Lucy Gray’s Final ‘Hunger Games’ Line Is A Katniss Reference
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a great movie on its own, but it becomes a masterpiece when you start to notice all the ways it connects to The Hunger Games saga. The film about Coriolanus Snow’s youth provides a treasure trove of insight into how the Hunger Games started, and how they evolved into the bloody spectacle Snow presided over. But among all the telling details, it’s Lucy Gray’s final line in the prequel that most cleverly foreshadows Snow’s fate.
Spoiler alert: This post discusses the ending of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Since the prequel movie is set over 60 years prior to the events depicted in the Hunger Games movies, characters like Katniss and Peeta are still generations away from coming into the picture. But Katniss still manages to show up in some unexpected places.
The first nod to the Snow’s future nemesis is during the 10th Annual Hunger Games, when Coriolanus spots an unused bow and arrow on the ground as he enters the arena to retrieve Sejanus. Nobody used that weapon in those Games, but it would be picked up 64 years later when Katniss entered the 74th Hunger Games.
The movie also provides the origin for the “Hanging Tree” song that Katniss famously sings in Mockingjay — Part 1. Lucy Gray is shown composing the song after witnessing Peacekeepers executing a District 12 resident accused of murder. Meaningfully, Lucy Gray’s work would survive the test of time and become an anthem for the rebellion against her one-time ally, Coriolanus Snow.
But the most overt Hunger Games reference is a straight-up shoutout to Katniss. As Lucy Gray shows Coriolanus around District 12, she tells him about katniss, a resilient “swamp potato” that she and her friends harvest.
This all leads to Lucy Gray’s final moment, when she realizes she needs to escape from Coriolanus and makes up a very prescient excuse to get away from him. “I think I’ll go dig up some katniss, since we got the fire going anyway,” she says. The line is a clear nod that Katniss’ time is coming, and Lucy Gray “digging her up” connect the two women as leaders in the rebellion against the Capitol. The mention of a developing fire is also a clever allusion to the fire motif in The Hunger Games. Katniss earned the nickname Girl on Fire thanks to her flame-accented outfits, and pointed to the imagery of fire as a symbol of her growing rebellion.
Before Lucy Gray goes, Coriolanus stops her with one final comment, recalling how she had recently said it was too early to start picking katniss. Her last words double as a warning to his future self: “The world changes awfully fast.”
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