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- "That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that."
- ―Katniss Everdeen, Mockingjay, Chapter 27[src]
Dandelions are a symbol of hope to Katniss Everdeen, and are strongly associated with Peeta Mellark. After Peeta gave her the bread that saved her family from starvation, Katniss saw him at school near a field of dandelions. Katniss and her sister also picked Dandelions to serve as food when their father died and they were very hungry (she had seen them when she was in school). She learned from her father's plant book that dandelions could be used for food. When Katniss threw the cookies Peeta's father gave to her after the reaping out the window of the train, they fell open next to a bunch of dandelions.
Primrose Everdeen is named after the evening primrose. When Peeta Mellark returns to District 12 after the end of the Second Rebellion, one of the first things he does is relocate five bushes of primrose from the woods and begins to plant them outside of Katniss' house in the Victors' Village as a memorial to Prim. It was this action that snapped Katniss out of the lethargy she had been in for months and she began living again.
- "No one will fully understand - how it's not just a flower, not even just President Snow's flower, but a promise of revenge."
- ―Katniss Everdeen. Mockingjay, Chapter 1
Finnick Odair later reveals that, according to Capitol gossip, Snow uses the scent-enhanced roses to hide the ever-present smell of blood that comes from his mouth sores; during his rise to power - and in an effort to keep it - Snow poisoned any potential rivals and often deflected suspicion by consuming the poisoned drink himself. While he possessed antidotes to these poisons, they didn't always work, so the mouth sores were a constant problem.
Role in Mockingjay
Red and pink roses (white in the film) were dropped after the bombing of District 13, which Katniss believed to be from President Snow, and like the white rose she found in her house in the Victors' Village, were there to upset her.
When in the Capitol, Squad 451 is attacked by mutts that smell like roses, and Katniss describes this type of mutt as one that incorporates a psychological twist to truly frighten the victim. Towards the end of Mockingjay, Katniss is in Snow's mansion when she finds herself in his rose room. The putrid stench of roses sickens her to the point of gagging.
The roses reminded her of Peeta because the same type of white roses were in the room during one of Peeta and Katniss's interviews in the Capitol right after winning their first Hunger Games.
Roses, of course, possess powerful symbolic meaning in real life. In the broadest traditional sense, they have embodied positive traits such as love and beauty, but as a writer, Suzanne Collins reverses this symbolism; within Katniss' experience, something that is normally pretty is turned into something painful and fear-inducing.
Rue is named after this flower, which Katniss mentions grows in the meadow, an area just outside her house on the outskirts of District 12 yellow flower of the same name. After Marvel killed Rue with his spear, Katniss covered her in flowers to show the Capitol that she "wasn't just a piece in their Games." She also sang her a lullaby as she died. After Katniss won the Hunger Games, this was regarded as a defiance against the Capitol, which helped sustain Katniss to return to the arena for the 75th Hunger Games.
Shortly before her Victory Tour, Snow makes an unexpected visit to Katniss' new house in the Victors' Village. Acting the good hostess, Mrs. Everdeen offers him tea and a plate of cookies. The cookies were made by Peeta, as revealed by the beautifully frosted tiger lily on top of one of them.
- "I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can't own. That Rue was more than a piece in their games. And so am I."
- ―Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games, Chapter 18
During his individual training session in Catching Fire, Peeta painted a picture of how Rue looked when covered in flowers, an action which provoked the Capitol into giving him a perfect score, thus making him a target.
- Many of the Capitol citizens have tattoos of flowers on parts of their bodies.