In the sixth chapter of Mockingjay, THIS IS SERIOUSLY HAPPENING ALREADY?!?!?! If you’re intrigued, then it’s time for Mark to read Mockingjay.
For all the grandstanding District 13 is trying to earn, for all their attempts at coming off as hyper-organized and prepared for the oncoming war, these people seriously have some god-awful ideas. Who on earth thought a bunch of poorly written slogans and flashy imagery was going to shift the tide in the uprising against the Capitol? I’m not criticizing this because it’s a bad turn for Collins; on the contrary, I think she’s brilliant for this. It goes to show that they can’t be good at everything. It continues the parallel to the Capitol, only this time, their propaganda isn’t working.
I understand Katniss’s anger at Haymitch and I also believe it’s entirely validated. Besides the HOLY SHIT WHAT direction this chapter takes, I like to think that chapter six is about re-introducing Haymitch to the narrative and beginning to plant the seeds that might involve eventual forgiveness. Might. I am not sure it will happen and I would support Katniss if she chose not to. But I’m a big fan of where Collins takes this story and I’m intrigued to see more.
This is the first time we’ve been in a room together since I clawed him. I avoid looking at him directly, but I catch a glimpse of his reflection in one of the shiny control consoles along the wall. He looks slightly yellow and has lost a lot of weight, giving him a shrunken appearance. For a second, I’m afraid he’s dying. I have to remind myself that I don’t care.
Haymitch moves right into his meeting, called the next day after Katniss stormed off the soundstage upon hearing Haymitch’s voice. He makes it very clear that what happened the day before is entirely pointless. No one would ever feel motivated to revolt against the Capitol after seeing that.
“I want everyone to think of one incident where Katniss Everdeen genuinely moved you. Not where you were jealous of her hairstyle, or her dress went up in flames or she made a halfway decent shot with an arrow. Not where Peeta was making you like her. I want to hear one moment where she made you feel something real.”
Well, goddamn, Haymitch. Always full of surprises. And the answers start flowing: When she volunteered to take Prim’s place. When she sang when Rue died. When she drugged Peeta. (Ok, Octavia, no more from you.) When she made Rue her ally, tried to carry Mags, and, most importantly, when she gave those berries to Peeta.
And again and again when I held out those berries that meant different things to different people. Love for Peeta. Refusal to give in under impossible odds. Defiance of the Capitol’s inhumanity.
It’s true. It meant something completely different for me, as I’m sure it did for each of you, too.
“Well, that’s all very nice but not very helpful,” says Fulvia peevishly. “Unfortunately, her opportunities for being wonderful are rather limited here in Thirteen. So unless you’re suggesting we toss her into the middle of combat—“
“That’s exactly what I’m suggesting,” says Haymitch. “Put her out in the field and just keep the cameras rolling.”
WHAT. WHAT. WHAT. HAYMITCH. WHAT. ARE YOU SERIOUS.
“But people think she’s pregnant,” Gale points out.
“We’ll spread the word that she lost the baby from the electrical shock in the arena,” Plutarch replies. “Very sad. Very unfortunate.”
Hahasdhjfldjkashfsadljkf holy shit. Really. Are they really going through with this? ALREADY? IT’S CHAPTER SIX. WHAT.
Katniss volunteers herself to go while people argue over what’s best for her. (THANKS, EVERYONE. LET’S NOT EVEN ASK HER.) And Coin AGREES TO LET HER GO.
“Take her into eight this afternoon. There was heavy bombing this morning, but the raid seems to have run its course. I want her armed with a squad of bodyguards. Camera crew on the ground. Haymitch, you’ll be airborne and in contact with her. Let’s see what happens there. Does anyone have any other comments?”
“Wash her face,” says Dalton. Everyone turns to him. “She’s still a girl and you made her look thirty-five. Feels wrong. Like something the Capitol would do.”
OH MY GOD THIS IS ALREADY HAPPENING. IN CHAPTER SIX!!!! Collins, you are seriously repeatedly punching my face with unexpectedness. This is FANTASTIC. It’s weird, because I still feel the opening to Catching Fire is far too quick for my liking. Things are moving quick here, and I can’t place my finger on why it is, but I don’t think I want to complain about it. It makes sense. It feels right. The urgency of the uprising added as a context to all of this certainly helps. There’s no need to wait around for shit to happen, as it’s already going on all around the country.
After the meeting adjourns, Haymitch makes a point to speak with Katniss privately:
Haymitch takes the seat across from me. “We’re going to have to work together again. So, go ahead. Just say it.”
OH BOY. This is going to be fun, right?
But all I say is “I can’t believe you didn’t rescue Peeta.”
“I know,” he replies.
Oh. Not awkward. Just really sad.
There’s a sense of incompleteness. And not because he hasn’t apologized. But because we were a team. We had a deal to keep Peeta safe. A drunken, unrealistic deal made in the dark of night, but a deal just the same. And in my heart of hearts [AUTHOR’S NOTE: WHO THE FUCK SAYS THAT], I know we both failed.
