Nightlock Berries

Nightlock Berries are a type of berries found in Panem that look edible but are highly poisonous when consumed.

The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

They are used in various ways – sometimes consumed by people wishing to end their lives and other times used as a means of Capital Punishment by the government.


What are Nightlock Berries?

Nightlock Berries are found on the Nightlock plant. They are tiny purple berries, with a blueberry-like appearance as shown in the movie. They look similar to the edible berries Rue finds in the arena. However, unlike blueberries, they are deadly if consumed. Katniss’ father teaches her how to identify these berries and instructs her never to consume them, as she would be “dead before they reach [her] stomach.”

Origins of Nightlock

Suzanne Collins likely got the idea for the Nightlock plant from two real plants – The deadly Nightshade (scientifically known as Atropa Belladonna) and the poison Hemlock (scientifically called Conium Maculatum), both of which are commonly mistaken to be edible plants. The poison hemlock, for instance, is mistaken for wild carrots, just as Nightlock Berries are mistaken for Rue’s berries.

The Nightlock plant is typically found in Districts 12 and 13 of Panem. However, Gamemakers sometimes used the plant within the Hunger Games arena as well.

Nightlock Berries in the 74th Hunger Games 

In the last leg of the 74th Hunger Games, Foxface mistakes Nightlock Berries for edible ones and dies by consuming them. Peeta had been collecting them for himself and Katniss, which is probably why Foxface assumed that the pills were safe. Later, Katniss explains the poisonous nature of the berries to Peeta, and the two decide to carry some in their backpack to trick Cato into eating them.

Once Cato is killed by the Wolf mutts, the Gamemakers decide to revoke the new rule that they had previously introduced: that tributes from the same district could be Victors together. This meant that Katniss and Peeta had to battle it out amongst themselves in order to return home. This is when Katniss brings out the Nightlock Berries from her backpack and hands them to Peeta. The two of them decide to consume the berries together, thereby killing themselves and leaving the Games with no Victor. The Gamemakers then hurriedly declare both of them as the Victors.

Katniss’ trick with the berries is seen as an act of rebellion by President Snow. He thereby forces Katniss to pretend that it was an act of love instead of rebellion. However, the Nightlock Berries acted as a starting point for the rebellion that was long-brewing in Panem and resulted in the Second Rebellion.

Nightlock Pills

Katniss and her squad were given special Nightlock Pills to carry around during the infiltration of the Capitol in the Second Rebellion. These pills were specially formulated capsules filled with poison and had a similar effect to the Nightlock Berries berries, i.e., they left their consumer dead.

The Holo

The Holo, the device used by the rebels to map out the various pods in the Capitol had a self-destruct option in the event of capture. One simply had to say “Nightlock” three times and the Holo would destroy itself along with everything else within a 3-mile radius. Katniss uses this self-destruct option to kill Finnick (out of mercy) when he was being brutally attacked by the lizard muttations. 

FAQs

Are Nightlock Berries real?

No, Nightlock Berries are not real. They are a fictional kind of berries found only in the Hunger Games universe.

What do the Nightlock Berries symbolize?

The Nightlock Berries in the Hunger Games symbolize rebellion. This is because the berries are the primary means of rebelling against the Capitol at the end of the 74th Hunger Games, as Katniss and Peeta plan on consuming them in order to kill themselves.

Why did Foxface eat the Nightlock Berries?

Foxface was not aware that Nightlock Berries are poisonous. When she saw that Peeta was collecting them for himself and Katniss, she assumed that they were safe to eat, and died as a result.

What do Nightlock Pills do?

Nightlock Pills are specially formulated capsules with poison in them. They essentially have the same effect on people as Nightlock Berries, i.e., killing anyone who consumed them.

Why did Katniss give Peeta the berries?

Katniss shares with Peeta some Nightlock Berries at the end of the 74th Hunger Games, with the plan of consuming them together. This way, the Games would be left with no Victor at all.

How does Katniss explain the use of the berries?

Forced to pretend that her trick with the berries was an act of love (and not an act of rebellion), Katniss explains during her interview with Caesar Flickerman that she was going to consume the berries as the thought of living without Peeta was unbearable to her.

What did Katniss do with the berries in the Hunger Games?

Katniss used Nightlock Berries to defy the Capitol in the 74th Hunger Games. She convinced Peeta to consume them with her, which would effectively kill both of them, leaving the Games with no Victor. 

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