The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, is a trilogy of young adult novels that take place After the End in Panem, a nation in what used to be North America that is divided into numbered districts and a large capital city (the Capitol). In the first book, heroine Katniss Everdeen takes her sister Primrose's place when Prim is chosen to be a contestant ("Tribute") in the Hunger Games: an annual televised Deadly Game wherein 24 teenage contestants are locked in an arena to fight to the death until only one remains. Her struggle for survival ends up igniting a firestorm that quickly goes beyond her control, until she finds herself embroiled in an all-out war that almost makes the arena look like Disneyland.The three books are:
The Hunger Games (2008)
Catching Fire (2009)
A feature film adaption was released in March 2012, staring Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta, Liam Hemsworth as Gale, Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, and Donald Sutherland as President Snow. The film has its own page here. A film adaptation of Catching Fire was released in 2013, with a two-part adaptation of Mockingjay to follow.Now with a Character Sheet!Note: The title event of this book series is a fight to the death. As such, Death Tropes and death-related spoilers are plentiful. Proceed with caution.
In The Hunger Games: Effie after Katniss described the Gamemakers' reaction to her firing at the apple in their roast pig's mouth. While everyone else (Katniss, Haymitch, Peeta, Cinna, and Portia) is laughing outright, Effie is suppressing a smile. After that she agrees that the Gamemakers did deserve that.
In Mockingjay: After Katniss kills the last enemy of the war - Coin. Snow, despite knowing he's about to die as well, cracks up laughing.
Acquired Poison Immunity: Snow, as part of his gambit when he made his rise to power. Subverted in that no antidotes are perfect, and he has long-term damage from the myriad poisons he's handled and ingested.
Action Girl: Katniss and most of the other female contestants.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: In-universe example. The longer the Games run, the more expensive it is for sponsors to send support to remaining Tributes.
Adult Fear: The point of the Games was for the Capitol to show it has so much control over its citizens, they can kill the children publicly and there is nothing the Districts can do about it. This has caused Katniss to swear off the idea of getting married and having kids because she knows they'd have to face the Reaping. She changes her mind, however. Fifteen years after the rebellion that brought an end to the Hunger Games.
Aerith and Bob: On one hand, you've got normal names like Annie and Johanna, but then on the other you've got more unusual names like Katniss, Peeta, Twill, Plutarch, and Beetee.
Affectionate Nickname: Gale calls Katniss "Catnip", though this is really due to her being so shy when they first met that she mumbled her name and he misheard her.
After-Action Healing Drama: When Katniss finds Peeta in the arena, he has been slashed badly by Cato, and she has to treat him. And get medicine.
After the End: Some combination of wars and natural disasters destroyed the entire population of the world except for Panem (North America). There are implications that Panem represents the entire human species. District 12, the smallest District (possibly excluding 13), has a population of between 8,000 and 10,000. It also explains why, for all his machinations, Snow doesn't want to risk nuclear war.
Airstrip One: The Districts are numbered and segregated by industry
Alas, Poor Villain: Not even an Ax-CrazyJerkass like Cato deserves to be Eaten Alive by Mutts for over twenty hours.note Some sort of body armor that Cato most likely got from the feast earlier kept him from being instantly killed.
The way Glimmer bites it is pretty nasty, especially her cries for help.
The Alcoholic: Former District 12 victor Haymitch Abernathy. In fact, it seems that a lot of Games champions end up with some kind of drug or alcohol addiction, due to a combination of too much money and time on their hands, having no real way to cope with the horrors they faced in the arena, and having to mentor new tributes year after year who seldom if ever come back alive.
Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Katniss could qualify. She is aloof and dark-haired, and admired by many, whether it be her "fans" from the Capitol or some of her fellow soldiers and tributes in the Hunger Games.
Amazing Technicolor Population: The people in the Capitol have some strange fashion ideas, among them body dyes. At least one person mentioned has dyed her whole body pea green.
Ambiguously Brown: Collins has stated that we're so far in the future that racial mixing has blurred any categories that might exist today. She refuses to elaborate on what modern races the characters would be categorized as. Katniss herself has olive skin and straight black hair, in contrast to her blonde-haired and blue-eyed mother and sister. Rue and Thresh have "dark skin."
And Man Grew Proud: Zig-zagged. Technology in the Capitol, After the End, far exceeds what we're capable of now, but the lower Districts are like third world countries. Some Capitolites are well-educated enough to know about the history of the world Before The Dark Times, but Katniss only has a very vague idea of the Dark Days and the world before Panem.
Animal Motifs: Metaphorically, Snow as a snake. Visually, Katniss as a mockingjay. Tigris as a cat-person as both.
The Anticipator: Katniss is a sucker for falling for Anticipator characters. She is caught off guard no less than three times by characters waiting to talk to her. The usual Anticipators typically have power.
Later on, the trope gets played with. When Katniss enters her home, she is shocked to find that Peacekeepers are in her living room waiting for her. She has to feign normalcy after taking a nasty fall and injuring her hindquarters. Accordingly, the Peacekeepers are surprised to see her, as they set a trap up for her and expected her not to come home. So they were actually surprised by her survival and return.
Katniss is surprised by President Snow in Mockingjay when she is walking around in his garden after District 13 has attacked the Capitol. He is shackled in his garden by orders from President Coin, but he was obscured from view by some flowers. He speaks up and she is startled by his voice.
Anyone Can Die: The Hunger Games is actually an interesting example. Many of the characters are guaranteed to die, due to the format of the Games; however, as with most other works, main characters are very rarely if ever killed (depending on who you'd be willing to count as a main character), and only in major events. Katniss, as the first person narrator, inevitably survives the entire series. Everyone else, however, is fair game, especially in Mockingjay, where the country goes into a full-scale rebellion with heavy losses on both sides.
Apocalypse How: At least continental, probably global. In the first book, Katniss describes a massive natural disaster: "the droughts, the storms, the fires, the encroaching seas that swallowed up so much of the land." Wars erupted as factions tried to claim the limited remaining resources, and this appears to have led to the collapse of the North American nations that we currently know. Some time after that, about 75 years before the present, a massive rebellion resulted in further destruction; District 13 was seen as a particular threat since they controlled the nuclear power and potentially weapons, so the Capitol bombed them into oblivion.
Arc Number: Twelve. 12 districts, 12 pairs of tributes (who become eligible at age 12), training scores of up to 12, 12 arrows in the quiver in the arena, 12 houses in the Victor's Village, 24 wedding dresses designed for Katniss, then voted down to 6, lightning strikes at midnight and noon in a certain section of the Quarter Quell arena, which later becomes important to the plot, and a 12 x 12 apartment in District 13. Also, in the first book, both Prim and Rue are 12 years old, and Rue was one of 6 siblings.
Arc Words: "And may the odds be ever in your favor."
Catching Fire has "Remember who the real enemy is." and "Tick tock, it's a/goes the clock."
In the last book "Real or not real?"
Artificial Limbs: Peeta is outfitted with an artificial leg after the first Hunger Games. Katniss, having had her eardrum repaired after it was ruptured in the first Games, feigns being able to hear forcefields in Catching Fire during the second games.
Artistic License - Animal Care: In Mockingjay, Katniss stuffs Buttercup into a bag and carries him over her shoulder, even elbowing him to get him to be quiet. She also bounces him against the floor. In the book, this only causes yowling, but in real life this probably would've caused him a great deal of injury. She also picks Buttercup up by the scruff of his neck without supporting his rump. He's a grown tom cat. Any pet owner will tell you that is a humongous no-no. And after Buttercup is forced into a bag, he allows Prim to tie a ribbon around his neck and hold him in her arms. After being bagged? Both of these actions would probably cause a cat a great deal of distress (possibly causing the animal to retaliate in violence) in real life.
Artistic License - Biology: In Mockingjay, Katniss sees Peeta planting evening primrose and the only part she registers at first is rose. Fortunately the thorny roses Snow leaves and primrose are not even mildly similar to look at, so she realizes her mistake pretty quickly. Mistaking one for the other would be more or less impossible.
Artistic License - Pharmacology: Snow used assassination by poison to rise to power. Apparently the Capitol can neither perform autopsies nor test surfaces for presence of toxins.note Can't … or won't? In Mockingjay, Katniss describes morphling as making her feel numb and empty. For opiate addicts (who've begun to grow 'immune' to the effects) this may be the case, but morphine makes non-addicts feel relaxed, warm and happy, even through emotional depression.
Artistic License - Physics: Beetee's electric trap in Catching Fire would not be capable of killing all the sea life and the Careers on the beach like he claims. (It's why lightning doesn't kill all the fish in lakes.) However, none of the other Tributes knew enough about electricity to realize this, and anyway, it wasn't meant to actually work; it was a distraction for his real plan.
Actually, it might have worked anyway. If the tributes were wet enough from the 10 o'clock wave, the external resistance of the Careers would be basically zero. If we then approximate the length of the wire from the map that Scholastic Books published and assume that the lightning hitting the tree that Beetee was planning on using is normal lightning, and assuming that the wire is at least AWG 40 (.003 inches in diameter), that wire would be pulling about 150 amps through it — more than enough to kill everything touching it. The reason lightning doesn't kill fish in lakes is because the water conducts the charge along the top of the water, something which Beetee considers when telling Johanna and Katniss to bury the wire in the lake and not just put it on top of the lake — then the current would travel horizontally through the water, not horizontally on top of it.
Planes are supposedly not be able to fly very high because of some sort of vague, inadequately explained "destruction of atmosphere." This is either implying that there are issues of human ability to survive in aircrafts because of low pressure, or that destruction of atmosphere causes the atmosphere to lessen in physical size rather than density. With regard to the first, planes already fly in much lower pressures than what humans can survive on their own (think cabin pressurization and those emergency oxygen masks)—the height of planes' flight ability in-universe is given at 100 yards and accounting for current ability to fly in low pressure, if planes are limited to 100 yards, sea level would not be within comfortable, easy to survive human pressure. This would make the tall buildings in the Capitol extraordinarily implausible (unless all of these buildings are pressurized, which is in and of itself implausible). With regard to the latter, destruction of atmosphere would cause atmosphere to expand to fill the same space, not a lessening of physical size in the atmosphere surrounding the earth. In other words, "destruction of atmosphere" is not a reason that high-flying planes would not exist.
Artistic License — Psychology: After months in completely solitary confinement, most would be psychotic, and almost no one would be able to function around human beings. Sort-of justified in that it often helps to find something to occupy your mind with.
Asian and Nerdy: Everyone from District 3 (which produces electronics). "Nuts" Wiress and "Volts" Beetee, the two engineers in Catching Fire, "are small in stature with ashen skin and black hair." The explosives expert in The Hunger Games is described by Katniss as "scrawny, ashen-skinned" and by Rue as "not very big." The narrator of the Scholastic audio books puts on a distinct stereotypical Asian accent that is especially noticeable in Catching Fire.
This has been averted by the film casting for Catching Fire: the Caucasian Amanda Plummer has been cast as Wiress, and African-American actor Jeffrey Wright has been cast as Beetee.
Ax-Crazy: Some of the Careers. Clove would've given Katniss a Glasgow Smile if Thresh hadn't stepped in. And Cato explodes so violently when Katniss takes out his supplies that he snaps a nearby boy's neck. Enobaria ripped someone else's throat out in her Games. With her teeth. Titus tried to eat the hearts of the contestants he killed.
An Axe to Grind: Johanna Mason in the Quarter Quell; after all, she's from the lumber district.
Babies Ever After: Katniss and Peeta have two kids at the time of the epilogue, twenty-some years after the end of the war.
Babies Make Everything Better: This trope is deliberately invoked by Peeta who claims Katniss is pregnant after the two are forced back into the arena for the Quarter Quell. Apparently not even the bloodthirsty denizens of the Capitol seem to want to watch a pregnant girl be killed. Subverted in the epilogue as while Peeta and Katniss do have two children, and this is a sign of hope, the world is still far from a good place, and Peeta and Katniss both retain enduring psychological issues as a result of the events of the books.
At the end of Mockingjay, Annie seems to be less out of it, even after the death of Finnick, when she gives birth to their child.
Back-to-Back Badasses: times 3 in a triangle, actually: Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick fighting off the monkey mutts in the Quarter Quell, each wielding their signature weapon - bow and arrows, knife, trident.
Bad Dreams: Katniss and the rest of the victors seem plagued by them, although Katniss has long had recurring nightmares about her father's death.
Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: This occurs with regard to Rue, as Katniss would be rather unsympathetic if she was forced to kill someone that reminded her of her little sister, one of the fellow competitors does it for her.
Indeed, in the entire trilogy, she never has to do such "dirty work" against any sympathetic character, which is why her murder of the unarmed Capital woman in the third book is so shocking.
Bath Of Poverty At the Capitol, there is a panel with more than a hundred options in the shower in comparison to what Katniss is used to: a bucket of water warmed up on the stove.
Beach Kiss: Katniss and Peeta share one in "Catching Fire". Actually, they're at it for quite a while.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played straight at the end of the first book, when Katniss undergoes a beautification procedure that removes all of her scars after she emerges victorious. Averted in subsequent books, as she has a nasty scar on her arm at the end of the second book, and by the end of the third much of her body is covered by burn scars and skin grafts. Even after this, however, her face suffers no lasting damage.
Becoming the Mask: Katniss pretends to be in love with Peeta just to keep them both alive in the arena. At the end of the first book, she's prepared to kill him to save herself. Contrast the end of the second, where she's totally prepared to die so he can continue living. By Mockingjay she's willing to let herself be used in a PR campaign if it will help end the war. Also, at the end of "Mockingjay", she has truly fallen in love with Peeta instead of faking it.
Bee Bee Gun: Katniss uses a hive of lethal, genetically-altered wasps to kill some of her opponents. And almost kills herself in the process, since they don't enjoy being used.
Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Peeta, though he gets better. Mostly. Justified by the fact that the torture was supposed to make him hate Katniss.
Betty and Veronica: Peeta is the Betty and Gale (despite being Katniss' best friend from early childhood) is the Veronica to Katniss' Archie: Peeta is nice and fairly sweet, while Gale has a revolutionary mindset and a ruthless streak.
Big Brother Is Watching: Cameras are waiting to catch every minute of Katniss and Peeta's lives once they become contestants in the Games. Life in the districts is also very closely monitored, leaving people afraid to say anything that might come off as negative about the Capitol. President Snow even knows Gale and Katniss kissed in the woods outside District 12.
Likewise in District 13 in Mockingjay. Your daily schedule is programmed into your arm and the government determines everything from your work shift to EXACTLY how much you eat every day.
Big Brother Instinct: Katniss to Prim, Rue to her siblings, and Thresh to Rue. See the character page for how.
Big Damn Heroes: Thresh saves Katniss from being killed by Clove, on behalf of her relationship with Rue. If he hadn't intervened, it's almost certain that Cato would have won the Games.
Bilingual Bonus: 'Panem', the name of the country this story is set in, means 'bread' in Latin. This revealed to be a reference to "panem et circenses" — when a government appeases people with food and spectacle to maintain power, which is exactly what the Capitol does. The mute servants in the Capitol are called the Avox, which means 'without voice' in Greek and Latin.note The a- is Greek; the vox is Latin. 'Katniss' is the name of a family of plants, also known as 'Sagittaria' — Latin for 'archer'.
Birds of a Feather: Katniss and Gale, though ultimately inverted when Katniss decides that she needs Peeta to balance her own personality out.
Bittersweet Ending: The freedom at the end of the third book is paid for in a lot of blood, and the characters are burdened with deep emotional scars. However, Panem is rebuilding and there's some Babies Ever After for the two lead characters.
Black and Gray Morality: This gets especially obvious in Mockingjay, since the Capitol commits all sorts of war crimes, and some of the rebels are willing to stoop to their level (either for the greater good of defeating the Capital and/or for revenge). The final straw that convinces Katniss that the Capital and District 13 are Not So Different is when she witnesses what is probably a False Flag Operation targeting civilians/children and their own medics (including her little sister).
Black Market Produce: Katniss makes her living poaching game and selling it on the black market. In addition, most food that isn't made from grain rations is expensive and rather rare in the Districts. The decadent Capitol, on the other hand, has tons of food of all kinds.
Blood from the Mouth: Subverted by President Snow, since it's neither overt nor a sign of his impending death. Played straight later. The first tribute Katniss sees die suddenly sprays blood onto her face while fighting with her over supplies, due to a sudden and terminal case of throwing-knife-in-back. Katniss herself narrowly avoids succumbing to the malady a few seconds later.
Blood Is Squicker in Water: Given that the Cornucopia turns into a bloodbath each year, when it was surrounded by water in Catching Fire this trope was inevitable.
Blood Knight: "Careers" are kids who train all their young lives to win glory in the Games, volunteering for them if they're not selected by lottery.
Blood-Splattered Innocents: About thirty seconds into the 74th Games, the boy from District 9 coughs blood into Katniss' face after getting knifed by Clove.
Boomerang Comeback: This is how Haymitch won his game. He made it to the edge of the arena, where he discovered there was a force field that reflected back everything that was thrown at it. The other remaining competitor caught up with him, threw an axe, Haymitch ducked, the axe bounced back, and killed the thrower.
Break the Cutie: To a certain extent, any character deemed cute goes through this treatment in the series. Peeta's Trauma Conga Line is significantly longer than that of most of the other characters, though for the most part he takes it all in stride. In addition, Katniss' own mental breakdown, and the reasons it comes about, is elaborated on repeatedly throughout the third book, until eventually you have to wonder when the tale of a recent victor of a brutal tournament acting as the heroic symbol of a rebellion ends and the clinical psychological study on how to utterly break a seventeen-year-old girl's mind begins.
The same could be said to varying extents for Johanna, Finnick, and Annie.
Averted, however, in the case of Prim who, despite the horrors she experiences, seems to adjust pretty well. Not that it does her much good at the end.
Breakfast Club: People who have won the Games tend to become close friends and stick together, because only other tributes can understand what they have gone through. In Mockingjay there's a vote between the Tributes about whether or not to send high-ranking Capitol officials children into a last Hunger Game; Katniss and Haymitch vote to do it. It seems almost certain that Katniss votes that way only in order to fool Coin into thinking she's on her side, and the fact that Haymitch understood that and voted with her makes Katniss realizes how much they really understand each other.
Brief Accent Imitation: Gale at the beginning of the first novel, inciting one of about five times where Katniss actually laughs.
Broken Bird: Before the books, Katniss' mother was this for several months after her husband died in a mine explosion. By the end of Mockingjay, Katniss herself becomes one, as the constant manipulations, lies and deaths have taken their toll.
Johanna also counts as one.
Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In the first book, Katniss is blown back by the explosion she sets off destroying the Careers' supplies, gets a concussion, and has her left eardrum blown out. Unable to escape, she only survives by hiding right under their noses. In the Quarter Quell, Katniss nearly kills herself breaking the force field over the arena.
The Brute: Cato in the first book, and the aptly named Brutus in the second.
Bureaucratically Arranged Marriage: The Capitol plans to do this to Peeta and Katniss. This is later subverted by the end of the third book, where they start to fall in love and eventually do marry.
Butt Monkey: Poor Boggs. His life is a string of tribulations, from Katniss puking all over him to Gale breaking his nose to getting his legs blown off and dying horribly. The closest he comes to complaining is a sigh when Katniss pukes on him.
Byronic Hero: Nearly every hero falls under this category, really. The book series goes to great lengths to show how most of the characters are flawed and troubled.
Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": The addictive painkiller in use around Panem is called "morphling" (morphine) and the people addicted to it are called "morphlings."
Call Back: Finnick offers Katniss a sugar cube again in Mockingjay, to add to her coffee.
Katniss notices Prim's untucked shirt just after her name is called at the Reaping, and again in Mockingjay just before her death.
Captain Obvious: In Catching Fire, Peeta runs head-first into an invisible force field that stops his heart. CPR revives him, and the first thing he tells Katniss is, "Careful, there's a force field up ahead." He probably had even his enemies laughing with that one.
Cat Fight: Averted. Just because a fight involves two females doesn't make it a sexy catfight. The Hunger Games proves it to a horrible point.
Cats Are Mean: Buttercup is to everyone who isn't Prim. Until Katniss and he finally bond after Prim's death.
Chekhov's Boomerang: The nightlock berries that Peeta accidentally kills Foxface with come up again after it's announced that the new rule that there can be two winners of the Hunger Games if they are in the same district has been revoked, Katniss and Peeta use them to threaten to kill themselves and ensure there is no winner. They come up again in Mockingjay where the rebels inspired by these events create a suicide pill they name Nightlock (whether it's made from Nightlock berries is unknown) also saying Nightlock 3 times will turn the Holo into a bomb.
Chekhov's Classroom: Peeta explains to Katniss how each district has a distinctive recipe for bread, which later allows her to recognize that the gift she receives after memorializing Rue must have come from Rue's own people. It comes back inCatching Fire. See below.
Chekhov's Gun: In Catching Fire, Finnick is mentioned multiple times to count the bread they receive as gifts rather obsessively. It turns out that he was in on District 13's plan to break the tributes out, and bread was a signal. The district the bread came from indicated the day they'd be rescued, the number of rolls the hour.
Climactic Battle Resurrection: Subverted in that defeated characters don't come back to help fight the Big Bad, they come back in another more sinister form to rip the remaining tributes limb from limb.
Closed Circle: Every game arena is tightly sealed off from the outside world. Tributes can receive supplies that float out of the sky on parachutes, but otherwise they're on their own.
Conditioned to Accept Horror: The whole point of life in the Districts, and the Games. Katniss takes a lot of horror in stride in the first book, but over the rest of the trilogy it finally becomes too much for her to deal with.
Consummate Liar: Haymitch, Snow, Coin, Johanna, and Peeta. Snow however is a slight deconstruction in that, he might lie, but the only thing he is ever truthful with is whenever he makes a promise. Coin, on the other hand, definitely qualifies.
In the first book, Katniss finally collapses from dehydration mere feet away from water.
If Katniss ever thinks that she doesn't want to kill a person during the games, she won't have to. Either someone/thing else kills them (Peeta, Rue, Wiress, Thresh, Mags) or they survive (Peeta, Finnick, Beetee).
Family members of past tributes are disproportionately likely to be selected as tributes themselves. This is an in-universe example, as Katniss figures the drawings must be rigged that way to create extra drama.
Also in-universe, the 3rd Quarter Quell twist. It's never confirmed, but it's pretty obvious Snow did it on purpose to try and quell the uprisings and kill Katniss.
Just the fact that the Quarter Quell happened to be the year after Katniss accidentally started the uprisings.
Costume Porn: Each tribute gets a personal stylist. Looking flashy outside of the arena serves a practical purpose, though: tributes who catch the audience's eye are more likely to receive sponsors who can help them survive the arena. Mentioned to have sometimes in the past been literal costume porn; the Capitol is not afraid to incorporate nudity or partial nudity as part of a child's costume for the cameras.
Covered in Mud: Peeta uses a large amount of mud with plants on top to disguise himself as part of a riverbank when he is too injured to move. This probably helps his infection along.
CPR (Clean, Pretty, Reliable): In Catching Fire Finnick performs CPR on Peeta (whose heart has stopped) for several minutes before he coughs and sputters to life. After being thrown backward by a force field.
Counts as Artistic License - Medicine: it's pretty much impossible for Finnick to have revived him with CPR. The point of CPR is not to revive but to make sure the brain gets its oxygen supply until the drugs and/or the defibrillator do the trick.
Crapsack World: Panem is North America After the End: a totalitarian nation composed of 12 actually 13 districts. Most of the districts are horrible places to live. The people are poor, starving, and oppressed while those in the Capitol live outrageously decadent lives. And that's even without mentioning the eponymous Deadly Game.
Then of course every year each district is forced to send two teens between 12 and 18 to fight until one survives as a constant reminder to the people how much power the government possesses over them. Oh yeah, everyone is also forced to watch the children brutally murder each other.
Even if you do happen to win the Hunger Games, you have some of the most bleakest futures ahead of you: PTSD, madness, horrific nightmares, being prostituted out to the elite by the government, getting chosen a second time, or becoming dependent on drugs/alcohol to numb out the pain and memories especially when the Capitol kills everyone you love for making them look silly.
Even the rebellion is awful: food is rationed to the extent that stealing bread can result in torture and President Coin is just President Snow's other side to the same authoritarian coin.
Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Haymitch Abernathy seems like a useless drunk, but he did actually win a Hunger Game after all. In Catching Fire, we learn that Haymitch survived the second Quarter Quell using extreme cunning. We also learn that he's a member of the underground resistance. Johanna Mason famously exploited this trope to win the games, appearing to be helpless when she is actually a ruthless killer.
Crystal Spires and Togas: The Capitol is described as being full of colored glass, and the people are obsessed with fashion. Technology also seems to have advanced to the point that it can be completely hidden from view. Although no one wears a toga, Capitol residents almost all have Roman names, establishing them as a decadent and technologically advanced society.
Cutting the Knot: How do you survive the Hunger Games? Win the Game … or escape the arena, as happens in Catching Fire (and might have been Haymitch's intent in the Second Quarter Quell).
Cynicism Catalyst: Katniss' father dies five years before the first book, forcing her to toughen up and learn to hunt to support herself and her family. Later, Rue dies in the games, awakening her killer instinct. Then in Mockingjay, Primrose dies, driving Katniss towards deep depression and increasingly close to insanity.
Dark Action Girl: Pretty much any female Career tribute by definition, but Clove fits the trope to a T. Annie is the exception, because her arena got flooded and she won by virtue of being the only one not to drown. She didn't handle it well.
Death Course: The Games, especially when the Tributes settle down into a comfortable recovery period / stalemate. The Capitol defenses use much of the same design aesthetic. The Capitol placed a series of deactivated "pods" throughout the city, each containing a different hazard so that potential enemies would not be able to predict a safe route.
Death World: It's sometimes amazing to see what the Capitol creates for the sake of killing teenagers. Or invaders in the local defense's case.
Defector from Decadence: Plutarch Heavensbee, his assistant, and some of the other people in District 13 have fled the Capitol. This was also the goal of Lavinia, the redheaded Avox, and the boy she was with when Katniss first saw her, but they didn't make it.
Defictionalization: You can actually buy mockingjay pins. Interesting, because the citizens of the Capitol displayed this exact behavior in Catching Fire.
Based on the descriptions in the book, you can now find recipes for the bread from District 4 and 11, as well as attempts at Katniss' favourite lamb stew.
Determinator: Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, Gale, Finnick, Johanna... pretty much any main or secondary character that makes it to the third book. But especially Katniss, who slowly starts to fall apart by Mockingjay, under the weight of guilt over all the people who died for her, and even after suffering physical, mental and emotional damage, just keeps going and going and going... And then there's Peeta, who essentially fought his way through Hijacking so he could warn Katniss and the rebels about an attack.
Deus Angst Machina: Invoked purposefully in Mockingjay as part of the big theme. Loads of characters die, including Prim; Peeta, under the influence of Tracker Jacker venom, tries to strangle Katniss; President Coin decides that Katniss has outlived her usefulness … to name just a few. Needless to say, Katniss understandably develops a very, very negative view on humanity and human nature.
Deus ex Machina: Invoked purposefully. If a tribute appeals enough to the cameras, they gain "sponsors", who can send them in supplies from a parachute. Katniss and Peeta utilize this by faking a romance for the cameras. The Capitol loves something to gossip and swoon over, so the two of them become celebrities as much as tributes. Also, Katniss could easily kill Cato with her bow, but he's wearing a sort of skintight body armor from a sponsor, so she can't. But the Capitol likes to put on a good show, and so the Gamemakers let loose a pack of genetically engineered wolves as a sort of "grand finale", and Katniss and Peeta manage to manipulate them to all but kill Cato. The wolves kill him slowly, because, again, the Capitol loves a good show. And in a previous Games, a 14-year old Finnick Odair didn't even do anything and yet was showered with sponsors, all because he was so ridiculously physically attractive. Finally they sent him a Game Breaker weapon — a trident, one of the most expensive gifts a sponsor ever gave — and since he had grown up using tridents and harpoons to fish, he offed the rest of the competitors with ease.
Die For My Ship: In-universe, President Snow tells Katniss he will have Gale killed if he gets the impression he's in the way of Katniss' romance with Peeta.
Die Laughing: President Snow at the very end of the rebellion in Mockingjay when Katniss kills Coin instead of him.
Disappeared Dad: Katniss and Prim's father died in the mines a few years before the book begins. Gale's father also died in the same accident. It's concealed in somewhat of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, but Haymitch's father might have been this as well. Haymitch has told Katniss that President Snow had his mother, baby brother, and girlfriend killed as punishment for making the Capitol look bad in the arena, but a father is never mentioned.
Disproportionate Retribution: Par for the course in Panem: after all, it's a society that decided to punish a single rebellion by obliterating districts and ordering its citizens to give up their children to a ruthless bloodsport every year in perpetuity.
Katniss and Gale practically live off hunting in the Meadow, an area that is entirely abandoned by mankind and fenced off. Yet this action is considered poaching, even though the land belongs to no-one. Luckily District 12's Peacekeepers do not enforce this law, at least at first because it carries awful penalties.
Victors in the Hunger Games are forced to do exactly what Snow wants with the threat of having their families slaughtered.
Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The Games are hateful, deplorable, they ruin their victors psychologically, and the series as a whole is viciously antiwar … but a major part of the story's appeal is the actual excitement of the Hunger Games sequences … For both the Capitol and the readers!
Does This Remind You of Anything?: In District 11, the dark-skinned population is forced to farm and are treated with particular brutality. This sounds a lot like slavery in the American South. Panem and District 13 are nuclear powers locked in a stalemate. Panem is decadent, wealthy, and corrupt. Its citizens enjoy outrageous luxury while they exploit the surrounding communities to feed their enormous appetites. District 13, on the other hand, is a dull and drab place, ruled by an at least equally totalitarian regime that regiments every aspect of its citizens' lives. That's pretty much how the US and the USSR portrayed each other during the Cold War.
In the real world, critics have noted many similarities between the basic concept of the trilogy and a Japanese novel, manga series and film entitled Battle Royale, which also dealt with children being forced by the government to fight to the death, with the same use of allegiances, supposedly doomed lovers facing the moment they might need to kill each other, the revelation that even children can become psychopathic murderers, and a rebellion movement of sorts.
Doomed Hometown: District 12 is firebombed to the ground at the end of Catching Fire.
Driven to Suicide: Averted, but not for want of attempting. Katniss understandably attempts various suicidal things after the end of the war in the final book. None are successful naturally, although the fact she narrates the books isn't in itself a giveaway since the books are in present, rather than past tense.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: President Snow either died from choking on blood or being trampled to death. Neither one is a very glamorous way to go out.
Thresh is randomly killed off-page after finally getting some characterization.
Foxface, who was clever enough to survive almost to the end of the games without harming a single person, is killed by stealing berries from Peeta that he hadn't realized were poisonous.
Finnick, after being such a major character, is essentially killed offscreen.
Drowning My Sorrows: Haymitch becomes a drunk due to the horrors he has witnessed. Katniss actually drinks with him on one occasion, though since she's only ever had a few glasses of wine before and Haymitch prefers white liquor, she quickly gets sauced after just a couple of shots. The hangover is enough to convince her not to do it again.
Drunken Master: Haymitch is a hopeless alcoholic, but his knowledge of people and tactics is astounding.
Due to the Dead: Katniss covers Rue's body with flowers and sings a funeral lament.
Dystopia: Panem's 12 districts are not great places to live.
Early-Bird Cameo: Johanna Mason gets a brief mention in the first book, then appears in the flesh (um), a book later. Delly Cartwright is mentioned in the first part of the first book in passing, but doesn't appear until the middle of the third.
Also technically the Nut in District 2, which is built into a hollowed-out mountain.
Embarrassing First Name: While the people themselves don't seem to mind, Katniss notes that a lot of District 1's denizens should be embarrassed by their names, the likes of which include Glimmer, Marvel, Cashmere, and Gloss.
Enemy Mine: Temporary alliances are all part of the Hunger Games. In Catching Fire, the doomed tributes hold hands in a show of solidarity against the Capitol.
Enforced Method Acting: Often used in-universe with Katniss. She's never warned about Peeta's interview strategy so that her reaction will be more genuine, and has to be dropped into the warzone to film her candid reactions for propaganda, since she can't act at all.
Finnick: Once he actually gets inside the arena, he does land the first kill of the Games, and rather nonchalantly at that: he just tells Katniss to duck and impales a guy. However, he spends most of his time carrying an elderly woman around on his back instead of killing people. His previous scenes, where he all-but tries to seduce Katniss, cross this with Hidden Depths.
Gale: Telling Katniss that killing people in the Games can't be much different than hunting animals for food.
Haymitch: Appears to be just a drunken, washed-up has-been on Reaping Day, but after Katniss volunteers, he starts openly denouncing the Capitol for its cowardice and barbarism.
"I like her. Lots of... spunk! More than you! MORE THAN YOU!!"
Evil Empire: Quite literally and specifically. The Capitol (metropole/heartland) manipulates the Districts (periphery/provinces) to the benefit of the Capitol and the detriment of the Districts. Now consider the other things they engage in.
Evil Plan: President Snow is concerned with the status quo. Among other things this means: only one victor, keep Districts divided, putting down riots and rebellions, etc.
Evil Smells Bad: President Snow smells of blood and cloying roses. It seems symbolic at first, but a reason for it is given in Mockingjay: Snow killed many rivals with poison. He uses the roses to cover up the smell of poison, and his bloody breath is from the mouth sores left by poisoned drinks he shared with his victims after taking less-than-perfect antidotes. He also uses the smell of roses to intimidate his enemies, especially Katniss. The lizard mutts in Mockingjay were specifically given this trait to screw with her head. It's very effective.
Eye Scream: When Katniss is hunting squirrels and rabbits, she always nails her target in the eye. Ouch. Justified in this case, despite the gruesomeness of it: Traders in the Seam consider this good hunting practice. Animals with weapon marks in their hides aren't worth as much, and puncturing the bowels can contaminate precious meat.
Discussed in another instance where the repeated references to this suggested a possible Chekov's Gun scenario where Katniss might shoot a human in the eye during the game. This doesn't appear to actually happen — except possibly with Cato. Katniss describes shooting him in the skull, but given the likelihood of an arrow deflecting off bone, the most surefire way for Katniss to nail him in the skull is … you guessed it. In Catching Fire, she mentions the possibility of shooting someone in the eye.
In the second book, during Haymitch's games, it is mentioned that the last remaining tribute besides him has a gaping hole where one of her eyes used to be.
Face-Heel Turn: Katniss thinks Johanna has done this when she "attacks" her. She assumes Finnick must be in on it too. Turns out they're both helping to rescue her for District 13.
Family Eye Resemblance: Prim has her mother's eyes, Katniss has her father's. The children of Katniss and Peeta also apply to this trope.
Fantastic Drug: "Morphling," an addictive drug that is obviously a reference to morphine, and likely some sort of hybrid, given the setting.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Panem is basically a futuristic, sci-fi version of Rome. The country's name is an adoption of Rome's "Bread and Circuses" motto. The Capitol is an incredibly authoritarian superpower that brutally reigns over conquered territories to feed the decadent desires of its own citizens. The gladiatorial parallels with the Hunger Games are obvious, of course. The parties feature guests who induce vomiting so that they can consume more food, which is popularly thought to have been common at Roman banquets.
Fail O'Suckyname: Plutarch Heavensbee, Effie Trinket, and just about everyone in the Capitol. Except Seneca Crane.
Also, "blight" is a symptom of a pathenogenic infection in plants, which is very bad news for lumber - which makes you wonder why on Earth Blight's parents gave him that name.
Fallen Statesof America - The Nations of North America and possibly the world have been gone for at least 175 years. The United States and it's Republic are even noted.
The books are ripe with this. Not surprising considering how many children have died in Panem for entertainment over the past 75 years. How about being caught in a net and speared by a trident courtesy of a fourteen year-old? Or having an axe essentially boomeranged into your head? Or having a nest of vicious, highly venomous genetically engineered wasps dropped on you while you were sleeping? This happening with the whole world watching you doesn't make it better.
The pods in Mockingjay crank this tope up to eleven.
President Snow tries to inflict one of these on Katniss. By brainwashing the boy who loves her, and she's fallen love with in return, into wanting to kill her because he fears she will kill him. Imagine finally being reunited with someone you love and thinking your reunion is going to be super happy only to find that person's hands around your throat trying to strangle you.
Feed the Mole: During the first revolt of the districts, once the rebels realized the jabberjays were being used as espionage tools, they started feeding them lies to deceive the Capitol.
