Mark Reads ‘Catching Fire’: Chapter 26

In the twenty-sixth chapter of Catching Fire, I realize that these little third-person introductions I do are utterly pointless because there is no way I can ever summarize what the fuck just happened. My god. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for me to read Catching Fire and then pass out.

The anthem begins, but there are no faces in the sky tonight. The audience will be restless, thirsting for blood. Beetee’s trap holds enough promise, though, that the Gamemakers haven’t sent in other attacks. Perhaps they are simply curious to see if it will work.

I seriously can’t. This chapter and only one more left? That’s all that’s left in Catching Fire and somehow, Collins is going to resolve all this? I CAN’T. HOW IS SHE GOING TO DO THIS?

There’s a finality to the tone, a shift in the underlying feeling of the words on these pages, as if the characters also realize that this is the last time they’ll do most of this. Beetee begins to unroll the wire and Finnick helps him wrap in an intricate design around the tree that gets struck by lightning every twelve hours. Katniss can’t figure out why the design has to be intricate, but there’s no sense to questioning any of this. There’s simply no time.

I suppose time is now the real thing that we have to worry about, not only because we’re so close to the end of the book, but because…well, think about it. The arena is a clock and the dangers are based on hourly segments, and the pace of the Games has slowed far too much. Something has to happen. The Gamemakers can’t allow this to get too boring.

This is when Beetee reveals the rest of the plan. Since we move most swiftly through the trees, he wants Johanna and me to take the coil down through the jungle, unwinding the wire as we go. We are to lay it across the twelve o’clock beach and drop the metal spool, with whatever is left, deep into the water, making sure it sinks. Then run for the jungle. If we go now, right now, we should make it to safely.

Unsurprisingly, Peeta isn’t too happy about getting separated from Katniss, especially since he couldn’t convince her to abandon her plan to keep him alive. Again, time factors into the plot: Beetee insists that there’s no time to debate this. Katniss and Johanna are the fastest and they can easily get to the beach and back before midnight.

And then they are off. Johanna and Katniss move down the beach, one of them uncoiling the wire while the other keeps a look out. When Katniss asks to switch and take the wire, it just….i can’t…my god.

Both of our hands are still on the metal cylinder when there’s a slight vibration. Suddenly the thin golden wire from above springs down at us, bunching in tangled loops and curls around our wrists. Then the severed end snakes up to our feet.

It only takes a second to register this rapid turn of events. Johanna and I look at each other, but neither of us has to say it. Someone not far above us cut the wire.


My hand frees itself from the wire and has just closed on the feathers of an arrow when the metal cylinder smashes into the side of my head. The next thing I know, I’m lying on my back in the vines, a terrible pain in my left temple. Something’s wrong with my eyes. My vision blurs in and out of focus as I strain to make the two moons floating up in the sky into one. It’s hard to breathe, and I realize Johanna’s sitting on my chest, pinning me at the shoulders with her knees.

No. No. NO. It can’t be. JOHANNA???

There’s a stab in my left forearm. I try to jerk away but I’m still too incapacitated. Johanna’s digging something. I guess the point of her knife, into my flesh, twisting it around. There’s an excruciating ripping sensation and warmth runs down my wrist, filling my palm. She swipes down my arm and coats half my face with blood.

Johanna betrayed her. Finnick probably did too. They lied. They fucking lied to her. They have to have planned this the entire time.

I can’t guys. I can’t believe this.

Footsteps coming. Two pairs. Heavy, not trying to conceal their whereabouts.

Brutus’s voice. “She’s good as dead! Come on, Enobaria!” Feet moving into the night.

Oh fucking hell. They betrayed Katniss to side with the Careers. They were planning this THE WHOLE TIME.

The alliance is over. Finnick and Johanna must have had an agreement to turn on us tonight. I knew we should have left this morning. I don’t know where Beetee stands. But I’m fair game, and so is Peeta.

This is just awful. You know, I wanted to believe that they they were good and that they were actually trying to give the Capitol the middle finger. This is so fucked up.

With a renewed sense of purpose and a motivation to get up and not die there in the middle of the jungle, Katniss manages to sit upright and her thoughts turn to Peeta, to saving him. She throws up her seafood dinner from that night, and begins to work on making sure she’s still able to keep moving.

The reality of her injuries is terrifying. She’s still squirting blood from the wound on her arm, but she manages to bandage it up with some moss. The lump on her head didn’t break the skin, so she presses on.

Collins narrates, through Katniss, one of the most ordered bits of chaos I’ve read in a long time. Again, it’s another moment that validates the narration style that Collins chose. To be completely honest, I read this chapter in maybe ten minutes, if that; I had to visit it a second time before I even started to write this review.

My judgment of Finnick is quickly proven to be hasty when he runs by Katniss screaming her name and Johanna’s. Surely he wouldn’t be calling out her name with so much terror if he had turned on her, right? Though I can’t be sure and neither can Katniss. But her mind isn’t completely focused as the rise in the clicking from the insects in the eleventh wedge begins to overwhelm her. And me. Fine, I’ll admit it, I’M OVERWHELMED. WHAT IS GOING ON.

The boom of a cannon pulls me up short. Someone has died. I know that with everyone running around armed and scared right now, it could be anybody. But whoever it is, I believe the death will trigger a kind of free-for-all out here in the night.

Well, if I was overwhelmed before, now I can’t even think right. What is going on.

Katniss thinks she gets caught in a net, but it turns out to be more of Beetee’s wire. She uses it to guide herself as quickly as possible in her current condition back to the tree in the twelfth wedge, but no one is where they should be.

