My Mockingjay alternate ending

November 3, 2010

[My alternate ending starts in the middle of Chapter 27 of the original, at the moment where Coin has asked the game survivors to vote on holding a final Hunger Games – I start in Katniss’s head as she is about to cast her vote]

And there we are, discussing an atrocity as if it weren’t the most terrible decision we’ll ever make. Is it possible that some years ago, in a scene just like this, a group of survivors sat around a table and voted to begin the first Hunger Games? Was it just as difficult for them to decide what was worse – killing innocent children in a public ritual or allowing the districts to seethe in anger over their losses and possibly raise up another army of rebels? Some of the hatred I have built up for founders of the games begins to unravel. But just some of it.

They made their decision for their reasons and now it is our time to make our decision, for our reasons. And my reasons are becoming painfully clear. I entered the Hunger Games to save Prim. Because of me – no, because of the Mockingjay – the games are finally over.

But Prim is dead. What reason do I have left?

Regardless of the choice I make, Coin has me precisely where she wants me. She wants these games to happen, that much is clear. All this talk about some people not being satisfied is so much political posturing, even though the cameras aren’t buzzing around her. Coin wants these games because she wants things to be the way they were before – tightly controlled, comfortably disciplined and grey, like the lives of the people in District Thirteen, buried underground, smothered, for their own safety.

And she would smother me if I let her. She would smother us all and claim it is for our own good, just the way Snow poisoned those around him – all of us, really, poisoning us with hate, suspicion, and mistrust between the districts. And all to preserve the peace. Because a president only has the power that he or she preserves. And Coin, like Snow before her, intends to preserve power.

Has she already calculated the odds? Of course she has. She knows the feelings of this group. She knows that they are all smart enough to see how much they will depend on her grace if they hope to have anything close to normal lives after this. She knows that with the right words, she can get them to support the games again. But she can’t be obvious about it so she has to make it seem like it comes down to a vote among equals. A vote whose results can’t be pinned on any one of us by name.

But she’ll know. She’ll know who lined up behind her and who did not. She’ll know who to reward and who to smother.

I’m the only thing she doesn’t have neatly tied up. Her Mockingjay, sufficiently deranged from the loss of her baby sister, sufficiently easy to smear on the broadcasts should I step out of line.

Power preserves itself. It always has, I see that now. And it always will. The only solution is to give the presidency to someone who doesn’t want it but could do it. Someone who cares enough about the people we’ve saved and the people we’ve lost. Someone who the people will believe as president but whom the people don’t have to fear as president. Only there is no such person.

Or is there?

I formulate my plan almost immediately.

“I vote yes,” I say, suddenly, catching everyone by surprise, “for Prim.” The last statement ends any protest that Peeta was going to offer, it silences the room. It does not silence a small grin from rising on Coin’s face.

“But I have a condition,” I say, almost as quickly. “I want to announce it, immediately after the execution.”

Coin hesitates, the others appear puzzled. To appease all of them, I offer, “The people should know that their Mockingjay supports this final Games, the atrocity to end all atrocities.”

I can see her calculating. I have surprised her, it is true, but her shrewd mind – the same mind that has plotted this exact ending for years while buried underground – can see not only the wisdom of it, but how brilliantly it plays to her advantage. The Mockingjay, the symbol of the rebellion, stands and validates the reign of the new president by not only executing her predecessor, but approving of her first official act.

“That will be arranged, presuming the last vote is affirmative?” She looks at Haymitch and he eyes me, sober and resolute. Does he truly understand me now? Does he know what I’ve decided? I want him to trust me.

Whether he does or not, he nods. “I’m with the Mockingjay. We all have to be.”

Distressed sounds rise from those who oppose, Peeta is looking at me, I can feel his stare like a penetrating ray of light but I will not let it shine on me. I cannot let his desire for me to be the girl he fell in love with stop me from what I have to do.

Coin dismisses us and waves her staff in to outfit me with a headset so I can broadcast the news after I dispatch my arrow through Snow’s heart. She tries to restrain her triumphant glower, but she fails. I have given her more than she could have hoped for. I ask for a favor in return. Stopping her as she passes by me, I hold up a single white rose, its smell so vile I can barely tolerate it.

“A favor?” I ask, holding the rose in front of her knowing eyes. “Can you see that this is placed directly over Snow’s heart?”

“Certainly, Mockingjay.” And she leaves, her smile broad as ever.

“Peeta,” I call out as he’s leaving the room, answering his earlier gaze and stopping him in his tracks. “I need you to be on the platform with me.” The surprise that registers in his eyes is so genuine, even in his rage against me, I can see that he would do nearly anything to protect me. “I’m…” I hesitate, and nearly falter, but press on, “I’m worried that there might be Snow sympathizers here. They would love nothing more than to get one last shot at the Mockingjay, er, me. Would you be willing to stand by me?”

“Are you sure I can be trusted?” he asks, bluntly, but with no malice.

“I don’t know anyone I can trust more,” I say, words that should be warm but I’m wounding him by endorsing the hunger games and simultaneously encouraging his affection and I know it. True to his real self, he replies.

“Yes, I will stand by you.”

This time I’m the one wounded by words that should be – and are – warm. I hope, in time, he will understand. And that he will forgive.

Then I am swarmed and I have to fight the urge to flee the incoming team as they tease my hair, apply the last flash of makeup, and outfit me with a headset so that once I have done my duty and killed the most dangerous person alive, my announcement can be heard loud and clear.

That is precisely what I want, so I comply, but the memory of swarming trackerjackers rises to unsettle me. I feel my hand grip the bow which hums slightly to one side. I do not set it down because I am afraid I will lose my nerve.

Will I? Should I? I have fought the temptation to let war make me into a monster and now the war is over yet I am about to become more of a monster than even the Games made me. In the Games, I killed to survive. Even in the war, I killed to keep those close to me, friends, family, and allies, alive.

Now I will kill to keep everyone alive. But do the lives of those I think I will save make up for the monstrous murder I am about to commit?

And worse, what if I fail? I don’t doubt my aim, but my words. Can I find the words to explain what I am about to do or will I be just another in a line of monsters that history has recorded before and will continue to record into eternity?

No, it must stop here, with me. I must make a new beginning, one in which monsters can never again exist. And it will take a monster, me, to make it happen.

Still, I feel the pouch on my left shoulder. The small pill is there, waiting for me. Good.

Now the crowds have gathered and I’m being rushed out to the platform. The cameras are going, a commentator announces the activities for all to hear and as I step out before the enormous audience, bent on vengeance, there is an eruption of cheers. Their Mockingjay stands before them, worse for wear, but a survivor, a symbol of all that they have been through, and their shouts make their excitement clear. They want the Mockingjay to finish this now.

The bow seems to sense my own agitation and hums to life in my hand. It is only then that I look across the platform to see them drag out Snow and tie him to a pole just ten meters from me. No wonder they only supplied me with one arrow, at this distance it will be impossible to miss.

He’s dressed in white, the rose pinned over his heart just as I requested. He trembles a bit, coughing, a trickle of blood flowing from his lips as he tries to lick them clean. The guards retreat from him after they fasten him to the pole, standing close enough to prevent any escape. They needn’t bother. He’s not going anywhere.

The announcer says something, I presume it’s to invite me to take aim, but my bow is already high, extended. I place the one arrow securely in the bowstring and listen to the hum. Within seconds it will all be over.

I think only of Prim, not the girl blown up in a merciless attack, but the girl I stood for in the reaping. No one should have to take a life in order to save a life again.

No one, that is, but me, just this one time more.

Quickly, I act. I pull back the bowstring and with the sudden grace of a bird altering course in midair, I point the bow in a new direction, and release.

My intended target falls from her place on the podium, with no time for even a look of surprise to register on her already dead face.

President Coin’s reign is officially over.

The act is so sudden and unexpected that I’m sure I’ll have at least a few seconds to begin my speech before either the microphone is shut down or the guards can run to attack me. I know they won’t kill me, they will want me alive and with my one arrow now spent, I’m not a threat to anyone else.

To my side, I hear a gurgling chuckle that must be Snow. Yes, President Snow, I promised I would not lie to you and this is the most honest thing I will ever do! I am tempted to turn to Peeta and implore him to protect me but I don’t want to make him an accomplice, yet a part of me knows that I don’t need to ask.

So I step boldly forward and begin my address.

“People of Panem!” I shout, grateful that the microphone is still working. They are screaming and shocked but they can hear me so I continue. “I, Mockingjay, winner of the Hunger Games, declare an end to the games forever! President Coin is now dead and gone with her is the temptation to ever hold another Hunger Games as long as we live. I declare an end to the killing of the weakest among you in order to preserve the rest of us. Because as long as there is a president over us who wishes to remain in power indefinitely, there will be a Hunger Games, there will be the murder of innocents, and there will be those of us who,” my bravado begins to weaken as I realize I am speaking mostly for myself here, “will participate in the murder of innocents in order to survive.” The words I’m saying are starting to spin in my head and though I can tell most of those present have stopped to listen, I am not sure I can say what I planned to say.

Behind me, Peeta is shouting, “Katniss! I can’t keep them back much longer! Finish it!” A scuffle ensues; I don’t need to turn to know that in seconds I will be thrown to the ground. I long to reach for the pill, to end this, leaving it in the hands of these people who I have worked so hard to keep alive.

But I cannot. I step forward to the edge of the balcony and shout, both hands open, raised in the air, “You have the choice! You can now find and elect the next Snow or Coin; or you can choose to make me your president. A president who would sacrifice her own life to keep you alive rather than take from you the lives of your child–”

I intend to say “children” before the blow on the back of my head knocks me forward, doubling me over the railing. My vision blackens and I lose the ability to speak. I feel hands on me then, what seem like dozens of them, pulling me back from the edge of the balcony and throwing me to the ground, where the same hands hold me firmly in place while I continue to drift further and further from consciousness.

The last thing I am aware of is the sound of a friendly voice screaming, “Katniss! Katniss!” The screams seem to fade until they are gone completely

 

Chapter 28

The sensation that wakes me is one of intense pain. This means I am at least alive. If only barely. Evidently, my new, pink skin was torn to shreds in the wrestle to pin me to the ground and I can scarcely peel myself from the bed on which I lie.

The part of me that wants to die is back. I thought I made that choice on the balcony, but it is back now, reminding me that death is the easier way. Leave the mess that is Panem in the hands of people willing to fix it. Except, I remind myself, that the people most willing to fix it are those willing to fix it to their own advantage. More Coins, more Snows. I know that I cannot die, I cannot take the easy way out because I have to give the people an opportunity to choose me as president.

But will they? It is in their hands. Do they know what I did for them? Even if they do, they may be so bent on this new game we’ve established – the game called kill the president – that it might be too late.

If they choose death, I will take it.

Opening my eyes hurts, as does every other act I perform, including breathing. How long have I been out? I don’t know, but from the look of my skin, I have been healing at least a day or two. I’m still not a pretty sight, but evidently no one has signed my execution warrant yet.

I stand and take stock of my aches. The pain in my skin radiates down into my bones and I can’t honestly say whether it is caused more by my outside injuries or my internal dilemma. Waiting to find out whether you are the president of a nation or its next casualty of war provides a pain all its own.

I don’t have to wait long. Soon, the door opens slightly.

“Ah, yes, the sensors said you were awake. I’m glad, though you look a mess.” It’s Plutarch. He thinks for a moment and adds, “Though that might be perfect. In fact, that will be perfect.” Tossing me a bundle, he says, “Here, put this on, we have an appointment we don’t want to be late for.”

Ever the showman, he’s so concerned with how things will look. But he has yet to tell me what I’m dressing for. Inauguration or execution?

I open the bundle and retrieve a silk gown. It’s blue, both dark and light, the two colors twisting slightly up the gathered legs of the outfit and across my chest up onto my shoulder. The effect evokes a cool, blue flame, and the silk against my body offers the same soothing feeling.

It’s beautiful, it comforts, and I resist the temptation to wonder if the outfit says anything about what has happened in the past two days.

I take a deep breath, feeling the air inside my lungs even as the skin stretched across my rib cage screams out in pain, soothed only slightly by the soft temper of the silk. Only then can I step out of the door where Plutarch awaits.

“Finally!” he exclaims, “We have a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it. It’s important that we strike exactly the right balance in this one, it took a lot to get us where we are today—“

“We?” I ask, somewhat exasperated. “Who is we and where, in fact, are we?” I sputter, racing alongside him to keep up while the rushed movements wreak havoc with the pain in my skin.

“Oh, that’s right, you don’t even know, do you! That’s even better, a lot has happened in the three days you have been out—“

“Three days?” I exclaim, head spinning from the vigorous movement and the realization that I had missed more than I expected.

“Yes, three days. That’s enough time for Acting President Paylor to have reestablished control over the peacekeeping forces and to have sent out envoys to all the districts to keep watch over the riots.”

“The what?”

“My little Mockingjay,” he starts, in a mocking tone all his own, “did you think your little show would cause everyone to suddenly see the light and reverse 75 years of hatred?”

“I had hoped…”

“Right, there is always hope. And with you, there is a special measure of hope. That’s what makes you so perfect for the job.”

“The job?”

“The Mockingjay job, of course. We all saw it, even when you didn’t. We still do,” he starts to say but he’s interrupted when we arrive at our destination, a conference room in the president’s mansion where sit Haymitch and Peeta.

We stop our rushed pace and my skin relaxes, allowing blood to flow back into my raw nerve endings, I am ablaze with pain. Looking around, I have a familiar feeling and say the first thing that comes to mind, “If I didn’t know better, based on who’s here, I would think that we’re strategizing for the next Hunger Games. We’re just missing the prep team.”

“Oh, they’ll be here,” says Haymitch, his face a pinch red, his mood dour. Evidently his supply of liquor has run out.

I’m confused, but also a bit dizzy, the pain is now making me want to lock up, stop moving, I find the nearest chair and sit.

“What do you mean, they’ll be here?”

Peeta, smiling only slightly, answers, “It may not be the Hunger Games, Katniss, but you’ve started a new game of sorts.”

“I have? Plutarch mentioned something about riots…”

Plutarch answers, “Well, they were supposed to be riots, at least the people instigating them intended them as such. But in the end, in most districts, the people who gathered came to call for peace than to call for more violence.”

Haymitch now, “In other words, it worked. As always you were brilliant. And for once, you actually seemed to understand just how important your performance was.”

“It wasn’t a performance,” I retort, testily.

“That’s exactly why it worked,” he returned. “That is the power of our Mockingjay. She only says what she feels and this time the things she feels captured the feelings of an entire nation.”

My head is still buzzing, but now it’s with hope.

 

It’s less than an hour later and I have been prepped as best I can. The simple blue flame that runs coolly from my legs to my shoulder burns almost as bright as the pain in my skin. I’m led to a familiar hallway where I stood just days before. There, on cue, I step forward onto the balcony, casting a glance to where there should be a stain of blood, but there is none. Standing in front of the crowd, cameras covering her from every angle, is Acting President Paylor, dressed in full military uniform. This seems appropriate given that we owe the troops a great debt for not only winning the war, but peacefully stepping aside to let the new president take office.

I am that new president. From what I am told, Paylor seized immediate control of the government upon Coin’s death and my imprisonment. She went live before a nationwide audience and called for peace, insisting that she would send peacekeepers to every district to ensure that the war we fought so hard to end would stay in the past.

It did, through her leadership. And many began to whisper that maybe this problem would solve itself. Coin was dead, the Mockingjay could be safely tried and either executed for her crime or perhaps sent to live in exile – for Dr. Aurelius had testified in an open hearing that my mental state was probably questionable, at best.

But Paylor refused. She insisted that the people cast a vote and elect their new president. Or rather, that they choose whether they would accept me as president or not. If they did not, Paylor explained, she would remain in power until a new election could be held, considering more candidates than just me.

That’s when the riots were organized. Old leaders under either Snow or Coin who had made promises to their constituents that in exchange for protesting against – and voting against – the Mockingjay, they would make sure that whoever the new president was would favor their interests.

But the people refused.

Not for any special love for me, but because they are tired of living only to die. Fighting only to survive. In the Mockingjay, they have hope that life can be different.

And so I stand, beside Acting President Paylor, as she announces the formal end of her temporary government and gives all the rights and duties of the presidency of the thirteen districts of Panem to me.

And as I stand, all eyes on me, I experience a slight separation from the present. I am there, but I am also elsewhere, at the reaping, surprising myself by standing up to take Prim’s place. Keeping my little family, my little sister, alive seemed so important then that it was worth dying for. Now, here, keeping my nation alive is so important that it is worth living for.

 

Epilogue

Ten years have passed, enough time for the grass to grow back on the meadow in District Twelve. There’s a new medicine factory being built by the old district hall and it’s attracting a few families from the old days.

We’re walking together across the meadow, a green expanse, bordered by new homes that have been built to accommodate the new arrivals. There’s so much hope and opportunity here that even people with no ties to the district have been settling here in hopes of building a new life.

Children run the length of the meadow. School is out and they are free to play, or best of all, to hunt. At times, I take some of them out into the fields with me to show them how to shoot and how to trap. But it is different. There are no electric fences, there’s no Seam to bring the meat back to Greasy Sae and see what price you can get for your catch that day.

As the children run the length of the field, playing tag among the dandelions, I am certain they are unaware that they play on a graveyard. And I wonder, should they be? Is it better to chain them to an awareness of their awful past so they never repeat it? Or is it better to simply let them live a life in which fields are for running and hunting is an enjoyable way to pass the time rather than a means of survival.

I don’t answer the question for now. My time for answering questions is over.

When I first suggested that my presidency should have a fixed end point as well as a fixed beginning point, there were many rumors and much concern. It took some time – years, even – before I could explain to people in a way that they understood that president should be a job, not a person. That way, people who thought there was a better way to do things didn’t have to plan rebellions and coups. In response, instead of spending resources preserving power, a president could spend time and energy sharing power.

Eventually they came to understand that it was the right choice. And they foolishly thought it was because their Mockingjay was once again proving wise beyond her years.

But they were wrong.

Not because it wasn’t the right thing to do, it was. But because I did it as much for me as I did for the nation. The first five years in the presidency were difficult ones. My nightmares never went away; worse, they evolved to include all the new worries and threats that were around me. Hunger, medical care, education, opportunities for men and women to obtain a home and raise their children, these were the new mutts that surrounded me in my dreams. I eventually came to see why it’s infinitely easier for a president to spend time preserving arbitrary power, because at least that’s a goal you can accomplish. Each year you remain in power, goal accomplished.

But working on tougher problems is not always so satisfying. You can’t simply launch an attack and beat back the enemy. You can’t just dress up in extravagant clothing and say smart things in an interview. Instead, you have to get your hands dirty, you have to work hard to outsmart the rules of the game, and you have to care more about others than you do for yourself.

That is something I was able to do. Some say quite well, which is why when my ten years were up many people begged me to remain in power. Graciously, and with the sort of style that would have made Cinna proud, I refused.

Because it was time for me – for us – to spend some time caring about ourselves.

We walk hand in hand over the meadow. My right hand is in his left, and my left hand is on my outstretched belly. The baby that moves inside me is still a stranger to me and this world, but it is our baby, and it’s time for me to be a bit selfish about it.

We have a primrose bush planted outside our modest home, it reminds me what it means to care for someone more than I care for myself, enough that I would have died to keep Prim alive. It was that feeling that eventually taught me to care more for Panem than myself. And now it’s time to let someone else give that a try.

President Gale has held the rights and duties of the presidency for going on nine months now. We haven’t visited him in the Capitol yet, but periodically his hovercar will appear above the meadow and he’ll come to share news, see the improvements in the district of our birth, and even ask for advice. The only advice I ever give him is to love the people more than he loves himself.

It’s a lesson I still live by. Though now, hand on my belly, the list of people I love more than myself has focused down somewhat.

Peeta and I have come to an understanding. It wasn’t easy. I was the president of a nation for years before I could be his wife. And he wasn’t sure he wanted to be my husband, either. If my nightmares had changed, his had simply gotten more complex for now the woman who terrorized him in his trackerjacker venom-inspired dreams was the same woman he longed to be with. But his ability to forgive me – both for the things he was brainwashed into thinking I did as well as the things I actually did – healed him and me just enough that we could have hope again.

Not just hope for Panem. That hope was restored several years into my role as president. But hope for us. There was a time that I thought I would never live a normal life. A walking casualty of war, a Mockingjay that could serve as a symbol of hope for generations to come, but a bird unable to actually fly.

But now, his scarred hand in my scarred hand, Peeta and I take flight together.

We make it a point to sit together often and tell the stories of the people we have loved and the people we have lost. We share the same stories over and over. Tonight, we will do the same. Haymitch has responded to one of our frequent dinner invitations and while we eat, breaking and sharing a perfectly baked loaf made by Peeta’s hand, we will share the stories with him and he will pretend he hasn’t heard them. The stories of Rue, of Peeta’s parents, of Prim, and maybe Haymitch will share more of his memories – the ones the liquor hasn’t taken away.

And when we’ve bid him farewell and cleaned up around the house, we’ll retire to our bedroom upstairs. Peeta will ask to put his hand on my stomach and I’ll gladly peel back my shirt to reveal the stretched skin. He’ll place his warm hand on my warmer belly and say, “You love me. Real or not real?”

And I’ll answer, “Real.”

Copyright 2010 by James McQuivey; Mockingjay title, character names, and themes copyright by Suzanne Collins

____
Finally, to answer something several of you have asked: Yes, I am an aspiring novelist. If you liked this, please see my novel on Amazon. It’s entitled Broken Mirror Girl and it is no coincidence that it is also young adult fiction centering on a uniquely haunted and powerful teenage girl. It’s no Hunger Games, but I encourage you to read it and see what you think.

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61 Responses to “My Mockingjay alternate ending”

  1. Joyce Says:

    lovely job……

  2. Amber Says:

    Hey, James. Although I thought your alternate ending was brilliant, I didn’t agree with one thing. I don’t think Katniss would have sought the position of President for herself. If she were to actually hold the office, I believe it would have been the people that asked her to fill the position, rather than her own request that they accept her. She would have done it out of duty, and only because she could truly see the need of the people.

    Katniss was not one to seek power. She came to the rescue of those who could not do for themselves. Her true desire was to live as she had before, hunting in the woods in peace. No threat to the lives of the people, with the freedom to improve their lives and raise their families with the security of knowing they will be safe. I can definitely see her as President, but it would be thrust on her as she called for democracy, not as she called to be accepted by the people as their leader. Very well done! Loved it.

