In the nineteenth chapter of Mockingjay, there is NOTHING GOOD AT ALL. Unprepared forever. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Mockingjay.
I had completely forgotten that Coin disliked Katniss so much until now. Maybe I was distracted by the fact that she’d allowed her to train and then get sent to the Capitol, but now I’m regretting that I didn’t pay more attention to this detail. I didn’t get it at the end of the chapter when Katniss said that Coin clearly wanted her dead, but Boggs’s explanation at the beginning of chapter nineteen puts it into a better perspective.
“Here’s as much as I know. The president doesn’t like you. She never did. It was Peeta she wanted rescued from the arena, but no one else agreed. It made matters worse when you forced her give the other victors immunity. But even that could be overlooked in view of how well you’ve performed.”
“Then what is it?” I insist.
“Sometime in the near future, this war will be resolved. A new leader will be chosen,” says Boggs.
I roll my eyes. “Boggs, no one thinks I’m going to be the leader.”
“No. They don’t,” he agrees. “But you’ll throw support to someone. Would it be President Coin? Or someone else?”
And that’s how I realized that Coin’s plan to prop up Katniss as the Mockingjay had the potential to backfire against her. Katniss’s instict early in this book that she was disposable was spot-on. She is being used and now Coin is ready to discard her. Sounds like the perfect segue towards having Katniss abandon this circus of an assignment and head off on her own. That is easier said than done, though, because now Katniss doesn’t feel right stealing Boggs’s Holo. Instead, she demands to do something instead of just sitting around for days shooting windows. Boggs convinces Jackson to assign her to a watch on Peeta that night at midnight.
In the meantime, Gale and Katniss get a chance to talk about the futility of their current situation, where Gale takes the opportunity to admit that he has already figured out Katniss is planning to bail out of this sad party and go off on her own mission. Katniss wants to go on her own, but it might be of some help for her to have someone with her who knows her so naturally. GALE AND KATNISS ADVENTURES AHEAD? We can only hope.
Remember Haymitch? Oh yeah, he’s still a part of the story, too! And he delivers a very necessary call out to Katniss’s behavior towards Peeta, who clearly has no idea that Coin is using him as well.
“You’re punishing him over and over for things that are out of his control. Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a fully loaded weapon next to you around the clock. But I think it’s time you flipped this little scenario around in your head. If you’d been taken by the Capitol, and hijacked, and then tried to kill Peeta, is this the way he would be treating you?” demands Haymitch.
Touche. Seriously. Yes, this situation sucks. I won’t deny that at all. But Katniss is assigning fault to someone who doesn’t deserve it and I’m hoping she’ll finally get some perspective on this. Or try. Just please try. ::tears::
Oh, wait, how about some more sad?
Leeg 1 has finally broken down over her sister’s death, and her muffled sobs reach us through the canvas. Realizing with shame that my fixation with assassinating Snow has allowed me to ignore a much more difficult problem. Trying to rescue Peeta from the shadowy world the hijacking has stranded him in. I don’t know how to find him, let alone lead him out. I can’t even conceive of a plan. It makes the task of crossing a loaded arena, locating Snow, and putting a bullet through his head look like child’s play.
I have a feeling there is a lot of tragedy ahead. I don’t like this. I mean…seriously, I don’t know how Collins is going to tie all of this together. I really don’t. Eight and a half chapters left in the whole series? I AM LOST.
There’s a really fascinating scene in the middle of this that I really adore. Which…ok, that’s weird to say, since it’s frustrating and complicated, but I mean that I adore it because it’s just such a fantastic piece for Collins to include. Katniss’s watch over Peeta is not uneventful, but it’s also largely based on conversation between the two. Peeta starts off with one of his “difficult” statements about Katniss:
“These last couple of years must have been exhausting for you. Trying to decide whether to kill me or not. Back and forth. Back and forth.”
Finally, though, Katniss doesn’t immediately jump to the defensive. She knows that, historically, this doesn’t really work. So Katniss tries being neutral for once:
“I never wanted to kill you. Except when I thought you were helping the Careers kill me. After that, I always thought of you as…an ally.”
It’s a good step, but Peeta is still confused. And Finnick comes up with a great idea that’s helped Annie out with the same confusion she has felt in the past: Ask questions. If he’s confused about something, just ask. The thing is, none of these people actually have to do anything to help Peeta, which is why I grew to love what these people do here.
“Ask who?” Peeta says. “Who can I trust?”
“Well, us for starters. We’re your squad,” says Jackson.
“You’re my guards,” he points out.
“That, too,” she says. “But you saved a lot of lives in Thirteen. It’s not the kind of thing we forget.”
I’m glad someone in Thirteen remembers this. I don’t know, especially after recent events, I don’t believe that Coin cares at all. To her, Peeta is damaged goods, no longer able to meet her needs for the rebellion. Fucked up.
But other people begin to pitch in to help Peeta. Jackson devises an ingenuous game called “Real or Not Real” to help Peeta sort through all of the thoughts running through his brain. Again, none of the people around him have any real obligation to help Peeta, and yet they do. Sure, it’s a difficult and awkward “game,” but they still go through with it. For Katniss, it’s probably the hardest, as she has to help him reconstruct even the most mundane of memories from their past together.
I’m glad there’s a lot of time spent on this because GOOD LORD WAR IS BORING. I’m not saying Collins is boring, but I did expect SHIT YEAH BATTLE BATTLE BATTLE immediately and that’s not at all what is happening. So I wasn’t surprised the Coin felt the propos were still too boring. I mean…what did you expect? You won’t let them fight in battle. That seems to be obvious. But I do feel the need to bring up something else: Why is Coin having propos filmed at all? Who else is needs them at this point? They’ve won over all of Panem. Is it for the remaining citizens of the Capitol?
Regardless, they head to a residential block with a couple of active pods (one that sprays gunfire, the other traps you in a net) to create a fake battle. SERIOUSLY. This is what they are wasting their time on. Peeta comes along with them and that’s when he realizes Pollux is an Avox and then WTF-ery abounds.
“There were two Avoxes with me in prison. Darius and Lavinia, but the guards mostly called them the redheads. They’d been our servants in the Training Center, so they arrested them, too. I watched them being tortured to death. She was lucky. They used too much voltage and her heart stopped right off. It took days to finish him off. Beating, cutting off parts. They kept asking him questions, but he couldn’t speak, he just made these horrible sounds. They didn’t want information, you know? They wanted me to see it.”
Lavinia. That’s the name of the girl from the woods. And Darius was tortured to death. I can’t. I seriously can’t.
Despite this, Gale and Katniss have to press on to film the day’s propo. Boggs leads the group of them down the street for the mission, which is mostly to disarm the two pods on the residential block. (Well, yes, it is being filmed, but this is a half-mission for once.) Gale’s assigned to knock out the first pod, which he does successfully as the rest of them hide behind buildings.
In hindsight, I feel a bit blindsided by how silly this is, as they all have to fake as if they’re fighting. And that’s because of this:
“Pull it together, Four-Five-One,” he says firmly. But you can see him suppressing a smile as he’s double-checking the next pod. Positioning the Holo to find the best light in the smoky air. Still facing us as his left foot steps back onto the orange paving stone. Triggering the bomb that blows off his legs.
Never. Never, ever prepared.