A soft moan answers me and I whip around to find a figure lying higher up on the ground. “Beetee!” I exclaim. I hurry and kneel beside him. The moan must have been involuntary. He’s not conscious, although I can see no wound except a gash below the crook of his elbow.

WHO HURT MY BEETEE? I will metaphorically harm you back.

Except maybe no one did. Because Katniss sees that Beetee is clutching a knife in his hand, a knife wrapped in a small bit of wire that he left on the ground before he even started. Realizing that they’re just a few steps from the force field, she looks up the “chink” in the field and makes a damn fine guess: Beetee tried to drive the knife into it.


Except, like most things in chapter 26, she doesn’t get much time to think about it. That’s when she hears Peeta screaming her name in the distance. Knowing she’s too weak and injured to run to him, she does the next best thing. She screams his name in response, hoping to bring his attackers to her. She waits atop the small hill and sure enough, Finnick and Enobaria arrive. It’s all but outright confirmed at this point that they were completely and utterly betrayed.

Another cannon.

“Katniss!” Peeta’s voice howls for me. But this time I don’t answer. Beetee still breathes faintly beside me. He and I will soon die. Finnick and Enobaria will die. Peeta is alive. Two cannons have sounded. Brutus, Johanna, Chaff. Two of them are already dead. That will leave Peeta with only one tribute to kill. And that is the very best I can do.

I really can’t pinpoint why, but this might be the saddest passage yet in this trilogy. I’m at the point where I truly believe Katniss loves Peeta and appreciates and respects him on a level that is genuine and real. And here, she realizes this might be it and she is completely okay with giving it all up for him.

Shit is fucked up.

Enemy. Enemy. The word is tugging at a recent memory. Pulling it into the present. The look on Haymitch’s face. “Katniss, when you’re in the arena…” The scowl, the misgiving. “What?” I hear my own voice tighten as I bristle at some unspoken accusation. “You just remember who the enemy is,” Haymitch says. “That’s all.”

Haymitch’s last words of advice to me. Why would I need reminding? I have always known who the enemy is. Who starves and tortures and kills us in the arena. Who will soon kill everyone I love.

And the transformation begins. In an instant, she chooses to reveal herself as she removes the wire from Beetee’s knife, ties it around the arrow, turns to the weak spot in the force field, and sends her arrow flying through it. IT GOES THROUGH THE FORCE FIELD.

A flash of white runs up the wire, and for just a moment, the dome bursts into a dazzling blue light. I’m thrown backward to the ground, body useless, paralyzed, eyes frozen wide, as feathery bits of matter rain down on me. I can’t reach Peeta. I can’t even reach my pearl. My eyes strain to capture one last image of beauty to take with me.

Right before the explosions begin, I find a star.

Suzanne Collins, what have you done? That’s all I have to say.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Catching Fire, The Hunger Games and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

277 Responses to Mark Reads ‘Catching Fire’: Chapter 26

  1. You were not prepared! Poor Beetee, I know he must have had some private, wonderful plan when he did that, and the nasty force-field zapped him.

    And Johanna, I have my own suspicions, which I will keep to myself in case I am right (in which case my guess would be a spoiler, yes?).

    Oh, Finnick, I had no words. 🙁 I was freaking out, if someone damages our Finnick there will be imaginary blood!

    • andreah1234 says:

      I was freaking out, if someone damages our Finnick there will be imaginary blood!

      YES IT WILL. I WILL metaphorically. HURT ANYONE WHO HURTS MY FINNICK. (That has to be the best line ever written. Mark even when in distress you are incredibly amusing.).

  2. Karen says:

    GAH. I had to re-read this chapter like, 3 times before I could even figure out what had just happened.

    • rje says:

      Haha omg me too, I had to read it once, then again, then a third time -very slowly- … if I had a pencil and paper I might have made a diagram. What everyone's doing, where they're going and where they are is just so -confusing- ! Although that's on purpose I bet, since it definitely add to the chaotic feel of Beetee's plan going tits-up and ALL HELL BREAKING LOOSE. Collins is just great at leaving you breathless.

      • Karen says:

        Agreed, Agreed, Agreed! Reading the Hunger Games through Mockingjay I had to literally stop myself from reading so fast because I was only understanding probably 20% of what was actually happening!

    • ldwy says:

      Yes, me too. Everything moves so fast!

    • knut_knut says:

      same! the first time I read it I was just speeding through

    • Andrew says:

      I would have read it a second time but OMG NEXT CHAPTER NOW!

    • paulineparadise says:

      I had to ask someone on the spoiler page to plz explain it to me step-by-step. xD Luckily people who read this blog are very kind and helpful and patient.

  3. Randomcheeses says:


    Ahem. . . . Anyway . . . wow. . . I'm guessing the whole book is going to end on a cliffhanger.

  4. ooohlivia says:

    I still don't quite know what happened in this chapter, it is SO CONFUSING.
    What is real life? What isn't? I feel like I'm watching Black Swan again.

  5. thecorinediaries says:

    Aaaaaaah! This chapter is so….

    There are no words. Everything is going so fast you can barely make out what's happening. I want explanationzzz!

  6. aurorabora says:

    Ahhh, I LOVED this chapter but also had to re-read parts several times to try and figure out what was happening. Everything is absolute chaos and it is SO AWFUL AND EXCITING.

