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Old 01-09-2020, 02:57 PM
wei ji is offline
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Hunger Games: Who won Katniss Everdeen's long struggle with President Snow?


I've been thinking for some time about the final conversation (and its result) between Katniss Everdeen and President Snow in the closing part of the Hunger Games trilogy.

He tells Katniss that he didn't bomb and kill helpless children, and Katniss's beloved sister, Prim, a rebel medic administering to them, outside his front palace gate. His rival, president Coin, leader of the rebellion and district 13, did it to turn his guards and capitol residents against him. Katniss questions this, but ultimately believes him, due to the oddly intimate relationship between them in which they have sworn never to lie to one another.

It confounds me a bit that Snow thus induced (or manipulated?) Katniss to kill his real adversary, President Alma Coin of District 13, rather than himself via execution by arrow, Katniss's long cherished ambition. She shot over his head to accomplish this.

Yes, I get it that Coin was the new "bad actor" who would have prevented democracy and the high moral governing aims Katniss really wanted for Panem, but still, my question is this:

Was Katniss manipulated by Snow into doing what he wanted, or was this some kind of finely "negotiated" deal in which both got what they wanted -- probably at the cost of Katniss's life as well as Snow's?

It seems to me there is a lot of subtlety to think about and sort out here, but perhaps I'm a minority of one and a few "reads" and half a dozen comments (most telling me what an idiot I am) is all I'm going to get here when I throw this into the Straight Dope lion's den.

Last edited by wei ji; 01-09-2020 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:21 PM
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Didn't Gale admit they were the ones who did the bombing?
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Old 01-09-2020, 03:41 PM
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It's not like Snow's denial was the only thing that caused Katniss's decision. She also sat in on the meeting where restarting the Hunger Games was discussed, and Snow was clearly not in that meeting.
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Old 01-09-2020, 07:22 PM
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Didn't Gale admit they were the ones who did the bombing?
Not only that, Gale helped design the bomb.
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Old 01-10-2020, 12:09 AM
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Yeah, but I think it's true in a way, that Snow won. I'm just not sure that there is a forced dichotomy. What Katniss "won" was making the decision with all the information, completely from her own values and priorities, with no hidden facts or artificial constraints puppeteering her. Her entire life had been one constrained decision after another. This one was hers.

And I think Snow, to some extent, had also become increasingly trapped by pressure and events. He was in that "only tool is a hammer" mode with the Hunger Games and he had quickly lost all control over the lengths to which he was going. In the books it is much clearer that his own life is a complete hell of another sort, unimagined by Katniss or indeed much of anyone.

I think he liked Katniss, hoped she would succeed in building a more ideologically based society, and helped her see the full picture. It's not that he was a good guy deep down,but he respected good guys. He'd just never met one before who was also strong enough to make the bastard decisions as necessary to lead.

-or-

Maybe he was deeply evil. Maybe he gave Katniss so much of himself because he recognized her strength and purity, and for him corrupting her would be the most delicious thing imaginable. And maybe he finally managed to create a hunger games which would force her to murder, something she had assiduously (almost miraculously!) avoided thus far. In which case, he won.
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Old 01-10-2020, 12:10 AM
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Yeah, but I think it's true in a way, that Snow won. I'm just not sure that there is a forced dichotomy. What Katniss "won" was making the decision with all the information, completely from her own values and priorities, with no hidden facts or artificial constraints puppeteering her. Her entire life had been one constrained decision after another. This one was hers.

And I think Snow, to some extent, had also become increasingly trapped by pressure and events. He was in that "only tool is a hammer" mode with the Hunger Games and he had quickly lost all control over the lengths to which he was going. In the books it is much clearer that his own life is a complete hell of another sort, unimagined by Katniss or indeed much of anyone.

I think he liked Katniss, hoped she would succeed in building a more ideologically based society, and helped her see the full picture. It's not that he was a good guy deep down,but he respected good guys. He'd just never met one before who was also strong enough to make the bastard decisions as necessary to lead.

-or-

Maybe he was deeply evil. Maybe he gave Katniss so much of himself because he recognized her strength and purity, and for him corrupting her would be the most delicious thing imaginable. And maybe he finally managed to create a hunger games which would force her to murder, something she had assiduously (almost miraculously!) avoided thus far. In which case, he won.
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Old 01-10-2020, 10:39 AM
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Snow lost. To him Katniss was interesting, but only one of many adversaries in maintaining his personal position of power, and the capitol's position of power in Panem. The end of the entire power structure he'd built up was a much bigger loss than any victory in his attempts at manipulating Katniss.

