Listening to Safe & Sound for almost a hundred times over the span of two days now has got me thinking that this song is more suitable for the ending of Mockingjay.
[SPOILERS FOR MOCKINGJAY]
I remember tears streaming down your face
When I said, I’ll never let you go
When all those shadows almost killed your light
I remember you said, Don’t leave me here alone
But all that’s dead and gone and passed tonight
Safe & Sound sounds like a message from Peeta to Katniss towards the end of Mockingjay. Katniss suffers from post-war trauma during which everything is considered a dangerous element because everything is so fragile. Like a bomb that can go off at any second despite the end of a war– the irony of it. After what she’s been through, after months of terror and sorrow, it’s as if nothing can ever be safe anymore. But Peeta is present, and he promises never to let her go as he sees the “shadows” of her past -people she’d killed, people who’d been killed because of her, people she loved leaving and dying- slowly suck the fiery passion out of her. Katniss doesn’t want Peeta to leave her, because of the nightmares, the faces of the “shadows” appearing in her dreams to taunt her over and over again, but with Peeta’s presence -”But his arms are there to comfort me.”- he promises her that they will all pass eventually.
Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You’ll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I’ll be safe & sound
Night time usually brings terror (as it was in the Hunger Games) but this time, he’ll protect her. And in the morning, after the nightmares, he’ll be there for her and she’ll be safe and sound.
Don’t you dare look out your window darling;
Everything’s on fire
The war outside our door keeps raging on
Hold onto this lullaby
Even when the music’s gone, gone
I reckon that the “fire” and “war” are not literal but are instead mental battles Katniss is facing. He’s saying, don’t revisit the sorrowful times, despite the fact that they won’t ever really go away. Instead, hold onto “this lullaby”– Rue’s lullaby. “Here it’s safe, and here it’s warm, here the daisies guard you from every harm.” There will be moments when you feel nothing, nothing but a blank static screen and even all music is gone, but know that you are always protected and that you are safe.
In the music video, there are parts where Taylor Swift enters a dilapidated old house and that reminds me of the times when Katniss would revisit her old house in District 12, the one where she lived with her mother and Prim before the Hunger Games. Some scenes also showed Taylor in distress and at some point, even starts to hallucinate and this fits post-war Katniss.
I was also struck by another idea that this song could also be a message from Katniss to Prim, also post-war Mockingjay setting. Katniss is saying now that Prim’s gone, she’s finally safe, protected from the dangers Katniss couldn’t protect her from. At least she is now far, far away from all the tragedies and disasters that happen ever so often in life. “Don’t look out your window, don’t look down on Earth. Now that you’re gone, you’re finally safe and sound.”
"Has the war ended, Katniss?" "No, Prim. The war never ends. You can't see it, but it's in you. Your mind is a battlefield. Everyone hurts."—
Michelle Teoh (@finnickodairs) March 19, 2012