I admit that I'm not completely acquainted with all the subtleties of President Snow's and the revolution's views and usage of Katniss Everdeen for their goals in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. What I wonder is, why does Snow urge Katniss to keep up the masquerade of her love to Peeta (much to Katniss' dismay).

Doesn't the supposed love between Katniss and Peeta draw a much more favourable view of them in public (which I'm not sure is really in Snow's interest)? I think revealing that their (or at least her) love was only a staging for their survival would have shown her as opportunistic and duplicitous and could have shattered her image in public to some degree. All in all that acted love had only advantages for Katniss and Peeta, and is even employed for exactly this purpose again by Peeta when he tells of the supposed pregnancy.

So while I can understand Katniss personal aversion to keeping on acting this false love, I'm not sure I understand President Snow's reasons for furthering this masquerade.

  • 1
    If they're not together anymore, then the Nightlock incident was a rebellious act; if they are still together, then the Nightlock incident was just a couple of start-crossed lovers wanting to die together... This was pretty much what Snow says to Kat just before the tour.
    – Möoz
    Oct 30, 2014 at 20:59

2 Answers 2


Snow's control of the Capital relies on keeping them constantly entertained, so that they care for nothing except their spectacles, their dramas, and the big stories that are constantly pumped on the television. For that, Snow wanted them emotionally invested in the Katniss/Peeta love story.

Exposing her as opportunistic or duplicitous might have harmed her reputation, but it would have started the Capital audience asking more questions - about District 12, about why she would lie, about what her life was like. This sweet story was perfect for engaging the audience and keeping their thoughts away from unwanted matters.

Additionally, as long as she's playing his game, he has her under control. He can expose her when he wants to, if she starts causing trouble. But if he exposes her, he doesn't have anything to control her with anymore.

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    I always see The Hunger Games as a commentary on Modern Reality Television (The X Factor, America/Britain/Wherever's Got Talent, American Idol) and this 'romance' being a commentary on the awful fabrication of the way they present participants on those shows: Soft focus, stirring music, tearful backstory, broken home etc. People distinguish different contestants through characterisation, which is then over-emphasised for effect... Apr 26, 2014 at 13:23
  • That's certainly a central concept, especially in the third book. Apr 26, 2014 at 13:24
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    Also, if the pretense is not kept up, and the charade of the "romance" is exposed for what it is, then everyone would see that, in addition to the audience, Snow, himself, was maniuplated and Katniss and Peeta were able to alter the game and break the rules for their own desired outcome - a victory for the common, regular person, for free will and defiance over the government and Snow. That's pretty much the opposite of what the Games are there to assert. Sep 12, 2017 at 16:22


The games are inherently unfair. Sometimes players attempt an action the gamekeeper doesn't allow - such as hiding. The gamekeeper then employs field elements to cause the player to abandon their plan and come back into play. This happens several times during the first game.

Further, the gamekeeper is responsible for keeping the games interesting. Haymitch knew that if either Katniss or Peeta were to survive, they would have to gain sponsers, and to do that they would have to play into the public's hearts. He hatched the plan that they would appear as a couple to increase their odds of surviving during the game. They played the part and obtained needed critical sponsorship at points during the game.

This captivated the public so much that the gamekeeper decided to play on that - and changed the rules to allow a couple to win the game. Ultimately Katniss and Peeta were the final contestants, and then the gamekeeper reversed the ruling, demanding that they then kill each other. The people of the republic, though they hung on every part of the relationship, were probably not too dismayed by this. Lovers forced to kill each other - what an engaging story!

At that moment Katniss gambles that the gamekeeper would choose to allow both to live rather than both die, and she and Peeta are able to convincingly portray the "I would rather die than live without you" routine quickly enough that the gamekeeper couldn't use a field element to take one or the other out.

The gamekeeper had an instant to make a decision - allow both to die and have nothing to show on the next tour and sell around the capital, or allow both to live.

President Snow's reason

President Snow's power is tenuous. He keeps the districts in line largely through fear, and the Capital through misdirection and misinformation.

He is able to handle the Districts with force, but the Capital is his source of power - if the citizens there do not like what's going on, they will find a new leader.

The Capital Citizens are under the impression that the Districts volunteer for the games, and that they generally like their lives. They don't delve too deeply into where the Capital gets its wealth from, though they are aware the Districts are poorer, they don't feel this is a great injustice.

When Katniss and Peeta play the part of lovers, and the gamekeeper generously allows them both to live, this is seen as an act of mercy.

If they really aren't lovers, though, and were just playing a part to stay alive and gain sponsors, it would raise troubling questions as to whether they really were volunteers. Further, it would suggest that he wasn't in control of the game. Giving the lovers a chance to make it out together is a rule intended to enhance the tension of the show. Changing it so they have to kill each other enhances the tension. Having them both die, however, wouldn't have worked, and shows the audience that the gamekeeper is no longer in control - the participants are.

If they don't play the part of star-crossed lovers, the Capital audience will understand that Katniss and Peeta beat Snow. They were the ones, in that instant, who were in power. Snow can't allow people to think that this ending wasn't foreseen and scripted by him and/or the gamekeeper.

Snow can't exactly hide them away - they are critical celebrities now, and must appear regularly at functions. If he can control their appearance and their relationship, though - including using them against each other - then he can stabilize the situation.

As long as things can remain stable until he can legitimately eliminate them - in a special hunger games where the gamekeeper won't be so wishy-washy and will take needed action long before it becomes necessary.


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