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Years after its spine-chilling finale, Hunger Games remains the definitive YA dystopia franchise amongst a vast bookshelf of beloved book series from the genre. The thrilling saga launched the career of (now-Oscar winner) Jennifer Lawrence and introduced audiences to a number of actors who are crazy famous now. Mahershala Ali played Boggs, remember? With the world of Panem set to expand on screen with the movie adaptation of The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes, let’s look back at The Hunger Games: Mockingjay ending. Where did it leave things again?
Spoilers are ahead for the ending of The Hunger Games franchise. As book fans may remember, the final movie in the franchise covered the second half of the third book, Mockingjay, that had Katniss storming the Capitol to end Snow’s reign once and for all. Let’s get into it:
What Happens At The End Of Mockingjay Part 2
The final moments of the series goes out with a literal bang, when Katniss finds herself in the middle of a raid at the Capitol on the way to hunt down President Snow. Amid the chaos, Katniss sees her sister Prim with a medical team providing relief shortly before a bomb is dropped right on top of her and Katniss just misses the explosion. The entire series began with Katniss risking her life to save her sister and this scene signifies the cause she has rebelled against crossing the line beyond her control.
Katniss does make it to President Snow’s garden, presumably to kill him and finally end the suffering of Panem. But once she gets there, Snow apologizes for the death of her sister and says that he was not the one who had dropped the bombs on the Capitol. Snow explains he was about to surrender to the rebellion when the parachutes dropped, divulging how it's not in his character to wastefully execute Capitol children without purpose. He points the incident to President Coin, who he believes called for the massacre in order to turn the Capitol on Snow and take the presidency herself while Snow and Katniss were distracted by each other.
Katniss believes Snow once she is part of a meeting with other past victors, where Coin decides to assume the presidency and takes a symbolic Hunger Games with Capitol children to a vote. Realizing that Coin is no different than Snow was, Katniss agrees to the Hunger Games as long as she gets to execute Snow at the ceremony. During the public execution Coin makes a speech, announcing:
May her arrow signify the end of tyranny and the beginning of a new era.
Instead of piercing it into Snow’s heart, Katniss kills Coin and angry crowds erupt, storming right toward Snow, who is killed by the people. The ending shows that the abuse of power is not contained to one person, but often the systems that give them unfair power.
Who Lives And Who Dies In The Hunger Games' Final Act
Before we move forward with Mockingjay Part 2’s epilogue, we should take a step back and look at which major characters we said goodbye to and who lived to see Katniss’ arrow. Here’s who sadly did not make it out:
The Hunger Games Characters Who Die At The End Of Mockingjay Part 2
Sam Claflin’s Finnick Odair is the first major casualty of Mockingjay Part 2. The District Four victor died while Katniss and the crew are on their way to President Snow’s mansion. During their face-off against some mutated lizard-humans, he gives them a clearing to escape, but is not able to make it out himself. Boggs also dies on the way to Snow when he accidentally triggers a mine pod and the squad must leave him. Before dying, Boggs warns Katniss not to trust “them,” which as it turns out is Coin. And of course both President Snow and Coin die, leaving the position to President Paylor, the rebel leader of District 8.
The Hunger Games Characters Who Live At The End Of Mockingjay Part 2
As far as who is left alive after the traumatic events of the franchise, Finnick’s wife Annie Cresta remains alive and pregnant with their child. Annie returns to District 4 and gives birth to their son and keeps in touch with Katniss. District 7 hothead, Johanna Mason also survives and presumably returns home along with other surviving rebels such as Beetee. Gale Hawthorne assumes a government position in District 2, and as the book describes things, Katniss is relieved by this and believes he’ll soon find someone else to fall in love with and forget her. Plutarch Heavensbee is appointed as the Secretary of Communications and Effie and Haymitch thankfully remain alive as well and promise to keep in touch, with Haymitch returning to District 12 with Katniss and Peeta to raise geese.
Katniss And Peeta Settle Down
The Hunger Games series officially ends where it all began, with Katniss and Peeta’s ending. Katniss returns to reunite with Peeta, who is starting to recover from his Capitol torture. Peeta has been asking Katniss what is real and what is not to uncloud his head from the manipulation he faced at the hands of Snow. He asks her if her love for him is real or not, to which she confirms her genuine love for him. The movie ends with the couple a few years into the future with two young kids living a peaceful life in a meadow. When the baby in Katniss’ arms starts crying, she delivers these lines to signal the bittersweet ending of The Hunger Games:
Did you have a nightmare? I have nightmares too. Someday I'll explain it to you. Why they came. Why they won't ever go away. But I'll tell you how I survive it. I make a list in my head. Of all the good things I've seen someone do. Every little thing I could remember. It's like a game. I do it over and over. Gets a little tedious after all these years. But there are much worse games to play.
Whether this is a happy ending for Katniss and Peeta is up for interpretation and it does leave things open-ended for the couple in some ways. The couple found each other and some peace away from the politics of Panem, but they are both very much affected by the games. Katniss still has nightmares, but by the end of Hunger Games she is content with playing a much lower stakes game when the bad dreams haunt her then living in the world of pain that created them.
Is Mockingjay Really The End Of The Hunger Games?
Many loose ends are tied at the end of Mockingjay Part 2, but it also does leave some opportunities for more story to occur in the future. The politics of Panem could certainly reach another breaking point at some point that could bring out all the skeletons in Katniss and Peeta’s closet. Josh Hutcherson has shown interest in returning for a sequel, even with an idea in mind and we hope we do see another chapter to the saga with the original cast someday.
For now, Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins published a prequel to her popular series earlier this year, The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes, which tells the story of President Snow as a teenager. And a movie is in the works with Francis Lawrence, who directed Catching Fire and both Mockingjay films on board to adapt the movie. You’re all caught up on where Hunger Games left things on the big screen. What did you think of how Mockingjay finished the series? Vote in the poll below.