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The Games themselves

     What is the origin of the "Hunger Games" name? 
  • I've only seen the film (so far) so I'm hoping this is explained in the books. Why exactly are the games called "The Hunger Games"? That's an awfully specific name so there has to be a specific reason for it. Right?
    • The name stems from the backstory of Panem: hunger crisis, war, then rebellion. USA and its successor state Panem were plagued by famine which drastically reduced the population.
    • Not really. There's any number of connections we can make — most prominently, the fact that victors become stinking rich and therefore get to escape the daily starvation that plagues the districts. But it's never spelled out directly.
    • Another possibility is because of the fact that if you put your name into the lottery additional times, the Capitol will give you a ration of grain and cooking oil, alleviating some of the hunger for the very poor.
    • If hunger was a part of the "Hunger Games", the careers would be trained to hunt for food themselves. Katniss mentions that the careers only tend to win if they have access to the supplies at the cornucopia (that's the main reason why she blows it up). If the careers can consistently win while not being trained to find their own food, then hunger and food can't be that important to winning.
      • Well, there's another connection in itself: The people who get the food from the Cornucopia are the people most likely to win. The others have to battle hunger as much as they battle each other.
      • You don't name the entire competition after something that most victors won't have to deal with. If avoiding and managing your hunger was the best way to win, then "the Hunger Games" would be a good name. The careers, however, win often and without knowing how to hunt and forage. Clearly, the Games value the ability to murder over the ability to find food. Naming the competition "the Murder Games" or something like that would be more appropriate.
      • Well, it doesn't really matter what actually happens in the games as long as the intention of the inventors were actual "Hunger Games". Killing the children by depriving them of food or using hunger as a major component to force them into a fight, because killing other tributes is the only way to get out of the games before they starve might have been the goal back then. On top of that, we never find out what happened in the first years The Hunger Games took place. It's very likely that, without any frame of reference, the first tributes didn't start killing each other until the very end of the game when others had already been taken out by hunger, dehydration or infection (which would also explain the high percentage of those causes of death mentioned in the training sessions). Besides, it's very likely that the concept of training tributes to volunteer was developed much later, probably leading to fewer killings in the earlier years.
    • I always thought it was a play-on-word type deal to go hand and hand with name 'Panem'. The gladiator games of Rome are now referred to as "panem et circenses" (or "bread and circuses") which was a tactic to appease the masses with free food and bloodsport. Now, with that in mind, look at the Capitol: overflowing with food to the point where people vomit it all up just to eat more and filled with people who can't get enough of watching children slaughter each other like it's no big deal. Bread and circuses.

     How did the hunger games start? 
  • How did it come to sending children to fight to the death? I understand the point the government was trying to make by attempting to keep the public simultaneously terrorized and pacified but children?! No one thought that this could backfire horribly? No one thought that forcing people to sacrifice their children could foster some kind of latent Mama Bear or Papa Wolf tenancies that might lead to rebellion? This is the level of needless, deliberate cruelty the Evil Overlord List warns against! You can call me Pollyanna, say I'm crazy as a loon but how did the games last this long without some kind uproar?
    • To answer these questions, one has to literally think of how this whole competition would happen, starting from the top. The books state that the hunger games was a response to a rebellion which was a response to the governmental tyranny which came after a series of wars and natural disasters destroyed the world. So, starting from the top, there were a bunch of wars and natural disasters that wiped out the population. The people who survived very likely had become cold-blooded and hardened due to all the things they experienced in that time. And one of these heartless people rose up from the ashes and decided to reform a government, name himself ruler, create districts, and exploit all those underneath him. Now, it's most likely that there was no negotiation going on here. It's not like the districts would agree to subjugation. A guy wanted to rule, so he went out and ruled, and end of discussion. So... moving on... after what would probably have been few decades' time, his rule was challenged, the districts rebelled, they lost, and then the government had to decide what to do. Now once again, it's most likely that there was no negotiation going on. I doubt that the government gathered around a table and decided that creating a deathmatch was the best thing to do. It's most likely that the dude who was on top just went, "How dare those districts defy me! I'm going to teach them a lesson!" And the hunger games was born, end of discussion. I say all this to say, it doesn't matter whether anybody thought that the hunger games would be a bad idea or not. Of course, there were obviously people who did think it was a bad idea (or else there wouldn't have been a Capitol resistance in the books), but they had no say in whether the games would continue or not. The games are run by a dictator.
    • You're not alone. I couldn't help but groan at how stereotypically evil and Genre Blind some of the Capitol's acts were. You'd think that just after getting over a civil war, the best they could do would be to not start a tradition most likely to create bad sentiment towards their leaders, but no. They start up an event purely made to gloat over all the districts. Also, almost every reason Katniss joined the rebels was due to something the Capitol had recently started. Instead of letting the girl off with a simple warning in her mind, they had to push her and push her until she ended up doing what they feared the most. God, it's a wonder how Panem lasted this long.
    • I think the cruelty towards children is actually pretty realistic. Just think about history of real life. In the Holocaust, for example, most Nazis had no problem gassing children and there was even a case of Jewish babies in a Ghetto getting thrown out of third story windows. The government in the Hunger Games has its own sick justification for killing.
    • Except the Nazis didn't parade this fact in front of all of the invaded countries, it's not like they forced Belgium and France to watch Jewish children slowly die. And where the Capitol lasted for over 75 years, the Third Reich was ambushed and defeated before it could even reach one-sixth of that time span (and even if the Allies weren't there, Hitler would have either died from an eventual successful assassin or have his regime collapse under its own weight). While child cruelty is realistic, it's also an easy way to incite irreparable backlash that can and will lead to revolts. And you'd think that since Snow and the rest might have some semblance of previous history, they'd be genre savvy enough to know when to avoid the pitfalls of other dictators.
      • I think a point that needs to be considered here is that once the ball got rolling, it couldn't be stopped. Snow knows how feeble a structure the hunger games is. He mentions it at the beginning of Catching Fire. But even if Snow is genre savvy, what is he to do in his position? He inherited the games, and getting rid of them would turn the Capitol against him. He had no choice but to continue them even though he knew they would cause things to crumble. The games probably lasted as long as they did because, at their inception, they probably weren't nearly as bad an idea as we see they are in the 74th and 75th. The first one probably just looked like a bit of cruel fun that was easy to control and maintain, since the districts had just come off of a failed rebellion. But once the the population started growing, things got harder. And by the 74th one, Snow clearly realized that things were getting out of hand - there was just nothing he could do to stop it, though he tried the best he could.
    • Dystopia Is Hard.
    • The whole point of the Hunger Games (from my understanding at least, I've only read the first one so far) was that the Capitol has such power over the districts that they can take away their children and have them kill each other for entertainment (not to mention completely wiping out District 13). They didn't think that the Hunger Games would lead to rebellion because the whole point was to show off they could do whatever they want and the districts would have to accept it, or be nuked. Also, real world dictators don't always make good decisions or look at the mistakes of others. (Hitler invaded Russia in winter, just like Napoleon.)
      • The problem with the Hunger Games is that it utterly misrepresents food politics and police states by two measures: first and foremost, the purpose of food power for a plebeian class is to cripple the economy. By starving the Districts, the Capitol is not only creating unnecessary economic problems (ergo, they could actually be more powerful) but they're stewing totally unnecessary resentment. This is why countries prefer to use food power as a "carrot-and-stick" to other countries, and not within themselves, ex. the Cuban embargo. Second, police states typically promise something in exchange for their totalitarianism... the lower class never wanders blindly into it, they're always given something in return, such as how communist states have incredible literacy rates/amounts of doctors or how older autocracies could promise protection from outside threats. Also, Napoleon invaded Russia in June. Operation Barbarossa began in the same month.
      • It's not a story about food power, it's about a girl going up against a totalitarian state
      • The thing the districts got in return for the police state is, "You get to not die."
      • Except many of them do. It still comes off as stupid for the Capitol to enact laws whose only message is "Hey, districts! We're evil and we will keep killing your kids no matter what unless you somehow happen to join together and topple us! But that's never gonna happen, now is it!" Being cruel is one thing, but it's another when all that cruelty is ensured to backfire at every opportunity.
      • Well, maybe the Hunger Games weren't meant to last forever. After all, there would be no reason to call the 25th, 50th, and 75th H.G.'s Quarter Quells if they weren't actually quarters of the total. So maybe the Hunger Games were only intended to be around a hundred years. But if that were the case, it would only have helped their cause if they'd told the districts this, so who knows?
      • Nope. In response to the above troper's comment, I found this little gem for you from pg. 172 of Catching Fire: "The little boy in white steps forward, holding out the box as he opens the lid. We can see the tidy, upright rows of yellowed envelopes. Whoever devised the Quarter Quell system had prepared for centuries of Hunger Games."
      • You're kidding right? the games fell after 75 years, the person who thought up the games was a moron since it LEADS to the downfall of things.
      • The Evil Overlord list isn't even the oldest source of "what not to do" - look the The Prince. While Machiavelli argues that it's better to be feared than loved (if you can't have both) he also says that he you have to do it without inspiring hate. Forcing people's children to kill each other? That'll cook up a lot of hate.
    • As far as the people of the twelve Districts know as of the beginning of the first book, District 13 was wiped off the map and the Capitol could do the same thing to them, if they rebel again. The Hunger Games serves as a yearly reminder of the consequences of a second uprising - "we're letting you off easy by only taking two kids a year, if we wanted to, we could destroy you" - and it also gives the people of the District something to hope for as well as something to fear. They can hope that the odds will be in their favour, and that they and their loved ones will escape the reaping, and they can also hope that one of their tributes will be the Victor, and that they will reap the rewards of their victory. It also serves to cement divisions between the Districts, and between people within a District thanks to the tesserae system.
    • Think of what happened when they put adult competitors into the arena: a rebellion was instantly formed. Making adults go into the arena, say anyone over 21 would immidiately be a risk of people who are too strong, smart and experiences would get together and find a way to break out. Most teenagers (except careers) arn't trained in weapon use or real survival skills, adults might be, risking rebellion. And it may be more interesting to watch people with similar skill levels (none) fight it out, than strong miners, clever weapon technicians etc. Also, by putting a time limit, people will think "if i just survive six years i'm safe" and be more complicit. Also, also, as we see with Katniss, people will go to insane lengths to protect their own. if adults were in the hunger games, they would have nothing to lose, so a rebellion might be formed quicker, while as people would be afraid to rebel because of what failure could mean for their children. And wiping out two heads of families from each district could be disastrous. The Capitol might not want that.
      • The thing that incited the rebellion wasn't putting adults into the arena. It was Katniss and Peeta both winning the game. It showed that you could rebel against the Capitol without dying in the process.
    • One must remember this is implied to be After the End, so a) they don't have any point of comparison as to what they want instead and b) The cost of a failed rebellion is the extinction of the human race, so they basically have free reign, at least until someone successfully cheats the system like Katniss and Peeta did. Also, the point is moot since it did end up falling anyway.
    • I got the impression that not all the districts were totally against the games. The Career districts considered it an "honor" to participate. And in Mockingjay, when rebellion broke out, some of the Districts were actively supporting the Capitol. Maybe to some, the Games weren't seen as a horrible ordeal, but as the Capitol intended: like a honorable, glorious competition that you'd win or die trying, thereby bringing honor to your district.

     What are the rules of the Hunger Games? 
  • Maybe this is because I've only seen the movie and not the books, but are the rules of the Hunger Games ever pointed out? Like why they fight each other at all? Since the Capitol clearly has the power to create hazards pretty much at will I'm mildly amazed that the kids don't just all team up and see how long they can survive wave after wave of whatever the computer can cook up. Sure just like in any survival scenario they'd lose but I'd rather be the last man standing of the twenty four people who stood together and died like champs than the last survivor who murdered a bunch of people who'd never done anything to me and whose sole crime was losing the lottery.
    • The intro of the first movie explains it. Also, if all the tributes would conspire to refuse fighting, the game makers would kill them one by one to enforce the rule to fight. Fighting gives a tribute more control over his life than waiting to get blown up by the game maker.
    • Well, there's not really a rule, but you have to consider the following (some of which isn't really made explicit by the movie, I think): The people living in different districts have literally no contact with each other. The one and only time people from different districts are together are the games. (In the books, Katniss learns a lot about district 11 from Rue.) Forming a bond under those conditions is difficult. It appears that there's some kind of unspoken agreement to not kill each other if you're from one district (well, it's not absolute, it could be different in other districts, especially if they're so big that you don't even know the other tribute), but that's it. Before the games, they can prepare a little. But can they actually form such a bond? It would involve trust, and I think that's a really difficult thing to achieve. In the end, there's only one rule, and that is: One survives. This means that - whether you regard them as such or not - everybody is your enemy. And what if somebody doesn't play fair in a group of 24 people? Who's to say that someone doesn't just kill everybody in their sleep, because they trust each other so much? If the group was smaller, then, MAYBE, it would work. But in a group of 24 strangers? Also, consider the Careers (the group of kids in the movie that ran around as if they owned the place). For them, it's a big honour to win a game, and people volunteer a lot in those districts. They've trained to kill their entire lives. Just sitting it out wouldn't be very honourable, would it? And in the end, everybody is their own person, who might have their own reasons to survive apart from surviving. For the Careers, it's honour. For Katniss, it's her family. If everybody was like Peeta, who didn't really have any reason to survive (which sounds cold, but for the purpose of the argument...) then maybe it would work. Anyway, if you're interested in slightly different dynamics, I'm sure that you might like the second book.
    • If they pulled that strategy, a lot of the deaths would be up to random chance. When Katniss cut the tracker jacker nest, Glimmer died and the others survived not because she was less competent than the others, but because she was unlucky. It wouldn't take long before one of the sneakier tributes decided to improve their chances by sabotaging the others.
    • Unfortunately I haven't yet read the books myself, but according to The Other Wiki the only hard and fast rules are "don't step off the platform before the gong sounds to start the Games". And apparently there's an unspoken "no cannibalism" rule as well. Any other rules (including There Can Only Be One) can be changed or made up on the spot if the Game controller thinks it would make for good tv.
    • I also found it very much implied that if they did that there was a good chance that the Capitol might take it out on their families for depriving them of their entertainment and so blatantly defying that the Capitol was in control.
      • I read a fanfic where the author included a reflection on the third Hunger Games where the Tributes decided not to fight and the Capitol dropped severed body parts from the Tributes' families into the Arena until they continued to fight; it might not be canon, but that's certainly something the Capitol would do.

     How much do the Games cost? 
  • The cost of the Games. Every year a new arena is built, tons of Peacekeeps are sent around the country, and the movie shows us how mandatory attendance is done, bringing even more people to each district to track this. For several weeks the entire country effectively stops, forced to watch the Games, which requires 24 hours TV screens, both in the square and personal devices as we see in the movie, likely provided by the Capitol. In addition to this is the nearly unlimited travel, food, wardrobe and training of 24 teenagers, their mentors and escorts. Just around the Games you have a trainer at the many stations, at least a dozen Gamemakers watching them, as well as the entire television crew behind Caeser. Once the Games get started you add even more people controlling the Games, the forcefield around the arena, the weapons inside the Games. Even after all this is the Victory Tour with 13 new outfits, the house in Victor's Village and lifetime supply of food and money to the victor and a year's worth of food to the District. Even with the money gained from gifts and arena tours, it would seem the Games would be too much of a money sink to be worth their while, unless all of the Gamemakers, Peacemakers, television crew, arena builders, etc., are doing it because if they don't they'll be killed, which seems a much more effective tool for letting the country know you're in control than having kids kill each other, or there is an obscene Hunger Games tax, which seems like a more likely reason to revolt than 23 random kids dying every year.
    • The Capitol can make money off of the Games by charging for sending gifts, acting as the house for any betting going on, giving Arena tours, and whoring out the victors. I doubt this would cover everything, though.
    • Gotta create jobs in the Capitol somehow.
    • But if everyone's working on the Games, who's watching the Games? Nothing about Panem really spells out "sustainability," and this is no exception.
      • I get the impression the Capital can provide a great many things due to future technology and just creates false shortages in the districts in part by having them so specialized, and by keeping Capital citizens in debt. It seems to be implied the reasons for Capital resident debt isn't education, food, or basic apartment/housing but rather extravagant items like penthouses, skin dyes, clothing, etc.

    The Games are an empty threat 
  • If another district rebels, it gets wiped out, but the Capitol can't keep doing it, eventually they would run out of districts to wipe out, while the Capitol would have nobody to provide resources for them. They only have 12 other live districts to oppress, and if the people are so downtrodden as to rebel, then another and another gets wiped. eventually the districts would of wised up to this probably.
    • Sure, in theory. But they wouldn't need to. How many people are going to be willing to rebel given that they would not only be risking their lives and that of their families, but that of the thousands of people in their district? And if District 12 is representative, then they keep the groups so tired, half-starved and beaten down that they couldn't effectively rebel anyway. So you'd be risking their lives on a gambit which is almost guaranteed to fail. Plus, they wouldn't need to wipe out the whole District. Just your family. And friends. Basically anyone who might be even a little important to you. And bear in mind what happened last time: all 13 Districts rose up at once, and lost. 'Badly'. So what chance does a rebellion by one District have? Or even all Districts, which are now reduced, and the Capitol is on alert for such a thing again?
    • Also, theoretically, the Districts would be dependent on each other as well. One of the more obvious examples would be District 11, which provides food that the other districts would need as well.
    • More to the point, with the kind of tech they have, the Capitol could survive without the districts. Sure, they wouldn't have anything like their current living standards, but they'd survive. Worst-case scenario, they wipe the districts out, resettle the lands with the lower tier of Capitol resident, and possibly build a more egalitarian society.

     The effect of the Games on Panem's population size 
  • Let's walk this back a bit. How can such an underpopulated place afford to lose 23 teenagers a year, every year, for basically nothing?
    • It doesn't seem to have a population of 6 billion, but underpopulated? Where do you get that from?
      • Peeta says in his Capitol propo "We almost got extinct before. Do we really want to kill us off?" Plutarch says during the final assault that the remaining number of people is so low that killing the population of the Capitol would endanger the human race.
      • Since the population of the entire setting is never specified, it's most likely from the thousands to perhaps a couple of million, if not more. District 12 had at least two thousand people, and it lost only two teenagers per year. Still, it isn't really plausible to have such a setting where losing twenty-three teenagers per year throughout the entire country is costly.
      • The poorer districts seem to produce a lot of children. Both Gale and Peeta have at least two siblings.
      • According to the main page the population is about 100,000 total counting all the areas and as mentioned elsewhere on this page it probably tied into population control
      • The number of 100,000 is almost certainly wrong, so I removed it. 12 has a population of 8,000 - give or take - and is heavily implied to be (one of the) smallest districts, while others are several times larger. With 8,000 each you'd be already at 96,000 without the Capitol. All things taken in, I would venture a guess at a couple of hundred thousands, maybe even a small 7 digit number (as said above by somebody else). Of course the term "underpopulated" only makes sense in perspective with a system - there were self sustaining communities of only a couple of hundred during history - but with this I think you could say Panem is underpopulated.
    • In Mockingjay, the 800 or 900 people from District 12 are supposedly about 10% of the original population, meaning that there were originally about 8000 or 9000, and that was one of the least populated districts. In a population of 8000, two more dead per year wouldn't really make much of a difference.
    • The rebellion that prompted The Hunger Games supposedly killed off a large proportion of the population (a hundred-ish years ago). Compared to that, Panem seems to agree that 23 teenagers is a small enough percentage to keep everyone else in line.

     Why sacrifice children rather than adults? 
  • While I haven't read the books, the premise of them just seems a little... weak. And most of that is from one simple question: Why are the children being sent off for these games for the entertainment of the masses? Without children, the current generation will just grow old, die and collapse the entire government. I can understand needing to cull the population if food is tight, but still. Why the children? If the adults go, then yeah it's sad but that leaves the children behind. Since children will believe pretty much anything told to them they'll go along happily with the government, even if its evil.
    • In the books, it's said that this is to show the people how powerless they are. I don't really know how big the population of Panem is, and it may sound extremely cold, but it's just 23 dead children a year. And not in one district, but usually "just" two per district. Furthermore, they're usually not from one generation. What I'd be worried about, however, is discouraging people from getting children. Maybe not in the few districts where taking part in the games is considered a big honour, but everywhere else. And I don't think that people are getting benefits/facing sanctions if they have children/don't have children which might encourage reproduction.
      • It does discourage people from having children, that much is explicit in the text. Which is, to some degree, another facet of the control by restraining the district's population. But they do offer the tesserae-for-entries method by which some kids (notably Gale) feed their families.
      • It does beg the question of why more people in the Districts don't just stop having children, when they know there's a chance their child will end up in the Games. If the entire population of each District dies off, then the Capitol wouldn't have anyone to work for them.
      • The only way to get food from the Capitol is to submit your name for the Hunger Games, which you can only do if you're between the ages of 12 and 18. That probably influences how families are planned for in the poorer residents of Panem.
      • Who says they can stop having children that easily? When they can't afford food, it's unlikely that the residents of the Districts will have access to safe and reliable contraception, and sex is probably one of the few entertainments they have.
      • Except you can have orgasms and not get pregnant. I'd imagine that alternative sexual acts (other than sexual intercourse) would be popular in the districts for this very reason.
      • True, but that's assuming the Districts are even aware of these "alternative sexual acts" in the first place. Somehow I don't see the Capitol providing free comprehensive sex ed to all the Districts. Even if they are aware of "alternative" practices, most people tend to assume that any "alternative" practice is automatically inferior to conventional sex (I'm not saying that assumption is accurate, just that it's a common perception). If the District residents can't see themselves getting an equal or greater amount of pleasure out of alternatives that they get from straight-up sex, they'll stick with straight-up sex 99 times out of 100. And realistically speaking, District residents really need to have children. Preferably several children apiece. Children are extra mouths to feed, but they're also extra labor. And when you inevitably become too old and decrepit to work anymore you'll be glad to have grown children who can take care of you. Some of the District characters make noises about never wanting to have kids, but chances are they'll have them anyway sooner or later. They can't afford not to.
      • It's also explicitly stated in-text that many young girls from the Seam turn towards prostitution with Peace-keepers to make ends meet (Katniss even considers it as a possibility of how her life could have turned out). Young girls without sex-ed or any power, they most likely would have no chance to stop themselves from becoming pregnant or any idea on how to terminate a pregnancy.
    • They're not sending off children. They're sending off teenagers. People who are old enough to have their own opinions but too young to have completely gotten used to the current state of the world, in addition to being instinctively rebellious against authority and looking for something to whine about even when they don't have any real problems.

     Why is there no resistance to the Hunger Games? 
  • As someone mentioned above "You know what doesn't cause riots in the books? Taking away people's children to be slaughtered for a game." For 74 years, children have been sent to their deaths. Nothing happens. This year, they send adults. A rebellion uprises. Really? From just hearing that, you'd think that the districts don't care about their children at all other than their ability to get them food.
    • You have to read between the lines of the book. When Gale gets whipped, Katniss' mom mentions "There it starts again." And it's also mentioned that she is used to heal whipping wounds. "In summer, we tried to keep the flies away from the wounds." Katniss mentions that she was told that in former times people were hanged on gallows in 12. These things must have happened sometime during the Hunger Games era. When Katniss visits district 11 she is puzzled by the massive amount of Peacekeepers, walls and overwatch towers. The people in 11 must have had rioted in the past.
      • It can even be inferred that it was after Haymitch's games that the riots in 12 occurred. They had to have been a long time before Katniss was born. By the time she first entered school they were encouraged to sing District-particular songs, without anyone being worried about it promoting any kind of District-patriotism, which one would presume the ever-paranoid Capitol would care about if there had recently been a riot. The Peacekeepers have also been very relaxed for as long as Katniss can remember. However, it was still in living memory for her mother (who is implied by her visceral reaction to her daughters' singing The Hanging Tree to have literally seen a hanging, not just a whipping). The only truly notable event in District 12 before her birth that is ever described in the book is the Capitol's murder of Haymitch's family. The death of three different teenagers, who came from both middle-class and lower-class families, and the relationship between Haymitch and Maysilee that Katniss literally compares to her relationship with Rue (which caused riots in District 11) makes it even more believable that that was the start of the revolution. Just like the second Quarter Quell, it could be argued that it was more anger at the Capitol changing the rules and going after victors than worries about adults going into the games.
    • Put yourself in the mind of a District resident. So long as the Capitol is only taking people aged 12-18, once you turn 19 you no longer have to fear being Reaped. You're essentially "safe" from the Hunger Games and can breath a sigh of relief. The Reaping is now someone else's problem. Then all of a sudden the Capitol starts taking adults for the Hunger Games. The feeling (or illusion if you prefer) of "safety" is broken and suddenly you and everyone else over 18 are vulnerable again. It sounds crass (and it is crass) but it has a twisted logic to it. It also has some historical parallels. See for instance the classic poem "First They Came...". In this analogy the communists, trade unionists, Jews, etc. are the children aged 12-18 and the narrator of the poem represents the adults.
    • And remember that the former tributes are basically beloved icons. They're gladiatorial champions and Hollywood celebrities all rolled into one. While the kids aren't generally known by anyone but their families, the victors are admired by all. Besides which, this is sort of implying that sending adults into the arena was the main factor behind the rebellion, which isn't really the case. It just sort of helped.
    • Actually the rebellion had nothing to do with them sending in Adults. It was all about Katniss being a symbol. She became a symbol of how wrong the games had become. From the moment she volunteered for her sister. She showed something that most of the districts hadn't seen in a long time. Then she gave Rue tribute, and in the end held those berries up and told the Capitol "We're done." It was a message that needed to be sent, and it was delivered perfectly. The capitol gave in, and showed it was not invulnerable. If Katniss Everedeen, a simple girl from District 12 — the poorest district, who had only two previous victors, one of which was dead and the other was a drunk, could do it, then everyone else should feel ashamed that they weren't. Her alliance with Rue also showed that the districts didn't have to be in it alone. That they shouldn't have animosity toward one another, because the real enemy is the capitol. Katniss became a symbol, and that sparked a rebellion. Them sending adults didn't matter. Rebellion was coming. The Quarter Quell only changed how the rebellion started.

    Why have all the Hunger Games so far been outdoors? 
  • I find it puzzling that all the settings discussed for the Games themselves are exterior. Anyone who has played modern FPS games is familiar with the myriad of potential hazards created by indoor industrial spaces. I realize that there have been 73 of the things prior to the start of the first novel/movie, and there is the potential that at least one of the games may have been indoors. I just think it's interesting that every single skill shown and apparently practiced is for outdoor environments. Anyone else have any thoughts about this?
    • Up above, people were speculating about how the games were filmed, and one answer was "long-range cameras outside the arena", so it's possible that they wouldn't be able to properly film an indoor arena? Plus, if you take into account the speculation re: where the different arenas are, it might not be feasibly/possible for an indoor arena to be built to the point where it would make a good (read as "interesting") arena for the Capitol. Lastly, if part of the games are to distract the people in the Capitol, what better way to do that than to show them something they don't get to see very often (i.e. outside environments, and the skills necessary to survive them). Even if they're not used to industrial areas, the arena just being inside (i.e. not super conducive to awesome survival skills) might be boring to them.
    • Outdoor survival requires skills that most people, in their ordinary lives, aren't acquiring. The same is true of the weapons: no one is supposed to be training with a bow or a sword. And, as an aside, they're utterly impractical weapons for rebellion and warfare (Katniss's tech bow doesn't count because although it's proven to be a dangerous weapon, it's pretty much a given that most of the victories are due to conventional warfare techniques). The Capitol doesn't want the chance that people will prepare for real fighting against THEM, which is why the Tributes are never given guns. If people trained for urban warfare rather than outdoor terrain it's a manual for attacking Capitol. The games are a fantasy, far removed from the reality so that people don't ever think 'hey, we could use these skills to improve our lives'.

     Why include environmental hazards in the Games? 
  • In the movie, it's stated that you're more likely to get killed by being exposed to the elements than by another person. If the Games are for entertainment, why are they set up this way? Isn't the point of it to get them to kill each other?
    • The Games are intended to last for some period of time. If they were just thrown in a room where they could bludgeon each other to death, it would be over quick. There would be less tension and impact. The book does make note that the people making the arenas are careful not to make the terrain TOO challenging. Apparently there was one game where everyone just froze to death because it was cold and there was no wood to make a fire. Adding in other obstacles makes it interesting to the people watching the game. Otherwise you'd have contestants just running away the entire time while still being able to survive, and the game would last TOO long. Characters getting sick or injured also makes them more vulnerable to be killed, so again, it keeps the game from lasting too long.
      • Note that we see exactly zero characters dying from exposure and other "natural" causes in the 74th Games.
    • Also, "if they were just thrown in a room where they could bludgeon each other to death", or any other setup with a dearth of ways to die other than direct murder, certain tributes would have absolutely no chance of winning right from the beginning. Natural dangers create the possibility of non-Careers revealing helpful survival skills, and these skills being put to good use. For the Capitol, this is entertainment, adding a cerebral element and some suspense to the Games. For the people from districts which don't train in combat, this allows a glimmer of hope that their tributes might survive, which is necessary to keep up the system.
    • I agree with both of these points, but I've seen the movie again and the woman clearly states that it's "natural causes" that has the best chance to kill you, not getting exposed and then running into another tribute. Unless they have a bizarre way to count what kills the tributes, it seems that most people die due to something other than another tribute. The fact that this supposedly happens most of the time and yet it didn't during the 74th Games just makes it seem weirder. Is this mentioned in the book at all?
      • That something has a better chance of killing you than something else doesn't mean that it has to. In Annie's case, the flood drowned way more tributes than can have been average: as I remember it, the woman you refer to gives "natural causes" a thirty percent chance of killing you, which leaves a seventy percent chance of murder killing you. Also: Glimmer and possibly the girl from 4 died from wasp venom, Foxface died from eating poisonous food, guy from 10 died of an unknown cause, Cato and possibly Thresh mainly died of being hunted down by ferocious wolves that eat you flesh first and let someone else kill you a day or so later, and I'm sure at least one died of dehydration; and looking at the list of characters on wikipedia, it certainly seems that the highest chance of dying is in fact the bloodbath at the Cornucopia.

