In the eighth chapter of Mockingjay, Gale and Katniss learn the repercussions of their actions in District 8. Then: PEETA WHAT THE HELL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Mockingjay.
Well, yesterday’s review was fun, wasn’t it? You know, there’s not much left to joke about in these books. If the pace and tone of Mockingjay continues in this vein, it’ll be easy to declare it as my favorite of the trilogy. It’s exciting, bleak, and difficult to deal with, especially since the situation Collins has created is so complicated and depressing. And, again, I cannot believe we’re already seeing scenes of war. IN CHAPTER SEVEN. This is definitely something I figured we’d see much, much later in the book.
Boggs appears and gets a firm lock on my arm, but I’m not planning on running now. I look over at the hospital—just in time to see the rest of the structure give way—and the fight goes out of me. All those people, the hundreds of wounded, the relatives, the medics from 13, are no more.
Like I said, I don’t get to be silly much and this is why. Collins is painting a picture of absolute, oppressive tragedy; evil just doesn’t cut it. This is beyond just murder and tyranny. The Capitol is absolutely willing to kick you when you’re down. Or…well, BOMB YOU AFTER YOU WERE ALREADY BOMBED.
I obediently take a step forward and wince as I become aware of the pain behind my right knee. The adrenaline rush that overrode the sensation has passed and my body parts join in a chorus of complaints. I’m banged up and bloody and someone seems to be hammering on my left temple from inside my skull. Boggs quickly examines my face, then scoops me up and jogs for the runway. Halfway there, I puke on his bulletproof vest. It’s hard to tell because he’s short of breath, but I think he sighs.
Oh man, I feel sorry for Boggs. Kicked in the face, broken nose, and now Katniss pukes on him. Clearly he is having the best day ever.
It’s a quiet, somber ride back to District 13. I don’t even think you can call this mission a success. We have no idea if the footage captured will be put to good use, and THE CAPITOL JUST BOMBED A MAKESHIFT HOSPITAL. Now I’m intrigued: How on earth is the resistance force going to take down the Capitol bombers? The Capitol clearly has the upper hand here. Is District 13 going to attempt to use their nuclear arsenal? Hmmm. I see bad, bad things in the future.
Katniss falls asleep on the hovercraft, which also seems like an awful idea because she’s still suffering from her concussion and she may have gotten another one due to the bomb blasts, so why are they letting her sleep? Nevermind. Katniss wakes up in her bed in District 13, her mother at her side.
“No one even told us you were going until you were gone,” she says.
I feel a pang of guilt. When your family’s had to send you off twice to the Hunger Games, this isn’t the kind of detail you should overlook. “I’m sorry. They weren’t expecting the attack. I was just supposed to be visiting the patients,” I explain. “Next time, I’ll have them clear it with you.”
“Katniss, no one clears anything with me,” she says.
I feel like we don’t get many scenes as it is with Katniss’s mom, and this just confirms how fucked up this situation is. Katniss is right: after being taken away twice now, it’s even more painful that they’re in this (supposedly) safe place and she is still being taken away from her mother.
Ugh. It hurts.
It only gets more uncomfortable from here on out. Katniss is injured (again), having suffered from some shrapnel in her leg. There’s another huge sense of irony in the way food operates in District 13; Collins may seem to be brushing over it, but I disagree. The fact that she includes details about the size of the meals is yet another parallel to what the Capitol had been doing: keeping people hungry. I understand that yes, these people lived underground and had to keep themselves alive for years. Rationing makes sense. But hunger plays so deeply into this story in ways we may not see unless we look harder. The refugees are simply still hungry, even though they’re trying to fight against that very concept being used to oppress them.
As Katniss and Gale head to Command for the day’s meeting with those in charge, they’re increasingly worried about what the ramifications of their actions the day before, directly defying orders in order to take down the hovercrafts. Coin doesn’t seem like the kind of leader to forgive disorder and chaos, considering how District 13 is run.
As the room fills, I brace myself for a less congenial reception. But the only people who register any kind of negativity are Haymitch, who’s always out of sorts, and a sour-faced Fulvia Cardew
Coin and Gale are in the midst of some exchange that seems positively chummy.
Oh. So….wait, no one is mad?
Coin calls the meeting to order. “Our Airtime Assault has officially launched. For any of you who missed yesterday’s twenty-hundred broadcast of our first propo—or the seventeen reruns Beetee has managed to air since—we will begin by replaying it.”
Wait. So not only is no one upset at yesterday’s events, but they’ve already finished their first propaganda piece? Already?
I have to admit that what Collins describes here is pretty amazing, especially considering how awful their last idea was. The propo is dark, gritty, and utilizes the speech Katniss plucked out of nowhere in the ruins of the makeshift hospital in District 8. It’s great, honestly. I will say I have one complaint, and it’s the message at the end of the propo:
IF WE BURN YOU
BURN WITH US
Shouldn’t it read:
IF WE BURN
YOU BURN WITH US
RIGHT??? That first one is SO CONFUSING.
But yes, BRAVO. It’s good for what is is. It makes sense in the context of this story, that they have to use television/entertainment in order to change minds. I’m just interested to see what will come of it.
I can’t help noticing the strain on Fulvia’s face, though. I think how hard this must be for her, watching Haymitch’s idea succeed under Cressida’s direction, when Fulvia’s studio approach was such a flop.
Yeah, but it was AN AWFUL IDEA. I don’t feel too bad because Fulvia’s been kind of unhelpful this whole time.
“But I do have to question the wide margin of risk that you were willing to operate within. I know the raid was unforeseen. However, given the circumstances, I think we should discuss the decision to send Katniss into actual combat.”
The decision? To send me into combat? Then she doesn’t know I flagrantly disregarded orders, ripped out my earpiece, and gave my bodyguards the slip? What else have they kept from her?
WHAT. Why on earth would they keep this to themselves, especially Boggs and Haymitch? WHAT.
No one has ratted out Gale and me. Not Plutarch, whose authority we ignored. Not Boggs with his broken nose. Not the insects we led into fire.
I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THEIR MOTIVATIONS.
Not Haymitch—no, wait a minute. Haymitch is giving me a deadly smile and saying sweetly, “Yeah, we wouldn’t want to lose our little Mockingjay when she’s finally begun to sing.”
BITTER MUCH, HAYMITCH? I like the guy, which I’ve said many times before, but this rubs me the wrong way. There’s one thing I don’t really get about him: why does he insist on being right and in charge when it comes to Katniss? I get understand that he’s helped her and saved her life before, but this attitude of his seems dangerous. I fear he’ll do something to actually harm her in the name of the “uprising.”
So now we know that Katniss will get sent into combat sometime in the future. Actual warfare. Man, that’s going to be intense. But in the meantime, Cressida maps out some of the propos plans they have: to do a feature on the effects of the Capitol bombing, another on Katniss as the Mockingjay, and then an idea created by Fulvia called We Remember.
“In each one, we could feature one of the dead tributes. Little Rue from Eleven or old Mags from Four. The idea being that we could target each district with a very personal piece.”
“A tribute to your tributes, as it were,” says Plutarch.
“That is brilliant, Fulvia,” I say sincerely. “It’s the perfect way to remind people why they’re fighting.”
I gotta agree with Katniss here: it might even be a better idea than Haymitch’s. The emotional opportunities here are much stronger than just using Katniss. Plus, that is the whole reason people are rebelling; they want to end the Capitol’s control of hunger.
The president sends everyone off to get to work, so Gale wheels me back to the hospital. We laugh a little about the cover-up. Gale says no one wanted to look bad by admitting they couldn’t control us. I’m kinder, saying they probably didn’t want to jeopardize the chance of taking us out again now that they’ve gotten some decent footage.
In my brain, this issue was a lot more grand, but you know…this makes a lot more sense than some sort of ~conspiracy~ to use it against Katniss and Gale. I GUESS EVERYTHING CAN’T BE A DEEP, TERRIFYING MYTHOLOGY. My brain. This is what it does.
Let’s talk more about Haymitch being a creepy weirdo. Man, he is seriously making me uncomfortable with his Edward Cullen routine of appearing beside Katniss’s bed. WAS HE WATCHING HER SLEEP?
Haymitch leans forward and dangles something on a thin white wire in front of my nose. It’s hard to focus on, but I’m pretty sure what it is. He drops it to the sheets. “That is your earpiece. I will give you exactly one chance to wear it. If you remove it from your ear again, I’ll have you fitted with this.” He holds up some sort of metal headgear that I instantly name the head shackle. “It’s an alternative audio unit that locks around your skill and under your chin until it’s opened with a key. And I’ll have the only key. If for some reason you’re clever enough to disable it”—Haymitch dumps the head shackle on the bed and whips out a tiny silver chip—“I’ll authorize them to surgically implant this transmitter into your ear so that I may speak to you twenty-four hours a day.”
WHAT THE FUCK. Haymitch, CALM YOUR SHIT. This is creepy and invasive and kind of like…almost enough to make me dislike him. I understand the need to communicate and stay in touch during these missions, but a small moment of honesty, maybe some anger, would have made the point. THIS IS OVERKILL. UGH. And then he eats her lunch too? PUNCH IN THE FACE, HAYMITCH. That’s what you deserve.
Thankfully, Haymitch is gone after this and we get MOAR FINNICK. Which is fantastic, because despite how he appeared when we first met him, I have come to like him a whole lot. I think he was so concerned with his image that he didn’t just..well, relax.
He joins Katniss in her room, bringing her food (TEAM FINNICK GUYS) so they can watch the propos as they air live on air. But before they can shut off the television, prior to a repeat of the clips, Caesar Flickerman appears on screen.
Peeta’s physical transformation shocks me. The healthy, clear-eyed boy I saw a few days ago has lost at least fifteen pounds and developed a nervous tremor in his hands. They’ve still got him groomed. But underneath the paint that cannot cover the bags under his eyes, and the fine clothes that cannot conceal the pain he feels when he moves, is a person badly damaged.
Like Katniss, I wondered how this was possible. How does a person lose fifteen pounds in less than a week? What did they do to him? But the truth is that the first broadcast we saw earlier in the week was vague enough not to contain any reference to time, meaning that it could have been recorded at any time in the weeks prior to this very day. This, however, is most likely recorded very recently.
It’s a short broadcast and Caesar only directs Peeta to make one statement: What would he like to tell Katniss?
“Don’t be a fool, Katniss. Think for yourself. They’ve turned you into a weapon that could be instrumental in the destruction of humanity. If you’ve got any real influence, use it to put the brakes on this thing. Use it to stop the war before it’s too late. Ask yourself, do you really trust the people you’re working with? Do you really know what’s going on? And if you don’t…find out.”
Well, fuck! Of course, this is meant to cast doubt in Katniss’s mind, and it’s an emotional weapon against the uprising. We know the awful things the Capitol has done and of course we’re rooting for the rebellion.
But Collins has done something very complicated and kind of subtle here: there is some truth to what Peeta has just said. Katniss doesn’t trust District 13. I don’t either. They are using her as a weapon and surely this is going to lead to a violent, destructive showdown. We know this.
But the problem is that Katniss has been forced to choose between two awful options. I think this speech is going to plant the seed of a third option for her. What that is, I’m unsure of. Hell, I might not even be right. I just think this story is heading towards a lot of difficult decisions. By having both sides of this war seem undesirable, she is setting up an interesting future.