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Katniss runs and screams until she’s exhausted herself, and then she realizes that either Haymitch or Peeta will have to go into the arena with her. She finds Haymitch, who tells her Peeta has already asked if he can go in to protect Katniss. Haymitch and Katniss talk about how it should probably be Haymitch who goes in. Both drink a great deal as they talk. Hungover the next morning, Katniss goes back to Haymitch’s, where Peeta tells them he’s thrown out all of Haymitch’s alcohol because they can’t afford any drunkards on the team. They begin training, watching videos of the previous victors to learn about them, exercising, and practicing various skills. Gale also teaches them about snares. Katniss plans after the reaping during the normal time for goodbyes to tell Gale how, even as confused as their relationship is, she loves him and cares about him. Finally the reaping comes. Peeta volunteers to take Haymitch’s place in the arena, and then Katniss and Peeta are hurried to the train station without being allowed to say their goodbyes.
On the train Peeta, Katniss, and Haymitch go over the former victors who will be in the Games. They’re a mix of young and old, with one woman of eighty even volunteering in her district. Some of them are Haymitch’s close friends. That night Katniss wakes because of a nightmare, and she goes to Peeta, who has been up watching the old Games. They hug for a long time, and then they decide to watch the last Quarter Quell, the one where Haymitch was the victor. During the section showing the reaping in District 12, Katniss recognizes several people, including her mother. She also discovers that the original owner of the mockingjay pin she wears was a woman who was killed in the arena, Maysilee Donner. She was Madge’s aunt and a friend of Katniss’s mother.
In the arena, Maysilee saves Haymitch at one point, and after the two team up, they travel all the way to the arena’s edge. Maysilee decides to go off on her own. Haymitch stays and ultimately discovers that a force field around the edge of the arena propels anything thrown at it back into the arena. Soon after Maysilee is killed by a group of genetically engineered birds and dies in Haymitch’s arms. In his fight with the final tribute, Haymitch is severely wounded and hurries to the edge. As she throws an axe to finish him off, he collapses to the ground. The axe, thrown back by the force field, catches her directly in the skull. That’s how Haymitch won. Katniss and Peeta realize that Haymitch managed to make the Capitol look stupid by allowing the arena, and not him, to kill the girl. Just then Haymitch comes into the room, and Katniss feels a new sense of confidence knowing Haymitch was just as much a troublemaker for the Capitol as her.
The prep team, to Katniss’s great annoyance, cries relentlessly as they get her hair and makeup ready for the opening ceremony. Cinna has designed another wonderful dress for her to wear, the fabric of which glows to mimic an ember in a fire. Katniss heads to where the tributes are all gathered, and almost immediately Finnick Odair, the tribute from District 4, comes up to her. Finnick is famous in Panem for being extraordinarily handsome and for having won the Games when he was just fourteen. He seems extremely arrogant as he makes small talk, and when Katniss asks how people pay for the pleasure of his company, he says with secrets. Katniss jokes that most people know her secrets before she does. He agrees and walks off.
After the ceremony, Katniss meets some of the other tributes. Chaff, who is from District 11 and a close friend of Haymitch’s, kisses her full on the mouth before she can react, then turns to Haymitch laughing. The woman from District 11, Seeder, hugs Katniss because of Rue and Thresh. As Katniss and Peeta take the elevator back to their quarters, the female tribute from District 7, Johanna Mason, who is in the elevator with them, strips off her clothes and talks to them. After she exits, Peeta laughs that the other tributes, like Finnick and Chaff, are behaving the way they are because of Katniss. In the dining room, the Avoxes who will tend to Katniss and Peeta until the Games start come in. One of them is Darius, the former Peacekeeper from District 12.
The section opens with Katniss struggling with the realization that she’ll have to return to the arena, but she actually comes to terms with the news rather quickly. Her initial reaction is uncontrolled panic. She runs out of the house, finds a place where she can scream until she’s exhausted, and finally she drinks to the point of incoherence because she simply can’t deal with the thought of fighting in another Hunger Games. The underlying cause of that anxiety, beyond just fear that she will die, is a feeling of having no control. She realizes that the Capitol can do almost anything it wants with her, which crushes her hopes. But once she speaks to Peeta, who is calm and collected as always, she is quickly able to recover, in large part because she shifts her focus to a concrete goal: keeping Peeta alive. What that goal gives her is some sense of control over her situation. Even if she can’t survive herself, she can do everything in her power to make sure he does. She channels her energy into training and learning about her opponents so that she’s as prepared as possible, which is essentially her way of having as much control as possible.
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