Chapter 18 Summary
With Katniss’s dress transformed into a mockingjay, it seems as though she is being broadcast as the personification of rebellion across Panem. Even Caesar Flickerman can tell what is happening. However, after a night of speculation about whether the Capitol has made a mistake and even after Katniss’s transformed dress, Peeta’s interview will be remembered as the greatest shock of the night.
Peeta is the last victor to be interviewed. He bitterly explains to Caesar that he and Katniss were already married in a private ceremony. Who would ever have thought that the Quarter Quell would reap each district’s victor? Caesar agrees, but he suggests that at least they enjoyed a few months of happiness together. Peeta is not finished; he announces that Katniss is pregnant. The crowd goes crazy. Katniss, Peeta, and all of the victors join hands. It is an image of unity, one that has not been seen since the districts united in rebellion during the Dark Days. The Capitol cuts the broadcast, but the subversive message has already aired.
Afterward, there is little time for anyone to react before the Hunger Games will begin. Katniss meets with Haymitch, who reports that people are not sure how to react. This situation is without precedent. However, no matter what the people say, President Snow will not cancel the Games. Katniss and Peeta only have a few moments for Katniss to confirm that she is okay with what Peeta has done, although she knows it will make life awkward for her family in District 12. Haymitch’s last words of advice are “stay alive.” After a second, he adds that Katniss should remember who her enemies are.
The last person Katniss sees before she goes into the arena is Cinna. Cinna’s dress with the mockingjay was rebellious. He once said that he channels his emotions into his work so no one will be hurt. As Katniss is enclosed by a glass tube and raised into the arena, a group of Peacekeepers enter the room, beat Cinna, and drag him away. Only trails of his blood remain.
Katniss has little time to react because she is being placed in the arena. As she looks around and sees that she is standing on a pedestal in the middle of a body of water, she thinks this is no place for a “girl on fire.”