     Why poison everything in Haymitch's Games? 
  • Katniss mentions that the Capitol is anti-cannibalism. Alright. Then why, in Haymitch's Games, did they make everything poisonous? The tributes still have to eat, and if only the other tributes are edible...
    • So that they fight each other for the food from the Cornucopia.
      • But you can't tell if everything is poisonous just by looking from the starting platform. The earliest a tribute would know would be after the bloodbath, and by then, the careers have already claimed all of the goodies from the cornucopia.
    • The rule about Cannibalism came about from one Tribute who tried to eat the hearts of his victims, but his Games were after Haymitch's, I do believe. Odd to think it hadn't come up in the 75 years beforehand, but it may have just been that eating the heart of person when you don't actually need the sustenance is too far, even for the Capitol.
      • I don't think there's an actual rule, so it might have come up a couple of times. Has Katniss seen every game ever?
      • It's the logic behind it that's the problem. If the Capitol is against cannibalism, then a rule should exist. If the Capitol doesn't care, then they should've let that boy eat the other tributes.
      • I don't think that they mind the cannibalism. They just don't want a cannibal to become the victor. Compared to actual reality shows, a cannibal is probably the guy who is entertaining in an uncomfortable way, but people don't actually want him to win. Also, I think that making rules for the games is a bad idea, because the more rules there are, the easier it is for people to rebel openly by breaking those rules on purpose. I mean, you've got nothing to lose once you're in the games. For example, I bet suicide isn't very popular either. But how do you punish someone who's already dead? And if you make a "no suicide" rule, people might actually start killing themselves as a big "screw you" to the Capitol.
      • The book mentions that one year, a district 6 boy named Titus killed and ate some of the tributes. The Capitol electrocuted him a few times to collect the bodies of his kills, and eventually killed him with an avalanche after a while. If the victor not being a cannibal was that important, they would have killed him after the first attempt. Also, while there aren't rules in the Arena, behavior during the Games can be punished by publicly executing the families/loved ones of misbehaving tributes afterwards to instill fear into the future tributes. It happened to Haymitch, and Katniss fears it will happen to her after shooting the apple, so there are hints that this already happens.
      • I am not entirely sure if you agree or disagree with me here, and I think lost track of who posts what. So, we agree that there is no rule against cannibalism because the Capitol is not against cannibalism per se. It's just that in this particular case, the guy went overboard? Also, I remember Katniss mentioning that it did not appeal to the audience either. As for punishing the families, this only works if the tribute actually has a family/loved ones. Johanna has nobody, for example.
      • Yeah, pretty much. If the guy had only eaten one tribute, the Capitol might have let him win. That's what makes Katniss statement of "the Capitol doesn't like cannibalism" weird. They put the kids into a situation that may require cannibalism to survive, and they don't automatically kill the tributes for trying it. Also, I assumed Johanna didn't have anyone because the Capitol killed them, but that's just me.
      • He was eating their hearts, which implies he wasn't eating them for actual sustenance. In our culture, we see cannibalism as understandable (if very disturbing) when the situation is desperate enough, like when a plane crashed into the Andes Mountains in the middle of winter. Titus was tearing open peoples chests and eating their hearts. Not good television. Also, in a lot of mythology the source of a person's power comes from their heart, perhaps Titus flipped out enough to believe the corrupted myth.
      • But again, he did this mulitple times before the Capitol killed him. I would think that if the Capitol was truly against cannibalism, they would have killed him right away. Maybe Katniss was just wrong when she said the Capitol is anti-cannibalism, because by their actions, the Capitol seems okay with it as long as the tributes don't take it too far.
    • They probably didn't mind at first since it was good - if disturbing - television, but then when they realised he was on a roll and looking likely to be the victor, figured they'd stop it. I think Katniss actually made a comment about how they didn't want a victor who was a raving loon. At least not in a way that's destructive to other people, rather than themselves.

     What would the Capitol do if no one survived a Game? 
  • Given that the entire purpose of the Arena settings is to be an ongoing and potentially lethal hazard, it seems quite possible that some Games have no survivors to be named victors. So what would the Capitol do in such a case?
    • There was a Games in the past where everyone froze to death and the Capitol learned from their mistakes. So it's likely they're constantly on the lookout for hazards that could kill too many tributes. Possibly in a worst case scenario they declare the last person to die the winner.
      • Just making a correction because multiple people keep saying in this page that there was a game where "everyone froze to death". The direct quote from Gale is: "There’s almost always some wood," Gale says. "Since that year half of them died of cold." Half of them, not all. Katniss narration confirms that they spend a night "watching the players freeze to death", but since she doesn't refute what Gale says, I assume she means it in the sense that they watched all of them felt cold to the point of having their lives at risk, until some inevitably died. Someone did win that game. I feel like pointing this out because the whole point of the Gamemakers stopping Peeta and Katniss from eating the berries is that it would be a BIG problem to not have ANY winner, and it amazes me that people miss that. If one game had had such an "Everyone Died" result, it would've inevitably been brought up in the narrative. They (the Capitol) have to provide SOME reason, SOME public justification (yes, I know morally there isn't any) for the Hunger Games to happen, so SOMEONE has to win and live peacefully and with full bellies for the rest of their lives. That's how they justify it and that's how they sell it: a game that is cruel and brutal, but always with a prize, as long as you're the strongest.
    • Note that at the end of Katniss and Peeta's game, there's a cloaked hovercraft right there to gather them, and Capitol medicine is implied to be very near miraculous. So if someone can survive even a minute or so longer than everyone else, there's enough time for the Capitol to grab him and patch him up from there.

     Do Districts with no winners have no mentors? 
  • Who would be the mentor for a district before they ever had a winner? Who would gather their stuff for them? Obviously all districts have enough winners to enter in the Quarter Quell in Catching Fire, but before there were, who did that job? Who got them sponsors and such? Gave them advice? Particularly in the first 12~ hunger games.
    • Someone from the Capitol, I guess. Like the stylists, there were probably Capitol-employed mentors.
    • In the first 12 Hunger Games, it would make a certain degree of perverted sense if the mentors were chosen from the rebels as part of their punishment.
    • According to the prequel book, "twenty-four of the Academy’s best and brightest seniors had been tapped for the job" the first time mentors were assigned.

     Why is there no incentive to kill during the Games? 
  • If the Capitol wants the tributes to murder each other, then why is there no incentive to kill people? Send a parachute with food and water for every kill. Survival skills would be less important, as they should be, because the Capitol wants the victor to be a child murderer, not a survival expert. It would actually give the weaker tributes incentive to at least try to ambush someone, since in the books they seem to just keep to themselves until the careers kill them.
    • I think it's because people aren't really interested in the weaker tributes. Like, the Careers and whatever standouts that might end up coming from the other districts are more likely to give a good show, so why worry about the kids that can barely use a knife? Also the survival part might seem cool and exotic to the Capitol citizens, who don't have to do these things on a daily basis.
      • But people might get interested in the weaker tributes if they actually did something, like try and kill people. They would probably only aim for other weak tributes, but it's better than nothing. This would also help out the careers and standouts. Finally, there is more to survival than just collecting water and hunting/foraging for food. Making shelter, avoiding/treating injures, and navigating are all things the tributes would still have to do. (Also, I'm imagining that the reward for a kill isn't much, maybe 8 ounces of water and some trail mix. Not something you can really live off of, but something to ward off dehydration/starvation long enough so that a tribute can kill you instead.)
    • They do have this: The sponsorship system. The tributes who are doing impressive things attract sponsors who can drop small presents on them for doing well. Peeta and Katniss just gamed it a little so they were getting treats for lovey-dovey moments as opposed to kills.
    • It doesn't seem like any incentive is needed? The kids fight to the death without it, and the citizens (not just the Capitol citizens) get invested, root for their favorites, and a victor eventually emerges. Based on what we know of other games, there are years where the emphasis is on battling it out and years where survival skills play a larger role. You said, "the Capital wants the victor to be a child murderer," but really, they want entertainment, a distraction, control— basically a twisted sort of soft power over the districts and the Capitol citizens.

     Why did the gamemakers not encourage Katniss to kill? 
  • In the first book, Katniss survives the bloodbath, and then walks for three days looking for water. She doesn't run into any other tributes during this time. She almost fails, but is lucky enough to literally keel over within crawling distance of a stream. Where were the Gamemakers during all of this? She's the highest ranking tribute out there, and you're letting her waste her time on finding water when she could be killing people? What if she fell a few seconds earlier? Where they going to let her die without encountering anyone?
    • They let others die in the same manner, if the comments that many participants die from their own inability to survive in the wild instead of being killed is any indication. Just because she got a high ranking doesn't make her immune to death by foolishness.
    • My question is why, though. Katniss mentions that one year, everyone froze to death, and the Capitol complained about the "bloodless deaths." It's clear that the Capitol wants blood. Katniss dying from dehydration will not give them blood. Tributes being unable to survive in the wild will not give them blood.
      • Well, there should also be a struggle for survival though. If everything just dropped into their lap, it would be boring. The Gamemakers realised that Katniss was a fighter, and that she would not just give up. Also, I suppose it's part of building up the tension. Sending her into a fight right at the beginning would have erased all tension. Better to let it build up slowly. Furthermore, I think there's a kind of "script", basically (I'm referring to the way a story is presented to the Capitol viewers.) Obviously, Katniss and Peeta were the focus. Peeta was probably more interesting at that time because he'd joined forces with the careers. They left Katniss alone in order to see how this story would develop. Imagine the nice antithesis. Peeta is sleeping in a comfortable tent, has enough to drink and eat, and then cut to Katniss, who is shaking form dehydration. All while people speculate what's going on in Peeta's mind. And keep in mind that a high score is not necessarily indicative of competence. It's all strategy. The reason they gave her the high score was possibly partially to ensure that Cato, the second-most competent, would have a personal interest in her. To the viewers, she has to "prove" herself first. If she doesn't even manage to survive without a fight, then she's not interesting.
      • Yes, there should be a struggle for survival, but dehydration isn't survivable. You find water in three days or you die. That's the main problem here: Katniss was going to die. She was going to die, and she hadn't even SEEN a tribute since the bloodbath. She wouldn't even be ABLE to kill or get killed by someone else. And if the Capitol wants blood above all else, shouldn't the Gamemakers make it impossible to get killed in a non-bloody manner in the Arena at all?
      • A few deaths by environment are acceptable. As long as some put on a good show, the people get what they want. More to the point, you can't play favorites. The games, above all else, at least have to seem fair. Fixing has to occur behind the scenes. Helping Katniss means they have to help others, then the Capitol is seen as fixing the games and the Districts get upset. They may not give a crap about their welfare, but they will give a crap if the Districts get pissed about getting cheated and rise up against them.
      • Except the Capitol did play favorites when they made the rule change that basically said "Either 2 or 12 is winning this year! Nice try Thresh and Foxface!" And helping everyone equally (by say, dropping a bottle of water for each tribute each day) won't be seen as fixing if everyone gets it.
      • The rule change didn't mean that Thresh or Foxface couldn't win, they just had a decreased chance because they didn't have a partner like Katniss/Peeta and Cato/Clove. If either Thresh or Foxface had managed to outlast the other five, they would have won. They didn't, but they still had a fighting chance. Foxface just happened to eat poison berries (or chose to commit suicide, depending on how you look at it), and Thresh pissed off Cato when he killed Clove. The Gamemakers were trying to create drama by bringing Katniss and Peeta together, but if Thresh or Foxface had managed to win I think the Capitol still would have been happy with the narrative they got out of the tragedy of the star-crossed lovers.
      • That was an unusual case. They'd never done anything like it before, and it was mainly a distraction from the riots. As for helping everyone, while they could, they have no motivation to. Again, if a few die from poor survival skills, that's fine. Hell, if Katniss had died of such, they'd have been glad. Good survival skills are also an advantage, meaning providing water is tipping the odds in favor of the stronger, stupider types, which the Careers seem to fit nicely into.
      • Also, I think that the line about "the Capitol wants blood" is more metaphorical than anything else. Tributes dying by fire can be just as "fun" as tributes dying from bleeding to death. The Capitol really likes conflict between tributes, but the Gamemakers aren't averse to letting the environment do the work for them. After all, in a way it would be just as fitting for the Girl on Fire to die the same anonymous, pathetic death as a hundred other tributes before her — proving she is nothing compared to the Capitol — as it would be for her to go down fighting.
      • True, "the Capitol wants blood" is really "the Capitol wants visually impressive deaths." I'm sure that they were happy when Katniss killed Glimmer with death-wasps, for example. However, I'm also sure that they were upset that Foxface died from eating berries. Berries that didn't disfigure her or cause agonized screaming or anything. Seems pretty boring in comparison. Also, part of the Games' purpose is to get the districts to hate each other so that they don't band together and rebel. The Games need to make the districts hate each other more than the Capitol. Watching the other districts' tributes kill your children is a good way to do that. If Katniss is shown dying because of her own inability to survive, then the people of 12 will either blame Katniss, Haymitch, or the Capitol. If Katniss is shown dying because someone from District X slit her throat, then the people of 12 will blame District X.
      • "However, I'm also sure that they were upset that Foxface died from eating berries. Berries that didn't disfigure her or cause agonized screaming or anything." The girl who spent the entire Games stealing food to live dies because the berries she stole from the favorite-to-win couple were actually poisoned. That might not be bloody or full of action, but damn if it isn't the type of irony the general public can appreciate. It might feel anticlimactic, but it's not outright boring. It also makes me believe they wouldn't have minded Katniss dying of dehydration THAT much because she was really so freaking close to water at the time. Even the commentators must've been like "If only our girl knew that those plants contain what she needs the most!" It's the kind of stuff that spectators would comment on the next day, had she died.
    • I think it's because making food and water harder to find would force the contestants to move around more, as opposed to trying to stay in one small area. Yes, the game makers can drive them out with fire and muttations, but contestants may still try to hang out or hide in one area for as long as they could. Needing to look for food or water would give them incentive to leave their safety area and force them to run the risk of coming across the other tributes.
    • Making food and water hard to find will make people move less, not more. The tributes will stay near the source they find first, since there is no guarantee that they will find another source if they leave.
      • I can't help but think that they decided at a certain point that Katniss was too stoic for them, and thought that it would still make very compelling television to watch Peeta's reaction to her death

     Will there be a Capitol Games? 
  • We never find out whether or not there will be a Capitol Hunger Games. Did it die with Coin or is Plutarch gonna go ahead with it.
    • It's not stated directly, but I think that the answer is no.
    • And the key thing is that Coin wasn't going to announce it until after Snow's execution. So the general public wouldn't expect a games at all.
  • At the end of Mockingjay, Coin proposes the Capitol Games, and Katniss kills her to stop them from happening. So far so good, but the book never says if this worked or not. Did Katniss kill Coin, only for the Games to continue as planned, or were they halted? This is pretty much the last thing we see Katniss do in the books, so it's pretty jarring that we don't even know the result.
    • My bet is that no, they never happened. The Capitol Games were originally Coin’s idea, voted and approved by the winners of previous Hunger Games, not by actual government people who took over the country’s wheels. With the whole “president was killed by Panem’s heroine”, they had little time (or mood) to organize another Game and the whole idea died with its original architect, I suppose. Also, from a narrative perspective, I think Katniss would have mentioned something about them, had they ever happened.
    • Katniss explicitly states in the epilogue that there are no more Hunger Games now. Had there been a Capitol Games, she would have mentioned that.

     Why was the Quarter Quell less impressive than the hunger games? 
  • Okay, here's one: the Quarter Quell was supposed to be spectacular. Why, then, did it actively have less natural hazards and dangers than the arena in the first book? Once you've figured out the clock, there are no real natural hazards —- if anything, it's much easier to avoid being killer death wasp'd or wall of fire'd to death than in the previous year's normal games. The Quarter Quell is supposed to be really special, but beyond a cornucopia filled with weapons and a bunch of ex-tribute tributes it was actually a lot tamer than either the first games Katniss was in or any of the many games mentioned in passing. There's no water, but you can tap it from trees; non of the shellfish etc are poisonous and non of the wildlife are dangerous for more than one hour in twelve. Other than boredom, there isn't even any incentive for the combatants to fight each other rather than keep going round on opposite sides of the clock. It all seems to make for an incredibly boring Games.
    • Every hour has a different natural hazard. But you might die in figuring them out, like the girl who drowned in the 10 o'clock wave. The only hour that's not deadly is the Jabberjays. The safest place is the Cornucopia, there you only have to avoid the 10 o'clock wave.
    • Well, Plutarch Heavensbee is designing them. He probably wants as few tributes to die as possible before the hovercrafts can rescue them. In the meantime, having a tricky arena like that would at least keep the audience at home interested as they tried to figure out the trick themselves, placed bets, etc. As long as the audience is engaged, the Gamekeepers don't have to come up with more arbitrary cruelties to force a conflict.
    • The "drama" was supposed to come from matching much more capable adults. Also consider that after the Blast Out at the Cornucopia, the majority of the surviving tributes were allied with each other to protect Katniss and Peeta, while the Careers hid the forest from the much larger group. It was only the combined information from that group that figured out the system. Also, the first "gift" they receive is the tap to get water from the trees. Had the Games gone on the way Snow wanted, it would have been much bloodier and more of the traps would have worked.
    • Plutarch gives Katniss the key to surviving before she goes in. The arena is explicitly designed to be very easily survivable once you've figured out its secret, which is also why it conveniently provides a huge source of electricity right next to the weak spot in the force field. Its sole purpose is to keep Beetee and Katniss and/or Peeta alive long enough to escape and start the rebellion.
    • Actually, Plutarch stated (I think at the beginning of Mockingjay) that he didn't know that the Victors were supposed to be competing. He gave Katniss the hint because he hoped to gain her trust by giving her an edge in being a mentor.
      • If that's true, then the Arena was designed before the Quarter Quell was announced, which means that it can't have been designed with the adult tributes in mind. Also, I got the impression that the only reason they broke into the Arena was because the former victors were in there, and that the rebellion wouldn't have bothered if it was just random teenagers.
    • Also keep in mind that the traps being somewhat predictable for the contestants also makes them predictable for the home audience. Come back every hour on the hour to watch the next new dastardly trick.

     Where are all the cameras in the games and where did the mutations come from? 
  • 1. It is repeatedly pointed out that the games are being televised. However, I am left wondering where the cameras are and how they can get such good shots of the tributes. Is every tree and rock equipped with a concealed camera? I can suspend disbelief at the genetically engineered animals, but have a hard time suspending disbelief at the idea of such a huge arena having every square inch monitored both visually and aurally. 2. What was with the muttations? At the end of the book when they appeared it is implied that they are created from the DNA of the dead tributes. What exactly is the point of this? Does this mean that they have the minds and memories of the other tributes? These questions are never answered or even mentioned again, leading to one Big-Lipped Alligator Moment.
    • On the first point: It's the future, and the Capitol is on the bleeding edge. They probably have cameras everywhere. My best bet could be that there are super-cameras that follow each tribute (via tracker) outside the confines of the arena that can zoom in very close, as well as some cameras near the Cournicopia and other key areas in the games, like water sources. I always assumed the cameras had super-zoom or something, and that more were hidden and could be activated. Also, I bet microphones are wired into the tracker chips or something.
    • On the second point: That was left ambiguous for a reason. However, I just thought that the mutts had the same color prosthetic eyes, not the actual ones. The idea that they would be the real eyes and minds of the tributes is just sort of a waste of money when you can get psychological tricks for cheap. The tributes were so scared by this point, they would believe anything. I just thought they were "likenesses".
      • While the first book goes way into the direction of them being created from the fallen tributes, in Mockingjay Katniss goes back on this and places them into the Mind Rape camp, along with the mockingjays from Catching Fire.
    • Peeta seems pretty sure that the Capitol made the muttations seem like they had been made with Tributes' DNA, but weren't really. I think it was to create some nice Mind Rape for the remaining Tributes. I thought that the "Rue" muttation was snarling in hatred at Katniss was a hint that it wasn't really Rue, even if its eyes looked like hers. There's another muttation scene in Catching Fire that seems to support the idea that it's easier for the Capitol to fake involving humans in the creation of muttations, and it gets the same horrified results. I'm hoping that Collins will follow through on this in Mockingjay.
      • About the cameras - if you've read the series the arenas are surrounded by a one-way force field. The cameras could float above the field and use boom mikes to pick up sound and zoom lenses to get close-ups. Exactly the way TV crews do it today, but probably with fancier technology than a guy hanging from a crane.
      • Though how, using that technology, they were able to film inside a deliberately concealed cave is anyone's guess, unless they planted cameras in places that they expected people to hide, or fly-on-the-wall'd it.
      • Or it could always be that they have little flying camera drones that are cloaked. Y'know, kinda like the cloaked hovercrafts. I'm sure that if they could make it so something as big and noisy as a hovercraft can go unnoticed, they can do the same for a little flying camera. And there, they can follow the tributes, they can get inside caves, trees are no problem, and the only danger is that it might get blown up in the crossfire. Better TV, that way.
    • The Mutts seemed to be partially based off the tributes, e.g. the "Rue" being the most effective climber, but quite what was up with that was left deliberately ambiguous.
    • And btw, in the movie, we can see that yes, every tree and rock can and will have a camera.
      • A modern consumer-grade wireless camera can be as small as a tube of lipstick if you don't try to add sound pickups, and a sound pickup could be added to the tributes' tracking implant quite easily, given the Capitol's technology. In fact, this would make more sense than trying to mike the Arena. Even today, there are prototype wireless cameras barely larger than match heads that give decent picture quality. For the Capitol, panopticon coverage of the Arena is easy to do.

     Why do ratings matter? 
  • This one's kind of bugged me a little since I read the books. While I may have glossed over something explaining it (don't we all?), I have to wonder: Why are ratings so important to the Hunger Games if viewing is mandatory? I know the District inhabitants are forced to watch, but if the games have lasted 74 years and will continue to do so as a form of control, why does it matter if people from the Capital are watching?
    • I imagine they have advertising breaks just like other reality television, so the numbers in the Capitol would affect how much money they make (and probably a large portion of the Arena building and such comes from that and the rest has to be made up in taxes). Plus it's a means of control as in intimidation for the districts; it's a means of control as in bloody entertainment for the residents of the Capitol. They want to keep them satisfied so they don't question the government.
      • Sounds good, hadn't thought of it that way, cheers!
    • In professional wrestling they can gauge someone's popularity by how the ratings are during their segments. If the numbers are going up whenever a particular person appears, that's a safe bet that the audience likes them. Perhaps they're not above tweaking the odds to favor a tribute who seems to be doing well with the public?
    • Also, the Capitol isn't forced to watch. They just want to. Like all television spectacles, I assumed people had opinions on "better" seasons.

     Why do the Hunger Games not have a set Season finale? 
  • Isn't it kind of unfeasible that the Hunger Games don't have a set end point? Wouldn't you want the finale on during primetime for the best ratings?
    • Who says they're broadcast live? Remember that communication between the Capitol and the Districts is fully controlled.
    • The Districts have to watch, so they don't matter. I was thinking more about the Capitol audience, since the Games are suppose to cater to them. Although, you bring up a good point: do the District and Capitol citizens even see the same footage? Do all the districts see the same thing? On the one hand, it's more work to cut and edit multiple films for all the different audiences, but on the other hand, some things might have to be cut for the districts, lest they start riots.
    • The Games must be broadcast live otherwise there'd be no way for sponsors to send gifts to the Tributes on the spot. Since we see never see anyone in the Capitol working or doing anything other than watching tv during the Games, it's possible that the Hunger Games also become an extended holiday for all non-essential people. In that case, the concept of "primetime" no longer applies, since no one has to leave their television sets to go to school or work.
    • Chances are they were edited similar to the way that the Olympics were edited here. You can watch it all live, but the "good stuff" is rebroadcast all together with the "boring bits" taken out. Sure, not everyone agrees what the "good" and "boring" bits are, but that's what the live broadcast was for.
    • There probably isn't such a thing as "prime time" as we understand it. Prime time is when something good happens, which is also shown over and over again.

     Are the Hunger Games broadcast 24/7? 
  • A question about the Capitol audience: do they watch the Games 24/7? Deaths happen around the clock, it would suck if you bet or sent aid to someone and they died while you were sleeping or working or doing anything else other than watching. The Gamemakers can kind of control when people die by controlling the sun and when the tributes sleep by association, but what would happen if some epic throwdown happened in the middle of the night? Would the audience just miss out on the action?
    • The tributes need their sleep too. Also, the truly epic throwdowns don't usually happen until the very end, since usually half the tributes are killed early and the remaining ones scatter. They might also have phone alerts of when tributes get within a kilometer or so of each other.
    • It seems that the only interesting parts are the beginning and the end. The middle is full of tributes hiding, with a death here and there. Pretty boring if you ask me.
    • Think of it like a reality show(what it is, indeed), there is 24h coverage, not everyone will be watching 24h but someone probably will be. Then they show the best moments at some set time of the day for the people. I mean, the people still need to work during this time, right?
    • The Games aren't really exciting all the time, especially at night when the tributes are mostly sleeping. They probably give updates in the morning, if anything big happened at night, and worse comes to worst, you can probably catch it on rerun. I'm sure that, in this technologically advanced future, everyone has some form of Tivo, so if your chosen tribute dies in the middle of the night, you can go back and watch it at your leisure.
    • The Capitol is suppose to be starved for drama and entertainment, and the Games are suppose to be the cure for that, but I can't see the Games as being that good of a spectator sport or a reality show due to the long stretches of nothing happening. An hour or two of nothing may up the suspense, but days? The entire Capitol had nothing better to do than to watch with bated breath as some sickly tributes sleep in a cave? The only way this works is if the Hunger Games are the only entertainment in the Capitol, but given the level of technology they have, I doubt this is true.
      • Well, during periods of nothing happening, they show interviews and other stuff. Also, they probably can switch to any camera they want. Peeta is lying around? Let's switch to those careers. Hunger Games boring? Let's switch to the interviews with the stylists. Let's watch the families watching.
      • I get that they can show other game-related stuff during the lulls in the action, but question is more about why the Games are designed so that these lulls can happen in the first place. The Games are primarily about entertainment and bloodlust, so why are there stretches of days where neither of those things happen? Commercial time? Does all of Capitol society has a weird obsession with watching teenagers live and hide in the wild? Because that's what most of the video from the Hunger Games is composed of. The Gamemakers can clearly force the tributes to interact more, since we saw them do it when they corralled Katniss toward the careers with a forest fire. They also have mutts. Hell, they could just build a smaller arena. Why don't they do these things? Some tributes would still naturally try to hide, but they'll be found easier, leading to more blood, which is exactly what the Capitol wants.
      • I wouldn't say the Capitol is starved for entertainment. If that's the case, then Americans must be starved for entertainment until the Super Bowl. They probably have other things all year, but the Hunger Games are just the main event everyone looks forward to.
      • "Intermittent variable rewards" have been found to be more addicting than predictable rewards. If you have dramatic battles happening and happening and happening... eventually people are going to get bored and tune out. With lulls (as long as they don't get too long, and the Gamemakers can control that with the forest fire, etc.), people will keep watching because they don't want to miss something exciting.
    • They probably just have a highlight reel, and people could watch on mobile devices.
    • Big Brother was a show were 12 contestants were locked into a house and watched for 24 hours a day for a few months, so it's a vaguely comparable situation. They had a live webcast in later years, but there was always a 'Big Brother Daily' show that played every night of the week - extra length on weekends, and if something big/interesting (for a given value of interesting) happened in the house during a time when the daily show wasn't airing, they'd have a 'Big Brother update' in the next ad break. I figured the Games would have a similar setup for broadcast, as well as extra shows focusing on, yes, the designers and the Tributes journey's to the Arena.

