Catching Fire

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Plutarch Heavensbee Character Analysis

The current Head Gamemaker, Plutarch initially strikes Katniss as a vain, superficial, and heavily sadistic man—in other words, the perfect Head Gamemaker. Only in the novel’s final pages is it revealed that Plutarch is secretly a rebel, using his influential government position to tamper with the Hunger Games and free Katniss and Peeta. Ultimately, Plutarch remains a mystery: it’s not clear how much of his personality is “for show” to disguise his rebel allegiances, and how much of it is, in fact, his true self.

Plutarch Heavensbee Quotes in Catching Fire

The Catching Fire quotes below are all either spoken by Plutarch Heavensbee or refer to Plutarch Heavensbee . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scholastic Press edition of Catching Fire published in 2013.
Chapter 6 Quotes

There was something strange about it. Almost clandestine. But why? Maybe he thinks someone else will steal his idea of putting a disappearing mockingjay on a watch face. Yes, he probably paid a fortune for it, and now he can’t show it to anyone, because he’s afraid someone will make a cheap, knockoff version. Only in the Capitol.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Plutarch Heavensbee
Related Symbols: Mockingjay
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

At the "meet and greet" for the year's new edition of the Hunger Games—in which both Katniss and Peeta are being forced to compete—Katniss meets the new designer of the Hunger Games, a man named Plutarch Heavensbee. Plutarch flashes Katniss his new watch, which is adorned with the image of the mockingjay. The mockingjay was also the symbol Katniss chose for herself during her previous Hunger Games, and lately it's become a popular symbol of Katniss herself.

At Katniss describes the scene, Plutarch's mockingjay watch is a symbol, which she tries with difficulty to interpret correctly. Katniss's interpretation of the watch is that Plutarch is an arrogant man, and he's trying to show it off to Katniss without giving away the idea to his peers. Katniss's interpretation of the watch reflects her opinions about the people of the Capitol themselves: that they're arrogant, materialistic, and superficial.

It's not until much later that Katniss realizes the truth: Plutarch is secretly an ally to Haymitch and other rebels, and a friend to Katniss. By showing Katniss his watch, he's actually trying to give her a hint that he's on her side, and cluing her in about the nature of the upcoming Hunger Games; namely, that the arena is designed to resemble a watch. Katniss's confusion in interpreting the mockingjay—supposedly a symbol of rebellion, or even of Katniss herself—illustrates the strangeness of all symbols. Seen from different points of view, Katniss—herself a living symbol—can be interpreted as a mascot for the Capitol, or its worst enemy.

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Plutarch Heavensbee Character Timeline in Catching Fire

The timeline below shows where the character Plutarch Heavensbee appears in Catching Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon
Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon
A man named Plutarch Heavensbee introduces himself to Katniss as the new Head Gamekeeper, and asks Peeta if he... (full context)
Chapter 16
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon
...confirms that they have—orders have been backed up for a while. Wiress and Beetee watch Plutarch, who is sitting above the training stations. Wiress notices that there is a strange “ripple”... (full context)
Chapter 17
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon
Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon
Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control  Theme Icon
...are shocked by this display, and two of them look like they’re ready to faint. Plutarch Heavensbee tries to conceal his displeasure, but Katniss sees that he’s as shocked as any... (full context)
Chapter 23
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon
...clock theory to Johanna, Beetee, Finnick, and Peeta. As she explains, she remembers the watch Plutarch was wearing during her Victory Tour: this watch, she sees, was a clue to the... (full context)
Chapter 27
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon
Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon
Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control  Theme Icon
...on to her, and she is too weak to protest. Inside the hovercraft, Katniss sees Plutarch. He closes Katniss’s eyes, and Katniss realizes that she’ll soon bleed to death from Johanna’s... (full context)
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon
Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon
Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control  Theme Icon
...from her machines and staggers through the mysterious building where she’s being kept. She finds Plutarch, who is talking to Finnick and Haymitch. She’s even more confused when Plutarch kindly tells... (full context)
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon
Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon
Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control  Theme Icon
...from the various “uprising” districts—3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 11—were informed of this plan. Plutarch was in on the plan—he’s been working against the Capitol for years now. Beetee, another... (full context)
Symbols and Interpretations Theme Icon
Hidden Resistance vs. Direct Rebellion Theme Icon
Surveillance and Manipulation Theme Icon
Pain, Pleasure, and Self-Control  Theme Icon
...to kill Katniss by cutting her arm—she was removing the tracking device from her body. Plutarch adds that Katniss had to be saved, because she’s become a symbol for rebels across... (full context)