Katniss can see that the creatures are more muttations, giant wolves that move in an unnervingly human way. She follows Cato to the Cornucopia, but as she’s about the climb, she remembers Peeta and turns to see him struggling on his bad leg. He tells her to go on, but she tries to help him up the golden horn of the Cornucopia, fending off the mutts with her remaining arrows.
The mutts are another tactic the Gamemakers use to try to divide the tributes. After her initial blind terror passes, however, Katniss refuses to leave Peeta, demonstrating how strong her loyalty to him is.
As Katniss and Peeta climb onto the golden horn, Katniss recognizes that the mutts each resemble one of the fallen tributes, and the thought terrifies her. She tries to think of how she can get to Cato to attack him, when she turns to see that Cato has Peeta in a headlock. Cato says that if Katniss shoots him in the head, he’ll take Peeta down with him. Peeta is quickly losing air, and Katniss is unsure what to do. Peeta raises his forearm to draw an X across Cato’s hand, and Katniss understands. She shoots Cato’s hand just as Peeta shoves him backwards. Katniss grabs Peeta before he can fall and they wait for Cato to die. Because he’s wearing protective body armor, however, the attack continues throughout the night, and Cato still isn’t dead.
Even after the other tributes have died, the Gamemakers use them to divide the competitors. Katniss is forced to shoot the creatures that resemble the allies and enemies she knew in life, viewing them anew as threats. Meanwhile, the Capitol's transformation of the other tributes into mutations again displays the Capitol's power and control, in this case even over death as it can bring back dead contestants to a monstrous sort of life. Katniss and Peeta defeat Cato as a team.
In the morning, when Katniss sees Cato again, the muttations have left, but Cato is still alive. He’s a raw hunk of meat, and she sends an arrow to kill him more out of a sense of pity than competition. Still, after Cato dies, nothing changes in the arena. Katniss and Peeta move to the lake so that the hovercraft can retrieve Cato’s body, but even after that, nothing happens. Then an announcement comes on—the last revision to the rules has been revoked, and there can only be one winner to the Hunger Games.
The Gamemakers choose this moment to revoke their rule to emphasize how much the Hunger Games are really about being divided—every individual for himself. There’s no room for teams or alliances in the arena, just like there’s no room for alliances between districts. The Gamemakers clearly believe that the urge to survive is greater than any love, and they now want to thrill their bloodthirsty audience by pitting two people in love against each other.
Katniss is shocked, and when she sees Peeta reaching for his knife, she automatically trains her last arrow on him. Peeta drops his knife in the lake and tells her to go ahead, but Katniss is ashamed by her reaction and drops her weapons too. Peeta insists and says that there’s no other way—the Capitol needs to have a victor. His words give Katniss an idea. She retrieves her pouch of poisoned berries, and she hands some to Peeta and takes some herself. On the count of three, they agree to eat the berries and kill themselves. On three, as the berries cross their lips, another frantic announcement comes on, telling them to stop. Katniss and Peeta are announced as the winners of the Hunger Games.
Katniss almost does exactly what the Gamemakers want her to do—she sees Peeta, for a moment, as the enemy and prepares to kill him, making her as much of a hypocrite as the Career tributes who turn on each other when the tension becomes too much. However, Peeta’s love, which makes him willing to die to save Katniss, snaps her out of it, and she again sees a way to turn an apparently weak position into a position of strength: she attacks not Peeta, but the rules and logic of the game—she and Peeta show that they are showing them that they’d rather sacrifice their lives together than give the Gamemakers their one winner, that the rules of the Games are less important than the bonds of love and loyalty.