Very related: Is President Snow sadistic or simply ruthless?

At the end of the Hunger Games movies when President Snow is facing execution with Katniss's arrow, Snow could be seen grinning malevolently and quietly encouraging Katniss to "let it fly." Why did he do that? Given that he'd die in the process, what could he possibly hope to gain by her doing that?

Did he believe that she'd somehow cause herself suffering or discredit herself in the process? If so, why did he care? Based on the linked question, Snow appears to have been ruthless, not sadistic, so what did he care if she suffered after he was dead?

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    speculation: he's reveling in the fact that she hates him for being a murderer - and in turn will be a murderer (ie - no trial, etc...) herself if she executes him. She will become him
    – NKCampbell
    Jan 19, 2019 at 18:57
  • @NKCampbell That's a definite possibility. Although I suppose that that would still leave the question of why he cares what happens to her after she's dead, which seems a little out of character. Jan 19, 2019 at 19:30
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    Just a sense of schadenfreude and a 'you're no better than me' satisfaction to take to the grave would be my bet, and that, in a way, it would let him 'off the hook' that he had, in fact, not faced true justice and been judged immoral but simply taken out by the next despot
    – NKCampbell
    Jan 19, 2019 at 21:39
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    Snow had also laid the seeds of doubt in Katniss prior to this about the new leadership's intentions - which showed signs of being accurate - I think he was just enjoying the mind games which ever way it played out.
    – Andrew
    Jan 19, 2019 at 21:50
  • A long time ago and far away it may have been said as "Good. I can feel your anger. I am defenseless. Take your weapon! Strike me down with all your hatred, and your journey towards the dark side will be complete."
    – ivanivan
    Jan 24, 2019 at 1:13

2 Answers 2


It was the best of his options.

A well-placed shot through the head is a fairly quick death. Considerably better than being torn apart by a mob, or whatever else they may have had cooked up for him. Snow, either in spite of being a power-hungry dictator or because of it, understood the kind of people he was dealing with - and likely saw that this was best of all the options available to him.

Considering his crimes and the alternatives (and possibly an ugly death from an illness he clearly had), he may have seen such a death as a near-victory.

EDIT: He may also have had a personal interest in making sure that Katniss was the one who killed him. Coin at that point believed that she had successfully manipulated Katniss, but Snow seems to have guessed otherwise. As such, he likely suspected that Katniss will soon turn against the organization that caught and executed him.

This would greatly mar their victory over him (as well as the victory's use as propaganda), since the execution would have been carried out by someone who then turned traitor. If Katniss turned against the organization, then Snow's loss would go to her - not to them.


it's a macho thing, and not entirely uncommon.

Snow is figuratively spitting in her face, and demonstrating that although she can kill him, she cannot make him afraid.

It's rather like the occasional hero who, when being executed by a firing squad, refuses the blindfold.

When you have accepted the fact of your impending death, the details of how you die can become very important.

While I cannot find the attribution, I do recall reading about an individual in the Wild West who, when cornered by a vigilante committee, refused to run and was shot down. It was said that, if he had to go, he'd rather have the bullet holes in front, rather than in back.

Like I say, it's a macho thing.


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