Chapter 5 Summary

After listening to President Coin’s announcement, Katniss immediately categorizes District 13’s leader alongside President Snow as “another power player who has decided to use me as a piece in her games.” In retrospect, this has never worked as well as the power player intended. Katniss undermined the Capitol’s authority by winning the 74th Hunger Games. When President Snow sent Katniss out to quell rebellion, she instead seemed to bolster it. Still, Coin seems to have realized that Katniss is a threat faster than her peers did. Gale disagrees with Katniss’s analysis, arguing that Coin, in her capacity as a leader, cannot allow the public to see her as being manipulated by Katniss.

Regardless, before Katniss can become the Mockingjay, she will have to undergo rigorous preparation with her prep team. Venia and Octavia have been instructed to take Katniss to “beauty base zero,” which means that she will look stunningly beautiful but not artificial. From there, they begin to prepare her to wear the costume that Cinna designed. However, there are problems. The first is Katniss’s scars. When she was in the Quarter Quell, Johanna Mason attacked Katniss in order to cut the Capitol’s tracking device out of her arm. The resulting scar is so hideous that the preps call upon Fulvia and Plutarch for their advice. The sight of the scar is enough to make Fulvia gag, but Plutarch says that they will probably just end up putting a bandage over it.

Katniss does not enjoy the prodding attentions of her prep team. However, she does enjoy her visit to the armory. There, she meets Beetee again, a fellow victor who won his Hunger Games by electrocuting his fellow tributes. Beetee shows Katniss a sleek black bow that responds to her voice. It comes with special arrows that are incendiary and even explosive. Katniss can arm the bow or disarm it by saying “good night.” Beetee has also prepared an impressive bow for Gale. When Katniss comments that their new bows might not be fair to deer, Gale points out that they will not be shooting deer, which strikes Katniss as rather cold-blooded. However, Gale argues that he would have used a bow like this to defend District 12 against the firebombing. Katniss is forced to agree, though she does not point out that the people she has killed have stayed with her.

Ultimately, the bow and the prep team’s attentions work surprisingly well. When Katniss sees footage of herself in uniform, she is shocked by how impressive she looks. Finnick, who is nearby, informs Katniss that people will want to “kill you, kiss you, or be you.” The more pressing problem is the lines that Katniss is supposed to deliver in her propos. When she delivers her line “People of Panem, we fight, we dare, we end our hunger for justice,” she suddenly hears cackles of laughter over an audio system before Haymitch declares that Katniss’s performance is “how a revolution ends.”