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The Hunger Games prequel explains the importance of the Mockingjay

The Hunger Gamesfans of course know that Katniss Everdeen is the Mockingjay was the symbol of resistance to Capitol authority. Real fans also know that the mockingjay was an accidental creation of that Capitol. But nobody knew exactly why President Coriolanus Snow hated the “animals”. Until now.

Anyone who ever goes to The Hunger Games has looked, or has read the books of Suzanne Collins, knows that after her “voluntary” participation in the Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen became a real resistance leader. The symbol for that resistance was a mockingjay, because during her Games Katniss carried a pin with such a bird.

Organic spies

In the first book, and the first movie, that pin just happened to be. But the meaning of the bird became increasingly clear throughout the story. During the war with the districts, the Capitol wanted to create some sort of biological spy. It came in the form of a jabberjay, a bird that can record and mimic sounds (a parrot 2.0, if you like).

The jabberjays fluttered through the forests of the districts during the day. There they recorded all the sounds they could perceive, including secret conversations between rebels. During the night, the genetically engineered birds then returned to the Capitol to report.

Challenges for authority

What the Capitol had not taken into account was that his jabberjays enjoyed the company of mockingbirds. The animals started mating, and by chance a new animal species was created: the mockingjay (or mock jay, in the Dutch books).

The Capitol got rid of its spies, who had become some sort of symbol of treason. The birds rubbed it at the Capitol, as it were, that it did not control everything, that there were challenges for its authority.

Final words

In the prequel to the original trilogy that recently appeared, A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, gives Suzanne Collins more context for the hatred President Coriolanus Snow has for the animals. When the Capitol dropped the mockingjays for what they were, they settled in the forests of District 12.

The mockingjays followed every time a large group of people came together. They listened with great fascination to the sounds that were produced there. That all seems very beautiful and sweet. Until you know that those big “events” were mostly executions.

The mockingjays often picked up the last words of who was executed, and then they chanted them. Forget the fat ladybecause “it’s not over until the mockingjay sings“.


And – by chance – a young Coriolanus Snow spent his teenage years as peacekeeper in that district. A young singer, Lucy Gray, also lived there. The mocking jays loved her, because they loved nothing more than to imitate her.

But the birds weren’t the only ones madly in love with the singer. Coriolanus Snow also had a soft spot for Lucy Gray. And she had noticed him too, only she decided to leave him behind. And Snow didn’t like that very much.

So all those years later when he saw Katniss Everdeen stepping into his arena with a mockingjay pin, President Snow took that as a personal insult. And that may well have been the start for the revenge trip he sets up in the The Hunger Games-trilogy.

Traitors are also people

Then back to the Capitol. The moment when Panem’s “government” really hated the mockingjays wholeheartedly, was when the animals kept “Ma!Continued to mimic. Those were the last words of anyone being executed.

The scream (and mimicking it) again offended the Capitol’s authority. That wailing cry made the traitors people too, and that was too much for the Capitol.


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