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"Snow lands on top."
―a phrase used by the Snow family, signaling Snow's eventual rise to power[src]
"We toast a glorious era, coming to its bitter end."
―President Snow to Minister Antonius[src]

Coriolanus Snow was a tyrannical president of Panem. In his youth, he was known by the nickname Coryo, originally given to him by Tigris. Before becoming president, he attended the Academy in the the Capitol, where he mentored the winning tribute of the 10th Hunger Games. He later moved on to advanced military studies at the University. He also served a brief stint in the Peacekeepers, demonstrating such aptitude that he tested successfully for an elite program to become an officer with the Peackeepers, though ultimately he did not pursue this path. While attending the University and studying advanced military strategy, he also served as an apprentice Gamemaker, quickly instituting several new reforms to the Games, including the creation of the Victors' Village.

He is the main antagonist of The Hunger Games trilogy and is the main protagonist of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Biography

Early life

President snow panem adress
"I wouldn’t say he’s a hero, nor would I say he’s a villain; it’s more complex than that."
―Audiobook narrator Santino Fontana regarding the young Coriolanus Snow

Coriolanus Snow is a native of the Capitol and eventually became the tyrannical and ruthless dictator of Panem at least before Haymitch Abernathy competed in the 50th Hunger Games. Although carrying the title of President, it is unknown if he was elected to the position democratically.

He was born into the Snow family, a well-known and once-rich family. His parents and grandparents were well-known, but his family had fallen on hard times and his only real currency in his youth was charm.[1]

By the time Snow was 18, his family status had fallen into decline. Although living in one of the wealthiest penthouses in the Capitol, he struggled to keep himself fed and bought most of his clothes from the black market due to lack of money. The family's troubles began when Snow and Tigris were still very young, as his mother died in childbirth when he was five during the Rebellion, resulting in the loss of Snow's little sister that she was carrying as well.[2] His father died not long after, a military general, Crassus Snow, who was killed by fire from a rebel sniper.[3] Despite this, he maintained an outward facade that he and his family were still doing well, though those who knew what to look for could see through it.[4]

He had a bad habit of fixating on one thing, thinking that if he could just solve one problem, it would solve of his others. This "tendency towards obsession" was hardwired in his brain, an issue that he felt could be his downfall if he couldn't learn to control it. Many of the rooms of the home in which he lived were entirely empty and closed off due to his family selling off their possessions. Others still had extensive damage from the First Rebellion which they could not afford to repair. Furthermore, he was forced to watch in sadness as many of the picture books he once enjoyed reading with his mother were sacrificed to flames to keep the family warm during the winter.[5]

Mentor

Entertainment Weekly Coriolanus Snow

Entertainment Weekly illustration of a young Coriolanus Snow

Snow attended the Academy and was one of its top-performing students. As such, in his senior year he was tapped as a mentor in the 10th annual Hunger Games. He realized that something was amiss when his achievement as a top-performing student went unrecognized and he was assigned mentorship of the District 12 female, Lucy Gray Baird, part of the worst-performing districts.[4]

Despite his initial shock and irritation at being assigned what seemed like a throwaway tribute, Snow soon discovered that he had been given an unexpected gift, as at her reaping, Lucy Gray enchanted the audience with a musical performance that made her and Snow the envy of all of the other mentors. He then showed an initiative lacking in the other mentors by choosing to meet Lucy Gray upon her arrival in the Capitol. The risky move saw him end up together with her briefly in a cage in the Capitol Zoo, but also brought him more audience attention.[6]

In the days leading up the Hunger Games, Snow drew the attention of the Head Gamemaker, Volumnia Gaul. Gaul was the Head Gamemaker of the 10th Hunger Games and personally made regular visits to the Academy to oversee the newly created mentor program. She was impressed by Snow's actions in meeting his tribute, even though they drew a demerit from Casca Highbottom, the sour and morphling-addicted dean of the Academy.[6] Gaul asked the students of the Academy both to get to know their tributes through interviews and to brainstorm ideas as to way to get people more engaged in the Hunger Games, as they had proved unpopular with audiences. While worrying about his own tribute, Snow also became embroiled in the personal of his classmate, Sejanus Plinth, who was born in District 2 and resented participating in the Hunger Games, particularly having to mentor a former classmate.[7]

Snow ended up getting a far more personal taste of the danger of the Hunger Games than he expected when the Capitol Arena was bombed during a "tour" featuring the mentors and tributes. He was saved by his tribute, Lucy Gray Baird, further cementing the bond between them, but some of the tributes and mentors were injured or killed in the bombings.[8] Sejanus's tribute, Marcus, however, escaped, and was strung up in the arena upon the start of the Hunger Games. Sejanus sneaked into the arena to try to help him and Snow was forced by Dr. Gaul to slip into the arena to rescue him. In doing so, he ended up beating and killing one of the tributes, Bobbin, in the process, when the tributes came after them.[9] Later, Dr. Gaul revealed to Snow that another of the mentors, Gaius Breen, had died from his injuries and indicated that she had a special punishment in store for the tributes. Snow realized what she had planned - to unleash her special snake muttations upon the tributes. He then secretly dropped a handkerchief with Lucy Gray's scent into the snake tank to prevent them from attacking her.[10]

Snow's machinations to protect his tribute and endear her to the Capitol audience were successful, but they came at a cost. Lucy Gray was not only not bitten by the snakes, but also charmed them with a song, once again making her the darling of those watching. She later used one of the snakes as a hidden weapon to kill another tribute, before going on to win the Hunger Games. Snow was ecstatic, as her victory seemingly also brought him the Plinth Prize, a newly created award which would pay for all of his tuition to the University. However, he was summoned into the office of Dean Highbottom, who confronted him with the evidence of his cheating. Highbottom then offered him a choice: either enroll for a twenty-year term in the Peacekeepers, or have his actions revealed publicly.[11]

Peacekeeper

With no other choice, Snow enrolled in the Peacekeepers. In the hopes of seeing Lucy Gray Baird again, he asked to be assigned to District 12. His choice was not questioned, as few newly-enrolled Peacekeepers willingly chose to go to District 12, so there was no reason to reject the request of someone who was seemingly so willing. However, upon arrival, Snow began to despair. The food was better and more plentiful than he'd usually had for a long time at the Capitol, but the work was tedious and dull beyond belief, and the environmental conditions were terrible. Furthermore, he had no immediate opportunity to see Lucy Gray and no idea when he might. After receiving a discouraging letter from Tigris, he was at the point of contemplating suicide when to his surprise, Sejanus Plinth arrived in his bunk.[12]

Plinth explained that he, like Snow, was in disgrace due to his actions during the 10th Hunger Games. Volumnia Gaul considered him a traitor for his actions in trying to rescue Marcus. On the verge of expulsion, his father Strabo Plinth asked that he be allowed to graduate and sign up for the Peacekepers, and in return, he would gift a new gym to Agrippina Sickle. Plinth agreed on the condition that Snow be allowed to graduate as well. He presented Snow with his diploma, which even said that he had graduated with High Honors. With this, Snow even had the opportunity to take the Peacekeeper officer's test if he wanted to, as it was a requirement to have graduated in order to take it. Furthemore, Plinth's arrival meant copious gifts from his Ma Plinth, which meant that Snow had the opportunity to see Lucy Gray performing at the Hob.[13]

Romance and rebels

Snow and Plinth both settled into training exercises with the Peacekepers and were soon recognized for their abilities. Their Academy training gave them a leg-up and despite his best efforts, Plinth could not hide the fact that he was an expert marksman, having personally trained with his father. The two were ordered to attend the hanging of Arlo Chance, a rebel sympathizer who had killed three at the mines. It was here that Snow first heard the mockingjays, taking up the tune after the jabberjays repeated Chance's last words, "Run, Lil, Run!"[13] He took an instant dislike to the birds, an unnatural mutation of the Capitol-bred jabberjays.[14]

Snow was reunited with Lucy Gray Baird, and she seemed to think that the stars had brought them together, them having saved each other's lives. Though there was clearly a strong bond between them, Snow worried over Billy Taupe, Lucy Gray's spurned lover whom she sung about during her interview for the Hunger Games. Taupe kept showing up, trying to get Lucy Gray to take him back, and worse, he seemed to be trying to put together some sort of rebel plot with Plinth.[15]

Still disturbed by the mockingjays, Snow suggested a plan to the Peacekeeper commander, Commander Hoff, to shoot down the birds from the trees. Before this happened, however, Dr. Kay from the Citadel in the Capitol wanted the Peacekeepers to round up fifty jabberjays and fifty mockingjays from the forest in order to be taken back to the Capitol for study. During this time, Plinth revealed to Snow that he had been plotting with the local rebels to assist them in a plan to flee up north, where it was believed that there were still people living free of the Capitol's influence. As he did so, Snow secretly used one of the jabberjays to record what he was saying, then sent it back to the Capitol for his words to be heard by Dr. Gaul.[16]

Things came to a head when, during a performance at the Hob, Snow encountered Plinth together with Billy Taupe and another rebel named Spruce in an old shed with a sack of several weapons. They were finalizing their plans to run away when the mayor's daugther, Mayfair Lipp, stumbled upon the scene. She made it clear that she intended to spill the plot to her father and Snow shot and killed her. He then shouted for Lucy Gray Baird, who had also stumbled upon the scene, to get back onstage. Billy Taupe, however, declared that he swung, she would swing with him, so Spruce shot and killed him.[17]

Afterwards, Snow worried that at anytime someone would find the rifle with his DNA on it, and he would hang just like Arlo Chance had. However, it was instead Plinth who hung as a traitor, Dr. Gaul having received the jabberjay back at the Capitol and played its recording. Snow was stunned by the loss of his friend, having realized too late the serious consequences of what he had done. He had thought that Strabo Plinth would buy his son out of the situation like he always had, but had not reckoned on the fact that Sejanus Plinth was an adult now and Strabo did not even learn of his situation until it was too late. Meanwhile, he was convinced that he could be executed at any moment and hatched a new plan to flee north, just himself and Lucy Gray Baird. Before they did so, however, he received the news that he had passed his officer's test and was to be transported to District 2 for an elite training program, having scored exceptionally high.[18]

Snow despaired at this ironic chance to have the life he felt he deserved, as the evidence of his crime was still out there. Seemingly not having any other choice, he left with Lucy Gray Baird the next day. However, as they were traveling, he indirectly let slip that he was the one who was responsible for Sejanus Plinth's execution. Then, when they stopped to rest at a shack at the woods, Snow was dumbsturck to discover the rifle he had used to Mayfair Lipp sitting there. As Lucy Gray Baird stepped out, saying that she was going to gather some katniss. Snow decided then and there that living in the wild was not for him. He would get rid of evidence, then return to the village where he would travel to District 2 to begin his new life as a Peacekeeper officer.

However, Lucy Gray Baird was gone too long and he realized that something was amis: that she had figured out that he was responsible for Plinth's death and was planning to slip away. He began shouting for her and searching, claiming that they could work things out. He ended up falling for a trap she set for him and bitten by a snake. She then taunted him with the song that she had created, "The Hanging Tree," which was about Arlo Chance, but also could reference him, as he had killed three as well. He fired randomly into the woods, but could not be sure if he actually struck her. He then fled through the lake, submerging the incriminating rifle on the way, and worried that he was going to do from the snakebite. Upon his return, however, the doctor accepted his story that the snake had simply sprung up out of nowhere and told him that it wasn't even venomous. He was going to be just fine. The next morning, he boarded the hovercraft for District 2, and found that everything had improved immediately, from the plush seating to the beverage selection.[19]

Snow lands on top

Snow woke up after a pleasant rest on the hovercraft, the melody of the song "The Hanging Tree" humming in his brain. To his surprise, he was not in District 2, but rather in the Capitol. An attendant informed him that they had orders to drop him off there. He was loaded into a Peaceekper truck, which took him to the Citadel. There, he met Dr. Gaul, who told him she had received his letter and jabberjay and that she was pleased to see him "continuing his studies" in District 12. She asked him about his opinion on the Hunger Games based on his time there, and he told her that they were part of the eternal war, each its own battle. She informed him that she had erased the recordings of the 10th Hunger Games, except for a private copy kept for her own amusment, feeling that they painted the Capitol as far too vulnerable. She then described Snow's time in the Peacekeepers as a "summer vacation," telling him that she had gotten him an honorable discharge and he was to start classes with her at the University on Thursday.

Snow studied advanced military strategy under Dr. Gaul and was also accepteed as an apprentice Gamemaker for the Hunger Games. He immediately began introducing new innovations, such as the creation of the Victors' Villages for each victor of the Hunger Games to live in. Unaware of Snow's betrayal of his son, Strabo Plinth made him his heir, financing his and his family's whole life: the taxes on their apartment, Snow's tuition, their cook and a generous allowance. Snow paid a visit to the Academy, where he met with Dean Highbottom to recover his mother's compact which had been taken as part of the evidence against him. Snow also returned Sejanus Plinth's diploma, claiming charitable motives, that Highbottom would not want it out there, given how he had ended up.

At the meeting, Highbottom revealed the sordid truth of the Hunger Games. It was true that the Hunger Games were his creation, but only thanks to Dr. Gaul and Snow's father, Crassus Snow. The two attended Dr Gaul's class at the University, and the final project was to create a punishment for one's enemies so extreme that they would never be allowed to forget how they had wronged you. Highbottom was drunk at the time and had always been good at puzzles. Crassus plied him with more alcohol, drawing out his evilest impulse, the Hunger Games, and fleshing out the project, all the while promising him that it was only a private joke between him. In the morning, Highbottom awoke, horrified that Crassus had turned in the project, wanting a good grade. Then, after the war was over, Dr. Gaul dusted if off and presented him to the Capitol as the architect of the Hunger Games. Before leaving, Snow told Highbottom that the Games, supported Gaul's view of humanity, that people credited children with innocence, yet even the most innocent could be turned into killers. On the way back home, Snow reflected on a letter he had received in which it was revealed that nobody quite new what had happened to Lucy Gray Baird, but she was suspected of Mayfair Lipp's murder. In any case, Lucy Gray Baird could never trouble him again. Nor could Dean Highbottom, as Snow secretly poisoned his morphling supply during the meeting. He hoped that with his dying breath, Highbottom would realize something, something that one day all of Panem would come to know: "Snow lands on top."[20]

President of Panem

Thgexplorer snow
As president, Snow possesses total power in Panem's government and has proven to be a cruel and manipulative dictator, ruling over the Capitol and its contained districts. He also works on the annual Hunger Games and heads the military responsible for oppressing the districts. He has no qualms about using intimidation in pursuit of his agenda, such as when he threatened to kill Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne, Peeta Mellark, and their families. Two weeks after Haymitch Abernathy won the 50th Hunger Games by performing a stunt with the force field, Snow murdered Haymitch's mother, younger brother, and girlfriend as punishment because Haymitch's move made the Capitol look foolish.