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Thanks, Amber, and I like what you’re saying. In fact, I tried to account for that. She recognizes that she’s the only one who doesn’t want to be president, so she’s the only one who should become it. Because she knows it’s the only way to give everyone else a chance to have what she really wants — a regular life. In the current ending, there’s no evidence that things will really change (in fact, we’re never told whether the final Hunger Games is ever held, a topic worth a separate conversation). My goal was to show that Katniss had evolved to recognize that she was someone — perhaps the only one — capable of giving Panem a fresh start, and that she had matured to the point where she accepted that role for herself. Thanks for taking the time to give it a read!

    • Denise Says:

      I agree that she would not have volunteered to be president but other then that I found the ending much more fulfilling then the original. I especially liked having Gale be president after her instead of completely disappearing from the story.

  3. heidikins Says:

    Yes! Thank you! Love it!

    xox

  4. David Jensen Says:

    I will pass this on to my 15-yr.-old daughter. She was very unhappy with the way the book ended. What optimistic teen wants a message that all the bad things in life will continue to be that way, no matter how hard you fight to make things better (even if it happens to be true)?

    Interesting approach. I thought you were going for the Peeta-as-President approach when she requested him to be on the podium with her. But, considering his mental state, that doesn’t make as much sense: “I’m President, real or not real?” Given that, your approach is more logical.

  5. Tina Says:

    You’re a great writer! You should definitely think about becoming a novelist, if you aren’t already one 🙂

    I am one of those who had a problem with Katniss being weak and passive and not living up to her potential. I felt Collins created great characters in the first two books only to completely neglect their development in the 3rd. Your alternate ending was an enjoyable read, but I didn’t completely agree with Katniss becoming president. First, her behavior and actions in the previous chapters make it hard for me to believe that she would make a full 360 in one chapter. Second, I don’t feel she would ever purposely seek the presidential role for herself. Third, I feel she is too young and doesn’t have the skills needed to be the leader of a country. Needless to say, the position of president is a complex business and I think it’s beyond the capability of any teenager. Someone wiser and with more experience would have been more suitable; Katniss would have contributed to society in a different way. Just my personal preference, but it’s never quite as fun to read about someone declaring for themselves a leadership role as it is to see it thrust upon them and them naturally stepping into the role and proving themselves out of necessity. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to write this!

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Thank you, Tina, for giving the rethink a read, I appreciate the feedback. You’re right about Katniss not seeking the presidency — and without rewriting the whole book it is hard to suddenly make her someone you can believe should be president by that time. But I felt the book left a gaping hole: who could possibly be a good enough president to correct a lifetime of poor leadership? My answer was simple: it had to be someone who didn’t want it. The only person who didn’t want it was Katniss. Everyone else would want the presidency to exploit it. And the people weren’t in a coherent enough place to collectively impose leadership upon her. I felt like assuming the presidency was a way for Katniss to make sure all the pain and sacrifice everyone endured would somehow be preserved. And I made it clear that she wouldn’t want to stay in that role, no matter how much people asked her to.

      I really agree with your point about her age, I don’t really have a solution to that problem, but since we were in a fantasy environment, I just decided to swallow that one and hope to get away with it!

  6. Staci Says:

    much better – though i will admit, some of my woes about the book in general centered on three points, only one of which you were about to cover here
    1) the book needed to be a bout 500 pages longer. i wanted a history of how the world collapsed, how panem was created, how snow came to power, what was the deal with snow and coin’s past, etc
    2) not a peeta fan. Collins spent three books explaining how Peeta loved her, and she “didn’t know how she felt.” I don’t believe in trying to convince someone to love someone. It seemed at the end they ended up together because it was convenient. BOR-ing. I was a huge Gale fan. Maybe because I harbor a fantasy that someone somewhere will marry someone who actually thinks like they do.
    3) This part you hit brilliantly. Katniss fell into oblivion. I like that you made her stronger and more effective.

    Def more satisfying. Thanks James!

  7. James McQuivey Says:

    Staci, I totally agree with point #1! I want that book, I think there’s so much opportunity for a prequel here, I hope, hope, hope she writes it.

    On number two, I have the luxury of being male and not really caring about Peeta or Gale or Edward or Jacob or Tom Cruise. I do agree, though, that the resolution of the love triangle was as anticlimactic as was Katniss’s character development. It didn’t bother me for the above reason, but I think you’re right.

  8. savannah b Says:

    amazing ending! the real ending left me depressed and disappointed, with peeta being pretty much dead since his personality and character were gone; and gale leaving katniss so abruptly. everything ended horribly and did not promise hope for Panem or katniss. I will always think of this alternate ending as the real and deserved ending of such a great series.

    • James McQuivey Says:

      I’m very glad it worked for you, Savannah, and I’m glad you feel like it is the ending you will prefer. I’ll admit, if I were producing the movie versions, I think my ending would also work better as a movie climax, just because a movie needs a hero.

  9. Carrie Says:

    Hi…I have not yet read your alternate ending, but I wanted to thank you for writing it anyway! I loved this series, but was so disappointed by the ending. Yes, I needed more closure, but more than that, I wanted some of Suzanne’s amazing story lines to work themselves out. I felt like I didn’t have any answers to my questions…and I knew I could never come up with the answers myself, so I have high hopes for what you have come up with! I will comment back when I have had a chance to read this. And after all is said and done, if you were not able to answer my questions either, I thank you for trying!!

  10. Carrie Says:

    OK – I have read it and I loved it! It even made me cry! There are still things about the original that you didn’t resolve for me…things that you can’t resolve unless you rewrite the whole 2nd half of the book! As I was reading the series, I kept trying to find clues as to who Katniss would end up with. I never could figure it out…until Peeta was brainwashed and we began to like him less. I thought that, coupled with the great history that Katniss and Gale shared, meant that she would end up with Gale. I really didn’t care who she ended up with. I like both male characters, but I would have liked a few more chapters of Peeta returning to himself so that we could fall in love with him again.
    All in all, I loved what you did with the politics! I loved the direction you took Katniss’ character! She had some amazing qualities (willing to die for Prim, survival, loyalty, etc.) and it was nice to see those take her and ultimately her country somewhere better! I love that, even though the easy thing to do would be to die, she decided to live for these people. That was a great sacrifice on her part and totally believable coming from the character she evolved into (per your version)!! You have a great talent and I’m glad I stumbled upon this! Thank you, thank you!!!

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Thank you, Carrie, I’m very glad you enjoyed it so much. I completely agree that to really solve most of the issues with the book you have to rewrite a lot more of it than I did, but at least you get a sense of what Katniss could have become in a slightly altered look. Thanks for reading, commenting, and liking!

  11. dani Says:

    I enjoyed your alternate ending. Well done! Thanks for letting me see another Katniss, one who takes charge and cares for Panem. I never really got the sense that anything she did previously was for Panem, it always seemed like she was simply taking care of her family, Gale, Peeta and Haymitch.

    Thanks for this. I think I’ll carry this ending with me.

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Very glad to hear that it helped you, Dani. I agree that Katniss was very self-focused (not self-centered, really) throughout books 1 and 2, so it is a bit strange of me to imagine her turning outward and focusing on Panem. But that’s what I wanted Katniess to evolve to; so while I can respect that Collins didn’t go that route, I had to do it for her!

  12. Cherie Says:

    I have to say I had a love/hate relationship with the ending of the book. Collins left WAY too much unsaid, especially about the state of Panem following the death of Snow. It was focused around the fact that this amazing girl who survived so much fell completely apart and was only put together somewhat enough to make a meager life with Peeta. I WAS happy that she did end up with Peeta in the end as I had very much given up on him as a “dead” character that couldn’t be revived and was thrilled to see that he was able to recover somewhat. To me it was a symbol that hope still survives and that despite being war-torn and beaten Katniss finally realized that she could rebuild her own life. But…there wasn’t enough development of the love between her and Peeta, so it made it seem like she settled for him because they HAD been through so much together.

