Apologies as we have been very late with Chapter 10 – between Comic Con, all the recent goodies and with a few staff away it completely slipped under the radar!
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!
Following Peeta’s “dead by morning!” warning District 13 goes into lockdown as Coin approves a Level Five security drill. Boggs guides Finnick and Katniss to the bunker where an over-excited Plutarch tells Katniss to keep calm for the citizens much to her disbelief. The bunker mimics the rest of 13’s drab and over-bearing nature, with assigned quarters and even an order to return the packs that the bedding and clothing come in.
When Mrs. Everdeen arrives without Prim, Katniss realises to her horror that she will have gone to rescue Buttercup and makes a desperate lunge at the closing bunker doors. As Katniss calls out Prim responds as she and Gale make it just in time. It’s here that Katniss gives Gale an awkward thank you for rescuing her belongings, which includes Peeta’s pearl. Just as the Everdeen’s are settling in, Coin’s announcement is interrupted by the first bomb, sending a shudder through the bunker.
As Prim and Katniss huddle together, Katniss realises this is the first real time she has spent with her sister since their relocation to 13 and is excited about her future career as a doctor. However, it’s their conversation about Peeta’s captivity that’s most pivotal as Katniss finally comes to understand how Snow is using him against her, before Prim delivers the heartbreaking truth that they’ll do “whatever it takes to break you” to him.
We’ve finally reached part II of the book and the way it begins is one of my favorite descriptions ever — the way Katniss is described to be stuck on a silent scream after she watches Peeta be beaten on TV is one of the most powerful visuals I think Suzanne Collins has ever given us. I sure hope they keep it that way (as in, silent rather than having her scream out) in the movie because as good as Jennifer Lawrence is with conveying her emotions through her expression, this is the moment when that ability would be best utilized.
The evacuation will be in the movie, as it’s very likely it’s the scene of people running down stairs that we saw in the trailer, and I rather like that approach better than the “practiced calm” one they describe in the books. You’re getting shot at, you should be freaking out, I think. And it makes for a more entertaining cinematic scene anyway. I don’t think Katniss’ conversation with Plutarch will make it in, because the movies seem to be taking a much more serious approach to the character. If they do add it, it’ll probably be a short, succint warning to watch her behavior as she’s an example for the rest of the people.
Prim’s near-miss will definitely be there, because foreshadowing, not to mention her relationship with Katniss has been such a focus, I doubt they’d miss this chance to showcase how protective they are of each other. Also, Buttercup; if they filmed crazy cat, then they definitely had Buttercup in this scene. Buttercup’s going to be the breakout star of Mockingjay, just you wait. 😉 It’s also a good, small moment as far as Katniss and Gale are concerned, to show that he’s still thinking of her even though they’re fighting. I think this scene will be very faithful to the book because of all of this.
The rest of the actual bombing I think will go very fast, without much dialogue or exposition, just shots of the people, tense and afraid inside the bunker. That is, at least until the attack dies down and Katniss shares that one conversation with Prim. That definitely has to make it in, even if briefly, because it establishes that Prim is going to be training to be in the field (again, foreshadowing), and because the “whatever it takes to break you” line is pivotal. Since Katniss’ pain and fear about Peeta has been subtle up to this point (well, as I imagine it will be), that is the moment when someone actually points it out explicitly: that she’s afraid and in pain because Peeta is suffering. It has to be out there because Katniss won’t say it herself, and in a good script, those things have to become explicit at some point. This is that point. If there’s one line in the book that HAS to make it into the movie, for me, it’s this one.
Lines I hope make it: Katniss: “So, what do you think they’ll do to him?” / Prim: “Whatever it takes to break you.”
So the big momentum push of this chapter is preparing for the bombing. The straight-laced citizens of D13 aren’t much for drama, so in the books even the alarms, “which [seem] designed to throw the whole population into a frenzy” don’t seem to shake them. I’m guessing in the movie we are going to get the screaming, panic, flee-for-your-lives version of this.
Katniss’ has one goal: find her mother and Prim. This is where we will get our tension that makes the impending bombing all the more pertinent. And Katniss mentions as they descend the levels of D13 that they are “coal mine deep,” which makes me wonder if they will draw a connection again to see Katniss’ struggle of how losing her father still affects her.
Once everyone is safe in the bunkers, Plutarch puts more psychological strain on Katniss when he tells her, “If you panic, it could spread like wildfire.” At first, Katniss is a model citizen until Mrs. Everdeen surprises her by saying Prim should have already been with her by now. Where is Prim?
Buttercup. She went back for Buttercup. And who wouldn’t? So here’s the cat’s shining opportunity to be the first animal to ever win an Oscar. I want so see slow-motion Buttercup purring and licking himself while bombs fall all around him.
