Catching Fire

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President Coriolanus Snow Character Analysis

The tyrannical leader of the government of Panem, President Coriolanus Snow appears in only a few chapters of Catching Fire, but his presence suffuses the entirety of the book—as Katniss puts it, he could have her killed at any time with a wave of his hand. In addition to being a brutal, even sociopathic leader, Snow is a cunning politician who recognizes the importance of spectacle and appearances. It is for this reason that he threatens to kill Katniss’s family if she “misbehaves” during her Victory Tour—the threat that sets off the plot of the novel.

President Coriolanus Snow Quotes in Catching Fire

The Catching Fire quotes below are all either spoken by President Coriolanus Snow or refer to President Coriolanus Snow . 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:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Scholastic Press edition of Catching Fire published in 2013.
Chapter 2 Quotes

People viewed your little trick with the berries as an act of defiance, not an act of love. And if a girl from District 12 of all places can defy the Capitol and walk away unharmed, what is to stop them from doing the same?

Related Characters: President Coriolanus Snow (speaker), Katniss Everdeen
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

President Snow's speech to Katniss illustrates both the strength and the flaws of the government he heads. Snow has come to warn Katniss not to "misbehave" during her Victory Tour. She's under strict instructions to stick to the script at all times—to act like a typical lovestruck teenage girl, not a potential rebel leader. Snow knows that Katniss despises his government, and he also knows that she is hugely influential and has a talent for improvising—as a result, he's scared that Katniss will try to denounce or criticize the government during her Tour. Since Katniss will have an audience of millions at this time, Snow is right to be afraid.

A natural question would be, "Why doesn't Snow just cancel the Victory Tour?" Canceling the Tour might be the easiest way to ensure that Katniss doesn't do harm to his government, but it would also undermine the importance of tradition in Panem. Because Panem celebrates the Hunger Games every year—and because Snow's government maintains its power in part because of the popularity of the Hunger Games—Snow has no choice but to allow Katniss to make her tour as usual, despite the risk. Snow's speech demonstrates the power and the weakness of his government, while also showing us how Katniss might use her popularity to oppose Snow. With her widespread fame and national platform, Katniss has a powerful weapon on her side: if she were to criticize Snow, millions of people would listen to her. It's a mark of Katniss's danger that Snow has to threaten to hurt her family in order to make her "behave."

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Chapter 5 Quotes

Did I do it? Was it enough? Was giving everything over to you, keeping up the game, promising to marry Peeta enough?
In answer, he gives an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

Related Characters: Katniss Everdeen (speaker), Peeta Mellark , President Coriolanus Snow
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

At the conclusion of Katniss's Victory Tour, Katniss is unsure if she's pleased President Snow or not. While she's been careful not to say anything that could be interpreted as a denunciation of Snow's government, Katniss has inadvertently caused riots and rebellions across Panem. (A few chapters after this quote, Katniss realizes just how successful she's been in challenging the government's authority: she's caused full-scale uprisings against the Capitol in several districts.)

The quote also illustrates the extent to which Katniss will go to protect her family and keep up appearances. Because she's afraid that her mother and sister will be murdered for her defiance of the rules, Katniss tries to overcompensate by getting engaged to Peeta, her co-champion in the Hunger Games. While Katniss has romantic feelings for her childhood friend, Gale, she's loyal first and foremost to her family. Thus, she decides to marry Peeta in the hopes that she'll entertain the country and please Snow. Snow's shake of the head, however, seems to indicate that Katniss hasn't done enough to neutralize her own threat. But because Snow's gesture is so small and hard to read, it's not completely clear if Katniss's interpretation is right or wrong. Snow's head-shake is only the first of many ambiguous symbols and speeches in this book.

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President Coriolanus Snow Character Timeline in Catching Fire

