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In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 Katniss went to the Capitol to shoot propaganda footage for the purpose of rallying the rebel districts. However she wasn't on the frontlines since victory was merely a matter of time and her role as the Mockingjay was pretty much fulfilled.

Later things become more dangerous when a mine and other traps are set off. Since their location was given away and their mission wasn't crucial to the war effort, Jackson wants to retreat to the rebel base.

However, Katniss seems to be obsessed with

killing Snow herself, so she instead insists on travelling deeper into danger so she can get to Snow before the rebels do.

But

her plan fails: she gets most of her team killed for nothing since she arrived at the gates of Snow's location at the same time as the rebels. The rebels capture Snow and Katniss even gets to kill him herself anyway.

Did Katniss accomplish anything in the capitol besides

getting nearly everyone killed?
I realize she didn't want to go back to the base, but at least she'd be safe from the Capitol and from Coin since she'd be surrounded by loyal rebels.

  • I didn't downvote, but perhaps the question is unclear. In terms of actual plot points it is pretty clear what actions she took (ie - 'accomplished') - so are you meaning in some deeper, metanarrative type way or something else? – NKCampbell Dec 6 '15 at 6:12
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    @NathanK.Campbell Basically, it seemed to me like she accomplished nothing; she might as well have just stayed at the base and waited for Snow's capture. Am I right, and her trip into the Capitol was fruitless? Or did she actually accomplish something and I just missed it? – RedCaio Dec 6 '15 at 6:19
  • @RedCaio I though exactly the same thing, I'd be interested to hear an answer beyond "Indeed, Nothing" – user20310 Dec 6 '15 at 11:40
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    She accomplished self-actualization and doing what she wanted. Since when is that not enough? It's like "Eat, pray, love", except with higher levels of risk. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 6 '15 at 13:38
  • Perhaps the point is that she failed to actually accomplish anything. – Rogue Jedi Dec 7 '15 at 0:06
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Obviously the aim of her mission was to Kill Snow - no matter how desperate or unlikely - however, I suspect the only real outcome of her adventure was that she witnessed first-hand what happened to

Prim.

and set Katniss off on the idea that

President Coin can't be trusted.

Let's break this down

This is a pivotal plot point of the series; Katniss is being used by both sides of the war - Snow is using her as a means to teach the rest of the Districts a harsh lesson, and Coin is using her to rally the Districts behind her.

This is a clash; one which needs to be resolved in some sort of climax.

Boggs the motivator
Boggs does two extremely important things:

  1. Makes Katniss realise that she herself is an important playing piece in this game
  2. Sets Katniss as squad 451 leader, confirming that she must go ahead with her mission (Kill Snow)

From Mockingjay:

"Sometime in the near future, this war will be resolved. A new leader will be chosen," says Boggs.
I roll my eyes. "Boggs, no one thinks I'm going to be the leader."
"No. They don't," he agrees. "But you'll throw support to someone. Would it be President Coin? Or someone else?"
"I don't know. I've never thought about it," I say.
"If your immediate answer isn't Coin, then you're a threat. You're the face of the rebellion. You may have more influence than any other single person," says Boggs. "Outwardly, the most you've ever done is tolerated her."
"So she'll kill me to shut me up." The minute I say the words, I know they're true.
-Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Part Three 3 - Mockingjay, Chapter Nineteen. [emphasis mine]

and when he

dies

he gives the "Holo" to Katniss, making her move furhter with her "mission":

"No. Boggs gave it to me," I say.
"Don't be ridiculous," she snaps. Of course, she thinks it's hers. She's second in command.
"It's true," says Homes. "He transferred the prime security clearance to her while he was dying. I saw it."
"Why would he do that?" demands Jackson.
Why indeed? My head's reeling from the ghastly events of the last five minutes--Boggs mutilated, dying, dead, Peeta's homicidal rage, Mitchell bloody and netted and swallowed by that foul black wave. I turn to Boggs, very badly needing him alive. Suddenly sure that he, and maybe he alone, is completely on my side. I think of his last orders....
"Don't trust them. Don't go back. Kill Peeta. Do what you came to do."
What did he mean? Don't trust who? The rebels? Coin? The people looking at me right now? I won't go back, but he must know I can't just fire a bullet through Peeta's head. Can I? Should I? Did Boggs guess that what I really came to do is desert and kill Snow on my own?
-Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games: Part Three 3 - Mockingjay, Chapter Nineteen. [emphasis mine]

Seeing that it was

a Rebel plan to set-off the double-exploding bombs (killing Prim), and not President Snow's idea [1]

allows Katniss to realise that

Coin is really just another substitute for Snow. Worse in fact that she will do whatever it takes, including kill children (including Prim) on public television to get her way[2]. Ultimately leading Katniss to Kill Coin instead of Snow!

This is the most important plot piece that she gained on her mission to the Capitol!

Peeta
Katniss sees and learns that throughout all of the tumult of the Squad 451 tavels, Peeta does not kill her! He is capable of change and being changed. If she had not seen that for herself, she may not have been so open to him

returning to District 12 and living with her.

She sees that through multiple occasions and opportunities for Peeta to kill her, he doesn't. She learns to treat him with a small degree of trust, and a huge amount of humanity.

TL;DR: Continuing into the Capitol was useful because:

1. what happens there helps Katniss realize Coin is not to be trusted.

and

2. Katniss was able to observe Peeta's recovery and begin to trust him again.

[Note: I have not seen the movie yet, so my answer will be solely book-based; I will confirm/rebuke my findings once I've seen the movieI have watched the movie, and confirmed that the events play-out nearly identically to the book.]

8

In retrospect, in-universe, you and @LightnessRacesInOrbit are correct: she gained nothing by attempting her own personal mission that she wouldn't have gained by sitting at home and waiting for the war to end. She lost a lot of friends and comrades, and in the end the victorious rebels handed her the job of killing Snow on a plate.

Out of universe, @Mooz is correct: while her mission was eventually unsuccessful (except in that she achieved her objective in the same way she could have achieved it by simply sitting at home), it enabled her to have important realisations which changed the course of the story. And of course, without that mission, the whole story would have been far less exciting!

But the most important issue to look at is a priori, in-universe:

She couldn't have known what was going to happen.

At the start of the campaign to take the Capitol, a rebel victory is by no means a foregone conclusion. If the rebels lose the war, everything will go back to the way it was before, only worse. Perhaps their best hope is to take out Snow, the proverbial "snake's head".

Of course, Katniss usually isn't thinking on such a grand scale. She doesn't care about the rebellion as a whole so much as her own personal loyalties and troubles. She wants to kill Snow more for her own reasons than anything else. And impulsive has always been a good description of our Miss Everdeen: she does whatever she can to protect those she loves, and never takes orders. She's going all-out for Snow, regardless of what happens with the rebels.

If she hadn't gone on that mission and

  • the rebels had lost
  • the rebels had won but Snow had taken poison or been killed ignominiously in battle
  • the rebels had captured Snow and assigned someone else to kill him

then she'd never have achieved her great goal of looking him in the eye and shooting him in the heart.

We have the advantage of being able to look back on the events of the entire war and say she gained nothing by her mission. But by considering possibilities beforehand, it didn't look as though this would be the case. Every battle plan is perfect up until the first blow is struck.

1

No, she didn't.

There's nothing else to say, really. You've summed it up in totality.

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