    Now, onto your part. You, Sir McQuivey, are a fantastic writer! I hope someday to publish a novel and I know now who I might send a rough draft to. 🙂

    Like some of the others who read this, I disagree with Katniss proposing to the crowd that she become President. I do think Coin needed to die, and I do think that Katniss needed to EXPLAIN herself and her actions just a bit (as you wrote them so beautifully). But I do think the author did something powerful when she let Katniss feel the strain of what she had been through. When she let her sorrow and suffer for those she had lost and killed. I think it was necessary to see her hit the bottom of the barrel. What I think was lacking was more explanation of what happened to Panem, which your ending provided. I like the idea of her eventually becoming President, and it being part of an Epilogue as she became an adult.

    There are so many things I would have written differently. Thank you for taking the time to write this and provide me with a new ending!

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Thank you, Cherie, for taking the time to read it (and for the compliment!). I’m glad it was satisfying to you, at least on some levels. I do understand why people think it’s not right for Katniss to propose her own presidency, but in doing so, I am trying to demonstrate that her motivation for protecting others has finally expanded to include a sense of responsibility that she hadn’t previously had. And that sense of responsibility compels her to offer herself as a leader knowing that no one else would do it as selflessly as she is capable of. I recognize that it’s a leap for some people, though, and I respect that.

    • Michelle Says:

      I completely agree! The thing that killed me at the end was that Katniss never got an opportunity to explain why she did what she did and I think that is something that the people of Panem deserved. I personally don’t think she would have ended up president – but carry on as the role of the Mockingjay because that’s who Katniss is. I like to think Katniss stayed the Mockingjay and along with the remaining Victors – they become the symbols of hope/peace and justice. I also had so many other questions – like what happened to the Victors? Where was Effie hiding all that time? etc etc.

  13. Luna Says:

    Thank you! I loved it! I completely hated the real ending, it is so void of hope. And I hated Katniss in it, she changes from being strong and brave to being weak and self-pitied.

  14. Payton Says:

    That was DEPRESSING. If the book had ended that way, I would have stopped reading. I feel bad for Panem, having a 17 year old president.

    • Jason Wegeleben Says:

      why would it be bad having a 17 year old president? .. a president has advisors and people to run the specifics of the different areas..

      she is the only one that all districts would unite and support under without mistrust until time has passed a bit to allow more trust and unity between the districts themselfs..

      just because someone is young (15,16,17,18,ect) doesnt mean they are not wiser or smarter than people who are 35+, 50+, 90+ or 100+ or even 120+ ..

      presidents are just one person they do not do it all themselves..they must be able to get support from the best people in each area of the government Katniss is the only one who can do that from the vary get go no hesitation on any ones part.

  15. ataa001 Says:

    I hated the ending to Mockingjay until I came across your literary piece. It’s absolutely a brilliant piece of writing. It’s exactly how I imagined the story to end. I’ve reread the series numerous times and since I’ve found this site I only ever finish the book with this ending. So thank you.

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Thank you for your kind words, it’s very gratifying to find someone who is similarly motivated by seeing Katniss in such a powerful light. That’s what got me to write this ending, I just didn’t want to see Katniss fade.

  16. Leon Says:

    A much more satisfying and brilliant take on the end of the story. I agree that short of re-writing the second half of the book, you’ve managed to improve the ending and keep what happens with Katniss within the realms of possibility.
    I loved the series but as a previous post said, the original left far to many loose ends and could’ve done with a few more chapters to tie them up. The original seemed rushed, a whole other book could be written to bridge the gaps that were left, but I didn’t feel that way
    reading your interpretation.
    I’ll be sure to check out your book mate, bravo.

  17. Lucy Says:

    This alternate ending was terrible! Katniss would never have become president, especially not at 17. And Gale becoming president after her seems even more ridiculous.

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Lucy, while I appreciate the feedback I have to admit I think you’re missing the point here: How can Katniss — at age 17 — be the leader of the army and not be fit for the presidency? Fantasy stories about young people who change the world make young people — Frodo, Harry Potter, etc. — implausibly important for a reason: sometimes the old has to perish for the new to rise up and replace the old. The small and simple have to bring down the large and powerful. That’s the appeal of this series at a very basic level and it’s one that’s as old as literature itself (take David vs. Goliath as a prime example) as well as germ of today’s technology company mythos (Silicon Valley startups vs. old dinosaur companies). Suddenly imposing the arbitrary role of age to prohibit Katniss from ascending to the presidency does not make sense if you’ve bought into Katniss as a world-changer thus far.

      • Mar Says:

        Hi James,
        Though you are right in stating that leaders can be of all ages (including 17) I would however like to stress that neither Harry Potter nor Frodo do not end in the position of rulers. Yes, they each have a mission, yes they fight for it but no, they not end up as kings, prime-ministers or presidents. In fact, the pain for Frodo runs so deep that he cannot even continue life on the Middle Earth, and has to go with the Elves. So I think it’s slightly unjust to ask of Katniss to behave much differently. And not because she is 17, but because she is broken. Because she had to kill people, because she had to see her friends die, because her decisions killed people. She cannot be ok after this because that would mean that everything she went through didn’t mean anything to her.
        On this point I have to stick to and prefer Collins’s ending because it felt more true to the characters she had constructed. Katniss never wanted to be a leader and there are very few moments when she actually acts like one. Yes, she does have a vision of the greater good, and that’s why she kills Coin. But that’s as far as I would see her going. In your version it is more explicit why she does it, but again I have to prefer the original version because it is much more surprising and it’s true to the character. I don’t tyhink she knows she was going to do it until she did it, until she looked at Snow and saw his expression. She is a character of natural impulses, of trusting instincts so she wouldn’t have conceived all that plan and asked Peeta for help and so on. She does realize in the chamber what her answer should be with regards with the Games, but again I don’t think that she knew then everything she was going to do. Also I don’t think that she and Peeta were at the level of trust your ending implies, nor that Haymitch which usually has so short snappy and witty lines, would be so explicit.

        I do see Gale as a future president or leader of some sort. In fact I think the book suggests that’s the path he will eventually take: first when refusing to run with Katniss, then at the bombing of the Nut and lastly with the line that he’s doing something important in District 2. What I didn’t like in Collins’s ending, is the way his relationship with Katniss completly vanishes. I think that in the end she would forgive him and seek his friendship (especially due to Peeta’s influence in her life). It wouldn’t be like in the beginning but they wouldn’t be strangers either. If Collins decided to go for an epilogue I didn’t understand why she chose to not show more of what is happening with the other characters. In fact the characters’ construction (especially the secondary ones) in this book is one of the week points in my opinion. Ok, we can find excuses saying it is all from Katniss’s perspective and she’s not that good with people. But it’s a poor excuse.

        There lots of things I didn’t like about the ending of Mockingjay (though at a closer inspection everything that’s happening does make sense). But I did love the scene with the cat. That’s when I cried, that’s when it sunk for me the thought that Prim was dead and she was not coming back. And your ending didin’t leave room for such a scene, or such emotions, so I would actually expect that your Katniss has the breakdown after she steps down as a president, because then, she can’t hide behind the work anymore.
        I think reading your alternative ending really helped me understand why so many things do have to happen in the way Collins portrayed them, also for me as a reader (although like I said, reading the book’s ending was initially quite disspointing for me as well).

  18. Roschelle Says:

    Thank you for this brilliant alternate ending! It left me much more satisfied than the original rushed one. Though, I first didn’t agree with Katniss becoming president, you do make a good point in your responses to other readers.