  7. mugglemomof2 says:

    Unsurprisingly, Peeta isn’t too happy about getting separated from Katniss, especially since he couldn’t convince her to abandon her plan to keep him alive. Again, time factors into the plot: Beetee insists that there’s no time to debate this. Katniss and Johanna are the fastest and they can easily get to the beach and back before midnight
    I was literally screaming at the book at this point. How could she leave Peeta? My heart filled with doom at this point.

    It’s hard to breathe, and I realize Johanna’s sitting on my chest, pinning me at the shoulders with her knees.
    I knew it! I told you- doom!!!! I was dying…..what is going on!!!????

    Fine, I’ll admit it, I’M OVERWHELMED. WHAT IS GOING ON.
    Head exploding….to much happening….

    WHO HURT MY BEETEE? I will metaphorically harm you back.
    That may be the best line you've written LMAO!

    Suzanne Collins, what have you done? That’s all I have to say.
    what did we tell you… way to prepare!

  8. Ishii_Era says:

    Have we recently mentioned that you are not prepared?

  9. Kaybee42 says:

    what is actually going on?
    who is on whose side? okay so there aren't any sides, right? apart from katpee? or what? what? just what? I literally just don't know what happened? Okay
    Johanna- bad now. Finnick- still good but dying? somehow? Beetee- did he know anything? I don't think he was planning anything…but what was with him stabbing the forcefield? what will it do? will electrocuting it actually make it stop? just blah!!!!!!!
    Brutus and Enobaria and Chaff- all still bad?
    Gah I wanted Johanna to be good I loved her!
    But… why did she stab her ARM? was she trying to convince the careers that Katniss was dead without actually killing her? nah i don't believe that cause Katniss is almost dead from it anyway. I just want Johanna to be good!
    EDIT: Oh and WHO cut the wire? Beetee?

  10. mugglemomof2 says:

    Oh, and am I the only one who thinks the last chapter should be posted today? This chapter was so confusing it NEEDS to be followed up with the following one…NOW!

  11. theupsides says:

    I love that Katniss wants to CLUTCH HER PEARL in the final moments. Shit is that real.

    • accio doublestuff says:

      i've noticed that while the characters are dying, they tend to look for something that will make them happy in their last moments. rue asked katniss to sing, the morphling wanted to listen to peeta talk about painting….and katniss wants to find her pearl.

      a) does this mean she loves peeta for sure now? i guess that's what mark thinks, anyway. i think thats what i think, too.

      b) is she actually dying?


      • theupsides says:

        Very nice observation!

        a) I definitely think she loves Peeta for sure now. Although, I don't think she's even aware of how much.


        c) I concur!!!!

  12. miloulovesbooks says:

    why did i think i could survive this one chapter at the time-thing?
    i want to read the last chapter immediately, but i get the book wednesday :(:(:(
    i can't deal with the tension!

  13. Mary says:

    I…can't even….WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!
    And BEETEE!! Please live!! <3

  14. momigrator says:

    This is me reading that chapter: "WHAT'S going ON!???"

  15. Karen says:

    I love the sense of chaos and confusion that the first person narration creates in this chapter. Like the first time I read this chapter I literally had no idea what the fuck was happening. I had to rereading and only then did I sort of understand.

    I think Collins planted all of the force field stuff brilliantly though. She puts the seed in our (and Katniss's) mind by having Peeta and Katniss watch Haymitch's Quarter Quell in which he used the force field to kill that tribute. And then in the training center Wiress and Beetee told Katniss about the "chink in the armor"…. and when Peeta hit the force field at the beginning of the Quell… it all comes back here.

    I’m at the point where I truly believe Katniss loves Peeta and appreciates and respects him on a level that is genuine and real. And here, she realizes this might be it and she is completely okay with giving it all up for him.
    I just think that imagery of Peeta and Katniss calling each other's names through the jungle with neither one being able to get the other is just SO SAD. 🙁 I think that Katniss really does care about Peeta-more than she's actually aware of, and gah. SO SAD. I HATE YOU, CAPITOL.

  16. monkeybutter says:


    <img src=""&gt;

    Excellent gif choice, Mark, because I decided over the weekend that Beetee = Walter. Now I love them both even more!

  17. Trapp says:

    This shit cannot be PG-13. Will not do justice to the awesome goriness of Collins' (and our) imagination.

    • Randomcheeses says:

      But it is. YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE. Y'know, for kids!

      • L_Swann says:

        I think it's interesting to see how people define what YA means. I'm eighteen, and so if you take YA literally, I'm the youngest of all possible adults, because I'm the youngest age that an adult can actually be. And seeing as how I'm allowed to see NC-17 movies, the young adult classification isn't necessarily all that bad.

        I know most people view YA as more tweenish stuff (13-16, perhaps?) but generally, I've found that's not the case. In fact, I would argue that books like THG are more suitable for younger audiences than other YA books I've found that center on real life. When I was…fourteen, I guess, maybe fifteen, I picked up a realistic YA book that contained vivid portrayals of abusive relationships & eating disorders. It scared the living daylights out of me. So while THG is thematically more intense and more awful than abusive relationships and vivid, realistic portrayals of eating disorders (I mean, I think the murder alone qualifies THG as being more intense), I think kids are better able to deal with it because Panem doesn't exist. Whereas, many of us know people having abusive relationships or who are battling eating disorders.

    • Saber says:

      I think it's refreshing to find an author who doesn't look down on her audience and is willing to take them seriously.

  18. Sam says:

    What I'm thinking after reading this chapter is that Johanna was not trying to kill or mortally injur Katniss. It sounded like she was digging out that tracker that they put into all of the tributes. Then Johanna smeared her face with blood?? Maybe to make the Careers think she was dead/dying, and it totally worked. She also told her to stay down. I may be delusional and just wanting Johanna to be good, but none of it sounds like betrayal to me, with the exception of the whole hitting Katniss in the head thing.

