Mockingjay Discussion 9: The Assassin

I will have to return to the subject of Miss Everdeen’s “speaking truth to power” as well as her choice to play the Mockingjay part (as well as several other roles, from comic book super-powered heroine to foot soldier and special forces squad leader) but this morning I wanted to put up an open thread for your first impressions of the 17 year old leader of the Panem rebellion.

The big question, of course, is what causes her to shoot an arrow into President Coin? She ended her first Hunger Games with an arrow that was a mercy killing and she destroyed the Quell arena with an arrow to end her second trip; was the assassination of the new Panem President both of those things or just revenge for the death of Prim?


  1. StrictlyTopSecret says

    After catching my breath at the beginning of the chapter in which we discover that Katniss trained her arrow not on the man she vowed to destroy, but on his successor (essentially), I must say I found myself . . . bewildered by the time I read the last page of the epilogue.

    On the one hand, killing Cloin was probably one of the ONLY places in the book (and very far into it) where it actually *felt* like I was reading a book in the same series as the first two. I literally gasped. I had hope the whole series would come to a satisfying resolution. I got a glimpse of the Katniss I saw in THG and CF.

    I took her action as both brilliant and desperate. She was grasping for some way to avoid a do-over. To avoid all the pain she had seen, felt, and experienced, and was still experiencing (as were those closest to her). She was looking for a way to END it. If that meant ending HER (Katniss) , so be it. In fact, she assumed that she would probably be put to death for her seemingly rash action.

    Killing the one with the power, the audacity and the intent to lead a neophyte nation down the same ugly path of slavery and subjugation really was the only sensible choice, from my perspective. She “spoke the truth to power” by driving an arrow into its (literal and metaphorical) brain.

    As the leader of the REBELLION (supposedly rebelling AGAINST corruption in political leadership leading to enslavement of the masses), what other possible choice did she have? To me, p. 372 was the epitome of poetic justice.

  2. President Coin showed time and time again that she was no better than President Snow. It was under her jurisdiction that the citizens of District 13 lived in a totalitarian state, not much better off than the citizens of the rest of Panem.

    Katniss was operating purely on intuition when she shot Coin. So many of her significant moments happened by impulse throughout all three books. I was really disappointed in her voting “yes” on the final Hunger Games, but I think she vindicated herself by assassinating Coin; she was able to put an end to the war, and hopefully give the surviving citizens a chance to rebuild their lives.

  3. But she was not really voting “yes” to the games. She was merely trying to throw off President Coin and keep her from suspecting what Katniss was coming to realize. That is the significance of the look she gives to Haymitch and her thoughts that she hoped he understood what she was doing with that vote. When he voted yes too, she realized that he knew what her next action would be….to assassinate President Coin.

  4. I forgot to add that in her act of assassinating Pres. Coin, it was both of the acts from the first two books. The act of mercy was to prevent everyone from being ruled by a leader just as evil as Snow and bringing down the new regime that turned out to be just a copy of the first ( a sheep in wolf’s clothing that very few had realized was a wolf). It is those things that lead to Prim’s killing, though, and so sure there was some revenge there. I felt so sad that everything Katniss had been about and put through by taking Prim’s place and preventing her death by going into the games all ended up being for naught. Here the rebeliion that she believed would save them from it was the very thing that brought about her sister’s death.

  5. This ties in to what you wrote about District 13, but a lot of Mockingjay seems focused on how victors often turn into what they set out to overthrow, and this definitely seemed to tie that end up nicely.

    I think it may be a long shot to argue that she really meant to deceive Coin when she voted yes; it doesn’t seem in keeping with her impulsive character. I do think it could be fair to say that she struggled with that decision, which ultimately culminated in her spur-of-the-moment choice to kill President Coin. Although it is interesting to note that Haymitch never actually votes “yes” for a new Hunger Games – he says only “I’m with the Mockingjay.”

  6. I don’t think it is a long shot. She goes off in her head wondering if the Hunger Games that hurt herself and the other tributes was started like this as a vote around the table. There is quite a large paragraph on P 370 where she says “all those people I loved, dead, and we are discussing the next Hunger GAms in an attempt to avoid wasting life. Nothing has changed. Nothing will ever change now.” I think that this was the moment she decided to kill President Coin. She is noting the horrible irony of it all and that her sacrifice for the new regime was all to replace a corrupt leader with another corrupt leader.

    Then after she says “I weigh my options carefully, think everything through” she votes “yes….for Prim”. She does not want President Coin to suspect that she has figured out that it the president that brought about Prim’s death.