A Fête Worse than Death: The Capitol requires the districts to treat the games as a festival. The place where the tributes obtain their weapons — and that is usually the sight of the last, most vicious fights — is shaped like a cornucopia.
Field Promotion: Boggs does this to Katniss before expiring from his wounds.
On top of those, an entire unofficial soundtrack exists here.
Arshad's "Girl on Fire" could count as well. He wrote the song after reading the book and being inspired by the character Peeta. He submitted it as a potential track for the movie soundtrack, but it wasn't selected.
First Boy Wins: Subverted. Peeta is the first boy chronologically speaking, which should cast him as Unlucky Childhood Admirer, but he is introduced within the story after Gale.
First Kiss: Katniss has hers with Peeta. She notes that it probably should be a significant moment, but since it's a stunt she pulls on live television to try and save both their lives, all she feels is that his lips are very warm, because he has a fever.
Flower Motifs: Several characters are named after flowers or plants, with Katniss and Primrose the most central ones (Katniss is a partially-edible water plant, primroses are pretty flowers) and even President Snow reeking of roses. There's also Rue's death scene, which arguably is the beginning of the rebellion that propels the rest of the series.
Flowery Insults: Zig-zagged by Peeta when he paints the picture of dead Rue covered in flowers for his private session but he never says a word to the Gamemakers.
Fog of Doom: A nasty example is encountered by Katniss and her alliance in the Quarter Quell. It's poisonous to the touch, burning skin and clothes and causing seizures and temporary paralysis.
Follow the Leader: A common criticism among bloggers is the fact that the storyline is supposedly identical to Battle Royale, another book following children in a fight to the death.
Food Porn: Early on, Katniss describes just about everything she eats in detail, which makes sense considering she spent a good portion of her life on the edge of starving to death.
Forced to Watch: The Hunger Games are a nation-wide version of this for the districts. Each one is made to watch, on television, as two of their adolescent citizens engage in a weeks-long fight to the death with 22 other kids until only one is left alive. Katniss sums up the Capitol's message herself:
"Look how we take your children and sacrifice them and there's nothing you can do."
Also Peeta in the third book. He is forced to watch Darius and Lavinia being tortured to death.
Foreshadowing: In the first book, Katniss mentions she first met the avox in the train while in the forest with Gale. She ponders where the Avox could have been headed since there’s nothing beyond the forest of District 12 …
District Twelve's wedding ritual.
"The Head Peacekeeper loved wild turkey."
Rue first comes to Katniss and Peeta's attention in training when they're practicing throwing spears.
The scene in Mockingjay where Gale and Beetee show Katniss their compassion-based bombing tactic.
Fragile Speedster: Rue, who can move through the treetops like Spider-Man, but is far too small and physically weak to face anyone in a one-on-one fight.
Freudian Slip: After Rue is fatally injured by the District 1 Career, in a panic, Katniss refers to her as 'Prim' in her narration, though it's not really a secret that Rue has been a surrogate Prim in Katniss' eyes before that. And reversed in a later book Katniss sees Prim after Rue's death and calls Prim 'Rue' in the narration.
Fridge Horror: As Katniss sings a song by her father called "The Hanging Tree", she realizes, many years after first hearing it, that the point-of-view character is the guy who was hanged there. invoked
Gallows Humor: Katniss and some of the other Hunger Game tributes/victors learn to have a very droll outlook on their Crapsack World. Finnick takes it somewhat literally in Catching Fire by tying a noose and pretending to hang himself as a joke.
Genetic Engineering is the New Nuke: More literally than usual. Genetically engineered beasties are the Capitol's favored weapon of war, or at least are coequal with troops and air power. Proper nukes are still around, though.
Generation Xerox: Katniss looks like Mr. Everdeen, has inherited his hunting abilities, singing voice and, like him, will marry someone from the town. Prim looks like Mrs. Everdeen and has inherited her passion for healing. Also Mrs. Everdeen was close friends with Katniss' friend Madge's mother, as a teenager and Peeta's father had a crush on Mrs. Everdeen when they were younger.
Genghis Gambit: In order to rally the people in the Capitol on her side and end things early, Coin blows up a bunch of children Snow gathered as human shields and makes it look like Snow is responsible. It works.
Genre Savvy: After spending a life watching The Hunger Games, Peeta knows what storylines will excite the audience, and uses it to his advantage. He also admits he suspected all along that the Gamemakers would never let two people survive the arena. Katniss, by contrast, has Genre Blindness.
Not necessarily, as several times in the book, Katniss states outright that as far as she's concerned, the Quarter Quell never actually ended, and that the attack on the Capital is simply a continuation. Plus there's also the momentary promise of a revenge Games at the end, though it never appears to play out.
The Tributes' training area. Luxurious quarters, beautiful clothes, five star cuisine and of course, a top-notch training facility to prepare you for your fight to the death. Simply divine.
It's implied that the five-star housing of the victors is also like this. Once they've won the game, they're celebrities around Panem and are live in a posh (by their standards) home in a special section of town. However, the Capitol keeps a close eye on them, and they're expected to serve as a mentor to future Tributes.
The wealthier districts have better living conditions but more brutal and fanatical Peacekeepers. On the other hand, District 12 is one of the poorest districts, but the authorities are far more willing to turn a blind eye to things like poaching and black market trading, or at least until they get replaced by new troops during Catching Fire.
The Capitol itself could also be seen as this — for somewhere that is supposedly very privileged, we see several people willing to risk their lives to escape. The fact that Seneca Crane was executed for simply failing at his job implies at least a very restrictive society, where you're watched constantly and not toeing the line has terrible consequences. In Catching Fire, Effie actually says 'That sort of thinking … it's forbidden, Peeta. Absolutely.'
Gladiator Revolt: The series, especially the third book, could be seen as a post-apocalyptic version of this, with Katniss and other Hunger Games winners becoming major figures in the rebellion.
Good Is Not Dumb: Peeta is kind and patient and totally kills people in the arena, including going back to finish off a wounded opponent while he was in the Career pack. Besides being three steps ahead when it comes to manipulating the on-camera narrative.
Good Scars, Evil Scars: Invoked in Mockingjay, when Katniss has her uglier scars surgically cleaned up, but is left with some more attractive scars, because she's got to have some scars to show how bravely she's been fighting. Averted in the end, however, when she gets only basic skin grafts and there's no attempt to blend them because Coin has no more need of her.
The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: District 13 is just as full of assholes as the Capitol. The conflict really boils down to some truly horrible people who happen to be in power and all the innocents who get caught in-between. Crapsack World indeed.
Gorn: How the Capitol citizens view The Hunger Games. In-universe only, hopefully.
Gotta Kill Them All: Throughout The Hunger Games, Katniss quite literally counts the number of remaining contestants on her fingers and toes, and in both the first and second books rationalizes that if no one else kills them, she will have to. Although she only personally kills two or three in the end.
G-Rated Sex: At the end of Mockingjay, there's a passage about Katniss and Peeta kissing and how it makes her feel, then there's an ambiguous phrasing about "after" that could mean after the kissing or after sex.
Several times in Catching Fire, Katniss refers to sleeping with Peeta, but the context makes clear that this is meant to be taken literally, not sexually — as she simply wants to share a bed with someone for comfort. Peeta, surprisingly for a presumably normally hormonal male teenager, seems to be perfectly fine with this arrangement.
Gray Eyes: Apparently fairly common in the Seam, including Katniss, Gale, and Haymitch.
Great Offscreen War: One or two of them—the civilizational collapse that led to the founding of Panem (we're never sure just what it was or if a war was involved), and the more-recent uprising (~75 years before the books take place) when the Districts rose up against the Capital and lost. Most of the fighting in the revolution is also off-screen, up until Katniss gets directly involved in District 2. Even then, the majority of the rebellion is off-screen, with the individual Districts' revolts (sans Two and Eight) and even the final capture of Snow being done away from Katniss and therefore the reader. It helps to emphasize the fact that Katniss is only a tool in the war, not a soldier and certainly not a major player.
Green-Eyed Monster: Gale tries damned hard not to like Peeta. And also briefly takes a dislike to Finnick when he thinks he has designs on Katniss too.
Happily Married: Mr and Mrs. Everdeen. When he died, she was so grief-stricken that she couldn't look after their children for a long time. Also,Finnick and Annie. Katniss and Peeta, eventually
Harmful to Minors: Only minors are selected for the standard Hunger Games. The 75th Hunger Game changes the rules.
Hate Sink: Katniss and Peeta can't exactly attack the directors of the Games, the Capitol doesn't send its children to die in the Games, and most of the other Tributes are from Districts as oppressed as 12. However, "Career Tributes" from Districts 1, 2 and 4 are frequently volunteers, Child Soldiers have who trained to kill other children since they were able to walk. In addition to their loathsome mindset and superior skills, they always team up to eliminate the weaker Tributes, then gleefully kill each other once everyone else is dead.
He Who Fights Monsters: Gale, especially after setting off what is essentially a giant mine explosion in District 2 to win a battle.
Heroic BSOD: Katniss has several: a minor one in Games after Rue's death, followed by a very brief one when she realizes she's killed for the first time (made more obvious in the film); another at the end of Catching Fire, and two major ones in Mockingjay, one each after she sees Prim die and then kills President Coin.
Heroic Sacrifice: Katniss takes Prim's place in the Reaping during Games; Mags does it twice in Catching Fire, and every third character tries or succeeds in doing it in Mockingjay.
The rebel-aligned tributes work to break Katniss out of the arena in the Quarter Quell, keeping it a secret from everyone, even Katniss.
Most of Mockingjay has Katniss surrounded by a cadre of soldiers while she fans the flames of the rebellion.
Hidden Depths: Just about all the sympathetic characters reveal themselves to be more than they at first appeared.
High School Sweethearts: They're not actually in school when they get together but age-wise the trope fits for Katniss and Peeta.
Holding Hands: Most notably during the interviews for the Quarter Quell.
Hollywood Healing: Due to the advanced medicine available in the Capitol, most injuries sustained by the characters are healed completely. Aversions include Chaff's hand and Peeta's leg, though he gets a prosthetic leg that is rarely referred to again. In the end, Katniss and Peeta are both covered in skin grafts and burns that the District 13 doctors gave only basic treatment for.
Though Haymitch is an alcoholic, in the first book he very conveniently decides to stay sober only when he needs to be on the condition that Peeta and Katniss not interfere with his drinking when he feels like it. Real alcoholism isn't quite that convenient. Bit better in later books when we see him at least having difficulty sobering up.
Many real-life alcoholics do go through periods of sobriety in-between benders so Haymitch's sobriety in itself is not such a stretch. The fact that it happens from one day to the next, on the other hand...
Catching Fire describes Annie as hysterical when she's reaped for the 75th games, without going into any sort of detail. This is enough to have Katniss think she's completely insane. Later in Mockingjay, we meet Annie and Katniss seems to think she's just a little quirky, though she occasionally covers her ears with her hands for no apparent reason. In real life, a person covering their ears that way would imply that they are hearing things that aren't there. Being that this isn't a one off (she does it "occasionally") it's a pretty big alarm bell for a psychotic disorder not otherwise specified. So apparently Katniss was right the first time, though at the point in Mockingjay when Katniss actually meets Annie, she herself has become even more psychologically damaged, either allowing her to relate better to Annie's "quirks", or deciding that she has no right to judge. This change in opinion also happens after her friendship with Finnick develops, whereas before she'd never met him. Her defense of and possible friendship towards Annie might be a result of that, seeing her more the way Finnick sees her rather than how the majority might.
Hijacking. The way Tracker Jacker venom works in the first book is somewhat questionable, but in Mockingjay it really doesn't make sense as a conditioning tool. For one, the brain really doesn't work that way. Conditioning is an unconscious mechanism that can't be manipulated into a deliberate response the way the book describes. This is why the CIA stopped trying to do this in the first place. For another, the part of the brain that controls fear is so separate from your memory that it's unlikely that a drug designed to affect the fear part of your brain would have any affect on memory whatsoever.
Hollywood Tactics: All over the place, but frequently justified in-universe because the reader only gets to see things the main characters are involved in, and they are being used by the people in charge to make propaganda, not as real soldiers
When the rebels attack the Capitol, direct siege would have included trying to seize or disable the Capitol's nuclear missiles, or else bombarding the Capitol into submission. The narrator mentions that they can't do aerial bombing because of anti-air defenses — but maybe the rebels could have first attacked the anti-air emplacements, and then bombed the Capitol flat. Or they could have just declared victory and negotiated the Capitol's surrender. All of these options would probably have been easier than block-by-block urban warfare through a maze of boobie traps.