It is revealed by Finnick Odair that he poisoned his allies, as he believes that they would become future foes, but he had to drink the poison as well so that he wouldn't attract suspicion. Even though he took antidotes, the poison caused permanent sores inside his mouth that never healed. As a result, he always wears a genetically-engineered rose, which covers the scent of blood stained on his breath.

After Johanna Mason won the 71st Hunger Games, he had her family killed because she refused to dabble in prostitution, despite being widely considered to be an attractive tribute.

74th Hunger Games

Snow addressing the tributes

Snow welcomes the tributes.

During the pre-games, President Snow welcomes all the tributes during the parade in a high balcony above the chariots and gives a speech about the Hunger Games. He appears to disapprove of the fact that the Gamemakers awarded Katniss the highest score because she shot an arrow at them, likely because he saw it as a sign of rebellion. He then tells Seneca Crane the reason they have a winner in the Hunger Games is because of hope and that hope is the only thing stronger than fear. However, he believes that only a little hope is effective as long as it is contained, and orders Seneca to contain the hope. Later he is shown meeting with Seneca to discuss what he plans to do in response to the uprising in District 11 caused by Rue's death. He disagrees with Seneca's belief that the public love an underdog, as he has personally visited Districts 10, 11 and 12, saying that there are a lot of underdogs there and warns Seneca to be careful.

President Snow1

Snow in his rose garden.

He watches the Games and becomes furious when Katniss and Peeta are both crowned victors. He gives Katniss a long, dark look while he places her half of the crown on her head. At the victors' coronation Snow notices and examines Katniss' mockingjay pin, remarking "What a pretty pin." He is shown watching Peeta and Katniss's triumphant return to District 12 in a monitor room before silently leaving, pondering what to do about the uprising they have caused within the Districts. He has a party as usual at his mansion and observes her during the party. Later he plans to fix all that has been unbalanced due to Katniss and Peeta's rebellion. President Snow later has head Gamemaker Seneca Crane executed for allowing both Katniss and Peeta to live.

75th Hunger Games

CFpresident snow

President Snow on his mansion's balcony.

In Catching Fire, Snow plays a more antagonistic role. President Snow visits Katniss in her Victors' Village home and informs her of the rebellion in the other districts because of her suicide threat. He threatens to kill the people she loves unless she proves to all of Panem that what she did was driven by love, not by rebellion, in order to stop the uprising in the districts. He observes Katniss from a distance and makes sure she stays in line. During the victory tour, Peeta proposes to her publicly but Snow is still unsatisfied. During a ceremony aired all over Panem, he tells them about the Quarter Quell and how they differ from regular Hunger Games. President Snow reads the card that holds the theme of the Quarter Quell which reads "As a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors," He announces that this year for the third Quarter Quell, the Hunger Games
Snowsmiling

President Snow watching Katniss Everdeen's interview before her dress turned into a mockingjay.

will be played by previous victors. Snow greets the tributes and gives a speech as usual. President Snow confronts Cinna before interview night and tells him to dress Katniss in her wedding dress. Snow is infuriated when Cinna turns Katniss' wedding dress into a mockingjay dress and orders him killed, because Snow already suspects Cinna is a rebel. President Snow sends in a detail of Peacekeepers to apprehend Cinna and take him to be interrogated for information about the rebellion in front of Katniss to throw her off during the games.
Snow plutarch control room

President Snow and Plutarch Heavensbee discuss Katniss in the control room.

Cinna died during his interrogation because he refused to give information. He watches the third Quarter Quell and is shocked when Katniss and a number of other victors escape the arena. He manages to capture three of them and demands the others be killed, and declares war on the rebel forces.

Endgame

Capture and interrogation

In Mockingjay, President Snow holds Peeta, Annie, Johanna and Enobaria captive and tortures them for information about the rebellion. Snow lets Enobaria off easy since she is from the most loyal district and he fully trusted her. During the interrogation, he had two avoxes, Lavinia and Darius electrocuted to death and executes Portia and the other stylists and prep teams. He did this not for answers but for Peeta to see. He also at some point ordered Johanna's head shorn. President Snow keeps Peeta healthy so he can use him to break Katniss. President Snow at some point went to District 12 and left a white rose in Katniss' room to give her a message only she would know: "I can find you. I can reach you. Perhaps I am watching you now."

He makes Peeta do an interview with Caesar Flickerman so he can manipulate and break Katniss. President Snow appears on screen during Peeta's third interview and introduces him and Caesar. After Peeta implies there will be an attack from the Capitol on District 13, President Snow orders the interview stopped and for him to be taken away. After Peeta is taken away, President Snow orders for him to be hijacked in order to use him against Katniss. During an interview Katniss and Finnick shot to distract the Capitol from the rescue team, Finnick reveals President Snow kills his enemies and allies who can become threats to him. He also reveals that Snow forced Finnick into prostitution, selling his body to wealthy Capitol citizens for high prices. President Snow is enraged by this and becomes angry at them, but plans to kill Katniss by using the brainwashed Peeta. Boggs reveals that retrieving Peeta was far too easy and suspects that President Snow let them take Peeta so he could kill Katniss.

