8. Peeta’s Revelation Live With Caesar Flickerman
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The ‘Quarter Quell’ brought back former Victors to face off in the arena. This year, the Tribute interviews with Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci) hit a distinctly different tone. The Victors turned Tributes are not scared children like in an average year, but angry adults who are famous across the country, who have already been forced through this cycle and know their audience.
They all use their moment in the spotlight to cast doubt upon the legitimacy of the Games, whether by invoking sympathy and claiming their love for the Capitol, showcasing how cruel this is when they fought to win protection from the Games, or explaining that the Games simply can be stopped by Snow. All perform admirably, but none more than Peeta Mellark, coming in last as the male Tribute from District 12. His rapport with Caesar Flickerman creates an atmosphere of a conversation between friends. Peeta reveals and lies that he and Katniss were married in secret, and stumbles along slowly as he says he’d have no regrets ‘if it weren’t for the baby.’
The crowd are in uproar, the first sighting of open disdain of the ruling power from Capitol citizens. He is sent to stand at the back with the other Victors. His holding of Katniss’s hand cascades into all the Victors holding hands. In a bone-chilling scene, those condemned to fight to the death raise their hands and stand united together as 12 Districts.
The Victors standing united is another defining moment in the series, as for the first time in history, all 12 Districts stand hand in hand, and the only way the Capitol can overcome this is by shutting the feed down, making it clear to all of Panem that the Capitol is losing control. These Victors know what this will cost them and stand strong anyway. The Victors know they have little power, but they hold the hearts of the Capitol citizens and will weaponize it. At this point, many are already involved in a secret Rebellion plan and have no intention of fighting until only one remains.
This scene is so memorable for many reasons, primarily due to this being one of the first ‘wins’ over the Capitol. This moment remains uncomfortable watching, as those standing united will be forced to kill each other the next morning, all showcasing their power whilst remaining powerless against their own fates, relying on those outside of the arena to continue the Rebellion. This scene sets the tone for the rest of the series; Katniss isn’t alone in her stance against the Capitol, she has 23 ‘allies’ all willing to risk everything alongside her, in some twisted way.
7. Katniss Finds Her Voice in District 8
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)
Katniss and an elite team head to District 8 to film ‘propos’ (propaganda clips) to air across Panem and reinvigorate the rebels as the war rages on. While in District 8, Katniss visits a hospital and allows the wounded to see that she’s alive. Bombers from the Capitol arrive. Katniss and Gale (Liam Hemsworth) spring into action and take down two bombers. However, the hospital has been bombed and is engulfed in flames. Cressida (Natalie Dormer) encourages Katniss to talk about what she’s seeing, to express her raw emotion to the camera, as she is used to.
She announces that she is alive and in District 8, where the Capitol bombed a hospital, killing everyone inside. She screams that the Capitol will never treat them fairly and will kill them all unless they fight back. She speaks directly to President Snow, points at the seal of the Capitol on a crashed bomber, and announces ‘If we burn, you burn with us!’.
This moment remains so memorable as it showcases the ‘return’ of Katniss. At this point, the viewers have seen Katniss continually adapt, survive and overcome any obstacle she’s faced with, but by Mockingjay Part 1, she is mentally broken, suffering from massive unresolved trauma and lacking any ability to fulfil the role thrust upon her – figurehead for the Rebellion. By this point, the rebels have failed to utilise Katniss and have only managed to make her feel worse and as if she is a hindrance to the Rebellion itself.
But now, we see Katniss as we know her, unfiltered, raw, unscripted, and angry. This moment highlights the continued cruelty of the Capitol, and Katniss’ reclamation of her own narrative. Both Governments are threatened by those they cannot control, whereas Katniss represents the 12 other Districts – unafraid to take what they need by any means necessary. Lawrence’s performance is electrifying, with her rage reminding us how powerful Katniss is. Katniss has finally arrived in the Rebellion and is truly ready to face off against the Capitol. In this moment, it feels clear that she can and will topple a regime, she is just that impressive.
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6. Katniss Threatens Suicide
The Hunger Games (2012)
Katniss and Peeta have successfully won the 74th Hunger Games as the first duo in history to do so. A booming voice announces a rule change – there may only be one victor. Peeta immediately offers up his life in exchange for Katniss’ survival. He remarks that ‘they have to have their Victor.’ Katniss throws her bow down, says that they don’t have to have their Victor and pulls a handful of nightlock berries (poisonous berries which kill when ingested) from her pocket, implying that both should die together instead. Peeta strokes Katniss’ hair as they count down to the moment they reach to eat the berries. A panicked announcement comes through to stop them in their tracks and announce the two as the winners of the 74th Hunger Games.
This moment is the first time we see someone from the Districts win over the Capitol. Katniss’ desperate action forced the Capitol to allow two Victors, and showed the nation that they can overcome the might of their oppressors. The panicked announcement shows the cracks in the Capitol’s dictatorship; the whole nation sees them scrambling to regain control, taken from them by a 16-year-old girl and a handful of berries.
This scene marks the beginning of the Rebellion. It remains one of the most important scenes in the franchise as we’re introduced to Katniss’ power over the Capitol, not just over her fellow Tributes. We know that President Snow will not react to this lightly and know that Katniss has truly ignited a fire she cannot control, with simply a desperate act of survival. This scene evokes joy at the survival of our two heroes, but dread and anxiety – we know their survival will come at a price.