitol military was housed inside a mountain that was virtually impossible to get into. It was called “the Nut” and had been created shortly after the Capitol had lost control of District 13 with all its military strength. Katniss learned that the rebels had taken all the other districts as well as the outlying villages of District 2, but the Nut and all its military might had not been touched. Katniss spent her time visiting the injured and taping propos. She was also allowed to sit in on strategy meetings and hunt.
Plutarch and Haymitch called regularly to update Katniss about Peeta. There had been no real improvement, but Prim had a new idea to try to reverse-hijack him. It had been tried once, with inconclusive results. Soon, a “brainpower” group from 13 was sent to join the team in 2. This team included Beetee and Gale.
Gale went straight to Katniss and helped her with a couple of tasks. While they were alone together, they talked and kissed quite a bit. Katniss assumed she’d stay in 2 until the rebels took it and then go to the Capitol to fight, where she’d probably be killed. She was also lonely and mourning Peeta. Gale realized her heart wasn’t in the kissing before she did and ended it. Then they talked about when Gale first realized he had romantic feelings for Katniss, which was about six months before her first Games.
The next morning, Katniss was allowed to attend a strategy meeting with Lyme (the rebel commander for District 2) and the brains from 13. Katniss thought Lyme looked familiar and finally recognized her as a former Hunger Games victor. Eventually, Gale comes up with the idea of taking the Nut out of the equation rather than gaining control over it. He suggested starting avalanches on top of the mountain to block the entrances/exits and then blow up the train tunnel that provided the only other way to enter or leave the Nut. Given the basic nature of the fortress’s ventilation system, everyone trapped inside would suffocate.
Some people agreed with Gale’s plan, but others had an issue with killing so many people, including many regular people from 2 who were just doing their jobs. Boggs suggested a compromise: start the avalanches but don’t blow the train tunnel. As people escaped, they would be taken prisoner. Katniss and Gale, along with most of the rest of the group, were excused while the leadership called Coin to discuss the plan and make a decision.
District 13 sent in bombers, which start enough avalanches to leave tons of rock and rubble blocking the exits from the Nut. Katniss watched for a while until Haymitch ordered her (through her earpiece) to go inside in case the Capitol tried to retaliate. Haymitch also reported that Peeta had been shown the clip of Katniss singing “The Hanging Tree.” It brought back a memory of Katniss’ father singing it when he came to the bakery to trade when Peeta was younger. Haymitch claimed it was a good sign as it was the first Katniss-related memory that hadn’t caused Peeta to have a meltdown.
Later that night, Cressida found Katniss, and Haymitch told her she had to make a speech. He’d tell her what to say, and all she had to do was repeat it for Cressida to film. The hope was if Katniss spoke about the Nut being defeated, the Capitol forces might surrender, saving lives. Her voice would be broadcast over the forces’ emergency audio system, with her image on any screen available.
Katniss had just started her speech when two trains came into the station from the Nut. One of them appeared to be on fire. Katniss stopped the speech and yelled for the rebels to hold their fire. She ran toward a young man who was badly injured, but he pointed his gun at her. He asked her for a single reason he shouldn’t kill her. She told him she didn’t have one but then started talking about how they were all just slaves, killing each other as pieces in the Capitol’s games. She ended her rant by stating that both sides (rebels and Capitol supporters) had the same enemy, the Capitol itself, and asking them to join the rebels. She looked at one of the large public screens, hoping to see a sign that her speech had helped. Instead, she saw herself get shot, but not by the man she’d been speaking too. The shooter had come from further back in the crowd.
When Katniss awoke in the hospital back in District 13, Johanna Mason was in the bed next to hers. Johanna told her that Cinna’s Mockingjay outfit had blocked the bullet, and her only injuries were bruised ribs and a ruptured spleen that had been removed. Johanna left the room after siphoning off some of Katniss’ morphling (pain killer). Then Gale visited Katniss in the hospital and told her the rebels had gained control of District 2. After Katniss had been shot, the workers from 2 had turned on the soldiers and joined the rebels.
Rumors that Katniss had been killed in the battle were growing, so she filmed a brief segment from her bed in the hospital. Plutarch told her that the rebels were taking a bit of a break from active fighting to regroup and plan. In the meantime, the Capitol was cut off all supplies from the districts and would soon go through what they had stockpiled.
