On the last day of training, the tributes have individual sessions with the Gamemakers. Peeta paints a picture of Katniss holding Rue after Rue's death, and Katniss shows a dummy with the name Seneca Crane, the previous Head Gamemaker, painted on it. That night, Katniss and Peeta decide they don't want to fall victim to another one of the Capitol's Games. Katniss especially refuses to let Snow break her spirit.
The tributes are interviewed by Caesar Flickerman the night before the competition. When it is Katniss' turn, she does a twirl and her dress transforms into a black jumpsuit with feathers and wings. Cinna, her stylist, has transformed her into a mockingjay. She is still pondering the significance of this when her interview is over and Peeta is next to be interviewed. He lies and says that Katniss and he are already married and that she is pregnant.
Katniss awakes the next morning, the day of the Quell. Cinna helps her get dressed, and as she is waiting to go in the arena, Cinna is beaten and arrested. Moments after his unconscious body is dragged from the room, Katniss is sent into the arena.
Katniss is unnerved by Cinna's arrest and beating but calms herself down enough to realize that the Cornucopia in the arena is on an island surrounded by water, with small strips of land radiating from it like spokes on a wheel. She and Peeta ally themselves with Mags and Finnick, who is wearing Haymitch's gold bracelet with flames on it. They venture deeper into the jungle until Peeta accidentally walks into the force-field.
Peeta's heart stops beating, but Finnick resuscitates him and they settle down for the night while Katniss takes the first watch. She has to wake the others up, though, when she realizes a fog that is approaching the group blisters and burns the skin.
Peeta is too weak to run, so Finnick carries him and Katniss carries Mags as they try to distance themselves from the fog. However, Katniss struggles to carry Mags and tells Finnick she can't go on anymore. Mags kisses Finnick goodbye and runs off into the fog and dies. Peeta, Katniss, and Finnick make it to the water and use it to cleanse the toxins from their body. That Mags and Finnick were willing to sacrifice Mags' life to save Peeta confuses Katniss.
As they are regaining their strength, Katniss ponders why Finnick saved Peeta's life twice now. Their relaxation is interrupted when a group of monkeys attacks them. Peeta's life is saved when the female victor tribute from District 6, a drug addict, jumps in front of Peeta. She is bitten in the chest and dies shortly after. Once again, Katniss is struck by a tribute willing to give her life to save Peeta.
She realizes she can never kill Finnick because he has saved Peeta, and she owes him for that. She is wondering what this means for her and Peeta when they see Johanna, Beetee, and Wiress emerge from the other side of the jungle. Johanna tells Katniss that the only reason she was with Beetee and Wiress was because of Katniss, which confuses things even more.