Chapter 26 Summary
President Snow has told Katniss that he did not order the attack that killed Prim. However, now Katniss cannot decide what really happened. The Capitol forces did not fire on the hovercraft. On the other hand, surely Snow would have used a remaining hovercraft to escape Panem. The Capitol might have had double exploding bombs, but Katniss knows that the rebels certainly did. Why would Prim, a thirteen year old, be sent to the Capitol, unless she was specially authorized to go? Katniss tries to ask Haymitch what happened, but her former mentor is too drunk to help. When she asks Gale, he admits that neither he nor Beetee knows whether their bombs were used on the children. Regardless, Gale knows that they will never be able to fall in love now because Katniss will always associate him with Prim’s death.
Before long Katniss is required to prepare for Snow’s execution. Her prep team returns, admitting that they are now the only prep team from the Hunger Games that has survived. Although they do their best to return Katniss to “beauty base zero,” she is now so scarred and burned that it is all but impossible. Katniss has been given one more arrow—the execution is to be the “last shot of the war”—and it seems that everything is in place. However, there is one more thing that Katniss must do.
President Coin calls the seven remaining victors together. Beetee explains that both sides targeted the victors during the war, which is why only seven now survive. Coin explains that their meeting has a specific purpose. In the aftermath of the rebellion, the outlying districts are demanding further vengeance, some even going so far as to ask for every citizen of the Capitol to be executed. In order to maintain a sustainable population, Coin and her advisers are considering one last Hunger Games, this time with the children of the Capitol’s leaders. Johanna and Enobaria both vote for the Hunger Games to happen. Peeta, Beetee, and Annie all vote against the games. Katniss votes that the games should be allowed to happen, “for Prim,” and Haymitch carries the vote when he says “I’m with the Mockingjay.” President Coin seems pleased that there will be a final Hunger Games and leaves to tell Snow before the execution.
Katniss is brought into a room to execute Snow. He is wearing the same look of amusement that he did during their last meeting. Katniss recalls his claim that they agreed not to lie to each other. Now, she decides, he is right. Katniss adjusts her aim and assassinates President Coin, who falls to the ground, dead.