    • That was my guess. The first thing I thought when they went into the Games is that I would want that thing out of my arm. If Johanna had wanted her dead, wouldn't she have just cut her throat?

      • Sam says:

        Yes, that's where my mind went too. Johanna had plenty of time and was perfecty capable, so why didn't she just kill her if she wanted Katniss dead? I'm with you.

    • rje says:

      The fact she told her to stay down indicates to my very hopeful mind that she wasn't betraying Katniss but saving her – maybe she saw one of the Careers moving up on her (wasn't she ahead of Johanna?)

    • mr.mowgli says:

      OMG! YES!! And as for the hitting her in the head thing maybe that wasn't betrayal either, that was just Johanna being Johanna!

      • Gabbie says:

        LOL If she was saving her, Johanna was probably thinking, "Wait, I hate her. *hits Kat with wire coil* Better."

    • MissRose99 says:

      The one thing that really irks me about the whole Johanna/stabbing thing.. is he way Enaboria (sp?) and Brutus just walk by, "she's as good as gone." Even in the first hunger games (well the book) the careers were smart enough to send Peeta back to finish her off because they hadn't heard a cannon yet. I realize Katniss has got to be the lucky one but that part just doesn't make sense (i guess kinda like Peeta's heart stopping and no cannon to signal his death, yet enough time for Finnick to bring him back.).

    • FlameRaven says:

      That was my assumption. I was like 'KATNISS SHUT UP. You're an idiot, she's obviously just getting rid of that tracker." Then again I was thinking there was some kind of secret plan ever since Johanna showed up with Wiress and Beetree and was all 'yeah Haymitch told me to bring them to you."

    • Tabbyclaw says:

      That's what I suspected too, especially since Beetee has the same cut.

    • Tabbyclaw says:


      none of it sounds like betrayal to me, with the exception of the whole hitting Katniss in the head thing.

      Imagine this: You're Johanna. You have some kind of plan that involves cutting up the crankiest and most untrusting person you know and time is at a serious premium. Which sounds like the better option: Explaining everything to her and hoping she decides to believe you and doesn't go haring off to do her own ill-advised thing, or just incapacitating her and getting on with it?

      Alternately, imagine this: You're Johanna. You have an excuse to hit Katniss in the head. Are you really going to pass on that opportunity?

  19. Chrome says:

    The first-person narrative is also perfect for her paranoia over all the shifting loyalties.

    Haymitch’s last words of advice to me. Why would I need reminding? I have always known who the enemy is. Who starves and tortures and kills us in the arena. Who will soon kill everyone I love.

    This part is really fascinating. She knows the consequences. She believes her mother, Prim, and Gale will most likely die as a result of her actions. She shoots that arrow anyway. It doesn’t mean she’s self-centered. Hardly! It just plays into the theme of “sacrifice” — that fighting The Big Bad Enemy (Snow and the Capitol) may be far more bloody and heartbreaking than expected. She went into ther arena expecting to die for Peeta. Now, in a few chaotic and confusing paragraphs, it explodes exponentially. (And literally. I can’t wait to see the arena dome sizzling in the CF movie, assuming it’s made.)

    • Kadi says:

      I want there to be a CF movies so. damn. badly. HG is my favorite of the three books, and CF only my second fav, but I think the visuals in CF are more interesting and I would adore seeing a good director take them on.

  20. cait0716 says:

    brain = mush

    I missed a lot of this chapter the first time through. Partly because I read it so fast. Partly because, between the concussion and the chaos, I pretty much stopped trusting Katniss as a reliable narrator. I think it works well for the story, to see all of this through Katniss' eyes. But I definitely didn't feel like I had a complete or accurate picture of what had just happened and wanted more explanation.

    And now I want more reviews!

  21. tethysdust says:

    I'm a horrible person who finally broke and read the last chapter early, so I can't comment about anything meaningful today ;_;. I will definitely refill my willpower for Mockingjay. So, guess I'll just go off somewhere and eagerly wait for tomorrow…

    The blog post was fun to read, though, as always :).

    • thatonegirl says:

      Yay! Me too! I was trying to be more prepared and finished the book but instead I spent my weekend in the fetal position. Ok not really. But now I get to anxiously wait until tomorrow to say anything.
      Or maybe later today? <insert hopeful face here>

    • FlameRaven says:

      Ahahaa. If you can get through Mockingjay one chapter at a time, I commend you. Shit only gets more real from here on out. >D Because every time you think you are prepared, Collins throws something else at you.

      • Tabbyclaw says:

        Yeah. I think I read Mockingjay in four hours. Good God my neck hurt afterwards.

        • FlameRaven says:

          I took more breaks reading Mockingjay, for a couple reasons- one was that I had to go to work, but sometimes, I just needed a breather because things were so intense I couldn't even process it until I had time to think.

    • Saber says:

      Willpower for Mockingjay… I'm laughing at your unpreparedness. You only get less and less prepared

    • Phoebe says:

      Ah me too! I siriusly couldn't take it. when i read all of this i was like "wait, i thought i knew that already…"
      of course, i then did it again for mockingjay…

    • Tiff says:

      Haha. I commend you for your willpower thus far. I broke on Chapter 8 of Hunger Games….whoops… :o)

  22. thefbm says:


    My mind is gone.