    She feels Haymith watching her because they have always shared that special way of communicating in the games. They can tell the other what they want with out giving anything away to another. And she says that “This is the moment then. When we find out exactly just how alike we are, and how much he truly understands me.”

    Both Katniss and Haymitch have that same tendency to not play by the rules and to not do what is expected of them. They are alike in their defiance. After her rant about the games and then the hinting at an exchange going on b/n her and Haymitch that is covertly subversive, I think it is reasonable that her vote doesn’t mean what it is seems. In other words, t is a ploy.

  7. It was definitely a premeditated action. I didn’t think so when I first read it, but it makes sense now. From the time Boggs told Katniss that if she wasn’t with Coin, Coin would see her as the enemy, she knew Coin was just the next Snow. 13 was using her just like the Capitol used her. If she had voted “no” to the new Hunger Games, it would have marked her as Coin’s enemy (to Coin, anyway). She voted “yes” to make Coin think she was on her side, then shot Coin to end the vicious cycle — AND as revenge for Prim’s death, since she realized it was Coin, not the Capitol, that dropped the bombs that killed Prim.

  8. For sure the “Yes, for Prim” was a ruse to throw off the scent. NO WAY would Katniss EVER condone more Hunger Games, ever. Not even a HG where Plutarch, Coin and Snow battle it out in the ring. Remember, her disgust with fighting and war is what ultimately drove her and Gale apart. She is not out for vengeance on the Capitol. Even her preoccupation with getting Snow is about stopping his atrocious crimes not revenge. If she wanted revenge, she would have shot him in the heart. She wanted an end, which is why she shot Coin.

  9. Lynn, I think you make a reasonable argument on this matter but not a lock solid one. I read those sections several times, at least 3 or 4, & I didn’t get the impression that Katniss had made an ultimate decision to kill Coin until she has the internal dialog with President Snow on the execution stand.

    I’ll probably come around to the idea that it was premeditated but I still have my doubts.

  10. Understandable Revgeorge, the book never makes it perfectly clear. It is just how I read it.

  11. Jo Dale Guzman says

    In all 3 books, Katniss rarely acts pre-meditated, not in the sense of knowing what she will do when she gets there. She is always thinking about the situation and her talent is making the right decision when put on the spot. Every time she makes a statement with her action, there is very little “thought” associated with the action. I think she was putting all the pieces together up until the moment she was on the stand and pulled the arrow back and made the decision on the spot. I think it was the same in the other books.

    Gale, Peeta and Hyminth all make references to her ability to make the “right” choice, the choice that no one else knew to make. In their opinion that’s why people both liked and feared her.

  12. I knew the moment she said “Yes” to the games that she was bluffing. There was no way she would condone such a thing ever happening again, ESPECIALLY after Prim’s death. I got the feeling that she wanted President Coin to fully play her hand, which I felt she did when she said that everyone would be informed that the decision was made after a vote from the victors. Coin was not only laying the blame and responsibility at the feet of the victors, she was cleverly finding out which ones she could manipulate in the future. Katniss and Haymitch could see through it when the others couldn’t. Agreeing was definitely misdirection.

    I don’t know if she had really decided to kill President Coin at that moment, but I think it was definitely something she was considering rather than a totally spur of the moment decision. I think she knew that Snow was pretty much a goner and she needed to take out the bigger threat. And it needed to be done publicly.

  13. When Katniss was voting for the Capitol children Hunger Games, I didn’t expect her to vote yes. Especially not after how she speculated that that was how the original Hunger Games was decided. I firmly believed she would vote no. I think she finally realized President Coin would run Panem much the same way as President Snow did. Throughout the book, we finally come to realize the Capitol and the rebels are the same. At the end, it seems their roles were reversed– Now the rebels would punish the Capitol with a Hunger Games. That’s what Katniss thought as she shot Coin. But I’m still not sure what the vote meant.

  14. What causes Katniss to shoot an arrow into President Coin at the end of Mockingjay? She recognizes the enemy:

    Enemy. Enemy. The word is tugging at a recent memory. Pulling it into the present. The look on Haymitch’s face. “Katniss, when you’re in the arena…” The scowl, the misgiving. “What?” I hear my own voice tighten as a I bristle at some unspoken accusation. “You just remember who the enemy is,” Haymitch says. “That’s all.”

    Haymitch’s last words of advice to me. Why would I need reminding? I have always known who the enemy is. Who starves and tortures and kills us in the arena. Who will soon kill everyone I love.

    My bow drops as his meaning registers. Yes, I know who the enemy is. And it’s not Enobaria.