     Why does the Capitol not try and make each Game last as long as possible? 
  • The typical misunderstandings about gladiatorial combat abound, and no one is surprised. This troper has learned to ignore that. What she can't ignore is the fact that despite wanting the Hunger Games to last a long time, the Capitol does everything in its power to make sure that's impossible. Most of the tributes have no training (and only get three days to train), many of them are underfed and/or sickly, and a cornucopia is set up at the very beginning of the Games, full of weapons and supplies. The ensuing bloodbath over said supplies usually wipes out about half the contestants.
    • Supplies cost money, money that can be used to build the next arena. The Capitol wants blood and drama, and it doesn't matter for how long. Besides, human survival instinct is strong- the Games Katniss was in (you know, the legit ones) lasted a few weeks with sickly contestants.
      • And three days with healthy adult contestants.
    • They don't want them to last 'as along as possible', just not be over too quickly and the rush for supplies with the ensuing bloodbath is a 'kick-off' event to get the crowds cheering and engrossed in the Hunger Games.
      • Introduce a Game Show-style quiz round in place of the cornucopia. Put the Games on a hard time limit, say, 24 hours including the quiz round. Anyone who's not dead at the end of 24 hours goes home free with the traditional year's supply of Rice-A-Roni, The San Francisco Treat (TM). Result? One day of excruciatingly boring television as everybody plays dull. The Capitol will whine to no end about the new-look Hunger Games, but who cares what they think?
      • Or better yet, give a timer, but threaten to kill them at the end unless there is only one survivor. That gives the tributes incentive to go after each other rather than hide, and makes the Gamemaker traps unnecessary.
      • Nice argument, as this is actually used in Battle Royale (you know, the book of which many people whine Hunger Games is supposedly a rip-off of) - in Battle Royale, unless there's at least one death every day, everybody dies.
    • I think that one of the interesting parts of this is that you watch a bunch of average teens acting purely on instinct. How does a human react to such danger? How far will he go? Is he ready to kill for it? In which ways will the killing affect him? How much can a human endure? How long does it take to strip away the humanity? And well, not to mention that there's probably woobiefication and choosing your favourites. Think of it as those "celebrity do gross things in the jungle" shows. Only that you can't interview them afterwards. If you use people who are actually trained for such situations, it's probably "enjoyable" too, but it's an entirely different experience. Also, there are the careers, so you actually get "professionals" vs. "normal people".
      • If one of the interesting parts of this is getting to watch a bunch of average teens acting purely on instinct, why don't we get to see that? Katniss isn't an average teen, she has had survival training from early childhood, Rue has supernatural tree jumping skills, and all the careers have also trained from childhood - other than Peeta, those are the only characters we really see and none are average. Also, if the interesting part is watching them make important moral decisions, how come we never get to see Katniss make any moral decisions? To her, murdering the careers is always 100% justifiable and (coincidentally) she is never in a position to murder anyone except careers. Frankly, the book you described would probably be really cool - it's a shame that this is not that book.
      • Saying that Katniss and Rue are trained for The Hunger Games is like saying that people who read books are trained for spelling bees, or that people who play tag are trained for marathons. They weren't training just because they happened to have skills that helped them out. And the story doesn't follow "normal" characters (which really means skill-less characters the way you're using it), because the characters without any skills would have to get killed quickly. It wouldn't make sense for a character who couldn't do anything in the arena to make it any further than the bloodbath. Katniss makes a number of moral (and immoral) decisions throughout the book, she doesn't always see the career murders as justifiable (hates herself for killing Marvel; shoots Cato out of pity), and she finds herself in a position to murder Peeta, Rue, and Foxface.
    • The Capital will probably rather have the disctricts under its heel than securing strong contestants and end up with riots (there are theories saying that middle class is more likely to revolt than any other due to a better life being seemingly within their reach). Also, note that the Hunger Games aren't that different from present day reality shows; usually the first and the last episodes are the most interesting, because they want to get people hooked on the show and keep them motivated to follow through until the end. That way they can slack off a bit on the episodes between rather than holding unrealistic ambitions of making every episode sensational on its own.

     Why remove the joint-win rule at the last second? 
  • Why on earth did they remove the joint-win rule at the last second? That has got to be the stupidest thing I could have done. Was it just Seneca Crane's (Beard) Jerkass tendancies, or did they just want to add one more twist to the games? If they hadnt done that, Peeta and Katniss would have been a couple, the revolution probably wouldnt have happened, and the Capitol would have stayed in power. See, I know there wouldnt be a 2nd and 3rd book, and I love those, but still...
    • Because the Capitol people are feeding on the tragedy of other people.
    • The intention was never to have two victors anyway. The people in charge wanted the story to go as follows: two young lovers outlast everyone else, but then, tragically, one has to kill the other. Unfortunately for them, Katniss avoids Peeta in the Arena. That won't do, she's ruining the plot! Thus they have to make the "two victors" rule change, to force them together. That's the only reason the rule even exists; if they had allied together from the start, it wouldn't have happened. After everyone else is dead, they revoke the now unneeded rule, and wait for the carnage. Katniss had other ideas.
      • They were really in a win-win situation at that point-they basically had 2, 12, and two "solo" players (11 and 5) left. If halves of the 'couples' get picked off, you have your normal battle to the death, with the added bonus of a potential bereaved "star-crossed lover" as a solo victor (which, as they didn't know for Katniss it was faking, even provides a potential pre-broken Victor they don't even have to threaten). If it comes down to 12, you have the "star-crossed lovers fight to the death" scenario. If it comes down to 2, you have a guaranteed psycho battle as neither Clove nor Cato would have gone down easily. It was only Katniss pulling the Take a Third Option than wrecked a nearly foolproof dramatic ending.
  • Why did the people in charge revoke the rules change at the end of the 74th Games? The revocation only makes them look petty and spiteful, and triggers massive unrest, outrage, and uprisings. Snow is not stupid, he must have known those were likely consequences.
    • I think the game-master was the one calling the shots in the Games themselves with President Snow being a bit disconnected from them. At least in the film version of the Hunger Games Snow tells the game-master, Seneca Crane to be careful. Apparently Crane didn't take this advice to heart, costing him his life.
      • Yes, much as Snow blames Katniss for the outcome, withdrawing the 'two winners' option was what set it in motion. Leave the option in place, and some viewers at least get the idea that the Capitol can be generous if it chooses to (not weak, as no-one else pushed their offer into place; it was their whim). Even if there had been no suicide pact, withdrawing the offer at the last moment is going to make them look like bigger jerks, and also fan any ideas against them.

     Is there a way to sabotage the platform your opponent is standing on? 
  • 1. If the mines before the games are so sensitive that a token can set them off, why doesn't anyone simply ask for a necklace with objects on it as their token, detach the objects and chuck them at their neighbors mines? You could take out the whole career pack, and anyone else that's dangerous, that way and they wouldn't be able to do a thing. Then you have a shot at getting some weapons or having more people die early on. 2. How did the people from District 7 not survive that long in Katniss' games? I mean, they're said to be really good with axes, and were in a forest which is there home environment. They should've aced that Games. 3. If the Hunger Games has been going on for 75 years, and is supposed to go on for centuries, how are the Gamemakers supposed to come up with original environments. There would be only so much games before old concepts had to be reused and then everyone who can remember [insert environment here] and how the victor survived would have an edge.
    • I’ve read the books a long time ago, but I’ll try to answer: 1. Isn’t it forbidden to do anything during the time in which the Tributes have to stay on the metal circles? What happened with the token was an accident. I think you're not supposed to use such an strategy, and besides, I doubt they’d let someone go on the Games with such a canny device as a “necklace with objects on”; 2. It’s true, technically they would have an advantage. But just familiarity with an environment isn’t enough. First of all, if the Careers thought the same as you, then the guys from District 7 were priority kills, hunted by basically trained soldiers. Also, there’s always the possibility that they never actually got their hands on an axe during those Games, or that some of the other traps killed them; 3. It’s just a matter of the Gamemakers being as creative as their jobs require them to be. You may throw all the Tributes in a forest that is similar to one from another Game, but change all the traps (and the people making the games seem to be very imaginative about this kind of thing). Even if some smart Tribute watched old Games and tried that strategy, yeah, he would have some minor advantage, but it’s likely that the Gamemakers would caught up on that very quickly.
    • 1. It was forbidden to step off the metal circles if IIRC, since I think the Gamemakers main concern was giving the people with quicker reactions the advantage when they arrived in the arena, and they wanted to have some good shots of the tributes standing ready to go. And, sure, you're not supposed to, but, it's pretty much a free-for-all in the arena and, to the tributes when they're in the game, nothing's off the table if it helps you to survive. 2. Fair enough, I concede that point. 3. Except there aren't any traps, or at least there weren't any in the first Games (while the second was ridiculously complicated because it was a Quarter Quell, as was the one Haymitch was in), which implies that only the Quarter Quells are made special.
      • Well, it's not exactly free-for-all. Look at what Haymitch did. He won the game by using the mechanics of the arena to his advantage. Sounds 100% okay, right? But they killed his family and girlfriend, because it wasn't okay. The same thing would probably apply to attacking tributes during those 60 seconds. You are not supposed to attack during this time. (Hell, the poor boy who re-activated the mines probably wasn't exactly looking towards a bright future either, but they might have let him live because his alliance with the Careers was interesting.) Haymitch and Katniss broke the rules, but they did it at the end of the game, so the gamemakers couldn't touch them. Pull this shit at the beginning, and you can bet that you won't make it out alive. Also, let's not forget the cannibal guy who died in an "accident". He didn't break the rules per se, but the gamemakers didn't approve of his actions, so he had to go. There's also a chance that the general public would think you're unfair for attacking people during those 60 seconds, which is also akin to a death sentence.
      • Regarding the traps, it doesn't have to be anything huge, but there are many things you can change to prevent two arenas from being the same. For example, the first arena had a forest part and a field part, divided by the lake. The forest was generally regarded as safer. So, easy change, what if you make the open field safer? You can also change the temperature, so what if you make the night hot and the days cold, instead of the other way round? What if only nocturnal animals are safe to eat? Another important factor is the cornucopia. What sort of weapons are provided? Are weapons provided? What about food and other things?
      • But the people in the districts don't know about these things (save for the victors), so why should a tribute? Especially since the mentors are probably threatened for their silence. So it makes sense for an unknowing tribute to try and game the Hunger Games then have an Oh, Crap!! moment when he/she realizes why the Gamemakers are gunning for him/her. About changing what people would expect, that would trip up pretty much all the tributes but after the initial surprise, some Capitol citizens (another important factor) would start to become disillusioned when they realize it's, to them, a cheap way to try an reuse an arena. And wouldn't the reusing of an environment have had to occur already if the games been going for 75 years?
    • re 1: You are not supposed to use your token as a weapon, which is why they are screened. Also, the game is not supposed to start until the countdown is finished. Finally, there's enough space between the mines that they only kill one person. One dead career probably improves your odds, but good luck surviving the night, when the gamemakers and the remaining careers are pissed at you.
    • re 2: Just because the environment is familiar does not guarantee that you win. Everybody can die during the initial bloodshed.
    • re 3: You don't know what the arena is like until you see it, and even then it does not mean it will be exactly the same as before. Of course, eventually certain types of arenas will be repeated, but there are just so many additional factors that have to be considered. Also, not everybody is a career who has probably studied all games in detail. You might vaguely remember that about a hundred years ago there was a similar arena, but that's not really a big help.
1) Firstly, that’s assuming that you’d even be allowed a ‘necklace with objects’. Probably not, because of their myriad potential weapon uses (throwing, poison, stick them in food and choke someone else) and survival uses (sparking and starting fire). You get one item of sentimental value for your tribute token, they’re probably not going to pass a charm bracelet. Secondly, you’re assuming that you can accurately throw at least four small objects onto small podiums. The closest ones are going to be about fourteen feet away from you. Presumably the objects are small, like bells or charms. It’s going to take some skill to throw one, under pressure and get a hit. If the tributes you most want to kill aren’t either side of you, you’ve got to throw clean across the ring. Katniss states in Catching Fire that the Cornucopia is 40 yards away from her, so the Tribute on the other side is 80 yards away from her. You’ve got wind to account for, there is the Cornucopia blocking some of them. A tribute to have the skill to activate the mines from such a distance, in such a short amount of time doesn’t need to do it. They wait the 60 seconds, grab a couple of knives and throw them.2) Being in trees, however much you like them, doesn’t stop a Career splattering your brains with a quickly grabbed weapon.3) A) They can make infinite environments, and even if they have to repeat a few major features, the average lifespan of a Capitol resident doesn’t appear to be much longer than people can expect to live now. Even if we assume each Capitol resident will live to be 110, they probably didn’t really pay attention to their first five games, won’t remember many details before 10 and then that gives them 100 games before they die of old age and excessive eyeliner. Repeats of terrain after 100 years probably won’t get many complaints because few will remember.B) The arenas themselves aren’t going to factor in the deaths of most tributes, it’s the other tributes. Fair enough, you might have watched a couple of games set in certain environments and learned general survival tips but you cannot be sure that one of the other tributes isn’t going to be a crack crossbow sniper who takes you out as soon as you approach a tree you think you can hide in.
  • On question three, I just have to say, I think it's funny you mention Gamemakers reusing settings on a website... about tropes...

Reapings, Volunteers and Tributes

    Why don't more people volunteer for the luxury? 
  • If the tributes are really treated as well as they are prior to entering the Games, and there really is so many people starving in D12, why isn't there anyone volunteering? There has to be at least a couple kids dying of starvation and thinking something along the lines of "if I go in the Games, at least I'll get a taste of what luxury is like before I'm killed, it's better than starving to death in the streets"?
    • Katniss states in the first book that being a tribute from District 12 is synonymous with 'corpse'. When it comes down to it, most people would rather struggle against starvation and perhaps live to see things get better, than have two weeks of fantastic food and then be certainly brutally murdered on national TV.
      • Especially considering that a lot of young people in District 12 likely do things to support their family, or at least, intend to survive long enough to go into the workforce and support their family. District 12 is so incredibly poor that many families have to pull together to keep going, with older siblings taking out extra tessarae and so on. One sibling dies, that's one less person to help take care of the family.
    • The same reason Katniss had to pull herself together after losing both her father and (in a manner of speaking) her mother. Someone needed her.
    • In the book, it's clear that the tributes from D12 aren't all that aware of the process. It's possible they don't know about the week of luxury before the games.
    • They can also put their names in extra times in exchange for food. Why get luxury in exchange for certain death, when you can get luxury in exchange for only a slight elevated chance of death.
    • They never had a winner before, who could tell them of all the luxury before the games?
    • Except for Haymitch. Then again, he was famous for being surly and drunk. He probably didn't get many people asking him relevant questions about his experiences.
      • They had two winners; Haymitch was the only one still alive. From what I've read, there isn't a lot of mention about D12's other winner. With all the experiences of the games, s/he might have hung themselves not too long after winning.
    • Your argument is far too rational to occur to someone who is dying of starvation.
      • Well that and the Games are yearly, you would have to have been starving and hit decline and willingness at just the right time to want to participate
  • Even if you take away the aforementioned reasons: Why don't more older siblings volunteer? Anybody with young siblings would agree that Katniss decision is perfectly reasonable, if not self-evident. And even if the majority didn't go through with it, it still seems far-fetched that Katniss is the first tribute in the Games' 74-year history who volunteered to protect a younger relative from becoming obvious cannon fodder.
    • Because if Prim went she 'would' have died. With Katniss going she had a chance. But Katniss winning was something nobody predicted, so she was essentially condemning Prim and her mother to death by starvation, since it had been well-established Katniss was the only one who was keeping them fed to any degree. It's not that simple. And how many people with siblings would, when the moment came - and it would be in the moment, no preparing or changing your mind after - really step up like that? And what if Katniss had two younger siblings? Makes the equation even more complicated.
      • And because we don't know it hasn't happened. Katniss is District 12's first, but not the first. To volunteer for a sibling you need to be the same gender as the Reaped sibling, and to also be within the Reaping age bracket. That's true of Katniss but probably not all that many people. Older siblings like Katniss are likely to be taking tessara, making them more likely to be Reaped. Young kids like Prim, with their one name among the thousands of others, have a relatively small chance of being Reaped. Now, that doesn't mean it can't happen (that's the point of the Hunger Games, after all, the odds weren't in Prim's favour even though statistically she had a tiny shot) but it means that it would be even less likely for all the factors listed before to be in play.

     Doesn't allowing volunteers let others cheat the system? 
  • The way that the lottery works is that for every time you put your name in, you get food and the extra chance for going to the Hunger Games. In a career district, then, you can submit your name as many time as you want and never get picked, since the career will volunteer. So you can get all the reward with none of the risk. And the Capital is ok with this? The Games are supposed to be a punishment, after all. Why do they allow volunteers?
    • They say the Games are a punishment, but in truth they are more a matter of control. The career districts have been conditioned to be loyal to the Capitol - probably helped by the fact that their children aren't randomly selected to be sent to their deaths every year. I doubt the career districts are in desperate need of the extra food in any case, and the other districts simply don't have the resources to start a career system of their own. The Capitol doesn't let them.
      • IIRC, career districts are the ones that make expensive stuff(luxury items, electronics, etc), so they probably aren't in dire need of resources.
      • Maybe I'm misremembering, but during the Victory Tour, doesn't Katniss realize that all the districts are equally miserable? District 12 only thinks they are the poorest, but it's about equal for everyone. Also, everyone says that it would be expensive to start a career system, but that simply isn't true. If you try to train the careers, yes, that costs money, but just finding/forcing someone to volunteer? That's free. The point of the having careers is so that everyone else can ask for max tessarae. Whether the careers live or die doesn't matter (although winning is a nice bonus, the Games are too random to depend on that to feed people.) A district would be better off forcing untrained 12-year-olds to volunteer than to leave it to the lottery.
      • Brilliant idea. Who Will Bell the Cat?

     Why doesn't everyone in the District just take tessera? 
  • The entire tessera system. No matter how many entries are in, two people will be chosen. So if everyone is starting with one entry, every single person could take a tessera and nobody's odds would change. You'd think the districts would have caught on to this little loophole, considering that everyone is supposed to be starving and all. If everybody takes a tessera together, that's a pretty substantial amount of oil and grain going around.
    • Because of the prisoners' dilemma: The people in any given dictrict have different wealth. Not all need additional food. A wealthy family could prevent their kids from signing for tessera to reduce their risk of being reaped.
      Katniss: "The poorest people have to sign up more often for tessera, making it more probable for the poorest to get reaped. It's just another way of the Capitol to divide our people."
    • Except that a 12 year old who takes a tessera adds their name once, while an 18 year old that does the same adds their name 7 times. The minimum entries a person could have is (Age-11) and the max is (Age-11)*(Family+1). This is why Katniss has her name in the drawing (16-11)*(3+1) = 20 times, and Gale has his in (18-11)*(5+1) = 42 times. Therefore, if everyone took the max tessarae, the older kids with big families would have worse odds than they otherwise would. The real loophole is volunteering, since the careers let everyone in their district gets as much tesserae as they can. The starving districts should be forcing someone to volunteer to circumvent the system.
      • Ya wanna bet this is exactly what happens in the Career Districts (except instead of forcing, it's encouraging glory-seeking.)
    • 1) Starving people aren't the most logical and rational people you'll come across, and 2) the people in the Districts seem to think of "odds" as something equivalent to fate or the Force. Katniss herself thinks Prim's odds weren't in her favor because she got picked. No, I don't think these people would have spotted that "loophole", not in a million years.
    • This is the old "Prisoner's dilemma" problem. Yes, if everyone took the tessera then everyone's odds would be the same as if no one did. However, if everyone else was taking the tessera and you didn't really need it so you didn't, then your odds would be better. And if other people were not taking the tessera, then you wouldn't want to either because if you did, your odds would be worse. Basically, the people of the districts could agree to all take the tessera, but they couldn't enforce the agreement, and there would be a strong incentive not to hold to the agreement if you didn't have to.
  • Ok, so when you sign up for tessera, you are allowed one for each of your family members. How do they define who is in your family? Katniss has (16-11)*(3+1) = 20 tickets with her name on it, so that means that her family consists of herself, Prim, and their mom. She must have cousins, aunts, uncles, maybe some living grandparents if she's lucky... do they not count? She was in the process of starving when she signed up, so surely she would claim anyone she could as a relation to get more food.
    • It's possible, perhaps even likely, that the rules only stated direct family. Even then, there's no mention of Katniss having much extended family. District 12 is implied to have a pretty high death rate, what's more, large families might be uncommon.
    • The rules presumably have something for that. Perhaps they stipulated direct family—parents, siblings, and children—or perhaps they said "household". This seems a bit nitpicky.
  • You can have one name in your 1st year. Another is added each year, but they're cumulative so by 18 you have seven names in the pot before you even start tessarae. This means that, statistically, older kids are more likely to be reaped. If you have tessarae you can add one name for yourself and one for each member of your family. So a 12 year old with their one name, one for themselves and one for each parent and three siblings has the same odds as an eighteen year old who never took tessarae. A 12 year old with one name, one for themselves, two parents and FOUR ssiblings has higher odds than that 18 year old. But these are still cumulative. If you want tessarae next year, all the names from last year are aadded THEN your new one for another birthday, another for your tessarae, another five for your siblings. An eighteen year old with five family members who always took tessarae therefore has incredibly high odds. Because there is always a different pool of people to reap (new 12 year olds in, 19 year olds out) and they have unequal families you can't say that everyone has the same odds if they all take their tessarae.
  • In short, there is no way to have everyone's odds be equal. It's set up in that way: poorer families are more likely to be reaped because richer families are more content with the system as it is (why rebel against something that isn't bad for you?). Families with more members, and thus more angst, are more likely to be reaped (and it is stated that the siblings of Victors are still fair game: there are two siblings in 75th) aand, more importantly, the odd LOOK to be in the favour of the younger children because if you exclude tessarae a 12 year old has less chances to be picked than an 18 year old. This makes it appear that the Capitol is trying to give the kids a chance, really just amping up the drama when a young child is reaped. And, let's face it, your odds mean NOTHING. Prim's name is in there once with 20 Katniss names, even without the rest of the female reapable population. She is reaped. Peeta, who probably didn't take tessarae because there's food to waste in his house, had 5 names (probably?) against Gale's 42 and the rest of the male reapable population. All statistics and odds are semantics: you can have odds of 1000000000:1 but there's still that one chance it'll happen.

     Why allow tessera when the Games are a punishment? 
  • The Capitol likes to act like being chosen as tribute is a big honor, even though the Games themselves are supposed to be punishments. If that's the case, how do they explain giving extra food for people who put their names in extra times? That makes it pretty clear that you don't want to get chosen, because you effectively get paid to put your name in.
    • It might be more of a symbolic thing, in that it's making it so that the poor are more likely to die, like when you could buy your way out of the draft.
    • Kids see it as a price, but maybe the Capitol promotes it as an award. Brave enough to up your odds of fighting for your District's honor? Enjoy this reward of free food!
    • It's probably also a way to put further pressure on the parents. Basically, in the "you're so hungry and hopeless, you have to more or less sell your child to get food" way.
    • And judging by the situation in "Catching Fire", victors' families get a new house and all sorts of perks.

     Why doesn't every District have a career system? 
  • It doesn't make sense for a District to NOT have a Career system. It gives their own children a better chance for survival and the prize that goes with it. And because every district knows in advance who's going, the rest of the kids can put their names in for extra food as much as is needed without consequence.
    • Not sure exactly what your complaint is, but not every district would be able to afford the system. Considering district twelve is essentially starving, they're not going to have the resources to train up tributes every year and it's doubtful they'd find people in decent enough condition to train. I imagine most of the later districts are the same, hence why numbers 1-4 are the only ones to have Careers
      • Actually 3 doesn't have a career system and, surprisingly, don't have as many victors as you'd expect them to, what with providing the Capitol with electronics and all.
    • But they wouldn't BE starving if they implemented a Career system. Knowing that someone was going to volunteer, and who, would let them enter their names into the drawing as many times as they needed to be properly fed because there's no risk. So as soon as they decide and agree, they can get food as they need it. Their Tribute also stands a better chance because even a little training beforehand for someone physically and mentally suited will give them a better shot than the malnourished 13 year-old who might get drawn.
      • Not necessarily. The tributes may stand a better chance if trained beforehand, but if the district does not have the resources it's not worth it. The Capitol probably gives out bags of rices because it doesn't actually do much to help a family out of poverty, and even after Katniss and Peeta become victors, their lives improve but not those of the rest of District 12. Furthermore, being a victor is better than dying in the Games, but as shown with Johanna it does not guarantee a better life.
    • That's great from a utilitarian sense, but are you rushing to volunteer your son/daughter? That requires someone to not only suggest this plan, but families to go along with it year after year. It's not clear how the "academy" was established in the Career districts, but it is a very tenuous system. If any "volunteer" gets cold feet and backs out, the whole thing collapses. Further, who is in District 12 to train them? They only have one champion, and he's a drunk.
      • Who says there's only 2 volunteers per year? Winning the Games is seen as a huge honor in the richer districts, remember. I'd imagine that D1 and D2 have a academy with multiple students, and the tributes we saw were the valedictorians that year. I'm sure that even getting into this career academy would be competitive, since you know that the district wouldn't let its future tributes or their families go hungry.
    • I still don't see how, after 74 years of the Hunger Games, the districts haven't used the "lottery" as a way of getting rid of unwanted children in the community. It's simply, really: tell them they either volunteer, or get executed after the Reaping. If they win, they'll be allowed to live once they get back from the Capitol.
      • It's easy to pick wanted children as tributes, but incredibly hard to pick unwanted children. How would you do that?
      • In a similar vein, I wonder if people use the games to commit suicide. This is a bit dark, but I could imagine somebody basically just allowing themselves some luxury before going out with a bang... probably literally by stepping off one of the platforms while the count-down is running. (Optionally, tell your partner about your intentions, step off at 2, and while everybody is staring, the other person runs, gets the best bag and is gone before everybody else has even moved a muscle.) But you know, maybe some people do it. There have been 74 games, there's a lot of stuff we don't know. That's why I wish there were prequels, not necessarily all written by Collins though for added diversity.
    • Is it ever stated how Districts 1 & 2 got their Career systems started? I always assumed they came up with the system because they were near starvation sometime in the past. Seriously, teaching children how to kill is probably a last resort. If your district is doing alright, there would be no pressure to start a Career system.
      • Possible, but that would still require them to have some surplus capacities to be able to just let a few of their children off the normal daily chores like working in a mine or suchlike. I would actually guess that they were somewhat better off from the beginning which gave their tributes advantages (better health, more presents bought by the district, maybe even spare time to do some general training like athletics in the knowledge it may come in handy) which gave them more victors and people started to see a way out of their miserable life. Considering how many parents in our world force their children to train special things they may not even want to (sports and music come to mind), it doesn't seem too far fetched to me that in this environment things like careers start existing due to parents seeing more the payoff than the dangers.
    • It's mentioned that 1, 2, and 4 get preferential treatment from the Capitol. It's likely that if any of the other districts, especially 12, tried to organize anything, there would be severe consequences.
  • Why doesn't a poor District like District 12 take a boy and a girl and train them exhaustively for an entire year before the Games. Then every other kid in the district takes like 100 tessera and when the names are pulled, the two trained kids volunteer for the Games?
    • Basically, why don't they become a career district? Well, for one thing "training" for the games is nominally illegal. It's tolerated in the "career" districts because they are chummier with the Capitol, but for others training kids with martial skills looks rebellious. Secondly, it's a lot to ask of any family to just volunteer their kids for this meat grinder, and if the kid chickened out at the last minute and didn't volunteer (sending one of those 100 tessera kids in their place), then the whole system collapses.
      • I never got the impression that the career district gamed the tessera system. But I'm asking why no one is gaming the tessera system. Say I saw my little brother or sister die of hunger, and I wanted to save everyone in my district. Why couldn't I put my name in for a million tessera and donate all my food to everyone else? Why hasn't a district like 12 at least tried the rigging system I described above?
      • You can only get one tessera per family member per year. So unless you have a million siblings, good luck with your plan. Further, the amount of food is stated to be quite small, so you won't really be able to stretch it out that far.
  • A lot of people seem to be asking why other districts don't have a career system but the answer to that is easy: it's actually illegal. But then, how did 1,2 and 4 get away with it? Does the Capitol turn a blind eye because they always give good tributes? Or because they're loyal?
    • The careers make the Gamemakers job a lot easier, since they seem to be the only people actually trying to kill. Also, they still would stand no chance compared to a Peacekeeper with a gun, so they are no risk.
    • It's pretty much outright stated that the Capitol turns a blind eye because those districts are loyal.
    • Also, favoring one (or three) districts is a good way to keep the districts opposed to each other. There's the unfavorites who resent and are jealous of the favorites, and the faves themselves who feel superior to the rest. And having a few kids who are obviously strong and capable might be a good strategy for keeping the Capitol citizens from thinking too hard about the 'children forced to murder each other' thing. If they seem competent, they seem less like innocent children and more like warriors.
    • A little bit of Fridge Brilliance: Turning a blind eye to Districts 1,2 & 4 having careers allows The Capitol to set up underdog stories in the games. Think of it like March Madness, every year there are high seeded big schools who are favored to win and low seeded "Cinderella Stories" that capture people's attention but have a very small chance of actually winning. That is exactly the sort of story Gamemakers would love to set up, so they tacitly allow the Careers to exist in the wealthy districts but prevent the poorer districts from doing the same thing.
    • Nothing illegal in Panem can escape the Capitol's notice. So if the Career districts are allowed to train, it's because the Capitol deliberately turns a blind eye, because it's to their advantage to have Career tributes. Why? Because, odds are, if you take 24 undernourished, terrified, untrained children and throw them into an arena, they probably will do everything they can to avoid killing each other. They'd help each other find food, survive the elements, and sure, one or two of them might react in panic. But actual murder? That takes some serious brainwashing. The Careers have been trained since childhood to be lethal and to have an appetite to kill. As a result, other tributes have to kill in self-defence. And then you have Hunger Games. Without them, the Gamemakers would be forced to set mutts or gamemaker tricks on the tributes to kill most of them each year, and that would defeat Snow's propaganda purpose of showing the district children killing each other.
  • The Tessarae system allows you to add your name an additional time for yourself and for each member of your family. Katniss puts her name in an extra three times for herself, Prim and their mother’s extra rations. Gale is stated to have his name in many times more because he has lots of siblings. You can put in multiple children and claim for each other (Katniss says that she didn’t let Prim take tesserae, meaning she could have done if she wanted to) so using the tesserae to feed up a child to Career standards is only viable if you have lots of children who can claim for each other or every other member of the family is happy to go without the extra rations to feed this one child. The Career districts have the lowest amount of Tessarae claims because they usually win and because they have the most valuable resources. Not to mention, if every District had two well trained tributes every year, it would stop the entertainment value and the equal education means that they would have the same advantage… meaning no advantage.

