2. Katniss Honours Rue
The Hunger Games (2012)
The unlikely allies manage to destabilise the career’s dominance in the games by destroying their supplies. Katniss recognises something is wrong when she finds piles of leaves that Rue (Amandla Stenberg) should have burned.
Katniss finds Rue trapped in a woven net, but Marvel (Jack Quaid) of District 1 appears and throws a spear that narrowly misses Katniss. In that moment, she has landed an arrow deep into his chest, killing him. She turns as Rue pulls the spear from her stomach and collapses into Katniss’ arms.
Tears form in both of their eyes as Katniss strokes her face and affirms Rue is ok. Rue asks if Katniss completed her mission and whispers that Katniss has to win. Rue, through tears, asks Katniss to sing. Rue’s gaze begins to lose focus, the trees above them become blurry, Katniss’ voice muffles and everything fades to white. Rue, at only 12 years old, has died in Katniss’ arms.
Katniss experiences grief and rage at the loss of Rue. Katniss begins to forage for flowers to surround Rue and places a bouquet in her hands. She kisses Rue on the forehead one last time and raises her hand in salute before leaving.
This scene is another spark which lights the fire of Rebellion. Katniss and Rue were true allies, and Katniss stood up on behalf of someone who had a very low chance of surviving the Games. Their time together, and Katniss’ kindness in Rue’s death, show solidarity between the Districts pitted against each other. The cruelty of the Capitol was never in doubt, but Rue’s death solidifies who the real enemy is. Rue served as a direct parallel to Prim, both the same age and both fated to be drawn into the arena. The only difference is that Prim had Katniss and Rue did not.
This emotional scene is one of the best moments in the entire franchise as it is the first death of a named ‘innocent’ that we see. Katniss had already killed another Tribute to survive, but Rue represents innocence, youth, and peace. Her brutal death remains shocking, despite viewers knowing she must die if Katniss is to live. The killing of a character you cannot help but love and wish to protect is the catalyst for viewers to fully oppose the Capitol, having seen up close just what they’re capable of. Rue’s death changes Katniss, she feels as if she has failed someone she loved and carries this weight for the rest of the story.
Recommended for you: 10 Sexiest Movie Vampires
1. There Is No District 12
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The Quarter Quell ends when Katniss blows the roof open utilising Beetie’s (Jeffrey Wright’s) weaponry. She wakes up on a Capitol transport craft disoriented, and stumbles upon Haymitch, Finnick and Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Katniss asks where Peeta is, before Plutarch takes over and reveals that they were always planning to get her out of the arena, that half the Tributes knew, and that she is the Mockingjay at the head of the Rebellion. He drops that they’re going to District 13.
He recounts the Capitol hovercrafts dropping firebombs over District 12. She’s still confused and asks if her family are not in 12. Gale responds, ‘There is no District 12, it’s all gone.’
Katniss turns to process the information, her sadness turns to grief and overwhelm. It transforms itself into understanding, rage, and finally determination, as she stares furiously ahead, knowing that the war has begun.
Whilst the scene is in some ways tamer than others in this list, this represents a shift in the series. Katniss is, finally, aware of what is going on. For the first time, she isn’t being spoken to in code and is being let in on the conversation and the truth, even if only briefly. This remains the singular most important scene in the series; in a few moments we learn about the extent of the Rebellion, the fate of the Victors, clarity to the sacrifices in the arena, that Plutarch has been a double agent, and that District 13 exists.
No scene in the series has a bigger impact on what is to come. The revelation of the destruction of District 12 represents another turning point for the series. There is truly no going back now. It’s open war.
Written by David Roskin
Recommended for you: The Hunger Games Movies Ranked
Which moments in the Hunger Games franchise most impacted you? Are you more a fan of the fantastical elements or the dramatic ones? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow @thefilmagazine on Facebook and X (Twitter) for more insightful movie lists.
You can support David Roskin via davidroskin.com.