The timeline below shows where the character President Coriolanus Snow appears in Catching Fire. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...the Capitol, follows the messenger into a room of her house. There, she finds President Snow, the leader of the Capitol. (full context)
Chapter 2
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Katniss stands in her home, looking into the fearsome eyes of President Snow. Katniss is used to seeing Snow on television, surrounded by flags. She wonders what he... (full context)
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Katniss realizes why Snow must be here: he’s angry with Katniss for disobeying the rules of the Games and... (full context)
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President Snow asks Katniss, point-blank, if she’s going to be “difficult” during the Victory Tour. Katniss replies... (full context)
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Snow continues explaining his position to Katniss. He’s viewed Katniss as a “threat” to the Capitol,... (full context)
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President Snow goes on to explain that Katniss’s threat of suicide has been dangerous for the Capitol’s... (full context)
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Katniss tells President Snow that she didn’t intend to start uprisings, and Snow replies that he believes her. He... (full context)
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Snow continues to prod Katniss for weaknesses. He asks her how Peeta, the “love of her... (full context)
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...if the kiss had never happened. As she thinks all this, Katniss looks at President Snow and wonders if he knows about her complicated relationship with Gale—it’s possible that he’s installed... (full context)
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Katniss begs Snow not to hurt Gale. She promises to behave during her Victory Tour by pretending to... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Katniss stands alone in her house. President Snow has just left, and Katniss is trying to make sense of everything he’s told her.... (full context)
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...she’s all right, and Katniss pretends to be cheery. She lies and says that President Snow always visits victors before their tour. Katniss thinks about her relationship with her mother. Though... (full context)
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Katniss thinks that there are three people she could talk to about her conversation with Snow. One is her stylist, Cinna. He is a kind man, but Katniss fears that he’s... (full context)
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...is done, she walks downstairs and greets Cinna. Katniss can’t help but tell Cinna what Snow has told her—she finds it very easy to talk to Cinna, and often talks with... (full context)
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Cinna is sympathetic when Katniss tells him about Snow, but he urges her to get to work on her “talent.” Ever victor of the... (full context)
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...mockingjay. Effie shouts that it’s time for Katniss to leave. Katniss remembers her conversation with Snow, and her face breaks into a huge (and fake) smile. (full context)
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...she and Haymitch talk outside when the train stops for fuel. Outside, she explains what Snow told her: if she rebels against the Capitol at all, her loved ones will die.... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...sits alone, thinking about what Haymitch has told her. If she marries Peeta, she realizes, Snow might try to pressure her into having children. This means that her children may one... (full context)
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...worried that this display of unity will be interpreted as a sign of rebellion—exactly what Snow has warned her to avoid. (full context)
Chapter 5
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...the Peacekeepers would kill someone simply for whistling. In response, Katniss reluctantly explains what President Snow told her—she needs to preserve order or risk her friends’ lives. Katniss tells her friends... (full context)
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Peeta is angry that Katniss didn’t tell her about her conversation with Snow. He explains that he had a right to know, since he has loved ones who... (full context)
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...to which they’ve agreed. The audiences in the Capitol are almost hysterical with happiness. President Snow, who is presiding over the event that night, appears on the stage to congratulate Peeta... (full context)
Chapter 6
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President Snow has just given Katniss indication that she’s failed to obey his directions. Yet Katniss is... (full context)
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...Katniss stands on the stage, surrounded by cheering crowds, she continues to smile at President Snow. Snow proposes that she and Peeta get married in the Capitol, a suggestion that makes... (full context)
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...and wearing pins of their own. She notes with great pleasure that this must annoy Snow greatly. At the banquet, many government officials introduce themselves to Katniss. Though Katniss is polite... (full context)
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...still banners depicting her face, left over from the Victory Tour. This must be what Snow meant by “uprising,” she realizes. (full context)
Chapter 7
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...Gale arrives, having tracked her path. Katniss greets Gale and then cuts to the chase: Snow threatened to kill Gale, she tells him. Gale coolly thanks her for informing him, and... (full context)
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Katniss explains to Gale her decision to marry Peeta. She mentions Snow’s visit to her house and the shootings in District 11. Then, she proposes that she... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...Gale and Katniss do not try to hunt there. Katniss receives a present from President Snow: a wedding dress. Katniss cannot understand what Snow is planning. It seems that he wants... (full context)
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Worried about the mixed message Snow is sending, Katniss decides to take matters into her own hands, though she doesn’t immediately... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...defiance during the Hunger Games inspired thousands of rebels. Katniss realizes the truth about President Snow: he never seriously believed that Katniss’s good behavior could quell a rebellion in District 8.... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...12. She wonders if Thread has been following her, and concludes that this is entirely possible—Snow found out that Gale kissed her in the middle of the forest, after all. (full context)
Chapter 12
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...Games will take place this year, meaning that there will be a “Quarter Quell.” President Snow appears onstage to give a speech. Snow notes that in previous Quarter Quells, districts have... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...Peeta supplies. She reasons that she’s as good as dead for her disobedience to President Snow, whereas Peeta still has a chance at survival. Haymitch, very drunk by now, agrees to... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...the center of the Capitol. Katniss notices the other competitors, dressed in bright outfits. President Snow presides over the ceremony and welcomes everyone to the Quell. Wearing her dark, mysterious clothing,... (full context)
Chapter 17
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Katniss and Peeta retire to their room. Katniss suggests a disturbing possibility: Snow will make sure that they’re killed during the Games. Peeta acknowledges that this is possible.... (full context)
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...for her that evening. The dress was originally intended to be Katniss’s wedding dress, but Snow has mandated that she wear it to the Games instead. Cinna instructs Katniss to raise... (full context)
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...Chaff, and Beetee, suggest that the Quell should be called off, and even imply that Snow is too weak to cancel it. (full context)
Chapter 18
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...He explains that the Games are in a state of chaos: people are calling for Snow to call off the Games immediately. Haymitch maintains that Snow will do nothing of the... (full context)
Chapter 27
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As she lies on the ground, Katniss thinks back to President Snow’s announcement of the Quarter Quell. Snow claimed that the Quell was a reminder that even... (full context)