The Hunger Games Chapters 26 - 27 Summary

Katniss and Peeta have just been declared the winners of the Hunger Games. A hovercraft arrives to take them back to Capitol. As they fly, surgeons work on Peeta, who has lost a lot of blood from a mutt's gash to his leg. Katniss is beside herself with worry about Peeta, she is terrified he will die. They land on the roof of the Training Center and the attendants take Peeta off the hovercraft first, which causes Katniss to be agitated. She feels a needle prick and the next thing she knows she is awake in a sterile room.

She is restrained on a bed with tubes running into her right arm, the substance running through the tubes sedate her for the next few days. She wakes up to find no more tubes, and a fresh set of clothes waiting for her.

Those in charge of cleaning her up have done a full body polish, which means every scar she ever had is erased and her skin is soft and glowing. She is very thin, thinner than when she first came to the Training Center. Effie greets her as do Haymitch and Cinna, who are proud of her accomplishment. The missing person is Portia, who is Peeta's stylist. Katniss is told she and Peeta will be reunited at the ceremony, so the whole country can see their reunion.

Cinna continues his theme of the girl on fire, by designing a dress for her which looks like she is wearing candlelight. Cinna seems to be holding something back from her, as she continues to ask about Peeta. She senses he is trying to warn her of something, but she is not sure what.

As she waits to make her dramatic entrance before the awaiting crowds, Haymitch tells her she is in danger. The Capitol is angry with her for the double suicide attempt. It made them look foolish and the citizens of Panem are laughing at them. To compensate for the humiliation, they are going to try to take their anger out on her and Peeta. Her only defense is to say she was driven to extreme measures by her love of Peeta. She didn't know what she was doing, the only thing she could think about was saving Peeta. Peeta is already there, says Haymitch, after she asks if he knows about this plan.

Katniss realizes this ceremony is the most dangerous part of the Hunger Games. She also wonders if Peeta is really in love with her or just playing the part of being in love. Peeta and Katniss are introduced to the crowds, they embrace and kiss until they have to be broken apart. But Peeta waves the hand away and keeps on kissing Katniss, which drives the crowds wild.

They sit through a three hour recap of the Games, which focuses on the love story between the two. Peeta does a better job of showing his love for Katniss than she does for him. Her shining moments come as she calls out his name from the tree and as she nurses him back to health.

The President of Panem presents them each with half of a crown. His look at Katniss, as he puts her half on her head, makes her realize he blames her for the attempted double suicide. She knows she is in trouble and might not survive to go home.

The next day is the interview with Caesar Flickerman, which is mandatory viewing for the country. Katniss knows she must present herself as a love-struck girl to save herself and Peeta. She tries to talk to Peeta the night before the interview, but finds she is locked into her room. She feels she is more of a prisoner now than during the Games.

During the interview, Katniss plays up being in love with Peeta, holding his hand and laying her head on his shoulder. She deflects most of the questions to him, because he is more at ease in front of the cameras. She admits she realized she was in love with Peeta when she called out his name, while sitting in the tree.

Katniss is stunned to find out Peeta lost his leg and now has an artificial limb. She cries real tears of sadness at this news. After she has finished crying, Caesar Flickerman asks her what she was thinking as she was about to eat the berries. She tells him all she could think about, was she couldn't live without Peeta. Peeta agrees this was his motivation also and then the interview ends.

They board a train for home. Katniss changes from her interview dress into her normal clothes, which reminds her of who she truly is and of her loyalty to her family and Gale. She is confused about her feelings for Peeta and Gale. Peeta senses something has changed between them.

Haymitch tells to keep up the good work until the cameras are gone, then they should be ok. This is the moment Peeta realizes the relationship he and Katniss have, might all be an act on her part. He questions her about her feelings, but she doesn't give him any satisfactory answers. He is left heartbroken, because he thought he had found love. She is upset because she does have feelings for him, but she doesn't know exactly what they are.

As they arrive back at District 12, Peeta takes her hand and tells her it is for the audience. She is sad, because she dreads the moment they part for good.

Katniss and Peeta are the victors of the Games, but the Capitol is angry with Katniss for forcing them into breaking their own reversal of the rules. So, she goes along with being in love with Peeta to save them both. Peeta is heartbroken when he finds out she is only acting and not actually in love with him. Neither one of them knows what their true feelings are towards one another.

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