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Miss Everdeen. It's the things we love most that destroy us.
~ President Snow's most famous quote.
Hope. It is the only thing stronger than fear.
~ Another famous quote from President Snow.
These things happen in war.
~ President Snow explains to Katniss how President Coin was responsible for Prim's death, not himself.
President Coriolanus Snow is the main antagonist in Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games trilogy. He is the tyrannical President of Panem (North America after the apocalypse).
He appeared as the Bigger Bad of The Hunger Games, the main antagonist of both Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 and later the secondary antagonist in Mockingjay Part 2 as his role within the second part was surpassed by the story's overarching antagonist.
President Snow is responsible for taking care of the country and working on the Hunger Games (a competition on which one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each of the 12 districts must have a fight to the death) year after year. He is unafraid to hurt or kill people if he feels that they will be a threat or a sign of rebellion. In Catching Fire (book two), he threatens to kill Katniss', Peeta's, and Gale's families if she didn't convince all of Panem that what she did in the games (threaten that she and Peeta would commit suicide if The Capitol didn't make them both winners) was just her madly in love and not a sign of rebellion.
After the overthrow of the Capitol, Snow is tried, convicted and sentenced to death. As the Mockingjay, Katniss is given the opportunity to execute Snow. However, she assassinates President Alma Coin instead. In the chaos that follows, Katniss witnesses Snow laughing and coughing up blood as a crush of people surround them. When everything calms down, Snow is found dead, either from choking on his own blood or being crushed by the crowd.
In the Film Adaptations
War, terrible war. Widows, orphans, a motherless child. This was the uprising that rocked our land. Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them. Brother turned on brother until nothing remained. And then came the peace, hard fought, sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes and a new era was born. But freedom has a cost. When the traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again. And so it was decreed, that each year, the various districts of Panem would offer up in tribute, one young man and woman, to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage and sacrifice. The lone victor, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our generosity and our forgiveness. This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our future.
~ President Snow's opening monologue in the Hunger Games film.
In the film adaptation of The Hunger Games, President Snow was portrayed by Donald Sutherland (who also voiced President Stone and Sergeant Major Peasy) and serves as the overarching villain of the film as a whole. Unlike in the novel, he appears more often and is given added scenes, but still keeps to the character's role and personality. He is not quite as cruel in the film as is he in the book, as he is shown to care for his granddaughter.
He gives a speech on why they have the Hunger Games. But he first appears fully on a panel to greet the tributes when they arrive in the Capitol, and while the rest smile and are amazed at Katniss and Peeta's flaming entrance, Snow remains silent and uncaring. Most of his other scenes are with the Head Gamemaker, Seneca Crane. Each of them are to discuss Katniss's involvement and keeping Panem in line. One of the more well known is when President Snow reveals the true reason why the Games are held. Hope, which he describes as the only thing stronger then fear. That the Games show the country who dominates them and contains the hope that could lead to the end of his and the Capitol's reign.
Though he admits that he favors Seneca, he doesn't delay to intimidate him and eventually when Seneca allows Katniss and Peeta to live, Snow has him executed by forcing him into a room and making him eat the Nightlock berries, the same berries Katniss and Peeta were going to use to kill themselves.
He is last seen crowning Katniss and Peeta, complimenting Katniss's mockingjay pin, before watching Katniss and Peeta return to District 12 and contemplating on how to kill them.
In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, again portrayed by Sutherland, he is also the main antagonist of the film (he dons a more active role this time around). He is first shown in the Victor Village talking to Katniss Everdeen. During the discussion, Snow advises Katniss to not lie as he won't do the same either. He also states that he wants her to try and be his "friend or ally" after admitting that he does not want to kill her, yet that comes at the expense of his warning that he will kill everyone she loved if she doesn't convince him that her love for Peeta was real during their Victory Tour. He is seen next in the balcony of his mansion complimenting on the victory that Peeta and Katniss achieved during the 74th Hunger Games. Afterwards, he is shown talking to new Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee on how Katniss should be eliminated. Heavensbee suggested that she was to die in the right way now that she was one of the Capitol (unknown to Snow, the Rebellion). His next scene is where he introduces the 75th Quarter Quell and announces that the tributes are to be the winners of past games including Katniss. Throughout the second half of the film, he (along with Heavensbee) is shown observing the games in his office and sees that Katniss poses a threat to the Capitol.
Sutherland returns for both parts of the film adaptation of The Hunger Games Mockingjay as President Snow. In Mockingjay, President Snow serves as the secondary antagonist as he was ultimately outranked by the main villain.
In Mockingjay Part 2, Snow is captured and imprisoned. He's tied up to a wall, and is about to be executed by Katniss. Katniss instead shoots and kills Coin for Prim's death. Snow is seen maniacally laughing and coughing up blood. Snow is later found dead, most likely from either choking on his own blood or being crushed by the crowd.
The President is a small, thin man, with paper-white hair and thick lips that seem pulled across his face. Katniss once states that his lips smelled of blood and roses and his eyes are that of a snake's. His lips are thought to be changed, to make them more appealing. Overall, his appearance is quite snake-like. His trademark sign is a single white rose, which he always wears, and what Katniss finds in her house in the beginning of the third book.
Snow lives in a huge mansion in the City Circle of the Capitol.
A cruel and hard man, Snow is firm and strict, and not afraid to torture or kill people who displease him. Snow is an extremely cunning, dexterous, manipulative, and intelligent individual, capable of manipulating people in any way he wants, and also to meticulously deduce an advantage for himself in certain situations. Snow is also phenomenally ruthless and malevolent, in that he wants no one to stand in his way of ruling. He is also truly devious and manipulative, as evidenced by his manipulation of Katniss during Catching Fire. In Mockingjay, he even admits that he is not above killing children to Katniss. Despite all this, he does say that he is not wasteful. He will only kill people for specific reasons, although these reasons are not necessarily just. Despite being a demented and sociopathic megalomaniac, Snow is also an unshakably honest and dependable man, and clings to his agreement with Katniss Everdeen that they do not lie to one another, even if she doesn't - throughout the entire series, he does not tell a single lie to anyone. His honesty also leads him to laugh mockingly when he is being executed, entertained by the sheer irony of the situation. Snow sees the irony that, in spite of the fact that Katniss was fighting him so that the inhabitants of Panem didn't have to kill each other for the entertainment and delight of somebody of a higher power, it all came down to Katniss Everdeen and President Snow doing precisely that.
Though both incarnation of the character are the main antagonist and overall villainous throughout the Hunger Games storyline, the books version is Pure Evil whereas the film counterpart is Honorable and even Protective.
In addition, the film counterpart appears to develop some respect towards Katniss and even admires her success throughout their interactively rivalry. By contrast, the books counterpart is a lot more disrespectful and sinister towards Katniss.
The film counterpart is also shown to care about his grandaugther, while it is unclear whether the books counterpart cares about his granddaughter (but it is highly unlikely).