During this break, Plutarch planned to stage and film Finnick’s wedding to Annie. Katniss took Annie back to District 12, where she had a bunch of Cinna’s formal dresses that she had worn to events on her Victory Tour. She let her Prep Team pick something for Annie to wear. After the ceremony, a fiddler played, and people stated dancing. Katniss was happy watching until Johanna pointed out how much it would annoy President Snow to see the Mockingjay having fun and dancing. She grabbed Prim, joined the dancing, and had a good time.
The wedding cake was brought out, and it was obvious that Peeta had done the decorating. Haymitch took Katniss aside to update her about how Peeta was doing. He was still under guard and seemed fine sometimes. At other times, he reverted to his crazed state. Haymitch said he’d talked to Peeta, and Peeta was angry with him, but for logical reasons, like Haymitch not telling him about the plan to rescue them from the Quarter Quell. Also, Peeta wanted to see Katniss.
She went to see him that night. All the doctors watched from the observation room. They talked for a bit, and Peeta told her he remembered everything about the time he gave her the bread when they were kids. They talked about kissing during the Games and how she didn’t seem very sincere in the tapes he’d seen. Katniss was upset and left the room. Eventually, she realized she was bothered by the fact that Peeta no longer thought she was wonderful but saw her as she really was.
The next day, Katniss found out that she wasn’t going to be part of the team that would go to the Capitol for the final push to seize control. She was furious, but Coin explained that she hadn’t been attending her training. Both times she’d been in combat situations, she’d rushed in without orders and been injured. However, three weeks remained until the attack, and Coin told her she could train during that time and go to the Capitol to fight if the Assignment Board approved. Johanna was in the same boat, and the two decided to attend training together.
The first day, Katniss was in too much pain from her rib injury to finish the session. The training leader, Solider York, sent her back to the hospital with a note requesting medical intervention to speed her healing process. It was a rough night for both Katniss (recovering from the painful procedure) and Johanna (going through withdrawal from all the morphling she’d been using). They attended training the next day in the rain. After struggling through physical work in the morning, they spent the afternoon learning to assemble guns and practicing shooting.
That evening, Johanna suggested the two of them move out of the hospital so they wouldn’t be seen as patients, which would decrease their odds of getting approved for combat. There was no issue for Katniss, who could move back in with her mother and sister. But Johanna had never been assigned a compartment, and the doctors thought she was too unstable to live alone. Katniss offered to be Johanna’s roommate and Haymitch backed them up, so they were assigned their own compartment across the hall from Prim and Mrs. Everdeen. The two joked and bonded a bit and continued to support each other through training.
One evening at dinner, Peeta appeared. His wrists were shackled, and two guards were with him. He asked if he could join the group of Katniss, Johanna, Gale, Delly, Finnick, and Annie. Johanna welcomed him, but most of the conversation was awkward. Katniss left, but Johanna reported to her that Delly got angry at Peeta for being mean to Katniss. Peeta began to talk to himself as if he were two people and was taken away by the guards.
Katniss continued to train and was assigned to an additional class that simulated being in combat in the Capitol. Cressida continued to tape Katniss, Johanna, Gale, and Finnick to use as a propo series showing the rebels training for the invasion of the Capitol. Peeta was assigned to beginner training and taped as well to show that he was working with the rebels.
Shortly before the invasion troops were scheduled to leave, Katniss and Johanna were sent to take a four-part exam that would determine if they were ready to participate. Katniss passed and was assigned to Squad 451, a team of sharpshooters that included Finnick, Gale, and five other soldiers. Boggs was their leader. They were shown a map with various “pods,” each of which was some sort of obstacle designed to kill or trap the rebels. Katniss and Finnick immediately compared it to a Hunger Games arena and dubbed the invasion the 76th Hunger Games.
After the strategy meeting, Haymitch found Katniss and Finnick and told them Johanna was back in the hospital. She had faced a flooding simulation during her exam and fell apart. In the Capitol, she had been tortured with water and electric shocks. Katniss gathered pine needles in the woods and made a sort of potpourri bag as a gift for Johanna in the hospital. The pine smell reminded her of home. Johanna made Katniss promise to kill Snow, which she happily did.
Squad 451 spent the next days practicing their shooting with guns and their specialty weapons. Then Plutarch told them they were going to be the “Star Squad,” which meant they’d be kept away from the front lines and filmed. They’d still be fighting, just not in the most dangerous areas. None of the team wanted to do that, but they eventually agreed. Katniss only agreed because she was planning to leave the squad and seek out Snow once she got to the Capitol.