    (From Catching Fire pg 378)

    Katniss was bluffing when she voted yes for a final Hunger Games. She admits that she can’t meet anyone’s eyes—she keeps hers “on the rose.” When she “weigh[s her] options carefully, think[s] everything though,” (MJ 370) Katniss is making a realization just like the one she made in the second arena, only this time she gets there on her own, she doesn’t need Haymitch’s reminder. By now, after everything that she has witnessed and been a party to, after the loss of her sister, Katniss realizes that the enemy isn’t just Snow, it’s a leader who thinks that sacrificing children’s lives is an acceptable way to “balance the need for vengence with the least loss of life” (MJ 369). Maybe Katniss didn’t know at the table when casting her vote exactly what she was going to do, that she would assassinate Coin instead of Snow, but she was getting there, and she knew that a bluff was the right thing to do at that moment.

    When Haymitch says, “I’m with the Mockingjay” rather than “yes,” or even “I’m with Katniss,” he is letting Katniss know that he understands why she voted yes, that he knows what she’s thinking and that he supports her and will support what decisions she makes. Haymitch may also be indicating that he, like Boggs who reminds Katniss that she’s the face of the rebellion, recognizes her influence, that she continues to represent people throughout Panem who have lost loved ones on both sides of the battle.

  15. I think that she shot Coin because she knows that she won’t be able to be any better than Snow. Katniss sees that people like Coin or Snow will never be able to run a country. She recognizes the enemy and instinctively deposes of her.

  16. Coin is clear as the enemy less than a third of the way through the book. If anyone was surprised she turned out to be a despot, I think they weren’t reading very carefully. And to be honest, it’s the strawman (or strawwoman) plot that is one of the central weaknesses in MJ. If Collins wanted to argue that we could all be monsters (which is certainly an underlying theme in HG), MJ would have been a little more subtle in creating its monsters.

  17. Joanna has her finger on the meaning of Katniss’ assassination of Coin, her answer to the call of the murderer in her father’s revolutionary song, ‘The Hanging Tree.’ Note that Haymitch repeats his “remember who the enemy advice” in Katniss’ ear at the District 2 public square.

    Just as at the beginning of the book, when Katniss sacrifices herself to save Prim, she offers herself as a sacrifice at the end of the series to avenge her sister’s death and to save all the Prims who will die in the revived Hunger Games if Coin lives.

  18. Just did a quick re-read of this section. I absolutely believe that Katniss voted yes in an attempt to throw off Coin so she would still be allowed to be the one armed and in a position to shoot… someone. Katniss has mistrusted Coin throughout MJ, but she does seem to actually trust President Snow in a twisted kind of way. I think she respects the fact that he agreed not to lie to her during their face to face meeting in CF. She can sense that he’s telling the truth during their meeting in the rose garden, plus her assessment of him as a survivor who would have escaped had he actually had a hovercraft that close to his mansion is right on. I’m not surprised at all that she didn’t just cast aside what he had to say to her.
    During Katniss’ “demands” in the negotiations leading up to her agreeing to be the Mockingjay, Coin says she’ll flip Katniss for the privilege to kill Snow. Katniss knows that if she shows herself not to be on Coin’s side by voting against the Hunger Games, she will be denied the chance to kill Snow.
    I think there is a good chance that her ultimate plan to kill Coin wasn’t cemented until Haymitch’s choice of words that he’s “with the Mockingjay”. Not for sure though. I do think it was at least floating around. What other chance would she have to be armed and close to Coin?

  19. While I generally trust Paylor (and the epilogue gives no hint that Paylor’s governance was in anyway like Snow’s or Coin’s), it is interesting that she was the one who gave Katniss access to Snow in his quarters at the mansion. (I think this is true… the book is back at home, and I confess to reading the end in the middle of the night, so there’s always a possibility that this memory is … shiny).

    What is Paylor’s motive? Is she empathizing with a fellow soldier, giving her an opportunity to face her enemy because she knows that Katniss needs that confrontation to begin to heal? That she needs a private moment to face Snow before the public execution?

    Or is Paylor just the latest in the line of playwrights? Does she let Katniss through precisely so that Snow will tell her the truth, bring her distrust of Coin to a boil, and uproot the cruel, communist society Coin and District 13 are likely to offer Panem? And of course, she ultimately benefits from Katniss’s coup.