     Why would someone want to be a career? 
  • Why do the Career Tributes volunteer? I mean, there's only a low chance that any given Career Tribute will win, so volunteering is practically suicide.
    • I don't know where the idea it's a 'low chance' came from. Each Career has pretty good odds at surviving any non-Career and then they just have to outlast the five others. From their point of view, they're told probably from birth that they're the best, to train, to win and that victory will bring them glory and make life better for their District. When put into that mentality, with nothing to prove otherwise, they're probably not expecting a long life unless they 'earn' it by winning the Games. Whilst most people get to adulthood by simply not being Reaped, they are taught to take the chance of a better life. They are, after all, children. There are kids even now who make silly decisions to live up to parental and societal expectations, it's not hard to imagine that placed in a random death lottery with starvation being the norm you'd take the 'I might die but I might fix things' chance.

     Why were the careers so incompetent? 
  • In the movie, the Careers are kind of incompetent. Firstly, there's the absolute inability to hit Katniss in the tree with the bow. These kids have trained for... what, about a decade in how to fight and survive. None of their group can hit a slow moving/immobile human-sized object that isn't that far away? NONE of them? Not to mention that they only shoot straight up instead of moving back from the tree to get a better profile. And then the booby-trapped food and supplies. It's a good idea. But it's set up so that when any single mine goes off, it blows up all of their supplies. I could see non-Careers forgetting to take that into account, or underestimating the explosives, but these guys are supposed to be smart and well taught in this stuff, aren't they?
    • The booby traps at the resources were NOT placed to activate each other. Katniss made several apples fall to the ground which caused several bombs to explode separately. Only after that, the entire heap exploded.
    • Bows and arrows are hard to master, especially old fashioned ones, but they aren’t that difficult to use. I remember using them in PhysEd when I was 12 and I could at least hit the target at a good distance. There’s no reason why the Careers shouldn’t be able to do the same thing themselves. I don’t get why they wouldn’t have had some basic training with bows and arrows any way. Distance weapons are amazing, especially in a situation like the Hunger Games. Hand to hand combat is a terrible strategy for this kind of thing because it’s too easy to get hurt. Once you're hurt your fighting is only going to go down hill, which results in worse injuries (unless you're Katniss and all of your problems are conveniently fixed before another one has a chance to arise) and more than likely death. Even if distance weapons aren’t offered often, they should be covered at some point during the nearly two decades of training the careers have.
    • Also, the booby trapping the food is fucking stupid regardless of who's doing it. Anyone should be able to see that 1. Using almost all of your supplies as bait is just begging for trouble, and 2. setting it as bait for exploding trap is going to destroy all your food. This makes me think that the districts are choosing the stupidest kids they could find to be careers and they really need to fire their trainers.
      • If you assume that one mine blowing up won't blow up the whole pile, then it's easy to assume that the pile itself is a trap: you just have to hope that someone will run up to the pile and kill themselves. Katniss messed up the trap by blowing up multiple mines at once.
      • A better question would be why the Careers weren't given survival training in addition to combat. Considering Katniss specifically recalls a previous Hunger Games where the Careers lost after losing their supplies, you'd think some of the districts would attempt to remedy that for the future. It's possible some of the Career districts lack the geography to practice certain survival skills, but we never hear any real specifics beyond District 4 being a coastal region.
    • Another point: They are looking up at Katniss, and fail to spot the giant wasp nest in the tree above her, even after they set up camp for the night. They also didn't sleep in shifts, leaving themselves open to being slaughtered in their sleep by Katniss or Peeta or anything, really. So yeah, they aren't the best at the whole "being effective" thing, but who knows, maybe this year's Careers are know for being idiots back home too.
      • Even Katniss doesn't notice the tracker jacker nest and she's right under it, so it's probably a Plot Hole. And Glimmer was meant to be on guard, she just fell asleep.
      • Considering that the muttations came into being when Seneca punched them up on the display, it's possible that the tracker-jacker nest wasn't there when Katniss climbed the tree, and was added to the field after the Careers settled down for the wait. The possible reasons for this run from Crane wanting to give her a way to liven things up, to creating them as a method for driving her out of the tree, but either way would allow for it not to be there to be noticed until Rue spotted it.
    • Remember, it was the D3 boy who handled the explosives, so maybe he lied/was mistaken about the range that the bombs had. As for their incompetence with bows and arrows, isn’t it mentioned that they normally aren’t at the Games? I assumed the bow was only there because Katniss was good with one, and Glimmer only took it with her so Katniss couldn’t have it. (Although that means Glimmer took a weapon she wasn’t good with on purpose because... she’s just that confident?) I could see the trainers back at the districts spending a short amount of time on a bow to focus more on commonly available weapons and survival skills.
      • Except Katniss remembered about the District 7 girl who got blown up, which gave you a pretty good indicator of how powerful the mines were, and wouldn't the Careers have learned about past tributes and their mistakes?
      • Glimmer'a choice of weapon couldn't have anything to do with Katniss because she had no way to know that Katniss was good at archery. Katniss never used a bow and arrow during training specifically so they wouldn't know and the gamemaker test was secret. It's possible Peeta told the careers but seems highly unlikely that he'd betray her like that. Plus, if her whole goal was to keep Katniss from getting it, she could have destroyed it, stuck it on a dead tribute to be removed from the arena (like Marvel's spear was) or left it as bait with the rest of the booby trap.
    • It was stated that the Careers' downfall is usually their arrogance. Maybe they thought that Katniss would be so intimidated by their gang and so demoralized by Peeta's betrayal that she wouldn't be able to put up an effective fight. It still raises the question of why they trusted Peeta so quickly, but maybe they just thought he was too incompetent to be a threat.
    • On the mines: I don't think all of the supplies would have been destroyed if it had been one person setting off one mine. Because Katniss shot the bag of apples, apples tumbled all over and set off multiple mines, as opposed to a person, who would only be in one place.
    • On the mines again: It's possible that the D3 boy could have lied about it as well and told them it would only explode the person who stepped on it rather than the whole supplies in order to trick the careers and at some point destroy the food at the sacrifice of his own life. It's a stretch, but why not?
      • Hell, he was smart enough that he might have "foreseen" the careers turning on each other and one of them getting shoved onto a mine, blowing up the food and everyone in the vicinity. He himself would have been at a safe distance. (On the other hand, he wasn't much at seeing through social schemes - he let himself be intimidated by Cato - so maybe not.)
    • I got the impression that, while the careers are definitely trained, it hasn't been for their whole lives. Think about it: no one except for certain people in District 2 would know how the tributes from District 2 are trained. The same applies to Districts 1 and 4. These people have no reason to share their secret training techniques to anyone, so instead, rumors are created. And once the rumor of "trained from birth" is made, why would you stop it? It makes your district seem more terrifying to the other tributes, and it might get you some sponsors as well.

     Why must victors have talents? 
  • What was the point of including the "Victors must have talents!" subplot in Catching Fire? Katniss worries for a bit, and then just puts her name on Cinna's clothes, and never thinks about it again. Peeta decided to paint some pictures of the Games, but he's an artistic guy, he doesn't need outside motivation from the Capitol to do that. Haymitch doesn't seem to have a talent at all (although a sick part of my mind hopes that long ago, it was wine tasting), and we never even find out what the other victors' talents are. It seemed like a waste of page space.
    • Simply to show consequence of fame and the Capitol's control over Katniss' life. Ultimately further contrasting Katniss's real persona and what the Capitol expects to see. It also sorta makes sense in universe, the Capitol wants to show the Victor's life after the games to be happy, successful, and productive to please crowds.
      • I agree with the last two sentences, but not the first. Katniss didn't have to face any consequences from the talent because she got Cinna to do everything. If the purpose of the talent is to control Katniss' life, then she should have to actually spend the time designing the clothes herself. Considering how the first part of Catching Fire was basically the Capitol hating Katniss and making her life a living hell, it's weird that the Capitol didn't do this. It just seems like a wasted opportunity in the narrative.
      • The consequence of FAME. The consequence of Katniss' fame is that she will be a slave to the Capitol's PR forever. She will forever have to play a persona that pleases the whims of the Capitol population. They expect her to have a feminine talent like music, cooking or flowers. Katniss loves singing, but she denies the Capitol her voice for entertainment. Her other real talent poaching would shock the Capitol audience. It's a slap at our expectations in celebrities and gender roles.
    • My theory is that, since victors don't have to go to school or work, the mandatory talents are just another way to keep them busy and distracted from potentially using their status and influence to stir rebellion.
    • It may also be a crude attempt at occupational therapy - without doing anything so blunt as admitting that the Games are a mentally scarring nightmare. They want at least some of their victors able to show up on camera without being obviously drunk or drug-addled, or it ruins the fun.
    • Let's call a spade a spade. It is padding. It never shows up again.

     Have no pregnant women been reaped before Katniss? 
  • In Catching Fire, the Capitol audience is shocked to discover that Katniss is "pregnant" and going into the Games. While this is sad, the audience reacts like this has never happened before. 74 years of taking girls to be slaughtered, and not one of them was pregnant? I realize that starving girls often get their periods later, but if Peeta can claim that Katniss, who is from the poorest district, is pregnant at 17 and be believed, then it must be possible for girls younger than Katniss from better districts to get pregnant too.
    • We don't know. It might have happened. What has apparently never happened is that the would-be mother and presumed father are together in the arena, for the second time. Hell, there probably have barely been any lovers either. What's the chance? Sure, the reapings are rigged, but bad stuff usually happens to those who oppose the capitol. Possibly, young people avoid getting together with someone for that reason and relationships are formed later on when they can't be reaped.
    • On top of which, if a pregnant girl was ever reaped before, someone else could always volunteer and save her. The possibility of that reprieve at least existed. But with Katniss, there was literally no one else eligible —literally no escape. She was being absolutely, inexorably forced into the Arena — for the second time — against her own husband — while pregnant. That's got to garner sympathy.
    • Katniss is closer to the "Oldest" end of the scale for tributes, and has also been being properly fed for a full year, making her "pregnancy" more believable. Given that a lot of the female tributes are either younger girls who haven't been fed very well and likely aren't menstruating yet, or Careers (who would either not be having sex or being really careful to use contraception for that reason) ... I doubt very seriously it's happened very often, if at all, before.
    • And it's not just that a tribute is pregnant - but that Katniss, the girl in the Star-Crossed Lovers is pregnant. The public was invested in their 'love story' and a baby is a perfect happy ending for them. But it can't happen now because either Katniss and her unborn child will die, or said child will have to be raised without its father.

     Why don't more tributes avoid the Cornucopia? 
  • How is the bloodbath at the start of the Games always so big? You know the careers are going to go for it. You have, at best, a 50-50 shot of living through it. Haymitch told Katniss to ignore it and run, and presumably most non-career mentors do the same. Shouldn't there be a large chunk of tributes just hightailing it out of there as soon as the Games start?
    • Katniss is not only a threat to the Careers' due to her 11 score, but also an experienced survivalist. Other tributes who aren't as good at wilderness survival really need to take their chances in the bloodbath because without supplies they will be dead in days.
      • Having no supplies will kill you within a couple of days, while the bloodbath will kill you within the hour. At least if you are alive, you have the chance of stealing something later. Also, while she is knowledgeable, I wouldn't call Katniss an experienced survivalist. She knows the woods outside of District 12, and that's it. Also, she goes to (presumably mandatory) school, so her time in the woods is split into short segments instead of long stretches.
      • The easiest time to steal is going to be when another dozen or so people are trying to steal from the same place. If they all hightail it, the Careers wind up with everything. It's going to be substantially harder to steal anything valuable after the well-armed, well-fed Careers have had the opportunity to set up defenses around it. So really, grabbing a backpack and escaping the confusion is the best of their horrendous options. As for Katniss, what is your baseline for survivalist? Green Beret? Look at the things she does in the series: She can climb trees (harder than it sounds), find shelter to stay warm without a fire, identify poisonous berries and wildlife, set hunting snares, travel without leaving a trail, stalk prey, clean kills, do improvised first aid, travel for days without food or water, and she's a crack shot with a bow.
      • I'm not saying that Katniss doesn't have skills, just that she's extremely lucky that the arena she landed in was (pretty much) exactly like the woods outside District 12.

    Is there only ever one volunteer for each spot? If not, how do they know and decide who goes into the arena? 
  • Obviously not applicable to Katniss as District 12 has no volunteers ever and nobody else would've done it for Prim. But it's said numerous times that many people in the "Career" districts are desperate to volunteer for the honour. And this brings up the potential plot hole of why Clove and Finnick would've volunteered and been accepted as young teenagers. It naturally would've made more sense for those spots to go to older kids, because of how much more developed 18-year-olds are. So, are there multiple volunteers in Career districts, does it go to the person who volunteers first, or something else?
  • Katniss mentions in the first book that the rules around volunteering are pretty complicated and it can take a while to figure out who the actual tribute will be in districts where volunteering is a big thing. But we don't get any specifics.


    Religion in Panem 
  • Is there a trope for when there's a setting like this where religion is just simply never mentioned at all? No churches, mosques, temples - ruined or whole, prayers, "God", "Lord", "blessings" - no religion of any kind. Not even ruminations on what an afterlife might be like. No made-up religions even. Possibly such things existed and Katniss simply never paid any mind, but somehow that seems unlikely. It's a nice change of pace for a novel, it just seems incredibly strange.
    • I think it's the part of the "lesson" of the hunger games, with regard to reality television, and celebrity. They've basically turned their celebrities into their idols. They've plugged the hole where religion might be with the hunger games' winners, the way people accuse the western world of plugging religion with celebrities.
      • The Hunger Games do seem to serve the same purpose as religion. Marx refers to religion as 'opiate for the masses' - something to keep individuals docile and from revolting against the regime. It falls in line with the 'bread and circuses', with entertainment taking the place of religion in their society.
    • Even with Katniss's limited perspective, we know that Panem arose out of a world wide catastrophe and a major war. These are the sort of things that would likely destroy any religious buildings/symbols that might have been around previously. In previous wars, religious materials contrary to the regime have been destroyed and as Snow clearly thinks of himself as god, the existence of any being higher than himself would be contrary to his regime. It might also make it more difficult for people to buy into religion after those sort of events.
    • There probably isn't any religion, at least in District Twelve (it may be different in other districts). While Katniss might ignore buildings and people going to Church, they would have come up with respect to birth, death, and marriage. There's no mention of religious custom with respect to marriages in Twelve, and there's no mention of funeral custom or any sort of last rites for the sick/dying (which definitely would have come up if they existed).
    • What novels are you reading? I've read plenty that don't mention anything religious and even more that don't mention anything "real-world" (a currently existing religion) even when I think they should. The complete lack of religion told me plenty about the society of Panem, none of it good. Completely getting rid of religion is impossible regardless of whether you believe in one or not. If removed something has to replace it, even if unofficially. That can get messy. It also makes it a good deal easier rationalize anything, such as having children kill each other for entertainment live on national television.
      • USSR statistics prior to Stalin indicate otherwise; it's not okay to make [in theory harmless] beliefs illegal, but it is possible and exceptionally successful. Also, your implication that atheists have no moral codes is nonsensical, to say the least.
      • Firstly, yes Stalin got rid of existing religions, but, like most dictators, he effectively if not literally became their religious leader in his own right. Secondly, of course atheists (can) have moral codes, but without a cosmic reward system (such as heaven and hell) there's no certainty of consequences for doing immoral things, therefore it is easier to rationalize.
      • Certainty and consequences can come from other places, such as conscience. Non-religion is not the danger, it is the forced removal of it.
      • Certainty can come from other places, and so can consequences, but certainty *of* consequences can't.
      • Religious people don't have certainty either. They don't have proof, only faith. That may be enough "certainty" for the believer but it's fallacy to think that it's enough to condemn everybody else with.
    • I didn't pick up on anything odd with the lack of religion - if the Capitol wants them to feel hardship and suffer in a manner that keeps their spirits low though, they probably don't want buildings with some guy in them telling them that after they die they get to go to Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
      • True, but there are plenty of countries in real life that try to keep 'unapproved' religions out, but they have never been 100 percent successful; beliefs are very hard to stamp out entirely. You'd think it would at least be mentioned in passing by someone like Katniss, who, like any religious persons (assuming atheism is the approved way of thinking), is one misstep away from being caught and suffering either death or something worse.
      • Well atheism would fit Panem's current state of tyranny and hedonism. Peter Hitchens did say atheism is a license for ruthlessness and appeals to the ruthless.
      • Peter Hitchens is also a loony and has some very personal reasons to say that (*coughhisbrothercough*), so I don't see why his opinion on the matter is an objective statement on atheism.
      • Where are you getting the impression Katniss is religious? If anything, she seems agnostic by default of being uncaring. Protagonist =/= religious.
      • Uncaring does not mean non-religious. Non-religious people do have morals and emotions like everyone else. If Panem is non-religious, the overall society is pretty awful, but there are people who recognize that, and those people are also non-religious.
    • It's likely that whichever tyrannical regime founded Panem in its current state looked to stamp out religion. In real-life, several tyrannical dictators have attempted this (Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and Fidel Castro to name a few) and historically nations that have tried to stamp out religion have been ones ruled by tyrannical dictators (North Korea's Kim Dynasty are a modern example). It's likely most of the characters living do not know of anything about religion (though Plutarch mentions the idea of a Republic, which Katniss doesn't understand). Otherwise a violent decadent society like Panem would be full of turbulent priests who would've either curtailed some of Panem's atrocities or mobilized a resistance. Whatever one's views on religion, or a particular religion, the fact remains that most promote good values and are a major part of regulating behavior in society. Since Suzanne Collins (the author of the Hunger Games) is Catholic, it's not out of anti-religious sentiment.
    • In the films Catching Fire and both parts of Mockingjay, an angel statue is seen on the fountain between the victor's houses, so at least some religious references remain.

     Religion in Panem 
  • I've done a few text searches on the novels, and as far as I can tell there's no mention of any religion, and even religious-based words (hell only appears 3 or 4 times in the first book)are pretty rare. Is this the norm for young-adult fiction today, or is there some subtle point on the author's part? I'm an atheist myself, but it just seems an odd omission.
    • I assume as follows: Collins depicts a society in Panem that supresses awareness, compassion, conscience and solidarity. Spirituality would be a major hindrance to the success of such suppression because it would establish a ruleset independent of the President. It would create conflicting rulesets, conflicting authorities. The government most probably therefore exterminated spirituality. Metaphysically, we can interpret President Snow as satanic archetype and the second rebellion as battle of Armageddon because
      Katniss: "We have one enemy. President Snow - he corrupts everybody and everything."
    • Are you American? I know the author is so I can't argue the same way I'd argue if we were talking about Harry Potter, but to be quite honest, I didn't notice because religion isn't a big deal where I live. I don't think that it's odd that there's no mention, but come to think of it, perhaps it is intentional. Or probably just convenience.
    • Yes, I'm American. I mainly picked up on it because it's absence in a series that's largely (IMHO) social commentary seemed to stand out. After a little web browsing, I'm not the only one to notice this. I don't think the author has made any official statement with regard to the lack of religion. It may have just been convenience, as you said, for marketing a young-adult series. Publishers step very lightly around hot-wire topics in that age market.
      • I think that the problem is that there are already some heavy moral issues addressed in this series. Imagine adding religion to that. It might be interesting, but I think that it would be a bit too much for a YA novel. Also, maybe Katniss just doesn't care. I can't see her as religious at all. The only thing she cared about before she got reaped was getting food on the table. Everything else was irrelevant. I guess it's also possible that practising religion was forbidden.
      • It's most likely that Katniss and the other people from the poorer Districts are concentrated more on surviving. No time to pray, or worry about what God thinks or worry about eternal damnation, when there's such a high risk of family members starving.
      • Personally, I'd think it would be the other way around. Being consistently close to death would give one reason to consider the spiritual more than if death isn't even worth a second thought. Thinking and praying are not exactly energy-intensive activities.
      • There are different things to factor in, and would depend on how much exposure the people have had to religion as well as the mindsets they've developed in their upbringing. For all we know, religion could be a more common occurrence in other districts. But District 12 citizens grow up with a very heavy hardship (moreso than many of the other Districts) and a bigger focus on survival. It could simply be a mindset thing: don't hope for anyone, not even a higher divine being, to help you.
      • As said before, it is far from unheard of to all but forget about religion. We're not quite so far gone as to have this on a social scale, but in many places it doesn't really play into politics as anything but a fringe conservative group. It is entirely possible that Collins just didn't think about it.
    • The Capitol's entire plan behind the Hunger Games is to separate the districts and pit them against one another. They would certainly stamp out religion, which would act as unifying force and an alternate source of authority. Besides, all religion is about underdogs, and as Snow says in the movie - he hates underdogs.
    • In Communist states, which Panem is at least partially, religion would be seen as an unnecessary distraction by the leaders, as it is more materialistic, like the Capitol. Also, if you're a dictator, you don't want your people to think there is anyone more powerful than you, like God.
      • Panem is a Communist state? Where did that come from? Aside from the fact that "Communist state" is an oxymoron, Panem is the embodiment of Fascism. Everything about it reeks of Fascism, not Communism. You need to do some research.
      • US Americans call every political system they don't like "communism". Panem is actually feudalism. In feudalism, wealth creates political power and gets accumulated in families. In fascism, wealth also creates political power but is accumulated in corporations. There are no corporations in Panem. All economic activity except black market is controlled by President Snow's government, which is shown to have ministries in Mockingjay. Therefore one can assume that Snow acquired his wealth and power from family heritage - or that he founded a feudalist heritage. Coin's government is an extreme leftist military dictatorship like Stalin's USSR was.
      • The USSR and the entire Cold War would beg to differ that Communist and state are oxymorons, though I agree that Panem doesn't seem very communist. Very dictatorshipish, though (obviously). Marx's idea of communism is a rather stupid pipe dream that ignores human nature in favor of wishful thinking. The USSR was modifying that idea so a state still existed and its greatest population (which was not Marx's source of revolution) would be utilized the most effectively. Hence Communist (with a capital 'C') normally refers to the USSR and similar governments, a key feature of which is an official lack of private property.
    • I second the idea that it's probably banned. Dictatorial states tend to either enforce strict adherence to a single religion, usually warped to fit the value of the tyrants (Nazi Germany, some of the more oppressive Islamic states) or no religion (Communist Russia, Mao's China) for the reasons mentioned. When you're ruling a country with an iron fist, the last thing you want to do is give the people anything that might make them realize you are doing a lot of things horribly wrong. (Of course they realize it anyway, because holy cow, there's an annual murder of 23 children, but the Capitol would want to stomp out anything corroborating the wrongness.)
  • If there is no religion in Panem, why would Katniss say "Damn you, Gale?" - a reference to the Judeo/Christian/Islamic concept of Hell?
    • A phrase that has existed past the context in which it can be placed? Like the hundreds of examples of this we have in modern English?

    Is there a world beyond Panem? 
  • We never find out what happened to the rest of the world. (Or did I miss it?)
    • Nope, you didn't. I wanted to find out about the outside world too. Well, there's always fanfic.
    • I actually thought that the rest of the world was doing quite okay but has decided to completely isolate North America because of the Capitol's tyranny and insanity. While Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, etc. might find what's going on in Panem barbaric, they don't want to bother with it because they fear triggering a nuclear/biological war, while the Capitol knows the rest of the world would kick its ass if it tried to expand past North America.
    • Seeing the film, I was reminded of 1984, where they don't know if the world even exists outside of Airstrip 1 (Britain). If there is something like a German Federation, New British Empire, or a Chinese Hegemony, they're probably too wrapped up with their own survival to care what is happening in North America. Also, for all we know, Capitol is in contact with the outside world, but does not share this with the twelve districts because telling them they're the only humans left is a more effective means of control. "We're what's left of humanity. Do you really want to rise up and destroy our final chance?"
    • It's only mentioned briefly a couple of times, but it appears that a combination of natural disasters and terrible wars did in fact destroy all humanity and modern civilization, except for a few thousand people in the US territory; "He tells the story of Panem, the country that rose up out of the ashes of a place that was once called North America." Furthemore, throughout the books, various characters mention their "ancestors", people long gone who had incredible technology such as high-flying planes, lived in a republic (a concept that now generates doubtful looks) and, according to Katniss, left behind a dying and deserted world when they annihilated one another.
    • I personally think that there are other nations out there, likely in Asia, Europe and Africa at the very least, but they're all located far enough away from each other that they've never really made any effort to establish contact. It's possible that the leadership of each nation is at least aware of the existence of the others, but they just don't have the desire, need, or resources to establish trade routes across continents.
    • The Capitol lied about the existence of District 13 for nearly a century, so it's not a stretch that the entire "story of Panem" could be complete horseshit. Sure, people mention things about ancestors, but with all the propaganda they're surrounded with it's equally likely to be true or false. Maybe the rest of the world is fine and are silently judging Panem's actions; maybe they're all in situations similar to Panem and don't have time to worry about other countries; maybe Panem is the only place left. It's not like Katniss, a peasant girl who before volunteering had never even left her district, could ever know for sure.

     How does Panem function? 
  • How could a nation such as Panem possibly exist and function? In the first book, it is stated that District 12 is in the Appalachians and the Capitol is in the Rockies. However there are only 12 Districts. Spread out across the entire continent of North America. District 12 also only has a population of about 2,000 people. Even with the hyper-advanced technology, it seems like it would be impossible for a nation to function with such a low population base spread out in small pockets over such a large area. It would make sense if all the districts either a) had a significantly larger population or b) were located closer to the capitol, but they're not. How could a nation like that even come into existence?
    • Well, I think it's mostly with a lot of networking between the Peacekeepers and the Capitol. I saw Panel as a bunck of colonies of varying sizes. The Capitol probably used older habitable areas to corral the people into.
    • says specifically in the book that there are about 8,000 people in 12. Where did you get such a low number?
      • Wait, but even with a population of 8,000— roughly ⅓ the enrollment of UC Berkeley— how is District 12 not ridiculously inbred? Especially if there's very little gene flow between the town and the Seam. I keep forgetting Gale isn't actually Katniss's cousin— because I feel like he must be her cousin!
    • It's said that District 12 is a relatively small district. Some, like 8, are massive. What is slightly suspicious is that the main town is so small, yes - but I don't think numbers are ever mentioned. This might just be a case of Writers Cannot Do Math as there is pretty much no way that a society requiring so much power (especially in the Capitol) could mine sufficient amounts of coal to meet its energy needs with so few miners, especially after District 13 - and with it all the nuclear resources - were destroyed. You could assume they have special technology to enable them to mine faster, but the impression is given that the Capitol doesn't care about either safety (all those accidents) or ease of extraction, and, even then it doesn't make that much sense. The "There is no District 12" thing doesn't really make sense when there is no indication anywhere other than the town even existed, and there are no refugees from anywhere else in 12 who've fled to 13. Considering that, enough Peacekeepers arrive to fill entire trains when there's such a tiny population? Isn't there going to be like a 1:2 Peacekeeper:citizen ratio when there's that small a population? I get the feeling Collins didn't realise for the first book, then tried to make up for it by exaggerating the population of the other districts book by book.
      • Coal mining is probably more a distraction tactic than an actual economic thing. The coal probably powers District 12, maybe a small part of another nearby district, and that's it. The Capitol obviously gets their power from somewhere else, probably wind/solar or gas, because there were no qualms about bombing 12 to the ground.
      • I always got the impression that District 12 was the district for people nobody wanted early on. Like inmates or something. The mining was pretty small. Also, people are keeling over from starvation all the time, so...
      • Not to mention that in Mockingjay, it's revealed that District 2 does mining as well.
      • Remember when Katniss reflected on how different Rue`s home was from hers. I see that as an (oversimplified) social commentary on how the Capitol and the rest of the country need District 11`s products more than they need those of District 12. The Capitol keeps very close tabs on District 11 and other Districts in charge of highly necessary industries. District 12 is basically ignored which means corrupt and inept law enforcement is able to go unnoticed (good from the point of view of the narrator who is a criminal) but also no leverage to make anyone address the extreme food shortages (yeah, I know other Districts have food shortages but that could be for a number of reasons) and no reason that the country could not quickly adjust to functioning without coal.
      • Maybe the coal from district 12 is used as a cheap way to power the other districts. You need coal coke to make steel and the plebs would need something to heat their hovels with. The Capitol probably derives most of his power from District 5 (which, going by the movie, uses nuclear power).

