Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans -- except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay -- no matter what the personal cost.
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Katniss Everdeen reluctantly adjusts to a highly structured life in the underground District 13, which has been spearheading the rebellion in Panem. Katniss eventually agrees to act as "the Mockingjay"—a poster child for the rebellion—but only on the condition that District 13's President Alma Coin vows to grant immunity to all of the past Hunger Games tributes, including her friends Peeta Mellark, and Finnick Odair, and to reserve for Katniss the right to personally kill Panem's President Snow once he is captured. Tasked with starring in rebel propaganda films, called propos, Katniss is unhappily kept out of actual combat until she defiantly participates in a tragic battle at District 8. Meanwhile, Peeta is being held by the Capitol and forced to defame Katniss and the rebels on live television. During one broadcast, though, he exposes the Capitol's surprise plan to bomb District 13, thus saving many lives during the ensuing explosions but also causing the Capitol to "hijack" him, a process in which he is infused with tracker jacker venom, developing in him a deranged resentment and fear of Katniss. Soon afterward, District 13 leads a successful mission to rescue Peeta and other tributes of the most recent Games, but Peeta immediately attempts to kill Katniss upon their reunion. Therapy improves Peeta's psychological condition over time, but he retains some memory loss and is still prone to violent outbursts toward Katniss.
After a controversial strategy proposed by Katniss's best friend, Gale Hawthorne, wins a decisive victory at District 2, the rebels launch a final military campaign upon the Capitol itself. Katniss and her propo team are deployed on a trivial assignment to the Capitol, joined by Peeta, who is unexpectedly sent with them by President Coin; Katniss interprets this to mean that Coin, anticipating the war's end, no longer requires or trusts Katniss and now expects her to be killed by Peeta. While filming in a purportedly safe Capitol neighborhood, the team's commander, Boggs, is killed. Quickly taking charge, Katniss dupes the others into believing they are on a secret mission to assassinate President Snow.
Consequently, during intense urban warfare that involves Hunger Games-like monsters and ambushes, many of Katniss's teammates, including her friend Finnick, are killed. Katniss presses on alone towards President Snow's mansion, which has been surrounded by Capitol refugee children being used as human shields to protect Snow. As Katniss reaches the mansion, a hover plane with Capitol markings drops parachutes onto the children that explode. The rebels' combat medics, including Katniss's sister Prim, move in to help the injured children, but further parachutes explode, severely burning Katniss and killing Prim.
During her recuperation, Katniss becomes deeply depressed over her sister's death. The rebels have won the war and President Coin proposes an idea that leads to several of the surviving tributes, including Katniss (but not Peeta), voting in favor of punishing the Capitol just as the Capitol punished the Districts: by holding a final Hunger Games in which the children of Capitol's leaders will be the tributes. One day, Katniss happens upon the holding quarters of President Snow, who is awaiting execution. Snow says that he did not order the assault that killed Prim and suggests that it was in fact orchestrated by Coin. Snow reminds Katniss that they agreed not to lie to each other in the past and argues that the bombing of the children would have served no purpose for him, as it turned the remaining Capitol citizens against him. Suddenly, Katniss recalls in horror that this bombing closely resembles a trap developed by Gale. When Katniss confronts Gale about his possible involvement, however, he merely expresses uncertainty. Katniss's suspicions grow into a conspiracy theory. Scheduled to carry out Snow's execution, Katniss raises her bow to kill him at last, but instead kills Coin. Katniss quickly attempts suicide, but Peeta stops her. As Katniss is captured, a riot ensues during which Snow mysteriously dies. Katniss is later acquitted of Coin's death due to her apparent insanity and relocated to the ruins of District 12. Months later, having largely recovered from his brainwashing, Peeta returns there with some other District 12 natives. Katniss embraces her love for Peeta, recognizing her need for his hope and strength, in contrast to Gale, who has the same fire she already finds in herself. Together, they write a book filled with the stories of previous tributes of the Hunger Games in order to preserve the memory of those who died.
Twenty years later, in the epilogue, Katniss and Peeta are married and now have two children. The Hunger Games are over for good, but Katniss dreads the day her children learn about their parents' involvement in both the Games and the war. When she feels distressed, Katniss plays a comforting but repetitive "game," reminding herself of every good thing she has ever seen someone do. The series ends with Katniss' somber reflection that "there are much worse games to play."