    It seems that as long as Katniss remains relevant, she remains a pawn. Through successive layers of increase self-awareness, she still remains unable to escape becoming a puppet for causes of varying (and sometimes ambiguous) moral value. This is part of why I like the ending. Katniss pushed her freedom from manipluation over the course of the books, but it wasn’t until the war was over, until she faded from Panem’s consciousness as a broken and insane victim, that she was allowed to stop being a pawn and to become a person again.

    And that dovetails with Peeta regaining his love for her. In the earlier books, while is love is genuine, it preexists any actual relationship between them. It arises from Peeta’s childhood conception of her, not from actual knowledge. While the love is still powerful, Katniss takes it for granted. And their true feeling for each other are always entangled with lies and manipulations–those of the gamesmakers or the rebels or even those they invent to protect each other.

    After Peeta is broken down, and both he and Katniss are forced to confront whether he actually loves her–the real her–and the love that they share back in 12 is less idealized, but it is truer. As she becomes a real person, he can learn to love her not as the Capitol’s/Rebels’s fiction, but as her own reality.

  20. In my initial reading “I vote yes…for Prim” I thought it was to throw Coin off because Katniss had a plan and needed Coin to believe she was in line with her. Haymitch’s vote confirmed that for me. It was only upon reflection I decided the “for Prim” portion wasn’t for the benefit of Coin but rather Haymitch. When Katniss wanted the truth about the bomb which took Prim, she believed only one person would have it and be able to give it her. Haymitch. Of course he did. This is why when she got to him he was drunk. “The end of Snow’s reign didn’t equal the end of his terror.” (MJ 362) “For Prim” revealed to only Haymitch that she was going after Coin, Prim murderer.
    After the vote, nothing is revealed of Katniss’ intensions until she is aiming her arrow at Snow. She hears Snow’s words in her head about their agreement not to lie to each other. “He’s right. We did.” Her aim at Snow’s rose over his heart is untrue. She pulls her lying arrow and takes true aim. At first, it bothered me that she didn’t use Beetee’s technology in his humming arrows that would change it’s direction mid-flight. However, if she had done that, she would have lied to Snow so I’m going to let it go for the poetry.
    I understand what most are saying with regards to Katniss’ decisions being more last minute than planned but I would point out that that was before her transforming fire.

  21. From the second book on I throughly believed there would be two rebelions in The Mockingjay. One would be the rebelion that was being led by the puppet master, as we all called her, who would be Coin, and then the second would be the rebelion that Katniss was fighting for. I believed Katniss would be the symbol of the one in !3, but realize that they were fighting for the wrong reasons, useing people the same way that the Government did and she would soon learn that she had anough power to lead her own, the one that was right, not the one lead in 13.
    while my predictions werent exactly true, they were really really close. Coin was the leader of a rebelion that was fighting for power, not a better way of life. She used the same tactics and lived by the same twisted morals of Snow, and was indeed, form the second i met her in the books, evil. Katniss hinted several times that she was catching onto the fact that Coin wanst as great as eveyone thought, for example when they saved her prep team, and the fact that evey aspcet of a persons life in 13 was decided by her and her team. There was no feedome, no choices for the people, and Katniss realized that that wasnt how the people of Panem needed or deserved to live. The whole reason she was fighting for the Rebelion is so that they could get rid of the people who are trying to use the people to gain power and keep order no matter what the costs, and that was what Coin was doing.
    When Coin admitted to wanting to have another Hunger Games with the childern of the Capitol, she proved she was just as evil and twisted as Snow. Katniss made her decision then and there that she could not lead Panem, because Peeta was right, thats exactly what they fought to stop.
    Katniss killing Coin was very important in the book, because if she hadnt then the rebelion would have been for nothing.
    I dont believe Katniss killing Coin was symbolic to anythign in the Games, but symbolic to show that she finaly found out the truth, that now she could see that all along she had been lied to, and she used her last arrow to kill the enemy, Coin, beacuse Snow was going to die anyway. I also think that Coins death was much more satisfying for her because Coin played everyone for a fool, but got away with it, she needed to be stoped or else eveyones deaths would have been in vain, and Katniss wouldnt let that happen.
    In all honselty im dissapointed that Katniss didnt figure out the truth sooner, I think things would have been even more interesting and meaningfull (not that the book wasnt, it was fantastic) if she had been rebeling agenst the rebelion for atleast half the book, because she lost a lot of herself by being a pawn of Coins, pluse then Prim wouldnt have died and I would be soooo much happier…..

  22. I kind of knew Coin would end up being an or the enemy in the end. C’mon, the leader of a quasi-police state? Plus, she’s not Mayor of District 13 but President. Which seems to be an indication, depending on how long the title has been used in D13, that they have hopes of taking over all of Panem. And as Snow says, D13 was the district which started the rebellion which began the Dark Days.