     Homosexuality in Panem 
  • I'm hoping that I'm reading too much into this, but did anyone else notice that the only time sexual relations aren't noted to be between a man and a woman, this is during Finnick's recounting his sexual slavery? This could've been an oversight, but there's a glaring "strange sexual appetites" that I really can't overlook. If it's several decades/centuries into the future, why aren't gay marriages legal/acceptable? Even if marriage isn't recognized by the Capitol (but I think it is), people still get married in the districts. But Katniss always specifies it's between a man and a woman. Would this mean that the only place homosexuality would be socially acceptable was in the Capitol, which is already expressed as depraved and morally bankrupt?
    • Katniss does not specify sexuality as heterosexuality. The only examples given by the story, including Katniss' own "hunger that only grows stronger with each kiss" happen to be heterosexual. Finnick mentions incest as one of the "strange sexual appetites" he has learned to happen in the depraved Capitol. The Hunger Games is no Gay Aesop, sexuality plays a very minor role, one major Aesop is love, among many others. It's about what one feels in the heart/soul, not in the sexual organs. E.g, the love of Katniss for Rue.
    • To be blunt, you're suffering from Eagleland Osmosis. To date, there are only 11 countries on the PLANET where gay marriage is legal — the US (in some states), Canada, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Iceland, and Argentina. (if you include civil unions, the number goes up to 23 countries). In the current day, in most of the Arabic world, simply BEING homosexual is looked upon as an extreme perversion, and in some countries carries the death penalty —- never mind MARRIAGE. What exactly makes you think a dystopian, tyrannical dictatorship would grant people MORE liberty than they have today? I'm kind of surprised that marriage exists at all and the Capitol doesn't have some sort of enforced breeding program.
    • The fact that this is the future doesn't mean society as a whole has progressed —- if anything it's regressed, at least in the Districts, where it's likely being gay isn't even a 'thing'. Those in the Capitol enjoy the same protections their money and influence afford them as upper classes did in our own past, so even if homosexuality is taboo, they have the means to feed their appetites regardless of what they may be. It's possible that gay people are sort of an open secret in the Capitol, and everyone looks the other way. But 'strange sexual appetites' could mean absolutely anything.
    • If Katniss had specifically mentioned anything to do with homosexuals, it would've seemed like a political statement by the author. There's just no good way to casually mention that in a book like this. If Katniss had noticed it in the Capitol and been repulsed, Suzanne Collins would've gotten a ton of flak. If Katniss had noticed it and acted like it was normal, it would've seemed strange (considering the way society seems to have regressed in District 12), random, and a blatantly obvious Gayesop.
      • acknowleding that it exist without throwing condamnation on it is only a Gaysop if you're one of those people who think that homo- bi- or pansexuality is something we should pretend it doesn't exist. Such an easy thing it would have been to put in "girlfriend or boyfriend" when wondering about significant other or have Haymytch lose a boyfriend instead of a girlfriend - one word, completely inconsequential to the plot. By specifying everything as heterosexual, Collins isn't avoiding the issue, she's making it worse by implying that is isn't even allowed to enter people's minds anymore.
      • That's true, but an easy way to have side step this would have been to not specify genders during the marriage ceremonies' descriptions. You could use things like 'the engaged' or something. If she specified genders when Finnick was talking, this wouldn't have been so bad because then it would be clear that heterosexuality is the norm.
    • You're making that classic mistake, assuming time somehow makes things better. History says otherwise. Things simply shift. No matter what you think is good or bad, you will never find a society entirely to your liking. It just doesn't exist. Plus, this is a dystopia. With the way society is there, I'm surprised the concept of marriage survived in any form in the Capitol.
    • In addition to all this, there is the matter of being the last few thousand people in the world. Not that the Capitol cares who dies, but you'd think it cared some about repopulating the country.
    • Is it specified that it was men who were his customers? Because I was under the impression that it was, at least, mostly women, being as Katniss thought that he was just a womanizer and they were his lovers. If you mean what he said about people having "strange sexual appetites", that could mean any number of things. I assumed they were weird kinks.
      • There is a line in Catching Fire, when Kat is pondering the unexpected in Annie being his "true love" so to speak, where my translation explicitly states that there were lovers of both genders. I don't have it in english, but maybe it's there too.
    • Upon checking, it's indeed never specified, or even hinted, that his clients were men. It's noted that he has a ton of fangirls all over Panem, and later revealed that at least some of the fangirls in the Capitol were customers, and nothing's ever said beyond that.
    • To be honest, I find this assumption bit silly. An explicit example given of one of the "strange sexual appetites" is incest, giving an indication that it's stuff that even in that culture would be regarded as Squick. In no way does it indicate that homosexuality is considered strange. Even if it did, assuming that because it's in the future it would be considered acceptable is a bit naive, especially when A) The known world is under an evil dictatorship and B) The human population (in some areas, at least) is terribly low.
    • Katniss thinks of him as a womanizer when she first meets him, which would imply that she thinks it's only women he's sleeping with. That means that Finnick either isn't sleeping with men, is sleeping with men but keeping it secret, or that the districts aren't being told of his trysts with men. Either way, it seems that homosexuality isn't openly talked about in Panem.
    • Because heterosexuality is more common than homosexuality, and it's just a general assumption that fictional characters are heterosexual unless stated otherwise.
    • I'm going to suggest the term "womanizer" gets used because "manizer" is not a word.
    • One fanfic, whose name I cannot recall at the moment, hypothesizes that most of the non-Career districts (including and especially D12) are extremely homophobic, for no other reason than that homosexuality is associated with the Capitol, and as far as they're concerned, everything associated with the Capitol is evil.

     Mental illness in Panem 
  • Why is everyone with a psychological issue basically helpless in the series? Katniss's mother, Annie is basically "the poor, mad girl", the morphlings, etc. I think the only people who get to function more or less normally are people with PTSD from the Games. Everyone else just seems... pathetic. Why?????
    • If you feel like being Darwinistic then you could argue that everyone has some mental hangup in this Crapsack World but the tributes who had to survive or die are the only ones capable of functioning because they would be dead otherwise
    • Mrs. Everdeen is responsible for the health and wellness of the entire District. Granted, it's about the only thing she's good at, but it's pretty considerable. As for the morphlings, keep in mind that they've been addicts for decades and haven't had a fix in a decently long time. Haymitch gets grumpy when he has to go so much as half a day without booze, and that's exponentially less addictive. And overall, do remember that this is a dystopian world without psychiatrists where starvation is a fact of daily life. People with problems like that are not going to be able to find solace or comfort much of anywhere.
    • PTSD, depression, and mental breakdown are all conditions that can be devastating without proper medical intervention. Since the Capitol has a vested interest in keeping these people isolated and oppressed, it's highly unlikely they're receiving necessary care. Barring that, anyone who's lived with or known a victim of PTSD can vouch that medical care is not always guarantee they'll overcome it.

     Panem's economy 
  • I know I shouldn't get distracted by these things, but ... the economic system of this country makes no sense. This is a country that's implied to have existed for centuries and certainly has existed for 75 years, and yet... each district has only one major industry, presumably having to import everything else. The government is quite repressive, so districts should be revolting left and right — and indeed in the series almost all of them are very easily convinced to do so. Each revolt would cut off the rest of the country from whatever resource that district has. Hell, even without revolts... say there's a hurricane, or a fire, or an earthquake, or the main agrarian district is hit with a blight: there's no indication that any of these districts have surpluses, due to their poverty, so even if the capitol survives thousands of people on whom it depends will die. There's no way it should have lasted this long.
    • It appears very much as though only Districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 really provide for the Capitol in a major way, and the Capitol itself seems to be producing its own things, or potentially just shipping them in from other places in the world in exchange for what their poorer Districts are producing. Unfortunately because Collins failed to adequately "flesh out" the rest of the world, there's still no reason why Panem should be getting away with having such a massive percentage of its population forcibly under the poverty line, as they aren't providing anything to the Districts in return. EG, Rome operated on a very large scale quite successfully because they could promise protection to underlings that they treated like crap. Twelve is the biggest anomaly, though, seeing as the Capitol obviously doesn't need the coal (they firebomb the place to the ground over a teenaged girl) yet they hardly bother to feed anyone there.
      • This a world that hasn't revolted in 75 years even though they're all dirt poor and the only thing keeping them in line is the threat of death and....having 2 of their children killed every year? There really isn't any reason for the status quo.
      • Panem works like the Soviet Union in many ways: Each District does one thing, and must import everything else it needs, and so no District can go it alone. The Capitol controls transportation, and thus distribution of needed goods, ensuring that each District only keeps enough of its own production and gets enough of the others' to survive, with the Capitol retaining everything else. Coal goes mostly to the industrial District for making coke and coal tar, for example. It's also very possible, indeed probable, that the definition of "enough" has steadily dropped over the years, so that originally, the Districts were mostly operating at a modestly over-subsistence level, rather than the near starvation we see in District 12.

     Travel ban in Panem 
  • One flaw in the system: if people from different districts are not allowed to travel to other districts, wouldn't that be an enormous waste of talent?
    • Considering that the Capitol wanted to keep the districts down, well, spreading talent in the districts would be a bad way to do that.

     What is the rest of the world doing? 
  • Where is the rest of the world? If there was a nuclear war or something, there should be parts of Europe, South America Asia, Africa, Australia, etc. left. And these guys have invisible hovercraft things that can fly at least across the continental United States. Why hasn't the Capitol gone exploring to go see what's up in the rest of the world? Nobody would have touched Australia, there must be SOMEONE left alive in China or India, Africa's probably completely untouched, South America is very close to North America even if the land bridge submerged, Europe probably has a couple hundred thousand left alive... There must be at least one civilization still sitting around there–probably with a much better economic and political system then Panem.
    • Maybe Panem was practicing isolationism, like what China and Japan did. They wouldn't want to risk discovering another country that might ignite a rebellion.
    • They also wanted to stress how everyone was dependent on that specific governing system. If people think no other state exists that message is easier to send. Besides it`s not like today where we have news from all over the world. Most people wouldn`t know if there was anything else left and those in the government that did know would want to keep it that way.
    • "Nobody would have touched Australia"?! I'll have you know we actually have highly desireable resources - land, uranium, etc. Maybe we're a little more isolated than most countries, but there's no way we would have remained untouched by war - let alone nuclear war, the efects of which would have spanned the whole globe.
    • We ARE getting all this history through the eyes of a 17 year old who admittidly has a lot of better things to do than spend her time thinking about the rest of the world. The rest of the world might be fine, but struggling, and Panem probably wouldn't have taught kids in schools that in other countries things are better. Katniss might KNOW there's other countries, or she might not, but she definitely wouldn't really mention it.
    • Well, a US government "simulation" of a 1980s thermonuclear war ends in the 2040s with the most powerful and nuke-untouched countries being Indonesia, Japan, and yes, Australia. It just seems bizarre that there aren't any Australian/African/Japanese traders or soldiers or politicians going around in Panem, or at least trying to get entry. Especially since it's likely that any civilization that survived the nuclear war instead of being rebuilt after it would have had a technological head start on Panem, I'd have expected Panem (Panemite? Panemi? Paneman?) kids to be living in fear of the deadly hordes of laser-rifle-wielding Indonesian supersoldiers gearing up to invade California.
      • Being a military history buff, I've read and even discussed the subject with people that have actually worked in nuclear targeteering. A lot will change based on the premises of any simulation. You can't really take any one simulation or scenario as the one true model. Who the starts the fight, why they're fighting, and what they're fighting over changes things a lot. It's easy to forget with out the Cold War just how depressingly easily an apocalyptic a nuclear will get. Most cases result in even the "winners" being reduced to a pre-industrial state at best. And it's entirely possible for some, or even all, to be reduced to little better than Iron or Bronze age levels. It would be very easy for Panem (or any predecessor states) to be the only civilization left with an appreciable tech level. It many ways, it's more surprising that as much survived at all.
    • A war/catastrophe capable of wiping out the entire civilized legacy of North America would most certainly be capable of doing the same to the rest of the world. Maybe there genuinely isn't anyone else. When we say "surely someone must have made it," we have to take into account the scope of things—the entire United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, everything we've ever built or accomplished is gone without a trace. We're talking destruction on a massive, nigh-inconceivable scale. Global (and I do mean global) annihilation. There is absolutely no guarantee that anything else survived.
      • As stated further up the page, Panem could be using the same methods as Oceania and Airstrip One. We don't know what happened to other countries. They could be destroyed, totalitarian dictatorships or unaware of what's going on - think of Panem like North Korea is today - the rest of the world may know it's there, and bad things are happening, but they're not exactly sure what's going on.

    Panem's Flora and Fauna 
  • How does Nightlock kill you before reaching your stomach? If I'm not mistaken, most poisons need to be absorbed into the bloodstream before taking effect.
    • It could contain extremely potent acid which burns a hole in the oesophagus, leading to oesophageal rupture. Basically any serious trauma to the oesophagus is going to lead to rapid death if not treated.
    • She could have been exaggerating the potency; death is quick once it reaches the stomach. Some snake venoms can kill in eight minutes, it's not unimaginable that berries could be that fast.
      • Snake venom works that fast because it's injected directly into the blood stream or in body tissue with the snake's fangs. To work as fast, the berry would need to similarly bypass the slow digestive system (see next point for suggestions)
    • The mouth is lined with mucus membranes. You can absorb poison right into the bloodstream. Just like if you're having a heart attack you put aspirin under your tongue, you don't swallow it, so it gets into the bloodstream faster, or you die when you crush a cyanide capsule in your mouth.
  • How the hell did they get corvids to breed with mockingbirds? It's like having lemurs have children with human beings.
    • They didn't. The jabber jays aren't true jays, and very probably aren't corvidae at all; remember, they're artificial life forms. Their vocal abilities would need equipment closer to a mockingbird or even a lyrebird than to any corvid.
    • Mockingbirds are actually corvids themselves.
      • Er, no, they're mimids.

     Size of Panem 
  • Why do people think Panem is as big as North America?
    • Because Panem "rose from its ashes". That does not make it necessarily as big as North America, but it's a bit unclear what exactly is going on.
    • Additionally, the Capitol is in the Rockies, District 12 in the Appalachians, and District 13 has to be in a particular part of Canada because that's where NA's only graphite mine is. So Panem is already pretty big. It probably doesn't actually stretch into most of Canada / any of Mexico, however; various spots across the continental United States.
    • Most fan maps depict Panem as being from coast to coast with some altered shorelines. I don't think this is the case. I don't picture the districts as vast provinces. I see them as outposts, which are expanded as necessary to get new resources, but are most, if not all, smaller than 100 miles. In "Catching Fire", Gale is flogged for "poaching on the Capitol's land", which suggests that everything outside the district boundaries belongs to the Capitol. Besides, the arenas are supposed to be as remote as possible so that no one helps.
    • Doesn't it say somewhere that the Capitol is west of the Rockies specifically to shield itself from the districts? That implies that Panem only exists on the eastern half of North America, stretching to the Appalachians if D12 is the farthest.
    • On the train ride to the Games in the first book, Katniss mentions that the mountains separate the Capitol from the eastern districts, so presumably there are some western ones too.
    • Either it's coast-to-coast/scattered or there are western districts: if the capital is really the only district west of the Rockies (read: on the west coast of America), then District Four would have to be the east coast, which is thousands of miles away.
      • It's possible that Panem doesn't comprise only post-U.S. lands, so the gulf coast (current Texas down into Mexico) or the Mexican Pacific coast could be where District 4 is located, and both would be closer to the Western Rockies than Appalachia. Also, if the books don't specifically state that District 4 is on a saltwater coast, it could be against the Great Lakes.

     Child labour laws in Panem 
  • In Catching Fire, when Johanna finds an axe, Katniss mentions that she's probably been handling axes since she was a toddler. Then Katniss rants about how D12 is disadvantaged since you aren't allowed to work with pickaxes in the mines until you're 18. Earlier in the book, she mentions that Finnick was good with a trident during his Games because he'd been on boats his entire life. So, child labor laws only exist in District 12 then? If anything, the Capitol should be forcing kids into the mines, since they are smaller than adults.
    • She mentions only that they're not allowed to use pickaxes, not that they aren't allowed into the mines to work. There's plenty of other jobs that younger miners could perform.
    • That wouldn't really make for any kind of sustainable industry, since the children would be dying off faster than the adults could have them. Granted, it would have been surprisingly non-decadent for Panem to build something that could last; then again, the government was very good at avoiding directly inviting revolution, which sending children into mines might have accomplished.
      • Actually, during the nineteenth and at the beggining of the twentieth century, children would commonly work in coal mines from the age of ten. Granted, they weren't the ones using pickaxes, but still.
      • Exactly this. Also, it still doesn't explain why the children of Districts 4 and 7 work while the children of 12 do not. It's not like the Capitol cares about their safety.
      • Mining is pretty dangerous, especially for children. Children are also not likely to be strong enough to be much help in the mines. District 4 is fishing, which is a lot more reasonable for children to take part in. Though District 7 is lumber, which is also pretty dangerous, but it's not as bad as a coal mine.
      • Maybe it began as "adult takes his kids to work to show them the family business" and the Capital just kinda latched on to that and made it mandatory?

     Why is everything so expensive? 
  • Why is all the stuff they could get sent so goddamn expensive? Especially food. Of course, it would be expensive from Katniss's point of view. But from Capitol people's point of view? Or is there some huge freaking tax on sponsoring gifts? Do you have to pay 200 times the price? Because I can't imagine that a tiny pot of cream is almost priceless when were talking about the capitol that has built 74 arenas for Hunger Games.
    • It’s never explained why the gifts are so expensive or why they get more so as time goes on, so I’m assuming it’s like this just to add tension to the story. It would have made more sense for there to be a limited amount of money that each district could spend, or a limited number of gifts the tributes are allowed to receive. That would explain why they can’t send food every time a tribute gets hungry.
      • It makes sense that the gifts would get more expensive as time goes on. Sending a burn cream to someone when there are thirteen other tributes standing is obviously less worthwhile than sending it when there are three. When you get down to fewer tributes, each gift brings your tribute much closer to winning, whereas earlier in the game they could be taken out at any moment.
      • Especially since a lot of people bet on the outcome of the Games. If supplies were cheap and could be sent in whenever why not just "buy" yourself the winner? Besides, it wouldn't really be The HUNGER Games if the contestants could be saved from starvation that easily.
      • Exactly that. And the book mentions that Finnick's trident was the most expensive sponsor gift ever made.
    • The Capitol probably charges an exorbitant tax on gifts, otherwise everyone could just send in every single thing the tributes could ever need or want.
      • It wouldn't be necessary to say that the gifts are so expensive (from Collins's POV.) I guess it would have been nice to get some behind the scenes information. Possibly in the form of a prequel about the first Hunger Games. (Unlikely, but I'd just love to read it.)
      • You have to buy the gifts within the game system. The gifts are part of the game. The Game makers are the only ones who can get things in and out of the games so the Capitol/game makers can set what ever sliding scale price they want on gifts. Charging more for items in general and with an increased cost as the games progress only makes sense from the viewpoint of making the games interesting. Reality TV shows already work like this. Ever watch Big Brother (US or UK versions)? Things that were relatively cheap for the contestants early on get increasingly more expensive/harder to earn as the game goes on.
    • Sponsors probably have to buy gifts from a specific vendor, who then forwards those gifts to the mentors. Obviously there's a huge surcharge on purchasing gifts.
    • The Capitol wants the games to be exciting. If it was easy for sponsors to send gifts to contestants they like, well, contestants could receive food and medicine whenever they needed it and they'd be able to avoid getting killed for a longer period of time. I imagine that sending stuff to contestants cost a LOT of money, or there may have been other limits on it, forcing sponsors to think wisely about who to send stuff to, what to send and when to send it.
    • Fridge Brilliance: They aren't paying for the gift, they're paying for the all the crazy things in the games. For the sponsors, it's self-promotion ("I, Sponsor X, helped the winning tribute, so buy my stuff!") and the game makers have money to make more crazy stuff next year, so win-win! (except for the tributes and districts, of course).


     Why haven't the districts learnt to play the system? 
  • Maybe this is a case of overthinking, and maybe I won't be able to get this out very clearly, but the gravity with which the Games treated, they seem like a relatively new thing (certainly not something that's happened 74 times). Why do I say this? Well, Collins herself got the idea partially from reality television, and there's a certain effect that happens to reality TV shows: after the first season of any reality show, the contestants start playing with an "awareness" of how things fall out over the course of the season. Well, okay, that seems to be reflected somewhat by Careers, but over 70 years, you'd think Districts would have learned to "game" the system the way, for instance, pro athletes are groomed from high school (i.e., there are always volunteers). In other words, that there would be a whole subculture dedicated to Careers in each District; even that there might be ways for each District to turn a profit from it. It's not that I think this isn't a compelling idea (I haven't read the books, but the movie looks pretty appealing to me and I'm willing to ignore plot holes as long as I'm entertained), it's just that the dynamics of the Games don't hit me as something that should be the way they are after 74 years as they would after say, 5 years.
    • Gravity, no. Strategy, yes. A good example of this is Solitary, where it only took until the third season to produce their own 'Career' - a player who had trained in a simulated pod, had studied the last two seasons to the point of memorizing what happened to each previous contestant, and did DAMNED well as a result. Aside from the obvious issue of trying to keep the Capitol from getting wiser, I'd imagine similar strategies (such as mini-games or at least LARPs) would crop up, if not outright manipulation of the system (using the games as a way to eliminate "problem" youth and spare the rest, victory and training be damned)!
    • It isn't just the Career tributes. Haymitch, the landmine boy from Katniss' Games, and arguably Foxface were all gaming the system. Haymitch and the landmine boy both leaned on the fourth wall: they took the arena forcefield and the landmines, artifacts intended by the Capitol to control the tributes, and turned them into genuine weapons they could use in-game. Meanwhile, Foxface just flat-out refused to play ball.
    • A headscratcher I've noticed along these lines is District 4 in general, especially Finnick and Annie. If D4 is a Career District as Katniss claims, has has a good amount of volunteers, then why did Annie (who doesn't seem like a Career to me) end up going during the 70th Games, and what was Finnick doing competing when he was only 14?
      • I don't know what the deal with Finnick was but it's mentioned that Annie went insane after she saw her district partner get decapitated. We don't know what she was like before that happened, but presumably she wasn't quite as weak as she was afterwards. Also it seemed to me that the Careers from 1 & 2 were a bit more dominant than the ones in 4.
      • It depends on how you define "career". For all we know, D1 and D2 have academies where all they do is teach future tributes how to kill, while the kids in D4 handle spears instead of playing dogdeball in P.E. class. Katniss would consider both of these career districts, since they are both still better than her.
      • We don't really know about Finnick's or Annie's games. For all we know, the year Finnick was reaped there was an earthquake and their training center was ruined, and no one volunteered because they didn't have a fighting chance. Or maybe, they thought he had a chance, being able to get sponsors or maybe her was muscled even then. He would have trained beforehand, either way. And remember, Annie's games were held in a time when Katniss couldn't possibly care, due to her father's death the spring before. Maybe her little sister was reaped, and Annie volunteered. And this is all saying that they never trained. Finnick knew how to use a trident and killed pretty efficiently with it, and I doubt Annie didn't kill anyone. As a previous troper said, Annie became unhinged after seeing her district partner's head being cut off. Who knows how she was before?
    • While certain aspects of the Hunger Games remain constant, the way the arena can change radically with each Game means a strategy appropriate for one Game may not work in the next. Also, the Games are run by Gamemasters whose only interest is in spectacle of the Games, not in providing a fair contest. If someone seems to have hit upon a winning strategy that gives them an edge over the other tributes, the Gamemasters can and will throw a manufactured disaster their way in order to keep the Game interesting (or, at the very least, alter the next game so that repeating that strategy won't work).

     Unnecessary districts 
  • It seems that a few of the districts aren't really necessary for the Capitol to function. First, there is the obvious one: District 13. Capitol's been doing fine without them for 75 years. Next, there is District 12, which got burned to the ground. Presumably D5 took over the slack. District 9 deals with grain, but that really seems like something D11 could/should be handling. And finally, District 6 handles transportation, even though D2 makes trains and D3 makes electronics. The reason this matters is because Katniss makes this big speech about how the Capitol can't afford to kill anymore of the districts, because they are all so vital. From my perspective, there are at least two districts that can be killed off without problems.

     Riots in District 11 
  • Why did District 11 erupt into riots over Rue's death? I get why that one guy (presumably her father) was angry, but given that District 11 isn't one of the districts that spawns careers, then they've likely been having their tributes killed many, many times before. What made Rue so special?
    • The death of Rue, a kind 12-year old girl, might have been the last bit of insult and pain which unleashed subtly growing tensions. Much like the self-immolation of one street vendor ignited Tunisia in 2010.
    • Not just Rue's death, but Katniss (someone who barely knew her) going out of her way to ring the body in flowers and give the District 12 farewell salute. That additional act of kindness and sadness was the straw that broke the camel's back.
    • Who said it was the first riot ever anyways? Seeing how the area was surrounded by peacekeepers I would bet that riots are a fairly common occurence during the hunger games.
    • Rue was pretty well known in District 11, she was the one who called in quitting time everyday, so it stands to reason that most of the workers in her area would at least know her as that whistling girl who tells them when they can stop working. I got the feeling that Rue was loved by most of the district because of that and how bright and happy she seemed to be, whistling a jaunty tune at the end of a long work day. Sort of like how most of District 12 adored Prim, Rue was the golden child of District 11.
    • There's also the fact that Katniss showing clear remorse over the death is an in-universe Cerebus Retcon. Before Rue was just another contestant in the games. When Katniss does this, the people watching are suddenly reminded that a kind and innocent young girl has just been senselessly killed - and that Katniss has just had to watch a friend die.

     Children not taken into the community home 
  • Katniss mentions a Community Home, orphanage-type deal in the first book, and how her desperation to feed her family was in part so her sister wouldn't be sent there. In the second book, she mentions how many children were sickly/on their death beds because the parents couldn't afford to feed them enough. Why weren't those children taken to the Community Home if their parents weren't feeding them? I get that in some situations, even the orphanage might not have the resources to feed the children, but in that case, it makes no sense to pull kids from their parents' homes on the grounds of neglect.
    • Because the orphanage is not a child services department, it's an orphanage. Your parents have to be dead for them to take you in. Children with living parents are left alone, regardless of neglect or abuse (just look at Peeta's situation.) If Mrs. Everdeen dies, there isn't much that an 11-year-old Katniss can do to stop the orphanage from taking a 7-year-old Prim away, so her only other option is to keep her mother (and herself and Prim) alive. Maybe if Katniss had been older, she could have just adopted Prim away from her mother instead. However, as an aside...
      • Why is it that if Mrs. Everdeen dies, Katniss and Prim are going to the orphanage? Do they have no other family willing to take them in? District 12 is a pretty crappy place, so I'm not surprised that it's a World of No Grandparents. But, for perspective, remember that Peeta has two older brothers, Gale has three younger siblings, Katniss has Prim, and if we want to extend outside of D12, Rue was the oldest of 6. I find it hard to believe that both Mr. and Mrs. Everdeen happened to be only children, considering that no one else seems to be.
      • Well, maybe they're dead already.
      • I can see this happening with the father's side of the family, since they are poorer (and hey, maybe they were all working when the cave in happened), but Mrs. Everdeen came from the merchant class. It's mentioned that it was a bit scandalous that she married a coal miner (so it must be rare). If she can survive long enough to give birth to two children while being married to someone beneath her economically, her siblings (or cousins!) should be able to do the same.
      • It's possible that her family disowned her.
      • Except that after Katniss wins and gets to live in the huge house in Victor's Village, no one tries to get back into her good graces for the chance of living there. Distant relatives that Katniss has never heard of should be flocking toward her in hopes of getting some of the riches. Also, Gale claims to be her cousin during Catching Fire, which doesn't make sense unless Katniss has an aunt or uncle somewhere.
      • I'm really not sure I'm getting your point. Of course, if Gale were Katniss' cousin, she would have to have an uncle and aunt (his parents apparently). But he isn't - it's just a cover up for having somebody so close to Katniss when Peeta is supposed to be the only (non family) male in her life. At least that's the story the Capitol wants to tell. So maybe she just hasn't any living relatives apart from mother and sister. Certainly not "distant ones she never heard of" within a community of only 8,000 or so.
      • The point is that it's a really bad cover story if it's obviously a lie. Gale pretending to be Katniss's cousin implies that Katniss can have cousins, which implies that her parents had siblings or cousins that reached adulthood. None of these people ever showed up when Mr. Everdeen died.
      • It is only a cover story for capital residents really. The President knows it was all fake between her and Peeta (and even tells her she better do a good job playing the star-crossed card or she, him, and their families are dead) and everyone in the district who knows them knows that it isn't true, or that they are so far apart that them being cousins means next to nothing in that any common relations are so far in the past no one can directly remember them. Most of the district probably knows they hunt together and have been good friends, such good friends that they would look like a couple to outsiders if they saw her spending all her time with a male friend instead of her supposed true love. The cousins gambit was for the benefit of continuing the star-crossed lovers routine to those in the Capital.
      • I guess my main complaint about the cousin thing is about my suspension of disbelief. I didn't even think about Katniss' lack of other family when her dad died until the author pointed it out by making Gale pretend to be her cousin.
      • If, like someone above says, Katniss' father was an only child with no living parents, they could just say Hazelle (Gale's mom) was his sister or even his cousin, since it's also easy to buy Gale as a second cousin. The people in other districts and in the Capitol aren't THAT terribly interested in Gale. Katniss' team just needed to reassure people that no, he was not a boyfriend of hers, and have him do some interviews about how she was good in archery or loved her sister. The Capitol fans are honestly kind of stupid and would buy that easily since Katniss and Gale look alike; Snow and his associates didn't care if he was really her cousin or not, but breaking up the Peeta-Katniss love story wasn't in their best interest, so no reason to bring that up; people in the other Districts have no way of learning the truth — maybe some won't believe Gale is her cousin, but nothing they can actually do about that, and besides, unlike the Capitol fans, they don't like Katniss solely for the love story with Peeta, but for other reasons (what she did for Rue, etc); the people in the 12 know Gale isn't her cousin, but they actually like Katniss so they won't say anything about it; and the people in the 13 understandably didn't really care about Katniss' personal love life at that point. They even ask if she wants to drop the cousin angle altogether.
    • It could very well be that the orphanage is an even worse place to be than Katniss' home. And maybe things changed from when Katniss was young to the second book and the orphanage had even less food.
      • I doubt the orphanage somehow got worse the year after Katniss won. Food is literally falling from the sky. They mention that each family gets an allotment of food, and an orphan is a family (of one), so unless for some weird reason they are excluded, the orphans should be getting free food.
      • Food falling from the sky? Are you reading a different book?
      • It doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with food. Residential schools in Canada (indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and put into boarding schools), for example, were and are infamous for the abuse and assault that occurred. It's already clear that authority figures prey on children in District 12 (Katniss mentions young girls being forced into prostitution), so it wouldn't be surprising to find out that it was a similar situation at the orphanage.