The Thirteenth District unleashed

President Snow goes on television to discuss the death of Squad 451. His broadcast is cut short after Beetee hacks into the system and airs a propo. President Snow's forces discover the remains of Boggs in an apartment of a Capitol citizen and realizes he has been fooled. President Snow figures out Katniss is still alive and sends a pod of lizard-human mutts to hunt her down and kill her and her squad.

During the final battle of the war, President Snow was in his mansion and was taking in Capitol children whom he was planning on using as human shields. Later on, President Snow was going to call an official surrender but before he could there was an explosion outside his mansion that killed the Capitol children and rebel Casualty Aides, including Prim. Snow was arrested and found guilty. Katniss finds him in his rose garden and he tells her the bomb that killed Prim and the others was not from him but from President Coin. Katniss refuses to believe him but he reminds her of the promise they made not to lie to each other. Katniss ends up believing him and ultimately kills Coin.

Death

"We both know I'm not above killing children, but I'm not wasteful. I take life for very specific reasons. And there was no reason for me to destroy a pen full of Capitol children; none at all."
―Snow to Katniss after the fall of the Capitol[src]
After the overthrow of the Capitol in Mockingjay, Snow is tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. As the Mockingjay, Katniss is given the opportunity to execute Snow. Snow laughs and grins at the irony and the thought of Prim's death: he and Katniss were being used as pawns. When Katniss is supposed to shoot him through the heart with an arrow, she instead assassinates President Coin because she thinks Coin is worse than President Snow; who devised the idea for another Hunger Games where the Capitol's children would have to compete and was part of the cause of Prim's death. In the chaos that follows, Katniss witnesses Snow roaring with laughter and coughing up blood as people surround them. When everything calms down, Snow is found dead, speculated to be from choking on his own blood, or being crushed by the crowd.

Relationships

Katniss Everdeen

"Oh, my dear Ms. Everdeen, I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other..."
―Snow to Katniss in Mockingjay[src]
Snow never really got to know Katniss in The Hunger Games, but in Catching Fire, President Snow was angry that she and Peeta Mellark managed to get Seneca Crane to allow them both to be crowned victors. He came to her house in Victor's Village located in District 12. President Snow was clearly angry that she did that, but acted calm the whole time. He pushed her enough to agree not to lie to each other. While Katniss and the other tributes were in the arena she managed to destroy it, further angering him. He kidnapped some of them but the rebels from District 13 took her there. He tortured them in the Capitol. During his trial in Mockingjay, instead of killing him, she killed President Alma Coin.

Seneca Crane

President Snow had no known relationship in the book. But in the film, there were scenes with Snow and Seneca in Snow's rose garden in his mansion, where they met to plan strategies, tactics, and what was going to happen next in the Games.

Granddaughter

Snow's granddaughter was only mentioned in the books but appeared in person in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part I. The girl appeared to be unaware of her grandfather's evil nature. Snow was disapproving of the fact that she looked up to Katniss, but nevertheless, he appeared to care about her to some degree. She is the only person in the entire Hunger Games franchise to whom he has shown at least a basic level of attachment, prior to the release of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

Tigris

"You missed bomb time."
"Turns out it's worse than being there, knowing you were going through it all alone."
―Coriolanus Snow and Tigris in the aftermath of the bombing of the Capitol Arena[src]

In his youth, Coriolanus Snow and Tigris lived together, cared for by Snow's grandmother, the Grandma'am. Although the two were cousins, their relationship was really more like that of brother and sister. Snow relied on Tigris and despaired at the idea that people might take advantage of her sweetness and vulnerability.[21] The two survived the bombings of the Capitol together during the First Rebellion, something which they referred to as "bomb time." When Snow was injured in the bombing of the Capitol Arena, Tigris described it as being worse than being there, knowing that he was going through it all alone.[8] Once, when he was still very young, he collapsed in the street from swan flu. Nobody at all stopped to help, but Tigris, despite being ill herself, found him and got him home.[6] Tigris disliked the Hunger Games and the pressure that they put on Snow. She was also shocked by the behavior of Dr. Gaul in setting snake muttations upon Snow's classmate, Clemensia Dovecote.[22] She was likely disgusted by what Snow eventually became. This is born out by her happiness at hearing from Katniss Everdeen that she plans to kill Snow.[23]

Sejanus Plinth

"You know, Sejanus, I'm your friend. More than a friend. You're the closest thing I'll ever have to a brother. And there are special rules for family."
―Coriolanus Snow, trying to coax information from Sejanus about the rebel plot