    The surprising thing is not that Katniss ends up killing Coin but that it took her so long to figure it out that this would probably have to happen.

  23. Although I didn’t think so at first, all the arguments above make me agree that Katniss voting yes was a ruse. She may have had a slight inkling that she would would kill Coin instead before the meeting, but then again she very well may have not.

    I don’t believe she decided at the last minute because even though she’s been very “on the spot” in the past, she’s changed a lot.

    Also, I think she knew that although she may have been desperately trying to “end it”, it could never really end. There were plenty of people who thought like Snow and Coin, and eventually one of them would have come to power. In killing Coin, she was only postponing this, having realized that there was no way to stop it.

    I don’t know about Paylor, but I would love to hear some theories about her!

  24. The big thing for me in this exchange is how Snow dies. Presumably, at least this is the read I got, it is from the poison he has delivered to so many other people. He dies laughing, choking on his own blood, with the flower Katniss gave him to cover up the scent. I can’t work out how, but I think Katniss poisoned him, to “kill two birds with one stone.” Because of Snow’s death, I think the assassination of Coin was premeditated, at least from the moment around the table.

  25. Hmm… when/how would Katniss have poisoned him? I might be wrong but I thought he was already coughing up blood when she visited him in prison… and she didn’t give him the rose directly, either. She gave it to Coin and asked her to make sure Snow was wearing it.

  26. Louise M. Freeman says

    I’m of the opinion that Katniss made the decision to kill Coin as soon as she was told that the idea of a Final Hunger Games was Coin’s, and her yes vote was a way of signaling this decision to Haymitch. Johanna’s seemingly off-hand mention of sending Snow’s granddaughter into the arena sealed that for me. Finnick told us Snow was a young man when he came to power. If he has a granddaughters, she’s likely young, too. There would be another Rue or Prim fighting for her life and Katniss would never condone that.

    I think the shooting of Coin did something else, too. It made for great television, which was probably why Plutarch was so pleased. And it was Katniss again scripting for herself, which we know is the only way she is effective as the Mockingjay.

    There’s another reason that Katniss may have felt a need to vote Yes. We know Coin promised Snow would know about the upcoming games before he died. What we don’t know is if the rest of Panem did. Katniss wasn’t viewing the live news feed as she prepared her arrow. She may very well have been preceded by a “We interrupt our scheduled coverage of Former President Snow’s execution to announce that the Council of Hunger Games Victors has just voted to approve President Coin’s plan for a Final Hunger Games, one that will feature the children of all the Capitol Tyrants!'” type broadcast. It would be very typical of Snow to rush that onto the air as soon as the vote went her way.

    Instead of the suicide attempt, I was expecting Katniss to seize the microphone (protected by her a fellow Victors and Gale, once Haymitch has given them his usually “Idiots! Don’t you see what she’s doing? Let her do what she does best” admonishment) and give another District 2 type speech where she unites Panem in rejecting both Snow and Coin and abandon their need for vengenge. Much less realistic than the finale we got, but would have been fun.

  27. i was so dissatisfied with the finale book. the first two were riveting, but there was just something lacking in the mockingjay. too much despair, maybe? the ending also just seemed so rushed to me, and i hated the fact that she didnt even speak to gale at the end. they should have went into more detail with peetas and katniss making up too.

  28. Lynn, I completely agree with you about why she voted yes on the new Hunger Games. As soon as she voted yes, I was like, “Ohh, she’s going to kill President Coin instead, watch.” It was no surprise to me when she shot President Coin, I thought that her answering yes gave it away.

  29. “All those people that I loved, dead, and we are discussing the next Hunger Games in an attempt to avoid wasting life. Nothing has changed. Nothing will ever change now”
    That, to me, was when Katniss made her resolve to ‘not take orders’ for the very last time.
    Towards the end of the book, we are looking at a double edged sword. We have President Snow, the supposed root of all evil, speakign to Katniss and telling her the truth people have been concealing from her for months. She had been justifying her work for Coin thinking she was the lesser of two evils, but indeed she was just as evil, with an equally as vindictive spirit as Snow. Katniss knows that Coin had possessed alterior motives all along, it was in fact Coin that authorized young Prim to go out as a first line of medics in the middle of a firing zone.
    Katniss realizes that Coin is as heartless and power hungry as Snow, so she decides, at that table, to end this cycle of violence once and for all.