     Why so few hunters in District 12? 
  • Why didn't more people in District 12 try hunting and foraging? It's established that the Peacekeepers in that district don't really enforce a lot of the rules very well, and Katniss and Gale manage to do better than most of the other citizens by hunting and trapping animals. Several of the other citizens seem to know this, so why don't they ever try?
    • The Peacekeepers might be lax at enforcing the rules, but they couldn't tolerate a massive amount of people sneaking off without risking their own necks. There's an ostensibly electrified fence around the entire district, and even if you get over it then hunting and foraging is still dangerous. Remember the tracker jackers? Katniss says they were placed in the wilderness by the Capitol and god knows if there's worse out there. Plus many of the adults have jobs so they may not have the energy to risk all that after the shift is over and most of the kids didn't have survivalist parents to teach them.
      • And because hunting takes a lot of practice, which Katniss received from her father. And because the wilderness contains savage animals likes bears, wolves and tracker jackers.
    • Lack of hunting weapons, primarily. In Chapter 1, Katniss says that her bow is a rarity crafted by her father and that most people aren't bold enough to go out into the woods with just a knife [presumably a kitchen knife].

     Lack of interbreeding between city and town people within districts 
  • I've never understood why all the people in the Seam looked the same (Dark haired, gray-eyed) and all the people who lived in town looked the same (Blond, blue-eyed). Obviously, it probably isn't likely that EVERYBODY who lived in those two areas looked the same, but the way Collins writes it, it seems like it. Were Seam people only marrying Seam people and townspeople only marrying townspeople? District 12 is pretty small, after all. This mess-up in genetics has always bothered me.
    • It's only been this way for 74 years, and it takes several generations of inbreeding to get bad enough to cause birth defects. Also, it seems that marrying your cousin is frowned upon in Panem (since Katniss pretends to be Gale's cousin to remove any hint of romance between them), so that would help a bit too.
    • At this point everyone is probably distantly related but not so much that it's considered incest.

     How is District 13 making hovercrafts? 
  • How is District 13 manufacturing its own hovercraft? Where are the factories, where are they making the parts? How does all of Penem manage all this slick technology anyway?

     Why does cake decorating exist in District 12 
  • Peeta is a cake decorator... in a society in which the population is kept on borderline starvation. How is anyone baking cake, let alone decorating them, let alone creating enough of a demand that the highly specialized skill of cake decoration is taught as a matter of routine to someone working in a bakery?
    • He learned it from his father. He bakes the cakes mainly for the Capitol, rarely for locals.
    • I'm guessing peacekeepers and various government officials bought the most of the cakes. They have a mayor and they must have people working in the Justice Building keeping administrative stuff running. Also it's implied that the merchant class were better off, not well-to-do but not necessarily starving either. Alternatively, or additionally, it could have been a PR thing they were required to do on behalf of the government. Keep pretty cakes in the windows to make it look like things are much better than they really are, no starvation in Panem, no sir.
    • He decorates cakes as a hobby and a way of making art, but his family's bakery makes many things, like bread, a more necessary item.
    • Also, even people on the verge of starvation try to make an effort for special circumstances. Saving ration cards to buy a decorated cake for a birthday (especially the last birthday before a reaping) seems like something people would do.
    • You can either have an entire District kept on borderline starvation, or you can have enough excess confectioner's sugar, eggs, butter, milk, spices, and food coloring for someone to take up cake decoration as an artistic hobby. You can't have both.
      • Not true. Panem uses currency (Katniss sells the game she has to spare and gets money as part of her prize for winning the Games) and it's fairly clear that what nearly kills the Everdeens isn't just lack of food: it's lack of money to buy it. Mr Everdeen is the sole breadwinner when he dies, Mrs Everdeen zones out for a while and there is no money coming in. At her lowest ebb (when Peeta throws the burned bread) she is starving because she can't buy any food but other people still can. The Capitol limits what food is available (the flour for the bakery is presumably from 11, and they're going to make sure that the Capitol have all the cake they need before they allow shipments to be diverted elsewhere) but they're not doling out an equal amount of food to all citizens. Much like now: there are people who can drop $1000s on a wedding ccake and people who have to choose between paying their bills and buying food.
    • Maybe they aren't the same type of decorated cakes we have (like, super colorful creations of 4+ floors); maybe to our standards they'd be quite modest cakes (perhaps even smaller than ours tend to be) decorated with some fruits and stuff like honey or condensed milk. Not like Katniss has anything to compare them with till she gets to the Capitol. Peeta's thing is that he's so talented that he makes the cakes look really artistic and fancy despite that.

     Why is hunting illegal in District 12? 
  • Why is hunting illegal in District 12? Back in feudal times it was illegal because it meant less meat for the lord. In the first book it's implied that they have an over abundance of wild life, to the point that courage's and bears are wandering into town despite having a thick, lush forest filled with animals to hunt. So why would hunting be illegal?
    • Well, for one it takes people outside the wire where they aren't being watched. (Supposedly, Snow does somehow learn about Katniss and Gale kissing) Also, Hunting requires weapons and martial skills, which are strictly verboten. But also it subverts the tesserae system. The kids are supposed to trade entries in the Hunger Games for food rations, but if they are outside the wire earning their own food then no one has any need to sign up and it takes away the giant FUCK YOU from the Capitol.
      • It wouldn't hurt the Hunger Games at all though. The names are add every year whether the people want them to be added for not. They don't need volunteers because entry is mandatory. The worst thing that would happen is that more of the competitors from district 12 would be well fed and better able to compete. Besides, why would the capitol want to keep these people permanently starving? It only fuels the desire for rebellion. The Capitol is clutching their Idiot Ball pretty hard if they think it's a good idea to intentionally piss off their subjects. They aren't really giving anyone any reason to not rebel.
      • Part of it is to keep the poorest of the poor dependent on the Capitol. While many of the people in many of the districts are very poor, some are still worse off than others. In the book, the mayor's daughter, Madge was mentioned. She was fairly well off (by District 12 standards, anyway) and never had to take out any tessarae. The ones who take out the most tessarae are typically the ones who have siblings and whatnot they need to help care for.
      • It only fuels the desire for rebellion. Yes, the Capitol does things which are on their face intended to piss off and antagonize the Districts. Just to show that they can. They're saying 'Not only can we take your kids any time we want and make them march around our city naked and die for our amusement buuuuut we will also keep you on the brink of death and force people to risk their very lives for the crappy food you do get.' You're not the first person to note that the Capitol is playing with fire by antagonizing the Districts, but that's just how they roll. No one claimed they were particularly smart and it does lead to their downfall so what's the Headscratcher?
      • It's very difficult to imagine that the government would be that stupid, especially one that knows it's on the brink of rebellion like Snow suggests in the second book. I don't think the government is saying anything here, I think Collins is a just a very poor world builder. It seems much less like the Capitol is a big bad villain intentionally antagonizing the districts, and much more Collins has no idea how to write a tyrannical government.
    • Hunting being illegal makes sense to me. The Capitol needs the citizens of the Districts to work for them so they want to keep them subjugated. Food is a large part of that. Most of the Districts produce something other than food, and the Capitol controls the movement of supplies between Districts, in addition to encouraging dependence on the tesserae available to those in need of it. It's not in their interests to allow people and Districts to become more self-sufficient. If hunting was allowed, they'd run the risk that more and more people would discover that they had a knack for it, and those people could begin to consider the idea of leaving the District (depriving the Capitol of some of its workers) appealing.
    • It's possible that the Capitol didn't want District 12ers wandering into the forest, getting lost, and accidentally coming across the supposedly destroyed District 13.
    • It could also have to do with ruins. They didn't want anyone stumbling across the ruins of any Appalachian cities, libraries, etc.
    • Also, if people are starving, have no training with weapons, no forest that they can use for guerrilla warfare they're not going to be able to fight well enough to overcome a trained and well-fed army. That's why only the districts most friendly to the Capitol get academies, wealthiness and jobs that would ensure that they are wealthy.

     Why did District 13 not suspect Peeta was brainwashed? 
  • The only thing that pushes my Willing Suspension of Disbelief too far is most of 13's Genre Blindness regarding Peeta before he's rescued. Given that these people not only know how frequently the Capitol forces people to lie and act contrary to the truth before cameras but know of the practice of hijacking, wouldn't the first assumption upon seeing Peeta calling for a cease fire not be "Traitor!" but that he's being coerced or brainwashed?
    • They didn't want Katniss to know that he was being tortured whenever she released propaganda, so it's possible that the ones who did figure out the truth kept it from her. They've all been shown to be perfectly willing to lie to Katniss to get her to do what they want.

The Capitol

     How do the death traps help the Capitol? 
  • The death traps. They show the capitol being cruel and sadistic. Forcing the children to fight would have worked so much better without the Deus Ex Machina of walls of fire. Other elements could have been used to goad recalcitrant Tributes into killing each other, but to really set the Districts against each other it would have worked so much better without the chance of a tribute being killed by someone other than another tribute. I also found the pods used to "protect" the Capitol to be insane. No one protects their city by installing traps twice as likely to kill their own population as themselves. Sure, Snow's a bastard, but he relies on support from others in the Capitol, people who'd be unlikely to be sanguine about him protecting their families by installing giant pits of flesheating monsters outside their houses or full of swarms of Nightmare Fuel inducing wasps. The who theme of man's inhumanity to man really suffers from these rather impersonal, almost videogamesque, elements.
    • I'm not sure about the Capitol traps, but the Games traps seem to add more drama than death (in the 74th Games, we don't see a Gamemaker trap being the direct cause of death to anyone). I suppose again, that if you had nothing but Tribute fights and none of the dangers in the Arena, the Capitol audience would probably complain that it was boring or something.
    • I was under the impression that the Capitol traps would not go off unless they were activated. If I recall correctly, it is mentioned that the pods were really only on in places that had been evacuated. Also, they didn't turn the pods on in populated areas until the government got desperate, and Snow cared more about himself than the refugees.

     How do all the arenas of current and past Games fit inside the Capitol? 
  • There's no significant travel time between all the games-preparation in the Capitol and the launch into the actual arena. And then we learn that arenas are kept up forever afterward as tourist attractions. Does that mean that all 75 arenas (plus any future ones they've already started building) are contained within the Capitol itself? Even though several of them are so huge they take multiple days to cross on foot?
    • To expand on this, some super-rudimentary math: I'm no professional hiker and neither are they, so let's pretend that we travel at about the same rate. Once, as a teenager, carrying my own stuff, not using trails, and in no particular hurry, I went 20 miles in 2 days. They could probably go faster, but they also have to hunt/forage/hide and deal with the complications of hostile terrain/predators/injuries/exhaustion/thirst/hunger, so let's just assume it's close. And let's imagine that in a standard arena they'd let you walk maybe 3 days before getting bored and funneling you to the center. So, a 30 mile radius. That's an area of about 188.5 square miles. Multiply that by 76 (surely at least one additional arena has been begun) and you get over 14,325 square miles. That is about 92 times larger than the current area of the city of Denver. (28 times bigger than Los Angeles, if you want a more impressive city.) And yes, this takes place in the far future and the capital is obviously humongous, but this is for arenas alone. Even if the arenas are all a third that size, with a 10 mile radius, they're still taking up 30 times the space of modern Denver (9 times LA), just for this very specific form of tourism.
    • Also keep in mind that travel to the Capitol is illegal, so literally all of those tourists already live in and spend their money in the city. And what do the tourists actually do there, with all that space? Go for hikes?? Or, given what we know about their natures, just buy some binoculars at the gift shop, giggle at the view for a while, and go home?
    • Maybe the 74th and 75th are in the Capitol, but not all have been...?
    • For that matter, this is a psychotic amount of money to be throwing away, even for the Capitol.
      • Proposed answers: The arenas may be in South America, Europe or Asia - anywhere, really - as it is strongly implied that only the North-American continent is actually populated. The rest of the world would be up for grabs. As for size: the Game Makers seem to have learned their lesson for the 75th Games, as it took about a day of walking to get from the center to the forcefield. I doubt anyone was ever supposed to be going there; the kids were supposed to fight it out somewhere within the limits of the arena, without reaching the limits themselves. Possibly the fact that it was closer, and itself a weapon, in the 75th was meant as an ironic slight to Haymitch, who was in fact the one to get reaped.
    • The Capitol clearly has perfected faster-than-light travel. It's too expensive to use for mundane tasks, but just the right price for carting soon-to-be corpses to far-off arenas. On a more serious note, why are the arenas so big that someone can wander in one direction for 3 days before running into anything? That just smacks of horrible game design.

     Why does the Capitol starve the districts? 
  • Why does the Capitol starve the districts? In history, many revolts and rebellions were triggered because there is a food shortage or famine of some kind. Being starved angers people. It drives them to do things they wouldn’t normally do. Even worse. starving people make for a pretty shitty work force. If you want to have borderline slaves you have to keep them healthy so they can work. Having a bunch of malnourished, unhealthy, half dead workers is going to give you really shitty results. Besides, if the people can rely on the government for food, why would they need to break the laws to eat?
    • Part of it is to keep the people dependent on the government. It's either get food from the Capitol, or starve. But since getting food from the Capitol does have consequences, people still look for other ways like illegal hunting. It should also be noted that the Capitol does do other things to keep the people down, like banning weapons. It's why Katniss had to hide her bows and arrows.
      • As I said above (though admittedly posted after you posted) "This a world that hasn't revolted in 75 years even though they're all dirt poor and the only thing keeping them in line is the threat of death and....having 2 of their children killed every year? There really isn't any reason for the status quo."
      • Really? 1 out of 4000 people dying once a year is relatively low odds. Given the other, more conventional police state tactics, more people than that are almost certainly killed by the Panem Regime. It's easy to say people should rebel but it takes more than just not liking the system to see it fall. Police states, even horrifically badly managed ones like North Korea or Zimbabwe, often survive for a long time because individuals don't want to individually fight the system. It takes a lot to get real, popular movements for change going.
    • If they're kept hungry, their lives are going to be centered around finding food, not leaving much time for them to plan rebellions. It was the same way in Rome; they created steam engines, but didn't implement them, because they didn't want their slaves to have too much free time.
      • That's completely wrong. The steam "engines" of the Roman world were not the sophisticated machines of the industrial age. They were little more than toys and weren't capable of doing worthwhile work.

     Why make Avoxes? 
  • The Avox. Every year 24 children are thrown into an arena to fight to the death, but known traitors to the Capitol and criminals are ... made into household slaves. Where they could easily set fires, smother important people in their sleep, poison food, plant bombs sent by traitors who weren't caught and made into Avoces or overhear information to pass onto traitors. Is there some kind of brain-chip keeping them in line? I've only read the first book, but that part really stuck out to me.
    • The means by which they keep captives in line are explained in depth in the third book. In short, by various horrendous, torturous means.

     Why do the Capitol people enjoy the Hunger Games 
  • I don't get the Capitol's reactions to the Hunger Games. They're encouraged to get to know the tributes, learn about their lives, see them talk on television, observe their most private moments, and even send them gifts and supplies (for a huge price). Then they go and dehumanize the tributes so much that they not only accept but actually enjoy watching them be brutally killed. How does that not create massive amounts of cognitive dissonance?
    • It does in some of them. But "such thoughts are strictly forbidden" explains Effie. And the Capitol people live in a surveillance state.
    • The tributes are never really seen as people, more like glorified pets. And the Hunger Games, while obviously not actually necessary, are seen sort of like a war or a natural disaster. Dying in the Games is seen as honorable and good.
    • The tributes get to talk during a 5 minute interview the night before the Games. That's it. The Capitol is encouraged to know them because otherwise it's just complete strangers getting killed, which isn't as entertaining. It's a lot like how horror movies will give the characters interesting personalities and quirks before killing them. And yeah, you'll root for your favorite to live, but that character only became your favorite in the first place for superficial reasons, and if they die, you're not going to be sad over it.
    • In addition to the above, one mustn't forget that the Hunger Games are essentially a modernized human sacrifice ritual. The Capitol citizens are taught to believe that the Hunger Games are what keeps the Districts from starting another violent rebellion. In the movie we see several Capitol citizens talk about the Games with an almost religious reverence, using words like "sacrifice" and "bravery" and so on. Not to mention the fact that the participants in the Games are referred to as "Tributes" rather than "contestants" or "players". The goal of the Hunger Games isn't to see any of the Tributes win. The goal is to see them die. Allowing one of them to "win" the Games is little more than a motivation for the Tributes to kill each other.

     Why not starve out the Capitol? 
  • Why did the rebels feel the need to storm the Capital? (I mean the rebel army as a whole, not just Katniss' unit.) Why deal with all the traps and defenses when you can just besiege the place and starve it into submission? Or shell it into submission?
    • It's impossible to tell because there's no definitive landscape or plan of the Capitol, but it might not be easy to besiege. If it's large, you need to man a constant barrier to keep supplies getting in and people getting out. That takes man-power. There are also hundreds of subterranean tunnels: those would have to be watched. Supplies aren't just a concern for the besieged people, the attackers need to be constantly getting food, water and ammo as well. A long siege in the wrong circumstances can end in the attacking force giving up from hunger and going home historically. Coin isn't stupid: a shock attack on the unarmed, untrained population of the Capitol works better than keeping the morale and impetus up when all you're doing is waiting for the other side to die.

     Why does the Capitol require soldiers? 
  • In book 1 those GMO wolves were precise enough to perform surgery. Why do they need people to mine coal? Or be soldiers?

     How is the Capitol so luxurious? 
  • How did the Capitol citizens get a luxurious lifestyle? It is mentioned that a lot of people are swamped in debt in the Capitol.
    • It's relative. Most Americans live a comparatively luxurious lifestyle on the grand scheme, yet the average American also has over $10 000 in debt.


     Katniss's vow to kill Snow 
  • Katniss made a vow to Johanna to kill Snow. When making it on her own life wouldn't suffice, she agreed to make it on her family's life. Does she even remember this when decides not to kill Snow? Was she thinking mainly of Prim, who had already died? Or did she think he looked about to die anyway so her vow was superfluous?
    • Well, technically, Katniss did kill him. By laughter. When she shot Coin it's said that he laughed so hard that he choked on his own blood. So Katniss at least contributed to his death.
    • Also, I’m guessing she decided that Coin was a bigger threat and that she (Coin, that is) would only be so undefended during that specific moment. It was either killing Snow or Coin and she decided to go with the one who would be harder, maybe impossible to kill in any other situation. Snow was going to die anyway, by Katniss’s hand or someone else’s, so killing him herself was no longer her priority.

     Katniss in the Cornicupia 
  • So the Games begin, and I see the Cornicupia for the first time. This is after I have agreed with Katt over her initial reaction to Peeta's declaration of love for the girl; while it may have given her slight advantage in terms of the view, the perception of her being seen as some weak young woman who could be trampled over in short range or possibly wallow in her situation was something that came to mind. Now, I think back to that asshole Haymitch and his initial 'tactical thinking.' So...don't charge into the Cornicupia to grab a bow, one of the only ways for Kat to have any real advantage in this game with some arrows, and friggin high-tail it? Yes, its a risk, but it is one of the best risks to take; she's faster than most of the other tributes by her own implication and worlds more agile. Haymitch, once again, fails to wow me as someone with little tactical understanding or expectation of risk.
    • Katniss' main skills are survival and archery, she is physically very weak. If she hides immediately and survives some time in solitude, many tributes will have died in the meanwhile. Then she can go scavenging or whatever. Or even try the Morphling/Foxface strategy and hide until the end. If she fights in the bloodbath, she will most probably die. The resources around the Cornucopia rise in value with shorter distance to it. Katniss picked the optimal resource: a survival bag that enhances her strategic strength. She could have avoided getting hurt if she had reacted faster, but she was distracted by Peeta.
    • Bear in mind that Haymitch had seen every child he had mentored previously for the last 24 years die, and probably lost more than a few in the opening minutes.
      • Katniss almost dies at the Cornucopia because she's not fast enough. The first few minutes of the Game are called the "bloodbath" for a reason. It's a real and present danger, and unless you have a powerful alliance on your side, in most cases, the smartest thing to do is get out as fast as you can and live to plan another day.
      • Yeah, and give your opponents a huge advantage for those who do decide to stay while the others are fighting to snag and grab. I'm happy she got something. Don't get me wrong, but its not tactically sound to simply allow the opponent unmitigated access to those supplies. I mean, look at the situation she got into later on because of that.
      • She only got the supplies because the other person she was fighting with over them got a convenient case of death by knife from the Knife Nut who was aiming for HER.
    • It worked for Haymitch in his Games. There are a bunch of references to how they are pretty similar, so maybe he recognized that and thought she might benefit from having a similar strategy as he did.
      • I think this has something to do with it. Haymitch essentially survived with just a knife. He also stressed the importance of being able to find water, food, and shelter/hiding place. He may have thought with those things and each other they would be fine until he got a sponsor to drop in a bow/knife. As a matter of fact, he would have been a mentor the year Finnick got someone to drop in a trident for him and would know some sponsors will donate weapons. Not to mention they could have pulled a Foxface and pilched a weapon from someone else in a situation that wasn't a total bloodbath. And there was also the probability that Katniss could fashion a decent enough weapon from the natural materials until she received a weapon through gift or theft.
      • Basically, Haymitch had reason to think that the odds of them surviving until they received a gift of a weapon or could steal one were greater than them surviving the Cornucopia. And when you think about Katniss only surviving because the person about to kill her was killed by someone else, and that she only got the knife because it stuck in her backpack, he was kinda right.

     Why has there never been a Katniss before? 
  • I've only seen the movie, so please bear with me. The president of Panem makes this big speech about how Katniss is a problem because her victory would inspire hope, and too much hope would lead to the downfall of Panem. This makes sense, but why specifically Katniss? No one else from a poor district has ever won? What about that big black guy from 11? He had a good chance of winning, but the president didn't seem to care about him at all. I realize that Katniss is important because she's the main character, but I just can't swallow that she's the first one to inspire this worry and fear from the president.
    • Katniss caught the public eye like no other tribute ever really had before. Cinna made her gorgeous, Peeta made her tragic, Rue brought out a level of kindness in her that's unheard of in the Games, she was daring and deadly by virtue of her own talent, and most importantly, on top of all of that, she was openly willing to make fools of the Capitol. She was the perfect storm. Thresh (the big black guy) seemed like a decent guy, sure, but Katniss was unbelievable. She was the Girl on Fire, the girl who sacrificed herself to save her adorable little baby sister, the girl caught up in a whirlwind star-crossed romance doomed to end in utter tragedy, the girl who laid a rival to rest with a song and a bed of flowers, the girl who scored an 11 through sheer skill and balls-i-ness. Her story had a special way of captivating the crowd.
    • It wasn't the fact that she won, but the way she won (see the comments below on the tag-team suicide). If Katniss had won because Cato killed Peeta and she killed Cato, it wouldn't have mattered to Snow. But she won by giving the Capitol the metaphorical middle finger and forcing them to break their own rule. If a 16-year-old girl could get away with that, what else could people get away with?
    • The biggest problem is that Snow is saying this stuff before the interview, so many of the things listed here haven't happened yet. Katniss hasn't been kind to Rue yet, Peeta hasn't confessed his love yet, Katniss hasn't made fools of the Capitol on national televison yet, etc. At this point, Katniss volunteered for her sister and got an 11 in training. That's it. The general public doesn't know about how she got that 11, so to them, she's doing exactly what she's supposed to do, like a good non-rebellious citizen of Panem. Unless Snow can see the future, he has no reason to be worried about her yet.
      • The thing to note is the event that triggered this speech. She'd gotten a score of eleven by shooting an arrow through the gathered sponsors. That act of defiance got his attention in the same way that the fire in the opening ceremony caught the attention of the public. It was that defiant streak that led President Snow to tell Seneca Crane to control the hope, because he saw the beginnings of something that he wanted nipped in the bud.
    • An 11 is a pretty damn incredible score. Even the Careers really get mostly 10s. A scrawny girl from D12, the shit district that never wins, getting an 11? That's unbelievable. Maybe she hasn't proven herself to be a great person, but she's still stood out in a very unexpected way.
    • I always assumed that they gave her an 11 as punishment for the apple stunt. The book never goes into this, but a high score really isn't a good thing; it just makes you a target for the other tributes to kill. We see this happen: the only reason the Careers don't kill Peeta immediately because they want him to find Katniss for them. It also happened in Catching Fire. A tribute is better off getting a poor/average score, and then showing off their skills once inside the Arena.
    • Books Two and Three give me, at least, the impression that Panem was already dissent waiting to happen. Katniss made a focal point, but I got the impression relations were already pretty strained (to put it mildly) and something was likely to happen sooner or later (whether it would have gone the same way is a whole other question).
    • Given how quickly riots started when Rue was killed, that's probably absolutely true. Katniss was merely someone who happened to draw a lot of positive attention - she volunteers to save her young sister, she trolls the Capital with her arrow stunt, she's the object of Peeta's desires and she got an 11 in the scoring. So all of those things got people talking, something which President Snow keenly noticed.

     Why would Katniss support the Capitol Games 
  • Why would Katniss support the Capitol children being put into Hunger Games? She's made it clear in the past she's opposed to the idea and wouldn't want it on anyone.Then her reasoning, "For Prim" Really? From what I gather Prim never would've wanted that. Especially after helping out other kids in the Capitol?
    • Katniss wanted to give the impression that she blamed the Capitol for Prim's death. After Coin's death, the Capitol Hunger Games seems to never happen. It simply becomes just grisly history for Katniss's children.
    • Either that or Katniss was deranged by grief. Which isn't too unlikely, considering how many Heroic BSoDs she has during the rest of the novel. Not to mention that she might have just blown straight through the Despair Event Horizon, considering the ruminations on Eternal Recurrence that precede her statement.
    • What I figured is that Katniss was planning since they talked about the Hunger Games for the Capitol children, she was planning on shooting Coin instead of Snow. She voted for the Capitol children being in the Hunger Games so they would think she was still on their side.
    • I thought it was kinda obvious she was going for a Batman Gambit when Katniss immediately ponders whether Haymitch will understand what she is doing or not. Throughout all three books, those two have had an odd almost telepathic understanding of each other, and of hidden motives behind obvious acts or words (or lack thereof). She has given a nod to Eternal Recurrence and she knows she can only stop it if she heads it off at the source.
      • There's a book called The Hunger Games Companion that seems to support the idea that Katniss supporting the games was a ruse. Indeed, it's probably that moment that makes her decide Coin is as dangerous as Snow. Alternately, Mockingjay sees her change into cold-blooded killer, so the argument that she might have decided to go for blood out of revenge is not necessarily invalid. She might well have supported elimination of all Capitol citizens (except her friends) at that point.
      • It's in the book Mockingjay:
        Katniss looks at Coin at the voting: Was it like this then, 75 years ago? ... The scent of Snow's rose curls up into my nose. ... All those people we love: dead! And we are discussing the next Hunger Games?! In an attempt to avoid wasting life? Nothing has changed! Nothing will ever change now! ... Keeping my eyes on the rose I say "I vote yes, for Prim." ... I can feel Haymitch watching me. This is the moment then, when we find out exactly just how alike we are and how much he truly understands me.
        Katniss looks at Snow at the pole: It's as if he's speaking the words again: "Oh my dear Miss Everdeen! I thought we had agreed not to lie to each other." He is right. We did.
    • The Choice was between a genocide of all Capitol citizens and a single Hunger Games. The children wouldn't be spared either way. The Hunger Games was the lesser of two evils here.
      • I think it is a false dilemma here. We have only Coin's words here, and Coin admitted that the Hunger Games was her idea when Haymitch asked.
      • And Katniss displayed why she is the hero: she took a third option and followed Beetee's words: "We have to stop viewing each other as enemies."
  • Am I the only one who read between the lines for Katniss's approval for The Capitol Games? No one saw that she was trying to catch Coin off guard? And even if she wasn't planning it, she was stricken with grief over Prim's death. So, you're telling me that if a loved one of yours got murdered, you wouldn't in the slightest act more irrational?
    • Definitely true, but for me the biggest problem with that is one that exists alongside a lot of Katniss's actions: we don't know why she did it because, even though the books are from her POV, it doesn't explicitly say.
      • Also, voting for something counter to your beliefs in order to get a plan to work is stupid no matter what. Katniss got lucky that the Games she voted for didn't actually happen.

     Katniss and her bow 
  • Katniss has a bow capable of taking down a deer. She mentions hunting from a blind, so it can't be that long. There's no way of fitting, say, a six-foot English longbow up in a blind and still being able to move it about. The damage output of a bow is dependent on two things: the draw weight (the force an archer applies to the bowstring to pull it back) and the length (longer bows offer more leverage, thus more force applied to the arrow as it is released). This said: How in the hell does a starving, underweight, presumably diminutive teenage girl overcome the draw weight on a bow capable of taking down a deer, and aim proficiently whilst doing so?
    • Practice, and the fact of not being starving anymore, just malnourished at most.
    • Animal hunting with a bow takes less strength than you'd think. The recommended draw weight for bowhunting deer is around 40 pounds if you wish to get a clean kill. Not exactly something a beginner can handle easily, but certainly not impossible for a hunter as skilled and experienced as Katniss.

     How did Katniss know about the 'tearing hair out' stereotype? 
  • This is very minor but how did Katniss know about the stereotype that people tear their hair out and pound the ground with their fists if she hasn't watched much television other than the Hunger Games?
    • It's also a saying, "I'm tearing my hair out over this" and things along those lines. Perhaps she got it from there.