  23. notemily says:

    I remember yelling at Katniss this whole chapter, SHOOT THE DAMN FORCE FIELD. Ever since she brought up the chink in the armor, I knew what she'd have to do. So when she finally figured it out, I was like YAAAAY.

  24. exbestfriend says:

    The sad thing is I want the first movie to make enough money for them to have to film this book, just for this scene. I must have read this chapter 12 times and it still confuses me, but I can see it.

    I mean it doesn't make any sense for Johanna to turn on Katniss now, well any more than it made sense for her to become allies with her in the first place. And BEETEE!?!!?!

  25. Korat97 says:

    Holy crap! Did she just blow up the freaking ARENA?!?!?!

  26. bell_erin_a says:

    Bah, I really have nothing to say. It's amazing that however many times I read this chapter, I always have to sit down and make a list (fuck yeah lists!) in my head of what the everliving hell just happened. Shit is too confusing for me, you guys.

    Um, looking forward to tomorrow's (make that today's later review, y/y?) review, and I'll leave it at that. Just thinking about it I have a grin on my face and if I were not typing, I'd probably be gleefully rubbing my hands together or clapping or something. I accept full responsibility for being a mean person, but I can't bring myself to care right now (I am potentially Garfield? It's Monday.), because I am just happy that I'm more or less prepared and you're absolutely not! :p

    Also: "I will metaphorically harm you back." ilu, Mark. Please never change!

    • This chapter is seriously confusing. After I finished Catching Fire, I specifically went back to this part of the book to re-read it and see if I could look at it a little more logically. It's utter madness and between Katniss' confusion and your own desperate need to find out what happens next, I really didn't know what had happened, I just knew it was EPIC.

      Hahaha I know, right? I'm cackling with evil glee over how TOTALLY UNPREPARED Mark is (I'm sorry, Mark – I'm evil and so is she and we're just mean, mean people who laugh at your pain). We're bad, bad people but I don't care. And amen to the Garfield thing – it's Monday, just gimme some lasagna and leave me alone!! XD

  27. Kelly L. says:


    That is all.

  28. bell_erin_a says:

    Yay for class trips to Turkey! I'm going to Istanbul over spring break!
    Um, anyway. I shall return to being overwhelmed by this chapter now. :p

  29. blis says:

    Am i the only one who completely forgot about Chaff?

  30. elusivebreath says:

    Shit is so real that I can't even BREATHE!!!

  31. Ellie says:

    I remember having to read the last few chapters of this book over again the second I was done with them, because I’m a very fast reader (I think I read this whole series in a day or so?) and sometimes I miss little details. Intense! And confusing! And no one was prepared, not even me rereading it for the fourth time, lol.

  32. mr.mowgli says:

    just a couple things I thought of

    1. While Peeta and Katniss separated in the previous chapter to plot their "escape" the other 3 could have planned something together

    2. Beetee is the one who insisted that Katniss and Johanna go out together

  33. andreah1234 says:

    Suzanne Collins, what have you done?

    Man, this chapter was the mother of all mind-fucks. I don't even know what to comment. So I'm just going to say: WE ARE NOT PREPARED, NOT ANY OF US.

    My mind. It is blown.

    PD: I hold onto the idea that Finnick is good. I need some hope ok? PLEASE DON'T BE BAD FINNICK. And please don't die Johanna, because even if you are a backstabbing bitch I still think you are awesome.

  34. LoonyLu says:

    Do you know who I think is the most unprepared person on this blog?
    That Mark.
    You know what I'd give him on a scale of 1 to 10?
    1 would be the most unprepared and 10 is utterly prepared.
    I would give him an -8…-8.5…-9…no more than a -9.8
    Because there is always room for preparedness.

  35. andreah1234 says:

    Can that hug come from anyone?? If so…


    I think I'm more like Haymitch because for some reason I have an unbearable need for a drink right now….

    • AngryAsian says:

      YES! thank you.

      i could certainly use a drink as well, because i anxiety i feel over katpee is obnoxious.

  36. ldwy says:

    I'm so glad shit has gotten real internationally. That's phenomenal.

  37. Kaybee42 says:

    Oh I forgot. I'm gonna say my mini theory:
    The cannon that went off is for Katniss! Somehow the Gamemakers think Katniss died and set off the cannon for her. I don't know what that would mean or even HOW they would manage to get confused but something about Katniss thinking about who could have possibly died made me think "You! They think you're dead!" so thats a new theory 🙂

  38. hpfish13 says:

    Yay!! Twelfth Night reference!!

  39. bell_erin_a says:

    SERIOUSLY. And we thought we had seen some amazing displays of badassery thus far! This would blow them all out of the water (or arena, while we're at it)!

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • It's just, I couldn't figure out what else to say. We've been waiting all this time for you to get to this CRAZY FUCKING INSANE chapter. Katniss's allies have betrayed her, everyone is separated and we have no idea who's dead, and, oh yeah, SHE BLEW UP THE GODDAMN ARENA. This is one hell of a chapter.

        …And there's one more left. Oh, there's one more left. I dare you to feel prepared for it. I DARE YOU.

  40. embers says:

    Isn’t this awesome? THIS is Katniss’ strength, that at such a tense moment she can remember Haymatch’s advise and can aim the blow against the Gamemakers instead of against other slaves in the arena. So so awesome.

  41. MeasuringInLove says:

    Collins used to write for TV, right? That's why she's so amazing at chase scenes, methinks. I mean, Katniss is completely out of it. I've read that passage so many times and I still have no idea what is going on (I did the same during the tracker jacker scene in the first one…maybe I just get confused easily?)

    asjfnjflskejs I can't write any more without spoiling you, so I'll just pretend to study for midterms while actually playing Tetris.