  30. I completely agree that Prim voted yes to make it look like she was on Coin’s side. Coin was just as bad as Snow, and Katniss realized that. Also, after she voted yes “for Prim”, she meant that she would kill Coin for Prim, to avenge her death. I think she definitely made the right decision in killing her.
    But I wish she made some kind of speech at the end to the citizens of Panem explaining WHY she did this, so that they wouldn’t think of her as an unstable, mentally disturbed person for the rest of her life. Once she would have told them why she killed Coin, I think they would’ve appreciated her.

  31. Fascinating discussion that helps me clarify my major disappointment with MOCKINGJAY….

    The fact that we’re all going back and forth on why Katniss voted ‘yes’ on the Capitol Hunger Games just points out that we are not in her mind in this book the way we were in HUNGER GAMES and CATCHING FIRE. In those books, we knew everything she thought, everything she felt, every time she played the game for the cameras. We *were* Katniss,” one with her in her vulnerability and fear and courage.

    In MOCKINGJAY, even though the story is told in the first person, we are not. Katniss is keeping things from us. We may be seeing things through her eyes, but we are not seeing them through her mind or feeling them through her heart in the same way. We should have known *from Katniss* that she was bluffing, what she hoped to accomplish, even if it was vague and as yet unformed.

    Not exactly the point of this thread, but the discussion here is helping me frame some of my disappointment….

  32. janet, I have to disagree with you about “being” Katniss in the first two books. Because of the narrative structure of interspersing flashbacks throughout the story, I often could not “be” Katniss until after she explained her decisions via a flashback a page or so later. Here’s an example: In THG when Katniss first enters the area, I was overwhelmed by the prospect of being in the arena and facing death and had no idea what was coming next. Katniss? She was coolly doing a cost-benefit analysis of her odds of survival if she made a dash for the bow and arrows. The difference? She’d seen and remembered at least 10 previous Hunger Games, she knows how the bloodbath works. At that point in the book, the first time reader had only been given a few vague mentions of the conditions of the arena. We didn’t even know about the 60-second rule until Katniss chooses to explain it to us when we’re already in the arena.

  33. S.G., I disagree about the speech. Had she made the speech before shooting Coin, it would have given away what she was about to do. And there was no time to make a speech afterward, since she was immediately hauled away. And besides, the last time she tried to make a crowd-inspiring speech, she got shot.

  34. janet. i completely agree with you. the first two books, you FELT what katniss felt, and it completely drew you in. in mockingjay, that was really lacking. am i the only one to be completely let down by the final book in this trilogy? i mean, i had huge expectations, and for good reason. the first two books were so amazing, i couldnt stop reading. the third, it focused entirely too much on the war, and not enough on the relationships of the characters. there wasnt nearly enough dialogue either. the mood of the book was depressing the entire time. anyone else agree?

  35. I was just thinking about the assassination again, and something occurred to me. This was Katniss’ first proactive kill in the entire series.

    Let’s look at Katniss’ progression.

    One of the things that I harped on about the first book is that it seemed to make Katniss a saint. She killed four tributes in the first book:
    The first two (Glimmer, GD4) in a desperation act of dropping the tracker jackers that she knew was potentially deadly, yet also potentially not lethal.
    The 3rd was Marvel. In this one she killed him in an effort to save Rue and protect herself.
    The 4th was Cato. She shot him in arm to save Peeta and Peeta pushed him off the Cornucopia in self defense. Then at the end after the Mutts had tortured him all night, she ended his life as an act of mercy.

    In Catching Fire, Katniss makes a single kill: Gloss in self defense. Gloss had just killed Wiress and his group was in active attack of Katniss’ group. Katniss shoots to kill at the bloodbath (again in defense) but doesn’t connect, and also ponders shooting Finnick in the back but does not reach a decision to do so, mostly because Finnick was ready.

    In Mockingjay, Katniss kills a lot of Peacemakers while fighting the war – the hoverplanes in D8 and in the assault on the Capitol. Her penultimate kill, however, is an unarmed civilian. This represents an escalation from her previous kills, but the civilian woman seemed to be on the verge of screaming to alert others of their presence, so in a way this was still reactionary in self defense.

    The final kill of Coin, however, was done for two reasons: the greater good of Panem, and revenge for killing Prim. It was also a kill that was not absolutely necessary: another possible way out might have been to expose Coin and let the people deal with her. There’s no guarantee the other option would have succeeded, but that does not change the fact that the option existed. This represents a clear departure from all of the other kills. By the end of the story Katniss cannot claim moral superiority, even if she chose the lesser of two evils by killing Coin.