     Why does Katniss look so healthy? 
  • If District 12 is supposed to be borderline starving why does Katniss look so healthy and well fed? If she lived in dirt poverty and had to hunt to put food on the family table shouldn't she be malnourished or at best thin and wiry?
    • While I agree that her body shape in the movies probably is a little bit unrealistic, she does hunt every day and she trades for other kinds of food so she has a reasonable income. She should probably be thinner but not drastically so.
      • The physical shape of Isabelle Fuhrmann would have perfectly fit Katniss' description from the book: small, slender but muscular, long dark hair. Jennifer Lawrence' acting ability made the difference, though. In a cute anecdote she told that the director Gary Ross cried over her audition performance (where she did the farewell scene with Prim and mom and a cave scene with Peeta) and thought that to be a good omen for her receiving the role. Ross himself said he was blown away by Lawrence' audition, the best he saw in his career. Collins said the same, she watched together with Ross. In hindsight, we can be very glad that Lawrence loved the story, the character of Katniss and got the role. Nobody could have done it better because Lawrence can act without words like nobody else, which is important because the movie omitted the narration from the book.
    • I find it amusing that people are bothered by this. For me, Jennifer Lawrence's acting was more convincing than the fact that she did not look starved. It's not a documentary, those people are actors, and there are limits to how much "method" you can demand.
      • I'd like to take your argument one step further - I think it's a nice change of pace to see a healthy looking girl in a starring role, instead of all those borderline bulimic ones, and wasn't bothered at all by the "she's supposed to be starving" thing. Next to that, as other people have stated, Katniss is a hunter - she gets more food in her than other people because she hunts for it, and the hunting in itself makes sure she's got some muscle working.
      • Bulimia is a serious mental illness. Claiming someone who is extremely thin is "borderline bulimic" just ignorant and insulting to people who actually have eating disorders. Never mind that people can be skinny naturally and can be anorexic and fat. You cannot LOOK at someone and tell if they're healthy. You can only look at someone and tell if they are fat or skinny.
      • While you're very right, you shouldn't willy-nilly use words like 'anorexic' and 'bulimic' to describe people who are very skinny, look at the environment of the acting world and tell me that there isn't a pressure to be "extremely skinny"? And to achieve those results by any means necessary? While a person who appears "really skinny" could be completely healthy, when it comes to that Hollywood Arena, most people are very... let's say cynical about how actresses get those "results". This isn't ignorance as much as it's a pessimistic view of reality.
      • I find a lot of Unfortunate Implications in the fact there's frequent complaints about the fact Jennifer doesn't look like she's starving, but I've heard nary a word about the fact that six foot three and muscular Liam Hemsworth doesn't exactly look like he grew up starving either. Double Standard much?
      • Peeta's one of the best-fed people in the district, and gets plenty of exercise hauling flour sacks, pans of bread, and other heavy things at work. He's explicitly stated in the books to be tall and muscular. And as mentioned above, Katniss is well-fed, thanks to hunting, foraging, and the smart trading of much of her harvest.
      • ...Liam Hemsworth plays Gale, not Peeta. Gale is a Seam kid, so he'd be just as starving as Katniss.
    • Could be a product of the times. There's been so much attention given recently to overly thin women in the media that having a very thin lead actress in a movie that, being based on a popular young adult book, was pretty much guaranteed to be seen by a lot of young people might be risky, even if she's skinny for a reason and it's not supposed to be attractive.
      • Jennifer Lawrence said that she refused to go on a diet to play Katniss because she didn't want young girls purposefully starving themselves to look like her.
    • There's also the reality that any sort of "emaciated" look is difficult to attain without serious health risks. Christian Bale has gone on record multiple times about how dangerous the diet he underwent for The Machinist was. Jennifer Lawrence is already thin, so her reluctance to undergo such a change is understandable and unnecessary when suspension of belief will work just fine.
    • When you have food insecurity (and this includes dieting, FYI), your body will latch onto and any every bit of food it can to keep you from dying and turn that into fat cells because who knows how long it'll be until your next meal. Katniss is not actually literally starving. She has food insecurity.
    • Acceptable Breaks from Reality - we get the gist of how the districts are oppressed without the need for the actors to make themselves dangerously underweight. And in the book, it's mentioned that Katniss eats as much as possible when she arrives in the Capital - to ensure that she's well-nourished.

     Why does Katniss' trick with the berries work? 
  • How does Katniss and Peeta's attempt at dual suicide really make the Capitol look stupid and lead to rebellion? Also, why do the Gamemakers decide that having two winners is better than zero? Why not just let them kill themselves off? Katniss kept saying, "They need a winner," but never why. Is it because the after-tour is so important in crushing people's spirits? Is it because they said there would be one (in this case, they are still liars, since now there are two)? It just does not make much sense to me. I have a hard time believing that a totalitarian regime who enjoys watching kids die would act this way. And I don't understand why it leads to a rebellion. Yes, symbolic acts can be important, but you and your buddy tricking your way out of a game is hardly some great symbol of resistance, especially when it's completely motivated by self-interest. Katniss didn't want to die and she didn't want her buddy/lover to die. That's not inspirational, it's selfish.
    • Katniss and Peeta openly defied the Capitol on live national TV and got rewarded for it. That's what makes the Capitol look like idiots. The Capitol's supposed to be all-powerful and controlling, but these two total goobers from the smelliest armpit of the country totally played them for saps. The Capitol said, "Hey, guys, only one winner," but Katniss and Peeta just went, "Screw you, bozos," and the Capitol totally rolled over. And gave them a lifetime of food and fame for it.
      • Why did the Capitol have to roll over and reward them, exactly? The Capitol could easily say that technically, neither of them won, so no one gets food or fame this year. Think of how hated Katniss and Peeta will be once they get home if this happens. I mean, they were the last tributes alive, so District 12 was guaranteed a win as long as one of them died. Instead, District 12 is still on the brink of starvation, all because Katniss valued her boyfriend's life more than the lives and well-being of all of District 12. If I was the Capitol, I would make sure that this is brought up and stressed in the post-Games interview, and then send a camera crew back with Katniss. When the inevitable angry mob kills her for letting them starve, air it for the other districts to see as a warning to future tributes.
      • The District the Victor came from doesn't benefit in any way. The Victor themselves gets a prize. District 12 as a whole was no better off after Katniss and Peeta won.
      • That's incorrect. The second book clearly states that the winner's district will receive food bonuses over the following year. There's a bit about what Gale's family did with the extra food.
      • Also Katniss spent a considerable amount of her won money in the hob to distribute her wealth.
      • Exactly, the problem is that the Capitol just rolled over, which makes no sense. Two winners seems as exactly against the rules as no winners, so what makes one better than the other? I'll tell you what, having no winners shows the people the cost of trying to be clever and standing up to the Capitol. The book acts like there is some metaphysical law that prevents the Hunger Games from having no winner, but there isn't. There's only a narrative reason why, and it's not a very good one.
      • The movie explains why the Capitol needs one winner. He keeps the hope in the districts alive that their child might win, thereby preventing them from laying down work or other disobedience. No winner result is therefore out of question. Two winner result means the Capitols rules can be broken and is therefore out of question. Snow wanted Seneca to kill Katniss.
      • The implication is that the reason the Capitol rolled over was essentially because Seneca Crane wanted to. Snow describes Seneca as "a sentimental fool," and says that he should have "blown [Katniss] away" the second she pulled out the berries. So it's possible that with a different head gamemaker, they would have allowed Katniss and Peeta to kill themselves, and either said, "Sorry, no winner," or declared whichever of them survived a fraction of a second longer to be the posthumous victor.
      • So Seneca brought down Panem? Someone get that corpse a medal. Seriously though, has there never been a situation where it's likely that both final tributes will die? I feel there should be something in the "Head Gamesmaster Manual" that covers this.
      • Except that it did, in Haymitch's Games. He was holding his guts in, and he still managed to kill the girl from 1. What was new in this one, I think, was that they were going to kill themselves. Letting people watch two sixteen-year-olds commit suicide for love, when it could have been stopped, may have been too much of a wake-up call for Seneca to let them. Also, one doubts the Government was ignorant of the value of martyrs.
      • In Haymitch's Games, both tributes weren't likely to die at the same time. The girl wasn't as injured as Haymitch and could have won by outlasting him (until she got a face full of axe.) The only injury she had was that her eye was missing and the eye socket was bleeding, while Haymitch's guts were threatening to fall out. Anyway, the narrative could have easily said that suicide wasn't allowed during the Games. Of course, it still would happen sometimes, but it would be earlier in the Games, and also explain why the Gamesmakers were so unprepared. Since most of the final 2 tributes would be from different districts, they would try to kill each other instead of suggesting a double suicide.
      • A rule stating that it's not allowed to commit suicide sounds ineffective. How do you punish someone for having died at their own hand?
      • By killing their families and loved ones. Air it for everyone to see, so that they know the price for suicide before they get to the Games. Katniss is worried that they will hurt her family after her stunt at the training session, and they killed Haymitch's family after he won his Games, so there is a history of the Capitol doing this kind of thing already. As an aside, why are Prim and Mrs. Everdeen still alive? Haymitch mentions that his family and girlfriend's family were dead two weeks after he won, and his little rebellion pales in comparison to what Katniss did.
      • Good question. My guess is that Katniss was thought a romantic heroine, and so she was loved by her fans; and Prim was adored for being cute and the sister Katniss would sacrifice herself for. It would be like killing Bambi.
    • As for the matter of needing a winner, just imagine. If you have two winners, then okay, that makes you look stupid. But if you had no winners? That means the entire Games was for nothing. It would be the Capital saying to the Districts, "Congratulations, guys. Those 24 kids of yours just died for absolutely no reason!" When you have a winner, you parade them around, you talk about glory and fame, and you say this was the entire point. Yes, people died, but they only died so that this champion could rise. If you don't have a champion, you outright admit there was no point, and the entire thing was just one long, cruel, public execution of two dozens innocents. That incites riots.
      • Well, the Games are for nothing. The way Katniss speaks, everyone in the districts is well aware that the Hunger Games are just a tool of oppression. And we can see that this is not just her opinion from the description of the behavior of all of District 12 at the Reaping - all of them seem aware that this is a sham. Now, it could be that this is just the way District 12 sees it, but that seems unlikely. And why can't they just name whichever one of the two died last the winner? If Peeta's heart stops before Katniss, he wins, if not she does. And even if both die, you can have a winner, just one who died shortly after winning. They could still parade around in his honor - glory and fame are not things that disappear with death. Hell, death can be a great source of glory and fame (take, for example, real Cato. That guy got tons of glory and fame from his suicide, why can't Peeta or Katniss?). And you say that "That incites riots." You know what else incites riots? Taking away people's children to be slaughtered for a game. You know what doesn't cause riots in the books? Taking away people's children to be slaughtered for a game. I'd believe that the Game's lack of a winner (if they chose not to name one posthumously) is not so much more heinous than the Games themselves, especially since the people (outside the Capitol at least) don't buy into the myth.
      • The reason for the Games is for the Capitol to say, "Hey Districts, we are powerful enough that we can take your children away and make them fight to the death for our entertainment, and you can't do anything about it!" The victors and the competition for food are unimportant in the grand scheme of things. As long as the districts still fear the Capitol's power, the Games have been successful. So yeah, only 22 tributes died this year. So? Just don't make that stupid rule change ever again.
      • Also, I'm pretty sure it's stated that a lot of Capitol residents gamble on the outcome of the Games. If the Games end in a tie with no real winner, the people who bet on either Katniss or Peeta to survive would feel cheated and the people who bet on the other Tributes would probably demand their money back. Considering how rich the Capitol residents are, that's a lot amount of money at stake. Possibly enough to inspire riots in the Capitol itself.
      • It's not about the money, it's about sending a message. The Capitol's citizens trust that the gamemakers are honourable at the very least. Also, many have taken a shine to Katniss and Peeta's romance. Killing both of them off would have the same effect Family Guy creators had to face when they offed Brian.
      • Just let them eat the berries then. Unless they die at exactly the same time, one of them will be a winner. No one said the victor had to be alive...
    • I personally believe the first book's Hunger Games would have played out more or less the same for Katniss and Peeta even if the Capitol didn't make that decree about two district winners. So much so, that I don't even know why it was included in the first place, except to make the Capitol look uncharacteristically like saps. I think there was supposed to be a little ambiguity at first regarding Peeta's loyalty towards Katniss vs. the careers, but as soon as us readers found out that was a ploy it became obvious that neither Peeta nor Katniss would ever kill each other. That rule change also made no sense to me - it seemed like the Capitol was purposely baiting them, because they also should have been aware that the two people who are supposedly lovers would not blindly follow some lame last-minute change. So yeah, if the new rule had never been made they could have just waited it out. Peeta most likely would have died first without some form of aid, but if they did try to pull the stunt with the nightlock the Capitol should have just let them. Either option works out well for the Capitol, and would quell any stirring rebellion.
      • The rule change was made to manufacture some more drama for the game (specifically, forcing lovers to fight each other). The change definitively did make a difference; Katniss only started looking for Peeta after she heard the new rule. Without the change, Peeta would have likely died by the riverbank without aid. Also, since Katniss is doing relatively well and isn't worried about Peeta's medicine, she's in no rush to get to the feast (or maybe just ignores the feast altogether), meaning that Clove isn't distracted with Katniss/bragging about Rue when Thresh shows up. Katniss, unlike Peeta, knows about Nighlock berries and wouldn't pick them, so Foxface wouldn't have poisoned herself. Who knows who would have won? (My money's on Clove.) I will agree that the rule change did make the Capitol look stupid though. A more natural way to get the same result would have been for Haymitch to send a note saying to act more in love, and then Katniss deciding to look for Peeta as a result.
      • I don't think Clove would have won. Without the option of both of them getting out alive I suspect Cato would have killed her. Anyway, It's possible that Katniss would have gone looking for Peeta even without the rule change. She's smart enough to realize that she most likely would not have survived without an ally, and after Rue died Peeta became the only possible choice. Besides, since they were playing the lovers card it would have seemed incredibly callous of her to leave Peeta to die, which would certainly affect her post-victory tour (if she still won). The other players most likely would have been affected, but that's why I specified that the games would play out the same for Katniss and Peeta.
      • I don't think the Victory Tour even occurred to Katniss, though. Frankly, even after she goes and finds Peeta, she doesn't even think about the romance angle until Haymitch pokes and prods at her with the parachute incentives. At this point in the series, her only concern is surviving the Games, and until the rule change, she thought of Peeta as a very dangerous potential enemy. That's what the rule change ultimately did in the narrative: It made Katniss stop thinking of him as "just another guy who has to kill me if he wants to live" and start thinking of him as "the one single guy I can safely team up with."
    • The rule change was a response to the riots after Rue's death. It would give the districts something to focus on and hope for—an unprecedented change to the system. With that in mind, the switch back to the single-survivor rule makes sense. The gamemakers figured Katniss was a survivor

     Won't Katniss get negative attention from the 11 score 
  • Isn't Katniss getting an 11 kind of bad? It got the attention of the Careers after all.
    • That was the point. That way, they ensured that the other favourite (Cato) would have an interest in killing her himself. Otherwise, they wouldn't have cared about her.
    • The book doesn't acknowledge it, though. Katniss celebrates getting the 11, instead of panicking. She misbehaves by shooting the apple, and thinks it's completely normal that she got "rewarded" for it, even though she was worried about punishment just hours prior. Shouldn't she be suspicious? Or at least think it's weird?
      • I guess at this point, she had no reason yet to assume that she might have incurred somebody's anger. As for the book not acknowledging it, I'm on the fence about that. It's mentioned once or twice that Cato is angry that Katniss got a higher score, which is why the careers team up with Peeta in the first place.
      • I'm talking about the reaction to receiving the 11, though. Katniss has been watching Games her entire life, she should know how this works by now. Effie or Haymitch definitely should know that a high score will only make yourself a target. But they all still celebrate the announcement like it's a good thing, instead of something that will draw the wrath of the careers.
      • Because it was a big deal. It didn't just draw the attention of the careers - it drew the attention of sponsors. Think back to the times Katniss got a package from Haymitch right when she needed one. That would never have happened if she was considered a scrub.

     Why is Katniss so friendly with Capitol people? 
  • Why is Katniss so chummy with the people who are sending her to her death? With the exception of Effie and Haymitch (the latter being the most sympathetic character of all those involved), she seems to think Cinna is delightful and her prep team harmless, despite their part in dressing kids up for death. She's not bothered that they strip her naked. She thinks the interviewer (Caesar?) is a genuinely nice guy due to his banter with the kids who are about to die. She also shoots her arrow at the gamemakers in her test not because she's angry at them for, you know, making the murder games but because they're ignoring her. Katniss generally seems to spend most of her time before the games going "ooh, pretty dresses" or "mmm, tasty food" and not so much going "ohgodohgodohgod I don't want to die". Obviously she can't be written doing that all the time, but some realism in her behaviour would be nice. It makes me wonder if she's mentally unstable before the games, not after. For all the mentions of Annie being a bit unbalanced, I think her reaction to the murder games is just that little bit more realistic, whereas Katniss doesn't seem all that bothered the first time around.
    • Because Cinna, the prep team and the interviewer all help Katniss by increasing her chances to survive. Cinna by making her unforgettable and admirable to sponsors, the prep team by making her gorgeous which is also helping in winning sponsors and the interviewer by presenting her personality in the optimal way which also gains her sponsors. As Haymitch explains, the gifts from sponsors can decide whether she lives or dies.
    • In regards to Cinna, it's made perfectly clear that he's not dressing her up for death, but he's dressing her up to keep her alive. Without his designed clothes, she is far less likely to gain any sponsors, as she would have just been another tribute, and not "the girl on fire".
    • To me, Katniss always seemed like a "deal with it" person. Not just in the sense that you have to deal with her, but also that she deals with what's presented to her. And why wouldn't she admire the food and the dresses? She's never seen such things irl, and it's a nice distraction. Not to mention that she seems to do a lot of repressing. About them stripping her naked, I was under the impression that nudity is not a big deal in panem, unless it happens to be specific persons. The reason she started liking Cinna is probably because he seemed like a shred of sanity in all this madness. Her prep team, she doesn't even take seriously. She repeatedly says that they're like dumb pets.
    • Keep in mind that the Games have been running for 74 years. This is a fairly long time to have everyone simply getting used to it. Sure, if it is you who has been chosen, it is a tragedy, but one of the mundane kind, not an absolute evil, as we think of sending children to fight each other for death from our early 21st century perspective. If she always has been told that this is how the country runs, and, moreover, never knew anything else, she is not likely to hate the system or the people which represent it. Actually, the fact that she did question the system in the end can be viewed as an outstanding (for the world) trait and a character development.
    • She's in a world where the Hunger Games are basically just a reality show. She, like the rest of Panem, has had years to become desensitized to the idea of death and violence so she understands that her stylists don't think about it the same way she does. In regards to Cinna, he seems to actually want to help Katniss survive. Right from the getgo he makes sure she has multiple advantages thanks to his dresses and whatever. Not to mention the encouragement he gives her.
      • Hate to break it to you but human's aren't that weak. Humans do not break that easily. The Soviet Union fell because there was a REVOLUTION many years after the system was put into place, the USSR wouldn't have fallen if they were willing to crack down on the revolt in their puppet states but that isn't the point
      • Actually I think that is part of the point. With Gorbachev as a leader, chances were way better - the same revolution (in fringe regions only by the way) wouldn't have succeeded under Breshnev. Another part is that people of the USSR knew there was another way - they may not really have known everything about it, not been sure whether it would be better, but there was a competing system. There is none for Panem before you hear about District 13 still existing. There is no hope of outside help, there is no one to model an alternate society after. This is the way and the only way they really know about.
      • Gorbachev was also the leader to preach glasnost - "openness." Look at it this way, he adapted to the changing (read: failing) system of the USSR, as the Gamemakers and President adapt situations to their benefit, or at least attempt to. Inflexibility and refusal to change at all is a key factor in why the German Democratic Republic ended so spectacularly and suddenly, whilst the USSR petered out a little more.
      • What you're also forgetting is that most revolutions don't lead to democracy. Human rights may very well be motives for revolution, but when it comes down to it, people can get pretty damn immoral to achieve their ends, and there are plenty of real life examples of people more or less accepting their own deaths and atrocities towards the weaker groups in society because living under oppression and violence they've learned to live with it. Haymich even states outirght that he is sceptical to the idea of democracy, showing that Panem's people truly didn't know of a better way of ruling the country, and the revolution wouln't have happened at all if 13 wasn't there to support an organized revolt.
    • When someone's particularly helpless and knows it, they strongly tend to latch on to any moments of kindness or just not-cruelty and exaggerate it, ignoring the context. Stockholm Syndrome.
    • There's also the fact that she's constantly saying how wasteful the Capitol is and how stupid and unnecessary their fashion is, but it seems like as soon as she's given the opportunity to be wasteful and wear stupid, unnecessary fashion she just goes "Ooh, gimme gimme gimme." Maybe she's supposed to be a satire on people who do nothing but complain about topic X but then when given the chance to live up to their moral code, just immediately give in to temptation.
      • It's not like she has a choice. She could rage and attack and claw and bite her prep team, but they'd stick tranquilizers into her and sew her into her dress if that's what it took. And Katniss learns that if she puts her best face forward, she can win sponsors — so learning to twirl and walk in heels becomes a viable strategy. Point is, she's got to follow the formula of the Opening Ceremonies; hey, might as well have fun with it.
      • I think the problem most people have isn't that she goes along with it, but that she actively enjoys it. She rages about how awful it is that they're dressed up before being sent to be slaughtered, but then, once she sees out pretty her outfit is, she decides this is the coolest thing ever. And she twirls and plays nice with Caesar, but she also seems to legitimately think he's a very nice man and twirls because she feels so pretty and giggly, not because she is going along with the game to survive.
      • Imagine you were a teenage girl who spent her whole life living in drab poverty and with not many people who were nice to you or paid you much attention. Woman's only human, it'd be unrealistic for her to not get sucked into the glamor.
      • I imagine I'd be more concerned with the whole death games thing.
    • In regards to Caesar, this troper was always under the impression that she conceded that he was A Lighter Shade of Black. She was thinking something among the lines of "At least he's trying to give each tribute a fair chance.", not "Ohmigosh what a nice fellow!"

     Katniss' hallucination of Flickerman 
  • How could Kat have hallucinated Flickerman warning about the danger of tracker jacks? There's no way she could have previously heard that line from him...
    • He's been host for awhile now, presumably she watched him explain them during some other Game.

     How did Katniss survive on her diet? 
  • How did Katniss survive on a diet of mainly rabbit? Rabbit uses more nutrients to digest than it contains, so if anything she was bringing her death closer.
    • She probably also ate a lot of vegetables and roots and other small animals like squirrel. But the author probably just didn't do the research.
      • It does actually credit at the end (not sure if this ended up in all editions of the book, though) the people who helped her with the research and it seems she did quite a lot of it. And people have survived with rabbit as their primary meat source before.
    • Or perhaps the gnawing hunger in her gut was more important to get rid of than worrying about specific caloric intake.
    • Rabbit does not use more nutrients to digest than it contains. (It's true you'd have to eat a lot of rabbits per day to keep yourself going long-term, but eating the rabbit certainly would not make you starve faster.) "Rabbit starvation" is not an incredibly well-understood phenomenon, but it's probably caused by nutrient deficiencies from the lack of essential fatty acids in such lean meat. You can't survive on just rabbit, but a diet mostly based on rabbit is quite possible as long as it's occasionally supplemented with fattier meat, or the right plants.
    • And she lives on a lot more than rabbit. In District Twelve, she mentions, among other things, birds, bread, wild dog, Greasy Sae's stew, and deer (though she and Gale trade the deer for cash and buy food that is presumably not rabbit, since they could hunt that.) She mentions her father's joke about not starving if she can find herself (ie, katniss, aka arrowhead, duck potato, etc), and things get better after she buys a goat for Prim (milk and cheese.) In the games, besides rabbit, there are eggs, groosling (a wild turkey sort of bird, explicitly described as being quite fatty), and berries that are not nightlock (the ones she uses to give Peeta the sleep syrup, a well as less delicious but edible inner bark from pines. That's not counting food from sponsors.
      • Katniss says herself she lost a lot of weight when she came out of the Games and that was on a diet of rabbit, some occasional berries and other foraged food and also food from Haymitch.
      • The idea that rabbit is a negative calorie food is a crock of horse hockey. It contains protein, which contains calories. Mal de caribou doesn't play in unless a diet consists solely of lean meat, which Katniss's never did.
      • Basically, we can eat all the rabbits we like, as long as we eat some peas and carrots with them.
    • Any sort of lean protein-exclusive diet will eventually starve the human body, as the liver has limitations on how much protein it can metabolize in a day, resulting in dangerously high blood-urea levels, as well as the fact that proteins can only be broken down into glucose under specific conditions (i.e. starvation). Katniss' hunting skills are played up because those are what help her survive the war, but she's shown to have extensive knowledge of plants and herbs gleaned from her parents, which is more likely the bulk of her family's diet. Most hunger-gatherer societies source most of their diet from the gathering aspect of their lifestyle, which is why it's often referred to in academic circles as gatherer-hunter to reflect this reality.

     Why didn't Katniss end up with Gale? 
  • The fact that Katniss ends up with Peeta. This isn't just a disappointed fangirl talking, because I support Katniss/Peeta: it would've made a hell of a lot more sense to end up with Gale. Gale is her best frind who she's known throughout the series. She only met Peeta at the start of the Hunger Games. She is forced to act her love for Peeta, and I don't know about you, but I'd be pretty pissed and bitter toward the guy. Plus, in Mockingjay she chooses Peeta, who tried to kill her twice, over Gale, who has stated numerous times he loves her and is willing to die to protect her, and actually carries his weight instead of being The Load like Peeta. If you're just going to throw away her best friend, why throw the Gale-loves-Katniss thing in the first place? Keep them as friends, because they lose each other in the end. I hate Mockingjay, seriously.
    • In Catching Fire, Katniss witnessed the sacrificial love of Peeta and fell in love because of that. In Mockingjay, she witnessed Gale crossing the moral event horizon when he promoted for killing all civilians in the "Nut" in district 2, and he invented the booby trap designed to kill medics.
    • Because Team Peeta makes up the majority of the fanbase.
      • There's also the fact that Katniss's decision wasn't totally arbitrary either. Although it would've made sense for her to be with Gale because they're both very passionate people, it makes sense that she wouldn't be with him for the same reason: she would never forgive him for his role in killing her sister, and he would never feel remorse for it because Prim's life was traded for a greater "good". The Gale/Katniss relationship was page filler, and in itself was pandering to the base: in this post-Twilight world, teenagers seem to expect a love triangle.
    • I never get fans who portray Peter's actions in Mockingjay as somehow being his fault, when it was made clear over and over that he had been tortured and brainwashed for months on end into being a physical and psychological weapon against Katniss. The whole series is about Peeta and Katniss being pitted against each other in real and metaphorical death matches, and overcoming and beating the game by clinging to their humanity and choosing to be selfless for each other. The romance is more of an afterthought, literally an epilogue. As for ending up with Gale, that might have made sense in the beginning and indeed might have been the ending if the Hunger Games hadn't intervened, as Katniss herself speculates in Mockingjay. But it's very clear that all the characters have changed beyond recognition by the end, and the chance of Gale/Katniss had long flown by the time the war was over. Too much had happened, and they wanted different things out of life.
      • The fact the attacks of crazy paranoid rage weren't his fault doesn't mean that Katniss marrying a guy who wants to murder her is a Good Thing.
      • Probably not. But it wouldn't have been a Good Thing for her to marry a guy who might have had a hand in killing her sister, either. Again, that's not Gale's fault, but it would have hung over their heads and poisoned the relationship. Katniss herself makes it clear that she needed Peeta's warmth and comfort to live her life. Marrying a traumatized and broken man was not something she did for fun, obviously, but because she was willing to take the risk for a chance at happiness—which is the theme of the whole series, really.
      • So what, she HAS to go with Peeta and not someone else? Or simply not marry? Nice Message
      • If she married someone other than Peeta or Gale, it would have been weird. The ending was choppy enough; if she had also developed feelings for another guy who hadn't been there throughout the series, it would have been worse. As for getting married at all, I thought it WAS a nice message. Early in the series, she didn't want to have children not because she just didn't want to be a parent, but because she was afraid of them having to go to the Games. Having her get over it, get married, and have children gave the ending more hope.
    • It's possible that Katniss felt that Peeta could understand her in a way that Gale, and most others, couldn't. The Hunger Games were pretty traumatic, to say the least, and more than that, they were bizarre. At multiple points after she came back from the first games, Katniss said something about how she couldn't relate to Prim or Gale as well as she could before. The only victors that we see in relationships are Finnick and Annie, who are together; Johanna and Haymitch, at least, are explicitly stated not to have any significant others. It must be hard for a victor to relate to a non-victor well enough to be in love.
      • Cecelia certainly did it. I doubt District 8 would have enough victors that she could have married, due to age gaps.
    • Katniss may not have known Peeta as long as she knew Gale, but that doesn't mean that she should like Gale better. How many times in real life do people marry their childhood best friends? Besides, by the end of the series, she and Peeta have known each other for about a year and a half, maybe two years, lots of that in shall we say stressful situations, so it's not like they're strangers.
    • Actually, Katniss' reasoning did made emotional sense. She chooses him over Gale because Gale's passion leads them to negative emotions, and she has plenty of those of her own. And Peeta's kindness and warmth is what her wounded heart needs. And that without even entering in Gale being partially responsible for Prim's death. At least in my opinion, the problem of the Love Triangle resolution is not who she chooses. It's the fact that Collins makes that resolution in one freaking paragraph at the very last page of the trilogy!
      • I saw that resolution coming when Haymitch called Katniss in the Capitol and reminded her of their deal to save Peeta at all costs. Previous to that, Gale had already lost any chances by becoming evil in the attack on district 2. I had expected Katniss dying to safe Prim's life or Peeta's life.
    • YMMV, but at least to me it was blatantly obvious from about halfway through "Catching Fire" that Katniss was in love with Peeta and that a large part of their arc in "Mockingjay" was about her dealing with losing his love just as she realized she loved him back. There are countless hints to this in the text, like how she sees the reunion between Finnick and Annie and then pictures a similar reunion between herself and Peeta, or how the loss of him makes her react similarly to how her mother reacted to losing her father. At no point in the third book does she seem to even consider being with Gale romantically, even when she believes she can't be with Peeta, and she only kisses Gale because she's lonely and in pain and wants to feel better for a moment. I knew by the end of "Catching Fire" that she would end up alone or with Peeta but definitely not with Gale.
    • Him being in love with her doesn't mean that she has to be in love with him. More importantly, their history doesn't matter as much as the fact that they are too different by the end of the series. From the get go Gale was a reolutionary and Katniss a survivor, and by the end of the end of the series that's only deepened as Gale has grown into his role as a revolutionary behind the lines and surrounded by the elite of 13 and the resistance, while Katniss' startin point is the horrors she knows that violent death entails. They have opposing world views, and on top of that Gale's failure ot understand Katniss leads to even more cruel and unnnecessary deaths. There's no saving them after that. (Not that I understand how her relationship to Peeta managed to survive. In my opinion she should have dropped both.)
    • She may be close with Gale, but part of something like the Hunger Games changed Katniss. The Hunger Games and following revolution was by far the most formative part of her life, and Peeta understood that part of it more than Gale. It's also made clear throughout Mockingjay that Gale and Katniss have fundamental disagreements on many things, and Gale wasn't driven insane by the Capitol.