The Squad travelled to the Capitol and were assigned an area in the rebel encampment near the train station. They were assured they weren’t in danger of being bombed as most of the Capitol’s planes had been destroyed during the invasion of District 2. The group spent the first three days being filmed destroying irrelevant things and rapidly got bored. The rebel commanders each had a holographic map showing the locations of the pods. Squad 451 was destroying random things so the Capitol wouldn’t know Plutarch had access to the map showing the pod locations. Each soldier had a paper map.
Leeg 2 accidentally fired on an actual pod and was killed instantly by a metal dart. President Coin sent Peeta to join the squad as a replacement. Katniss assumed this meant Coin wanted her dead.
Part III: The Assassin
Boggs was furious Peeta had been assigned to his squad. He immediately established a two-person 24/7 guard on Peeta to protect Katniss. Boggs and Katniss discussed why Coin would want her dead and came up with the theory that it was because once the fighting ended a new leader would be chosen. Coin probably assumed Katniss would support another candidate and the best thing she could do for the rebellion at that point was to become a martyr.
Gale told Katniss he knew about her plan to leave the unit and go after Snow. He made her agree to let him go with her.
Katniss called Haymitch, who reminded her the two of them had made a pact to save Peeta. That included trying to save him from his current mental state. That night, Peeta admitted he no longer knew what was real and what had been implanted in his head by the Capitol. Finnick told him he should ask when he was unsure, like Annie did. Later, Jackson created a game called “Real or Not Real.” The idea was for Peeta to mention something he thought had happened, and the others would let him know if it actually had or not and provide more details about the truth.
The next day, the squad was informed they’d be filming a propo on a residential block with two live pods. Peeta realized that Pollux was an Avox, which reminded him that the Capitol had made him watch while Darius and Lavinia (their Avoxes from the Training Center) were tortured to death. Boggs confirmed that, at least to the best of his knowledge, Peeta’s memories were true.
The squad went to their assigned block and easily took out the pod that rained gunfire. After that, there was a break while the camera crew filmed close-ups of various unit members. Boggs took a step backwards and had his legs blown off by a bomb that was triggered by his weight on the paving stone. A team member tried to save him, but he’d lost too much blood. As he was dying, he programmed his Holo to respond to Katniss.
Jackson ordered a retreat, but a lethal-looking oily black substance made it impossible to go back that way. Gale and Leeg 1 tried to minesweep the route ahead, triggering additional bombs before anyone stepped on them. Peeta reverted back to his conditioning and attacked Katniss. Mitchell tackled Peeta but was then trapped in a Capitol net covered with barbs. Gale and Leeg 1 shot open a door, and the group retreated into an apartment, bringing Boggs with them. Peeta, still out of control, was handcuffed and locked in a closet. Boggs handed Katniss the Holo. His dying words were, “Don’t trust them. Don’t go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do.”
Jackson asked Katniss to give her the Holo, but Homes confirmed that Boggs had transferred prime security clearance to Katniss before his death. Jackson still argued, so Katniss made up a story that she was on a special mission from Coin, and only she and Boggs had known about it. That mission was to assassinate Snow before the loss of life from the fighting made the population unsustainable.
Jackson still ordered Katniss to give her the Holo. Cressida confirmed the fake mission, saying Plutarch wanted it televised because he thought that would end the war. Cressida kept lying, saying Peeta had been sent because he’d done post-Games interviews in Snow’s quarters and would be useful as a guide on the mission. Finally Jackson accepted that Katniss was in charge and helped her figure out how to use the Holo.
Katniss ordered the unit to put on their gas masks and head back through the black substance. Her argument was that the powerful wave might have disabled some of the pods along the way. She also pointed out the Capitol cameras were probably on them, and the Peacekeepers would assume they’d go the other way. Her instinct was right, as the team saw evidence of pods having been triggered as far away as four blocks.
They broke into another apartment to regroup. The television in that apartment came on as it was programmed to do for an emergency broadcast, showing their team dealing with the black gel substance and retreating to the first apartment. Peacekeepers were shown on the rooftops near that area, shooting into the buildings until the one they had sheltered in collapsed with the rest of the block on fire. A reporter said the entire team had been killed.
Peeta regained consciousness and said the group should kill him before he harmed anyone else. They refused, but Gale said he would kill Peeta before he let him be taken by the Capitol again. Next, the team searched the apartment for food. Messalla had lived in a similar apartment before and knew where all the good hiding places were. He was able to come up with plenty for everyone to eat. Peeta offered Katniss his can of lamb stew, which had been her favorite in the Training Center.