  36. I forgot to add, in Catching Fire Katniss is filled with guilt about her kills in Hunger Games, even unable to face the families of those who would have killed her if she hadn’t killed them first. After Catching Fire there’s no such guilt over Gloss. (Rather, she feels guilt over something undeserved: her act of breaking out of the arena, because that triggered the response from the Capitol that wiped out District 12.) I think the progression also shows Katniss’ progressive loss of her humanity.

  37. Rochelle…Katniss did not give Snow poison; his body was in the final throes of the poisons he himself had taken in years past to keep suspicion away from him. (Remember Finnick’s taping and his revelation of Snow’s methods of slavery & blackmail??) I imagine the irony was not lost on Snow, hence the laughter that brings on the final coughing/choking fit. That he choked on his own blood, effectively committing suicide on the Panem screens, was poetic justice.

    Briana…of course MJ is focused on war as HG, CF and MJ present us with the horrors of governmental subjugation, loss of personal freedoms, and the shedding of innocent blood. HG and CF are the set-up to the final Games…Katniss’ personal mission to kill Snow…and the carnage that accompanies her quest and Coin’s parallel agenda to rule Panem.

    To the parties involved, relationships do take a backseat to the goals of war. In MJ, Rebel victory and the end of the Games was paramount to our protagonist. Do not mistake the lack of dialogue for lack of developing relationships. We are experiencing much (not all) of what Katniss is facing; discerning ally and enemy through her perceptions and assimilation of facts, and suffering her gut-wrenching self-analyses, self-hatred, and subsequent revelations of purpose and trust in a broken Panem. Katniss is working out her relationships via her circumstances and quandry over how much to be used, who she could trust, and how she could save her family.

    Were you looking for “happily ever after?” I would have preferred that kind of ending…but MJ delivered so much more for me: a wake-up call demanding a new look at the world we live in. The fact that Katniss’ and Peeta’s children played in the Meadowover the mass graveyard in D12???Sobering. Is not Collins reminding us that our lives are built upon the blood of our ancestors and their desires to live in freedom?? Blessed is the generation that knows peace and understands the price paid for it.

    I felt more, cried more, and have thought more with MJ than HG and CF put together.

  38. It’s also possible Snow dies from no longer taking the poisons he has created immunity for. Such regimens with some substances require exposure, or the “victim” will die. (A great novel, If I’d Killed him When I Met Him, uses this detail). In other words, a person who lives on a diet of destruction will die when there is no more to consume.

  39. Prim’s death is interesting. Among the many comments I’ve seen from other readers it doesn’t seem that many were particularly shocked by it, or terribly saddened. While it was certainly a major downer, I think we have to look at it in contrast to the first time we were faced with her death at the beginning of the series –when her name was pulled.

    Katniss’ job was to protect Prim so that she could live a full life, with purpose just like everyone wants. At 12 years old, standing in her reaping dress with the back sticking out–she clearly hadn’t done this.

    However, when she is killed in the false flag attack on the Capitol children, she had. She had found herself in district 13. She was proud, she was strong, and the role of protector had changed. No longer was Katniss the protector of her little sister.

    While Katniss was engaged in a love triangle and the realization that she was being used as the poster child for revolution, Prim became her sounding board. Katniss was helpless, she was being toyed with and pulled in every direction and had no control over herself or her life. She was a pawn and she knew it. Prim on the other hand was knowledgeable, compassionate, and driven in her pursuit of learning and practicing medicine.

    Katniss had accomplished her goal of protecting Prim by the time she was killed. Unlike the reaping, Prim was outside the President’s mansion by choice. It was her decision to go, because she wanted to help the cause. Not because her name was arbitrarily pulled out of a hat. She died and it was tragic, but her death was honorable.

    Had she been killed in the arena (and Katniss not volunteered) she would have been another dead slave. Instead, she died as a proud, free human being. There was honor in that and while saddened, I got the impression that Katniss made peace with it quickly.

    The killing of Coin was the victory shot that ended the Revolution. Coin was Snow and Snow was Coin. There was no difference. By eliminating Coin, Katniss allowed the rebels to actually take control and put their Republic in place. It was obvious that Snow was dying already and that no one would let him live anyway. Why waste the shot on him.

    Katniss’ move to assassinate Coin was not impulsive. She knew exactly what she was doing. She wasn’t silent after Prim’s death (and her injuries) because she had lost her mind. She was silent because she knew she could trust no one. Katniss had no way of knowing who was working for who. She grew tired of being a pawn, realized a solution, and acted on it.