Back to reality. This moment is going to be hold-your-breath worthy for sure with Prim. Little girl and cat VS. the Capitol. Katniss and her mother get to the “thick metal doors” and keep them from shutting them just in time, all the while Katniss is screaming for Prim, which is another moment that will take us back in memory to the day of the reaping.
And to add to the great debate-Peeta or Gale-we have Gale recusing Prim and Buttercup, which is enough to melt even the hardest of hearts. But he brings back the spile and Peeta’s pearl, which tips the scales again.
So begins the bombing. The first shuddering boom. Lights out. This will be where we get to see what’s going on above ground as Capitol hovercrafts decimate the surface of District 13. After the bombing subsides there will probably be a transition from darkness to calm, where Katniss and Prim finally get a much needed moment to catch up and settle into their close bond.
During their discussion, Katniss gives us the “gist” of what she says to Prim. “So I go ahead and tell her about Peeta, his deterioration on-screen, and how I think the must be killing him at this very moment.”
At the end of this chapter we are left with the thought that President Snow will do everything he can to “break” Katniss. We have just witnessed the Capitol bombing D13, but now we see how Katniss also has to retreat within herself to the deep places as President Snow tries to get to the heart of her.
Lines I hope make it:
“Katniss, I don’t think President Snow will kill Peeta. If he does, he won’t have anyone left you want. He won’t have any way to hurt you.”
“Prim has Buttercup installed on the lower bunk, draped in a blanket so that only his face pokes out.” (this isn’t a line- it’s more of an idea, but man oh man I want to see this.
Chapter 9 left us with Peeta’s blood splattered across our minds, so chapter 10 immediately opens with the intensity of Katniss’ near internal explosion. The momentary chaos makes Haymitch’s role in District 13 completely clear. He’s the “Shut up!”guy they need to clear the smoke of fear and emotion that inhibits them from thinking logically about what needs to be done. I do agree with Carla though that the clip of D13 residents running down the stairs is much more blood-pumping than an organized safety drill.
As I re-read chapter 10, I kept having a lot of those ,”Thank God I read the book” moments because there are so many small details about life in the D13 bunkers that will probably not make it into the movie. I think the most important things the film should capture from this chapter, other than all things Buttercup, are Katniss’ psychological struggle and her relationship with Prim. I don’t know about y’all, but I wanted to slap Plutarch across the nose too after his conversation with Katniss about Peeta’s “minor setback.” The expectation hung over Katniss’ shoulders to embody the Mockingjay image in every waking second seems to psychologically break her almost as much as anything President Snow is doing.
“My mother wraps her arms around us. I allow myself to feel young for a moment and rest my head on her shoulder.” Moments like this have to be in the film. Possibly Katniss’ strongest point of sympathy for me is that she no longer gets to be a child. She emotionally needs to feel protected and secure, but instead she is looked upon to be the brave hero. One of my favorite scenes that comes out of District 13 is where Katniss and Prim have some long overdue sister time where Prim “sounds about a thousand years old when she speaks.” Katniss literally gave her life to protect Prim, but their sibling roles are slowly shifting as Katniss looks to Prim for her sense of security and comfort. Of course this sets up the books ending, but we are not going to talk about that. Maybe never.
Lines I hope make it:
Same as everyone else haha
This chapter always flies by in my readings of Mockingjay (especially the first one!) as after Peeta’s warning I was so worried about him that I just raced through until the next mention of him. I think the beginning stages of this chapter will also race by on screen as citizens scurry to the depths of 13. Whilst the book projects an image of calm as everyone winds their way down, the brief glimpse in the Our Leader The Mockingjay teaser shows a mad dash. The bunker also presents some great opportunities to build some tension and edge-of-your-seat moments into the film, particularly Prim and Gale’s last minute entrance as the bunker doors close and the bombs themselves.
The bunker is also the setting for some important character interactions over this chapter and the next. Whilst I doubt we will see the hyper-excited Book!Plutarch I am sure that Movie!Plutarch will impart some similar ‘wisdom’ to Katniss to watch her actions, or perhaps even Coin before they leave Command. I’m most excited though for the conversation between Prim and Katniss. Suzanne Collins glosses over Katniss’ side of the Everdeen sisters’ conversation (as we already know what Katniss is thinking/feeling) but this will need to be verbalised on-screen. This sequence also includes the important foreshadowing over Prim’s excitement at being trained to become a doctor and I’d love to see that moment of pride on Katniss’ face. However, what’s perhaps most important is Katniss’ realisation of just what President Snow is doing with Peeta 🙁 I enjoyed Willow’s acting during the “we’re with you” sequence in ‘Catching Fire’ and I am sure she will deliver the “whatever it takes to break you” revelation in the most audience-crushing way possible.
Lines I hope make it:
Prim: “Whatever it takes to break you.”