At the end of Mockingjay (book) / Mockingjay Part 2 (film), Katniss kills

President Coin, deeming her responsible for Prim's death.

But what about Plutarch Heavensbee? Certainly President Snow implies that he's equally responsible:

"However, I must concede it was a masterful move on Coin's part. The idea that I was bombing our own helpless children instantly snapped whatever frail allegiance my people still felt to me. There was no real resistance after that. Did you know it aired live? You can see Plutarch's hand there. And in the parachutes. Well, it's that sort of thinking that you look for in a Head Gamemaker, isn't it?" Snow dabs the corners of his mouth. "I'm sure he wasn't gunning for your sister, but these things happen."

(This quote is from the book, and it's almost identical in the film. Plutarch isn't mentioned by name, but it's obvious who "a certain savvy" refers to.) Of course Snow is a hated enemy, but what he says makes sense.

However, certainly in the book, and by implication in the film, Katniss seems to feel that

her job is done after Coin's death, and she's perfectly willing to let Plutarch continue in a position of power in the new Panem, despite his apparent complacency and possible collaboration in the death of Prim and the children.

OK, maybe another assassination would be beyond her capability, both practically and mentally, but she doesn't seem to bear him any ill-will at all.

What gives? Why the dramatic difference in Katniss's attitude towards two people who seemingly both share responsibility for the same crime?

  • 4
    There isn't enough textual support to make it an answer, but my impression was that Coin had to go both for revenge and because it had become clear to Katniss that Coin intended to replace Snow as dictator. If that happens, everyone died for nothing. While Plutarch gives all signs of always intending to be a power behind the scenes, his support for the revolution appears to have been sincere. If he merely wanted to be a powerful supporter of a dictator, he never would have had to leave the Capitol in the first place.
    – tbrookside
    Jan 1, 2023 at 17:14
  • @tbrookside There is a lot of textual support. You must dig very deep to find it though. Jan 15, 2023 at 2:38
  • 1
    It's simple, she only had one arrow
    – Möoz
    Oct 13, 2023 at 3:39

2 Answers 2


For several reasons really; but there is no concrete answer, as this is not answered in the book.

WARNING I: This contains spoilers. WARNING II: Long answer

Plutarch did not have the power.

Coin is president and dictator. Plutarch is nowhere near as popular as any of the veterans of the battle or as Katniss herself is. He is a soldier who plans cruel plans, namely

killing the Capitol's children.

"However, I must concede it was a masterful move on Coin's part. The idea that I was bombing our own helpless children instantly snapped whatever frail allegiance my people still felt to me. There was no real resistance after that. Did you know it aired live? You can see Plutarch's hand there. And in the parachutes. Well, it's that sort of thinking that you look for in a Head Gamemaker, isn't it?" Snow dabs the corners of his mouth. "I'm sure he wasn't gunning for your sister, but these things happen."


There is a possibility, that due to Katniss's good side, she will explain to everyone who really dropped the bombs if Plutarch attempts to take power. In this case, Plutarch will not be able to go for a high-ranking position, and therefore he is of no worry. His very life is in Katniss's hands, even if she does immediately kill him.

Plutarch is actually trying to help Panem.

Plutarch, in some ways, is like Gale. He is driven and works hard towards a goal. To achieve that goal, he will do what he believes is right. The goal before was to destroy the Capitol. The goal after destroying the Capitol is to rebuild Panem. To some point, Plutarch is influential, but not as influential as Katniss or Coin. The rebellion and Plutarch's support of the Rebels to remove a corrupt system supports the fact that he is determined to get the best for the citizens of Panem. Even if he is attempting to replace a corrupt system with another system whose only improvement that we know of is

removing the Hunger Games.

The questions are just beginning. The arenas have been completely destroyed, the memorials built, and there are no more Hunger Games. But they teach about them at school, and the girl knows we played a role in them. They will know in a few years. How can I tell them about that world without frightening them to death?


Katniss did not think of killing him; she only wanted to remove Coin because Coin was the mastermind.

During the last few chapters of Mockingjay, Katniss does find out that it was Coin who dropped the bombs. The bombs were made by Gale and Beetee, allowed by Coin, and dropped by Plutarch. In this case, Plutarch would be following orders. Coin allowed the bombs to drop, so, therefore, she is guilty, right? In this situation, Katniss does not consider Gale and Beetee because she cares for them.

No, that is not the answer. We know that Coin

wants to replace Snow as the next Snow.

Therefore, removing Gale or Beetee in revenge is possible. But because of Coin's dictatorship motive, makes her much more dangerous. In this case, Katniss would consider Plutarch to be nothing but a servant following orders. He isn't someone to be as wary of when compared to Coin.

"My failure," says Snow, "was being so slow to grasp Coin's plan. Let the Capitol and districts destroy one another, and then step in to take power with Thirteen barely scratched. Make no mistake, she was intending to take my place right from the beginning. I shouldn't be surprised. After all, it was Thirteen that started the rebellion that led to the Dark Days, and then abandoned the rest of the districts when the tide turned against it. But I wasn't watching Coin. I was watching you, Mockingjay. And you were watching me. I'm afraid we have both been played for fools."


Conclusion (Top Three)

Any of the three above can be a possibility. They may all factor into Katniss's choices, or remotely factor into her choices. In any case, Katniss will have to consider all of these four before deciding whether or not she wants to go after Plutarch. Dispute being - to some point - rash, Katniss learns in Mockingjay to put Panem first. It is because of this point that I selected these three as the most likely.