Snow first met Sejanus Plinth at the playground when they were both around eight years old. As Plinth and his family were "new money," having originally come from District 2, they represented a threat to everything that the Snows held dear. Despite this, while most of the children took to baiting and belittling him, Snow simply ignored him. Most people took this as meaning that belittling Plinth was beneath him, though Plinth took it as decency. Neither was entirely true.[21] In either, the fact that Snow hadn't belittled him meant that by the time they were both 18, Plinth was at least on speaking terms with him. The two both ended up as mentors in the 10th Hunger Games, and for some reason, Snow found that he kept covering for Plinth when he made disparaging remarks about the Hunger Games.[24] To Snow's chagrin, their continued contact began to give the impression that they were close friends and he was forced to enter the arena to rescue him when he tried to save his tribute, Marcus, who had been strung up for an escape attempt.[10] Ultimately, Plinth came to think of Snow as a brother and when Snow was forced to go the Peaceekeepers, saw to it that he got his diploma for graduating the Academy.[13] Snow, however, could not countenance Plinth's rebel activities and thus betrayed him to the Capitol, though he did not realize until it was too late just how much trouble he had landed Plinth in.[18] Afterwards, he played on Plinth's parents beliefs that the two of them were great friends by allowing them to accept him as their heir and finance his entire lifestyle.[20]

Strabo Plinth

"My wife needs something to live for. So do I, for that matter. You've lost your parents. We've lost our son. I was thinking perhaps we could work something out."
―Strabo Plinth, explaining to Snow why he wanted to make him his heir[src]

After the death of his son, Strabo Plinth took on Coriolanus Snow as his heir. He could not legally adopt Snow, as Snow was 18, and Snow would have been unwilling to give up his name in any case. Despite this, Snow treated Strabo somewhat like a father, referring to him as "sir." Strabo paid to fund his lifestyle and enrollment at the University. The two were very compatible and Strabo never questioned any of Snow's expenditures, nor additions to his wardrobe. He seemed pleased at those times when Snow asked him for advice.[20]

Volumnia Gaul

"You don't think I've invested all this time in you to hand you off to those imbeciles in the districts, do you?"
―Dr. Gaul considered Coriolanus Snow her protege[src]

Snow first encountered Dr. Gaul, a woman who wore several hats, during a class field trip when he was nine-year-old. He watched in horror as she melted the flesh off a lab rat with a laser beam and then asked the class if anyone it had any pets that they were tired of. He first met her in person shortly before the 10th Hunger Games after being retrieved from the Capitol Zoo where he had met with his tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. She commented that he had fallen in a cage and he decided to play it cool, saying that he landed onstage. She seemed impressed by his nerve, saying that he could one day be a Gamemaker. She said that he understood the importance of keeping the games alive and that she had a good feeling about him.[6] Afterwards, Satyria Click, whom he served as a student aide, that he had pleased Dr. Gaul, which was good, as she would give a good report to President Ravinstill.[7]

Snow was initially pleased at his good fortune at finding an apparent ally in Dr. Gaul. However, things took a turn after she set a class project to put together a formal proposal regarding the idea of a sponsorship program for the Hunger Games. Although it was supposed to be a group project, Snow himself ended up doing almost all of the work, as most of the other mentors were too shaken up by an incident in which the mentor Arachne Crane was killed by her mentor, Brandy. He then ended up paired up with Clemensia Dovecote in presenting the project to Gaul, but Gaul correctly sussed out that Dovecote had not touched the proposal, setting snake muttations upon her.[25] Afterwards, Snow expressed his horror of what had happened to Tigris, who urged him to avoid Gaul, but doing so was easier said than done.[22]

When Sejanus Plinth sneaked into the arena to rescue his tribute, Dr. Gaul made Snow go in to rescue him. She was unapologetic about his experience in going to the arena and killing Bobbin, and set him a paper, telling him to reflect on the themes of chaos, control and the social contract required for survival.[9] After the Hunger Games, when Snow enrolled in the Peacekeepers, Plinth revealed that Gaul had spoken in Snow's favor, stating that Snow's actions in cheating for Lucy Gray had only been a piece of faulty strategy, whereas Plinth's actions were "a treasonous act of rebel support." This led Snow to realize that he might still have an ally in her, and so he wrote her a letter, telling her that District 12 was an excellent stage to watch the battle between chaos and control play out and that it took very little to bring the inner beast in people to the surface, at least under the cover of darkness.[26] He later sent Gaul a jabberjay with a recording of Sejanus Plinth describing more planned treasonous activity, which resulted in Plinth's execution.[17] Ultimately, Snow returned to the Capitol and began attending University thanks to the machinations of Dr. Gaul. Still impressed by his potential, she saw to it that he received an honorable discharge from the Peacekepers.[19] She was impressed by what he had learned in the districts and saw to it that she began studying under her directly at the University and also granted him a position as an apprentice Gamemaker.[20]

Personality

As a youth, Snow had been raised on the belief that his family name meant prestige and power. His experience, however, was tempered by the fact that he was an orphan and that the loss his family's fortune due being invested in District 13 munitions meant that he had spent much of his early life in poverty. He a had a strong bond with his cousin Tigris and was a studious student, one of 24 top-performing students at the Academy. He had a tendency to fixate on a single problem, convinced that if he could just fix it, then he could fix everything about his life.[21]