    The presidency was seen as one unchanging ruler in Panem, not the presidential position readers know. Panem is used to tyrants, and what Katniss brings to the table is a chance to change that by introducing a new kind of leader – a president elected to position for a set amount of time. And as you said before, those who would want the presidency to stay the way it is like Snow and Coin’s rule would simply exploit it. Therefore it has to go to someone who doesn’t want it (and is mentally stable, ruling Peeta out), and that is Katniss.

    Thank you again for writing this! You write extremely well, and this alternate ending does not seem out of place at all. It gave me closure, and left me satisfied. I’m very close to printing it out and taping it to the last few pages of Mockingjay!

  19. Jason Wegeleben Says:

    I liked all 3 books… however… the ending on the 3rd I didn’t like… I am beginning to think writers now think “Trilogy” means “Tragedy” (facepalm)… 2 trilogies in a row now that I read have had…. bad endings.. I swear if a writer wants to write a “bad” ending they should provide a “happy” ending alternative you can let the reader decide if they want a happy end or sad end…

    I do like your alternative ending… 1 point though and I have seen it in the comments… she should/would never volunteer to be president… I think you should have written “””“You have a choice now! You can find and elect the next Snow or Coin; or someone better. A president who would sacrifice his or her own life to keep you alive rather than take from you the lives of your child–”””

    I feel the people of Panem would vote for her, she has already proven what she is made of and what she feels, there is no other that all citizens would trust she needs not ask for it because as you say she comes to the realization that it is her that must be president, so she should realize that the people of the nation would vote it to be her without requesting it she just needed to give them the opportunity (and avenge her sister’s death)… by promoting herself she makes herself look like a coin or snow not like mockingjay.

    There should also be short period of inquary where she defends her actions and they are able to uncover proof that coin did bomb the children (and sent prim and peeta where they had no business being) which would then make her even electable by the citizens (on their own).

    Now… I really wish you had started all the way back to before Prim died… maybe rewrote it to where she lived but badly injured maybe in a comma for a year or so .. So that Katniss still has close to the same motivations as prim dying did… maybe only say that she gets out of the comma in the epilogue
    maybe even as far back as finnick too but that would be to hard to work in and rewrite to keep nearly the same storyline..
    I would have actually liked her to get to assasinate snow or more closer to achieving it.. she promissed so many people.. maby right after prim entering a comma rushing into the mansion in rage thinking prim is dead (all gaurd would still be focused on wounded children outside) and then as snow is dying he then says what he says in his rose room.. but then have Coin with medic’s come in and save him so he can be tried and executed but have to sedate Katniss who tries to block them .. which would then tie it back into the same flow of either the book or this alternate which both render her unconsious after that event

    wow.. this was supposto be a small comment.. man i think to much (facepalm) 😀

    any chance of an update/modification/addition/alternate alternate 😉
    lol probibly not but eh like i said i did like your alternate 😀 ..

    Do you think they will modify the ending if they make book 3 into a movie (which they probibly will since they are going to be filming the 2nd movie soon i read somewhere)

    • Jason Wegeleben Says:

      Sorry Missed a word in the middle i was jumping back and forth typing here and there.. lol

      “””which would then make her even MORE electable by the citizens (on their own).”””

  20. Juliana Says:

    Dear James, thank you so much for this lovely ending! It brightened my day! You are really talented, I loved each word.

    I was very disappointed with the ending of ‘Mockingbird’, both for the way it changed many of my most beloved character, as for the unresolved matters, and for it’s bitter twist. I thought it was very negative, and it kinda of ruined the way I felt about the whole series of books.

    Your ending was exactly what I was expecting! I have to admit that, when I began reading, I actually thought Katniss was going to suggest Peeta as the new president (she always made it very clear that he would be a great leader, that he was good at inspiring people and with words, and that he had a huge heart — I really don’t get why Collins stressed all these points so much, without ever getting anywhere with them). I have to admit I would find this more reasonable, since Katniss never wished for the attention or leadership to be on her. Yet, I liked your ending all the same, and I thought the final part was so sweet, and leaves such a wonderful feeling of hope…

    I wish so bad the movies could have an ending more like this!
    Thank you once more for this wonderful gift!

  21. Vortex Says:

    Thank you so much for giving the book the proper closure it needed! I, like so many others, was left wondering where in the world the characters from the first two books went. Your writing is amazing and much more in-depth than Collins’s ever was in the series, and now you’ve got me wanting a full rewrite of the series from you, haha! I’ll be sure to check out your book.

  22. Janelle Says:

    After reluctantly being coerced into reading the first Hunger Games, I eagerly read the second and third. Unfortunately for me, the only one I hated was the one I had purchased…the third. I hated it from beginning to end, but mostly the end. Your end is the best I have read of the “rewritten endings” and I feel that it gives appropriate closure. I didn’t like all of the things in your ending, in exactly the same way I didn’t like all of the things in the books as a whole. It had the right tone, and carried on the same view of the world. Thanks. My life is so much better now! 🙂

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Janelle, I have met many people who felt as you did and I often point them to my rewrite with hopes that it will ameliorate their suffering even if you’d have to rewrite the entire book to really fix the problems. I was actually on a plane a few days back and saw a woman reading book 2 and part of me wanted to warn her about book 3 and give her the link to my rewrite with a “in case of emergency, read this version,” card. But I spared her.

  23. Clem Says:

    Hi James,

    Thank you for taking the time to write this alternate ending. Great writers are few and far between on the web – I really hope you realise your ambition to be a novelist.

    I came away from the end of Mockingjay feeling really dissatisfied, and actually quite disturbed.

    Yes, it left loads of loose ends untied – whoever said it needed about 500 pages more was completely right – and yes, it also gave a very bleak picture of the future and the human race, but in my view the most difficult thing to handle was that the characters that Collins had so beautifully constructed were thrown to the wolves. By the end, I barely recognised them.

    Perhaps the fear and anxiety conveyed in the epilogue was deliberate, and the point that Collins intended to make was that war is indeed pointless, and we are on a path to self-destruction anyway. In fact, Plutarch says something to this effect – “we’re in that sweet period where everyone agrees that our recent horrors should never be repeated, but collective thinking is usually short-lived. We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.”

    So perhaps I could swallow that, but was it necessary to paint such a bleak picture of the individual characters? A book is only as strong as its characters, and in this sense the triology really succeeded until the last couple of chapters. Katniss is a great heroine – brave, strong, yet vulnerable and conflicted – and Collins took a great deal of care to build a universe and supporting characters with enough strength and depth for her to play in. Then, having spent two and a half books getting to know the characters, routing for them, and watching them triumph against the odds, to see them descend into exactly the same traps that their Capitol rulers descended to – well I felt a little cheated.

    By the end, Katniss’ feistiness has more or less been sapped dry and she descends into self-pity and hysteria, Peeta’s inherent warmth and charisma has been overtaken by insanity, and Gale’s strength and solidarity with his own people has been twisted into blind ambition.

    Why did Katniss, having witnessed the horror and injustice of the Hunger Games first hand, vote to inflict it on others? And why did she invoke Prim – who must have suffered as an onlooker during Katniss’ own time in the games? Why, having come out fighting after the terrible loss of her father and the near starvation of her family, did she descend into the abyss after Prim’s death? You start to wonder what on earth Peeta was thinking, making a life with her.

    And Gale – while I understood the path his character was taking – I found it terribly sad that his friendship with Katniss couldn’t survive. There was something insipid about the way their friendship turned rotten, when you consider the strength of their bond throughout the rest of the books. Could Prim’s death not have had a silver lining in changing Gale’s destructive ways? I would have liked to have seen some redemption in love and friendship, and forgiveness, even if we couldn’t have optimism for Katniss and the citizens of Panem.

