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Through the Pages: Mockingjay Chapter 9


Time for another installment of Through the Pages! Join in as we breakdown Mockingjay before the arrival of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 with our predictions on what will make it to the big screen and what will be left behind on the cutting room floor. Don’t forget to comment with your own predictions so that we can come back and examine who got what right or wrong!

Spoiler warning! Through the Pages involves a lot of book discussion, so if you haven’t yet read Mockingjay then proceed with caution. Or, better yet, go read the book and come back and join in!


The chapter starts with Katniss still reeling from the effects of seeing Peeta’s second Capitol propo, feeling scared for him and guilty, as she believes whatever torture he’s going through is her fault. She’s also suspicious because no one except Finnick even mentions it to her. She argues with Gale over his silence on the matter, but then they are brought together again to film a propo in District 12, which is hard on both of them, and Katniss is invaded by memories of their lives before the Quarter Quell.

During lunch, she sits with Pollux and shows him the mockingjays’ abilities to repeat sounds. He asks her to sing, and she sings “The Hanging Tree,” noticing that the mockingjays fall silent when she sings, just as Peeta told her in their first Games. She ponders on the meaning of the lyrics, and then realizes she’s being filmed, which will make for a propo Plutarch deems “golden.” As they walk through her and Gale’s old hunting rendezvous point, she realizes she doesn’t want to be angry at Gale anymore; Cressida has them sit together in a nook in the rocks, and they indirectly make up. Then they walk by the rubble of the Mellark bakery and Katniss sends a message to Peeta, telling him no one is left to hear his call for a cease-fire.

When Gale shows the camera crew the scars from his whipping, Katniss can’t take it anymore and goes back to her old house in Victors’ Village. Gale goes to meet her in the kitchen, reminding her of the time she kissed him after his whipping, and how it’s a moment he’ll never forget, because he’s still “waiting for an answer.” Seeing tears in his eyes, she kisses him, which he says he was expecting, because he only gets her attention when he’s in pain.

The next day, she’s called to Command, and as they watch another one of President Snow’s propos with Peeta calling for a cease-fire, Beetee manages to interrupt the feed nationwide, sending Snow’s set into chaos. Once the Capitol feed comes back on, Snow once again prompts Peeta to continue, but he’s very agitated, and tells Katniss that she’s not safe in Thirteen, and will be “dead by morning!” Snow orders for the transmission to end, but not before they see Peeta being beaten and his blood spattering the tiles.


Just to say, the timing of last week’s Through the Pages (chapter eight) was pretty uncanny with the release of President Snow’s address to Panem debuting recently, which actually leads us right into the next chapter of Mockingjay. Maybe I am speaking too soon, but chapter nine is probably my favorite chapter of this book. Chapter nine is a perfect example of why I think it was necessary for Francis Lawrence to split Mockingjay in to two films.The levels of tension and emotional charge are through the roof. Katniss is being ripped apart inside by the thought of Peeta being tortured, and her relationship with Gale seems to be very much on the rocks due to their lack of proper communication with one another.

Cressida’s plans to take Katniss and Gale back to the ruins of District 12 produce some powerfully moving scenes. I’m really hoping we will be given some time to slow down and soak into the gravity of District Twelve’s destruction. I think we all could use a moment to grieve the loss of Twelve right along side of Katniss and Gale. I want to hear and re-live the stories of what happened in District 12 through Gale’s recount. Coincidentally, I had the opportunity to be an extra on the set of Mockingjay during a scene which involved the singing of  “The Hanging Tree.” I can’t say anything about it other than it should be pretty powerful. Sometimes I still sing, “Deep in the meadow, under the willow…” to myself when the song comes to mind. That song’s presence in The Hunger Games was so emotionally impactful that I’m super curious to see if, “The Hanging Tree” will have a similar effect in Mockingjay.

At first, I personally got really frustrated with Katniss in the earlier chapters of Mockingjay. Not that Gale and his damn communicuff aren’t responsible for some of the tension between them, but Katniss gives Gale such a hard time. It’s painful to see them at odds against one another considering they have a world of other enemies to worry about – i.e. President Snow and his legions of Peacekeepers. So on page 128 of Mockingjay, I was very relieved when Katniss describes her realization that, “…I somehow feel that if I went back to the root of our troubles, my actions would be at the heart of it.” Katniss is living under extreme levels of emotional turmoil, so even in her horrible circumstances, she still manages to keeps herself in check by taking responsibility for her own actions. Seeing as how a lot of chapter nine consists of internal dialogue, I’m hoping important moments of character development such as this will be able to be translated into the film.

