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The Hunger Games Book Character Index
Protagonists | Other District 12 Residents | Tributes of the 74th Hunger Games | Past Tributes | The Capitol | Spoiler Characters

This is the page for character tropes exemplified by the book versions of the protagonists of The Hunger Games literary trilogy. The tropes exemplified by the film versions can be found at The Hunger Games Film District 12.

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    Katniss Everdeen
"If we burn, you burn with us!"

Our hero, aged sixteen from District 12, the poorest of the twelve (remaining) districts. After losing her father when she was only eleven, she managed to bring her family back from the brink of starvation almost single-handedly by hunting in the woods outside her district. When her little sister Prim's name is drawn in the reaping to join the Hunger Games, Katniss steps up to take her place, unwittingly setting off a chain of events that will soon engulf all of Panem.

  • Action Girl: Expected, as a participant in and winner of the Hunger Games. Like all the tributes, she received four days of training on top of being an excellent hunter after learning to provide for her family.
  • Act of True Love: Volunteers to be in the Games to save her baby sister in the first book, setting the plot into motion. In the second book she too makes a pact with Haymitch to save Peeta at the cost of her own life. In the third book she kisses Peeta when he's at the beginning of a hijack-attack, knowing that if it doesn't work he will do his best to kill her. It works, and it's implied that her beginning to show her love for him is a huge part of what makes him recover from the hijacking.
  • All Women Love Shoes: Averted. For all the detail in which she describes her various dresses, outfits, and hair styles, her shoes usually only get a cursory mention, if that. Well, except for her favorite hunting boots.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She has dark hair and is rather emotionally distant and closed off from others, due to her numerous trust issues.
  • Always Save The Boy With The Bread: Continuously prioritizes Peeta's survival over what's best for her own survival, the rebellion and her squad. Even after he's been hijacked into hating her and she believes she can never be with him.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Like Gale, described as "olive-skinned" with black hair.
  • Animal Motifs: From Catching Fire onwards, she's strongly identified with mockingjays. She received a pin of one early in The Hunger Games and it became her symbol.
  • An Odd Place to Sleep: In "Mockingjay" she'll frequently hide away in closets or storage rooms and end up falling asleep.
  • Archer Archetype: She relies on her bow to hunt, survive, and lead. Katniss has strong and independent survivalist instincts due to her difficult past and is good at thinking outside the box. She is not socially adept and has a hard time making friends due to the emotional strain on her life which has made her hard and cold. She is usually very logical.
  • Arc Symbol: Fire is strongly associated with her throughout the story. Of course, fire usually represents revolutions, even in real life, so it fits.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: As much as she bickers with Haymitch and as angry as she is with him in Mockingjay they still have moments that show how much they've grown to care about one another. For example it's his arms she cries in over Peeta's torture.
  • Babies Ever After: This was initially planned as part of continuing her and Peeta's ruse for the sake of the Capitol. When they do have children, it's because they want to.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Averted. Katniss and Peeta have to find their way back together and restore their relationship years before they have childen together. Rather than making things better, the babies indicate that they're getting there, more like, "now that things are better, we can celebrate with babies". Katniss had sworn never to have children because she could never see them grow up in the crapsack world. Her choosing to have children means that she believes that things are better now.
  • Bad Liar: According to Peeta. "Never gamble at cards. You'll lose your last coin." Subverted later on, when she gradually becomes more effective at fooling people — starting with Peeta himself in the form of their initial romance, which he believes to be more genuine on her part than it is. She also successfully convinces him that she was going to stay away from the dangerous feast.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted. After the games she finds that her hearing in her left ear is restored. Her skin's perfection, smooth and glowing with no burns, scars or anything. Peeta on the other hand has his lower leg replaced with a metal and plastic device. However, in "Mockingjay" neither Katniss nor Peeta are considered important enough for such resources to be spent on them, giving them quality treatment for their severe burns but making no effort to give them the best skin grafts or remove the burns entirely the way they were able to do with Katniss' burns in the first book.
  • Belated Love Epiphany: Katniss insists that she isn't in love with anyone. That is, until Peeta is imprisoned, tortured and hijacked, essentially brainwashing him into hating Katniss and wanting her dead. While the book never explicitly states the exact moment when she realizes her feelings the reader can take a guess at any moment from her stating that the loss of him has taken away her will to live to her telling him how she feels.
  • Big Eater: Katniss appreciates good food due to living on such simple fare at home. She deliberately gorges herself before the second Hunger Game to get some energy reserves.
  • Big Sister Instinct:
    • She cares about her sister so much that not only did she volunteer to take her sister's place in the games, but she submitted her name into the reaping multiple times to get her family more food so her sister wouldn't have to submit her own name.
    • While she was in the games Katniss thought how her sister has multiple people who will make sure she's taken care of but Rue has no one to take care of her. Rue and Katniss teamed up and blew up the other's supplies. Katniss tried to save Rue but she was too late. She killed the guy who killed Rue, sang to her as she died, and buried her in flowers.