Endless sad. I still think it’s terribly messed up that Plutarch and Haymitch did so much to help the uprising by keeping Katpee in the dark, but I do understand what it means to Katniss for her to admit that she also failed to help Peeta in her own way.
So it seems that the two of them are willing to work together for the time being, both at least with the understanding that Peeta was captured because of both of their actions.
It all happens so fast. Katniss gets dressed with Beetee’s help, and Cinna’s outfit proves to be both stunning and amazingly functional. On her way to Airborne Division, Finnick shows up, half naked and possibly only wearing a hospital gown, upset that he can’t come along. Katniss takes the opportunity to mention that “trident” that Beetee was making for him; it’s a perfect distraction to keep him away, and it also provides one of the best moments in the whole series.
“Finnick?” I say. “Maybe some pants?”
He looks down at his legs as if noticing his outfit for the first time. Then he whips off his hospital gown, leaving him in just his underwear. “Why? Do you find this”—he strikes a ridiculously provocative pose—“distracting?”
Good god, Finnick is spectacular. Thank you for this, Suzanne Collins.
In the Hangar, Boggs and Katniss have an interesting conversation about why District 13 never did anything for the 75 years they existed underground, despite having so much weaponry and technology.
“We were in no position to launch a counterattack until recently. We could barely stay alive. After we’d overthrown and executed the Capitol’s people, only a handful of us even knew how to pilot. We could’ve nuked them with missiles, yes. But there’s always the larger question: If we engage in that type of war with the Capitol, would there be any human life left?”
“That sounds like what Peeta said. And you called him a traitor,” I counter.
“Because he called for a cease-fire,” says Boggs. “You’ll notice neither side has launched nuclear weapons. We’re working it out the old-fashioned way.”
I suppose I understand this on some level, but then on another, it still doesn’t make sense to me. Surely District 13 must realize that the possibility that Peeta was ruthlessly tortured is entirely real, right? Who are they to assume that Peeta is helping them out willingly?
(Side note: Where’s Peeta’s family? No one mentioned if they were in District 13. Don’t answer that if it is answered later. It’s rhetorical.)
She [Fulvia] snags Gale, who’s in a conversation with Plutarch, and spins him toward us. “Isn’t he handsome?”
Gale does look striking in the uniform, I guess. But the question just embarrassed us both, given our history. I’m trying to think of a witty comeback, when Boggs says brusquely, “Well, don’t expect us to be too impressed. We just saw Finnick Odair in his underwear.” I decide to go ahead and like Boggs.
Remember when I mentioned that the Kindle app I use has social highlighting? 542 other people highlight that last part. And all 542 of those people deserve a high five.
We haven’t had an info dump in a while and onboard the hovercraft, Katniss and Gale get an update on what’s been going on in the war. Every district is at war except for 2, which historically is a favorite of the Capitol; it’s now the home of their defense center, though Katniss mentions “it’s publicly presented as the home of the nation’s stone quarries.” I have no idea where that could be, honestly. We also learn that District 2 supplies Peacekeepers to the Capitol, as the Capitol itself could never sustain an army force that size.
“So District Two is where we turn for additional troops. It’s a way for their people to escape poverty and a life in the quarries. They’re raised with a warrior mindset. You’ve seen how eager their children are to volunteer to be tributes.”
OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I get it!
“Our goal is to take over the districts one by one, ending with District Two, thus cutting off the Capitol’s supply chain. Then, once it’s weakened, we invade the Capitol itself,” says Plutarch.
That seems like a sensible plan, yes? I assume they would start with what is geographically closest to them and head west, right?
“If we win, who would be in charge of the government?” Gale asks.
“Everyone,” Plutarch tells him. “We’re going to form a republic where the people of each district and the Capitol can elect their own representatives to be their voice in a centralized government. Don’t look so suspicious; it’s worked before.”
“In books,” Haymitch mutters.
Which is precisely where that definition came from. It sounds so insincere because it’s so precise. I’m not sure I buy it. Would District 13 give up their rule of law to anyone else?
“And if we lose?” I ask.
“If we lose?” Plutarch looks out at the clouds, and an ironic smile twists his lips. “Then I would expect next year’s Hunger Games to be quite unforgettable.”
THAT’S CERTAINLY COMFORTING. But it’s not less comforting than the final moment of this chapter: Plutarch remembers that they developed a pill, named after the berries that she and Peeta nearly consumed, to prevent any person from being captured by the Capitol from being…well, captured. They’ll induce suicide.
I take hold of a capsule, unsure of where to put it. Plutarch taps a spot on my shoulder at the front of my left sleeve. I examine it and find a tiny pocket that both secures and conceals the pill. Even if my hands were tied, I could lean my head forward and bite it free.
Cinna, it seems, has thought of everything.
FUCK. Ugh, Cinna, WHERE ARE YOU.