Chapter 21 Summary
Peeta has suggested that he should be killed before the squad goes on with their mission to assassinate President Snow. He has just killed another squad member, but the others disagree. They cannot leave him behind, Peeta argues, because he might risk being captured by the Capitol, which is unthinkable. At the very least, he asks, they should give him a suicide pill. However, Katniss points out that this situation is not about Peeta; it is about the mission. They need him.
They see another emergency Capitol broadcast. President Snow is attempting to explain what Katniss’s death means for the rebellion. As Katniss is the face of the rebellion, her death means that the tides are about to turn in this war. However, Beetee manages to interrupt the broadcast, and President Coin is now on the screen. She introduces herself as the leader of the rebellion and encourages the rebels to remember Katniss’s legacy. As she says this, an image of the Mockingjay is shown. Katniss reflects that this is all that she need be for the rebellion now: an image without speech. When President Snow returns to the screen, he ends the transmission quickly and Katniss wonders whether someone will die as punishment for allowing the rebels to hack into the broadcast.
The squad considers their route to Snow using the Holo. There are many pods between them and their goal. They look at the underground map, and there appear to be fewer pods. Pollux, the Avox cameraman, was assigned to work in the sewers for years, so he will be an asset to them. Before they leave, they try to remove all trace of their presence.
Below ground, they begin to make their way through the tunnels. When they stop for rest, Katniss and Peeta talk briefly. Katniss asks Peeta about his “shiny” memories. He explains that he has begun to be able to tell the difference between his real memories and the hijacked ones because the hijacked memories seem too vivid. Katniss recalls her own experiences with tracker jacker venom and suddenly realizes that some of the details do seem shiny in her mind. Peeta asks whether Katniss is trying to protect him and she explains that she is. After all, that is what they have always done for each other.
Katniss and Pollux begin waking the squad up. Amidst the groans and yawns of a squad of soldiers waking, Katniss suddenly makes out another sound. It is a hissing sound coming through the sewers. When she silences the others, she is able to make out one word, hissed over and over again: her name.