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By the Book: Catching Fire Chapter 5

Today we bring you Part 5 of our special By the Book feature, where the staff analyzes ‘Catching Fire’ chapter by chapter. We share what scenes from each chapter we believe will make it into the movie, what our favorite lines are, and what we’re afraid might be cut from the film.

By the Book will contain SPOILERS for Catching Fire, so if you haven’t read the book and don’t want to know the story, stop reading right now!

Chapter 5 starts out just after the Peacekeepers shoot the old man from District 11. Haymitch leads Katniss and Peeta to the very top of the Justice Building, and when Peeta asks what’s going on, Katniss tells him everything about President Snow’s visit. Peeta gets angry that Katniss and Haymitch have been keeping secrets from him and they promise to keep him in the loop from then on. The rest of the chapter is about them attending ceremonies and dinners at every District on their Victory Tour. Katniss and Peeta pretend to be madly in love in public but they’re miserable on the train. Many of the Districts seem angry and close to rebellion, which really worries Katniss. She starts losing weight and having terrible nightmares. Peeta hears her screaming in her sleep and stays with her at night to comfort her. When they get to the Capitol, Katniss suggests that Peeta propose to her. He agrees, and they get engaged on Caesar Flickerman’s show. President Snow gives Katniss a congratulatory hug, and she raises her eyebrows at him to ask if she’s done a good enough job pretending. The chapter ends with President Snow shaking his head ‘no’.


Chapter 5 really highlights how much we can miss due to Katniss’ viewpoint, as things are very quickly described to readers. I believe the film will rush by just as the chapter did, with a whirlwind Victory Tour ending in Peeta’s proposal on stage. The film could easily achieve the Victory Tour with a montage of sorts, showing exactly how Katniss’ condition deteriorates as the tour goes on. What is most important though about this chapter is the continued beginnings of a new friendship and trust between Katniss and Peeta, and the knowledge that Katniss has ʺfailedʺ to contain the rebellion (of course we know, however, that President Snow was always setting her up for failure).

I really hope Katniss’ nightmares make it into the film, as well as Peeta going to comfort her as this is a pivotal part of their relationship and a clear example of the hope and strength Peeta provides Katniss with. I think most of what happens in Chapter 5 will make it to the film, but possibly only some of the dialogue between Katniss, Haymitch and Peeta and the Victory Tour will appear together with other conversations shuffled around.

Line Predictions

Cinna: ʺLet’s see how it looks with a smileʺ
Katniss: ʺThere’s no point to it any more, though, is there? Not being straight with each other?ʺ


I think this Chapter presents a huge opportunity for Francis Lawrence to clear up the ambiguity surrounding the relationship between Peeta and Katniss. While they can show tension in the start of the movie, it’d be a little weird to spell it out in a script. ʺKatniss, I know you were just pretending to love me to get us out alive.ʺ would be a clunky and unnatural explanation line earlier on. But during Peeta’s outburst, he lays it all out in question form and this would be a great time for him to get across to the audience what went on in the Arena in the first movie. I’m hoping they keep the nightmares part and I think they have to because that sets the stage for her pregnancy later on.

I really, really want them to keep in the part where Katniss asks Haymitch why he chose her. ʺYou’ll see, the choices you’ll have to make. You’ll learn.ʺ I don’t think the scene with Effie would transition very well to screen as it’s a bit wordy, but I think they’ll be able to write something appropriately fitting and amusing for Effie in the movie. This chapter whizzes through a ton of content, but at the end comes Katniss’ pitch for the proposal.

Line Predictions

Consider this my public declaration to Francis Lawrence that I personally require him to keep the line, ʺHe wanted it to be real.ʺ To me that provides amazing foreshadowing for the ʺReal or Not Realʺ to come.


The chapter starts off with Peeta and Katniss being forced back into the Justice Building after the Peacekeepers shoot the old man from 11 in the head. I want to see Haymitch come and grab them and escort them someplace private, but when Peeta asks ʺWhat’s going on, Haymitch?ʺ I think Katiniss will jump in and explain everything to the both of them. Haymitch will nod like he’s not surprised and expected as much, but Peeta will get angry. I really want to see him throw something here. When Peeta leaves, I hope they include the dialogue from Chapter 3, where she asks for help to get through the tour and Haymitch tells her that she has no choice but to live happily ever after with Peeta. Que the music montage of the rest of the Victory Tour, showing scenes from all the other Districts and all the different dresses Katniss wears to all the different ceremonies and dinners. I hope there’s a scene about her having nightmares and Peeta coming to comfort her, I think that would make a good end to the Tour.

I’m not sure if they’ll have a scene where Katniss suggests they get engaged, but I’d like to see it, especially after Peeta leaves the room and Katniss is confused about why he’s not happy. I want Haymitch to tell her ʺHe wanted it to be real.ʺ Then, of course, appearing on Caesar Flickerman’s show and having Peeta propose should be a great a scene– although I’m not sure if they’ll use it as the end of a montage and we’ll just primarially hear music playing or if we’ll actually get to hear the dialogue in the scene. The most important moment, however, is when President Snow hugs Katniss and she raises her eyebrows at him to ask if she’d been good enough and then his slight shake of the head. I cannot wait to watch both of their facial expressions during this one silent, yet all-so-important moment.

Line Predictions

Haymitch: “He wanted it to be real.”

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All posts under the "Erin Poulin Archive" were originally written by Erin Poulin and posted on Original comments have been deleted and discussion closed.

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