  • Birds of a Feather: She and Gale bond over similar personalities and experiences, both rebellious against the Capitol's regime but still working on providing for their families after their fathers died in the same mining accident. Through illegal hunting, of course.
  • Braids of Action: She wears these a lot, and isn't seen with her hair down during the Games. It's a simple and practical hairstyle for living in a forest.
  • Break the Cutie: Pretty much the gist of the trilogy. Watch as a young girl is given Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and watch as she's forced to keep on chugging as other characters decide that she's too important to whatever is going on to be allowed to recover from her shell shock, exacerbating it at every given opportunity.
  • Broken Bird:
    • She starts out as one due to her father's death and having to be her family's main source of financial support but after the Games it turns Up to Eleven.
    • Taken to a rather literal extent several times throughout the series, especially in Mockingjay, which even includes a sequence in which Katniss hallucinates herself as a bird whose feathers and wings are burned off.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In the first book, Katniss is blown back by the explosion she sets off destroying the Careers' supplies and is rendered completely deaf in her left ear. Unable to escape, she only survives by hiding right under their noses. However, it's completely outdone in the Quarter Quell, when Katniss nearly kills herself breaking the force field over the arena.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: She gets dizzy from just half a glass of wine in the first book, and a few gulps of white liquor in the second get her to black out. Justified as these were her first times having alcohol, and the white liquor is pretty strong.
  • Celibate Heroine: Seeing the horror of the Hunger Games is enough to make her call off marriage and children, because they would just end up in the reaping and possibly as tributes. And this was before she ever participated herself. Later averted as she is in a sexual relationship by the last chapter, but it still takes 15 years, the Hunger Games being abolished and a lot of love from Peeta to change her mind about having children.
  • Commitment Issues: She keeps Peeta at arm's length because is determined to never fall in love, get married and have children. The reason is implied to be a combination of not wanting to be a parent on Reaping Day and not wanting to end up like her mother, who broke down completely when her husband died. She does not think the world is suitable to bring children into.
  • Cool Big Sis: To Prim and Rue. Katniss goes out of her way to provide for Prim and make sure that latter never needs to take Tesserae to provide for their family. She ends up treating Rue in the same way, which is part of why Katniss takes the girl's death so hard.
  • The Cynic: In contrast to Peeta's idealism, Katniss's utter lack of faith in people at the series' start is particularly grim.
  • Daddy's Girl: While she loved her mother, Katniss felt a stronger connection to her father, who taught her how to survive in the forest.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Has her moments. Especially when bantering with Finnick.
    Finnick: You can swim, too. Where did you learn that in District Twelve?
    Katniss: We have a big bathtub.
  • Death Seeker: When she loses Peeta's love in "Mockingjay" she makes it her goal to find and kill president Snow and then die herself. Towards the end of the book she tries to commit suicide by nightlock pill, only to be stopped by Peeta. Then she tries to starve herself to death while in confinement but that doesn't work either. She does get better, but it takes some time and for Peeta to return to Twelve for her to want to live again.
  • Debt Detester: Katniss hates feeling she owes someone.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Toes the line in Catching Fire when she realizes Haymitch only kept his promise to Peeta. Pushed over the edge after District Twelve is firebombed. She gets a bit better over the course of Mockingjay, but gets hit hard again after Prim's death.
  • Determinator: 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.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In "Mockingjay" she and Peeta have a sex scene that's so discreet it left many wondering if they had sex at all.
  • Disappeared Dad: Her father died in a mining accident.
  • Elemental Motifs: Katniss was strongly associated with fire throughout the series. In addition to her nickname being "The Girl On Fire", she also came from the coal-mining district with a bread-toasting marriage tradition, was attacked with fire by her sponsors in the arena, and even describes herself as having a fire that needed to be tempered by Peeta's calm "dandelion". Her action in the games spawned a literal and metaphorical fire across Panem that lead to the rebellion's resurgence, and her declaration that "fire is catching".
  • Famed in Story: Becomes one of the biggest celebrities in Panem.
  • Family of Choice: In the end her family consists of Peeta and Haymitch, not her parents or her sister.
  • Flirting Under Fire: Builds her romance with Peeta during the Hunger Games.
  • Food Porn: Katniss's narration includes full descriptions of everything she eats, since she's such a Big Eater and has spent so long without good food.
  • Free-Range Children: Walks around alone in the district at age eleven in all kinds of weather, trying to sell her sister's baby clothes to be able to buy food and rummaging through garbage bins to find something to eat. First heads out into the woods alone at age twelve. Being in the woods is not only dangerous but illegal, but her mother is too broken from the loss of her husband to care or possibly even notice.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Katniss was just another player, facing a one in twenty-four chance of staying alive longer than everyone else, but by the end of the series, she is the face of the revolution, playing a role in the deaths of two corrupt Presidents of Panem.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Katniss' father fell in love with a merchant girl, Katniss herself falls in love with a merchant boy.
    • Not just that, this trope is doubled! Peeta meets Katniss when they are both children, after Peeta's father points her out to Peeta. Turns out, Peeta's dad wanted to marry Katniss' mother but she ended up falling in love with a miner. Peeta promptly falls in love with Katniss.
