10 Key Things That Happen Between The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes & The Hunger Games


  • Mags Flanagan won the Hunger Games following Lucy Gray Baird’s victory.
  • Coriolanus Snow rose to power after betraying Sejanus and Lucy Gray and eventually became the tyrannical leader of Panem.
  • The Quarter Quells were a painful reminder to the districts that they lost the war to the Capitol, and Haymitch Abernathy won the Second Quarter Quell.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes took place 64 years before Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark became the District 12 tributes for the 74th Hunger Games, and plenty of significant events transpired during the years in between. The 2023 movie was based on Suzanne Collins’s book of the same name and chronicled the origin story of Coriolanus Snow and his involvement in the 10th Hunger Games. Following the events of the prequel, Coriolanus became the tyrannical leader of Panem, as seen in The Hunger Games and its three sequels.

More than 60 years separate The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes and The Hunger Games, so numerous developments happened during that time that directly affected Katniss’s story. From important Hunger Games to characters gaining power, many things after the 10th annual Games led to Katniss becoming the Mockingjay and being the face of the Second Rebellion that reshaped Panem. However, ten incidents are key to understanding what happens in the first four Hunger Games films.

10 Mags Wins The 11th Hunger Games

The Games drastically changed after Lucy Gray won

Following Lucy Gray Baird’s victory during the 10th Hunger Games in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes (which was erased from history, thanks to Volumnia Gaul), Mags Flanagan of District 4 won the 11th Hunger Games when she was 16 years old. Fifty-four years later, Mags became the oldest tribute in the Third Quarter Quell, which featured only past winners. Annie Cresta was initially chosen as the female representative from District 4, but Mags volunteered in her place. Mags sacrificed herself in the arena to save Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick Odair, the latter she mentored during his first Games.

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There was a stark difference between the 10th and 11th Hunger Games, as Snow and Gaul worked to improve the horrific competition to get more people to watch and actively participate. The arena presumably changed, and the Gamemakers added an incentive for the districts to want to win the Games. From the 11th annual event and on, the victors received a monetary prize and food parcels for their district and lived in the luxurious Victors’ Village. So, Mags was the first winner to get these benefits and to participate in a Victory Tour.


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9 Snow Becomes President Of Panem

Coriolanus rises to power after betraying Sejanus and Lucy Gray

The exact year that Snow became the president of Panem is unknown, but it happened sometime between the conclusion of The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes and the First Quarter Quell. After betraying Sejanus by warning Gaul about his rebellious plans, Snow was rewarded by being welcomed back to the Capitol, where he studied under Gaul and became an apprentice Gamemaker. He quickly climbed the ranks until he eventually took on the title of President Snow — the future enemy of the Girl on Fire.

8 The First Quarter Quell Is Played

Districts had to vote for who would compete in the 25th Hunger Games

Peter Dinklage as Casca Highbottom staring to the side in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. 

By the time the 25th Hunger Games rolled around, President Snow and the Gamemakers introduced a twist. Instead of a typical competition, a Quarter Quell would happen every 25 years to celebrate the anniversary of the Capitol’s victory over the districts. They were “glorified versions” of the Games meant to remind the districts of their loss during the First Rebellion and the continued control the Capitol held over them. The First Quarter Quell featured the districts voting for their tributes — the victor is unknown. Snow claimed that these themes were pre-determined by the founders of the Games, but the Third Quarter Quell proved that they could easily be changed.

7 Haymitch Abernathy Wins The Second Quarter Quell

Haymitch outlasts 47 other tributes

The twist for the Second Quarter Quell was that there were double the tributes from each district. Instead of one boy and one girl from each, the districts had to send two boys and two girls to their probable deaths. As a 16-year-old, Haymitch Abernathy was one of the tributes chosen from District 12, and he went on to win the 50th Hunger Games. He was the first victor from District 12 since Lucy Gray, but his triumph came with a price.

President Snow was infuriated with Haymitch’s use of the arena’s force field to win, so he had the victor’s mother, brother, and girlfriend killed. Haymitch fell into a depression and turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism, as seen when he mentored Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. The Second Quarter Quell not only changed Haymitch’s life but also changed the life of the future face of the Second Rebellion.

