Did Katniss really want the Hunger Games to continue or did she have ulterior motives when she agreed?


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Initial post: Sep 3, 2010 9:14:14 AM PDT
Lea Regan says:
When Katniss agreed to continue the Hunger Games using Capitol children (as a tribute to Prim), I thought that she was lying, tricking Coin into believing that she supported her and her ways and didn't believe that Coin was in any way guilty of Prim's death.

However, I think that Katniss had just been given the final proof that Coin was just as bad as Snow and that she was willing to sacrifice innocent children in order to gain control of their world.

In other words, Snow had told the truth about Prim's death and it was Coin who was responsible. I believe that this epiphany is important because it shows that Katniss wasn't just vengeful but still thinking in a strategic way about how to make their world better.
I believe this epiphany and her previous conversations about how she should trust no-one, and that she needed to prove her loyalty to Coin if she wanted to live etc. convinced her to lie and say that she wanted the games to continue.
This meant that she would earn a little bit of trust from Coin, which would giver her the chance to get close to Coin and kill her, which she does.

However, no-one else I've talked to sees it my way. Everyone else thinks she was just reacting from hopelessness, anger, revenge etc.

What does everyone else think?

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2010 9:54:01 AM PDT
I absolutely agree with you. Katniss knew her only option for getting to Coin was to agree with her. Even Haymitch knew she had an ulterior motive. It was also a stratigic move, the way Katniss decided to kill her so publicly.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2010 10:02:01 AM PDT
Mule81 says:
I agree with you completely, and I believe your theory is supported further by Haymitch. Katniss says that she will see how in tune with her Haymitch is based upon how he votes, and he states that he votes with "the mockingjay", not with Katniss. I think this is the key line here. The Mockingjay was the symbol of the revolution, and by voting with the mockingjay, i.e. the uprising, it's like giving the revolution one more go. Voting with Katniss would have been a vote with one girl, voting with the Mockingjay is voting for the cause. The words were chosen carefully. It's an opportunity to rid the districts of what would have become, potentially, another President Snow. She also says her vote is yes, for Prim. This seems to me to be a thinly veiled allusion to the fact that she knows what Coin did, and that she's about to pay for it.

I don't think that after all we've seen these characters go through, that Katniss would be so thirsty for Capitol blood that she would desire to see their children put through such an atrocity. Further, it seems her opinion of the Capitol dwellers is, at best, that they are simpletons. She seems able to separate the power that held the Capitol, from the Capitol dwellers themselves, and thus, I can't see her ever being so vindictive as to wish to see the imbeciles that live there be punished for the actions of the government. That just isn't in her nature. Her vote was for a higher purpose.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2010 10:11:58 AM PDT
I absolutely agree with you. Katniss knew her only option for getting to Coin was to agree with her. Even Haymitch knew she had an ulterior motive. It was also a stratigic move, the way Katniss decided to kill her so publicly.

Posted on Sep 3, 2010 10:13:22 AM PDT
L. P. Dantas says:
I thought that was pretty obvious. It's very clear that she had a plan:

"I weigh my options carefully, think everything through."

"(...), but I can feel Haymitch watching me. This is the moment, then. When we find out exactly just how alike we are, and how much he truly understands me."

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 3, 2010 10:23:10 AM PDT
I agree with you.

Posted on Sep 3, 2010 11:26:12 AM PDT
Gladys J says:
I believe Katniss agreed to another Hunger Games because she knew if she didn't she might not make it out of the meeting. I don't think she planned to assassinate Coin until the very end.

Posted on Sep 3, 2010 2:56:37 PM PDT
Jalpa Pandya says:
It's interesting to me that Haymitch totally figured out what she was doing- but Peeta didn't... wonder if Gale would have figured it out- I have a feeling he would have, because I think he knew her better that anybody...

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2010 4:22:23 AM PDT
Throughout the series the only person who understands her (even better than herself quite often) is Haymitch. It's continuously used to give the needed actions to the plot.

Posted on Sep 4, 2010 4:43:28 PM PDT
SheSaid says:
I think you are right on. And the text actually supports this theory pretty well when you reread that section. The quotes L.P. shared showed she really thought everything through and wanting Haymitch to be clued into her plan. IMO because she she voted "yes... for Prim" she had already decided to kill Coin. Because it wasn't the Capitol who killed Prim... it was Coin.

In response to Jalpa, I don't think there is any evidence that Peeta didn't figure it out. He voted before Katniss and it would have been completely out of character for him to have voted Yes. The fact that he was next to her instantly after she shot to prevent her from taking the nightlock, to me showed that he had some inkling she had a plan that District 13 wouldn't have supported. As far as Gale figuring it out... maybe. But I also tend to think his character would have supported the new Hunger Games, as he was shown to have that vengeful "eye for an eye" side to him throughout MJ. Having lived through the games I think Peeta, Haymitch and Katniss understood the ramifications of their actions far better than Gale.

Posted on Sep 4, 2010 6:50:37 PM PDT
Katya Lawson says:
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Posted on Sep 4, 2010 7:06:50 PM PDT
SheSaid says:
Katya- But think that through... If she said she was doing it for Prim, you need to think about who killed Prim... It wasn't the Capitol... and it certainly wasn't the Capitol's children and grandchildren. It was Coin. So why would Katniss be saying Yes to getting revenge on the Capitol's children and grandchildren as revenge for Prim? That would be misdirecting her anger.

Additionally, nothing in Prim's character suggested she would be the type to want revenge but everything in Katniss' character said she would go against her grain to do what was right for her sister. So even if she wanted revenge personally she wouldn't have done it if she had thought it would have displeased Prim. She would never make a choice to do something her sister would abhor, if she was doing it "for" her memory. However, Prim would have approved of her doing something that stopped more children from being harmed (ie killing Coin).

Posted on Sep 4, 2010 11:55:11 PM PDT
A Hubb says:
What's bothering me here is---why are we supposed to assume there will be no more hunger games? Even if Katniss did plan all that out, who's to say there wouldn't be yet another new figurehead who proceeds with the hunger games (or even that the game maker fellow will take those words seriously)? Who's to say the next hunger games didn't happen? The epilogue isn't exactly clear about it. The capital did just sweep it under the rug and call her a loony, so she would have so say in preventing a capitol hunger games. Maybe they just have the hunger games every year with only capital children and that's why Katniss is at ease--because her children are safe. Either way, she couldn't have foreseen that they wouldn't happen even with Coin dead. Any forethought she might have had seems pretty half baked and concerned with the immediate goal of revenge and not the larger consequences.

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 6:53:26 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 5, 2010 6:57:06 AM PDT
SheSaid says:
The epilogue is clear that are no more Hunger Games. It said the arenas have all been destroyed, memorials have been built and the kids hear about the games through learning the history of them in schools. That is pretty clear that they are a thing of the past.

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 11:31:33 AM PDT
Jen Reads says:
I agree with a lot of the points brought up in this thread, particularly SheSaid, Lea, Mule, L.P., Robb. My post is a bit long - hope no one gets lost :),

Katniss NEVER would have wanted another games. Katniss is vengeful only toward Snow. Killing Coin was partly revenge for Prim but Katniss would have killed Coin once the Capitol Hunger Games was suggested. She would have done it even if Prim were alive. (This is why so many people are mad at Collins for killing her off. I really wish she didn't kill Prim.) Katniss always regrets killing humans, even brutes like Cato and Clove. Page 69 in Mockingjay: "But I don't know what to tell him (Gale) about the aftermath of killing a person. About how they never leave you." Katniss can deal with killing Snow or in self-defense. She would never be able to deal with being responsible for another hunger games, even if the tributes are the children of the hated Capitol. Katniss has shown a lot of compassion towards some Capitol citizens, even if they make her angry. Her prep team. Effie. Tigris. The Avox. She knows children can't help where they live or who their parents are.

Of course Katniss knew Coin would kill her. She got plenty of practice interpreting evil minds with Snow.

I think Katniss wanted to kill Coin even before the "Capitol Hunger Games" was proposed. Katniss showed building unease in regards to Coin throughout the book. This passage mentions it, pg 361: "Someone very high up would have to approve putting a 13-year old in in combat. Did Coin do it, hoping that losing Prim would put me over the edge?" So, Katniss suspected at page 361. Her suspicions turned into certainty on page 369.

Haymitch knew. This short scene illustrates Haymitch's brilliant strategic mind like no other in the entire trilogy. In just 2 sentences he sends multiple double messages to Katniss, 7 tributes and Coin. Katniss gets his messages loud and clear.

The question, "Was this Plutarch's idea?" is also a message. If he had asked Coin "Was this your idea?", it would have sounded like an accusation. Coin might have felt that Haymitch was attacking her. It would make her distrust him and Katniss. It's actually brilliant strategy. Haymitch knew Coin would admit the games were her idea. He shows the tributes the REAL Coin. "Real or Not Real: Coin is evil. Real: she is no different than Snow." The question tells Katniss that he knows Coin is evil and he wants the world to know it.

Peeta didn't know - at first. He was never aware that Gale had designed the double exploding parachutes, or that it was Coin who killed the Capitol children and the medics. He didn't have enough information to put all the clues together. His reaction was 100% Peeta, 100% indignation, his heart of gold reacting with horror at the idea. Note that he does NOT react to Katniss's vote - I guess he didn't blame her "for Prim". Haymitch must have told Peeta while Katniss was being escorted to the execution.

It took Katniss 15! Years to have children. She would not have had done that if there had been any hint of hunger games occurring in Panem. Additionally, Katniss must have been confident that the current government was not engaging in any acts of oppression.

