In our past critiques of Suzanne Collins’s new prequel to the Hunger Games Trilogy (Source:, we’ve seen how Coriolanus Snow became a successful mentor to Lucy Gray Baird. Only that he was relegated as a Peacekeeper because of his deceit in the 10th Hunger Games. As of now, we can say that he had excelled in training and found out that his companion Sejanus was colluding with the rebels.

For this article, we are going to review the last five chapters of the novel and see if Snow would be able to rat out Sejanus to the authorities. We’ll also see if Snow and Lucy could continue their romantic life despite the former’s responsibilities in the military.

Chapter 26: Snow learns about the jabber jays and mockingjays

Snow became warier of Sejanus’s lies, but he decided to give his companion another chance. The next day, the two soldiers, together with Bug, were instructed to help Dr. Kay capture wild jabber jays and mockingjays. All of the Peacekeepers learned from their superior that the former bird species were intended to mimic human speech, while the latter produced melodious hums (alluding to Lucy Gray).

Snow was given a remote to study how the jabber jays could be manipulated like sound recorders. The birds were automatically set to neutral mode (as further detailed in Catching Fire), wherein they would repeat whatever they’d hear on their surroundings. They were also capable of filtering the voices – if they were human sounds or just natural echoes. Besides, whoever owned the jabber jay could command the bird to record a specific voice.

Snow appreciated how the animal could be used to spy on rebellious activity without any trace. On the other hand, he detested the mockingjays because of their spontaneity and ability to liberate themselves from human control. This could explain as well what Lucy meant in the line “the Mockingjay sings”, and how Katniss & Peeta in the trilogy venerated the bird species as a symbol of freedom.

After their assignment, Snow and Bug volunteered to take care of the birds they caught. Sejanus also invited Snow to join the Covey for their next gig. All of them met in the backroom of the Hob wherein Snow told Lucy of his new duty, much to her sadness. The young man later saw his love song about her becoming a wraith. He was mystified by the meaning of her ballad, so he tried to ask Sejanus his interpretation. But Sejanus wasn’t in the backroom.

Chapter 27: Snow uses the jabber jays to his advantage

As soon as Sejanus returned, he fibbed again by saying that he was too drunk. That pushed Snow’s button; however, he could not just confront him about his conspiracies in front of everyone. So he decided to just approach him naturally (as his friend) and pretend to help him in the mutiny’s plot while keenly observing his actions.

Snow and Sejanus decided to pay the Covey another visit after their performance. While Lucy was singing the same ghost story, Snow was distraught to hear mockingjays imitating her voice. He was further introduced to the daily, menial activities of the dance troupe. From that, he truly understood that they relied on singing & dancing just to earn a living.

Lucy also confided in her love that her family was oppressed by the Capitol. But she assured him that her dance troupe members were not rebels even if they had been framed for years (due to their connection with Billy). Snow also learned that everyone in the Covey was named from a ballad title and a distinct color. Lucy, for instance, got her name from her titular ballad (the ghost story) and the color gray.

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Snow also observed that the Seam had no jabber jays; thus, being free from the Capitol’s subjugation. So he clarified to Lucy what she meant about the metaphor of the Mockingjay in the reaping ceremony. According to her, it was a reference to her former love Billy, who decided to entangle her family in the District 12 mayor’s scandal. She also mentioned the significance of the “hanging tree” in her lyrics as a symbolism of complete privacy.

Snow was relieved to hear that Billy wouldn't be accepted by the Covey anymore in case he’d torment them again. As soon as he went back to the Peacekeepers’ base, he heard that Sejanus would be purchasing a pocket knife and other weapons, much to his further distrust. In reply, Snow just bluffed his way by giving him false support to his rebellious schemes.

The next day, Snow and Bug continued hunting for more jabber jays and mockingjays. That was also opportune to Snow since Sejanus didn’t tag along. That meant he could track whatever he’d say through the jabber jay. As soon as he had enough practice on how to use the controls, he planned to record recorded everything that Sejanus would detail in their conversation about the rebels’ plans. He couldn’t afford to commit the same mistake he did in falling the handkerchief to Dr. Gaul’s snakes.

Chapter 28: Snow and Lucy witness Sejanus being hanged

Snow carefully listened to Sejanus narrating the plan of the rebels to release Lil and disguise themselves as ordinary folk in the Capitol. His companion also shared that the rebels will infiltrate the Peacekeepers’ base soon – that was why he and Billy sketched the map of the building.

Snow felt afraid that he might be castigated by Dean Highbottom and Dr. Gaul again if he would continue using the jabber jay without their consent. But he decided to carry on because he coveted the stipend promised by the Plinths. He needed this money because a lot of people had already planned to buy the Snows’ apartment. The young man just had to find a guard who could send the bird to Dr. Gaul so that Sejanus would be punished once and for all.

Snow (who brought his rifle) and Sejanus dropped by the Hob for the Covey’s’ third performance. Billy and another rebel named Spruce were in the backroom as well. They were inviting Lucy to join them as they live in a place away from the Capitol. Suddenly, Mayfair, the daughter of District 12’s mayor, also arrived to confront Billy for his incessant demands.

While Billy and Spruce also recruited Mayfair, she attempted to escape. The two rebels quarreled on who should shoot the lady, with Billy being killed during the grapple. Snow acted quickly as he seized the opportunity to kill her instead. While Lucy was performing, she heard the shooting, but she and the crowd remained composed. Snow also managed to clean his rifle and remove all possible pieces of evidence that could incriminate him.

