Spoilers for Catching Fire / Mockingjay I guess.

I have just read the Hunger Games trilogy. One thing that is not very clear to me is the involvement of Plutarch and Cinna with the rebellion:

  • Since when are they involved with 13?
  • And, more importantly, why?

There are other capitol citizens involved with the rebellion, but their motivations are clearer (like Tigris, or also the Avox guy and his brother, etc).

But why would Plutarch, who had a promising career as a Game Maker / entertainer would want to rebel? Maybe it is easier to convince Cinna, since it seems a stylist's career is not as stable (look at Tigris).

My guess for Cinna is that he was never involved with 13 until a bit before Katniss' second games. I suppose that 13 contacted him and he accepted simply because he had grown fond of Katniss.

But Plutarch, on the other hand...

  • 2
    A lot must have been going on with Cinna that never gets explained. Remember when he first meets Katniss, she says something like 'I guess they gave you District 12 because you're new' and he says 'I asked for District 12' but doesn't elaborate. He's got an interesting backstory, I think, and if we're lucky Suzanne Collins might write about it some day.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 12:24
  • @randal'thor Also, Cinna mentions some passing remarks about his distaste for the games as well as being the only one who empathises with Katniss' misfortune.
    – Möoz
    Commented Nov 2, 2014 at 20:46
  • Alright, thanks. Although I'm not sure what's the problem with this question.
    – Saturn
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 3:04
  • The answer lies in WHY Plutarch retired in the first place. As you said, he had a promising career and was liked by the establishment. WHY would he choose to leave all that behind, then return after watching Katniss in the games? Think about it.
    – Omegacron
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 20:07
  • @Omegacron maybe you should just post the answer, because I'm not following your hints.
    – Saturn
    Commented Nov 3, 2014 at 21:33

3 Answers 3



Both Plutarch and Cinna had moral sentiments that aligned with those of the rebellion.

Long answer

At the end of Catching Fire, Haymitch explains to Katniss what has happened, and why she had been rescued from the arena.

Plutarch Heavensbee has been, for several years, part of an undercover group aiming to overthrow the Capitol.

But why? Katniss and Plutarch give clues, but aren't necessarily explicit. When Finnick films the lies of the Capitol, for example:

Since my opinion of the Capitol and its noble president are already so low, I can't say Finnick's allegations shock me. They seem to have far more effect on the displaced Capitol rebels like my crew and Fulvia -- even Plutarch occasionally reacts in surprise, maybe wondering how a specific tidbit passed him by.

This insinuates Plutarch had knowledge of a lot of Snow's wrongdoings, and wasn't willing to accept them. Instead, he chose to fight for the government he described to Katniss, Gale and Haymitch with unusual conviction:

"If we win, who would be in charge of the government?" Gale asks. "Everyone," Plutarch tells him. "We're going to form a republic where the people of each district and the Capitol can elect their own representatives to be their voice in a centralized government. Don't look so suspicious; it's worked before." "In books," mutters Haymitch. "In history books," says Plutarch. "And if our ancestors could do it, then we can, too."

And finally, at the end of the series, Plutarch says:

"Now we're in the 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." "What?" I ask. "The time it sticks. Maybe we are witnessing the evolution of the human race."

And as for Cinna, he was never quite normal by the Capitol's standards, especially for a stylist. Most notably he asks for 12, the least desired district, to style in the 74th Hunger Games, but also wears very little makeup (gold eyeliner) and never submits to the same shallow gossip and vanity as the prep team, for example. Everything he does is to genuinely help Katniss (and the rebellion) in the games.

Cinna began the sketches for the mockingjay-soldier costume right after the Quarter Quell announcement, so he had at least been involved in the rebellion that long. Any earlier, he was at least defiant in his own ways if not yet officially involved.

Perhaps one of the best text examples of Cinna's sensibility is during his first meeting with Katniss, when she eats a decadent meal:

I look up and find Cinna's eyes trained on mine. "How despicable we must seem to you," he says.

Furthermore, Cinna unites Katniss and Peeta from the beginning, which is against everything the Games stand for, by having them hold hands during the tributes' parade, which Haymitch refers to as "Just the perfect touch of rebellion."

And of course, turning the wedding dress into a mockingjay is a huge act of rebellion, that ultimately leads to his death:

And suddenly I am so afraid for him. What has he done? Something terribly dangerous. An act of rebellion in itself. And he's done it for me. I remember his words.... "Don't worry. I always channel my emotions into my work. That way I don't hurt anybody but myself.

So Cinna is clearly ready to risk it all for Katniss.


When I read the Hunger Games in general, I think that the masses are inspired by Katniss, but the major players are intent on rebellion and carrying her along b/c she is a great symbol and rallying point.

In my head, I think Cinna could have a secret history or some trauma in his family or childhood. Like a family member in a district or that has become an avox or had otherwise fallen out of favor. He saw what the capital can do and it scarred him. I think he was somehow able to hide that history from the capital (or he wouldn't have been given the stylist position for the games.)

I think decided to align himself with the weakest district b/c he knows he's good and thinks he might should try to protect the weakest players in the game, which without knowing specific contestants, would be District 12.

Katniss volunteering for her sister is a spark, and it drives him to do great things for her, but I think he would have done a lot of it regardless of who ended up as the district contestant. He just was able to do more b/c her story was compelling and she had real survival and defensive skills. I'm undecided as to whether he was formally with the rebellion and directed by them in any way, but I'm feeling like his connection with the rebellion was so strong until after the incident with the berries, and that's when things start really cooking and the rebels begin to get more organized.

I think Plutarch joined the rebellion b/c he's a philosophical guy, maybe a history buff. He somehow knows how things were and his morals are offended by the way things are. Also b/c he's into history and is a realist, he sees how things aren't sustainable with the current system, and as someone who is also interested in his own survival, he's decided to get ahead of things and hopefully pick the winning side.

  • Welcome to SFF.SE. There's a lot of "I think" statements in here. Are these just your opinions? We are looking for factual statements here, so please cite sources if possible.
    – Null
    Commented May 8, 2015 at 21:26

I'm only going to address Cinna, and this is going to be almost pure speculation.

One of our problems with figuring out Cinna's motivation is that we don't know when the style teams are assigned to the districts. However, there are really only two options:

  1. Before the contestants are selected
  2. After the contestants are selected

As @Sassie stated, Cinna "was never quite normal by the Capitol's standards", so it is possible that he simply asked for District 12 before the selection out of creative challenge. Perhaps he already had designs in mind.

But I would bet dollars to doughnuts that Cinna asked for District 12 after Katniss volunteered to take Prim's place. Whether he was already part of the Resistance or not, he was inspired by Katniss and wanted to do everything he could to help her. To do what he could stoke the fires of the smoldering revolution.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.