Another Capitol broadcast came on, this time showing their faces in a manner very similar to the way the dead tributes were shown in the games. Snow made some remarks, and Beetee hijacked the feed. Coin came on the air to eulogize Katniss. Snow came back on and said they planned to retrieve the bodies the next morning. The group knew their window of being presumed dead would close soon.
Katniss got Jackson to show her more about how to work the Holo, which showed many more pods in their current area. They discussed what their next move should be. They decided their best bet was to travel underground through a network of tunnels where there were fewer pods. They cleaned up the apartment to hide any signs that they had been there. Peeta said he wouldn’t go with them and repeated his plea that they kill him. Homes said they’d knock him out and carry him if he refused to come, which would slow them down. Peeta agreed to come if they left his handcuffs on. Katniss agreed but made Jackson give her the key.
The team squeezed through a narrow maintenance shaft, moved through the apartment next door, and came to a door leading to the entrance to the underground tunnels. Pollux looked pale once they got underground, and Castor explained he’d been forced to work there for years when he first became an Avox. Peeta made him feel a bit better by pointing out his knowledge of the area made him an asset to the team.
Pollux was a huge help because he knew how to avoid the cameras, which side tunnels held various dangers, when the Avoxes changed shifts, and when gushes of water swept through the area. After six hours, Pollux led them to a good room in which to rest. Katniss had the last guard shift, and she and Pollux worked with the Holo, noticing that there were more pods now that they were closer to the Capitol’s center. Katniss and Peeta talked a bit, and she stroked his hair while he fell asleep.
In the morning, Katniss and Pollux woke the others. They heard a strange hissing sound that sounded like “Katniss” being repeated over and over. At Katniss’ suggestion, the camera crew was armed with extra weapons. Only Peeta was unarmed. The team heard the hissing mutts killing some Avoxes, and then the smell of roses reached them, which bothered Katniss only. She led the group away, using an explosive arrow to take out a pod filled with flesh-eating rats. Messalla stepped into another pod that wasn’t on the Holo map, which trapped him in a beam of light and killed him.
A group of Peacekeepers appeared and fire was exchanged. A pack of white reptilian mutts appeared and killed the remaining Peacekeepers before moving toward the team. Katniss fired an arrow, activating a pod called the Meat Grinder to stop the pack of mutts. Then she asked Pollux to get them above ground as quickly as possible. He led them to a ladder to the surface.
Katniss realized Jackson and Leeg 1 had stayed at the Meat Grinder to hold off the mutts a bit longer, but Homes told her it was too late to save them. The white lizard-mutts were still approaching, and the group opened fire and began to climb the ladder. Only Katniss, Gale, Pollux, Peeta, and Cressida made it up the ladder. Katniss looked back and saw the mutts kill Finnick. Katniss activated the explosive self-destruct of the Holo and tossed it toward the mutts, while Pollux slammed a cover shut over the exit from the tunnels.
Peeta was feeling the effects of his torture and conditioning and said he couldn’t go on. Katniss kissed him and begged him to say with her, which brought him out of his state enough to keep going. The survivors made it to street level and emerged into a utility room, where Katniss shot a woman before she was able to sound the alarm. From the apartment window, the group saw they were now in a busy section of the Capitol, away from the evacuated areas. Cressida confirmed they were only a few blocks from President Snow’s mansion.
The remaining team members disguised themselves using coats, cloaks, wigs, sunglasses, and makeup they found in the apartment. Cressida led the group to a shop run by a woman named Tigris, who had extreme surgical enhancements including striped skin and long cat whiskers. Katniss recognized her as a former stylist for the Games. Tigris led them into a hidden cellar to hide. Katniss cleaned and stitched up Gale’s neck wound from the mutts, and he passed out. Then she cleaned up Peeta’s wrists, which had chafed under the handcuffs. That reminded Peeta of the time he’d been injured in the games and Katniss had helped him and risked her life to get the medicine he needed.
When everyone woke up, Katniss confessed she had made up the mission to assassinate Snow. The others assured her they already knew and were on board with continuing to help her. The group discussed options for a while, and Tigris closed her shop for the day and brought them back upstairs for some food. They saw a Capitol broadcast that made it clear the Peacekeepers knew exactly which five members of their original group were still alive and offered huge rewards for information that led to them being captured.
They returned to the cellar to sleep for the night. At one point, Katniss awoke to hear Peeta and Gale talking. They seemed friendly to each other, and Gale said that, assuming they all three survived, Katniss would pick whichever one of them she didn’t think she could survive without. He also said he wished he’d volunteered to take Peeta’s place at the first reaping.