    I liked reading your ending, although I’m not sure I could see Katniss, or Gale, becoming president. Both those characters are fuelled by emotion, and partialilty to people they love which keeps them going under pressure, or in life or death situations, but I don’t think either character has the emotional maturity to do the work of a president – which would require impartial decisions and public appearances! I really thought were were going to see President Peeta at the end of the book. I think he would be a good president – steady, compassionate, charismatic. He is the light to the firey darkness of Katniss and Gale, so it would be nice to see him as the light to Panem.

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Clem, I apologize that I did not respond to your very thoughtful post back when I first saw it. I was traveling and kept thinking I would get back to it but did not.
      I agree with many of your disappointments with the book. I think they are made so disappointing mostly because of the heights to which Collins took us in the first two books. That says a lot about the books, the author, the characters, that so many people are so engaged in the narrative. Any author should be so lucky to have so many people care so deeply about the outcome of a book!
      I’m just glad that we have the ability to connect with other readers via Goodreads (or this site) so we can figure this out in a collective way. If all I had was a review in the Times and a book group discussion to go on, it would feel perpetually unresolved. Whereas, by sharing it this way it feels like we can genuinely exorcise some of what we’re feeling.
      And secretly, a part of me desperately hopes the screenwriters of the movies are lurking somewhere nearby because they really need to rethink the ending for the final movie!

  24. Barbara Batchelor Says:

    Late in game as ever I am, but am hooked on them as well. I like your ending rather well, it does give katniss a fitting end for her life. One building her own, all she ever wanted to begin with. This ending is a somewhat adult ending, That being because as adults we tend to want to finish it. Neatly in a bow and no messes to clean up. When we come across these kinds of books, they allow us to see what we once saw as teens and young children. The never ending possibilities in life, Thank you for a wonderful way to remember a very complex character. you will make a wonderful author.

  25. Menahil Says:

    Much MUCH more satisfying. Though I don’t think Katniss would ever have wanted to be president I still really liked the way you ended it. I loved the first two books but the third was very disappointing. It left a gaping hole. Too many questions left unanswered. Not much of Panem’s past history and Coin, Snow etc.

  26. Meg Says:

    It’s pretty good for fan fiction and especially suited for readers who wanted a more ‘heroic’ ending for Katniss. But, as you’re an aspiring writer, perhaps you want a more critical review?

    The premise is odd. That the best person for the job is the one who doesn’t want it is hard to swallow. The best person for the job is, in every case I can think of, the best qualified who wants it for the right reasons. A seventeen year old with no experience in government and is suffering from depression, isn’t it. Some might think, with good reason, that it’s self-serving to say that the best person for the job is the one who doesn’t want it and then nominate themselves.

    As it’s been noted by other readers, you have the characters acting in ways that’s not true to form. Katniss was a reluctant MJ who agreed to take on the role to ensure immunity for Peeta and the other victors in the clutches of the Capitol. She wanted a quiet life with the people she loved so to have her take the presidency and then make Peeta wait for several years until her retirement, is not the Katniss we know. I can see Gale having an important position (maybe even president) years down the track. Indeed, SC has Gale in a ‘fancy job’ in District 2 at the end of MJ. In real life, it would be unlikely for Katniss and Gale to renew their friendship. What they had in common in District 12 was no more.

    I’m also confused why Peeta needed to forgive Katniss. Katniss only played along to the scenario that he invented. For much of the HG, she didn’t know if he was genuine either.

    In MJ, Peeta has begun to differentiate between true and false memories, yet in your version he seems to have slid back. I would have thought, since one of the criticisms was that Peeta was broken, that if the purpose was a more cheerful ending, then a recovered Peeta is more appropriate. After all, you have Katniss recovered sufficiently to govern a country.
    Peeta, single-handedly holding back the guards and miltary personnel in the crowd (and for an execution there would have been many) long enough allow Katniss to give her speech is hard to imagine.

    The writing is clumsy in places. One that stuck out for me is ‘He’ll place his warm hand on my warmer belly and say, “You love me. Real or not real?”
    Why is Katniss’ belly warmer than Peeta’s hand? And who is he talking to? Katniss or the unborn baby? I think the way SC used it (presumably after lovemaking) was far more romantic.

    I think it’s a good effort and props for giving it a go and having the courage to put your work out there. But it’s not professional quality. Sorry.

  27. Jeremy Says:

    I just finished the series and in many ways you just redeemed the last book for me. It is not my intention to speak ill of the author, but Mockingjay felt rushed at the end, and the way it all played out felt like a lazy/easy way out to me.

    Your ending was fantastic, it almost makes me wish there was another character in the book that could believably become a good president, but given the short excerpt you decided to work with, and the lack of other capable characters, I thought you handled it beautifully.

    I also agree with others comments about how we should have seen more of Peeta returning to normal. However, your ending still fits much better.

    My other major complaint is Finnick, he should be alive at the end of the book. Otherwise, why was he ever introduced in the first place?

  28. Jane Says:

    James I think you’re ending I’d by far superior to the original story.
    I love how you made katniss a hero rather than a silly girl with too much power that she became in the original book.
    The only thing is I would have liked is if in the epilogue you had but in the idea of Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch coming together to preserve the memories of their lost love ones in a book. This was the only thing i liked in the original ending.
    I think you will be a fabulous writer

  29. San Says:

    Wow… I didn’t like your ending. Your reader Lucy from an earlier posting hit the nail on the head with her analysis. The change in Katniss’ character was much too far of a leap. To “uncharacteristic” if you will. It was like everything you took 3 books to learn about her went out the window.. Nice try, but I understand why the book ended the way it did.

  30. smenezes13 Says:

    I loved this ending! Although I do agree with everyone that said that Katniss wouldn’t recommend herself for president, maybe she would have recommended Peeta if he was in his normal state since he did so well with words before being hijacked. I do agree that someone else would bring up the idea and add her name to the election. However I loved this ending especially with Gale’s character since the author made him disappear completely in the actual novel and made me hate his character for just abandoning Katniss. The only thing I wish you would have included was the book that Katniss made with Peeta in remembrance of all of those dear to them who died, especially the part where we found out that Annie gave birth to Finnick’s child. Also the part where she finally allows herself to sing as a way of letting go of some of her pain and letting the joy of music re-enter her life as it had existed before when her father was alive. Other than that, I really enjoyed how you mended things and made Katniss and Panem have a hopeful future. There was definitely a chapter missing on Peeta’s rehabilitation in the novel since his return to Katniss was too quick. Other than that great job!

  31. Lorrene Says:

    Thank you. I enjoyed this ending. In regards to Katniss being president, I have to quote Dumbledore.
    “It is a curious thing, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.”

    • James McQuivey Says:

      Yes, yes, yes! You get it! Thank you. Some others have not understood my point: The very person who would never ask for the reins of leadership is precisely the person who must take them.

      • Meg Says:

        But in your story Katniss doesn’t have power thrust upon her, she actually puts herself forward. In other words, she seeks power.

  32. John Says:

    A wonderful ending indeed! Preceding me reading this, I had read many other alternate endings that did not have….the “touch” if you will of a professional author. Your ending clearly explains many of the questions many of us readers had so desperately wanted answered in Mockingjay. Unfortunately for us, Collins had a different take on how to close the series. Hers was okay….but did not seem to have the quality of writing and depth of explanation as her other writings. I very much enjoyed this alternate ending, and I appreciate your thoughtfulness that you put into it. Although, like many of the other readers, I do think that Katniss wouldn’t really ask to be president, she would only do it for the sake of helping others, because she clearly states throughout the books that she does NOT like having everyone looking to her as a leader. But as I read your response to many of the other comments concerning this, I very much understand and respect why you did it. As you said, Katniss in your version matures and realizes she must take on the responsibility of becoming president to help Panem as a whole. Thank you for this, I feel very much satisfied with this ending!
    -Biggest 14 yr old hunger games fan EVER

    • James McQuivey Says:

      John, nice to meet a fellow fan. Thank you for understanding what I was trying to do and what I was not able to do (such as rewriting the whole series to make my ending feel more complete). Above all, my ending is a tribute to the universe Collins created, the mere fact that so many of us are so passionate about it says something important.

