This 'Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes' Theory Explains Katniss's Relation to the 'Hunger Games' Prequel Characters

Murray Close/Lionsgate

Back when Suzanne Collins’ The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was published in 2020, book readers thought they may have sussed out a connection between Lucy Gray Baird and Katniss Everdeen. The two District 12 tributes, sixty five years apart, may be relatives. Here’s why people think that Lucy Gray Baird’s cousin Maude Ivory is Katniss Everdeen’s grandmother. In order to get into this theory, I’m going to have to discuss some spoilers for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, just FYI.

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The Everdeens' connection to the Covey is pretty apparent. Over the course of the trilogy Katniss sings two songs that Lucy Gray sings in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes — “The Meadow Song” and “The Hanging Tree.” The latter was written by Lucy Gray herself. Another song that Lucy Gray sings in the book, a version of the American folk song “Down in the Valley,” could also be the “Valley Song” that Peeta says Katniss sang in class as a little girl — the first time he noticed her.

Katniss learned those songs from her coal miner father, who was known for his musical talent in District 12. In the book, Katniss says that even birds would stop and listen to him. That sure sounds like Lucy Gray, doesn’t it? And Katniss, like the Covey, grew up in the The Seam because that’s where her father’s family lived. In the epilogue to The Ballad we learn that music is outlawed in District 12 and many of the Covey have to start working in the mines.

But Lucy Gray’s fate is unknown at the end of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Even if she survived, it’s unlikely that she returned to District 12 and raised children there. So the most likely candidate for Katniss’ potential Covey ancestry is Maude Ivory Baird. She has blonde hair, like Katniss’ sister Primrose. She also has a goat just like Katniss’ sister Primrose. “That child never forgets anything with a tune,” Lucy Gray says about Maude Ivory, after “one hearing.” Katniss is the same way. The math is, lightly, mathing.

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“Katniss” we learn, was Lucy Gray’s preferred term for the swamp potato the Covey used to dig up near the lake. (I do want to point out the word “katniss” does exist in the real world. This wasn’t a word invented by Collins.) Katniss’ father taught her how to find and harvest the root, something he could have learned from Maude Ivory. And dipping into tinfoil hat territory, “Primrose” has a color in it, like a play on the traditional Covey naming convention.

I don’t think Katniss being Lucy Gray’s cousin’s son’s daughter is particularly game-changing or, like, a huge twist. It doesn’t really give future President Snow more reasons to target her! But it’s a fun theory, and adds new hues to the already rich history of Katniss and District 12.

Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue

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