The next morning, the group watched a broadcast Beetee showed on the Capitol feed. The rebels had figured out how to send an unmanned vehicle down a street to trigger the pods. This allowed the rebels to gain control of multiple areas with very few casualties. When the Capitol regained control of the broadcast, they showed footage to indicate they were onto the rebel strategy, deactivating pods and then activating them manually when they would do the most damage. The team headed back to the cellar, and Tigris offered to go out and try to get some more information.
Tigris returned to report Capitol citizens in the safe areas weren’t taking in the refugees from the rebel-controlled areas unless Peacekeepers made them. A televised announcement ordered individuals and businesses to invite the refugees in, stating even President Snow would be opening part of his mansion to them the next day. This gave Katniss and Gale the idea to try to be part of that group. They agreed Cressida and Pollux could be helpful but Peeta was too much of a wild card to take with them. Peeta agreed but said he would go out on his own to see if he could help in some other way, maybe by causing a diversion. Gale gave Peeta his nightlock pill to use if he was captured by the Capitol.
Before the group headed out the next morning, Tigris gave them all makeovers so they blended in with the other refugees. Peeta thanked her by saying, “Never underestimate the power of a brilliant stylist.” Cressida and Pollux left first, followed shortly by Katniss and Gale, with Peeta in the rear to cause a distraction if needed. They walked with the other refugees for a while. Then shots rang out; the rebels were firing from the rooftops trying to take out Peacekeepers. Unfortunately, they weren’t the best shooters and plenty of refugees were killed as well. Katniss and Gale lost track of the others as chaos erupted. Gale acquired two guns from Peacekeepers, and the two switched roles from refugees to concerned Capitol citizens trying to help.
A pod was activated, causing a chasm to open in the street and taking almost everyone with it. Katniss caught herself on the edge and managed to pull herself up. Gale avoided falling by holding onto the grate in front of an apartment door, but the residents wouldn’t open it for him. Katniss shot the lock off, allowing Gale to enter, and he was captured by Peacekeepers. He yelled for Katniss to run. She started walking behind two elderly men until she reached the City Circle, which included the president’s mansion. As she got closer, she saw a rectangular concrete barrier filled with children and teenagers. She realized they were forming an involuntary human shield for Snow.
A group of rebels surged into the area. Then a Capitol hovercraft appeared and dropped silver parachutes to the trapped children. The children assumed the parachutes contained good things, as they did in the Hunger Games, and began to grab and open them. A few seconds later, about twenty of them exploded. The Peacekeepers who had been guarding them starting removing the barricade to make a path, and rebel medics came running to help the surviving children. Prim was one of them. Then the rest of the parachutes exploded.
Katniss was hit by some of the flames and drifted into and out of consciousness in the Capitol hospital for a while, unable to speak. She had visitors who told her what was going on: The rebels had taken the Capitol the same day the bombs went off, and Coin was now leading Panem. Snow was alive, being held prisoner, awaiting a trial and probably execution.
Eventually, she was allowed to leave the hospital and share a room with her mother in the former President’s mansion. Dr. Aurelius, a psychiatrist, visited her sometimes but never pressed her to talk. He believed her silence was psychological rather than physical. She mostly spent her days wandering around the mansion, finding odd quiet places to nap. Haymitch made sure she ate and took her medications.
Eventually, Katniss was told Snow had been found guilty and sentenced to death. One day, she wandered into the area where two rebel guards were guarding Snow. They told her she couldn’t go in, but Paylor (the commander from District 8) arrived and overrode Coin’s order. Katniss went in and found roses of all colors growing. She had just cut a white one when she heard Snow’s voice. He was shackled but still well-dressed. He told her he was sorry about Prim’s death. Then he told her he hadn’t been behind the bombing. He said Coin and Plutarch had been responsible, killing the Capitol children and medical personnel to make Snow look bad and erode any remaining support he had. Katniss spoke for the first time since her injury to tell Snow she didn’t believe him.
Katniss went back to her room and thought over the two possibilities: either Snow was lying and the Capitol bombed their own children to take out rebel medics or Snow was telling the truth, and the rebels were responsible for the bombs. Eventually, she went to discuss the question with Haymitch but found him passed out and still drunk. Instead, she found a closet filled with silk items to hide and nap in. She had nightmares, and woke screaming. Some guards found her and helped her back to her room, where Haymitch was waiting with food, medicine, and a hot bath. During the bath, Katniss’ Prep Team arrived to ready her for Snow’s execution. They told her they were the only Prep Team that had survived.
