This Saturday, August 24 is a special day not only because it’s John Green’s birthday, but also because it will be nine years since the day Mockingjay, the third and final book of Suzanne Collin’s bestselling YA dystopian trilogy The Hunger Games, was published by Scholastic and hit the shelves! To celebrate this momentous occasion, the ninth anniversary of when Collins’s – and as well as Katniss’s – story came to a close, here are seven of its most memorable moments.
Please note that this list is in chronological order and will not include the epilogue, as that takes place long after the events of Mockingjay. Also, there is only one character death on this list, but it is the most heart-wrenching of them all, so as Katniss would say to Peeta, “Stay with me.”
*Also, spoiler warning: if you haven’t read Mockingjay or any of the Hunger Games books, then click off now or, as the tributes had done back in the Games, stay alive!*
Now, on with the list…
1. “If we burn, you burn with us!”
This moment really turns around Katniss’s chances of providing authentic footage for her prep team’s “propos” and succeeding in her role as the rebellion’s “Mockingjay.” After witnessing a District 8 hospital she just visited get destroyed by Capitol planes, she gives a very powerful monologue targeted at President Snow, saying that he will go down with the citizens of Panem, regardless of the rebellion’s outcome. This scene shows that Katniss needs to be brought into the action to show her team, and everyone in all of Panem, that she means business.
2. “The Hanging Tree”
If the movie based on the first half of Mockingjay has shown us one thing that the book could not capture, it is that Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Katniss, can sing! This song not only tells the morbid story of a couple who wants to flee from the world by meeting up by the titular “hanging tree,” but it also gives her team even more footage to be used for the rebellion’s propaganda. In the movie, the song seems to snap Peeta back to his old self, at least somewhat, during the last time he is shown on camera before being taken away. Also, speaking of Peeta…
3. Hijacked Peeta’s attempt to murder Katniss
This picture is probably the least disturbing one to use for this point in the novel (you’re welcome).
When Gale and the rest of the rescue team come back with the Capitol’s captors, including Finnick’s love Annie and a bald Johanna, Katniss rushes to greet Peeta, who in the movie is very bruised in the face, but when she approaches him, he takes her by surprise and starts to choke her to death. After he gets knocked out, Katniss wakes up and finds out from her team that his memories of Katniss had been hijacked by Snow’s officials to use him against her and her cause.
Needless to say, this is one of the most heart-breaking scenes to ever see, which is why it is highly recommended to keep the view-count of this scene in particular to a minimum if you want to keep the rest of your heart intact.
4. Finnick and Annie’s Wedding
After the movie based on the first part of the novel concluded on a very dark, tense note, the second film starts almost immediately with Finnick and Annie’s wedding, the moment that Finnick and Annie fans have wanted to see adapted to the big screen — this pure moment provides a rare respite where characters can share in the joy of each other’s company rather than plotting against the enemy. Yes, they do it for propaganda, but also because they can not wait for any second longer to be together and that these peaceful moments are few and far between.
Also, this is the moment your future self will say to you, “Enjoy it now, because it’s not going to last.” Unfortunately, in Finnick’s case, this comes true several chapters later.
5. Peeta and Gale’s one-on-one
Okay, now this is the moment that all of the shippers have waited to read and watch! Believing Katniss is asleep when she’s really not, Peeta and Gale have a conversation with each other, which by itself is very rare, and of course, you guessed it, it’s about Katniss. They both discuss how she would be better off with the other: Peeta saying that Gale would protect her better, Gale that Peeta is the one she truly loves based on their interactions in both Games.
This scene may be fan-service for many THG shippers (myself included), but it is a scene that needed to happen regardless and that Katniss needed to overhear…
6. Prim’s death
So, here we are, the most heart-shattering scene in the book. It may be one of the most heart-breaking scenes in all of contemporary literature. Katniss has been fighting for Prim since the very first book, and Prim is the very reason she volunteered and participated in the Games in the first place. Katniss’s sense of purpose and pride literally falls before her.
And let’s not forget the moment Katniss has with Prim’s cat Buttercup afterward…
7. “You love me. Real or not real?”
There could not have been a better segway between the last moment and this one. From every bleak moment comes a brighter one right after it. From the ashes comes a brighter fire. From death comes rebirth, renewal, and even reinvention. While he is not fully recovered from his hijacking, at least not completely, Peeta brings that kind of fire to Katniss during her darkest hour when Gale could not, especially when he was the indirect cause of her sister’s death.
So, when she tells him that she returns his love with just one word, “Real,” she really means it.
Featured Image via International Business Times.