Hello everybody and welcome to the next installment of our Through the Pages series! We’re in the final stretch before the movie comes out so we’re going to start cranking these out faster. Once again, you’ll only get one chapter today, but worry not, you’ll see the next one within a week.
In anticipation for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, we will break down the second half of Mockingjay 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 and speculation 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, particularly now that we’re entering the true climax of the story. Or, better yet, go read the book and then come back and join in!
Katniss ponders on Gale’s words, and how uncaring and cold they make her seem. She determines at that moment that the answer to Gale’s query is that she can survive without either of them. In the morning, they watch as Beetee interrupts a broadcast, with the rebels and the Capitol struggling for control on the streets. The Capitol starts evacuating the citizens, and Tigris goes out to do some recon. Katniss doesn’t think they should be waiting. When Tigris comes back, she tells them how many Capitol citizens have now become refugees in their own city, and shopkeepers are expected to take some people in.
Realizing that the rebels are closer than they first thought, Katniss determines she will leave in the morning. Gale insists on going with her. They agree to take Cressida and Pollux, but can’t take Peeta along. He decides he’ll go off on his own to divert people’s attention off the others. Gale gives him his nightlock pill to take in case he gets captured; since he knows how to detonate his own arrows– plus he’ll be with Katniss– he won’t be needing it.
Before they leave, Tigris disguises them so that they can blend with the Capitol citizens. Katniss tells Peeta not to do anything rash, and gives him a hug that he returns, bringing back memories of previous embraces. They go out and blend into the crowd. Soon gunfire breaks out and everything turns to chaos. Katniss realizes the shooting is coming from the rebel side, but she and Gale decide not to join in and instead keep moving forward, trying to get to Snow. They steal some guns from Peacekeepers and keep going.
They encounter several pods, including a bright light that kills people and a street that opens up and swallows everyone standing on top of it. Katniss barely gets away, and has to help Gale out when he’s left hanging from an iron grating in front of a closed apartment door. When he gets to safety, he’s immediately grabbed by Peacekeepers; as he’s taken away, Katniss realizes he was yelling for her to shoot him, but she didn’t realize. She decides the only thing she can do to save him now is to bring down the Capitol.
She makes her way to the City Circle, and sees that there’s a barricade around Snow’s mansion, completely made up of children, like a human shield for Snow. The rebels break through to the Circle, and Katniss suddenly sees a Capitol-marked hovercraft drops silver parachutes down to the children. Thinking they’re provisions, the children pick them up, but then some of the parachutes explode, killing or injuring most of the children. Before Katniss can react, a wave of rebel medics swarm in, trying to help. Katniss catches a glimpse of Prim in the crowd, and she tries to push through the crowd to get to her sister. Prim sees her, starts to call out, and then the rest of the parachutes explode.
Chapter 24. I’m deeply sighing as I type. This one’s gonna hurt. Okay, then. Deep breaths everyone.
There is so much of 24 that I’m not certain will be included until the end of the chapter. There are only a few key moments I’m sure will be there, others I can guess are there by dissecting previous trailers and TV spots and other moments where only time will tell when I’m sat in the cinema. Rather than tuning in to Capitol reports and Beetee’s reports sporadically over the course of the past couple chapters, maybe we’ll get one exposition dump in one go. The rebels are alive, they are wanted, refugees are spilling the streets headed for Snow’s mansion, shops are being cleared to allow refugees in, the rebels are also headed to the centre and the crowd have gone wild and attacked a Peeta lookalike. Thereby signalling a plan of leaving Tigris’, where they’ve got to go, how they’re going to get there and the prevalent danger that will be surrounding them. Maybe we might get a Beetee scene showing him intercepting info and propaganda. And maybe even scenes of Coin/Snow plans of attack and defense to bring the war to a swift close. Tigris will have her moment to shine when her stylist skills become essential for the few remaining members of 451.
One thing we can be certain of in modern war is the displaced innocent civilians. From the annals of history to right now from the war in Syria. The Hunger Games films have managed to stay allegorical for the 2010s and I hope they show some of the authentic fragments that Suzanne Collins writes about the Capitol refugees: the meagre supplies of food, the coveted and later abandoned material possessions, the despondency, the uncertain future. It’s terribly apt for the times we live in now and would be a missed opportunity if we glimpsed none of it.
Nightlock. At some stage we need bloody nightlock introduced. It’s a really beautiful (and incredibly bleak) gesture of Gale to hand over his nightlock pill to Peeta, risking his own chances of saving himself from the hands of the Capitol should he be captured. Detonating arrows or asking your best friend to kill you are hardly fail-safe solutions. It would be the perfect opportunity for James Newton Howard to give us a few musical cues from ‘The Hanging Tree’ to really send the message home. I imagine Katniss’ final hug with Peeta will be at the same point. I always loved this moment from the first time I read the book. If it is the hug seen in the full trailer from July then I don’t need to say how I hope it will be; from that brief glimpse, Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson have hit the nail on the head.
When Katniss and Gale head out to the mansion alone, this is when things start to get a little tricky. The action may not stick exactly to the book but I’m almost certain it will be action of the highest edge-of-seat quality albeit probably not as sci-fi or as explicitly gory as the novel. Example: we may see a girl in a lemon yellow coat, whether she’ll be gunned down will be another matter. Boiling bodies, Katniss lying in a puddle of blood, the limbs of exploded children are tougher to see than they are to read. But Gary Ross set the standard ever since that run to the Cornucopia in the 74th Games. These films have dared to tread where other blockbusters haven’t. If anyone can push that PG-13 rating, The Hunger Games can. We may not see the violence of the novel but it’ll be alluded to. I hope we see Gale more prepared to react to these situations and do what is necessary; things that are in a moral murkiness for Katniss.