The Less Likely Ones

Some of the less likely are: Katniss feels in debt to Plutarch, Plutarch and Katniss forged a weak friendship or Katniss never considered killing Plutarch.

Katniss feels in debt to Plutarch.

Plutarch does save Katniss from the arena. I considered this for a while, wondering if this was a large enough motive to not kill Plutarch. This one is in the less likely because of Prim. We know that Plutarch

used a hovercraft painted with the Capitol seal to drop the bombs that killed Capitol children and Prim.

Plutarch took too many lives. If Katniss feels in debt, she will at least consider the lives he took to be more important than his. Especially since Katniss loved her sister more than anything.

“Communications are down in Seven, Ten, and Twelve. But Eleven has control of transportation now, so there's at least a hope of them getting some food out.”

Plutarch Heavensbee. I think. Although I've only really spoken with him once.


“Neither you nor Peeta were told. We couldn't risk it,” says Plutarch. “I was even worried you might mention my indiscretion with the watch during the Games.” He pulls out his pocket watch and runs his thumb across the crystal, lighting up the Mockingjay. “Of course, when I showed you this, I was merely tipping you off about the arena. As a mentor. I thought it might be a first step toward gaining your trust. I never dreamed you'd be a tribute again.”

Catching Fire

Plutarch and Katniss formed a weak friendship.

There is a slight bit of humor in all of their conversations, but their conversations are more formal than usual friendship. Hence this might not be as important of a reason for Katniss to let Plutarch go. And again, if it comes to the lives taken, she will put her revenge for her sister over Plutarch's life.

Then Plutarch has a good laugh. It never seems to bother him when no one else appreciates his jokes.

"Are you preparing for another war, Plutarch?" I ask.

"Oh, not now. Now we're in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated," he says. "But collective thinking is usually short-lived. We're fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction. Although who knows? Maybe this will be it, Katniss."


Katniss never considered killing Plutarch.

This may be an "I wanna go for the BIG FISH" moment in a book. Katniss may be so focused on Coin that she does not consider killing Plutarch. But, once again, Prim. If looking for revenge, Katniss would first consider the bomb creators - Beetee and Gale. Then she would look towards who dropped the bombs. Finally, she would look towards who allowed the bombs to be dropped and find Coin. Due to the other reasons (listed in the Coin-mastermind part), Katniss would have focused on Coin, deciding to remove the biggest threat to Panem and the safety of the citizens.

I've believed that the Capitol sent in that hovercraft, dropped the parachutes, and sacrificed its children's lives, knowing the recently arrived rebels would go to their aid. There's evidence to support this. The Capitol's seal on the hovercraft, the lack of any attempt to blow the enemy out of the sky, and their long history of using children as pawns in their battle against the districts. Then there's Snow's account. That a Capitol hovercraft manned by rebels bombed the children to bring a speedy end to the war. But if this was the case, why didn't the Capitol fire on the enemy? Did the element of surprise throw them? Had they had no defenses left? Children are precious to 13, or so it has always seemed. Well, not me, maybe. Once I had outlived my usefulness, I was expendable. Although I think it's been a long time since I've been considered a child in this war. And why would they do it knowing their own medics would likely respond and be taken out by the second blast? They wouldn't. They couldn't. Snow's lying. Manipulating me as he always has. Hoping to turn me against the rebels and possibly destroy them. Yes. Of course. Then what's nagging at me?

Those double-exploding bombs, for one. It's not that the Capitol couldn't have the same weapon, it's just that I'm sure the rebels did. Gale and Beetee's brainchild. Then there's the fact that Snow made no escape attempt when I know him to be the consummate survivor. It seems hard to believe he didn't have a retreat somewhere, some bunker stocked with provisions where he could live out the rest of his snaky little life. And finally, there's his assessment of Coin. What's irrefutable is that she's done exactly what he said. Let the Capitol and the districts run one another into the ground and then sauntered in to take power. Even if that was her plan, it doesn't mean she dropped those parachutes. The victory was already in her grasp. Everything was in her grasp.

Except me.

Suddenly, I'm thinking of Prim, who was not yet fourteen, not yet old enough to be granted the title of soldier, but somehow working on the frontlines. How did such a thing happen? That my sister would have wanted to be there, I have no doubt. That she would be more capable than much older than she is a given. But for all that, someone very high up would have had to approve of putting a thirteen-year-old in combat. Did Coin do it, hoping that losing Prim would push me completely over the edge? Or, at least, firmly on her side? I wouldn't even have had to witness it in person. Numerous cameras would be covering the City Circle. Capturing the moment forever.


Conclusion (Less Likely)

Katniss may have considered these first, or these weaker reasons might not have factored at all into her decision.


Besides Plutarch, Katniss has direct evidence tying Gale and Beetee to that bombing (namely, she sees them building the devices in Catching Fire). So they would be also responsible for that attack, using OP logic. And yet they lived.

The simple answer is: Katniss decided that person who probably gave the order, as well as going back on her word to abolish Hunger Games, did not deserve to live any more than President Snow, and probably even less than him.

If I remember correctly the decision was more influenced by the Coin's reneging on the Hunger Games, with bombing only an unconfirmed suspicion (with very strong evidence, true, but nothing provable), so it's quite possible the whole OP premise is incorrect?

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