The Rebels also appear to have a dearth of anything besides personal defense weapons — pistols, assault rifles and the like. And during the same attack, Katniss takes point immediately after being promoted to leader of her squad. In real life, a squad leader never takes point, since the point man is the one most likely to die in an ambush, and the squad leader is someone you don't want to lose. This is partially justified, since she's supposed to be on a secret mission, and she realizes it would look suspicious if she doesn't know where to go.
Neither the Capitol forces nor the rebels seem to have anything such as grenades, flamethrowers, mounted machine guns, etc. No one has armored ground vehicles, and while Katniss' combat bow is supposedly accurate to 100 yards, even if the Capitol was using 20th-century-equivalent assault rifles, they're accurate to about 300 yards, or three times the distance of Katniss' bow. Not to mention that they shoot on a much flatter trajectory, don't need to be reloaded after every shot … and can penetrate body armor.
It's even worse than that. The current standard issue weapon of the US Army and Marine Corps, the M-16, is accurate out to 550 meters. Sniper weapons are accurate past a kilometer with a scope.
And in Mockingjay, Finnick takes a trident to war. A trident that he can throw. Tridents are weapons made for spearing and catching things; they are not ideal for killing in a quick-fire situation (though it is certainly possible to kill with one) because things killed with tridents are meant primarily to stick on the prongs. In old warfare, tridents were generally used for disarming (their length and shape allowed them to accurately knock swords out of combatants' hands without having to get too close), but not as a primary weapon except in gladiatorial combat. As for throwing, tridents simply aren't balanced for that at all. Even if a throwing trident were possible, it's extraordinarily unlikely that it would ever be useful in a war fought mainly with guns.
Weakly, weakly justified in that Finnick, like Katniss, was in the Star Squad and was not intended to be fighting on the front lines. As someone who is famous for fighting with a trident, they probably just wanted him to have it to be recognizable, the same way Katniss didn't have to get a military haircut and brought her bow. The only time we ever hear of him using it after that point is when he's fighting in close combat against mutant lizards. Otherwise, he's implied to use his gun.
Not to mention there is some very odd squad formation. For some reason, the army of District 13 puts two sisters in the same squad, two brothers in the support unit, and Boggs, Coin's second in command, is frequently put on the front line.
Apparently in Panem, the best formation for bombers to fly in is a VERY close V, low enough and at a speed slow enough that an ARROW can hit them. Even discounting their vulnerability to enemy fire, that is inside the frag zone of every single piece of ordnance currently in use in the world at this time. Unless they were dropping bombs essentially as explosive as grenades, that simply defies logic. With GPS or laser guided bombs, planes today can drop ordnance in excess of 20000 feet and still hit the target. Even World War II era bombers dropped their bombs from an average of 10000-20000 feet.
Hot Wings: Several of the outfits Cinna designs for Katniss. President Snow is not amused.
Hufflepuff House: Most of the Districts of Panem are pretty extraneous and we learn little about them.
The district that stands out the most for standing out the least would have to be District 9. (No, not that District 9) Both its tributes die in the initial bloodbath at each Hunger Games, it has zero named characters, and the only character who does anything of even minor significance is the boy who fights Katniss for the backpack in the 74th games and gets killed by Clove in the process. All we hear about the district itself is that they grow grain — nothing about its sympathies or role in uprisings against the Capitol.
Human Sacrifice: Tributes are sacrificed by the Capitol to remember the betrayal of District 13.
Human Shield: Snow surrounding himself with children. Coin doesn't give a damn and actually bombs them and blames Snow so even the Capitol turns against him.
Hypocrite: Various characters have their moments, but a few from Katniss stand out. One being that she judges Madge for having an expensive pin that could feed starving families, yet isn't bothered when she herself is later clad in incredibly expensive outfits. There's also her judgement of fellow tributes because of their killing, when she doesn't make any attempt to restrain her own killing — on a few occasions, she even mentions how her fingers are itching for her knife/arrows just because Johanna snapped at her. She also complains a great deal about the wasting of food, when she, in fact, does it herself (when she threw out the gift of cookies from Peeta's father, for example).
Some of this might be justified, though. For one, her expensive clothes were given as a result of being in/winning the games, after which she was helping her starving neighbors more directly with her wealth. She also only ever killed (at first) in defense, though she might have become a bit hardened later (and Johanna is a particulary unpleasant Jerkass). Last, she threw out the cookies because it would be harder to kill Peeta with such a kindness on her mind, and besides, where she was going, a few cookies wouldn't be missed by anyone.
I Gave My Word: Subverted. Haymitch promises Katniss that he'll keep Peeta alive and also tells Peeta that he'll keep Katniss alive.
I Need a Freaking Drink: Haymitch, pretty much all of the time; Katniss upon finding out she'll be going back into the Hunger Games for the Quarter Quell.
I Was Quite a Looker: When watching the video of his Game, Katniss is surprised at how handsome Haymitch used to be. And while her mother is implied to still be quite attractive, Katniss is also surprised by how beautiful she was as a teenager.
Also implied a bit when Katniss' prep team sees her for the first time after her burn injury.
I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Snow's favorite tactic. The entire premise of the Games itself was a way to punish the rebels by making their children kill each other, and to remind them that the Capitol can and will do things like this if they rebel again. Snow directly threatens Gale and indirectly threatens the rest of Katniss' loved ones if she doesn't convince all of Panem (including Snow himself) that she's madly in love with Peeta. And Snow also uses the threat against loved ones to force Victors into prostitution.
Icon of Rebellion: The mockingjay pin, and later Katniss herself in her guise as The Mockingjay.
Idiot Ball: Katniss and Peeta toss this back and forth in the first book: Katniss for not picking up on Peeta's crush, and Peeta for assuming her reciprocation was real. Katniss seems to be very bad at reading people, and Peeta announced his crush on national television. Even if this led to improved sponsor chances, the other contestants would undoubtedly pick up on this and use it to their advantage. Cinna, Haymitch and Effie all tell Katniss that her high score after firing an arrow at the Gamemasters is a good thing, no one seems to notice the big ol' bullseye on her back that this stunt grants her. And at times Katniss seems to be clutching this ball rather firmly for someone who's quite familiar with nature. The fact that she isn't the least bit peturbed by the monkeys' initial behaviour is silly. Even if she wasn't familiar with monkeys, she knows how animals behave, and she knows that the gamemakers stick 'mutts' into the games. Not hard to work out there's something sinister about them. In Catching Fire, when Plutarch goes out of his way to show her his fancy pocket watch, and makes some rather pointed statements regarding it and time in general. It doesn't occur to her until much later that he was trying to drop her a hint about something. And it apparently never occurs to her that the Mockingjay hologram inside the watch is an indication that he's a member of La Résistance.
On the evaluation score: it's mentioned that a high score will get you sponsors, so maybe that was what they meant when they said it was good? Katniss herself admits she might have a hard time getting sponsors since she's not the friendliest of people.
I'm a Humanitarian: A District 6 tribute from a past Games named Titus went insane and ate the bodies of the tributes he killed.
Important Haircut: Or rather, important lack of haircut. In Mockingjay, all the rebel soldiers have their hair cut short, except for Katniss because she needs to stay recognizable. And Katniss having her body hair waxed throughout the series. District 12 has no fashion to speak of, and the citizens have a lot more important things to concern themselves with, so Katniss — and by implication, the other women of 12 — don't shave their body hair(legs, underarms) and think nothing of it. Her stylists stripping her bare is just another example of the Capitol changing who she is — to the point where by Catching Fire, she considers her unshaven legs a sign of her freedom, and is more than a bit sore to lose them.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Katniss is repeatedly shown hitting small game directly in the eye, seemingly with ease. The fact that her arrows have large enough arrowheads to take down humans and deer and therefore have tips bigger than the eyes of some of the small game she's shooting is never accounted for.
Somewhat Justified Trope—anyone who does archery knows with a heavy draw weight, you can kill a person or a deer with a target arrow (i.e. one without a broadhead.) Sharp hunting broadheads are used for bowhunting to do maximum stopping damage quickly, while a wound from a small arrowhead would take a long time to bleed out unless it passed through something very vital (lungs, heart.) Likely Katniss's smaller arrowheads are a tradeoff for being able to take the widest range of game possible with as little damage to the valuable meat and hide as is feasible.
Interrupted Suicide: Katniss tries to kill herself at the end of Mockingjay, but Peeta stops her.
It Began with a Twist of Fate: Katniss literally volunteers to be thrown into the life-or-death fight to the finish battle that is the Hunger Games. The twist is that she did so to keep her little sister out of the ring. Comes full circle when the events that her participation in the Games set in motion eventually lead to her sister's death.
It Gets Easier: Referenced several times in the first book, with Katniss several times rationalizing that killing people isn't much different than killing animals, to the point where before she actually does so for real she begins actively planning how to kill other tributes and, by the third book she's capable of not only planning Snow's death, but cold-bloodedly and without hesitation cuts down an unarmed Capitol citizen whose only apparent crime was opening her door at the wrong time. Peeta's reluctance to change who he is because of the games is interpreted by Katniss as being a fear of this, too.
Also potentially referenced in the first book by Katniss recalling a tribute that actually had to be put down by the gamemasters because he became psychotic during the games.
Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Several characters fall under this. Katniss can be rather rude/harsh sometimes. Still, her angry outbursts are usually well-justified, given the Crapsack World she lives in. But even if she might be mean sometimes, she still has a nice heart and tries very hard to protect the people that she loves. Haymitch is a rude drunk, but comes to authentically care about Katniss and Peeta. Gale can be rather harsh at times, but he has a soft spot for Katniss and her family. He even gets along with Peeta a couple times. Effie seems a shallow Capitol citizen, but she's more of a Stepford Smiler that really seems to care about Katniss and Peeta as well.
Karmic Death: Marvel got an arrow in his neck from Katniss as revenge for killing Rue.
Kill 'em All: The Games are to end with one person left standing. Both the 74th and 75th end a little differently.
Killed Off for Real: Due to the very nature of its premise this happens to a lot of characters in the series. After all, 24 tributes enter the arena and only one can come out alive. Not that characters who aren't tributes are safe. Outside-the-arena deaths include Cinna, Primrose and Peeta's entire family.
Kiss of Life: When Finnick revives Peeta in Catching Fire, Katniss describes it initially as "kissing" since she's rarely seen CPR performed.
Lighter and Softer: The arena for the 50th Hunger Games (the Second Quarter Quell): The Cornucipia sitting in the midst of a sweet-smelling green meadow, and the sky was azure blue, with fluffy, billowing white clouds. There was a snowy mountain and a forest, squirrels and butterflies and flowers and pinky birds. And even food growing. However, it was actually a Death World: carnivorous squirrels, butterflies with stings, killer birds, poisonous flowers, the mountain was a volcano.
Peeta ends up becoming this after his leg gets injured. He's pretty much helpless, meaning Katniss has to risk her life twice as often to get food and supplies. Even after he heals enough to move around, he's a liability when Katniss fights and even when she hunts—he walks so clumsily that he scares off any prey within earshot.
Slightly downplayed because Katniss actively seeks him out knowing he is badly injured, and her caring for him pretending to be in love with him help make them very popular with the sponsors.
He gets an undeserved bad rep for being this in Catching Fire as well. He displays these traits the first day of the Quarter Quell - at the Cornucopia (because he can't swim) and when they're fleeing from the poisonous gas (because he's weak after getting severely electrocuted mere hours before). However the rest of the time he's either fighting monkey mutts with Katniss and Finnick, carrying Beetee around the arena, creating a map of the clock, doing all he can to ensure that Katniss survives at the cost of his own life, killing Brutus who is one of their toughest competitors, or generally contributing as much as anyone else in the party. He was also the one who made sure himself, Katniss and Haymitch were prepared for the Quell by forcing the other two to train with him, both physically and survival skills-wise, and meticulously studying their competition to find out what the other victors' strength and weaknesses were.
On the other hand, Mags is literally The Load in Catching Fire, as she is an elderly stroke victim whom Finnick carries around in the arena. She was his mentor, and volunteered as tribute to save his love, Annie. She eventually gives up her own life by walking into a poisonous fog, so that Finnick will turn his efforts to protecting Katniss.
