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What to Know Before Watching "The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes"

Hayden Smith| Staff Writer

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes/ Lionsgate/2023

The Hunger Games Series has made an impact on book and cinema history. After the original Hunger Games sensation, author Suzanne Collins released The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes in 2019 to please fans who were craving more of the story.

Collins initially came out with The Hunger Games in 2008. She followed the original book with two others entitled Catching Fire and Mockingjay. The stories follow Katniss Everdeen, a citizen of District 12 in Panem. Every year, the 12 districts have two tributes, ages 12-18, one boy, and one girl, to participate in an event called the Hunger Games. The games were created by the Capitol after the now-demolished District 13 started an uprising rebellion against the Capitol. The districts destroyed the Capitol, and as punishment for this rebellion, they created the Hunger Games, in which twenty-four tributes kill one another in an arena until the last one stands. In the first book/movie, Katniss Everdeen’s sister is nominated to be a tribute. However, Katniss volunteered in place of her little sister and fought alongside Peeta Mellark, the other tribute from District 12.

As the games are ending, Katniss and Peeta are the last two left and they understand that there can only be one winner. So, they both try to eat (poisonous) Nightlock berries to revolt against the Capitol and President Snow. The Capitol stops them before the berries can kill them, and allows them both to win the games. The Capitol gives them each a house in Victor’s Village. This action enrages President Snow, and he wants Katniss dead.

In an attempt to kill Katniss, President Snow creates a new rule for the 75th annual Hunger Games in which all victors for each district should be nominated to fight in the games. District 12’s only female winner is Katniss Everdeen. During the games, Katniss shoots an arrow up into the top of the force-field (invisible electric fields) of the arena, using lighting in order to break out. This was the start of the second rebellion.

After Katniss’ reluctance to abide by the Capitol’s rulings, she becomes the emblem of the rebellion, the Mockingjay. Katniss finds District 13, which has been in hiding since the first rebellion. Peeta, her “lover boy” was taken and brainwashed by President Snow to think that Katniss demonstrates evil behavior. Katniss and her crew want to take down the Capitol and do everything in their power to take down President Snow and the Capitol.

In The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, we get to see how President Snow comes into power. After the rebellion, President Snow or Coriolanus, his sister Tigris, and his grandmother are left to fend for themselves. Both of his parents had died, and they were left with no money. Coriolanus was enrolled in the top school of the Capitol, The Academy. He fed off food given to him by the school, as he was starving at home. His only chance at success was to win the Plinth Prize, which granted him a way into college. The way to get the Plinth Prize was to have the tribute he mentored, Lucy Gray from District 12, win the games.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is available to watch in theaters as of November 13th. “Ambition will fuel him. Competition will drive him. But power has its price” (Collins). Will you be watching the uprising of President Snow into power this fall?


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