    • She's also inherited her father's hair, skin, eye color and singing ability, as well as his love for hunting and being out in the woods.
  • Genre Savvy: Has grown up watching the Hunger Games on television, and is able to think her way out of problems either by recalling past Games or by figuring out what moves would make the most exciting plot.
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel: Katniss' original choice was not between a Gentleman and a Scoundrel, as they were both dependable people. However, as the series progresses, Peeta reveals himself as the Gentleman who cares deeply for Katniss and desires her safety, and Gale the Scoundrel revolutionist who desires to entangle Katniss in that world.
  • Girliness Upgrade: Done to her by the Capitol, putting her in dresses and make-up and so forth.
  • Glass Cannon: despite quick-thinking, agile, and a good shot with a bow and arrow, years of being underfed really limits how much stress her body can take.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Regularly sells her rabbits and squirrels to the Peacekeepers at the Hob.
  • Grow Old with Me: Given how long her life-expectancy was when she volunteered to take Prim's place in the first book the epilogue can be seen as this.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Is the bitter, cynical, stoic brunette to Peeta, Madge, and Prim's kinder, more approachable, sweeter blonde.
  • Hairy Girl: Katniss is mentioned as having hairy legs, though it's brought up more for the sake of a Painful Body Waxing scene.
  • Happily Married: Oddly, in spite of everything she and Peeta go through, with both having gone through massive amounts of dysfunction junction, being saddled with tons of psychological trauma from going through the games twice, losing almost everyone they are close to, participating in and being the figureheads of a revolution that nearly destroys what little remains of human civilization, and, in Peeta's case, Cold-Blooded Torture and mind rape, she and Peeta still seem to end up this way. In fact, it's heavily implied that the only reason either of them is still functional is because of the other. The same goes for Haymitch, in a non romantic way.
  • Heartbroken Badass: In "Mockingjay" after Peeta has been hijacked into hating her. She takes the loss of his love so hard that she almost begins to hate him for not loving her anymore. Still stays very badass though.
  • Heroic BSoD: A minor one towards the end of Catching Fire that starts to resolve during Mockingjay, only to implode and go supernova with Prim's death. She's so completely dead inside that she needs to be put under Suicide Watch after killing Coin to avenge Prim.
  • Heroic Neutral: She really isn't interested in becoming a symbol or sparking a revolution. She just wants to keep her family safe and keep her head down.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: What volunteering for her sister was intended to be, as she knew her chances of getting out of the Games alive were extremely slim. She does make it out, though.
  • High-School Sweethearts: They don't actually attend high school but she and Peeta begin their romance at age sixteen. It lasts for the rest of their lives.
  • Hope Bringer: The reason why President Snow views her as such a threat is that she's given hope to the districts - more hope than Snow is comfortable with, that is.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: One of her biggest flaws. Quite simply, she has a nasty habit of always assuming the worst of everyone she meets when these people, ironically, often end up saving her life and or genuinely caring about her. Her trust issues mostly stem from her childhood trauma of never having anyone to be there for her and in turn having to be there for her younger sister.
  • Icon of Rebellion: The mockingjay pin, and eventually Katniss herself. Both represent something the Capitol tried to twist to their advantage, yet survived and found a way to screw their creator over.
  • Hypocrite: Due to how she was raised, Katniss has a dim view of the Career tributes, considering their prior training unfair to the rest of them. What she fails to consider is that she herself has an unfair advantage because of her hunting skills. 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).
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: All of Panem believes this to be the case during the Quell, courtesy of Peeta.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Katniss consistently manages to hit squirrels in the eyes with her arrows - something that is exceedingly difficult in the least even for experienced archers.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Once she finds out she'll be headed for another Hunger Games in the Quarter Quell, she tries white liquor for the first time.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: Played with. In Catching Fire Peeta more or less moves in to Katniss' bedroom on the Victory Tour and during their Quarter Quell prep week, but even though he's deeply in love with her and she's falling in love with him in return they keep it platonic (if affectionate). As Mockingjay draws to an end it's implied that Peeta moves in and lives with Katniss in her house, sleeping in her bed to help her cope with her bad dreams. While they do end up married with children it's implied that they essentially were just roommates for a while.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Believes that she doesn't deserve the love of someone like Peeta. Haymitch agrees with her.
  • It Gets Easier: Trope personified, as she goes from being concerned about killing for the first time, to Mockingjay in which she kills unarmed people in cold blood while plotting the assassination of Snow; most disturbingly, it gets to the point where she murders an unarmed woman and proceeds to forget about it until she is finally reminded by a TV image of the dead woman; and even then, she brushes it off.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: She's not exactly all smiles. Most people who grow up in the Seam wear them in fact. Most victors, too, for that matter.
