Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler, bows at her Reaping in the trailer for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

Katniss Everdeen and Lucy Gray Baird Have a Lot in Common, but Are They Related?

The first trailer for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes has reawakened everyone’s interest in what is undoubtedly the best dystopian YA series.

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That interest is sure to keep going until the movie actually hits cinemas on November 17, with fans and cultural commentators alike revisiting the cinematic adaptations of The Hunger Games—since The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is a prequel to that story, set a little more than 60 years before Katniss Everdeen volunteers as tribute for the 74th annual Hunger Games.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is set during the 10th Hunger Games when Panem was still dealing with the immediate aftermath of the war that led to the supposed destruction of District 13, and when the Hunger Games were very much still more of a punishment than a spectacle. 

The 10th Hunger Games in particular featured a Capitol-born mentor for each of the 24 tributes to help them survive and be crowned victor—and that’s how a young Coriolanus Snow, played by Tim Blyth, met the female tribute from District 12, Lucy Gray Baird, played by Rachel Zegler.

The fact that the life of Coriolanus Snow—the son of a once wealthy family who goes on to poison his way through Capitol society to become the President of the entirety of Panem—was defined by two girls from the same place who survived the same brutal fight to the death naturally inspires comparisons between Lucy Gray and our beloved Mockingjay, Katniss. So let’s see what’s there, with some spoilers ahead for the events of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Are Katniss and Lucy Gray related to each other?

Lucy Gray’s ending, clouded in mystery and uncertainty, has led fans to speculate about whether she could be related to Katniss. If she were, she would most likely be her paternal grandmother, since Lucy Gray lived by the Seam, the same place in District 12 where Katniss lived and her father hailed from—assuming Lucy Gray returned there after the ending of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Both girls also have a wide knowledge of plants, particularly katniss (the plant); Lucy Gray introduces the plant to Coriolanus Snow, and she might be at least partially responsible for Katniss (the person) being named after it, if Lucy is indeed her grandmother. Like Lucy Gray, Katniss is also familiar with secluded areas around District 12 and famously enjoys singing, which she’s quite good at.

Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, hunts in the woods outside of District 12 in the first The Hunger Games movie
Both Katniss and Lucy Gray, for example, know how to reach the lake in the woods outside of District 12 (Lionsgate)

Still, there’s nothing in canon that confirms this theory, and The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins hasn’t commented one way or the other. But who knows, maybe the upcoming movie will lay down even more hints, or it could shut down speculation entirely.

What connects Katniss and Lucy Gray?

Even if they aren’t directly related, it’s clear that there’s much connecting Katniss and Lucy Gray. They’re both the only two female winners District 12 has ever had, for starters. One could say that they also found themselves in the arena thanks to a rigged reaping: Lucy Gray’s is orchestrated by the then-mayor of District 12, and—while never explicitly stated—it’s clear that the rules of the Third Quarter Quell were altered to make sure Katniss went back to the arena. No matter what the online theories say, though, Katniss’ first time at the Hunger Games was very much due to a series of events that no one influenced.

The two are also drawn together by the song that will become a symbol of the rebellion: “The Hanging Tree.” Lucy Gray composes the song over the course of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes after a man is executed for having caused an explosion in the mines that killed three people. The song is deemed rebellious and is forbidden from being sung out loud by the Peacekeepers, but Katniss still knows the words to it more than 60 years later. They were taught to her by her father, which could be another hint that Lucy Gray is somewhere in Katniss’ family tree.

Speaking of songs, Lucy Gray also sings “Deep in the Meadow” to her younger cousin, Maude Ivory. Coriolanus Snow was there to hear it, and one can assume he heard it just the same when Katniss sang it to a dying Rue in the arena.

It’s also interesting to notice that Lucy Gray cleverly uses mockingjays as a way to escape Snow at the end of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes—similar to the way of communicating Katniss and Rue devise while in the arena. And we all know the role mockingjays have in the history of Panem from that moment forward.

(featured image: Lionsgate)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.