Katniss feels betrayed by Peeta's decision, but she guesses that the sooner they acknowledge that they're enemies, the better.
On to the interview preparation: Katniss has a four-hour-long session with Effie where Effie puts her in a gown and heels, and teaches her how to walk in them. Effie teaches her about eye contact, gesture, smiling, and so forth.
Katniss has a hard time with all of this, and Effie has to emphasize that Katniss needs the audience to like her – which is hard if Katniss is scowling the whole time. She must pretend.
In the session with Haymitch, Katniss is coached on her interview skills with little to no luck. Katniss is hostile, angry, and has trouble talking about herself or her family. Haymitch says she has about as much charm "as a dead slug" (9.27).
Haymitch coaches her to act humble. That doesn't work. She tries to play it cocky. No dice. Witty, funny, sexy, and mysterious are also failures.
Katniss eats dinner alone in her room that night and smashes around some of the dishes in anger. When the redheaded Avox girl comes to clear them away, Katniss yells at her to leave them.
The girl, though, doesn't leave. She gets a damp cloth and washes off Katniss's face and bloody hand.
Katniss apologizes for the incident in the forest so long ago. She tells her she should have tried to save her. The girl taps her lips, as if to say "No, they would have cut your tongue out too." The two clean the room together. Then the girl turns down the bed and tucks Katniss in. She sleeps.
The next day, Katniss is set to spend some time with Cinna, the stylist, before her big interview. Her dress is super-heavy, but totally gorgeous: it glimmers and flashes with jeweled cloth, giving the impression that Katniss is engulfed in flames.
Katniss is radiant and she thanks Cinna. Cinna asks if Katniss is ready for the interview. Katniss says she will be awful. Cinna says to just be herself, that she's only sullen and hostile around Haymitch, and that people will admire her spirit.
This is all good news. Cinna says that she should pretend she's answering the question to him – find him in the audience and answer to him. Finally, a plan that might work!
Everyone heads off to the stage constructed in front of the Training Center for the interview. Haymitch instructs Katniss to keep up the act that she's friends with Peeta.
The set-up for the interviews is pretty elaborate, with cameras everywhere. Then there's Caesar Flickerman, the long-time host with powder blue hair who never seems to age. He's wearing a midnight blue suit with electric bulbs that twinkle like stars.
The tributes are interviewed in order, all with their own shticks: District 1's girl tribute is playing up the sex appeal. District 2's boy is a "ruthless killer" (9.78). And so forth.
Rue, the tiny girl from District 11, is wearing a gown with wings. She says she is hard to catch. Thresher is the boy tribute from that district. He's huge and solitary and speaks very little.
Next up? Katniss. Caesar is a helpful and warm host. He asks Katniss what has most impressed her about the Capitol. She says the lamb stew. He laughs. Then audience joins in.
Caesar asks about her costume for the opening ceremonies. Deciding to be honest, she gushes about Cinna's brilliance. Then she says she loves the dress she is wearing tonight. Caesar has her twirl for him – and she does.
The interview continues and things turn personal. Caesar asks about the sacrifice she made by taking her sister Prim's place. Katniss tries to be warm, but can feel ice in her veins. She tells him that Prim asked her to win, and that she said she would.
The interview is over and Cinna gives her the thumbs up.
Peeta's interview is next and goes off without a hitch: he plays up the fact that he's a baker's son and is winning and funny with the host.
And then? Time for a showstopper. Ready? Peeta tells the host that he has a crush on a girl, but that it's not going to work out. Why? Because she came to the Games with him.