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: A deconstruction. She's an Action Girl from humble origins who stands up to oppression to protect a loved one and becomes a beacon of hope for the rebellion. However, off camera she's actually a pragmatic survivor who never really cared about the rebel cause and is in it solely to protect her family. Later on when she starts having visions it's a result of trauma, drug addiction, and possible brain damage rather than any divine inspiration.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She admits herself that she's not very friendly. There are quite a few times throughout the series where she has angry/rude outbursts. But they are often caused by the various stressful situations she's thrown into and the Crapsack World she lives in. Regardless, she still has a kind heart and would sacrifice anything in order to protect the people that she loves.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Believes this to be her relationship with Gale in the first book. Turns out it's not quite so simple. However it remains an unrequited love from Gale's side.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Katniss is a lot like her father but very different from her mother. Her mother is a docile and soft spoken healer and when faced with the death of her husband she completely breaks apart and shuts down. Katniss is driven and energetic, loves being out hunting in the woods but can't stand the sight of injured or sick people and when faced with the loss of the boy she loves she rallies and channels her pain into becoming the figurehead of the revolution. They do have one big thing in common though - both fell deeply in love with a man from their opposite social standing and started a family with him, something Katniss initially swore she would never do.
  • Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: Falls in love with Peeta Mellark who is her neighbor for about a year.
  • Love Hurts: One of the two main reasons why she's so reluctant to admit to herself that she's falling in love. She ends up being proven right, too. The loss of Peeta's love in the third book hurts her very deeply.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Believes this because of the way her mother completely broke down when she became a widow.
  • Mandatory Motherhood: It's implied that President Snow expects her to bear Peeta's children as a means of being able to control her.
  • Master Archer: Katniss is an extremely talented archer, having grown up hunting in the wilderness. She doesn't think much of it at first, but Peeta praises her as being so skilled she can consistently hit a deer or even a squirrel in the eyes so that it dies without the arrow tearing through the edible bits.
  • Meaningful Name: Katniss is a real plant. Its common name is "Arrowhead" (and its scientific name is Sagittaria, which means 'archer' in Latin).
  • Nature Lover: Loves being out in the woods and spends as much time there as possible.
  • No Social Skills: Something that Haymitch frequently mocks Katniss over is her lack of people skills.
  • Not Afraid to Die: In book two she intends to sacrifice herself to save Peeta and in book three she actually wants to die due to losing Peeta's love, and later Prim dying.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Spends most of the third book being in talks to get in line with the revolution.
  • Oblivious to Love: Cannot see that Gale and Peeta clearly love her until they outright state it to her. Even for Peeta, it took some time for her to realize after he blatantly says it.
  • One True Love: In the last chapter of Mockingjay she implies that she feels this way, stating that she and Peeta ending up together would have happened anyway, with or without the Hunger Games and the rebellion.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Peeta likes watching her sleep because she doesn't scowl when she's sleeping.
  • Plagued by Nightmares: Katniss and the rest of the victors seem plagued by them, although Katniss has long had recurring nightmares about her father's death.
  • Promotion to Parent: After their father died and their mother sank into depression, Katniss had to step up to the plate herself to take care of Prim.
  • Pull the I.V.: Katniss has a tendency to pull out an IV whenever it is put into her, in at least one instance because she wanted to die on her own terms.
  • Punny Name: An archer named after a plant also known as arrowhead.
  • Rebellious Rebel: She doesn't exactly agree with Coin on a few matters, to the point where she ends up killing Coin at the end of Mockingjay. When asked to become a mascot for the rebels, she only accepts after setting some terms to keep Peeta safe. Her inability to follow orders is a major underpinning of the third novel.
  • Red Baron: Starting in the first book, she's known as the "Girl on Fire" because of her entrance in the Tribute parade. Afterward it becomes "Mockingjay".
  • Retired Badass: Withdraws to District 12 after surviving the Hunger Games and the war and wants nothing but peace and normalcy.
  • Roguish Poacher: Illegal hunting to feed starving family and stick it to The Man? Check.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: Keeping Katniss alive is of paramount importance to the rebels because she is 'The Mockingjay' - she managed to survive all attempts the Capitol made to kill her, turning her into a Symbol Of Rebellion.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: A different interpretation of the word "connections" in this case, but the reason she hasn't been tossed in a cell for illegally hunting the District 12 wildlife isn't because of any particular skill at evading the Peacemakers. It's because the Peacemakers are also her customers.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: A plant rather than animal version, but most readers probably don't know what katniss is before they read the books.
  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: Her goal in "Catching Fire" is to save Peeta at the cost of her own life and she's well aware that by martyring herself she might be of better use to the rebellion than if she lives.
  • Shout-Out: Her surname serves as one to Bathsheba Everdene from Thomas Hardy's Far from the Madding Crowd.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Under instructions from President Snow, she and Peeta act like this during the Victory Tour in an attempt to distract the districts from the rising feeling of rebellion. It doesn't work.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Appears to be this for Peeta. She kisses two boys throughout the series but only feels sexual attraction to one of them, enters into a committed relationship with him at around the age of eighteen and spends the rest of her life with him. While she notes that other men around her (for example Finnick) are attractive she never seems to be sexually drawn to them herself.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: This becomes the reason why she ultimately chooses Peeta over Gale.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: "Sugar" to Prim and Gale, "ice" to pretty much everyone else, including her mother. But she warms up to her and a few more people over the course of the trilogy.
  • Too Desperate to Be Picky: At eleven years old, when her family was running out of food and money and about to starve to death, she tried searching through the trash bins of the District 12 shops to find something that would keep her family alive. She was shouted at by Mrs. Mellark, who threatened to call the Peacekeepers if she didn't leave.
  • Too Much Alike: One of the reasons why Katniss never falls in love with Gale is that they are too much alike, both having a lot of fire and passion and anger, and she needs somebody with a different mindset than her own to balance her out.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Lamb stew with dried plums. Also Peeta's cheese buns.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Keeps the pearl Peeta gave her and spends a lot of time holding it in her hand in Mockingjay. She even kisses it at one point, pretending she's kissing Peeta.
  • True Companions: With Peeta and Haymitch. She even refers to Haymitch as part of her family in "Catching Fire".
  • Tyrannicide: She kills President Coin after realising she and Snow were Not So Different.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: By the time she realizes she's in love with Peeta he's been brainwashed into thinking she's a mutt out to kill him. So he tries to strangle her. Ouch. This leaves her... rather bitter, to say the least.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Present, lampshaded, and part of the symbolism. A mockingjay is a powerful symbol to the rebels, but it's also a bird that can't sing its own songs, relying on what others sing to it.
  • Useless Spleen: Loses hers in the third book.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Has no qualms whatsoever killing anyone she perceives to be a threat to Peeta in Catching Fire.
  • Weapon of Choice: What else but a bow?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Imposes this on herself a few times, most notably in Mockingjay when, after killing the unarmed woman, Katniss notes how she's graduated to killing unarmed civilians, and also notes in passing that she's become so accustomed to killing that she forgot all about taking the woman's life.
  • Wreathed in Flames:
    • Her entire public image is built around fire imagery after her debut at the 74th Games. It backfires on her repeatedly.
    • And literally applied when she is caught up in the explosion that kills Prim.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Regarding Prim and later Peeta. While base survival is always on Katniss's mind, a major portion of the reason she wants to win the first Hunger Games is because she doesn't want to leave Prim alone in the world.
  • You Got Spunk: When volunteering for her sister at the reaping, Haymitch announces drunkenly that he likes how she's got lots of spunk.

    Peeta Mellark
"I just keep wishing I could think of a way to show them that they don't own me. If I'm gonna die, I wanna still be me. Does it make any sense?"

Drawn to go along to the arena with Katniss, Peeta is the baker's son and thus a member of the merchant class in District 12. He also happens to be completely head-over-heels for Katniss, which, it would seem, is his bad luck.

  • Abusive Parents:
    • His mother beats him and calls him "you stupid creature." At one point Katniss refers to her as a witch. Catching Fire implies that she also has whipped him, with Katniss being unfamiliar with the sound of a whip but Peeta quickly recognizing it when they hear it.
    • His father is described in much better terms, alhough being a Useless Bystander Parent nonetheless. Still, he does allow his deeply traumatized sixteen-year-old son, whose heart has just been broken and who's just had his leg amputated, to leave home and move into a house in a different part of town, all by himself. If nothing else, Papa Mellark is guilty of abuse via emotional (and arguably physical) neglect.
  • Accidental Murder: Twice. Picks the nightlock berries that kill Foxface in the first book. In the third he fights off a member of the star squad, sending him flying into a pod that kills him.
  • Act of True Love: Katniss spends most of the first book believing that Peeta will, or is at least willing to, kill her to survive the Hunger Games. In the climax, she acts on this assumption when she sees him reaching down, presumably for a weapon, and points her own at him. It turns out he's unbandaging his leg, so that he will bleed to death, saving Katniss. When he unwraps the bandage, she realizes his true intentions and sincere care for her.
  • All Abusers Are Male: Averted. His mother is an Abusive Parent while his father is implied to be a Useless Bystander Parent.
  • Amnesiac Lover: In Mockingjay. He's not completely amnesiac, but he does forget that he loves Katniss.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Averted. It doesn't seem to bother him in the slightest that his left leg was amputated.
  • Art Attacker: Before the Quarter Quell Peeta uses his solo session with the gamemakers to paint an image of Rue covered in flowers, to hold them responsible for her death.
  • Artificial Limbs: A prosthetic left leg which he learns to walk on within days after amputation and seems to be able to run on with no trouble within a few months.
  • Ax-Crazy: When he's been hijacked in Mockingjay he becomes violently homicidal.
  • Badass Pacifist: While he partakes in two Hunger Games and the rebellion, he is a pacifist by nature and advocates diplomacy over violence. While he is pragmatic enough to take a life when his own depends upon it, he only does so as a last resort. But while he is mild-tempered and gentle, he can definitely hold his own in close combat and even kills Brutus, one of the toughest competitors, during the Quarter Quell.
  • Berserk Button: Just don't mention Katniss to him in the third book. And especially don't leave her in the same room with him.
  • The Berserker: Becomes this in "Mockingjay" as he has multiple violent outbursts that causes him to attack friend or foe like the berserkers of the old that flew into a rage and could not tell who they were fighting.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Peeta's kills in the 74th game are a Mercy Kill and accidentally killing someone who was Too Clever by Half, not counting any potential kills he had at the Cornucopia. In the 75th game, Brutus, probably the most dangerous enemy Victor, kills Chaff, and Peeta loses his shit and kills Brutus in retaliation. This all happens offscreen, so we never get the details of what exactly he did beyond going into a fit of rage.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: In Mockingjay, he gets hijacked while being held hostage by the Capitol, which brainwashes him into going into a homicidal rage whenever he sees Katniss.
  • Break Them by Talking: Manages this in his Quarter Quell interview. He is highly skilled when it comes to manipulating a crowd with his words and in this case he claims to have married Katniss and that she is pregnant with their love child in order to win her support in the Games. Not only does he accomplish that but gets the Capitol audience so upset that some of them cry for the Games to be stopped.
  • Catchphrase: "Real or not real?"
  • The Charmer: His strongest quality is his ability to win over the audience, and even his fellow tributes, with his magnetic personality and ability to improvise with his words. He and interview host Ceasar quickly find jokes and ways to amuse the audience during his interviews.
  • City Mouse: Being from District 12's merchant class, he has little in the way of survival skills during the 74th Games, besides his ability to camouflage himself, and is really bad at sneaking around.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Katniss assumes that since Peeta grew up a merchant kid he doesn't know starvation like she does. She is surprised to find out that he rarely had enough to eat either and that the only bread they got to have was the stale, tasteless bread they could no longer sell.
  • Courtly Love: His affections for Katniss has strong aspects of this. He's deeply in love with her, has no real hope that she'll return his feelings (he thinks she's in love with Gale) yet is still willing to both kill and die for her. He plays the role of lover in public but is remarkably chaste with her in private. Even when she lets him into her bed and sleeps in his arms he never tries to so much as kiss her.
  • Death of Personality: In "Mockingjay". Johanna refers to him post-hijacking as "the evil version of" himself.
  • Demoted to Extra: In Mockingjay. In the previous two books he was part of the main cast, but because of his imprisonment by the Capitol and the time he spends recovering afterward, he spends most of this book off-screen and doesn't really see much action until near the third act.
  • Determinator: Perhaps not in the classic won't-stay-down-in-a-fight way, but Peeta's desire to remain himself and protect Katniss allowed him to push through the Capitol's brainwashing long enough to warn District 13 of an impending attack—a warning that saved many lives, including Prim and Gale. Later, he is able to recover from hijacking, something that nobody could be sure was even possible.
  • Deuteragonist: Of the first two books. In them, he has the most focus of any character other than Katniss. Gale takes over in book 3.
  • Did They or Didn't They?: In "Mockingjay" he and Katniss have a sex scene that's so discreet it left many wondering if they had sex at all.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Loses his left leg in the first book, and has a prosthetic for the rest of the series.
  • Distressed Dude: Is taken hostage by the Capitol at the end of Catching Fire and held prisoner throughout a part of Mockingjay.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: He may have known Katniss since the age of five but he only actually interacted with her once before being reaped with her and never speaks to her until they've become tributes. All the same he's so determined to die for her survival's sake that Haymitch notes it's not even worth trying to save Peeta in the arena.
  • Dying as Yourself: Subverted. It's what Peeta wants. He tells Katniss that if he's going to die in the arena, he doesn't want the Games to change who he is. In "Mockingjay" he asks the Star Squad to kill him while he's in-between hijack attacks, but they refuse.
  • Fake Memories: After being hijacked at the hands of Snow's goons most of his memories pertaining to Katniss and the events of the previous two books have been altered. Gradually he begins to be able to tell fake memories apart from real ones but the effects are implied to last to some degree for the rest of his life.
  • Famed in Story: Becomes a huge celebrity after the 74th Games.
  • Family of Choice: Never seems particularly close with his biological family but forms a very close bond with Katniss and Haymitch.
  • First Guy Wins: Katniss met Peeta first, he declared his feelings for her first and she never did develop romantic feelings for Gale.
  • Flirting Under Fire: Builds a romance with Katniss during the Hunger Games.
  • Flower Motifs: Katniss associates him with dandelions, spring flowers that represent hope, life and renewal.
  • Fighting from the Inside: After being hijacked by the Capitol, his real self struggles to show through.
    "How do you think this will end? What will be left? No one is safe. Not in the Capitol. Not in the districts. And you... In Thirteen... Dead by morning!"
  • Generation Xerox: The story goes that Peeta's father once fell in Love at First Sight with Katniss' mother, and later pointed Katniss out to Peeta.
  • Good Is Not Dumb: Peeta is kind, patient, and three steps ahead when it comes to manipulating the on-camera narrative.
  • Good Is Not Soft: His views on the game is that he will kill for survival but he won't try to let that change who he is.
  • Graceful Loser: Ties in with I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy. Volunteers to be a tribute in the Quarter Quell to ensure that Katniss can survive and be with Gale.