He was one of the few classmates of Sejanus Plinth who did not try to make Sejanus Plinth's life a living hell when he arrived in the Capitol. Some took this to mean that such behavior was beneath him while Sejanus took it as decency, though the truth was more complicated than either.[21] Nevertheless, Snow was capable of showing empathy. He was appalled when Clemensia Dovecote was bitten by Dr. Gaul's snake muttations and Gaul showed no concern whatsoever. Relating the incident to Tigris, he described it as "awful" and he was clearly shaken by the turn of events.[22]

His initial interactions with Lucy Gray Baird were based entirely on the idea that he needed to make her feel welcome, as if she were a guest.[27] Over time, however, their interactions blossomed into genuine affection.[28] Snow came to accept that she had fallen in love with him, though he was not yet sure if he felt the same way at first.[29] He eventually, however, did come to love her,[16] but in the end chose to eschew love in exchange for power and ambition. Filled with ideas of control and power from Dr. Volumnia Gaul, he made it his ambition to rule over all, even if people called him an iron-fisted, cruel tyrant.[20]

By the time he was president, any of the few positive qualities he had from his youth were largely unrecognizable. He had become exactly what he had set out to achieve. He was a ruthlessly cruel, sadistic, wrathful, violent, greedy, arrogant, power-hungry, wicked and purely and utterly evil man, one obsessed with keeping the perfection of the established order and maintaining absolutely no respect or care for human life. He was an extremely tyrannical, megalomaniacal, and egomaniacal ruler who ruled over Panem with an iron fist. He constantly threatened and killed people who stood in his way to holding absolute power over Panem. He was not hesitant to use people for his personal advantage. For example, he used Finnick and other (unknown) attractive victors and sold them into prostitution to affluent Capitol citizens. Cashmere was also one of his victims of prostitution. Snow tried to prostitute Johanna Mason as well, but she refused to go along with his plan. Because of this, he ruthlessly killed all of her loved ones as punishment which only inflamed her hatred of him further rather than breaking her.

His obsession with perfection arises out of his paranoia. He was paranoid that he will lose his power. As a result, he murdered allies and enemies alike (usually by poisoning them), and in his effort to throw off suspicion he drunk his own murderous poison from the same cup, and was left with a mouthful of bloody sores (because the antidotes didn't always work) which are the only outward sign of his insanity. He uses the thick perfume of the genetically enhanced roses in his lapel to cover the scent of his bloody mouth. He fails, however, as Katniss describes his aroma as that of faux roses and blood.

As a student, he considered group projects a waste of time, feeling them to be only an opportunity to have his own ideas diluted in the name of collaboration, cut entirely, or watered down until they had lost their bite.[7]

Noticeably, Snow was an extremely calm and reserved man, never visibly losing his temper at any point (at least, not in public, as this would risk damaging his public image). He remained completely in control, both figuratively and literally, throughout a conversation and maintained his serenity even if his life were in danger or if he were facing a known enemy. He had absolutely no lapses when it came to discussing the execution or omission of other people, as evidenced by his conversations with Seneca Crane and the almost cynical way in which Snow referenced Crane's execution. When he encountered Katniss after being overthrown, he calmly revealed to her what had really happened in the final battle, in the knowledge that she was confronting him with the belief that he had killed her sister, and even showed sympathy (real or otherwise) for Prim's demise. He also suggested that Coin was more dangerous than he was, and even chastised Katniss for breaking their agreement never to lie to one another.

His name, Snow, and his white roses symbolize his mental need to appear flawless, despite his obvious flaws. Despite all this, he claims that he is not wasteful. Snow has a very clear understanding of the districts' emotions towards the Capitol, and how fear doesn't make them back down if they have hope- which he allows, in a very limited form, as a motivator. He'll only kill people for well-defined reasons. President Snow is also willing to take the life of children for his own safety as when he was going to use them as human shields during the rebellion in Mockingjay. He was obviously highly intelligent and cunning as evidenced by his manipulation of Katniss during Catching Fire, and his ability to maintain control of Panem for at least 25 years, probably longer. He was also able to almost effortlessly judge whether or not Katniss was still alive after the showdown in District 2, knowing that she would have been martyred if she were truly dead. Despite his intelligence, however, he was fooled and outwitted by Plutarch Heavensbee and Alma Coin. At the very least, he was quite capable of admitting that he had been overwhelmed, outwitted and defeated because of some of his own mistakes and shortcomings and that he had horribly underestimated the ruthlessness of President Coin.

To the very end, Snow showed no remorse for his tyranny and murderous desire for power, often acting self-righteous and blaming Katniss for disrupting the status quo, reasoning that for all his authoritarian propaganda Snow believed the games insured order and control.

