Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes ending explained
The Hunger Games franchise has always had an impactful ending, but what about prequel Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?
Welcome, welcome, to the 10th Annual Hunger Games. Or should we say, to the Hunger Games prequel movie, The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.
The prequel follows this synopsis: “Years before he becomes the tyrannical president of Panem, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow remains the last hope for his fading lineage. With the 10th annual Hunger Games fast approaching, the young Snow becomes alarmed when he’s assigned to mentor Lucy Gray Baird from District 12. Uniting their instincts for showmanship and political savvy, they race against time to ultimately reveal who’s a songbird and who’s a snake.”
But now you know the story, you may be wondering how it all ends. How does Snow become the figure we know him as in the original trilogy? Read on and we’ll explain, but first: Spoiler warning for Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes!
The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes ending explained
The climax of this prequel movie differs from most of the other Hunger Games stories. For example, the ending of the Games themselves is not the ending of the story – in fact, it’s practically just the middle point of the movie.
Once the Games are over, Snow is sent to work as a Peacekeeper as punishment for cheating to save Lucy Gray. He chooses to work in District 12, where Lucy Gray resides after becoming a Victor, and the pair rekindle their relationship.
Sejanus, Snow’s best friend, has also been stationed there, but it turns out he wants to do more than Peacekeep. Instead, he begins conspiring with District 12 in order to help them rebel. However, this results in the Mayor’s daughter and her boyfriend getting shot by Snow and another District 12 citizen, which will no doubt have them all executed by the Capitol. This is a major problem for Snow as he is desperate to return to the Capitol and his family, Tigris.
The District 12 citizen is caught despite their hiding of the evidential weapons, along with other insurgents, including Sejanus. In fact, the reason he was caught was because Snow recorded a conversation between them both with a Jabberjay, which sent back Sejanus’ rebellious intentions for Dr Gaul, aka the Head Gamemaker, to hear in the Capitol. Sejanus is executed by hanging, and Snow does nothing to save him.
Meanwhile, Lucy Gray, who was also implicit with the Mayor’s daughter’s death, fears for her life, as does Snow. So the pair decide to leave District 12, and to live freely in the woods where the Capitol won’t find them. This is in spite of Snow being offered the chance to rise through the Peacekeeper ranks and potentially return home by his leading Officer.
The couple’s escape journey takes a turn when Snow finds the weapons that killed the Mayor’s daughter. He realizes that if he gets rid of these weapons, he will be free to return to the Capitol. The only loose end would be Lucy Gray herself. She cottons on to this too, and after realising that Snow has committed more harm (meaning Sejanus) than he has told her, the pair begin to question their trust of one another.
Lucy Gray sneaks away, even tricking Snow into getting bitten by a snake. He begins yelling after her, firing bullets into the trees, where Lucy Gray has also tricked birds into repeating her songs, disguising her real location.
And thus, this film’s climax scene is a battle, not a ballad, between a songbird and a snake, as both believe that one will kill the other. But do they?
Is Lucy Gray dead?
According to the movie, it doesn’t seem like Snow managed to kill her successfully. Lucy Gray is gone for good, however, and Snow never sees her again.
Snow manages to shoot Lucy Gray, knocking her down. But he never finds her body, so it seems like she was able to escape and live freely as both of them had planned. But like the Lucy Gray in the Wordsworth poem that she is named after, her fate remains a mystery.
As we know in the book, Snow proceeds to wipe her memory from existence, along with any evidence of her Games – though we also know that her songs will be brought back from the grave by Katniss Everdeen over 60 years later.
Snow returns to the Capitol, as Dr Gaul had expected. She praises his immoral behaviour, and asks him for the final time what he thinks the Hunger Games are for (she had asked him this prior to the 10th Games). He responds that it’s to reflect real life, in that there are always Victors, and he is one of them.
Sejanus’ parents, unaware of his part in their son’s death, have given Snow money to continue his studies, putting the Snow family back in power again. Snow relays this to his Academy Dean, Casca Highbottom, who then reveals that it had been Snow’s father who had brought the idea of the Games to light, despite Casca being the one to drunkenly think of it. Hence why Highbottom has always hated Snow.
But Snow is also sick of Highbottom, and manipulates his addiction to morphling in order to poison him to death, which later becomes a staple Snow tactic. He walks out into the streets of the Capitol, looking deliciously evil in his red coat, and smiles at a Capitol statue, which itself is posed like a Victor. And thus, the movie ends.
The movie ends basically when the book ends, and there is a big gap of time in between this movie and the original trilogy, leaving questions about multiple characters. But we can clearly see how Snow is about to become the ruthless President that he is, his future falling over us like snow.
As for if there’s any other footage after the credits roll, check here to see if there’s a post-credits scene.
The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is now in cinemas. Check out our other Hunger Games coverage below:
- Hunger Games: How to watch Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes – Is it streaming?
- How Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes avoided R-rating in “brutal” story
- Why Hunger Games director was “anxious” about Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
- Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes cast: All actors & characters
- Hunger Games: Is Donald Sutherland in Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?
- Hunger Games: Does the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes have a post-credits scene?
- Does the cannibalism happen in Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?
- How long is The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?
- Hunger Games: Is Jennifer Lawrence in Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes?