When President Snow visited Katniss in District 12, he suggested that they agree not to lie to each other to speed their discussion along. He becomes very angry when Katniss lies about her feelings about Peeta. In the last movie at least (I don't have the book in front of me, so I'm not sure if it was in the book too, but I think it was), he appeals to this agreement as evidence that he was being truthful about the Rebels bombing the Capitol children.

That being said, he lied about District 13 being destroyed (although his other statements seem to be true). How do we reconcile these facts? Was the whole agreement just a way for him to manipulate Katniss?

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    did she ever ask HIM about District 13? If not, then from a certain point of view, he never lied about it
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:12
  • @NKCampbell In the movie at least, Snowe does actually say (or, at least, strongly imply - I don't recall his exact words) that District 13 was destroyed. I don't have the books in front of me to see if it was the same in the book, though. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:14
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    As far as I can tell doing a cursory search in the books (Kindle): In Catching Fire, Katniss doesn't learn of District 13 until after her meeting w/ Snow in District 12. She doesn't mention 13 to Snow when she meets with him again in the Capitol during the victory tour and doesn't speak to him after than until after she has already visited 13 in book three
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:23
  • @NKCampbell It's definitely in the movies, but I don't have the books in front of me. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:25
  • I do - like I said, they never seem to speak of 13
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:26

3 Answers 3


He never lied

President Snow used exact words.

SNOW: Yes, it is, indeed. But not in the way you imagine it.

KATNISS: How should I imagine?

SNOW: You should imagine thousands upon thousands of your people dead. This town of yours reduced to ashes. Imagine it gone. Made radioactive. Buried under dirt as if it had never existed, like District 13.

District 13 was “buried under dirt, as if it had never existed”—it was underground! Almost no one within Panem knew that it was still around.

President Snow is in fact being very honest here. To anyone who knew what had really happened, it would sound like he was being rather literal: of course District 13 is buried underground. To someone (like Katniss) who doesn’t know the truth, it sounds like he’s saying that District 13 has been destroyed, that it is “gone.” But only the last line applies to District 13, and it is literally true.

It’s a common theme in fiction for evil characters who are bound to tell the truth, but who want to conceal information or manipulate, to say things that are literally true but lead the unwary to assume what the evil character wants them to believe.

President Snow is not about to give Katniss critical information about the fate of District 13. But he wants to use it to make a point. So he tells her something that is literally true, but misleading.

  • Ooh! Good point! He's not so much lying as using the truth to mislead. +1
    – RichS
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 17:14
  • Good point - I guess he technically didn't lie. +1 Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 17:28
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    I think this should be the real answer instead of mine.
    – RichS
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 17:37
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    @EJS - You can accept my answer, if you want (since the person who wrote the accepted answer also feels that this “should be the real answer.”)
    – Adamant
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 18:49

President Coriolanus Snow is a sadistic and manipulative psychopath. If he's willing to poison his own military advisers, kill teens for sport, and bomb hospitals just because somebody insulted him, what would stop him from lying?

By telling Katniss that the two of them will not lie to each other, he's merely trying to manipulate her. She agrees to tell the truth, and not being an honorable man, he doesn't care whether he tells a lie or the truth.

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    I'd think so, too, but the other things he said appear to have been true. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:11
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    Even a man with no honor can tell the truth when it suits his purpose.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:14
  • So, basically, he only told the truth on the other topics because it was convenient to him? Come to think of it, that was kind of the point of the agreement in the first place, so that seems like a likely explanation. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:16
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    Related question: to what extent is Snow actually sadistic, and to what extent is he just a ruthless and manipulative utilitarian? Is there evidence that he genuinely enjoys killing people? Sure, he was deliberately trying to make Katniss suffer, and he had Peeta and Joanna tortured, but it was useful for him to do those things. He also tells Katniss at the end of the series that he's not wasteful and that he considers the Rebels' bombing of children wasteful, which seems to imply that he only kills people when it's convenient for him. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 16:23
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    @EJS That would make a good question. Go ahead and post it unless somebody else already has.
    – RichS
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 0:00

While I see an answer has already been accepted for this one I don't believe it is entirely correct.

Snow never lied about the existence of District 13; with the information he had the destruction of District 13 was complete and had been wiped off the map. It's a huge surprise to him and his supporters to learn that District 13 is not only alive, but poses a serious threat to him and the capital.

Now he never let's on how big of surprise this is for him, after all, that would be a show of weakness. So once the threat of district 13 is revealed, he never publicly acknowledges how much of a threat they truly possess.

But no where in there does he actually lie directly to Katniss.

  • you sure about this? In Book 2, there is evidence that the Capitol knows 13 survived because they manipulate the news broadcasts using green screen type technology and simply re-using existing footage over and over to make it 'seem' like 13 was destroyed to the rest of the districts
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 15:50
  • I don't think this answer is accurate, at least in the books. District 13 struck a deal with the Capitol to be left alone towards the end of the war, it's inconceivable the current President wouldn't know about that. That's why they have to fake footage of the ruins every year. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 15:51
  • @NKCampbell hmm... I read the books and don't recall that point, though it's been a while since I read them. Do you know where in the book this is mentioned. I'll review it and remove my answer if I'm inaccurate.
    – onewho
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 15:55
  • in the first few chapters where Katniss meets some escapees from another district in the woods outside of 12. They tell her that if she watches the video of 13 closely, you can see a giveaway that it is a recycled/reused video: a mockingjay appears in the same location every time doing the same thing (which is highly improbable)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 16:08
  • @NKCampbell what about the deal between the Capital and 13, do you know where that is discussed? Showing reused clips of 13 every year doesn't necessarily indicate anything. I can see the reasoning for that simply being that the Capital doesn't want to spend resources every year recording footage of ruins.
    – onewho
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 16:13

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