Chapter 17 Summary

Katniss has just hanged a dummy with “Seneca Crane” written on it. The Gamemakers are shocked by the message she has delivered, and it is only with effort that Plutarch Havensbee is able to dismiss Katniss. As she leaves, she reflects that she may well be punished for this action—as might Peeta. But she does not regret her harsh actions. When Katniss meets up with Peeta and the others, Peeta shares with the group his demonstration. He chose to use his skill with camouflage dyes and painting to depict Rue as she looked when she died. When asked why he would do such a thing, Peeta explains that he wanted to hold the Gamemakers accountable, even if only for a moment. Effie, Haymitch, and Cinna are all shocked by the actions of the two tributes from District 12 because these ideas are forbidden. When Peeta declares that they do not want allies, Haymitch disgustedly admits that at least now he will not have to help them kill his friends.

The next day, Peeta and Katniss are left to themselves to prepare for the Games. They decide to spend the time together on the roof of the Training Center. They play catch by throwing an apple into the force field. Katniss falls asleep in Peeta’s lap as he plays with her hair. He wakes her up for the sunset, and Katniss reflects that this might be her last chance to look at one.

Finally, Katniss is prepared for her interview with Caesar Flickerman. Her stylists, whom Cinna has berated for their inconsiderateness, now struggle not to break down while tending to Katniss’s hair. They each end up declaring how much they will miss Katniss and leaving the room. When Cinna arrives, he shows Katniss her dress. President Snow has declared that she must wear her wedding dress to the interview. It is heavier than she remembers, but she recalls the dress, particularly its sleeves, which extend from her wrists to her feet. Cinna hints that Katniss should spin in this dress, like she did in her interview dress last year.

At the interview, Johanna Mason tells Katniss to make the President pay for what he is doing. It is a surprisingly supportive statement coming from Johanna, but Katniss realizes that most of the victors are going to use their interviews to criticize President Snow for killing off the victors. By the time Katniss appears, the Capitol audience is in tears. Others are calling out for President Snow to change the rules so the victors will not have to kill each other off. Katniss continues their work, but when she spins to show off her wedding dress, she is surprised by what happens. It catches fire and turns black. With its unusual sleeves and black color, Cinna’s dress looks like a mockingjay.