  33. Michelle Says:

    Hi there! I appreciate the alternative ending here. Although I have made my own personal touches to it. I will start by saying – I finished Mockingjay a few nights ago and was devastated (obviously) but also left wanting more and asking questions. Questions like: why did Katniss never explain herself for why she killed Coin as the whole country, I think deserved to know. Also – where was Effie hiding all that time? and if she could have hidden, why couldn’t Cinna- as his death is never actually verified, only assumed. And what happened to the remaining victors after Coins death? what happened at the Trial? Who spoke for Katniss? why couldn’t she have spoken herself? Why did they take away her Mockingjay suit in the training centre? After all Katniss does for Panem- all they do is exile her and that makes me so angry. I get angry also that Katniss didn’t stand up for herself and take the leadership role that was rightfully hers, even if she needed some time first to heal – she was always the Mockingjay. This brings me back to your ending. I don’t think Katniss would have accepted the role as president – at least not for a long time – maybe 10 years. I believe Katniss would have stepped up to the Mockingjay role – attending ceremonies and memorials and visiting victims and such. I also think the remaining Victors would have helped with this and that they all stayed close friends/allies (because Finnick doesn’t die at all- he escapes). I also like to think that the Capitol was reinvented and that Katniss and her fellow Victors located to a newly built victors village in the Capitol to carry out their roles as leaders. Paylor is President and Gale steps up as a leader in District 2. I did like your ending a lot – but I also very much have my own as you can tell. I believe, with Katniss explaining her actions to Panem and her reasons behind them – the people forgive her, love her and embrace her as their Mockingjay, the role which she rises up to after taking some time to heal and get better. And of course, Peeta and Katniss grow back together and stay in love.

    • Meg Says:

      Hi Michelle,
      Here’s some good fanfics about Katniss’ trial which touches on the justification for not making Katniss’ motive for killing Coin public. Katniss wasn’t fit to stand at the trial as she was in a severe depressive state – something that actually helped her cause. She was also on suicide watch – hence the removal of anything she could use to harm herself – sheets, clothing etc and provided only with a paper gown.

      https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9435917/1/The-People-of-Panem-vs-Katniss-Everdeen
      https://archiveofourown.org/works/648127

      It would have been out of character for Katniss to take on a leadership role. The Mockingjay role was something that was imposed on her and not something she sought.
      I agree that Katniss would not have taken on the role of president. I think she never would have taken it on. She didn’t like public life. She was a symbol for the rebellion. Once the rebellion was successful her role was defunct. This doesn’t make her suitable as a leader in a stable political environment nor the other victors whose only claim to fame was surviving a Hunger Games.
      I think Katniss probably still attracted curiosity after the dust settled and she might have been prevailed upon to make appearances at ‘healing’ ceremonies and such. And, after several years, when the country was stable and the truth could no longer do harm, Katniss’ true motivation might have been told. Or perhaps left to future historians to piece together.


  34. Hi James, I just finished reading ‘Mockingjay’ this morning….and I was so upset with the ending that I decided to surf the net and found your alternative ending (In fact I had thought of writing one myself but now I see that you have beaten me to it!). I am a writer myself (written two books so far besides numerous short stories and articles for children – was previously a journalist editing a Sunday magazine attached to the local daily and later a children’s magazine. My first book ‘The Prince of Camels: Magic in the Desert’ was released in Dubai in 2007). Well coming back to your alternative ending I really enjoyed it and to be honest with you, it made my day! However, as one of the readers already pointed out to you, the part about Katniss telling the people that they could elect her was out of character. I think suggesting the idea of democracy where the leader would be elected from term to term would be a better idea.

    What inspired me to read Mockingjay were the movies made of the first two books of the triology. And I was delighted that with this book I found my long lost reading habit again. (you see this is the first whole novel I read after more than 10 years). In fact to be fair to the author, Suzanne Collins, she has written an amazing story and the Mockingjay made for some absorbing reading. However I feel that she let her philosophies or certain ideas about war that she wanted to convey stop the growth of her character Katniss towards the end (after the death of Prim). Katniss stood for hope for an entire nation and the reader too but then at the end she sounds so hopeless. Her romance with Peeta – the strength of her love for him brought out in the second book – is completely faded out. Even the epilogue seems to be added as a faint afterthought.

    So James minus the part about ‘Katniss wanting to be the President’ your alternative ending is good. It makes me breathe easy otherwise my entire effort of going through this grinding yet absorbing novel would be in vain. Thanks and do improve the ending further. Perhaps you could write to Collins and tell her too. I think she deserves to know.

    Do keep in touch James. My email is cos28@rediffmail.com.
    God bless you.

  35. Stephen Says:

    You disgust me. James wrote this alternate ending for those who were seeking it, or those that didn’t like the original ending, or even those that are simply curious.
    The fact that you comment just to horribly criticize the author and then go on to insult him saying, “Are you even an author?” Makes me want to ask, “Do you have a heart or any respect whatsoever?”
    I think James appreciates a little constructive criticism, but not absolute meaningless attacks on his writing. Just because you don’t agree with this alternate ending or any of these ideas, does NOT mean you can say the things you did. Everyone is different and has their own ideas, the world doesn’t revolve around you jerk.

  36. LostGirl Says:

    Thank you James McQuivey for writting this alternative ending. Today I finished reading Mockingjay and I was a little bit disappointed about what Collins narrates, I was expecting much more. I felt like something was missing, idk perhaps what would happen with Panem’s new government, whether Paylor is really the best choice for the people’s benefits and progress in order. Another thing that I didn’t understand is why Collins has to be so cruel, I know that the world is unfair but even so Prim and Finnick didn’t deserve to die!! I mean they were all innocent people, no one deverved to die, except Snow and the his accomplices and all those selfish persons that only want power because of their interests. I would have loved another ending for those so significant persons, including Boggs, Jackson and all them who sacrificed themselves for the others’ good. I was also expecting a good explanation about why Katniss had to have a love life with Peeta and not with Gale, i mean, I don’t mind with who she stays and have a family with, because of I was Katniss I wouldn’t have a clear mind to decide with which guy stay knowing that both of them deserves it and they both love her alike. If Katniss was going to remain with Peeta I would have loved Collins to describe with detail the life of them as she has done always throughout the story, and what would happen with Gale as well, not just telling us that he remains in district 2 helping the people. No way I’m going to feel satisfied. I would also like to know what happens to Haymitch, Annie and her children, Johanna, the others victors, Plutarch, Katniss mom and Gale’s family. I think that there’s so many unanswered questions that this third book hadn’t concluded yet although it is supposed to be the outcome of the series. I really loved your alternative ending, but as I said, it still doesn’t satisfies me at all. Mockingjay should’ve been more than just 300 pages. And that’s how to break lots of hearts, good job, Suzanne. Oh, and I almost forgot, I totally agree without the idea of Collins writing a prequel for THG, perhaps that way may my heart’s wounds be healed. Jk hahahahaha

  37. Gbolahan Says:

    Wow.
    Just wow.
    NOTHING beats good storytelling.
    I wasn’t disappointed with Collin’s ending, but damn, yours was so…
    I don’t even have the words…
    Thank you. This story will always be dear to my heart, no matter how many people complain that she copied Battle Royale.
    I loved reading this. Almost felt like i read the whole book again tonight.
    Thank you.


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