Part I: “The Ashes”
Ashes and bones: that’s what’s left of District Twelve. What was once Katniss’s home is now covered in the ashes from the bombs that destroyed the district and the streets are littered with the bones of the residents who didn’t make it out alive. When Katniss returns for a final visit, the only part of District Twelve left untouched is Victor’s Village where there sits a single white rose in Katniss’s house there. Sickened and terrified, Katniss leaves with her fathers jacket, her mom’s wedding photo and plant book, and her sister’s cat, Buttercup.
Katniss now lives in District Thirteen, the district that was supposedly obliterated in the first war. Here, she is known as Soldier Everdeen. Here, alongside her longtime best friend Gale, who led the survivors out of District Twelve, she is helping President Coin with the rebellion against the capitol. After the airing of an interview Peeta has given with Caesar Flickerman where he calls for the rebellion to end, Coin and her lackeys accuse him of being an enemy and a traitor, and although Katniss is overjoyed to know that he is alive and well, she still thinks that he is wrong to suggest the cease-fire and she decides to take her role as the Mockingjay of the rebellion.
As the Mockingjay, Katniss is required to film a series of “propos”—propoganda for the rebellion—and it is determined after a failed attempt at a scripted propo that Katniss is best when she acts, unscripted, from the heart. It is then that she and the propo team travel to District Eight where they get footage of Katniss visiting the sick and wounded in the makeshift hospital there before the Capitol attacks and firebombs them, killing everyone in the hospital. Katniss then gives a riveting speech against the Capitol stating boldly that, “If we burn, you burn with us.”
After it airs, Katniss, in the hospital with Finnick, catches an interview with Peeta who asks her to not be a fool and to stop working with the rebels. Finnick tells her to tell everyone that they turned off the television after the propo. However, this is not the last of Peeta. Part one ends with his disturbing message that all of Thirteen will be dead by morning before he is attacked and his blood splatters across the tiles.
Part II: “The Assault”
After it is determined that Peeta was sending them a warning, all the citizens of District Thirteen head deep underground to hide out when the Capitol bombs them. When they finally emerge after the attack, they film more propos and send out a rescue team to bring back Peeta and the others. They succeed, but when they bring them back, it’s clear that they’ve all been tortured badly, but none quite so badly as Peeta who attacks Katniss. It is soon revealed that he has been “hijacked,” or had his memories tainted with Tracker Jacker venom. More specifically, his memories of Katniss have been hijacked.
Katniss requests to be sent into District Two to help with the efforts there to pull District Two into the rebellion and take out The Nut, the mountain fortress that the Capitol uses to store their aircrafts and train their Peacekeepers. In the end, they decide to create an avalanche to trap the people inside of The Nut and cut off their supplies and air before blowing up their train, the only way they could escape. Katniss describes it as one of Gale’s death traps. The plan succeeds, but a few people escape from The Nut. When they want to kill Katniss, Haymitch coaches her via radio communications to keep talking to them. In the end, Katniss witnesses herself being shot on one of the TVs showing live feed of what’s happening.
Katniss awakes in the hospital where she is in the same area as Johanna Mason who has been stealing her painkiller drugs. Here, she begins to form a friendship with the girl who was a tribute in her second trip to the Hunger Games. Once out of the hospital, they train together to be able to go to the Capitol together to fight. Eventually she manages to pass her test and is allowed to go, but as it turns out, she and the rest of Squad 451 (Boggs, Messalla, Cressida, Castor, Pollux, Mitchell, Homes, Jackson, Leeg 1, Leeg 2, Finnick, Katniss, and Gale) learn that they are going to be on a “special mission.” They are going to the Capitol not to fight, but to pretend to fight and be part of propos that will make it seem as though they are really in the Capitol making some headway.
Part III: “The Assassin”
Shortly after arriving in the Capitol for their special mission, one of the members of Squad 451, Leeg 2 is killed, only to be replaced by Peeta. This is a dangerous replacement as Peeta still wants, and tries to kill Katniss. When they head off to film, Boggs, the leader triggers a pod, a defense mechanism, that explodes and blows off his legs. As he dies, he transfers control of his Holo, the device that shows the locations of all the pods, to Katniss. In the madness that follows, Peeta tries to kill Katniss.
When Mitchell attempts to stop him, Peeta throws him off and Mitchell’s body sets off a pod that traps him. A black mass engulfs the street as the rest of the group runs inside the nearest building for safety. Jackson, the second in command, is angry to find that the Holo has been transferred to Katniss and not her—though it takes a lot of convicing by Homes before she even believes it. Once they regroup, they continue on their trek through the city toward President Snow’s mansion, now determined to carry on until they reach it.
They hide out in another apartment a good distance away to throw off the Capitol. Here, Peeta asks them to kill him so that he won’t be able to hurt Katniss, but, to his dismay, they all refuse to do it. Instead, they play “Real or Not Real” where Peeta can ask questions whether or not something is real and they will answer. After they rest, they head out again. A ways into the city, they determine that it is best to head underground where there are less pods. Pollux, one of the cameramen that came alone is an Avox and he spent five years working in the Capitol’s underground.
As much as he hates to go back down there, he bracely leads them through until they are attacked by lizard-like mutts and they run for their lives. In this attack, Messalla, Leeg 1, Jackson, Castor, Homes, and Finnick are killed during the chase. When they get back up to street level, only Cressida, Pollux, Gale, Peeta, and Katniss remain. Cressida leads them to the shop of a woman named Tigris, a former stylist for the games, who hides them in her basement until they are ready to make it the final stretch to President Snow’s.
The group gets separated as they run through the crowds of dying Capitol citizens. The city is under attack by rebels and peacekeepers and it’s utter mayhem on the streets. Katniss stays with Gale as they head through toward President Snow’s mansion. When Gale and Katniss survive the street falling out under them, they make it into one of the buildings. Gale is captured by Peacekeepers and he mouths for Katniss to shoot him, but she doesn’t understand and he tells her to run. She makes it to the circle where President Snow’s mansion is. There she sees the shield he has of human children. Suddenly, small parachutes are dropped to them. Half of them explode, killing many of the children. As rebels in white rush in to tend to the children, Katniss catches sight of a blond with a duck-tailed shirt before the rest of the parachutes explode. Prim is dead.
Though Katniss is burned, she survives. Gale and Peeta survive too. Katniss is to kill President Snow on television, but she first visits him where he is being held in his rose garden. He tells Katniss that the bombs were the rebels’ and she realizes that they were one of the traps designed by Gale. At a rebel meeting, they vote on whether they should hold a Hunger Games with the children of Capitol officials. After the majority votes yes, Katniss is taken to kill Snow, but instead, she aims her arrow at Coin and assassinates her instead and Snow laughs as blood dribbles from his own mouth as he dies.
Katniss returns to District Twelve alone as it is being rebuilt. Greasy Sae stays with her as she tries to return to normal without her sister who is dead, her mother who won’t return because it’s too painful, or Gale who took a job in District Two. Eventually, Peeta returns and Katniss realizes, finally, it is not Gale’s fire she needs because she, as the girl on fire has plenty herself. Instead, she needs her “dandelion in the spring” because Peeta is the symbol of hope that life will go on. So when he asks her whether she it’s real that she loves him or not, she replies that it is real.
Katniss and Peeta stay together and after much convincing, he has convinced her to have children. The children play in the meadow, unaware that they play on a graveyard. Katniss says that when she has a hard time with the memories of war and loss, she makes a list of every act of goodness she’s ever seen and even though it can sometimes be a tedious, repetitive game, she knows there are much worse games to play.