The action highlight of chapter nine definitely comes through the Capitol-Rebel battle over the television airwaves. The Rebel take over of Capitol airwaves is one of my favorite things about Mockingjay. I think a lot of us were about to rocket out of our seats in anticipation for the Rebel interruption of President Snow’s recent address in the first Mockingjay teaser trailer. So when the time comes for us to finally experience this epic technological battle, we might just burst into flames. (The “We Remember” propos are going to KILL me inside.)

What I found heart-wrenching was even in the excitement of this Rebel propaganda win, Katniss is still focussed on Peeta’s safety. The pain of seeing someone she loves look like a stranger in his own body is torture enough for her, but when she sees his red blood splatter across the ghostly white floors of the Capitol’s propo backdrop, her grief drives her towards insanity. We will probably be feeling the same right along side of her.

Lines I hope make it:

Katniss: “And may the odds…”

Gale: “be ever in your favor.”

Katniss to Peeta: “There’s no one left to hear you.”

G: “This is where you kissed me.” K: “I didn’t think you’d remember that.” G: “Have to be dead to forget. Maybe not even then.” *Katniss and Gale kiss* G: I knew you’d kiss me.” K: “How?” G: “Because I’m in pain. That’s the only way I get your attention.”


Man alive so much happens in this chapter. I don’t even know where to begin so I will just dive right in. I’m interested to see how Katniss and Finnick’s relationship plays out. They spend some quality time together, and it’s definitely going to put the idea into peoples’ heads –what’s going on between Katniss and Finnick?– Of course, that’s just for people who haven’t read the books to frou-frou about. In this chapter we also have Katniss ruminating over Peeta asking her if she really trusts the people in District 13. Those thoughts cause an uneasiness in Katniss that is only made worse by her feeling Gale lied to her by not mentioning the Peeta Propo, which Katniss pretended not to see.

Also, as they travel back to the ruins of D12, we learn large scale rebellions of Districts 3 and 11 are going on, which I’m thrilled to possibly get to see. I’m hoping we get more than just a video clip on a holograph screen here.

So way back in our first TTP I predicted they’d open the movie showing the destruction of District 12, and I’d like to change my mind. I hope they open the film with the already destroyed D12 (which is likely) and wait until this moment to take us through what really happened. That way it draws out our emotion and curiosity, so when we see the devastation happen it will have been anticipated and we will feel the pain in real time with Gale as he re-enacts the bombings.

As the film crew rests in the woods, we have the moment between Katniss and Pollux where she whistles Rue’s tune. This scene is extremely evoking of Katniss’ memories of Rue, which may help us connect with Pollux, who seems to have that same quiet/sweetheart quality as well. The only problem I have with this part is Pollux whistling. You need a tongue to whistle and control the notes with precision.

But who cares about that detail when all of this leads to Katniss singing The Hanging Tree. I have a special place in my heart for this song. But one question I can’t help but wonder about is how will they handle the presence of Katniss’ father. His influence on Katniss is very strong in Mockingjay, and I’m wondering if her father will actually get screen time or if they will even have time to go there.

One frustrating thing about this chapter is how we get incredibly insightful thoughts from Katniss that are unfortunately not verbalized. At one point they go to a spot where Katniss and Gale used to meet, which Katniss describes as nothing special, but she thinks, “Nothing but a place where I was happy.” The gravity of that small moment is why you have to read the books!

Katniss’ and Gale’s relationship takes a much needed turn here. We see in the destruction of D12 that “the glue of mutual need that bonded [Katniss and Gale] together for all those years is melting away.” But even though Katniss and Gale have so much anger aimed towards one another they still reach out in small moments such as Katniss tossing gale a blackberry and saying, “And may the odds…” as Gale completes the phrase, “…be ever in your favor.” Further, when Katniss and Gale return to her home in Victors Village, Gale, remembering Katniss nursing him back to health after his lashing, brings up their kiss and has tears in his eyes. As if that isn’t enough to break our hearts, Katniss kisses Gale again only to have him say, “I knew you’d kiss me. . . . Because I’m in pain. . . . that’s the only way I get your attention.”