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6 Alma Coin Becomes President Of District 13

The revolution begins

Julianne Moore as President Coin in The Hunger Games

Like Snow’s rise to power, it’s unclear when exactly Alma Coin became the president of District 13. Given her age in Mockingjay, one could assume that she was born sometime around the First Quarter Quell. So, Coin likely took on the role of the leader of District 13 sometime following the Second Quarter Quell. She was one of the driving forces behind the Second Rebellion. After the City Circle bombing (which she orchestrated and was what killed Primrose Everdeen), Coin became the interim president of Panem. However, Coin’s ideals were too close to Snow’s, so Katniss ultimately killed her.

Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, and Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird in Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.

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5 Finnick Odair Wins The 65th Hunger Games

Finnick becomes the youngest victor ever

Finnick was undoubtedly one of the most prominent characters in the Hunger Games series, even if he wasn’t introduced until Catching Fire. Before appearing in the second film, though, Finnick was chosen as the male District 4 tribute for the 65th Hunger Games, which he won at 14. He was the youngest victor in the history of the Games, but following his win, President Snow forced Finnick into sex trafficking by threatening his loved ones. Instead of money, he asked for secrets (mostly about Snow) from those who bought him.

Ten years later, Finnick returned to the arena for the Second Quarter Quell, where he developed a partnership and friendship with Katniss and Peeta. Finnick was a part of the rebels’ plan to protect the District 12 victors and overthrow the Capitol. He continued to contribute to the rebels’ fight by revealing the secrets about Snow to rally the districts. Finnick also fought during the Second Rebellion, but he sadly sacrificed his life during a battle with mutts, leaving behind his wife, Annie Cresta, and their unborn baby.

4 Snow Fires Tigris

The two cousins’ relationship is irreparable

Tigris Mockingjay

As seen in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, Coriolanus and Tigris had a loving relationship that quickly turned sour once he embraced his dark side. Following the prequel, the two cousins continued to grow apart, but Tigris later accepted a job as a stylist for the Games. Unfortunately, after she had too many surgeries to alter her appearance, Snow claimed that Tigris was too ugly and fired his cousin. Tigris’ disdain for Snow grew, which led to her helping Katniss and her team hide in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

3 Katniss’s Father Dies

Mr. Everdeen is killed in a mining accident

A framed picture of Katniss' father sitting on a mantle in The Hunger Games.

Five years before Katniss volunteered to take Prim’s place in the 74th Hunger Games, her father died in a mine explosion. Mr. Everdeen taught Katniss everything she knew about hunting, archery, and music, and they shared a deep connection, which made his death all the more difficult for her. The tragedy dramatically changed Katniss’ life as she was forced into becoming the primary caretaker because of her mother’s withdrawal.

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2 Johanna Mason Wins The 71st Hunger Games

Tragedy strikes Johanna’s life after becoming a victor

Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Three years before Katniss and Peeta won the 74th Hunger Games, Johanna Mason from District 7 was declared the victor of the 71st Hunger Games. Her strategy was to appear weak before revealing herself as a ruthless killer. Sadly, like many other victors before her, President Snow had Johanna’s family killed following her win, which turned her into the hardened person Katniss met during the Second Quarter Quell. Like Finnick, Johanna was a part of the rebels’ plot, but she and Peeta were captured by the Capitol after Katniss destroyed the force field. District 13 later saved Johanna, and she survived the Second Rebellion.

Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray Baird in Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes and Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

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1 Peeta Gives Katniss Bread

Peeta becomes the Boy with the Bread

Peeta holding bread in The Hunger Games

Five years before Katniss and Peeta became tributes, Peeta burnt a loaf of bread at his family’s bakery so that he could give it to a starving Katniss. This act of kindness was never forgotten by Katniss, even though she was still convinced that he wanted her dead during the first half of the 74th Hunger Games. Peeta giving Katniss bread was the start of their deep and complex relationship, which contributed to President Snow’s downfall 65 years following The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is now playing in theaters.

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