The moment Katniss Everdeen picked up a simple gold pin fashioned after a Mockingjay bird, she set off a chain of events that would change Panem forever...
Let's take a deeper look into how a singular mistake by the Capitol led to a violent revolution throughout the Hunger Games series.
If you check out the newly released Mockingjay: Part 2 Snapchat (un: MockingjayPT2) - which features a defiant poster of Katniss Everdeen sat on the Capitol leader's throne - and the latest trailer for the upcoming [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2](tag:449866), we can finally begin to understand just what the Mockingjay - Katniss' signature symbol and the famed logo for the rebellion - has become. What once was meant to be used as a weapon, became a symbol of hope... then transformed into an agent of war.
As Katniss Everdeen glides onto the screen backed by her District 13 army, you can't help but feel sorrow for what the rebellion has done to our Girl on Fire, our Mockingjay. Katniss and the Mockingjay's journey have always paralleled each other. As the gripping story comes to an end, we look back to where it all began: a little gold pin fashioned into a bird that the Capitol never meant to exist. A rare breed that signified survival, and the magnificence of evolution against oppression.
In each of The Hunger Games films, the Mockingjay stood for something different, but was always matched by Katniss' own journey. One cannot exist without the other. Much like the evolving meaning behind the Mockingjay, Katniss herself has changed, she has adapted to her new life, and pushed forward with purpose. Let's dig into the evolution of both Katniss and her emblem of unity that is the Mockingjay.
Warning: Spoilers ahead!
May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor - The Hunger Games
In The Hunger Games, we meet a hardened and emotionally vacant Katniss Everdeen. She goes about her life the same way every day: playing a game of survival. That is until she finds a Mockingjay pin, something that she has more of a connection to than she even realizes in the beginning. You see, the Mockingjay bird was born from a careless mistake by the Capitol. It was a mix of a Mockingbird and a Jabberjay - a bird created to spy on the public for the Capitol. But, as you see, things don't go exactly as planned. The rebels begin tricking the Jabberjays into relaying fake messages to the Capitol, feeding them false information. Just as soon as the birds had been created, they were thrown to the dirt and discontinued by the Capitol like any other cheap toy coming off of a conveyer belt. However, the Capitol didn't bank on the bird's intense need to survive in the wild, despite being made in a laboratory. The birds began to adapt and mate with a naturally occurring bird, the Mockingbird, defeating the odds and creating the hybrid forever known as the Mockingjay.
Katniss, like the Mockingjay, was also unexpected by the Capitol. After working so hard to desensitize Panem to the true value of human life and connecting emotions, Katniss' heroic gesture in the midst of her younger sister being selected to enter into the 'Hunger Games' was deeply disturbing to the leaders of the Capitol. They had meticulously designed an oppressive and unbalanced world to enslave people in, and this free-thinking young woman was a startling discovery. Her furious will to live in a world where most were destined to die made the iron-clad grip of the Capitol tremble.
When her younger sister Prim gives her a Mockingjay pin as a token of good luck, Katniss carries it with her as her rock and security blanket. The world catches onto this when watching Katniss in the Games, subsequently finding comfort in the symbol themselves through their new hero. The pin was a symbol of hope, survival, and unconditional love for Katniss, and its image became the embodiment of a bigger fight for a better future to everyone following along. The citizens began to realize what they stood for through its meaning. In one little piece of decorative jewelry, they landed a mascot that had the power to overthrow President Snow and free the nation that he had suffering in the palm of his hand.
Every Revolution Begins with a Spark - Catching Fire
Catching Fire was the fuel to the Mockingjay's flames. Little did Katniss know that her actions in surviving the Games while wearing the Mockingjay pin would reignite a blazing flame for a rebellion long since passed. The small bird she perched on her clothing had not only become a unifying symbol for hope, but had evolved into a rebellious soldier for a revolution of what could be. Now, of course the pin didn't just do this on its own. It had help from very savvy supports from the get go. Cinna, the clever designer, could see what Katniss could not: she had set a war into motion, and Cinna was going to go out fighting it right alongside her the best he could. So he fashioned her a feathery gown that burst into a flaming Mockingjay, subtly encouraging Katniss' growing underground following to uprise with confidence.
As Katniss is steadying herself on the platform that will lift her into the arena of the second Games, she witnesses as Cinna harshly paid with his life for daring to set the Mockingjay free and showing all of Panem who really had the control. Just moments before his untimely death, Cinna fastens the Mockingjay pin onto Katniss without her needing to even ask him, just as he did before the first Games. Cinna placed the weight of his life, the rebellion, and all of Panem on that pin, and the pin onto Katniss who he knew could carry out the revolution; forever solidifying that whenever the citizens feel weak, they need only to look to the Mockingjay, to Katniss.
The ticking clock behind the now arrow-less Mockingjay shows the ultimate outwitting of the Capitol, and the countdown to its inevitable downfall.
If We Burn, You Burn with Us - Mockingjay Part 1
In Mockingjay Part 1 we see the faltering of our Girl on Fire, our Mockingjay. Katniss and the motif that brought peace have now been turned into devices of war. The hope, the promise, the want for tranquility - all of it - turned into a war machine with the same likeness of the enemy they look to defeat. Broken, Katniss and the Mockingjay are worth nothing more than a face and ornament made to accomplish a goal that they aren't even sure they believe in.
In Mockingjay Part 1 the Mockingjay logo is now free of the arrow and the Capitol's winding clock, but even with its wings outstretched beyond the circumference of the circle, it is still unable to break completely out of the set boundaries.
Katniss is more of a tool for the Capitol than ever, and with Peeta being used as a weapon against her and the rebellion's message, she sees the Mockingjay pin that she used to have so much love for and faith in as a horrible reflection of herself and the people around her that have been hurt since the day she first donned it. She may be out of the Games, but she's not genuinely free, either. They already have Peeta, and soon, she will truly find out everything that being the Mockingjay has cost her.
The Fire Will Burn Forever - Mockingjay Part 2
Let the tagline for the final Hunger Games film really sink in...
At first it sounds victorious, it sounds promising, it sounds like Katniss will defeat them all, and that the Mockingjay will go down in history as the savior of humanity and a survivor in the dimmest of circumstances. However, if you have finished the series, you know that there is a fire that will burn forever within the scars on Katniss' face and on the graves of her lost loved ones. In the latest Mockingjay Part 2 teaser we don't even hear a word from Miss. Everdeen. No, she just plays her part; still in the confines of that Mockingjay pin. How can she defeat President Snow? How can she save Panem and still save herself, her family?
The Mockingjay has been reduced, like Katniss, to propaganda for war. What once stood for hope now displays fierce suffering and death. But, wait! We see the Mockingjay finally break free of the gold ring it has been bound to since its creation, we watch as the inferno of flames explode, shattering the trapping ring completely and signifying the rebirth of our hero and hope alike... but what is to become of the Mockingjay now, and what did Katniss have to do to free it?
The Mockingjay and Katniss are one in the same. What was once not even meant to exist is now tasked with creating a new life for all.