  40. “Coin was Snow and Snow was Coin.”
    – And here is the problem with most of these comments. It’s not as black and white as this.

    Was Snow a hard ass? Yes
    Was Snow an authoritarian? Yes
    But from what we know abouot District 13 and how they lived, how they had to live, it needed a hard ass authoritarian.

    Did Coin want Katniss dead – Maybe. Probably. But we really don’t know for sure. There was never anything in the book that definitivaly said she did. Only a vague warning by Boggs

    Did Coin come up with the idea of another Hunger Games? Yes. But if you listen to her reasons, they are valid. The Districts wanted blood. They wanted to execute who know how many hundreds or thousand of Capitol citizens. Panem already has a population shortage. The war even cost more lives. I’m saying you have to be okay with her for suggesting another Hunger Games, just that the reasons are thought out.

    Katniss herself even says that Prims a better medic than those older than her. So it’s not unreasonble she could have been there simply because she was good at what she does and because of a shortage of medics.

    Even if you don’t by her reasons for another Hunger Games and even if you think she wanted Katniss did, those are both a far cry from ordering the mass murder of children like that.

    Snow could have just been using Katniss as a bond to the very end. He gave her some elaborate story but remember, this is Snow. It seemed like he was going to die anyway from the poison so he could have ordered those bombs as just another way to manuipulate Katniss – they way he’s done from the beginning. Prim could have just been a pleasant surprise to him.

    I’m not saying it wasn’t Coin. I’m just saying it’s not as black and white as a lot of readers think it is. If you want an intelligent discussion, you need to look at everything.

  41. Snow represents fascism and Coin represents communism. They are the reverse of each other, but the net result is the same…repression.

    We know for sure that Coin wanted Katniss dead because Peeta was lethal specifically to her…there is no other reason for him to be there…too dangerous to himself and her to be there for propaganda. Peeta’s verbal attacks on Katniss were soul destroying in and of themselves…why send him into combat to detract from mission and put her fellow soldiers in greater peril trying to defend her on multiple fronts…why send Peeta back to the Capitol from where he had to be rescued. There’s no other explanation other than as Coin said, Katniss served her purpose as the Mockingjay bringing the districts together, and now served Coin better as a dead symbol rather than a live girl who could throw her support behind a different leader and take Panem with her.

    As far as Prim, she was the backup plan as far as I can tell…sure to destroy Katniss emotionally if Peeta didn’t kill her first.

    From the structure of the trilogy, it’s clear that the author intended Coin’s regime to be no better than the Capitol, just different people in power. The final battle int he Capitol was Coin’s version of the Hunger Games, sending all of Katniss’ beloved into the arena at the same time (except her mother).

  42. I think there was a plot to get rid of Coin and Katniss was unwittingly used to achieve it.

    Who’s idea would it have been to have the Mockingjay fire the last shot of the war? Who would most likely to have been the one to organise and design the event? Who, therefore, would have been the one to see that Coin was seated directly above Snow? Who is a master at human behavior and how to manipulate it? Who was star witness at Katniss’ trial? Plutarch.

    My theory is that Coin implicated Plutarch in the bomb that killed the children by using parachutes. Snow said it meant Plutarch was involved. But what if he wasn’t and Coin used parachutes to implicate him as a way to control him? Perhaps even to blame if it became necessary. Plutarch would know how it works, having worked for Snow. Use people until they no longer have any use to you, and then dispose of them before they become a threat.

    He and Paylor may have cooked it up between them. It’s Paylor who allows Katniss to see Snow. It’s Paylor who becomes president. And then Plutarch gets his dream job.

    Katniss is a logical choice as assassin. She has a motive. She is given opportunity. She’s suffering PTSD so is unaccountable. It can’t be traced to anyone. And she’s the Mockingjay so her actions would be seen in a more positive light from the populace at large.

    That doesn’t mean that Katniss didn’t come to a decision herself about the yes vote and killing Coin instead. But she was subtly steered in a direction that would lead her to make the choices she did.

  43. I agree with Louise’s post above that Katniss decides to assassinate Coin once it is clear that Coin has suggested another Hunger Games.

    And I believe one reason Katniss votes Yes to the Games is so that all of Panem will know why she assassinates Coin — i.e. they will know that Coin had proposed another Hunger Games and so know what kind of a ruler Coin really was.

    If Katniss and Haymitch had voted No, then the Games would not have passed and no one would have known that Coin had proposed them. (This assumes an announcement of the new Hunger Games before Snow’s planned execution, such as the one Louise imagines – or at least that Katniss thought there might be such an announcement.)

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