  42. ShiiShii says:

    I cheered like CRAZY when this happened. I was like, "YES SERVES YOU RIGHT YOU FUCKIN' CAPITOL!" I got so hyped up after finishing this book. I don't think any book has ever done that to me.

  43. stellaaaaakris says:

    Hehe I was definitely humming that, but I was also thinking of that youtube video, David goes to the dentist.

    • ldwy says:

      Ah, don't you just love when the voice of Queen pops into your head to be a soundtrack to your life?
      I don't know that vid, I'll have to look it up.

  44. pennylane27 says:

    I am trying to think of something intelligent or original to say, but it's impossible. So: MARK YOU ARE UTTERLY UNPREPARED. SHIT WILL REACH UNBELIEVABLE LEVELS OF REALNESS. AND I REQUEST SECOND REVIEW TODAY. THAT IS ALL.

    • andreah1234 says:

      I concur, my dear. I CONCUR.

    • sabra_n says:

      Despite the fact that Mark's reviewing the Doctor Who S2 finale today and right after that comes one of my favorite episodes ever…yeah, I'll concede your point.

    • The Queen of Harts says:

      I second all of this because 1) I can't write much without spoiling and/or just basically screaming "AJFKDHKFHDKF DS NOT PREPARED NOT PREPARED SHIT IS REAL OMG GKJLKSFDKLFDSJL!!!" and that's not really helpful and, 2) SECOND REVIEW SECOND REVIEW OH SWEET JESUS YES (is it pitiful how much I look forward to these? I swear I have a life…)

  45. Shanella says:

    this is exciting.

  46. calimie says:

    Hahaha, I didn't remember either, I read that book so fast I only remembered very last part.
    Not to mention I had no idea what Beetee was doing.

  47. xilopia says:

    I only have one thing to say:

    (Seriously. I don't think you've ever been as unprepared before, you can't have.)

    I also can't help but gleefully wait for the next review (it's going to be epic)

    PS. I've been reading this blog for a like week now and I can't really describe just how much I enjoy it. I read the books ages ago but you're making me fall in love with them all over again 😉

  48. stellaaaaakris says:

    Wait…what? What? WHAT?!?!

    I can't make my brain stop hurting. What the hell is going on? I've read this book multiple times and I still feel overwhelmed and disoriented, a fact I attribute to Collins' skill at writing action scenes.

    What the KEYSMASH????

    Johanna? Finnick? Are you guys betraying Katpee? Are you betraying me? ::whimper::


    • The Queen of Harts says:

      "What the keysmash?!" oh I am USING that XD


      I know how you feel – despite having read the whole series multiple times, I am still IN SHOCK AND AWE. HOW, COLLINS, HOW!?

      I think it's a given at this point, yet we all feel compelled to remind him that he is ~not prepared~

  49. easilyentranced says:

    Oh shit, Mark. I don't even know how you do it. Seriously, it was like 3am when I read this chapter, and I just kept going until I was about five chapters into Mockingjay before I passed out, lol.

    Seriously, everything about this chapter blew my mind. The force field, Beetee, the chaos, and Katniss' though process about her sacrificing herself to save Peeta. That was truly the most beautifully tragic scene in this entire book. <3 <3

    I didn't really think that Johanna and Finnick had betrayed Katniss, only because of the way that Johanna told Katniss to stay down… and because my undying love for Finnick was so uncontainable that I couldn't fathom him being the bad guy, but that was just me. 😛

  50. ldwy says:

    Bahhh, I started this and then my computer crapped out on me, err, froze, so I'll begin again!
    My ever so true to life reactions to this crazed chapter, in the faces of those so much better equipped to express it than I:

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Draco,Ron,Neville,scream,omg">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Ron">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Harry,omg">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Hermione,omg">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Dumbledore,omg">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Dumbledore,omg">
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Hermione,disgust">
    Utter confusion, ahhhhhhhhhh, and horror. That's me.

  51. Puel says:

    Any comments I have on this chapter are a) spoilery or b) incoherent keysmashes, so as much as I want to leave a comment of actual substance I'll save it for the next chapter and go LJASLDJFNALSKDG/ALSKGNJFA/;SGJAsdgASDFAJSLDFKJASLDFJASF; SERIOUSLY COLLINS WHAT WHAT WHAT for now.

    Or I'll let this gif speak for me:

    <img src=""&gt;

  52. accio doublestuff says:

    what if she is dead but just hallucinating in her last final seconds of life or something? (PLEASE NO)

    • kaybee42 says:

      Yeah! and the next chapter will be this chapter from Peetas point of view and we don't find out till mockingjay whether she is dead or not!

    • bell_erin_a says:

      Oh, you didn't know that Mockingjay is just pretty much a field guide about the history and habits of the mockingjays, since we're all dying to hear about this, Collins' most awesome creation? Oops. I guess you're prepared now.

  53. Turq says:

    Surprised enough for a second chapter today? Please? It only gets crazier.

  54. FlameRaven says:

    I need a gif that shows someone cackling gleefully, because YOU ARE NEVER PREPARED. … and then there's Mockingjay.

  55. Ishii_Era says:

    This entire comment section has made my gif folder very, very happy.

  56. Randomcheeses says:

    Ned! Emerson! Oh PD I love you forever! A curse on all TV execs.

  57. arnenieberding says:

    "She throws up her seafood dinner"


    Gawd, I am lame.

  58. Randomcheeses says:


    (They have screaming nightmares of bugs eating their eyes, THANKS COLLINS!, that's what.)

    I too cannot wait!

    (Still, who took a look at her manuscript and approved it as young adult lit? Not that I disagree, but I would like to meet this wonderful person and introduce them to the people who okay'd twilight. The pwnage would be epic.)

    • SableFlag says:

      Her other series is also pretty intense for YA/children's lit. I think it gets classified as such because it's about children/young adults?

      • Lynn says:

        It is considered middle reader lit and yes, there are some heavy things she touches on in it. My 11 year old son is currently reading them. The main character is an eleven year old boy.

      • Gabbie says:

        The whole time I read the Underland Chronicles, I was like, "This is for TWEENS!? Holy smokes, man. Who the heck decides that?"

    • liliaeth says:

      You think that's bad, when I asked my brother to get me one of the books for christmas (he ended up getting me all three), the salesperson he got them from, told him the books were intended for ages 6-14. Which made me wonder if whomever rated fthem for Belgium ever even opened the books.

      • SableFlag says:

        I don't think it's bad! Not at all. I think that it's good that she recognizes that children shouldn't be sheltered little angels who never hear a swear word or know that bad things exist. I just mean that, given what most YA/children's fiction looks like today, it's surprising that Collins' work is classified as such.

  59. monkeybutter says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Seriously. I was waiting for an opportunity to use that gif.

  60. Mauve_Avenger says:

    So I'm now almost 100% sure that my theory was completely right.

    <img src=""&gt;

  61. BradSmith5 says:

    This chapter was just so painful to read; Collins is panicking here. Not because she doesn't know what to do, but because she's scared that the reader will figure it out before she makes it happen. And the result is a jumbled mess of narration that hands Katniss the "Idiot Ball" just to keep the finale a secret. Yes, I followed a link that someone put to that tropes place––it took up half of my weekend, thank you.

    Collins, you need to be confident with your skills! Who cares if some of us figured it out? Confusing people with vague nonsense is not the same as writing well! You already proved that you can make the predictable entertaining––why in the world are you backing down now!?

    Disclaimer: I have not read any further, so I may be wrong, ha,ha,ha. 😉

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      It's definitely one of the problems with her choice to use first person narration. If I remember correctly, some people were taking issue with the fact that Cinna and Peeta both used Katniss without her knowledge/consent (Cinna with the dress, Peeta with the pregnancy reveal).

      I can understand how Cinna not telling Katniss about the dress makes sense (plausible deniability and all), but Collins really tends to use Katniss's stubbornness as an excuse for other characters to manipulate her and keep her out of the loop, even in cases when it makes absolutely no sense for them to do so, just for the sake of ratcheting up the suspense. I mean, what would have happened if Katniss had been so shocked by Peeta's pregnancy lie that she openly denied it without realizing what Peeta was trying to do?

      There was a sentence in the last chapter that made me go :S , because (based on my prediction of what's going to happen) it would be not only idiotic but also extremely dangerous for Katniss not to know what's really going on.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Yeah, I agree. How long is that end-of-the-chapter shock gonna last? Is it worth sacrificing the integrity of a character?

        DON'T forget to tell me what sentence it was! 😉

    • notemily says:

      TV Tropes will eat your soul.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Oh man, no kidding. How come no one ever told me that there was a place detailing every plot and character device!? And here I've been trying to figure things out on my own like a sucker!

        • cait0716 says:

          Rule #1 of life: Someone else has already done it. All you really need is the ability to search the internet and you can find/learn anything

  62. Kesmash. says:

    Oh my god, Mark, there is only one chapter left and Collins has is STILL completely unprepared. 🙂

  63. theresa1128429 says:

    I just can't think of what to say here…

  64. hallowsnothorcruxes says:

    So only one chapter to go. Can't wait to find out if I'm right about the ending or not.
    We're in the home stretch now.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  65. Gabbie says:


  66. vampira2468 says:

    Had to know the alliance couldn't last

  67. TreesaX says:


    That is pretty much all I can say without spoiling you, Mark. Haha. Please do the last chapter today as well!

  68. Phoebe says:


  69. Saber says:

    I have nothing useful to say. So here are my thoughts after this chapter:


    Another chapter? Please? If we all mak puppy faces at our computer screens?

  70. Hotaru-hime says:

    All I could scream was this.

  71. Silverilly says:

    And yet . . .

  72. Amanda says:


  73. karadudz says:

    So if I post anything about what I feel about this chapter it might ruin it for you for the last chapter tomorrow. So all I can say is how I felt when I was reading this book… And that was:

    WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?! This chapter with all the betrayal and Beetee on the ground and Katniss giving up… IT'S A MUCH BIGGER INFO DUMP THAN ANYTHING IN THE BOOKS.

  74. Cally_Black says:

    "It’s hard to breathe, and I realize Johanna’s sitting on my chest, pinning me at the shoulders with her knees."
    Johanna..betrayed her?! Sorta makes you fell like this..
    <img src=>

    So both Johanna and Finnick betrayed Katpee? Maybe? Darren doesn't know
    <img src=>

    "He’s not conscious, although I can see no wound except a gash below the crook of his elbow."
    Beetee, please be ok
    <img src=>

    "I’m at the point where I truly believe Katniss loves Peeta and appreciates and respects him on a level that is genuine and real. And here, she realizes this might be it and she is completely okay with giving it all up for him."
    <img src=>

    The freaking end of this chapter!
    <img src=>

  75. Jan Shaw says:

    i am addicted to the hunger games! <3 i stayed up all night to read it a second time lol i dunno it is just that good. i am so excited to see the movie when it comes out!!

