Chapter 19 Summary

Peeta has just joined Squad 451, and Katniss thinks that Coin wants her dead. Boggs complains, but President Snow overrides his concerns. He tells Katniss that Coin probably does want Katniss dead, but that he will do his best to keep her alive anyway. Coin has never liked Katniss, and Katniss’s demands for immunity have not helped her case. Now, with the districts unified, Katniss is primed to become a threat. After the rebels seize power, would Katniss support Coin’s ascendancy to power? Katniss explains that she would have to consider. Boggs points out that the fact that Katniss has to think makes her a threat. For Coin, Katniss would be most useful as a martyr.

Peeta is having trouble adjusting to life in the squad. It is clear that no one trusts him, especially Katniss. However, she is surprised to find that others around her are disapproving of the way she has been treating Peeta. Haymitch explains that if it were Katniss that was tortured in the Capitol, Peeta would never give up on her. So one night while on duty, Katniss decides to reach out to Peeta while he ties knots in a length of rope. Peeta explains that he can no longer tell what is real. So the Squad offer to help him figure things out. Peeta can share a memory and the squad will do their best to tell him whether or not his memories are real.

However, it is a slow process, and one that is often painful. Katniss, Finnick, and Gale are all experts in some part of Peeta’s life, but some of his questions are still unnerving. For example, after describing the way that the Capitol tortured an Avox only so that Peeta would be forced to watch, he asks whether it happened. Boggs explains that it probably did happen. Peeta admits that he thought it would be because the memory was not “shiny.”

It does seem like the propos require some more “heat.” The tame attacks on pods have not been very interesting, though one of the sharp shooters has already died. Now, they will be sent after a more aggressive pod. At first, the attack goes well, and the Squad even laughs at some of the soldiers as they try to act well in front of the cameras. Just as Boggs tells the Squad to focus, he steps on a trap and the explosion costs him his legs.