  • Guile Hero: He may be a load physically, but he's saved Katniss a lot of problems by being a big fat liar.
    • As such, he transforms into quite the Magnificent Bastard when he is brainwashed in Mockingjay.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Kind, gentle, sweet blonde to Katniss' and Haymitch's bitter, cynical, stoic brunette.
  • Handicapped Badass: Loses his left leg in the first book yet remains rather badass.
  • Happily Married: Oddly, in spite of everything he and Katniss with both having gone through massive amounts of dysfunction junction, being saddled with tons psychological trauma from going through the games twice, losing almost everyone they are close to, participating in and being the figureheads of a revolution that nearly destroys what little remains of human civilization, and, in Peeta's case, Cold-Blooded Torture and mind rape, Katniss and he still seem to end up this way. In fact, it is heavily implied that the only reason either of them is still functional is because of the other. The same goes for Haymitch, in a non romantic way.
  • Heroic Willpower: He is the only known case of a person recovering from hijacking and he does it almost entirely on his own, through sheer force of will.
  • High-School Sweethearts: They don't attend school after the 74th Games, but he and Katniss are 16/17 when they begin their relationship and they go on to love each other for the rest of their lives.
  • Hope Bringer: An act that Peeta was completely unaware of at the time but his giving bread to Katniss in their first encounter actual restored her will to live when she was on the brink of being a Death Seeker.
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Embodies this to Katniss, which is one of the reasons why she loves him.
  • Innocent Cohabitation: For all intents and purposes moves in to Katniss' bedroom during the Victory Tour and the Quarter Quell prep week but even though he's deeply in love with her he doesn't pressure her to make it more than platonic. After the war it's implied that he moves in to Katniss' house (and sleeps in her bed) and it stays platonic until it doesn't anymore... and they become lifelong romantic partners and parents of at least two children.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Paints pretty pictures, decorates cakes, bakes flower-shaped cookies, prefers diplomacy to violence, wears his heart on his sleeve...
  • It Meant Something to Me: The made up romance he and Katniss portrayed in the first Hunger Games was very real to him, and it leaves the first novel with a Downer Ending for him.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: His plan in Catching Fire is to get Katniss through the Quarter Quell at the expense of his own life, so she can be with her family and even marry Gale.
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: On a few occasions in the first and third book. It's implied that his crush on Katniss developed into full-blown infatuation when she refused to leave him during the 74th Games even though he was close to dying from sepsis and fully aware that he was The Load to her at that point.
  • Literally Loving Thy Neighbor: Is in love with Katniss and gets to live next door to her after winning the 74th Hunger Games.
  • The Load: Downplayed example. He ends up not being able to do much 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. Still, he greatly helps Katniss win over sponsors with the romantic storyline they play up for the audience's benefit, and he ends up accidentally taking out one of their opponents by leaving out poisoned berries she steals and eats.
    • 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, though that was his fault for just casually hacking through the plants and not bothering to be more mindful of his surroundings, so he walked right into the barrier), and it's Peeta that ends up startling the monkey mutts into attacking himself, Katniss and Finnick. However the rest of the time he's either 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.
  • Love at First Note: Peeta first took note of Katniss when they were five, when his father pointed her out. Peeta's father originally wanted to marry Katniss's mother, but she fell in love with a miner, because when he sang, even the birds would listen. On the first day of school, the teacher asked if anyone knew a folk song, and Katniss's hand shot right up. When she sang, even the birds stopped to listen — and at that moment, Peeta was a goner. He's been in love with Katniss ever since.
  • Mandatory Fatherhood: It's heavily implied that President Snow expects him to father children by Katniss. Once the war is over and the Games have been abolished he voluntarily has them. In fact, the reason why Katniss changes her mind about children is because Peeta wants them so badly.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's very good at leading the interviews with Caesar, charming the audience and dropping bombshells designed to make the Capitol sympathetic to himself and Katniss, like revealing he has been in love with Katniss for years or lying and telling them Katniss is pregnant just before the Quarter Quell in hopes they will cancel the games or at the very least pull her out. They don't, but he tried.
  • Martial Pacifist: A pacifist at heart who doesn't want to see more bloodshed, yet he can be deadly when he feels the need to be.
  • Meaningful Name: Two-fold. Peeta sounds like it's an evolved version of Peter, who was Christ's rock. It also sounds like pita bread. Peeta is Katniss' rock and, well, he bakes.
  • Minored in Ass-Kicking: He's very strong, a wrestler, skilled with a knife, holds his own at the Cornucopia and against Cato and kills Brutus, one of the toughest tributes in the Quarter Quell. All the same he prefers diplomacy to violence and only uses force when his life, or Katniss', is on the line. He does most of his damage through being a Magnetic Hero and a master of the Wham Line.
  • Nice Guy: His kindness and compassion for others is his defining trait.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: The noble male to Gale's roguish male. He is gentle, kind, chivalrous, has quite the way with words and advocates diplomacy over violence (even, at times, during the actual Hunger Games).
