Listen up, Tributes. The final chapter in The Hunger Games epic is coming to theaters on Nov. 20, and that’s not very far away. Obviously, the ideal preparation for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2 would include a comprehensive marathon of the other three movies. (Complementary trivia tournament and costume contest optional.) But you probably have a life filled with work and relationships with other humans, not to mention the backlog on your DVR. Don’t assume that your busy schedule means that you’ll be lagging behind your fellow audience members come that midnight screening, though. I’ve made a recap of The Hunger Games , The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1 for you below, complete with pretty gifs of pretty people to keep you on task. Best. Study session. Ever.
Sure, there will be those overachievers who also reread all the books to prepare. (Teacher’s pets.) But this point-by-point rundown will catch you up to the state of the rebellion and its symbol, Katniss Everdeen, the Mockingjay. Every trailer and poster that’s been released in advance of Mockingjay — Part 2 points to this film being an explosive, emotional finale to a franchise that’s jump-started a worldwide trend in dystopic thrillers. This is what’s happened in The Hunger Games series so far.
A Long Time Ago, There Was A Failed Revolution
Panem citizens call it "The First Rebellion." The districts rose up against the Capitol. Their defeat led to "The Dark Days."
Now, The Capitol Keeps The Districts In Line With The Hunger Games
Representatives of the ruling class visit each of the twelve districts annually. They randomly choose one boy and one girl to enter the games. And these games aren't any fun; they involve fighting other children to the death. It's the Capitol's favorite form of entertainment.
Katniss Volunteers As Tribute To Replace Her Sister
Prim is reaped. In a moment of panic and bravery, her older sister Katniss offers to take her spot. This just doesn't happen. Already, she's a threat.
She's Paired With Peeta Mellark, And Meets Her Trainers & PR Team
The other District 12 tribute is the baker's son, Peeta Mellark. He and Katniss have a poignant, but relatively insignificant childhood history. Their coach is former victor Haymitch Abernathy, a drunk. Their escort is the impeccably and immodestly dressed Effie Trinket. Their stylist is calm, creative Cinna. They are, despite appearances, kind of a dream team.
Katniss Befriends Rue (This Will Make You Cry Later)
Once they're in the arena, Katniss offers what protection she can to Rue, a 12-year-old competitor from District 11. Rue gives Katniss the 411 on tracker jackers.
Peeta & Katniss Help Each Other During The Games & Are Encouraged To Play Up Their "Romance"
Except Peeta's not really playing. Either way, the Capitol 'ships it.
Oh, & Katniss Has Gale At Home
Katniss's best friend and hunting partner Gale also carries a torch for her. Call yourself Team Gale or Team Peeta, if you like. I'm Team Katniss.
Rue Dies & It's Terrible
The fandom has yet to get over it. But her courage inspires Katniss throughout the rest of her ordeal.
Peeta & Katniss Refuse To Fight Each Other For The Title; The Capitol Is Pissed
The people who pull the strings fake them out, claiming that they would allow two winners that year and then taking it back. Instead of bowing to the Capitol's power and fighting each other, Peeta and Katniss decide to poison themselves on national TV. Terrified of how that would stir up the districts, the games are quickly ended, with Katniss and Peeta as co-victors.
President Snow Comes To District 12 To Threaten Katniss
Victors spend the entire next year on a Capitol-funded victory tour to spread its propaganda. President Snow makes it clear that he'll stomp out her family if Katniss sets one toe out of line.
Katniss & Peeta Get Fake-Engaged
The people love it, but the charade complicates their real relationship further.
Snow Announces The Quarter Quell, Where Only Past Victors Will Be Reaped. Katniss & Haymitch Are Drawn, But Peeta Takes Haymitch's Place
Still frantic over Katniss's influence, Snow throws his nemesis back into the arena.
Cinna Is Killed For Transforming Katniss Into The Mockingjay
Cinna's sacrifice is proof that the next rebellion has been taking shape for a long time.
Katniss & Peeta Make Alliances In The Arena
Most notably with Finnick Odair and Mags from District 4, Johanna Mason from District 7, and District 3's Wiress and Beetee. Johanna, however, betrays them.
Katniss Destroys The Arena With A Single Arrow
Beetee finds a fault in the arena's design. Katniss MacGuyvers one of her arrows with a stray wire and plunges the arena into darkness.
Then She Wakes Up On An Aircraft With High-Ranking Members Of The Rebellion
Surprise! There is a District 13. And Katniss has unknowingly been supporting their work for quite some time.
Coin Asks Katniss To Be The Mockingjay Full Time
The rebellion is being carried out under the leadership of District 13's President Coin. She sees Katniss as a uniting symbol for all the districts, and works to orchestrate opportunities for her to be seen in action.
Meanwhile The Capitol's Armies Are Squashing Protests
The natives of every district are restless. President Snow's Peacekeepers are unleashed on errant factions.
Peeta Is Being Brainwashed By The Capitol, But Still Sends A Public Warning To The Rebels
Oh, and Peeta? He's been at the Capitol this whole time. In a televised interview with Caesar Flickerman, he risks his life to warn Katniss of a coming attack.
Gale & A Special Forces Team Rescue Peeta
Katniss knows that Peeta won't last long having said what he said. A breathless extraction effort succeeds, and Peeta is brought to District 13.
Who Promptly Strangles His Fiance
Devastatingly, his whole personality has been "hijacked." He tries to kill Katniss, and nearly accomplishes his task. The Capitol let him be taken, President Coin says. And the next phase of the rebellion is about to begin.
The Hunger Games has been a rollercoaster of emotions so far, and the final film looks even more exciting than the rest. Fellow Mockingjays, I salute you.
Want more Hunger Games? Watch Bustle's drunk recap of Mockingjay, Part 1 below: