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The Ending Of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 Explained

Though there have certainly been stories about dystopian societies and love triangles in the young adult space before, "The Hunger Games" brings it to a new level. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) doesn't have time for love when she is living in a waking nightmare full of child murder and political machinations. These are just some of many things that adults may notice about "The Hunger Games." Throughout the series of films, Katniss endures more than any one person should have to, and it all reaches its exciting conclusion in "Mockingjay, Part 2."

Not only is she a young female protagonist who deals with mental health battles, but also must contend with a society that forces her to be their savior. After rescuing Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) from the clutches of President Snow (Donald Sutherland), Katniss realizes that he has been brainwashed to believe that she is the true enemy. Finally accepting the moniker of the Mockingjay, Katniss agrees to bring the Capitol down (via IMDb). But even if she finds a way to destroy the oppressive regime, will she really be able to recover from all the dangerous games she's played?

War is never worth the cost

The price of war has always been a high one for Katniss. Before the Games even begin, she loses her father and tries to keep food on the table for her family. And when the war against the Capitol finally starts to reach its conclusion after three movies, things only get worse for the Mockingjay.

Katniss and Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) advance on the Capitol, pretending to be refugees, to try and kill President Snow (via Bustle). Unbeknownst to Katniss, this is the perfect trap to win the war. The rebels drop explosive parachutes on the unsuspecting citizens and capture President Snow. But it isn't without loss. After appearing on the scene, Katniss' own sister is caught in the blast. Seeing Prim (Willow Shields) die in front of her is just one loss too many. She has lost Finnick (Sam Claflin), Peeta, and at times her sanity. Prim's loss also takes something else from Katniss: Gale. She learns that the exploding charges were Gale's brainchild, born from the hate he has for the Capitol (per Bustle). This rage becomes so destructive that it hurts the person he claimed to love the most. There is no way for Katniss to forgive him for Prim's death. Despite the eventual victory that comes from Gale's actions, she can't feel anything — even when his explosion literally turns her into The Girl on Fire.

Katniss trades in one dictator for another

The capture of President Snow may seem like the end of conflict, but "Mockingjay Part 2" refuses to let viewers off that easily. Abuse of power has always been a theme in "The Hunger Games," and it continues to be up until the bitter end. Alma Coin (Julianne Moore) has led the resistance up until this point and has some controversial opinions about how to set things right. She suggests the only way to clean the slate is to create a new Hunger Games where children in the Capitol will be forced to fight (via USA Today). This goes against all of Katniss' ideals, but she agrees. If only because she wants to execute Snow herself.

This agreement seems acceptable to Coin, but she doesn't know how wrong she is in the end. As Katniss draws her bow to kill Snow, she alters her course and shoots Coin (per Bustle). The entire time, Coin has been maneuvering Katniss to her own benefit. She grabs power and even suggests hurting children just as Snow had. Just because she fought for independence does not mean she is not corrupt in her own way. Katniss understands that Coin never has any intention of going through with fair elections and has become a dictator herself. Katniss' decision allows for the right course of action to be made. Though Katniss does not deliver the execution, Snow still dies as rioters rush and kill him, Bustle reported.

It was never about the love triangle

Katniss' journey in "The Hunger Games" has always been about fighting against oppression when it seems impossible. From her perspective, romance was never a priority, and focusing on a love triangle is missing the point of the series. The big Gale versus Peeta debate does ultimately resolve itself, but it does so naturally. During the war, Katniss is not emotionally prepared to love anyone and can only find a partner once conflict is resolved.

Katniss has feelings for both Gale and Peeta but they represent significantly different things (via Bustle). Gale is a tie to her past and the struggles she had to endure. Gale has been hurt by the war and becomes poisoned by it. He can never move past his experiences. Peeta, however, represents closure. Peeta has been thrown into deathly games, tortured, and brainwashed. But he still represents hope for the future. When Katniss sees him again, he is planting flowers for Prim while Gale is only responsible for her death. This comparison makes Katniss understand what she wants for the future. Peeta represents new life where she can put the games behind her. Yes, the love triangle is resolved, but it doesn't happen immediately. Only through living together amicably in District 12 and healing their respective wounds do they officially enter in a romantic relationship.

Even after closure trauma lives on

Katniss and Peeta go on to have a fully realized life without the threat of the games or war on their doorstep again. They fully admit feelings for each other and have children of their own who will never have to know the terror of the system that they brought down. But even with the happiness of their family, not all pain can be erased. Some ghosts of the past still remain. After Peeta's brainwashing, he can never go back to the person he used to be. He still needs to ask Katniss if her feelings are real because he struggles with comprehending his reality (via Cinema Blend).

Katniss has her difficulties as well. She tells her child that though things have settled, she still wakes up from nightmares of what she experienced, as Cinema Blend reported. The imprint of the games will stick with them forever, as do traumatic events in real life. Katniss and Peeta are the happiest they can be but the games will leave their mark on them forever.