Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 591
Seeing Darius draws Katniss away from Peeta. When she sees Darius, who sacrificed himself to save Gale, she sees herself as part of the community that relied on the Hob. Peeta, the son of a well-off baker, is not “Hob.” However, she has little time to worry over this latest manipulation. After a night of nightmares, Haymitch retrieves Katniss, and she notices that he is wearing a bangle with a pattern of flames. There is no time to inquire as he drags her to a morning meeting in which he instructs Katniss and Peeta to continue pretending to be lovers. Their next order of business is to try to find allies.
Katniss struggles with the idea of trying to find allies among people like flirtatious Finnick, brutal Brutus, and oft-naked Johanna. Haymitch points out that as the youngest and newest victors, Katniss and Peeta are at a disadvantage: the others will be more likely to turn on them than on the victors with whom they are already friends. Peeta also reminds Katniss, they have promised themselves to approach the Quell as though they are Careers.
At the Training Center, Katniss and Peeta split up. Katniss makes friends with the other victors slowly while Peeta seems to effortlessly talk with the others, even the Careers. Many of the victors are scarred and have turned to substance abuse, like Haymitch has. However, alcoholism is not nearly as debilitating as morphling addiction, which Katniss sees in some of the victors. Beetee and Wiress from District 3 are old and unimpressive physically; Katniss learns later that the other victors refer to them dismissively as Nuts and Volts. However, the District 3 victors are both very intelligent. They share with Katniss that their district has rebelled against the Capitol, and they are disappointed to infer from Katniss’s subtle answers that District 12 has not had an uprising. Beetee and Wiress also spot a force field around the gamemakers’ table, which is invisible except for a hazy spot in the field that disrupts vision. Beetee likens it to a chink in armor. Katniss also makes friends with the eighty-year-old woman from District 4, though she can only make fishhooks now. Her counterpart, Finnick, continues to flirt with Katniss. He shows off his knot-tying skills by making a noose and pretending to hang himself with it. Katniss is unimpressed. Nor does she approve of Johanna, who is naked again and oiling her body at the wrestling pit.
By the end of the day, Katniss has not had a very easy time with the other victors. Finally, she gives up and goes to the archery station, where she starts to display her incredible talent, shooting multiple objects out of the air and silencing the entire Training Center. The display is enough that when Peeta and Katniss return to Haymitch, he shares that most of the others want to ally themselves with Katniss, even Brutus.
As the chapter ends, Katniss and Peeta consider what they will demonstrate to the Gamemakers. Previously, Katniss fired an arrow at the Gamemakers for their ambivalence. Now they are protected by a force field. When she enters after Peeta’s demonstration, the Gamemakers are disturbed. Katniss does not know what Peeta did, but she suddenly realizes what she can do. She takes a dummy that is used for target practice, ties a noose, and hangs the dummy. Then she writes across the dummy the name Seneca Crane, the previous year’s Head Gamemaker who was executed for allowing Katniss to outwit the Capitol with her poisonous berries bluff.