Catching Fire Chapters 16 - 18 Summary

Katniss has come face to face with Darius, the Peacekeeper who tried to keep Romulus Thread from whipping Gale. He is now an Avox, who is assigned to serve Katniss in the Training Center. Katniss knows President Snow placed Darius there to cause her distress.

The next day Haymitch tells Peeta and Katniss they have two jobs to accomplish during training, this is to keep on acting as if they are in love and to make friends with the other competitors. He explains they are the competitors everyone wants to eliminate first, so they need some allies. The victors they choose to align themselves with can provide them with valuable intelligence on the other competitors, because they have known the others for far longer than Katniss and Peeta have.

Reluctantly, Katniss agrees to go along with his plan. Katniss meets several of the victors, but none of them peak her interest until she meets Wiress and Beetee from District 3. They are inventors who have an eye for the little details others miss, such as spotting a force field around the Gamemakers. Beetee even spots a weak unprotected area in the force field.

Katniss also meets Mags, an old woman who can barely speak from District 4. She took the place of the victor who became hysterical when her name was called. Even though Katniss can barely understand what Mags is saying, she decides she wants her to be on her team. As far as Katniss is concerned her team will consist of District 3 victors and Mags.

Peeta has different ideas, but is willing to go along with whomever she picks. During training Katniss grabs everyone's attention with her archery skills. They all want to have her as part of their team.

During her private session with the Gamemakers, Katniss realizes Peeta must have done something to upset them, so she decides to make herself a target of their ire. She takes a dummy, hangs it from a noose and in berry juice writes the name of last year's executed Head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane, on it.

The Gamemakers are in shock, after seeing Seneca Crane hanging in effigy. Plutarch Heavensbee dismisses Katniss from the training floor. Katniss feels happy about her stunt, but then she starts to consider the ramifications on Peeta. She worries she might have made things worse for him.

At dinner that night she finds out Peeta painted Rue as she looked upon her death, with the flowers Katniss arranged around her. Haymitch and Effie are not happy with him, but they are even more upset when Katniss tells them what she did for her private session.

Peeta tells Haymitch he and Katniss will not take on any partners in the arena. Haymitch is happy with this decision, because then none of his friends will die because of Katniss and Peeta's acts in the private session.

The next day instead of prep for the televised interview they are left to spend the day alone. They have already decided neither of them will survive the Quell, because President Snow has decided this is how he will be finally be rid of them. They just want to spend their remaining time together.

For the interview, President Snow declares Katniss will wear the wedding gown the public chose and Peeta will wear his wedding suit. Cinna has told Katniss to twirl the gown at the end of the interview, which she does and the effect is shocking. The gown spews smoke as it burns off the material to reveal a coal colored version of the gown with white patches on the sleeves. Cinna has turned Katniss into a mockingjay.

Caesar Flickerman recognizes Katniss' dress resembles a bird. She tells him it is a mockingjay, which is the same as the pin she wears on her clothes. She knows the people of the districts will recognize the symbolism of her dress and feed off that symbolism. Katniss worries what effect this stunt will have on Cinna and his career.

Next Peeta is being interviewed by Caesar. He drops two bombshells on the audience, first he tells them he and Katniss are married in the tradition of District 12. This means it is not an official marriage, but it is recognized by them as a traditional marriage. He explains they have kept the news secret from even their families. The second piece of news is Katniss is pregnant. He is sad she and his child might both perish in the Quell. The crowd is shouting and calling out in horror at the thought of a pregnant Katniss being put in the arena. Later, an unprecedented act occurs, as all the victors join hands in a show of unity on the stage, while the anthem is being played. The Capitol tries to black out the televisions before it is shown to the public, but they are too late.

Back in the Training Center, Peeta asks Katniss if he needs to apologize for the lies he told in the interview. She responds by telling him no apologies are necessary. After spending the night holding each other, Katniss and Peeta are separated as they prepare to be flown to the arena.

Just as she is about to be launched down to the arena, Katniss sees three Peacekeepers enter and sieze Cinna and beat him until he is unconscious and bloody. She is then transported down to the arena, which is full of water.

Katniss and Peeta do everything they can to upset President Snow. Then they make peace with their actions by acknowledging they will not leave the arena alive. Katniss still hopes to make sure Peeta survives the Quell. She hopes her death will take the spark of rebellion and turn it into a full-fledged fire in the districts. She knows their actions will have consequences for those at home and on their district team.

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