Gale stopped by Katniss’ room to bring her a sheath with a single arrow, which was to be symbolic as “the last shot of the war.” When asked, he admitted neither he nor Beetee knew whether or not the bombs that killed the children and medics were the ones they designed. Effie arrived to escort Katniss to a meeting involving the remaining surviving victors: Peeta, Johanna, Beetee, Haymitch, Annie, and Enobaria. Coin arrived to discuss the possibility of appeasing those who suffered under the Capitol regime by holding one final Hunger Games, using the children of Capitol leaders as tributes. The group was asked to vote, with a majority of four required for a decision. The vote was 4-3 in favor of the Games, with Johanna, Enobaria, Haymitch, and Katniss casting the affirmative votes.
Then they went to witness Snow’s execution. Katniss had her arrow aimed at Snow but remembered at the last minute his final words to her: “We had agreed not to lie to each other.” Instead, Katniss shifted her arrow and fatally shot Coin. Assuming she’d be executed for assassinating the new President, she tried to retrieve her deadly nightlock pill from the pocket in her Mockingjay outfit, but Peeta stopped her.
Guards took her away and locked her in her old room in the Training Center. She showered and emerged to find her Mockingjay outfit gone, replaced by a paper robe, plus a tray of food and medicine.
Several weeks passed. Katniss thought of possible ways to kill herself to avoid her eventual torture and execution. Finally, Haymitch arrived to tell her that her trial was over, and they were going home. Katniss and Haymitch joined Plutarch in a hovercraft on the roof. Plutarch told her what had happened while she’d been locked up.
Snow had died that same day. Nobody knew whether he’d choked to death or been crushed by the crowd. An election had been held, and Paylor was voted in as the President. Plutarch became Secretary of Communications. As part of that job, he’d televised her trial. Dr. Aurelius had been a key witness on Katniss’ behalf. Her release was contingent on continued treatment by him and being confined in District 12. The hovercraft dropped Plutarch off in District 3. Haymitch gave Katniss a letter from her mother. It explained Mrs. Everdeen would be working to help start a hospital in District 4 as it would be too painful for her to return to 12.
How did Mockingjay end?
Katniss went back to her old home in the Victor’s Village. Greasy Sae came twice a day to cook for her and make sure she ate. Greasy Sae suggested she go hunting and directed her down the hall to find a bow. She found that someone had brought her possessions back for her, including her father’s hunting jacket, the plant book, her parents’ wedding photo, two bows, and a sheath of arrows. Instead of going out, she put on the jacket, fell asleep, and had a terrible nightmare.
When Katniss woke up, it was to the sound of a shovel scraping. She went outside to find Peeta digging up the area under one of her windows. Peeta said he hadn’t come before because Dr. Aurelius hadn’t allowed it and she had to start answering her phone to talk to the doctor as he couldn’t keep pretending he was actively treating her for much longer. Then he explained he was planting primroses in honor of Prim. Seeing Peeta inspired Katniss to finally shower and change into clean clothes. When Greasy Sae arrived to make breakfast, Katniss asked her what happened to Gale. He’d survived and had a good job in District 2.
Katniss went out to hunt and ran into Gale’s old crewmate Thom. Thom confirmed that Madge’s remains had been found in the mayor’s house along with those of the rest of her family. Katniss made it to the woods and just sat quietly for a while, realizing she was still too weak to actually hunt. Thom gave her a ride back to her house in his cart.
That evening, Buttercup turned up at the house, looking much the worse for his journey. Katniss started thinking about Prim and sobbed while throwing things at the cat. When she awoke the next morning, Buttercup was waiting beside her. He let her clean his wounds and dig a thorn from his paw. Then she called her mother. The two cried together over the phone. She also began to communicate with Dr. Aurelius.
Katniss decided to create a book to memorialize the dead. She used photos if she had them, and Peeta sketched the person if she didn’t. Then she wrote the important details she remembered about each one. Eventually Haymitch joined them, contributing memories of all the tributes he’d mentored over the years.
A few hundred other former District 12 people returned home and turned to farming since the mines were closed. Construction began on a factory which would be used to make medicines. Katniss learned that Annie had been pregnant before Finnick died and now had a baby boy.
Katniss and Peeta grew closer again, and eventually she realized she truly did love him. They had two children, a boy and a girl. Katniss worried about how to explain the Games and her past to them, but Peeta assured her that everything would be okay. They’d explain things in a way that would make the children braver. Mockingjay ends twenty years after Katniss arrived back in District 12, more happy than not with Peeta and her children.
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