  76. Tabbyclaw says:

    Peeta is Old Man Smithers in disguise.

    And that's where I lost it.

  77. Annalebanana says:

    It is times like these when I begin to see Collins as Scar [youtube -X0dxn40r_c youtube] Of course, singing this song in A Cappella today couldn't have hurt either

    • ldwy says:

      Hahaha, this is fantastic! I forgot it existed! I can't believe it hasn't been posted on here or MarkWatches before, if only for the title.

    • Gabbie says:


    • kchano says:

      Ahaha, you are a genius! I can't believe we made it through all seven Harry Potter books and to the second-to-last chapter of Catching Fire without making this connection.

  78. Quizzical says:

    for all i want to criticise her style, it really does ~work for these books. the pace of it is suffocating.

  79. Kate says:

    There is a spoiler companion blog that Mark doesn't read.. the link was posted somewhere early on…. someone want to help me out with it?

    • bell_erin_a says:

      There are spoilers for Mockingjay, mostly in the first few posts, but also in others. I'd recommend posting in the Finnick thread since I believe there's only one spoilery post in the middle of the thread.
      ETA: there's a new "End of Catching Fire" post that should also be suitable.

  80. LOTRjunkie says:


    I am so screwed tomorrow.

  81. Have you recently read a thrilling chapter of Catching Fire? Did it leave you feeling bewildered and awed?

    Well if you act now, you can read the next chapter, with 75% more chaos!

    You'll be saying "What the fuck just happened!?" and "Shit is SO REAL!"

    We promise that you are NOT PREPARED for the end of the book and you will be rendered speechless! Don't miss this opportunity to turn your brain from a functional organ to complete mush in just a few pages!

    …Yeah I'm not sure where I'm going with this but Mark: brace yourself. Shit is ~really real~ and it's not going to stop anytime soon.

  82. Lynn says:


    I'm too busy to actually read the Hunger Games, so I've been following you.


  83. farrah D. says:

    and you are not ever prepared.

  84. Julia says:

    I can't even… wow. NO! huh oh NU HU!
    YOU LIE!

  85. Haley says:

    Haha, i feel proud to be one of the few who (while reading this chapter for the first time) knew exactly what was going on right away (starting from johannas part) 🙂

  86. TreesaX says:

    Oh and I just wanted to add.. this was my reaction when I first read this chapter.

    <img src=""&gt;

    This was also my face when I read it a second time, haha. This chapter was all over the place (in a good way… sorta) and I was just so lost. Reading this review actually cleared up a little more on the chapter.


  87. bendemolena says:

    I don't even like Katpee, but I adore the poignancy of "And that's the very best I can do." <3

  88. notemily says:

    Peeta is the one guy who watches Two and a Half Men, but has a Nielsen box, so that is why it remains on the air.


    • exbestfriend says:

      NO SERIOUSLY. Who watches that show? I literally know no one who watches the new episodes. A few people own up to the reruns, but no one will own up to the new episodes. Who is it that makes that show the most popular show on tv? I am now actually curious.

  89. gredandforge says:

    When I read the part about Johanna stabbing Katniss and wiping blood on her face, I didn't think for a second that Johanna had betrayed her at all. It was too precise and purposeful .. if she wanted Katniss to die, she could have just stabbed her in the heart or something. But she was wiping blood on Katniss's face … the only possible reason I can think of is it's for show. So that when Enobaria and Brutus came a few seconds later, they would think Katniss is already dead and leave her alone. Then again, even if Johanna had outright said "I'm a traitor" I STILL wouldn't have believed her because I love her way too much .. it's almost unhealthy ..

    The last line is so cool: " .. I find a star." The vision of the dome shattering and the real sky peeking through is soo pretty in my mind, even though it's utter chaos and violence at the moment ..

  90. Doodle says:

    Even though I know we all want the movie to be amazing I am afraid it just won't live up to our expectations! (see: HP) =[

  91. IsabelArcher2 says:

    Is it terrible that I'm still casually checking this site to see if anything new or exciting has developed? I either A) have absolutely zero life or B ) have so much homework to complete by Friday that I cannot even think about where I could potentially begin, so I'm just distracting myself from inevitable failure but, in reality, only worsening the situation. Hmm, I don't think I'm comfortable with either of those options. I know! Option C) Fuck it.

    • bell_erin_a says:

      Heh, there was just a new development on Tumblr. Also, I am not still going to this site to read the later comments, why do you ask? I'm pretty sure it's a combination of B and C, although in my case it's the 200 pages I have to read by Wednesday. Yeah.

  92. notemily says:

    speaking of TV Tropes, it'd be cool if there were some way to do "spoiler text" like they do it–where you have to highlight the text to see the spoiler. But that'd probably be too complicated? I dunno.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I think a lot of blog hosting sites now have plugins specifically for hiding spoilers, though I'm not sure about WordPress specifically.

      I tend to think, though, that it would be a bad idea on this site specifically since there's generally not too much of a point in discussing spoilers on the main page here anyway, and it would be far too easy for someone to accidentally leave a tag open. I think I prefer the idea of just having a dedicated spoilers page for each project; I imagine a hidden spoilers function might be useful there if it's a spoilers page for a whole series and some haven't read as far others.

      I think I'm slightly biased against hidden spoilers because I'm one of those sensitive-eyed people who highlights pretty much everything I read online because my eyes start to hurt otherwise. I inadvertently spoiled myself a lot before I realized that the TV Tropes site has [some of] its spoilers hidden.

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