Posted on Sep 5, 2010 1:44:35 PM PDT
Mule81 says:
Phenomenal point about Haymitch Jennifer! I didn't think about his asking if it had been Plutarch's idea as a message, but that makes total sense, and also adds to the brilliance of the exchange overall. It definitely leads to the exposure of Coin for who and what she really is. I know a lot of people are having a difficult time fleshing out the feelings and intentions behind Katniss's vote (myself included), but when you add up all of the players, as well as their personalities, the end result is genius on SC's part. She did not spell it out for us, and left it up to us to think through, and have I ever! I have thought about it every day since I read the book. On the other hand, the fact that it has led to so much confusion is unfortunate. I believe this is why the book is getting so much negative feedback. It has required a lot more critical thinking than the others did, as there is so much left unsaid, and left to the imagination on SC's part. There are certainly parts that I would have liked more information, like the ending, for example; however, I am completely impressed by the way she wove this tale together. Yes, I would be among those giving it five stars. Any book that has you pondering intentions/scenes/actions for days after reading is a work of art.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2011 3:38:50 PM PDT
Pedro Davila says:
I think you are brilliant.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2011 12:14:33 PM PDT
Mike S says:
I agree with you! At first, I was completely shocked by Katniss's YES vote, but after she kills Coin, I understood--but it took me awhile to come to that conclusion. Katniss would never condone the killing of more children.

Posted on Oct 10, 2011 8:43:06 PM PDT
Roger Henry says:
The way I read it was that Katniss did not decide to kill Coin until she saw Snow tied to the pole and remember him saying "Oh, my dear Miss Everdeen, I thought we had agreed not to like to each other." Then she raises her arrow and shots Coin.

I think she agreed because she was grieving Prim and no other reason. And I think Haymitch agreed for the same reason.

Posted on Oct 11, 2011 3:37:03 AM PDT
Jennifer B. says:
I agree but I would really love for Collins to confirm this theory.

Posted on Oct 11, 2011 9:19:36 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 11, 2011 9:21:14 PM PDT
I completely agree with Jennifer. ^

I think that SC needs to make a "Guide to Reading the Hunger Games Trilogy."

seriously, that level of complexity in plot & character building is similar to Harry Potter yet its core themes of humanity, life, & death have to be explained to the AVERAGE YOUNG ADULT reader (and by this, I mean what this book's target audience is ---> American teenagers with below average critical thinking & reading skills). Like the other discussion here, this "good trilogy is plagued by terrible readers", readers who prefer a love story similar to Twilight's "team edward" & "team jacob" and doesn't accept the impossibility of Katniss holding a love triangle (with Peeta & Gale) as the only main plotline. It's not like the first book was misleading --- Katniss's relationship with Peeta was for survival in the Games. In fact, the love triangle was always a subplot. How could this series can ever be compared to the typical romance novel? The second boy, Gale, takes up less than 30 pages in the first book & less than 50 in the second; with such little screentime, it should have been obvious that love is the least of Katniss's concerns.

Posted on Oct 15, 2011 9:52:42 PM PDT
Ivy Wood says:
Also, she points out in the last several pages of the book how loathsome it is to kill children to settle a disagreement, which would make it very clear that she would not have truly condoned another Hunger Games, regardless of whose children would play in them. She shows quite a bit of compassion for citizens of the Capitol, regardless of their frivolous lifestyles, such as when she mentions that perhaps she'd be just like the members of her prep team had she been raised in the environment that they had.

Posted on Oct 16, 2011 9:37:19 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 16, 2011 9:46:26 AM PDT
J. Wood says:
Of course she didn't condone another hunger games! And neither did haymitch, he voted with the mockingjay not with katniss s vote... We re talking about what the mockingjay symbolized. She never felt good about killing the innocent and definitely felt for those people whom never knew any better! I think katniss felt hopeless that anything she did would really change the future. There was a profound moment where she was completely let down by just the human race. Yes I think shooting coin was a personal vendetta for her sister but hadnt she planned on just killing herself immediately after? Even after coins death she beleived that she was in the evil capitols hands that were just debating another way to kill her or use her. She had become so broken at that point with the realization that nothing had changed, of course she voted yes for the games... She needed that opportunity for coin to let her guard down. But I don't think there was any big strategy in killing coin except to collect a personal vendetta... After all Katniss never really thought that deeply about things which got kind of annoying actually. She only questioned prim being in the front lines after snow pointed out coin deception? I mean really? I don't feel like giving katniss too much credit.

Posted on Oct 16, 2011 8:55:27 PM PDT
Ivy Wood says:
I think that she gave at least some thought to killing Coin, as not just a personal vendetta to avenge her sister's death, but also because she saw how easily Coin would reinstate another round of the Hunger Games, and knew she would be an unfit leader.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 19, 2011 8:11:08 PM PDT
Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)
With all due respect, I ask you: "What higher purpose?" By voting for a new round of games, Katniss became the evil she had been willing to die to defeat.

I see no basis for speculation that Katniss went to the Dark Side as the only way to kill Coin. That thought was never touched on, and certainly there were other opportunities to kill Coin, and more would have appeared.

Katniss' voiced rationales were (1) to murder children because they might be grandchildren of high-ranking Capitols and (2) "for Prim." The first rationale is evil, killing children because of who their grandparents are; we hear similar thoughts from all sides in the Mideast every day. The second rationale is incomprehensible, since wonderful Prim would never have supported such a monstrous decision.
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Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)
Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games) by Suzanne Collins (Hardcover - August 24, 2010)
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