Lock Down: During the bombing of District 13 in Mockingjay.
Losing the Team Spirit: Katniss at the end of the second book. And she completely loses it in the third one as well.
Love Makes You Crazy: Katniss tries to convince the citizens of Panem she was so crazy with love for Peeta that she can't be held responsible for her actions. To say nothing of Peeta's actions to begin with.
Make It Look Like an Accident: President Snow uses the threat of killing the victors' families and loved ones like this to keep them in line and to make them do as he says. This is what happened to Haymitch's family and girlfriend after his Games, and it's implied to have happened to everyone Johanna loved. But even Snow admits that if he did this to Katniss herself because of her "stunt with the berries", no one would buy it.
Man on Fire / Wreathed in Flames: Katniss gets lit on fire five times: thrice in the name of fashion and twice in combat situations. There is a reason they call her The Girl Who Was On Fire. Peeta also gets singed at the very end, when he was presumably following Katniss.
"Katniss" is a real plant. Its common name? "Arrowhead". And its scientific name is Sagittaria, which is a transparent reference to the Zodiac sign Sagittarius, a fire sign whose symbol is an archer.
"Peeta" the baker sounds like "pita," a type of bread. His last name, Mellark, is a Greek word meaning "cake," which Peeta is adept at frosting.
Effie "Trinket" seems to be trivial and shallow (but Effie is short for Euphemia - well-spoken- belying her skill as a speaker).
Cinna was the name of various Roman figures relevant to his character, namely a doomed opponent of Sulla the dictator, one of Julius Caesar's assassins, a poet mistaken for the same and beaten to death by an angry mob, and a conspirator against Augustus Caesar.
One of the meanings of "Rue" is "regret." Her death haunts Katniss, who failed to protect her.
Avox means, in an awkward and incorrect mixture of Greek and Latin, 'without a voice.'
"Coriolanus," as in "Coriolanus Snow" refers to a hated Roman who betrayed both sides and died loathed and friendless.
Tigris had plastic surgery to look like a human-tiger hybrid. Katniss wonders which came first, the name or the look.
Pollux and Castor, the twin cameramen from Mockingjay are named for the Gemini of Roman mythology. Like the myth, Castor dies and Pollux is allowed to live — only with some horrible mutilation.
Titus and Lavinia are names from Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. Like their counterparts in the Shakespeare play, Titus was known for cannibalism, and Lavinia had her tongue cut out. Peeta's comments about 'fingers and toes' are unfortunate implications, given what other things happened to Lavinia in the play.
Panem is a reference to the Latin phrase "panem et circenses", meaning "bread and circuses", or idiomatically, sustenance and entertainment — the two things you need to give a population to keep them happy.
District 1, luxury goods, gives us Marvel, Glimmer, Gloss, and Cashmere.
District 3, electronics, has Wiress. And Beetee, which sounds like TV, CD, PC, etc. (Or BD, as in blu-ray disc). For British readers, it invokes BT — British Telecom.
District 4, fishing, Finnick Odair and Annie Cresta.
District 7, lumber, gives us the optimistically-named Blight.
District 8, textiles, has Twill and Woof (another word for "weft").
District 11, agriculture, has Rue, Thresh, Chaff, and Seeder. Chaff is a double example. Not only does it mean "the husks of grains and grasses that are separated during threshing," but it also means, "worthless matter." Chaff never becomes important to the plot. Seeder is obvious
District 12, coal mining, has Peeta (Peter, meaning "stone") and of course Katniss' nickname; "The Girl Who Was On Fire."
The Capitol uses Roman names, in reference to their technological superiority as well as their decadent culture.
District 2 is noted for having the closest relationship to the Capitol, and their male tributes also have Roman names: Cato and Brutus. This makes sense considering that District 2 provides most of the Peacekeepers. Had the tributes not gone to the Hunger Games, they would likely have become Peacekeepers and served under and alongside Capitol citizens
In Katniss' case it's a nickname but the drama largely boils down to "The Girl On Fire" against President Snow.
Memetic Sex God: Finnick is an in-universe example. This notion is deconstructed as well, because Finnick was forced to become a Sex Slave servicing wealthy citizens. Which may even have included President Snow, how do you think he knew so many of his secrets?
Mercy Kill: After Katniss puts Cato out of his misery at the end of the 74th Hunger Games. In Catching Fire, Katniss considers doing this for Peeta and possibly Beetee as well. Gale and Katniss have an understanding in Mockingjay that they would kill each other before letting the other get captured, to avoid torture. Both fail to do it in the end.
Mix-and-Match Critters: As a consequence of evolution, and the Capitol's experiments on animals, many of the plants and animals in Panem are hybrids. These include grooslings (goose and grouse), mockingjays (mockingbirds and the jabberjays, themselves muttations), nightlock (nightshade and hemlock), and possibly morphling.
Monument Of Humiliation And Defeat: The Hunger Games themselves. 74 years after the complete obliteration of a District that tried to play La Résistance to the Panem government, once a year, 24 kids are horrifically slaughtered in an Involuntary Battle to the Death to show everybody who's the boss. The one kid that survives is turned into a celebrity: obviously turning him into a living example of this.
Morality Pet: Katniss has Prim and Rue, and Gale has his own younger siblings.
More Hero Than Thou: In Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta are each determined the other will be the survivor.
The Mourning After: Katniss' mother went into a near-catatonic depression after the death of Katniss' father, leaving Katniss to support the family. Even when the mother becomes functional again, she never really gets over his death. In Mockingjay Katniss goes into this after Prim's death
Mr. Fanservice: Gale maintains a surprising harem in the fandom for someone who was a tertiary character for the first book. Also, Finnick, both in-universe, and out.
Never a Self-Made Woman: Despite her skills and high score before the games, Katniss doesn't have a personality that will stand out to sponsors. Peeta does however, and Haymitch resolves the situation by marketing her as the object of his affections. This is what saves them both in the games.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Katniss' main goal through the second book is to find a way to trick Snow into believing she's in love with Peeta. Unfortunately, she does convince him (and just about everyone else), and therefore manages to give him the leverage to break her during Mockingjay. And you can say that the entire series is this. Prim dies anyway, which was what the instigation of the plot of the first book was trying to prevent.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Capitol wouldn't provide much of a rallying point in Katniss if it didn't keep pointlessly and obviously screwing her over in the first two books. There's no reason to change the rules at the last minute in the first book to give Katniss the chance to rebel on national TV, nor to force her to compete in the Quarter Quell—does anyone really think that Snow is being honest about the special rules for the 3rd Quarter Quell having been written 75 years ago?
Nightmare Sequence: Katniss' dreams are usually a horrifying mishmash of bad memories and fear-gripped imagination, like everyone getting their tongues cut out or all her loved ones screaming in agony.
Nobody Poops: Bears may shit in the woods but Tributes, apparently, do not. It wouldn't be so noticeable, except that Collins takes pains to make everything about the Hunger Games and the horrors of the arena seem dirty and uncomfortable and horrible, so in the first book at least it's a glaring omission. They do, however, urinate.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Given the nature of the beast, it's an inevitability. Even outside the arena, Cinna receives a nasty one as Katniss watches helplessly. And they never saw him again.
No Name Given: Katniss never learns the names of most of the tributes. She doesn't find out until well after the games are over that the boy from District 1 was named Marvel, even though she was the one who killed him.
No Periods, Period: A possible in-universe explanation is that Katniss spends most of the trilogy either barely eating enough to survive or just past the edge of good nutrition; this could easily cause her cycling to be irregular. A possible real-world explanation is that Collins (or her publisher) didn't want to deal with Moral Guardians howling over references to a teenage girl having her period in a Young Adult book, and simply chose to ignore it.
Another entirely likely explanation could be that the Capitol may inject or otherwise provide the girls with hormones to keep them from menstruating during the games, in the same way that they kept the boys from growing any facial hair.
Non-Action Guy: Peeta, whose sole moment of badassery is so early on in the games that it's easily outshined by his persistent habit of being The Load.
Not in This for Your Revolution: It takes Katniss a long time to decide to actively help the revolutionaries instead of just looking out for her own survival.
Not Me This Time: When confronted with the deaths of the children who made up his 'human shield', Snow reveals that he had absolutely nothing to do with it, and it was President Coin who did the deed. Likewise, Gale denies knowing if the plan was formed from one of his ideas, but by this point Katniss has lost what little ability she had left to take people at their word.
Not So Different: Presidents Coin and Snow. Both are manipulative assholes who jealously guard their power, and neither can stomach any showing of open dissent.
Haymitch and Katniss: Two abrasive survivalists who withdraw into themselves to cope with the harshness of their lives. Part of the reason they never really get along is that they're too alike. Haymitch is Katniss thirty years later after mentoring sixty-odd children to their deaths.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Slowly occurs over the course of the second book, finally setting in for good at the very last line. Taken Up to Eleven in the third book when Katniss' last routine from home, hunting with Gale, stops when their relationship deteriorates and they go their separate ways.
As a companion to It Gets Easier, several times Katniss makes reference to how her life has changed since she became a killer, and a symbol.
Nuclear Option: Discussed. Both District 13 and the Capitol have nukes trained on each other, but mutually assured destruction of all humanity keeps them both at bay.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Katniss remarks this was Johanna Mason's strategy in her Games: everyone thought she was a sniveling, useless weakling and overlooked her… until she turned out to be a ruthless killer who ended up the victor. And Haymitch counts — not only is he quite the strategist in the first Games, but he turns out to be a major figure in the underground resistance by the end of Catching Fire. Not bad for someone most people just think of as the town drunk.
Obligatory War Crime Scene: Capitol air force blowing up the hospital in Eight. It turns into a strategic blunder, however, since not only does the Capitol lose several precious bombers in the process, but the attack is televised and subsequently milked for all its worth, PR-wise, by District 13 media.
Then used plenty on the rebel side in the Final Battle for the capitol. Starting when Katniss kills a random civilian woman who stumbles on her squad as they infiltrate the Capitol-held territory. Then Turned Up to Eleven in the final sequence with the rebels (including Gale and Katniss) firing indiscriminately into crowds of civilians, Gale murdering a wounded peacekeeper to take his rifle and finally District 13 aircraft firebombing a courtyard packed with children, using bombs that detonate a second time to eliminate the relief personnel.
Official Couple: Katniss and Peeta (at least, as advertised by the Capitol), and Finnick and Annie. In Mockingjay, the former couple end up together for real.
Pay Evil unto Evil: Discussed all the way through Mockingjay, and reaches its culmination when President Coin suggests either executing all Capitol citizens or force their children into Hunger Games.
People of Hair Color: Most people in District 12 look like Katniss and Gale, black hair, olive skin, and gray eyes. Mrs. Everdeen is from the merchant class so she has blonde hair and blue eyes. Her daughter, Prim, takes after her. Peeta, the baker's son, and Madge, the mayor's daughter, also have blonde hair.
Perfect Poison: Nightlock berries. Most of the plants in the Second Quarter Quell.
Phobia: Johanna develops a fear of water after being tortured with drowning / electrocution, to the point that she rarely showers and hesitates to even walk outside when it's raining
Planet of Hats: Each of the districts has a different primary industry, which serves as its theme. This is an Invoked Trope in the Hunger Games, since the tributes are each trope are traditionally dressed in ways that reference their theme.
Please Don't Leave Me: "Stay with me." "Always." Physically in Catching Fire, mentally in Mockingjay, along with "Don't let him take you from me."
Please Put Some Clothes On: Katniss is flustered by people's nudity on several occasions. Johanna knows this and strips off in an elevator whilst chatting with Katniss and Peeta, and again during training, even oiling her body for a wrestling lesson. Peeta finds it amusing. Katniss … not so much.
Plot Armor: In the film, anyone that gets more than a few seconds of screentime is guaranteed to have some, only for other characters to then penetrate it and kill them, usually rather sadistically. Only Katniss and Peeta's hold up long enough.
Police State: Panem is one. District 13 is less cruel but even more restrictive. Justified in their case, as everyone has to do exactly what they're told for the relatively small population to keep 13 going.