Physical description

Snow Portrait

Snow's Capitol portrait

The President was a small, thin man, with paper-white hair and thick lips that seem pulled across his face. His lips were thought to be changed, to make them look fuller and more appealing. Katniss Everdeen once stated that his lips smelled of blood and roses. In Mockingjay, it is revealed that the smell of blood is due to mouth sores he got from one of the poisons that he used to kill people in his monomaniacal efforts to control Panem. He drank the poison in order to allay suspicions, then took the antidote, but he could not be cured of the sores. He also smelled strongly of genetically enhanced roses. He always wore a white rose in his lapel to cover the scent of blood. The strong smell invariably makes Katniss gag. His eyes are similar to a snake's. Overall, his appearance is quite snake-like. His trademark sign is a single white rose, which he always wears, and that Katniss finds in her house at the beginning of the third book.

His clothing is never fully described in the novel, but in the film, he wears a dark suit over a white shirt with a gray vest over it, a tie, matching pants and black shoes. In Catching Fire, he wears his suit closed, a dark fur stole over it and black leather gloves.

Residence

Snow resided in a huge mansion in the City Circle where he sometimes hosted parties. It is described as being large enough "to get lost in." The mansion contains many rooms such as bedrooms, offices, ballrooms, bathrooms, a closet with furs, a library and a room with a long-forgotten bathtub and discarded furniture. Katniss and her mother stayed in one of the rooms while they were in the Capitol.
PresidentMansion

The President's mansion during one of his balls.

There is also an internal greenhouse for Snow's roses in a section of the mansion which was kept unoccupied by the rebels after it was captured. Snow was imprisoned in the greenhouse and revealed to Katniss that the rebels had bombed the children in front of the mansion when she found him there. Following the 74th Victory Tour, victors Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark attended one of his ballroom celebrations, where Katniss ended up meeting and eventually dancing with rebel leader Plutarch Heavensbee for the first time. 

Family

President Snow is known to have a granddaughter between the ages of twelve and eighteen. This also means he must have had at least one child. His parents, Crassus Snow and an unnamed mother, died during the First Rebellion. His mother died in childbirth, his younger sister lost in the labor. He was left with his grandmother, known as "the Grandma'am" to care for him and was also close with his cousin, Tigris.

Trivia

  • President Snow is one of the three characters in the trilogy to have been known to be born before the Hunger Games began, being 8 years old when the first Games commenced. The only other characters that are known are Mags and Tigris.
  • There is a solar power plant, Coriolanus 9, in District 5 named after him.
  • He may be named after the Shakespearean character Coriolanus, who was a scheming politician, much like Snow.
  • There was possibly a way to avoid the mouth sores altogether when Snow drank from the poisoned cup. They could have just made a duplicate cup, but absolutely clean of poison.

Etymology

Gaius Marcius Coriolanus was a famed Roman general. This ties into the many Roman references in the series.

References

  1. Canfield, David (January 21, 2020). Who's the star of the Hunger Games prequel? Read the exclusive first excerpt. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on January 26, 2020.
  2. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 5
  3. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 26
  4. 4.0 4.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 2
  5. Canfield, David (May 12, 2020). Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: Listen to the first 11 minutes of the Hunger Games prequel. Retrieved on May 12, 2020.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 4
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 6
  8. 8.0 8.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 10
  9. 9.0 9.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 16
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 18
  11. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 20
  12. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 21
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 22
  14. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 23
  15. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 24
  16. 16.0 16.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 27
  17. 17.0 17.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 28
  18. 18.0 18.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 29
  19. 19.0 19.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 30
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Epilogue
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 1
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 9
  23. Mockingjay
  24. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 11
  25. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 7
  26. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 25
  27. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 3
  28. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 8
  29. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 13
The Hunger Games trilogy
Novels The Hunger GamesCatching FireMockingjayThe Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Main Characters Katniss EverdeenPeeta MellarkGale HawthorneHaymitch AbernathyEffie Trinket
Supporting Characters Primrose EverdeenPresident SnowCinnaMrs. EverdeenMr. EverdeenPresident CoinClaudius TemplesmithCaesar FlickermanMadge UnderseePaylorPlutarch HeavensbeeSeneca Crane
Tributes MarvelGlimmerCatoCloveFoxfaceThreshRueMaysilee DonnerTitus
Past Victors Annie CrestaBeetee LatierBlightBrutusCashmereCeceliaChaffEnobariaFinnick OdairGlossJohanna MasonLymeMags FlanaganMorphlingsSeederWiressWoof
Groups RebellionGamemakersPrep teamTributesVictors
Locations PanemThe CapitolDistrict 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11District 12District 13
Behind the Scenes Suzanne CollinsGary RossFrancis Lawrence
Films The Hunger Games (film)Catching Fire (film)Mockingjay - Part 1Mockingjay - Part 2
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Main Characters Coriolanus Snow
Supporting Characters Casca HighbottomClemensia DovecoteVolumnia GaulSejanus PlinthTigris
Tributes FacetVelvereenMarcusSabynCircTesleeMizzenCoralHySolOttoGinneeTreechLaminaBobbinWoveyPanloSheafTannerBrandyReaperDillJessupLucy Gray Baird
Groups AcademyCoveyPeacekeepersUniversity
Locations PanemThe CapitolDistrict 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11District 12District 13
Behind the Scenes Suzanne CollinsSantino Fontana
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