  • Non-Action Guy: Played with. He's said to excel at hand-to-hand combat in the training prior to the Games and, in the Games themselves, participated in several fights. However, his physical feats are mostly off-screen and the rest of the time, he's more of a talker and less of a fighter.
  • Not Afraid to Die: In fact he intends to do so at various points in all three books. It makes him stand out during the 74th Hunger Games, him apparently being the first tribute to fight for someone else's survival instead of his own. Whether this is The Dulcinea Effect at play or if he simply knows he cannot win and wants his death to do some good is up for debate. In the second book it's I Want My Beloved to Be Happy through and through. In the third, he simply doesn't want to live as the monster he believes he's been turned into.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Peeta did stay to fight it out in the opening bloodbath at the Cornucopia in the 74th Games and apparently did some serious fighting- enough to get some bad cuts and a limp. Whatever he did, the Careers did decide to team up with him after seeing him in action and even Cato compliments his skill with a knife.
    • He also kills Brutus off screen.
  • One True Love: At the end of Mockingjay Katniss implies that she feels he is this for her, saying that the two of them ending up together "would have happened anyway". He most certainly seems to feel that way about her in return, telling her in Catching Fire that she is his whole life.
  • Punny Name: Peeta the baker. His name is a pun on "pita," a type of bread. Fandom loves to speculate on what his brothers' names are...
  • Resist the Beast: By the time he becomes aware of how much he's been changed in Mockingjay he begins to view himself as a mutt and loathes what he has become. Ashamed of what he now is, and fearing that he might hurt Katniss (or other members of the Star Squad as collateral damage) he asks the others to kill him. When they don't comply he refuses to let them remove his handcuffs and uses the pain from wearing them as a method of keeping sane.
  • Retired Badass: At the end of the books he goes back to his home district and wants nothing more for the rest of his life than to be with Katniss and eventually raise a family with her.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: President Coin feels it's more important to save Peeta than Katniss in the Quell. In the third book she arranges for Peeta's rescue from the Capitol because Katniss cannot perform as the Mockingjay with Peeta in harm's way, making this trope apply by extension.
  • Self-Sacrifice Scheme: Has no intention whatsoever of trying to win either one of the two Hunger Games he participates in, and every move of his is designed to help save Katniss instead.
  • 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.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: He temporarily sided with the Careers in the first Games. He later teamed up with Katniss and stayed with her for the rest of the Games.
  • Smart People Play Chess: He's seen playing chess with Haymitch in Catching Fire.
  • The Social Expert: Peeta can play the crowds like a harp, and it's arguably his greatest talent.
  • Spanner in the Works: Peeta manages to be this to everyone by virtue of wanting to remain himself, rather than doing his best to survive the games at the cost of his humanity. His confession, and later Katniss going along with it, triggers the rule change that allows both of them to win. His determination to make sure Katniss survives messes with the rebellion's plans during the Quarter Quell, when he refuses to let Haymitch go into the arena, and claiming Katniss was pregnant led to unrest in the very Capitol at the worst possible time for Snow. And then during the rebellion, Snow and Coin both try to use Peeta as a time bomb to kill Katniss, only for him to respond by recovering from his hijacking through pure willpower, something never done before.
  • Stealth Pun: A guy named Peeta who works at a bakery. Pita bread.
  • Survival Mantra: "Not real, not real, not real, not real..."
  • Technical Pacifist: Before conflict arises, he will try to go the path that involves the least amount of bloodshed.
  • Sweet Baker: He comes from a family of bakers and who Katniss thinks of him "the boy with the bread". He's also a sensitive, empathetic, and idealistic character who truly loves Katniss.
  • Through Her Stomach: Katniss really likes cheese buns.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: He takes a keen professional interest in bread.
  • True Companions: With Haymitch and Katniss. The third book implies something similar between him, Johanna and Annie but in a quite twisted way.
  • Useless Bystander Parent: Everyone seems to think his father was a nice, kind-hearted man but it's strongly implied that he never interfered when his wife physically and verbally abused their sons.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Lampshaded and subverted. Peeta is a talented artist thanks to his experience decorating cakes at the bakery, but his skill doesn't seem so useful at first in a situation where people are trying to kill each other. Katniss snarks "If only you could frost someone to death." Turns out Cake Decorating Is An Awesome Power when it helps his camouflage skills.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When truly angered Peeta will lose all restraints and fly into a berserker rage. Played straight when he gets hijacked he becomes homicidal and gets a significant rage boost which increases his strength and his urge to brutally attack friend or foe.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Peeta is the closest character in the series to having Charles Atlas Super Power (due to having grown up lugging massive sacks of flour), but lacks the Killer Instinct to effectively use it. During the actual training sessions before the games, Katniss notes that Peeta excels at hand-to-hand combat. In comparison, Peeta has less actual experience in the wilderness.
  • Uptown Guy: A member of the merchant class who's in love with a girl from the Seam. Once they're both victors they're on equal social standing, though.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Willingly goes back into the arena to try and protect Katniss in "Catching Fire" even though he still suffers from PTSD and terrible nightmares after surviving the previous one.

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