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By the Book: Catching Fire Predictions for Chapter 21

By the Book Chapter 21

It’s time for our Chapter 21 installment of By the Book, where the staff predicts what parts of “Catching Fire” will make it from the book and into the film, what scenes we’re afraid might get cut, and what quotes we hope to hear included in the script.

By the Book contains spoilers for Catching Fire, so if you haven’t read the book and don’t want to ruin any surprises, STOP READING RIGHT NOW!

The fog is corrosive and Katniss screams at the others to run before they get burned. Finnick throws Mags on his back and takes off, but Katniss trails behind as she urges Peeta along, who is still feeling the aftereffects of being electrocuted earlier. When he falls down and she stops to help him get back up, the fog catches up to them and they find that the fog is also a nerve gas, which sends spasms through their limbs. Finnick comes back and tries to help, but Katniss isn’t strong enough to carry Mags and the gas is effecting Finnick so much that he can’t carry both her and Peeta. Mags runs into the fog and dies so she won’t hold the others back. Katniss, Finnick, and Peeta make it to the beach, where they find the salt water stings, but pulls the poison out of the burn wounds. Peeta goes to get water out of a tree, and scores of monkey mutts gather above his head. They’re attacked, and the female morphling from District 6 jumps in and saves Peeta before one of the mutts can kill him.


This chapter will mark the spot when I start sobbing my eyes out– Mags’ death was the only death that truly affected me in the books, and I can’t imagine not being affected by it when I see Lynn Cohen recreate it on-screen.

From the set photos we’ve seen, I think it’s very likely that the fog won’t be corrosive and instead it will be just poisonous, but I still hope we can see the desperation in their efforts to get away, especially once Katniss discovers the fog induces some kind of nervous paralysis. I think it has the potential to be an amazing thing, because it’s the first time we’ll see them running away from something incorporeal– it’s always been either a person or a mutt trying to kill them– and because of that there’s more pressure for the urgency to seem real. And then the emotion on Finnick’s face when he says he can’t carry both of them (THIS is why they chose Sam Claflin for the role, I’m sure. I have no doubt he will be perfect in this moment). I hope we get to see a last smile from Mags. Oh man, I’m getting emotional just typing this! 🙁

I don’t think they’ll spend much time on the part where they “detox” at the beach, but I hope we get to see some more of Finnick’s grief here. I’m not sure if they’ll include the fight with the monkeys, change it to something different or just skip it altogether. I do hope they keep it in, even if it’s short, because 1) it’s a great SFX opportunity, 2) it’s my favorite fight scene of the entire series, and 3) I think the audience will need to see Peeta in an action scenario, particularly after the force field and the fact that Mags sacrificed her own life so Finnick could carry him. Even if he ends up once again being saved by someone, it’s a good opportunity to show that he can fight if he has to.

Line I Hope Makes It
Finnick: “I’m sorry, Mags. I can’t do it.”


I think that, instead of being corrosive, the fog will be more like a nerve gas that forces fits of coughing and muscle spasms. Katniss will start gagging and yell at the others to run. Finnick will pick up Mags and take off, but Peeta will have trouble keeping up. He’ll fall down, and Finnick will come back to help, everyone gagging as their limbs start to spasm. It’ll play out like in the book, with Mags’ sudden decision to sacrifice herself in the fog so that they won’t be slowed down trying to help her escape. They’ll eventually collapse, but the fog will be gone, sucked back up into the sky, and they’ll lie their panting for a few moments before they notice the monkeys… which will attack them very soon after. Katniss and Finnick will have no trouble fending them off, but Peeta will. I’m not sure if the morphling will save Peeta, as this might be a good time to have Johanna run in and start throwing those axes to save Peeta’s life.

Line I Hope Makes It
There’s no line in particular that I hope makes it in.


If there’s any chapter I can envision perfectly translating to screen, it’s this one. The frenetic pace and high tension set my heart racing in the book and I’m sure the movie will do the same. I don’t believe the fog will be corrosive like it was in the book, as Carla mentioned the set photos show their arena costumes to be relatively unscathed, so sorry fanboys and fangirls – I don’t think we’ll be seeing any half naked tributes running around the arena! At any rate a pearly white, thick, fog isn’t going to look anything but Capitol designed. I remember being absolutely stunned by Mag’s death, I actually had to go back and re-read those few lines until it truly sunk in, along with the total devastation. I feel sorry for non-book readers here because it’s going to be truly crushing! Don’t get me wrong it will be totally crushing for those of us who have read it, but to be completely blindsided by it, well I remember what I felt like the first time.

I don’t think they will spend any time on the ‘healing properties’ of the sea water, rather I can see them stumbling the last few metres out of the jungle and onto the beach, collapsing on the sand/waters edge and as they roll over Katniss says “it’s stopped”. They could then make the transition into the monkey fight scene, although part of me wouldn’t be surprised if they move that to when Johanna comes along to include her in the action as well. At any rate I see no reason for it to be cut, it’s a terrific fight scene and was another exciting moment in the book. Several of the cast and crew have also talked about how much more impressive the visual effects are, plus the arena scenes have been shot in IMAX, so the monkey mutt battle would look terrific on the big screen. It’s also another opportunity to show off some of Peeta’s skills and that underlying strength of his (plus, to be totally honest, I can’t wait to see Finnick and Katniss bringing down monkey after monkey!) and it leaves viewers with yet another great mini cliffhanger as the morphling jumps out of the jungle!

Lines I Hope Make It
Finnick: “I can’t carry them both. My arms aren’t working. I’m sorry, Mags. I can’t do it.”
Katniss: “It’s stopped.”


This chapter is so heartbreaking to me, the way Mags dies just pulls at the heart strings so much. Even while re-reading it, I was very moved.

It will be very interesting how they decide to do the fog scene. I think they will make the fog more acidic and painful and leave out the part that the fog also causes temporary paralysis. I am not sure how they portray that on film. To see the desperation when they are all running away from the fog is going to be heart pounding, I hope! When it comes to Mags, this is the scene that is going to kill the audience, the way she gives herself up so the others can make it alive. The vision I have in my head is of Mags walking with her hands to her side very peacefully and everyone else just standing there and watching not knowing what to do but on the inside dying. I think we will be able to see it on their faces how deeply hurt they all are. Seeing Mags body being devoured by the acidic fog, it’s going to be horrible.

I don’t think they will show much of the healing process from the water, although I think it’s important so you can see HOW they get healed. It’s a scene I would love to see as it’s the 3 of them really helping one another, but I just don’t know if it’s important enough to remain in the film.

The monkeys are a whole other story. I did not like how they portrayed the Mutts in the last film so it will be interesting to see how they do it in this one. I am hoping Francis Lawrence has a different vision when it comes to the Mutts. I envision rabid baboon looking things that are so vicious and scary that while watching you have that adrenaline rush so hard you don’t know what’s going to happen. That part of this chapter kept me on my toes so I hope it’s the same in the film.

Line I Hope Makes It
Finnick: “I’m sorry Mags. I can’t do it.”

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