Oh Peeta, Our Peeta
And we thought Katniss had it rough, clearly being manipulated by Maybe Evil President Coin and by Definitely Evil President Snow, with whom she’s in a Hunger Games all to themselves.
But Peeta? Wow. The Capitol’s broadcast of Peeta in Chapter 8 shows that he has lost weight, acquired a nervous tremor, and is moving as if he’s been hurt. At least Katniss realizes that he couldn’t have deteriorated this quickly. The Capitol must have filmed Peeta right after he came out of the Quarter Quell arena and has tortured him ever since.
At least there’s an upside to Katniss’ seeing the footage of Peeta. He tells her that she’s being used as a weapon to destroy all of humanity and asking her if she truly trusts the rebels with whom she’s working. Katniss realizes that she doesn’t trust the rebels or Coin any more than she trusts Snow.
The trip down memory lane when Katniss and Gale and the film crew go to District 12 for some footage in Chapter 9 is shattered back in District 13 when Katniss watches Snow and Peeta on the live broadcast to Panem. We’re with Katniss in thinking that Peeta has majorly deteriorated. What is the Capitol doing to him!
At least Peeta is able to—maybe?—warn Katniss and District 13 of an impending bombing when he tells Katniss that she’ll be dead by the next morning. And his reward? Being beaten and his blood splattering the floor at the end of Snow’s live broadcast.
No wonder Part 1 of Mockingjay is titled “The Ashes.” Everyone and everything seems burned in some way. At least from the ashes a phoenix rises, like in HP. Or a Mockingjay.