Snow explained to Sejanus that killing Mayfair was an act of self-defense, just like Bobbin’s murder in the Arena. Rumors began to spread about the manslaughter that happened in the Hob. Spruce was arrested, but luckily, Snow and the Covey members weren’t held culpable. Then all of a sudden, authorities seized Sejanus; meaning, Snow was able to courier the jabber jay to Dr. Gaul successfully.

A few days later, Snow and the other Peacekeepers were told to assemble at the same spot where Arlo was executed. They were to witness Sejanus’s hanging, too. While Snow was celebrating his private victory, he saw Lucy in the event too. Little did he know that her love was helping the rebels too and that she was aware of Snow’s disloyalty to Sejanus.

Chapter 29: Snow graduates from the Peacekeepers’ program

Snow kept on justifying to himself that his murder was valid since that would be a step closer to the Plinths’ prize. He evaded whoever would blame him for Sejanus’s execution. He was also summoned by his Commander Hoff for a private congratulation ceremony, much to his astonishment. He was included in his superior’s birthday party, as his reward for his loyalty to the Capitol.

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During the birthday party, Lucy and the other members of the Covey performed. Aside from extending her wishes to Commander Hoff, Lucy composed a new song for Snow. She praised how pure he was, just like white snow, and how he sacrificed his life a lot of times. and Afterwards, the two talked about Sejanus’s demise.

Lucy also invited her sweetheart to go to a hanging tree (the actual site mentioned in her song) in the Seam after. By that, Snow would be able to escape from the authorities who might find out Mayfair’s murder. Also, Lucy would be no longer affiliated with the rebels.

The next day, Snow was packing his stuff to escape from the Peacekeepers’ base. However, his plans were foiled when the guards summoned him to Commander Hoff’s office. Inside, he was congratulated again, because he successfully finished his duties as a Peacekeeper.

Chapter 30: Snow is spared from Lucy’s unexpected betrayal

Commander Hoff commended Snow for being the youngest member of the Peacekeepers to complete the internship. Besides, his scores were remarkably high; thus, being eligible for a slot in District Two’s elite military University. He also informed his student that a hovercraft would be sending him back to the Capitol later evening so that he could resume his studies.

Now that it was his last night in the military base, Snow decided to travel to the cottage near the hanging tree Lucy described. His confidante also added that she would be deserting the Covey for good. She stole some of her band members’ resources so that they could start a new life together.

Lucy pricked Snow’s conscience without warning as she indirectly hinted that he killed Sejanus (“the third person”). Snow, however, just evaded that remark by saying that he killed his past innocent self. The young man was surprised to find out that his love interest kept Billy’s and Spruce’s weapons, as well as a knife.

As soon as Lucy invited Snow to go to the patch near the hanging tree, Snow felt a snake biting him. Then he remembered the Covey warning him before that place was dangerous due to the wild animals living there. He also realized that Billy was telling the truth at the very start – Lucy indeed loved playing with boys’ feelings.

Snow thought of the possible consequences of not accepting Commander Hoff’s offer. Thus, he realized that Lucy had set a trap to prevent him from escaping. A thought registered to his mind that Lucy deceived him for long by captivating him with her beautiful voice.

Also, Snow was terrified that Lucy had used her competitive streak to hunt down her very mentor, as demonstrated by her victory in the Hunger Games. This seemed like an actual simulation of the survival show, with Snow being Lucy’s only competitor. Much worse, a thought came to him that Lucy mourned for Sejanus in the execution because she knew what Snow did.

As Lucy began to lure him to the hanging tree, she also commanded the mockingjays nearby to attack Snow. To protect himself, he shooed the flock of birds and scared Lucy with his rifle. While struggling to escape from the trap, he used his father’s compass to guide him on his way back to the base.

As a heavy thunderstorm fell from the sky, Snow had a feeling that Lucy was already dead. He had his wounds treated; fortunately, the snakes in that wooden patch weren’t as poisonous as Dr. Gaul’s. Afterward, he climbed up the hovercraft, which was on its way to the Capitol. With that, he was able to outsmart Lucy’s cunning; thus, abandoning her once and for all.

As he went back to the capital of Panem, Snow was greeted by Dr. Gaul, who praised him for a job well done. Snow shared how his job as a Peacekeeper fortified his opinion about the need to implement the Hunger Games. He also added that all of his duties convinced him that his strategy for chaos, control, and contract needed to be implemented by the government.

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Dr. Gaul was very pleased with her students’ remarks. To recognize his achievements during the internship, she informed him that she would be his special teacher in the University. Besides, his rank would be elevated – from a humble guard to a more honorable planner of the future Hunger Games.

Throughout the three parts of the book, we’ve seen how Snow truly grew to become one of the most formidable and callous leaders of the Capitol. In the next article, we’ll be getting a glimpse of Snow’s future in the epilogue (as a transition to his older self in the trilogy), as well as the commentary for Part 3 of the novel.

Sources Used, in APA Format (6th Ed).

Collins, S. (2020). The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. New York, NY: Scholastic.

Daleziou, M. (2020, July 22). Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Nerd Daily. Retrieved 31
July 2020 from

De Vera, R.S. (2020, July 13). Suzanne Collins revisits ‘Hunger Games’ with an
audacious but unsatisfying prequel. Philippine Daily Inquirer Retrieved 31 July
2020 from