Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes Theory Suggests Lucy Gray Was In Katniss’ Hunger Games All Along


  • The central mystery of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is whether Lucy Gray survived and she may have returned to District 12 unnoticed.
  • There are similarities between Lucy Gray and Greasy Sae, suggesting they could be the same person.
  • Greasy Sae’s role in District 13 and her connection to President Coin could be explained if she was once a Hunger Games victor, potentially Lucy Gray.

The central mystery of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is whether Lucy Gray Baird survived, but one theory suggests that she lived on to be a part of Katniss’ story in The Hunger Games. Coriolanus Snow himself never knew for sure if he had successfully killed his lover in the woods near District 12, but he determined that she was no longer of importance. If she had returned home to the Covey, Lucy Gray likely would have been executed for Mayfair Lipp’s murder, so she was no harm to Snow either way. Still, if the District 12 tribute of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes waited a few years to return, she might have gone unnoticed.

Though there is never a clear answer regarding the ending of Lucy Gray’s story, it’s possible that she eventually returned to District 12. It’s stated at the end of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes that everyone ultimately forgot about the victor of the 10th Hunger Games, even those of the coal mining district. If Lucy Gray had left a girl and returned a woman, it’s possible no one would have even noticed. She could have grown old in District 12, especially given her knowledge of hunting and edible plants. Lucy Gray was a survivor, and as such, she could have helped the younger generation survive as well. Of course, she would have had to change her name.


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Lucy Gray Became Greasy Sae After The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes – Theory Explained

Greasy Sae was an old woman who was largely left out of the Hunger Games movies, but she had a major role from the beginning to the end of the books. She was frequently at the Hob and was known to be one of Katniss and Gale’s best customers for buying game (even wild dog, which she called beef once it was in her stew). Though her precise age is never given, Katniss described her as a bony old woman, and being old was a rare occurrence in District 12. Greasy Sae was clearly a survivor—just like Lucy Gray had been.

At the very least, it seems that Greasy Sae has a connection to the Covey, whose names follow a similar cadence and who are known for their foraging knowledge.

Though there were never any major indicators that these two characters were the same in The Hunger Games or The Ballad of Sonbirds and Snakes, this theory makes a bit of sense. Lucy Gray and Greasy Sae have similar and unique names, which feels like a deliberate literary choice on author Suzanne Collins’ part. At the very least, it seems that Greasy Sae has a connection to the Covey, whose names follow a similar cadence and who are known for their foraging knowledge. Still, there are other indications in The Hunger Games that the old woman is far more important than just any musical nomad.

Greasy Sae Was Inexplicably On President Coin’s Council In District 13

President Coin looking sideways with a burning mockingjay pin in the background

After the firebombs were dropped on District 12 at the end of the Catching Fire book, Greasy Sae was among those who survived and made it to District 13. She took on a role as a cook, and, in Mockingjay, she was a member of President Coin’s small council. This wound up being to Katniss’ benefit, since Greasy Sae supported her request to leave the bunker to hunt game. The old woman stated that fresh meat would make her job as a cook far easier, but it seems strange that Greasy Sae would be a member of Coin’s inner circle simply for her knowledge of food.

However, if Greasy Sae had once been a Hunger Games victor who knew President Snow intimately, she would have been far more interesting to President Coin. Lucy Gray hadn’t been particularly loyal to District 12 in The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes since she considered herself among the nomadic Covey, but decades of residence there could have changed this. When Snow bombed 12, this might have been enough for Lucy Gray/Greasy Sae to join the fight against him, which would have meant telling President Coin who she really was.


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Greasy Sae Volunteered To Care For Katniss After Coin’s Execution In The Hunger Games

Collage of Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler), and Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) in The Hunger Games franchise

After Katniss executed President Coin in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, she was allowed to return to her home in District 12. The only area that had survived the bombing was Victor’s Village, where Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch had been allowed to live after their victories in the arena. Unable to care for herself, Greasy Sae stepped in to look after her. The old woman claimed one of the mansions for herself and her surviving granddaughter and visited Katniss daily to cook for her.

Greasy Sae had always had a soft spot for Katniss, and this never required much justification. They were both residents of the impoverished Seam who learned to survive on the land and trade at the Hob and, therefore, shared a profound kinship. Still, Greasy Sae being Lucy Gray would add a whole new level of connection between them. The old woman would have understood better than anyone what it meant to be a Hunger Games victor who was thoroughly despised by Coriolanus Snow. So, while it was too painful for other residents of District 12 to return, it makes sense that Greasy Sae/Lucy Gray would volunteer to go back and care for Katniss. Plus, as a victor, she had a right to live in Victor’s Village as well.

Though it seems unlikely that Collins’ had conceived of Lucy Gray when she wrote The Hunger Games, the book mentioned that a District 12 Hunger Games victor had been forgotten—she may have always intended this to be Greasy Sae.

There Are Several Problems With The Lucy Gray/Greasy Sae Theory

A custom image featuring President Snow and Lucy Gray in the Hunger Games franchise

Of course, the theory that The Hunger Games‘ Greasy Sae was The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ Lucy Gray has its problems. Since there isn’t much conclusive evidence, it still feels like a stretch. Additionally, the entire point of Lucy Gray’s story is that, whether she was killed by Snow or managed to escape, she was free. Returning to suffer in District 12 seems to contradict the intended symbolism here. There’s also the fact that Lucy Gray would be in her 80s by the events of The Hunger Games. Though this is a reasonable age for a Capitol citizen like President Snow, living to such an age in District 12 would be near impossible.

Still, the Hunger Games books typically gave very little focus to the residents of District 12, with many, even Katniss’ parents, never even given names. Those who were featured, like Madge Undersee, had a deeper connection to the history of District 12 and the Hunger Games themselves (Madge’s aunt had been a tribute alongside Haymitch). Since Greasy Sae was among the only District 12 characters to maintain a prevalent role through each of the Hunger Games books, it certainly seems, in a literary sense, that she was more critical than she seemed. Regardless of whether she is The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes‘ Lucy Gray, Greasy Sae is an interesting character worth a second look.

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