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"Catching Fire" (Hunger Games 2): A Full Explanation of What Happened and Why

A North Carolina native, Jessica is a Tarheels fan by marriage. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and English and is the proud mom of 4.

"Catching Fire," the movie (a.k.a Hunger Games 2)

"Catching Fire," the movie (a.k.a Hunger Games 2)

Questions This Article Answers

  • What was the victor's tour about?
  • What was the true purpose of Katniss and Peeta's "wedding"?
  • Why did Katniss hang a Seneca Crane dummy?
  • What was the purpose of the black mockingjay dress?
  • What was the meaning of the film's ending? I don't fully understand what happened at the end of Catching Fire.

If while watching the movie Catching Fire (Hunger Games 2), you found yourself lost or scratching your head at certain points, then reading this article will shine some much needed light on events that happened in the movie.

Warning: this article contains spoilers! If you get the chance, I highly recommend that you read the book Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins because there are many events that the movie leaves out for condensing purposes.

Katniss and Peeta, Victory Tour

Katniss and Peeta, Victory Tour

The Victor's Tour

At the beginning of the movie, we see Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch getting prepared for a tour of the 12 districts. This tour is called the “Victor’s Tour” and it is meant to further degrade and oppress the districts with The Capitol’s power. Basically, the one winning survivor of the Hunger Games (in this case, the two survivors) has to tour all 12 districts and each district has to be welcoming and seem cheerful, even though they are cheering on the individual who probably killed the child from their district.

However in this tour, President Snow wants Katniss to use the tour to fully convince the people that it was not an act of rebellion that caused her to eat the poisonous berries, but it was an act of desperation because of her unfathomable love for Peeta. In other words, President Snow wants Katniss to use the tour to squelch the rebellion. But their tour of the districts has the opposite effect…it seems to throw fuel on the fire.

an example of Katniss' feathery wedding dress

an example of Katniss' feathery wedding dress

Katniss and Peeta’s Wedding

Their farce wedding is just another attempt at President Snow trying to punish Katniss for what she did with the poisonous berries in the first movie. Basically, he’s trying to torture her by condemning her to a lifetime with a man whom she doesn’t love as deeply as she pretends. He has had people watching her and is knowledgeable of the fact that she has strong feelings for Gale—he saw the passionate kiss that Gale and she shared in the woods. This is why he made her wear her wedding gown to the interview—it was to further ridicule her, to remind her who was really in control.

Seneca Crane, the face behind the name on the dummy that Katniss hangs

Seneca Crane, the face behind the name on the dummy that Katniss hangs

Why Did Katniss Hang a Dummy That Read Seneca Crane?

The person responsible for creating the arena for the Hunger Games to take place is called the Head Gamemaker. In the first movie, The Hunger Games, we see a dark-haired man with weirdly shaped sideburns—he is the Head Gamemaker. At the very end of the movie, this man, Seneca Crane, is led into a room and shut in the room with a bowl full of poisonous berries. Basically, President Snow kills him because Katniss was able to outsmart the arena that he had created. The new Head Gamemaker is Plutarch Heavensbee (played by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman).

By hanging a dummy replica of Seneca Crane, she is reminding the people of The Capitol that President Snow doesn’t care about the people of the districts, but he doesn’t care about the people of The Capitol either.

Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), Katniss' stylist on The Hunger Games

Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), Katniss' stylist on The Hunger Games

Cinna and the Mockingjay Dress

Many people might not have understood why the peacemakers bombarded the room just before Katniss got sent into the arena and severely beat her stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz). The Capitol, or President Snow, wants to completely eradicate and suppress every inkling of rebellion—which is why he sent in new, vicious peacekeepers (the men in the weird white uniforms) to keep the districts under control.

They beat Cinna because of the dress that he made for Katniss’ interview. He altered her wedding dress so that it would completely burn away what President Snow had personally requested her to wear and replaced it with a black, mockingjay dress, the very symbol of rebellion. This is why he was beaten by the peacekeepers. Did they kill him? You’ll have to read Mockingjay, also known as Hunger Games No. 3, to figure this one out.

Katniss shoots arrow into the force field

Katniss shoots arrow into the force field

The Force Field in the Arena

In the arena, there is a force field that nearly kills Peeta when he hits it. Katniss found out about this force field during her time of training at The Capitol. Beetee (the very intelligent tribute) pointed out the tiny, barely visible square that denotes the existence of a force field. He called it the “chink in the armor.” In Catching Fire, the book, we learn that the reason why Haymitch (the drunk) was able to win his Hunger Games is because he used the force field as a weapon.

This gives Beetee and Katniss the idea to use the force field as a weapon as well. This is why at the very end of the movie, Finnick reminds Katniss to “remember who the enemy is.” Then she takes the wire trap that Beetee had set up and shot her arrow into the force field, thereby destroying the Head Gamemaker’s entire arena.

Allies in the Hunger Games: Katniss, Peeta, Johanna, Finnick, Wiress & Beetee

Allies in the Hunger Games: Katniss, Peeta, Johanna, Finnick, Wiress & Beetee

The Plan

Haymitch knew that President Snow was keeping a close eye on Katniss and for this reason, he did not trust Katniss enough to let her in on the real plan. Katniss could not understand why everyone in the arena was allying with Peeta and her, and why everyone was trying so hard to keep Peeta alive. Finnick and Johanna were in on the plan, as well as Haymitch and the Head Gamemaker. The plan all along was to break them out of the arena with a hovercraft from the supposedly extinct District 13. This means that even members of the precious Capitol are finally realizing how wrong President Snow is and they, too, are joining in on the rebellion.

Understanding How the Movie Ends

The movie ends with Haymitch and Plutarch Heavensbee being able to get Katniss and Finnick out of the arena, but President Snow has Peeta and Johanna. Katniss is so angry because her plan the entire time was to die in the arena so that Peeta could get out alive. Her number one goal was to keep Peeta alive and Haymitch had vowed to help her do that, but now she sees that Haymitch failed to keep his word.

Now District 12, her home, has been completely destroyed, even though her mom, Prim, and Gale made it out safely. What happens next? Will Peeta make it out alive? Will President Snow triumph or will the rebellion finally overthrow the power of The Capitol for once and for all? Take the poll to see how your predictions match against others.

© 2014 Jessica B Smith


lala on June 14, 2020:

yes but the question is... when did the plan start? when did they decide to rebel

Person on April 25, 2020:

It makes a lot more sense. Thanks

Terry-Jim on April 09, 2020:


Josie on January 16, 2019:

Now, this all makes sense, thanks for the info.

Discern on February 27, 2017:

Thanks For the info.

DW Davis from Eastern NC on April 18, 2015:

I read all three books but only saw the first movie so far. I am looking forward to watching the second movie sometime soon, and appreciate your Hub for letting me know what to look for.