And Katniss won, both against Snow, in bringing him down, and against Coin, who was just as ruthless and manipulative as Snow. It's not like she hadn't chosen to kill when forced into an impossible choice before.
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Old 01-10-2020, 02:38 PM
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Snow lost, but he succeeded in making Katniss' victory a Pyrrhic one.
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Old 01-10-2020, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wei ji View Post
...

Was Katniss manipulated by Snow into doing what he wanted, or was this some kind of finely "negotiated" deal in which both got what they wanted -- probably at the cost of Katniss's life as well as Snow's?
It didn't cost her life. She is shown at the end with children of her own.
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Old 01-11-2020, 02:28 PM
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It didn't cost her life. She is shown at the end with children of her own.
But she expected that it would cost her life, and attempted to kill herself with a nightlock pill. Peeta stepped in an prevented it. After that, she nearly lost her mind in custody, expecting execution any moment, and welcoming death as a release.

That's what she expected when she made the decision to kill President Coin over personal revenge in killing Snow.

In the books (which is what I regard as the "true" story), it took at least a decade before she recovered enough to have children. Clearly she expected to lose her life in shooting Coin, and was willing to pay that price.

The interesting question, unclear to me, is whether that was purely due to the killing of her sister Prim, or whether she understood fully the implications of Coin taking over from Snow -- which was what Snow was using to attempt to manipulate her into going after Coin in some manner. When she killed Coin, Snow laughed madly with delight, possible choking to death from satisfaction at his final "success."

So I still see the issue as ambiguous.
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Old 01-11-2020, 02:32 PM
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To Omniscient:

Hmmm. Interesting viewpoint. I assume you mean "pyrrhic" in the personal sense that she didn't get to kill Snow himself (one arrow to expend; a choice to be made). She saved Panem and the rebellion by her choice, as principled rebel leader Paylor was sworn in as president of Panem shortly after Coin's death.

Last edited by wei ji; 01-11-2020 at 02:33 PM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 02:39 PM
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It's not like Snow's denial was the only thing that caused Katniss's decision. She also sat in on the meeting where restarting the Hunger Games was discussed, and Snow was clearly not in that meeting.
Yes, but just before she raised her aim, and let her arrow fly into Coin's heart, she studied Snow at the execution post for remorse or fear or hope, finding none.

Then she reviewed their odd deal (which is what intrigues me about their relationship). "I think, Miss Everdeen, we can save a lot of time if we agree never to lie to one another."

"He's right, we did," she says. Then she takes out Coin, shooting over Snow's head.
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Old 01-11-2020, 02:51 PM
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Not only that, Gale helped design the bomb.
Yes, and that permanently damaged Katniss' relationship with him, as she admits in the books (the "true" story here, not the movies).

I agree with an earlier comment that the renewed Hunger Games, using Capital children, was another influence on her decision to eliminate Coin over Snow, but, as noted in one of my replies above, she didn't really make that decision final until she faced Snow at the execution post and chose to believe his interpretation of events: "Oh, make no mistake; she intends to take my place. I'm afraid we've both been played for fools."
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Old 01-11-2020, 02:54 PM
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And I should also add that I don't fully understand why she shaped the vote (influencing Haymitch's vote) in FAVOR of holding a new Hunger Games, unless it was to lull Coin into trusting her. This is why how this all played out is intriguing and ambiguous to me. Some have criticized author Suzanne Collins for leaving too many "loose ends" in the final book.
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Old 01-11-2020, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by wei ji View Post
And I should also add that I don't fully understand why she shaped the vote (influencing Haymitch's vote) in FAVOR of holding a new Hunger Games, unless it was to lull Coin into trusting her. This is why how this all played out is intriguing and ambiguous to me. Some have criticized author Suzanne Collins for leaving too many "loose ends" in the final book.
Havenít read the book, donít intend to. Tried to read the first book and found it wasnít for me (no surprise, really, given it's YA and Iím not).

That said, it seemed perfectly understandable, if emotions-based, for someone still come to grips with the trauma inflicted on them to want to look for a way to make those who inflicted it pay, even if only indirectly.
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Old 01-12-2020, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
Snow lost, but he succeeded in making Katniss' victory a Pyrrhic one.
I'd say that honor goes to Coin.
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