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By the Book: Catching Fire Predictions for Chapter 23

By the Book Chapter 23

It’s time for our Chapter 23 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!

After realizing the arena is set up as a clock, Katniss wakes the others and they make their way to the Cornucopia. Wiress goes to wash off Beetee’s copper wire in the water while Peeta draws a picture of the arena on a leaf, showing the horrors that await during each hour. The District 1 and 2 Tributes attack, slitting Wiress’ throat. Katniss shoots Gloss and Johanna axes Cashmere. Finnick saves Peeta from Brutus’ spear, but takes Enobaria’s knife in the thigh. Then the island and the Cornucopia start spinning, and when it stills, the District 2 Tributes are no where to be seen and Katniss and her allies have no idea where 12 is on the arena clock anymore. She and Finnick go into the jungle to get water, but before they can, she hears Prim screaming.


The beginning of this chapter seems to be a lot of introspection on Katniss’s part, which I don’t think will make the cut into the movie. Maybe there will be a hint of Beetee’s desperation to hold onto his wire, for foreshadowing purposes, but I think the adaptation of this chapter will begin with them figuring out the clock arena, probably drawing a map on the sand, and then of course fall straight into the fight with the Careers and Wiress’ death. I want this one to be as sudden and unexpected as it was in the book, because it was one of the most jarring moments for me, that they were just talking shop one minute and the next Wiress was floating away with a slashed throat while Gloss comes up to the group with a chilling expression. And of course, the spinning Cornucopia which we know from Francis Lawrence will definitely be in the movie. Can’t wait to see those special effects!

Also something the fangirl in me hopes makes the cut: Katniss hugging Peeta when she realizes all their allies have lost their district partners. It was always one of my favorite moments in the arena. And then recouping and choosing a section to stay in, which shouldn’t really take more than a minute, as a segue to the jabberjays scene, which we know via Sam Claflin that they DID film.

Line I Hope Makes It
Katniss: “The tail points toward twelve o’clock.” (Or it could be Peeta, as well; he repeats it later, but either way it’s good foreshadowing of the Gamemakers later spinning the Cornucopia.)


Instead of having Katniss explain the clock, more than saying “It’s a clock” or “It starts at midnight”, I think they’ll cut to Caesar and Claudius and have them explain the idea of the clock, using 3-D visual imaging to display the sections that Katniss and her allies have discovered. Not only will this look better than Peeta drawing on a leaf, but it will also explain the idea better to the audience. I’d like Beetee to be frantic about his wire, and for Wiress to wash it off for him once they reach the Cornucopia. Then I’d like to see Katniss and Johanna getting snippy with each other when the District 1 and 2 Tributes attack.

I expect this movie will be much bloodier than the first, since they’re not trying to be sensitive about children killing other children this time around, so I’m not looking forward to Wiress death at all. Katniss putting an arrow in Gloss’ forehead and Johanna burying her ax in Cashmere are a must, though, along with Finnick fending off Brutus’ spear only to have Enobaria stab him in the leg. Then Francis Lawrence’s favorite part: the spinning of the Cornucopia. I don’t know if they’ll have Katniss swim out to Wiress’ body; they might just find Beetee’s wire on the beach. And then the jabberjays… I wonder if they’ll have Willow Shields screaming this time, or have a stand in like they did for the scream in the last movie.

Line I Hope Makes It
Katniss: “It starts at midnight.” (But only if Plutarch says this to her during their dance at President Snow’s party.)


Given Chapter 23 contains so much inner dialogue I’m looking forward to seeing how the script has tackled this, particularly Katniss’ realisation that the other tributes have been protecting them. I thought that in the last chapter they would strip out a lot of the “hang time” on the beach to get straight into the action and I think that flows on nicely into Chapter 23. As soon as Katniss works out that the arena is a clock she will do exactly what she does in the book – get everyone moving. They’ll certainly include the explanation of the clock and the different “wedges” of horrors within the arena and as this is unfoldng I’m really hoping that the fiery exchange between Katniss and Johanna takes place as Johanna tells Katniss she will rip her throat out. Some of Johanna’s best lines occur in this chapter and I’m hoping they do in the film as well – Jena Malone has mentioned the characters fiesty nature so I hope this means we hear a lot from her in the arena. I think that Beetee will be a bit healthier during this sequence than he is in the book, wounded yes, but able to move under largely his own steam. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has some dialogue here other than just the word “wire” either, possibly with Wiress.

This will make me sound really bloodthirsty but one of my favourite events of the entire book is the battle at the cornucopia – it’s intense, brutal, desperate and tragic but it also helps cement the alliance. Not to mention it just comes as such a shock as within the space of two minutes three tributes are dead. Don’t get me wrong, as I certainly don’t want the violence to be trivialised in any fashion, but I do have to admit that I can’t wait to see Johanna fling her axe at Cashmere (which has only intensified after watching her wielding an axe in the trailer!!), not to mention Finnick in action and Katniss doing what she does best (archery, not the killing). Francis Lawrence has said that creating the spinning cornucopia was a challenge, so I’m really interested to see how he achieved it and what it will look like on screen. I’d also love to see the hug between Katniss and Peeta as they all take a moment to ‘catch their breath’ before moving on again, which of course doesn’t last long as soon as Katniss hears Prim screaming…

Lines I Hope Make It
Johanna: “Go ahead. Try it. I don’t care if you are knocked up, I’ll rip your throat out.”
Johanna: “Let’s get off this stinking island.”
Johanna: “It doesn’t matter. You had to tell us or we never would have moved our camp in the first place, brainless.”


Chapter 23 is a very important chapter for many reasons. One because it’s where Beetee, Wiress, Katniss, Finnick, Peeta, and Johanna finally come together to figure out the “Clock” that is the arena. Sadly it’s also the chapter where we loose Wiress :(. However it’s also where we loose Gloss and Cashmere, two of the careers, which makes it easier on the six allies that have come together to figure out the “Game”. Some of the points that I think should stay in the movie are:
1. Where Beetee is asking for his wire.
2. Peeta drawing the map on the leaf.
3. The death of the three tributes in this chapter.
4. Points of Peeta being “Protected”.
5. Of course when Katniss hears the voice of Prim off in the distance.
I don’t think there is enough room to add the little details from the chapter, which is fine because there are so many important points in the bigger more important moments.

Lines I Hope Make It
Johanna: “Lets get off the stinking island.”
Katniss: “Yes, tick, tock, the arena’s a clock, Wiress, you were right, you were right.”
Johanna: “Go ahead. Try it. I don’t care if your knocked up, I’ll rip your throat out.”
Peeta: “Like Clockwork, you were very smart to figure that out.”

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