I like the ground of the street separating beneath them and the absolute terror of Katniss. But we have no proof it is included and have yet to see how Katniss and Gale become separated. I hope the ‘shoot me’ moment is there. Both as an example of how deadly and destructive this war is and to produce the despair Katniss feels about not being able to kill Gale, leaving him to a terrible fate.
As for the end of this chapter: I don’t know how the refugees will play out around Snow’s mansion, I don’t know if there’ll be a Rebel surge, I don’t know if there’ll be a ducktail poking out the back of a shirt. All I know is there’ll be children, a hovercraft, exploding parachutes, a dedicated Rebel medic named Prim and Katniss to witness all of it. I’m deeply sighing as I type.
Lines I hope make it:
As chapter 23 ends with Gale saying, “Katniss will pick whoever she thinks she can’t live without,” chapter 24 opens with Katniss mulling over Gale’s response as to whom she will “choose” between him and Peeta. Katniss is very offended that her closest friends are okay with insinuating she is “cold and calculated.” Katniss makes most of her decisions based on love or survival, and sometimes both. So in my opinion, Gale hits the bullseye with his comment.
As the rebels push into the heart of the Capitol, the vulnerable Capitol citizens are forced into the streets like blood flowing out from a dying heart. Before the remnants of Squad 451 decide to disperse into that chaos, there are several small but good gestures of humanity I really hope make the film. Tigris proves to be an unlikely angel as she house, protects, and risks her own life to spy out a way for her guests to escape. When she stops to make the squad a sort of “last supper,” I am really moved by her compassion.
The Capitol streets basically turn into a live action graveyard. I don’t know how much violence they will get into in the movie, but when Katniss sees the little girl in the lemon yellow coat struck with a bullet as she kneels over her mother’s lifeless body, that seemed to hurt worse than all of the detonating pods.
Speaking of pods, we see an unleashing of the Capitols creativity for murdering others through the description of numerous activated pods. This sounds terrible and I don’t mean to seem like a spawn of President Snow, but I really hope to see the “rich purple glow” that destroys everything…
When Gale is captured by the Peacekeepers and Katniss realizes he was asking for her to shoot him, I immediately saw the scene played out on screen in my mind, and I think this could be a terribly good emotional moment for us if they show us his desperation to die before, as Peeta says, “they turn me into some kind of monster that I’m not.”
So now for Prim. I’m not sure what I can even say –that moment when Prim turns around and locks eyes with Katniss for one second before everything goes up in flames and Katniss loses everything she set out to protect –just silence. That’s all I have now and all I will have then. Maybe some kind of moan or whimper will slip out. Or maybe I’m wrong and my darker side will scream some blasphemous slur against Suzanne Collins in a moment of emotional confusion. Either way, it’s not going to be pretty, but that’s why we’re all in this together!
Lines I hope make it:
It doesn’t matter because Prim is dead…
It’s funny: the very last part of this chapter is so crucial, that I often forget that the beginning of it has a lot of little details I really like. The fact that Capitol people assaulted and killed someone simply because he looked slightly like Peeta is something that always shocked me to the bone. And since we’ve actually seen people be assaulted and even killed simply because of the way they look, their religion or sexual orientation, or even just out of gross generalizations regarding the culture they come from, I think those few paragraphs in the book are more relevant than ever. We see it every day in the news, and it says a lot about what fear and ignorance do to a person’s state of mind. It’s one of those lessons of war that this book is so great at, and oh, how I wish it were included in the movie. I don’t think it will– I really don’t think they’ll have include that many broadcasts, it gets repetitive and they take too much time– but if it could only be mentioned (maybe by Tigris, after her recon outing?), I’d be the happiest fan ever.
Well, I say “happiest” but I mean that metaphorically, because we all know how this chapter ends…
Katniss’s decision to go off with Gale and Peeta’s decision to act as a diversion is something I think will be included, perhaps with a bit more input from Cressida. I also feel if they’re going to include the nightlock pill at all, the moment where Gale gives Peeta his pill is going to be that moment; all you need is for Gale to say “here, swallow this in case you get captured” and everybody will get what he means. “We all have one,” cue to Katniss touching the pocket where she has hers. That’s all that’s needed. And it’s once again one of those moments where we see that Gale and Peeta agree on more stuff than just their love of Katniss– both of them would rather be dead than captured. After the conversation they had in the previous chapter, I’m looking forward to any interaction they can get on-screen.
The push through the Capitol I believe will be one big action sequence for Katniss and Gale. We’ve seen a lot of it in trailers and TV spots, and because of that I think it will actually take a big chunk of this act of the movie. I don’t know that they’ll adapt it right down to the detail; I don’t believe I’ve seen the light pod or the street-opening pod. It’d be a shame for them to not include them, because they add to that sci-fi feel and they’re relatively easy to set up, I think. But somehow I think they’ll focus more on the human side of things– Peacekeepers shooting at them, grenades, explosions, that sort of stuff. It adds to the action.
Gale being captured will definitely be there, and I hope they make it dramatic as hell. Like, we’ll see him desperately yelling, trying to tell Katniss to shoot him but we won’t hear it, even though we all can read his lips and know what he’s saying. And then Katniss will realize– maybe then we’ll hear the words– but it’s too late. The City Circle scene I’m sure will be almost verbatim, save perhaps for Katniss hoisting herself up on a flag pole. And it will kill every single one of us. That’s pretty much all I can say about it.
Lines I hope make it:
“Shoot me.” –Gale
(And of course, Katniss’ “Prim!” which wasn’t explicit in the book but we know from the TV spots that it’s in the movie anyway. It wouldn’t be a Hunger Games movie without at least one instance of Jennifer Lawrence’s desperate “Prim!”… it’s so perfect).