Summary and Analysis
Although Katniss is sad she couldn't say goodbye to everyone, she knows she must let them go because she is not coming home this time. She must accept her fate and work solely toward saving Peeta. She cannot bring him home if she dwells on Prim, her mother, and Gale, so she pushes them out of her mind and focuses on Peeta.
During dinner, Effie says she had her new gold wig designed to match Katniss' mockingjay pin, and Peeta and Haymitch should get gold ankle bands and bracelets so the whole team matches. Katniss realizes Effie doesn't know her mockingjay has now become a symbol to the rebels but still thinks it is a harmless icon of last year's Games.
After dinner, the team sits and watches the videos of the reapings from other districts to get an idea of who their competition is. Effie and Haymitch leave, and Katniss and Peeta stay up to watch tapes of old Games to study their competitor's strategies. Peeta opens his arms up to Katniss, and the two hold each other. She feels warm and happy, and is enjoying his company. Katniss notes that there is a weight off her shoulders because her relationship with Peeta can no longer hurt Gale as she will never get to see him again.
The pair decides to watch the tape of Haymitch's Games, when he won the fiftieth Quell. They learn that Haymitch won because he figured out that the force field that surrounded their arena bounced back anything that touched it.
When he was chased with an axe by the only other tribute left alive, he lured her to the edge of the arena, where the force field was. When she threw the axe at him, he ducked and the weapon flew back, embedding itself in her head. Haymitch was crowned the victor.
Katniss and Peeta comment that Haymitch figured out how to use the force field as a weapon against other tributes, and in turn, the Capitol. The Capitol never intended the force field to be a weapon, just like they didn't anticipate Katniss' trying to use the poisonous berries to commit suicide at the end of her Games. She realizes that between her, Peeta, and Haymitch, they must surely be able to devise a plan to get Peeta home.
At first, Katniss is upset that she doesn't get to say goodbye to her family and friends. She says that she had wanted to say farewell one final time, but the Capitol has stolen that away from her as well. This perpetuates the theme of imprisonment. She has been stripped of her life, free will, and ability to love whomever she wants. Now, she can't even say one final goodbye to her loved ones. She is truly a prisoner on her way to her execution, her final moments spent in the arena.
Effie's new haircut and desires to have the entire team wear matching gold, the same as Katniss' mockingjay pin, foreshadow that perhaps their team effort will extend outside the arena. Katniss comments that Effie must not know the pin has come to symbolize rebellion throughout Panem; however, due to the dire situation and to Effie's position in the Capitol, it is safe to assume she is cognizant of the bird's significance.
Katniss and Peeta's rekindled affection demonstrates thatshe is free to act on her feelings for Peeta even though she may not be sure of how she truly feels. Katniss believes she is going to die and will never return home to District 12 or to Gale. For the first time in a year, she enjoys the fact that her actions can no longer hurt someone she deeply cares for. It is ironic that after the Capitol has taken away all of her free will, she is finally able to come to terms with her feelings for Peeta and realize she can't hurt Gale anymore.
Haymitch's participation in the Games is especially noteworthy. He won his Games by using the force field against the Capitol. Though it was a Capitol creation, Haymitch was able to use it to his advantage and win the Games with it. This is similar to the way in which Katniss and Peeta won their Games with the poisonous berries.
This chapter introduces the force field as another symbol of rebellion. It suggests that Katniss is not the first to make a mockery of the Capitol in the Games. Like the poisonous berries and the mockingjays, the force field, something the Capitol has created to control the people, was never intended to be something that tributes could use as a weapon. The force field symbolizes the people rising above their dismal state of existence and finding the means to take control of their lives. The tape of Haymitch's victory foreshadows that Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch might somehow devise a way to hurt the Capitol using a muttation, force field, or other weapon.