Portmanteau: Several. "Muttation" is a generic in-universe term for a genetically engineered creature, probably derived from "mutt" and "mutation". Lots of things count, like those wolves at the end of the first book, or Jabberjays and Tracker Jackers. Many more exotic variants are introduced in the third book when they're storming the Capitol. For some reason, Peeta and Katniss also take to using the term "mutt" to refer to the mentally damaged Peeta after his brainwashing, and the physically damaged Katniss after her burning. Poisonous berries called "nightlock" (nightshade, hemlock). Mockingjay features political ads called "Propo", as in "propaganda spots", and a "Communicuff", which is exactly what it sounds like.
"Mockingjay", for that matter. Just like real life examples, this one shows a combination of two different species — mockingjays are the offspring of mockingbirds and muttations called jabberjays.
The Power of Love: Haymitch tells Katniss to use this as her reason for why she tried to Take a Third Optionby taking the berries with Peeta in order to have them both die and have no winner at all. The audiences seem to lap it up when both of them then say they couldn't bear the thought of living without the other.
Pragmatic Villainy: The gamemakers frown on certain behaviors in The Games, but moreso because it will draw a poor reaction from the audience rather than out of moral disdain. They will not tolerate cannibalism, nor will they allow a psychopath to become a victor (unless they can be charming about it, as the Career Tributes tend to be somewhat … Ax-Crazy). The Capitol citizens will gleefully watch children fight to the death, but send a young woman who's pregnant into the arena and they'll call it barbaric. And in the third book, Snow never exercises his Nuclear Option, which would damn humanity to extinction, even when he realizes that he's doomed. He states that he would never kill someone if it gave him no advantage.
They also forbid tributes to use firearms, because they're seen as an unfair advantage. Guns are never even mentioned until the third book.
President Evil: President Snow, especially as time goes on. President Coin of District 13? Not much better.
Primal Fear: Suzanne Collins seems to be a fan of these … both The Hunger Games and The Underland Chronicles are full of people dying in horrible ways thanks to fire, drowning, bugs (sometimes GIANT bugs) and/or savage animals.
Promotion to Parent: The death of Katniss' father and her mother's subsequent depression make her the breadwinner of the family. Gale is also the primary provider for his family; his mother helps as best she can, but she's only able to bring in a pittance doing laundry.
Prongs of Poseidon: Since he's from the fishing district, Finnick is dangerously adept with a trident.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: Pretty thoroughly. With regard to clothing, it starts with Katniss looking down at the shallow, appearance-centered Panemites but then squealing in delight when Cinna makes her look pretty, and continues from there. Earlier she complains in her inner monologue that Madge's pin could feed a starving family for months, but later when she's given a dress covered in jewels, she makes no similar protest, the narrative instead expressing her awe at how amazing she looks in it. Early in Catching Fire, Katniss complains about the Capitol needlessly wasting food. She seems to have forgotten the scene in the previous book where she throws out the cookies Peeta's father gave her. Later in Catching Fire, Katniss is upset that nothing is different in the arena, saying that she'd hoped the tributes would show restraint. This completely ignores the fact that Katniss was the first tribute in the 75th games to try and attack anyone (Finnick). District 8 is so lacking in medical personnel and supplies, people are left with unchanged bandages and untreated infections; their hospital is basically a morgue. Peeta alone, on the other hand, gets a whole team of doctors because he's Katniss' love interest. This is never brought up as morally questionable, but is also partially justified since District 13 still needs Katniss at this point, and they are probably unwilling to risk losing resources in a Capitol counterattack.
Protected by a Child: Near the end of Mockingjay, this is supposedly what Snow does to protect himself, though it ends up being a ruse of Coin's.
Proud Warrior Race Guy: Tributes from Districts 1 and 2 tend to come off this way due to those Districts' practice of training children specifically in order to volunteer for the Hunger Games. As a result, these "Career" Tributes are also far more likely to win than Tributes from other Districts, although Haymitch describes their arrogance as a flaw that can lead to their defeat.
Public Execution: Happens to several characters, most notably President Snow... or rather, President Coin. The Hunger Games themselves can also be seen as a variant of this.
Pyrrhic Victory: The ending of Mockingjay. The rebels are victorious and The Capital has been overthrown, but with the loss of 90% of District 12, a lot of soldiers, and President Coin. Oh, and the symbol of the revolution snapped and killed its leader.
Most likely the case for every victor, especially non-Careers. Congratulations, you just won the Hunger Games! You're rich and will never go to a reaping again (*cough*). Oh, and 23 other kids are dead, some of which you probably watched die and/or killed yourself. Have fun being even more on the Capitol's radar and dealing with the PTSD with no treatment or therapy. Katniss says it best during the finale of her first Games:
"Hurray for us," I get out, but there's no joy of victory in my voice.
Race Lift: There are a couple of comments in the first chapter that hint that Katniss is mixed-race, as well as a description saying she has straight black hair and olive skin. One of the UK covers for the first book showed her as a rather pink looking girl with brown curled hair.
Reality Ensues: Pretty much what Mockingjay runs on. Katniss' improvised plan to go behind enemy lines to assassinate President Snow fails spectacularly and destroys her entire squad. And there were some fans found Finnick's death to be unnecessary and lacking in heroism. But that makes sense in a war.
Reality Show: The eponymous games, used as a terror tactic against the Districts but spun as a form of entertainment for the Capitol.
Red Herring: Chaff and Seeder initially seem like they'll be important characters: they're from the same district as Rue and Thresh, Katniss' ally and rescuer from her Games, first of all. Seeder deliberately seeks out Katniss to thank her for her treatment of them, while Chaff is repeatedly mentioned to be good friends with Haymitch. At different points, Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch all consider or advocate joining up with them, but instead, they're both killed in the Quarter Quell despite being at least somewhat aware of the rebels' plan and Katniss and Peeta end up allying with other tributes.
Romantic Plot Tumor: In The Hunger Games, this is invoked: Katniss and Peeta fake a romance in order to woo the audience of the Games (or rather, Katniss is the only one faking). In the beginning of Catching Fire, President Snow decides to force her and Peeta into a marriage in order to convince the Districts that her behavior at the end of the 74th Games wasn't rebellious in nature. The rest of Catching Fire revolves around several of the victors in the 75th Games trying to protect Peeta because they think Katniss won't help District 13 in the rebellion if he dies. Quite a bit of Mockingjay is dedicated to gaining Peeta back after he's kidnapped and brainwashed.
Rousing Speech: In Catching Fire Katniss makes a beautiful speech in District 11, about her ally Rue. Then in Mockingjay, she has a couple; Her "If we burn, you burn with us" speech implied to be received well, but when she tries to give one in the middle of a firefight in District 2, she gets shot.
Rule of Drama: Ties with Rule of Empathy, below. The Capitol loves best those victors who put on a great show and will give them a sort of celebrity status. Such is the case for Enobaria, who, after winning by ripping out her opponent's throat with her teeth, got her dentures specially sharpened and became very popular with the Capitol.
Rule of Empathy: Tributes must be able to invoke sympathy from the Capitol and District audiences. Sympathy will equal sponsors and money for necessities in the arena, and could therefore make the difference in the Games. Peeta, it turns out, is a natural at invoking the Rule of Empathy at the drop of a hat. Katniss is not, so Peeta and Haymitch keep her in the dark to evoke more genuine reactions.
Rule of Three: Suzanne Collins loves her powers of three. There are three books. Each book is divided into three parts. Each part contains nine (3x3) chapters.
Peeta is either a cunning yet rather hopeless romantic, or a total idiot.
Save This Person, Save the World: Initially Katniss though it seems that Coin thinks they should have saved Peeta instead. Eventually the trope begins to apply to Peeta by proxy as people begin to realize that as long as Peeta is Snow's prisoner Katniss will be too worried about him to be of any use.
Say My Name: Especially Katniss' incident in the tree during the first games.
Scars Are Forever: Peeta ends up with an artificial leg after the first Hunger Game. Katniss retains several physical scars. They both also sustain some pretty hefty emotional scars. Even after 20 years, they still have nightmares.
Schizo Tech: Justified in that the Capitol deliberately suppresses technology in the Districts, especially weapons tech.
Screw The Rules We Make Them: The Gamemakers repeatedly change rules to get the outcome they want. Every 25 years, a special edition of the Hunger Games is held, with different rules from the usual Games, supposedly laid out well in advance. By a stunning coincindence, the rules of the 75th Games target certain people seen as undesirable by the current administration.
Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Katniss begins to see potential loves interests in two guys, Peeta, the baker's son who decorates the cakes and Gale, her hunting partner. Gale is angry with the Capitol for making them participate in the games while Peeta is reflective on how he can maintain his identity in the games despite the Capitol using them.
Sex Slave: In Book 3, according to Finnick this happens to a lot of victors, himself included.
Shaggy Dog Story: The story begins in the first book with Katniss sacrificing herself to save Prim's life. Prim dies at the end of Mockingjay.
Shell-Shocked Veteran: All of the Victors have some form of poorly represented PTSD. Katniss, having been put through two sets of Games, as well as threats from the government and being manipulated by her own allies, has among the worst. Annie pretty much became a wreck after seeing her ally being decapitated.
Ship Sinking: In Mockingjay, Katniss and Gale's relationship is increasingly strained, especially after the battle in District 2. They might have been able to work past that, but it's when they realize that Gale made the bombs that killed Prim, either unknowingly or purposefully (not to mention injuring Peeta and Katniss) that puts the final nail in the coffin of their relationship. Possibly for both of them, since Gale didn't seem to upset about losing her. It's not even known if the two remain in touch after the events of the books.
Shipper on Deck: Several characters do this towards Peeta and Katniss, like President Snow as mentioned above, though for some of the other reasons, it's to help make sure that Katniss and Peeta stay on top and ensure a good chance of survival in the Games, since people enjoy good drama.
Ship Tease: The main Love Triangle aside, Haymitch speaks for many readers when Madge runs through a snowstorm to bring Gale medicine.
Shoot the Hostage: President Coin orders a bombing attack on children being used as human shields by President Snow — and makes it appear that the attack was initiated by Snow, in order to destroy any remaining public support for Snow's regime. Sadly, especially for Katniss, Prim is among these.
Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Katniss' mission to assassinate President Snow in Mockingjay. Her squad follows her out of a sincere belief that she can actually do it, even though they know she's acting without orders, but all she ends up achieving is getting most of them (including Finnick) killed and managing to reach Snow's mansion in time to witness Prim's horrible death.
Prim's death nearly makes the entire series this, since everything started with Katniss volunteering for the Hunger Games to protect Prim.
Shout-Out: Word of God has stated that Katniss' family name is a reference to the Thomas Hardy character Bathsheba Everdene. And Katniss (the "Girl on Fire") is in Squad Four Five One, a reference to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, which is another dystopian novel with a fire motif.
Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Katniss remembers a boy who waseliminated from one edition of the games for cannibalism. His name? Titus. There are some other minor characters with names from Shakespeare—Cressida comes to mind, for one and Lavinia, who has no tongue.
Single-Target Sexuality: Peeta towards Katniss. He fell in love with her when he was 5 and never fell out of love. Except of course for the brief time while he was hijacked, and even then it seems that a part of him still loved her.
Slave to PR: A dominating theme. A likable persona for a tribute wins sponsors: for example, Finnick. It culminates in Mockingjay when the rebels bomb a town square full of children, in a Capitol hovercraft, solely to convince everyone in the nation that the Capitol is evil. P.R. is possibly the most powerful weapon in The Hunger Games.
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: The cynicism side. Far, far, far on the cynicism side, but the last book does express some optimism that the human race can "evolve" to become better and that a brighter future will arise.
Slow Clap: Not exactly an applause, but the whole community of District 12 uses a cultural gesture to show their support of Katniss when she takes her sister's place. District 11 tries this as well and pays the price.
Speak Illofthe Dead: Clove talks about Rue, while holding down Katniss near the Cornucopia. Of course, karma sweeps in to save the day, via Thresh.
The Speechless: Avoxes, traitors who've had their tongues mutilated as punishment.
Spoiled Sweet: Katniss' prep team, who are simply too naive to be genuinely mean. And though you can't be one hundred percent sure of his financial situation, probably Cinna, who treats Katniss with respect and the games with disgust despite being from the Capitol. And Madge, who is the Mayor's daughter, very kind and is one of Katniss' few friends.
Spot The Thread: The official, "live-action" shots of District 13 are revealed to be Stock Footage by a mockingjay which flies past the screen at the exact same spot despite claims that it is filmed repeatedly every year.
Star-Crossed Lovers: Peeta and Katniss pretend to be this to garner sympathy. Subverted in that they eventually do become real lovers, but manage to get through everything alive.