And as the ultimate gut-plunge to end the chapter ,we see Peeta, whose family we just find hasn’t been seen since the D12 bombings, is on a Capitol Broadcasting with President Snow. Katniss immediately notices Peeta looks “angry yet unfocused.” After Beetee begins the broadcast battle, interjecting with short propo clips, everyone is happy and cheering until the Captiol gains just enough control of the broadcast to have Peeta warn Katniss and those in D13 will be “Dead by Morning.”

Lines I hope make it:

I will have to pull the twin card here because Jared and I picked the same lines…but he didn’t mention the line, “And you . . . In Thirteen . . . Dead by morning!” (How did you miss that one Jared!?)


I think this is a very important chapter in terms of both plot and Katniss’ internal struggle, and I’m fairly certain from the set pics we got from Atlanta that we’ll see most of this in the movie. The first half of the chapter includes a lot of internal monologue from Katniss, which of course can’t really be included in the film, but her argument with Gale will definitely be there, as well as the eventual resolution. We’ve seen pictures of Jennifer and Liam sitting together on a rock, and I’m sure those were for this scene.

The scene in the kitchen is also one that has to make it in because it defines Katniss’ relationship with Gale, and how her feelings for him are more of a reaction to his own and her attachment to her old life before the Games rather than an actual feeling of romantic love that accompanies her permanently. It also establishes the fact that Gale knows this, and is waiting for her to figure it out on her own. It’s pivotal (well, for the fangirls like me at least, haha) that this is established, and done right.

The Hanging Tree is also a very emotional scene and one that is very important to the fans, though I’m not sure how they’re going to incorporate it, given that Jennifer hasn’t sung much in the past, Peeta’s line about the mockingjays falling silence when Katniss sings wasn’t included, and them actually having a conversation about the meaning of the lyrics of the song would take away from the scene. I’d love to see this scene in the movie, but at the moment I’m kind of scratching my head as to how they’ll pull it off. Maybe they’ll just have the mockingjays do the melody instead, and Katniss can explain what it means to Pollux and the others– and more importantly, what it means to her now, after everything she’s been through? That would be one way to retain the emotional impact of it.

And last but not least, Peeta’s propo, which I must say, after watching Snow’s propo with Peeta released on Capitol TV last week, re-reading this scene gave me chills. I could picture it perfectly in my head, especially that part about how “the camera pulls back to include Peeta” that seems so eerily similar. The entire scene has to be in the movie, of course, from Beetee’s interruption to Peeta’s warning, and the ending– the moment when it’s finally confirmed (to Katniss, at least) that Peeta’s not doing this of his own free will, that they’re hurting him. I read some speculation on Tumblr that the reason the Capitol TV propo released last week was all white was so that Peeta’s blood would stand out more in this scene, and after re-reading this, I’m completely convinced that’s the reason. And oh God, it makes me hurt. This scene will definitely be in the movie, and it will kill me.

Lines I hope make it:

“Because I’m in pain. That’s the only way I get your attention.” -Gale
“And you… in Thirteen… Dead by morning!” -Peeta


“How abandoned by me he must feel.” This just about sums up the look on Peeta’s face in the Mockingjay teaser, and it breaks my heart. I think their little fight will make it in, but a lot of the 12 stuff doesn’t mix well with what I predicted for the opening of the movie, so much of that in my version is moved to the start of the film. I do still think they’ll revisit 12, though they could possibly just change it to outside 13 for Katniss’ Hanging Tree song, something I don’t think they’ll cut. I don’t think their blackberry toss is in, since it was never established in the first movie. Or maybe it will and there’s no need for a previous scene.

I hope they film Katniss’ message to Peeta about his family. I think Katniss and Gale’s kiss will make it in as well. I can’t help but feel like Plutarch’s, “You’re golden!” has a very Dusty-from-Twister feel to it. I don’t know that it has a place in the film, but imagining it is pretty amusing.

What I’m most eager to see Francis play up is the cheering around the room during Beetee’s tech battle with the broadcast, while Katniss, Finnick, and Haymitch sit there quietly. I really want to see this play out on the screen. I think we’ll see an interestingly new interpretation of Peeta’s warning to 13.

Lines I hope make it:

“Who knows? I’m mentally disoriented. See? I can’t even remember they took my bracelet.”

About Tash

Tash is a 28-year-old Australian currently working in communications and media. A keen WW2 history enthusiast, particularly when it comes to the airborne, Tash also enjoys gaming, car detailing and spending far too much time on the Internet.

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