Strange Salute: When Katniss volunteers to take her sister's place, the entire crowd touches the three middle fingers of their left hands to their lips, and then holds it out to her. Katniss explains that it's an old District 12 gesture that means thanks, admiration, and goodbye to someone you love. It becomes a little more meaningful later on.
Stupid Evil: It's never adequately explained why the Capitol decided that forcing two kids from every district to kill each other every year in highly-elaborate battlefields was a better means of preventing rebellion than, say, creating a decent welfare state that would keep the masses complacent and dependent upon the government. The welfare system would probably have been cheaper.
Stylistic Suck: Whether or not the books' prose style actually sucks is up for debate, but either way, it was purposeful; the excessive usage of fragments and the occasional lack of description is supposed to emulate the narrating voice of a barely educated teenage girl in a present-tense Stream Of Consciousness fashion.
Super Doc: Outside the poorer districts, medicine is far in advance of our own time.
Super Happy Fun Trope of Doom: The role of the Peacekeepers isn't as sweet as it sounds. (Bit like in Real Life, then?) Pretty much everything surrounding the Games is treated as fun and entertaining; being a "tribute" is an honor.
Super-Persistent Predator: The tracker jacker wasps do not give up an attack once pissed off. Running away doesn't help. The only thing that saves Katniss is that they're so drugged from the smoke they don't realize she dropped their nest.
In Mockingjay there were the lizard-mutts, which were engineered to hunt and kill Katniss specifically, but will viciously munch on anything or anyone in their way.
Sure, Let's Go with That: When Caesar Flickerman asks Katniss exactly when she first fell for Peeta, she's evasive at first (since at this point she hasn't actually fallen for him yet) and then immediately goes along with his first guess.
Survival Mantra: Although nonverbal, Finnick's compulsive knotting in Mockingjay. Katniss starts to share Finnick's knotting habit for a bit in the third book, but has one of her own.
My name is Katniss Everdeen. I am seventeen years old. My home is District 12. I was in the Hunger Games …
In the first film/book more specifically, Katniss and Peeta are the two sole surviving tributes. The game master earlier said that two people could win as a team if they were both from the same district to make things a little more interesting. However, he changes his mind at that point, and tells them that one would have to die. Peeta offers himself as a sacrifice, claiming Katniss had more reason to go home alive. However, Katniss refuses to play into their hand, and brings up the poisonous berries he had accidentally gathered earlier. Katniss knows that PR is king in the Capitol, and having no victor would look bad for the Hunger Games, so she figures if they both threaten to eat the nightlock berries the Gamemaster will change his mind. She ends up being right, although her defiance sets in motion the events of the second two books.
In the second book, the Quarter Quell involves bringing back victor from previous Hunger Games to compete in a sort of "all-stars" version of the Games. Naturally, Katniss assumes that means that the victors - some of whom are friends, even close - will either have to turn on each other or die. Instead, a group of tributes - who are also underground rebels - end up shattering the forcefield around the arena and getting saved by District 13's forces.
Take Me Instead: In the first book, Katniss volunteers to take Prim's place as tribute for District 12.
Take That: In universe, the mockingjay becomes an increasingly unsubtle one of these towards the Capitol.
Taking the Bullet: During the Quarter Quell, one of the morphlings is killed by an attack from a vicious monkey that was meant for Peeta.
Talking through Technique: Katniss and Haymitch are alike enough that Katniss is able to figure out the hidden message in each of the gifts sent to her by sponsors, not only by looking at what was sent to her, but in some cases when she received it.
Taking You with Me: Book 1: Cato threatens to take Peeta with him into the jaws of the Muttations if Katniss shoots him with her arrows.
Tempting Fate: In the first book, Katniss reassures her sister Prim that her name won't be drawn for the Hunger Games … Seconds later, that's exactly what happens. And Katniss realizes that if you're referred to as "the girl who was on fire" enough times, eventually you do get actually lit on fire.
Theme Naming: The Capitol and District 2 use Roman names to highlight their decadent nature and fondness for gladitorial combat. The nation itself is called Panem, the Latin word for bread. The districts often use names referencing their primary industry.
There Are No Therapists: The districts don't largely seem to have therapists, leaving the traumatized victors to relive their nightmares yearly as they're forced to participate in the games (though it's implied that Katniss' mother was able to somehow gain access to one in order to get hold of drugs to treat her depression). Exploited by the Capitol to make them broken beyond repair and thus unable to fight back. Subverted in District 13: all refugees are given psychological help and local specialists do everything they can to get Peeta back to his old self after a Mind Rape. Before the final attack on the Capitol, soldiers are checked for possible psychological problems. (Johanna gets sent to a mental facility). Katniss also goes through therapy after her sister’s death.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Here, there and everywhere given the nature of the Games. Big mention to Cato, who, having lost all his limbs and skin from being gnawed on by at least twenty wolf-like creatures for hours on end, dies from an arrow to the face.
Title Drop: The first and third books are literally dropped. The best example would be book three, with the end of chapter two, making up the direction for the rest of the book: "I'm going to be the Mockingjay."
There's a belated, sort-of one in Mockingjay when Katniss proclaims that "fire is catching". Catching Fire was the previous book.
To Absent Friends: The book that Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch create at the end of Mockingjay. Also the "We Remember" propo series.
Too Clever by Half: Foxface. Up until the point where she fails to distinguish poisonous berries from normal ones. Granted, she was starving by then, but still … That is, unless, she intended to kill herself …
Too Happy to Live: Finnick and Annie in Mockingjay. As soon as they got married, you knew at least one of them was doomed.
Tracking Chip: All the tributes going into the Games are implanted with a tracker so that the Capitol knows where they are in the arena at all times.
Trauma Conga Line: By the end, try to count more surviving characters that haven't suffered one without running out of fingers. This is especially endemic amongst the victors of the games as the Capitol torments them to keep them from using their elevated status to foment rebellion. In fact, for Katniss, this series is one entire Trauma Conga Line.
The Uriah Gambit: Katniss being sent back into the arena in Catching Fire qualifies, since she believes it was rigged by President Snow. Supposedly the rules for the third Quarter Quell specify choosing Tributes from each District's pool of victors and Katniss is the only female victor, it's pretty much impossible that he didn't manipulate it. And later attempted by President Coin in Mockingjay when she sends Peeta to Katniss' team in the Capitol, with a gun, while he's still Brainwashed and Crazy and Katniss is his Berserk Button. It fails.
Useless Spleen: In Mockingjay, Katniss gets shot. Not surprisingly it happens to be her spleen that is destroyed. Good thing she doesn't need it.
Villain Ball: The Capitol seems to hold this on occasion, especially in Catching Fire. There is a lot of Villain Ball discussion relating to the Games themselves, available on the discussion page.
Villains Never Lie: President Snow agrees to never lie to Katniss and as far as the reader is aware he keeps to that.
Villainous Rescue: When Clove is on top of a nearly helpless Katniss, she decides to taunt the latter a bit, saying how they enjoyed killing Rue. Thresh then shows up out of nowhere, and kills Clove after hearing her confession. He then walks away, saying he was doing this favor just once for Rue, who was the female participant from his district, and one of the few friends Katniss made.
Villain Over For Dinner: At the beginning of Catching Fire, the president drops by for a terrifying "chat" with Katniss, during which he threatens to kill her whole family if she doesn't conduct herself properly on the Victory Tour. (Katniss' mother isn't present for this part of the conversation, but she does drop in to serve them tea. Katniss then has to conceal the conversation from her mother, telling her the president was just wishing her luck.)
Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: There's a joke that Catching Fire and Mockingjay are written almost entirely in sentence fragments. Of course, this is a poorly-educated, emotionally jaded teenage girl narrating …
Was It All a Lie?: Peeta's ongoing question to Katniss from the end of the first book all the way to the "Real or not real?" question at the end of the last. It was a lie, but is now real.
Watching the Sunset: In Catching Fire, Peeta wakes Katniss up from dozing off to see the sunset from the roof of the Training Center the day before their pre-Quarter Quell interviews. (Sunset orange is also Peeta's favorite color.)
Weapons Kitchen Sink: Inevitable, given the fact that the Capitol just spreads them around in the Arena and hopes for a sloppy death scenario to increase the "entertainment" value. There's a blackly-comic aside in Book 1 where Katniss mentions how one year the only weapons provided were horribly awkward maces.
"the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors."
"Katniss, there is no District 12."
"President Snow used to... sell me...my body, that is"
"My lips are just forming his name when his fingers lock around my throat."
"And then the second round of parachutes goes off."
As a rule, chapters tend to end with lines that are wham on at least a small degree.
In-universe, Peeta is the acknowledged master of the Wham Line, particularly when onstage with Caesar Flickerman. In the first book he sets up the Star-Crossed Lovers thing, and in the second he manages an even bigger one: He claims he and Katniss are having a baby. Double so since just before, he claims they're already married, making sure the reader is blindsided by the baby thing.
What Happened to the Mouse?: We never learn why Cinna requested District 12 (as he says he did in book 1) and we never find out if Portia did the same. We also have no clue why Cinna doesn't have a Capitol accent or the Capitol sense of style, despite that not making much sense if he's a fashion designer who's lived in the Capitol for his entire life. In Catching Fire, Johanna says everyone she loves is dead. Elaboration? Explanation? Don't count on it. There's a popular guess in fanon, though. Most likely Johanna's family was murdered by the capital likely for refusing to be used by the Capitol after she won like Finnick was. Based on her personality and what Finnick says about his family being threatened, this seems the logical explanation. In Mockingjay, Katniss gets a bow with "special properties." She never once mentions them again, uses them, or even explains what those properties are, besides the fact that it can vibrate to say hello. This could be the reason it's able to shoot down planes, though. Also, what happened to Old Cray? He somehow disappeared when Thread took over. It's not pointed out what exactly happened to him. Finally, why was Lavinia fleeing the Capitol to District 12 with her brother/friend. It's likely they may have been trying to get to District 13 for some reason. Bonnie and Twill were also trying to get to 13 and wound up being fairly close to where Lavinia was when she was captured.
Will They or Won't They?: Left ambiguous throughout the series, who Katniss will choose. If she chooses at all. She ends up choosing Peeta because Gale is too much like herself (dark and angry) and may have played a role in her sister's death. Peeta on the other hand, balances her out with his kindness and optimism
Working Title: The working title of the first novel was The Tribute of District Twelve. Some foreign editions do this, like the German release, Die Tribute Von Panem(The Tributes of Panem).
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Pretty much all the characters who participated in the Hunger Games, especially the Careers, had little choice but to participate in what amounts to mass slaughter. Even Cato and Clove, the most ruthless characters in the first book, were to some degree pitiable, especially the former in the film.
Would Hit a Girl: There are just as many girls as boys in each Hunger Game, ensuring a lot of this. Marvel kills Rue, and Thresh kills Clove.
In Catching Fire, Katniss describes the Cornucopia as being 40 yards away from the launch platform, which is located in a circular lagoon. There are twelve spokes of land separating the 24 tributes, and Katniss is equidistant from the land strip and the adjacent tribute platform. If you do all the calculations, it turns out that Katniss is about seven yards from the nearest land strip. Katniss has to swim this distance, and describes it as "a longer distance than [she's] used to swimming" back in the lake outside District 12.
You Bastard: Look at the Capitol and then look at you. The book is even stylistically written in a fashion that gets the reader compelled by the violence and the romance but with undertones that this sort of enjoyment is wrong. In fact, anyone who still loves the series for all the shallow reasons is basically flipped off in Mockingjay, when all their favorite characters die off and their badass heroine becomes a PTSD-stricken shell.
This also happens to Crane after he is forced to declare both Katniss and Peeta as the winner. Otherwise they both would have committed suicide, and there would be no winner, likely angering many people in the process, especially in the districts, which President Snow warned him about earlier. He is locked in a room with the same berries that the two were going to eat earlier.
You Killed My Father: Katniss understands that if the conditions were not so bad in the coal mines due to the decadent lifestyle in the Capitol and the corrupt government, her father would not have died in the mine accident. And in Mockingjay, President Coin has Prim killed.
Your Favorite: Katniss at one point receives food including the stew she stated in an interview was her favorite thing about the Capitol. In Mockingjay, Peeta finds a can of the same stew and presents it to Katniss when the team scavenges a meal.