     Why did Katniss not train in hand-to-hand combat? 
  • Why didn't Katniss at least attempt to gain some profficeny in hand to hand combat during her training? I get that the bow is her speciality and key weapon but she was running a tremendous risk. What if there wasn't a bow or it became broken early on or the person who did get her hands on it didn't sleep convieniently beneath a wasp nest? It's understandable that she wouldn't become a martial arts master overnight but she's a tall, strongly built girl who could have learnt how to deliver a punch or kick if only as a last resort move.
    • She said she can handle a knife well, even throw it sufficiently well. And she trained spear throwing and other combat types. The book contains more details than the movie, as always. There you learn she is smaller than half of the female tributes.
    • But... she's not. She's a starved girl, tiny in comparison to the careers. Maybe she could have kicked Rue into oblivion, but Thresh or Cato? No Chance. Did it explicitly say that she didn't do any hand to hand combat? I don't have the book on me now, but my impression was that she visited pretty every station with a few favourites except for shooting.
    • Perhaps she's starved in the book but in the film she's tall, robust and looks in excellent shape. She's certainly towers over Clove for instance and as far as I can recall she's bigger than Glimmer too. In fact now that I think of it she might be tallest female tribute. In any case I'm not arguing that Katniss should have devoted herself to a hand to hand strategy but (again in the film) she seems to spend little or no time studying even the basics. The scrawny Clove makes mincemeat out of her in seconds even though she's also primarily a missile girl.
      • Okay, I guessed that you might have only seen the movie... but I assume the casting choice was made due to Jennifer Lawrence's acting skills and the fact that it might send a bad message to impressionable teens to have a severely underweight girl play the main character. Also, the movie is long enough as it is, I don't think a close-combat training montage would have added anything to that.
      • When your life is on the line, use what you know. Right before the Hunger Games is NOT the time to be learning a new combat skill that several others have already mastered.
    • And you can't pick up enough hand-to-hand fighting prowess in a matter of weeks compared to people who have been training for years. Katniss does eat as much as she can while she's in the Capital to get stronger, but she knows her strengths and sticks to them. Also she's not particularly bloodthirsty and seems as if she'd rather let the rest of them fight it out amongst themselves and do as little killing as possible herself.
    • And being good at ranged combat actually gives you an advantage, because it allows you to keep your distance while you take out your enemies. Katniss just needs to get to a high vantage point with a bow and she can take out her enemies as they come at her - the second film also showing she's quite good at firing arrows at people running at her too. The Careers are trained in hand to hand combat so if it comes to that, they're going to win regardless of how much Katniss picks up in a couple of weeks.

     Katniss/Peeta and 'survival' 
  • I supported Katniss/Peeta throughout the series, but was anyone else bothered by the fact that Katniss falls for Peeta out of "survival"? She was furious when Gale told Peeta she'd choose whoever she needed to "survive," but at the end of Mockingjay, she says that's exactly the reason she falls for Peeta; she needs him to survive. I can't decide how I'm supposed to feel about that...
    • You will notice that, throughout the series, Katniss's definition of things changes depending on what major thing impacts her life. At the time of Gale's conversation with Peeta—when the war was going on—survival only meant existing during and after the war. In the end, when Katniss had lost nearly everything, survival had come to mean pulling through and living despite whatever crushed her in the past. Existence versus life. See the difference?
    • It's a play on words - as in, "I love you so much, I can't survive without you." Like when the protagonist of Boy Meets World realized which girl he loved by saying the other was great, "but I can live without her."
      • It's meant literally, as in Katniss would die from losing the will to live if Peeta didn't help her find something to live for. She made several suicide attempts ...

     How did Katniss know about Peeta's sleeping habits? 
  • How did Katniss know that Peeta likes to sleep with the window open? At that point she had only slept next to him in three different settings - the arena, the train and the training center. The arena is outdoors so no windows. Trains don't usually have windows you can open and Capitol trains carrying tributes/victors they want to keep an eye on would be even less likely to. The training center doesn't seem likely to let the tributes be able to open their bedroom windows either but even if they did Katniss and Peeta only slept together for two nights there. Not really enough to determine a set preference. Could be that he simply told her at some point but the context in which she says it implies that she's talking about things she knows from her own experience, not things he's told her about.
    • He's her neighbour in the victor's village, maybe she sees his window open at night a lot.
      • Although he lives three houses away from her so it seems unlikely that she'd be able to see his bedroom window from her house.
      • Maybe she goes outside sometimes
    • And Peeta lived many weeks with her while she had injured leg and tailbone. He even shared her bed to comfort her into sleep. They had plenty of time to talk about everything. She might even have noticed an open window in her bedroom that he is assumed to have opened.
    • The training center has a forcefield surrounding it that forcefully rebounds anyone who attempts escape or suicide via drop and is implied in the novel to be a skyscraper-sized building. It's quite possible the rooms have windows that can be opened, especially if they're framed in such a way that they only open inward and upward. Barring that, he could have easily mentioned it in conversation at one point.

     Why didn't Katniss and Peeta break up? 
  • Why couldn't Katniss and Peeta just "break up" a few months after the games ended? If done right, it'd be easy to put the whole berry disaster down to young love that didn't last long after the madness of the games. Most of the hype about Katniss was based on their relationship so if you kill that off, who's going to care after a while?
    • Because the Capitol citizens were essentially shipping Katniss/Peeta. Think about fandoms in real-life... people get upset when young characters break up in the sequel, even when people of that age realistically drift apart. Imagine the outrage if Ron and Hermione had broken up by the epilogue? Katniss/Peeta breaking up would have severely disappointed all of the shippers in the Capitol, and caused people to question the rule-suspension.
    • And if they split up, what's to stop the Capitol from having one or both of them killed now that they don't have the public's love? A spy in World War II Josephine Baker was a celebrity who defied the Nazis and passed information, but they couldn't get rid of her because she was too popular and too famous. Katniss and Peeta's fake romance is what's ensuring their survival.

     Why does Katniss blame Gale for Prim's death? 
  • Why is Katniss so angry at Gale about Prim dying? He didn't have anything to do with it.
    • He had a whole lot to do with it. Prim was killed in a trap that he designed (early on in the last film Gale describes the ploy to Beetee). Katniss and Gale had several discussions during the course of the series about the value of human life and about the cost of winning a war. Gale feels that the end justifies the means and that sacrificing innocent lives to win the war is a necessary cost. Katniss argues that this reasoning is the same as the Capitol's and that diplomacy is better than violence. Essentially what Katniss is saying is that every person who dies in the war matters to someone and it's easy to claim their deaths were a necessary evil when they're just faceless people in a crowd but their loved ones see it differently. Gale designed the trap that killed Prim (or at least thought up the very same trap) but it's not just about Prim. Every single person who died from that bombing likely mattered to someone as much as Prim mattered to Katniss. If Gale had listened to Katniss, Prim's death might have been avoidable. According to Snow he was about to surrender when the bombs fell so the bombs did nothing to speed up the end of the revolution. Katniss knows she'll never be able to disassociate Gale from her sister's death and his attitude on war and the value of human lives is off-putting to her. In the film he seems to realize her point and feel sad about it in the end but in the books he doesn't even do that.

     Why didn't Katniss just shoot Cato 
  • So, I'm almost at the end of the book, big climax battle is pretty much over, and something's been nagging me while I read it: why didn't Katniss just shoot Cato while he was on the Cornucopia right there? At least two times we're told he's just lying there with cramps and unable to do anything on his defense, yet Katniss spends more time taking care of the other threat that she could easily take care of with one less problem on the line. Cato's lying there, one arrow square in the eye or the neck, then take care of the mutts. Why not?
    • Because she had only one arrow left and that one was inside the tourniquet that prevented Peeta from bleeding to death. When Katniss and Peeta realized the game makers would not kill Cato and that she was expected to do it, she eventually unhooked the tourniquet and used that arrow to kill Cato. It almost made Peeta die from blood loss.
    • Because Katniss is someone who can only bring herself to kill in self-defense.
      • Not really. Killing Marvel wasn't in self defense, it was out of vengeance. Also, she talks a lot about how she wants to kill people in her internal monologue, it's just that she never really has the opportunity to or has reasons why it's helpful to keep them alive longer (this is more the case in the second book). There's also the scene in the second book where she's about to shoot some innocent people after they've laid down their weapons, but only stops when she notices they have a mockingjay token on them. Basically, she seems really willing to kill for no reason at all.
      • I would argue as follows: Marvel was a direct threat to her life. He had just chucked a spear at her, and whether it missed her or dodged her I doubt he would have left it at that. It's better to say that she killed Glimmer without her being a "direct threat" to her life (she couldn't even shoot an arrow that high). As for Cato, it is more likely she has a "code of honor" that matches her brand of empathy, namely that she doesn't kill someone who is down, if anything she tries to heal them instead.
      • Techincally, the killing of Glimmer wasn't an intentional "killing of Glimmer". That is to say, she wasn't the specific target, all of the Careers and Peeta were. In fact, Katniss eagerly thought more about Peeta's potential death from the wasps than about Glimmer's when she was cutting the nest down (at that point, she thought Peeta was a traitor.)
      • The problem is, though, that the book is narrated by her and when she kills Marvel, she isn't thinking about saving herself, but how he needs to die for what he did to Rue. If the narration was third person and did not talk about her motivation, then that might be a valid argument, but it's not what she was thinking. And there's also all the other times she says she wants to kill people - like how she thinks about killing Johanna just for talking back to her.
      • To be fair, Johanna seemed to go out of her way to push buttons for simply Jerkass reasons. And in a game where the point is to kill/outlive everyone else, combined with her being both a Jerkass and a proved extremely dangerous killer...
      • All right, so she is violent. She still couldn't make herself kill Cato while he was down. That she failed to perform a mercy killing before twenty hours of mauling had passed was just cruelty on her part.
      • No, it wasn't. He was dragged inside the Cornucopia where she couldn't see him, otherwise she would have killed him. She even mentions she wishes she could. It was only after he crawled out of the Cornucopia that she was actually able to.
      • So, what I was meaning to argue is: at that time, killing Cato would be an act in self defense. At that time Cato was the only thing between her and the end of the games. Yes, there was the final twist, but no one was seeing that coming.

     Katniss kills a civilian 
  • Katniss shoots an innocent Capitol woman at point-blank range after trying to break into her house. This is never brought up again.
    • This troper thought the woman would turn out to be Effie in a different wig/with a different skin color, and that Katniss made a huge mistake in the heat of battle.
    • Since the story is told from Katniss's point of view, it's likely that she just never thought about how she murdered that person again. Especially since she does not seem to have any inhibition against killing and is willing to do it at the drop of a hat.
    • It actually is brought up again a couple chapters later, where Katniss notes the Capitol's using video of the incident as anti-rebel propaganda. She just doesn't dwell on it because, frankly, there are bigger things happening. That was just one horrific part of a supremely horrific day.
      • I seem to remember her mocking the dead woman for being dressed up like a whore during the propaganda video. Maybe my memory is descending into hyperbole, though.
      • She didn't really offer up an opinion on it one way or the other, but I read it as her cynically pointing out what the Capitol does to their own dead for the sake of propaganda.
      • Katniss actually does dwell on it. She thinks about how many people have died and adds in the woman she shot as an after thought.
    • The "oversight" always struck me as an intentional narrative choice. It's not that Collins wanted us to believe the woman's death didn't matter; she wants us to understand that killing is now normal, even instinctive, for Katniss, to the extent that it's not even worth seriously reflection.
      • This is why that kill by Katniss was what shocked me the most in the entire franchise. It let me to assume that even Katniss was slowly becoming somewhat evil by not taking enough care before shooting. Shortly before that kill, after the sewer bloodbath, Katniss thought "I am running on hate. When that energy runs out, I will be worthless." For me this episode drove home stronger than any other the danger that war poses to the soul: It corrupts people, it destroys humanity. It also shows how a good person can do horrible mistakes in war that cannot be undone. In retrospect, I admire Collins for all the depth of darkness she had the story go towards. A very courageous book series, especially for teens 12+.


    Is Peeta as good as people say? 
  • Why does no-one in-universe realise how manipulative Peeta is? He's well-meaning, sure, but he hides so much from Katniss, tells huge lies about her on national TV without even warning her first (e.g. the pregnancy thing), some of which don't even do her any favours in the long run. This is barely touched upon in the books, and when it is it's in a positive way - he's "great in interviews". I don't think it even goes as far as calling him a "good liar". If anything, it's almost made worse by the fact that it's for Katniss's own good - throughout the books there are people controlling her because she can't be trusted to do anything for herself. This is a key point of the series, but for such a trait to manifest itself so strongly in her future husband is just...ugh.
    • The fake engagement and pregnancy did not backfire, only the fake romance did, because it lead to Katniss saving Peeta's life with the berries trick, which lead to Snow getting angry at Katniss which led to Katniss not being allowed to romance Gale, which lead to Gale getting whipped, which lead to the victors getting reaped in the 75th Games, which lead to the revolution war which lead to end of friendship with Gale and death of Prim. If Katniss would not have saved Peeta in the 74th Games, She might have died or won anyways depending if she could have defeated Cato. If she had won alone, Peeta would be dead, Gale eventually married Katniss, Prim survived and Snow would hold his grip on Panem until his natural death. The books Catching Fire and Mockingjay would not have happened. Katniss decision to play along the fake romance and the berries trick backfired horribly and set in motion a chain reaction of events. that led to revolution and Prim's death. She could have refused the fake romance and no war, no dying of Prim would have happened.
    • The first book seemed to imply that Haymitch didn't want him to warn her about what was going to happen in her interview, and then it was some sort of unspoken rule thereafter because Katniss is a lousy actor and her reactions had to be genuine. He doesn't really hide that much from her, though, aside from the fact that he made a deal with Haymitch to get Katniss out alive, although she figured that out on her own. The only other time he hid something from her (his playing the Magnificent Bastard card and joining the careers) he didn't have much of a chance to talk it out with her, and we don't know how he got himself into the situation to begin with...
    • Peeta basically changed Katniss to fit what he wanted. He thought that she was pretty, but her personality at the beginning of the series was not to his liking. She was a hunter, and absolutely not a romantic. He wanted a romantic. Then they get put into the Hunger Games, and Peeta starts manipulating her, surprising her, catching her off guard with things like his declaration of love, then throws in an ultimatum by somehow convincing the Gamemakers to "allow" two tributes to survive. (I put that in quotes because the Gamemakers try to undo it later.) By the end of the Games, she is beyond confused, because she has had to pretend to be Peeta's Romantic Katniss for so long but she really isn't Peeta's Romantic Katniss. Gale loves Real Katniss, but Real Katniss has been so warped by the end of the series, and Gale himself has been warped by the war, and the thought that he may have aided in killing Prim, that they can't be together anymore. "You love me. Real or not real?" Not real, Peeta, but you made it happen.
      • Actually, it was Katniss who changed herself. It's called Character Development. They're all warped by the war.
      • I (the original poster) agree with you on this. I've just been re-reading the books with my little sister, and Peeta's always forcing her into situations involving the two of them that she didn't want before. We're lovers, we're married, she's pregnant...the list goes on. It's like he's using her to live out his fantasies until eventually she becomes so confused she decides she must like him. The ending was basically a case of him being the only convenient male around after she told Gale to never see her again. The Katniss/Peeta romance could have been done well, but it really wasn't.
      • But was all this really his intention? Is it a worthwhile price to pay in exchange for continuing to live? Did he really intend to come out of the first games alive in the first place?
      • I don't think so. Besides, if you were Peeta, a teenage boy whose own mother said he would die in the Games and knew he had no chance of surviving, wouldn't you declare your love for the girl you would die to protect? Aside from that, he was always looking out for Katniss from the start.
      • I hate to bring sexism into this, but would you be so upset if their genders had been reversed? Think of how many romances involve a woman changing a man, whether it's because he's a big womanizer or because he's more like Katniss, with the whole "I will never fall in love" thing. Besides, a fair amount of the reason why Katniss didn't want to have children was that she was afraid of them having to become Tributes. With the Games over, it's not so crazy that she might change her mind.
      • Katniss played up the whole Star-Crossed Lovers thing almost as much as Peeta did. In the first book she went out in search of him after the Gamemakers' announcement that two victors could survive if from the same District (and where on earth are you getting that Peeta somehow convinced the Gamemakers to pull that, the Gamemakers did that on their own in order to rescind it later for the more dramatic final kill) and in order to get them food and save Peeta's life she started playing along with the whole pretend romance, kissing and cuddling and generally playing on the audience's sympathies. Everything they did from then on was pretty much joint playing to the cameras. I seriously doubt Peeta liked the fact that he and Katniss were basically forced to get married because Panem expected and wanted it-he wanted Katniss to love him of her own volition, which is why they decided to start from scratch and be friends in the second book. Everything he said in the TV interviews was him keeping up the charade, and making the citizens of Panem feel an injustice on their behalf, to incite a mood of rebellion in them. Katniss just rolled with the ball and then spent so much time supporting Peeta in and with the illusion that she started Becoming the Mask and fell for him for real. Not to mention that, even if he did put her in those situations, Peeta was also pretty darn determined to die so that Katniss could live and find comfort and a future with someone else. What good is manipulating a person if you're not planning on being around to reap the benefits?
      • I agree with this. I don't remember the exact wording, but I'm pretty sure I remember the first thing that Peeta did when their marriage was announced was sulk in his room for several hours because he was upset over the fact that it wouldn't be real. And again, it's really hard to make an argument about Peeta being manipulative to this extent because he's in a situation where he knows he could die at any time, and in fact expects to, which is why he continuously tries to urge Katniss to worry more about her own survival. And as far as the whole thing about playing up the "lovers" angle... It has to be added that Katniss's first reaction to the pregnancy ploy were feelings of empowerment. She was happy with that lie, hell, even happy that he didn't tell her he was going to drop that bomb before he did so. Not only that, but to an extent it worked. The Capitol ate the whole thing up, and allowed both of them the chance to beat the Games.
      • I read Peeta's manipulations as a defensive mechanism. Think about it; he's just been conscripted into a gladiatorial bloodsport with a 99% fatality rate. He's the son of a baker, unused to lifting anything heavier than a sack of flour being asked to compete against hunters and fishers for his survival. Much like Katniss's multiple traumas helped contribute to her icy exterior, Peeta is diving into a fantasy to protect his sanity. His whole relationship ballyhoo with Katniss was both A) falling back on his romantic fantasies as a means of coping with such a bleak situation and B) exploiting the spectacle of the games to guarantee his and Katniss's survival and C) attaching himself to a stronger competitor to ensure his own survival. Honestly, I think Peeta could have fallen in love with anyone because he needed to form whatever superficial attachment he could to stay alive.
      • 95.8%, actually.
      • Excuse me? Peeta didn't love Katniss for who she was? He had been in love with her and had been trying to work the nerve to confess to her since the age of five.
      • Well, that's what he says... And he is an excellent liar...
      • Except for the fact that he could remember the same schoolday events as Katniss could and talk about his love story. His love was genuine.
      • There's no getting around the fact that Peeta had a highly idealized version of Katniss in his head. Given his history of familial abuse, it shouldn't be surprised that he latched onto a fantasy born of the one time his father made such an emotional and wistful observation about her mother, perhaps the one time Peeta ever witnessed his father expressing such a sentiment. (This is actually goes a long way to explaining how manipulative he can be, too - abuse victims have to learn to placate their abusers and work around their outbursts.) This troper thought it was pretty obvious he was still clinging to the image of her throughout the first book and even throughout the second, until it all crashes down on him around the third and everything falls apart for both of them, forcing them to separate and rebuild from the ground up. Is Peeta and Haymitch's plan in the first novel fair to Katniss? Not particularly - and if it ocurred under ordinary circumstances, that kind of manipulation would be horrifying. But they're not in a typical situation - they're going into a government controlled battle arena with the odds already against them because of their district background. Peeta and Haymitch understand that manipulating the system is essential to survival; Katniss can be angry all she wants, but the two of them are doing what is necessary for at least one of them to get out of the situation. Katniss eventually realized the significance of this ploy and played into it for the camera. They both screwed up there - Peeta mistook fantasy for reality, while Katniss failed to realize the power of her actions to impact others. What keeps Peeta sympathetic and out of creeper territory is how he responds to the fallout. He's hurt and sulky for the first few months after the first Hunger Games (which is okay - he's a teenager, they're allowed to make mistakes), but then he OWNS up to the fact that he's being ridiculous and tries to be friends, backing off and respecting her boundaries for the most part. The crowd manipulation we see in Catching Fire is done mutually - even Peeta's pregnancy announcement is understood by Katniss to be a last ditch effort to cancel the games, much as the tributes before them did. As it stands, they'd likely be drawn to each other regardless, romantic or otherwise, simply because they shared a rather intense life experience together. Is it necessarily the healthiest relationship there is? Probably not. But that's possibly what Gale meant when he said Katniss would pick who she needed to survive. Sometimes, there are no happy endings. Sometimes, it's about picking up the pieces you have left to keep going.
      • As mentioned above, Peeta didn’t intend to survive either of the two games they were thrown in. Up until the 74th games, there could only be one winner. He was going to sacrifice himself for her. The Star-Crossed Lovers gambit was only to ensure that they got sponsors. He knew that she would have a lot to return to as a victor. In Catching Fire, this point is manifested in the locket he gives her, and Gale isn’t thrown in for no reason. He was planning to die so that she could return to Twelve, be with her family, and marry Gale. Before the Quarter Quell started, he didn’t make any romantic advances towards her. If he died in either of the games, then Katniss’s on-screen romance would have been nicely resolved for her. She would’ve been free to publicly be with Gale after. It’s just that he unexpectedly survived, forcing them to keep up the charade because of Snow and the unrest in the districts. But honestly, she isn’t with Peeta in the end because “he made her.” Katniss has her own agency, and she acknowledges that her relationship with him has been tainted by the games. That’s why they start from scratch as friends, doing normal things.
      • And what made Katniss at the beginning of the series Real Katniss? She was only what, 16? A person changes a lot from that age. Yes, she is a hunter. In the end of Mockingjay, she states that everything returns to normal. Haymitch drinks, Peeta bakes, and she hunts. She hasn’t stopped. On being a romantic, it’s made clear that she never had time to be so since she was so focused on ensuring her family’s survival. She also states that her mother stopped living when her father died. She doesn’t want to experience the same thing, so that’s a block. In addition to that, Katniss declares that she doesn’t want to marry and have children because her children would have to participate in the reaping every year. That definitely prevented her from even entertaining the notion of romance, because it seems so detrimental to her concept of survival. And let’s not get started on why Real Katniss and Real Gale would have never worked out anyway, with their inherent ideological differences.
      • For what it's worth, Katniss most certainly doesn't feel like she chose Peeta in the end because he was the only eligible guy around. In fact she says that the two of them ending up together "would have happened anyway". The only guy trying to pressure her in any way or guilt her into anything was Gale. Peeta told her (and everyone else) that he had a crush on her, then he thought she reciprocated her feelings, then he was heartbroken when he learned she didn't, then he withdrew, then he only carried on with the fake romance because he had no other choice. Then he was hijacked and forced to get to know her all over again, eventually falling in love with who she truly was. Katniss ends the series in love with Peeta and convinced she would have fallen in love with him no matter what. And let's not forget that after the hijacking (and months thereafter) Peeta no longer cared for her. There was nothing there to build a relationship on, yet Katniss remained devoted to him (to the point that she would rather die than be with Gale or live alone without Peeta). Both of them had their feelings for one another put to the test and their choice, in the end, was one another.
    • This is the troper who put the "Real or not real?" line at the end of her previous post on this topic. I just finished rereading the first book, and I've found that Peeta has really no reason to think that Katniss actually loves him! From her agreeing that it had been a good sponsor tactic early on, to him having to say "remember, we're supposed to be in love, so kiss me whenever," to her going right back to her normal personality the instant they get out of the cave... Katniss even has a bunch of lines the morning of the mutt attack about how she thinks that Peeta's just lying to convince the world that he loves her! And then at the very end, when she tells him that it wasn't real, he gets all pouty and makes her feel guilty. Peeta manipulates. He works to get the girl that he wants, no matter what the emotional cost to the girl.
      • What I think he was upset about was the fact that she kept it all up after the Games were over, which is what made him think it was real. Haymitch had told her that she had to pretend to be crazy with love for Peeta so she wouldn't get in trouble for her rebellion, but he never told Peeta the same thing. Obviously, Peeta knew it wasn't real in the very beginning, but it's hardly inconceivable for him to think she hadn't developed feelings throughout the Games, especially when she came up with a suicide pact so she wouldn't have to be without him.
      • Yeah he knew it was an act at first, but he probably just expects kissing and cuddling and stuff like that, he doesnt expect her to nearly die for him. She chose to risk her own life to save his and then came up with the suicide pact at the end because killing him would be too hard. then he probably started thinking hey if she cares enough to do that maybe the stuff before wasn't fake either and then he's thinking she's in love with him too. at that point Katniss really did come to care about him, but Peeta misinterpreted her actions as acts of romantic love instead of friendship.
    • Wasn't Katniss pretty much the first who noticed? I think it was after Peeta tried to take care of Haymitch while they were still on the train. That's when she pretty much decided to not get too close to him (she even threw away the cookies his father had given her). Also, until after Peeta was attacked by Cato, she firmly believed that he was one of the bad guys, who had been manipulating her all along and was more than ready to kill him. I think it doesn't come up later that much because she realises that he is genuinely a good guy.
    • Katniss demonstrates throughout the book that she's just plain not that good at reading into the motivations behind people's outward behavior, except in a very few cases in which she's either known and spent time around them forever (Prim and Gale) or recognizes that they think the same way she does (Haymitch) - and even then she's still sometimes blindsided by them. She doesn't understand a lot of what Peeta does early in the trilogy, and when the Games get underway she tends to assume that his actions, like hers, are calculated towards getting him out of the Games alive. She assumes that Peeta's lying because she's lying, and because she knows that Haymitch is trying to encourage her to keep up the act. It's illustrated pretty clearly near the end when she asks if Haymitch has given Peeta the same warning about the post-Games interview that he gave her: she takes "I don't have to, he's already there" to mean that Peeta already intuitively understands the danger and will keep up the act without being prompted, when what Haymitch really means by it is that for Peeta, it's not an act. In this respect, Katniss may be considered something of an Unreliable Narrator; the reader must read between the lines of her assumptions to fully understand what's going on.
      • In support of the above, Haymitch seems to be very good at reading people. If Peeta's romantic interest in Katniss was some manipulative act, he'd be the one to see through it. That he recognises that Peeta is "already there", supports the genuineness of Peeta's feelings.
      • There's my problem with all this: New reader on the first of the series, and I'm more than a little miffed at Haymitch for all this shit he's pulling. Drunkard, useless and unwittingly angry against young teenagers fighting to the death for NO REASON, it is when he tells them to stick together the whole time that really gets my goat. These kids are trying to kill each other, or will be soon. There is absolutely no tactical advantage associated with keeping them close. In fact, its a tactical disadvantage: keeping them that close creates an emotional attachment that neither can afford to have in the Games when one of them dies. They can't fight in a team-against the rules of the games. Not to mention he has done nothing in terms of helping with their preparedness at all. Punch Peeta, and make some overly-aggressive remarks. That's what he does. Isn't he the best mentor? Shithole.
      • Haymitch was never angry with Katniss or Peeta while driving to the Capitol. At first he was aloof because he assumed it was not worth his emotions and effort into kids that would die soon. He had been there, done that, cue his alcoholism. After Peeta hit Haymitch' liquor glass out of his hand and Katniss stabbed a knife close to his hand he realized that Peeta and Katniss are fighters and had a realistic chance to win. From that moment on he did his best to help them. His strategy was to create a (fake) bond between Katniss and Peeta to gain sponsors. It succeeded brilliantly and he even got them both to survive by nudging the head game maker to allow for both to win.
      • Who said he was the best? He is a highly flawed individual.
      • Sorry. Meant to say that he's their mentor and not the best one. The point I mean is that, considering the poor tactics and rather strong wish to push himself straight under a desk with that drinking, he really doesn't strike me as someone they should be relying on.
      • Disagree strongly that Haymitch has no reason to be angry. He's projecting his anger at the Capitol, and his anger about FORTY-SIX DEAD TEENAGERS that he mentored in between his Games (the 50th) and Katniss and Peeta's. He is District 12's only living Victor, so he is its only mentor, and that, and the horrors of actually fighting his Games, is what made him the angry alcoholic he is.
        He is angry because Katniss COULD be a good competitor, but it's not just skill that wins games, you cannot win without gifts of food and possibly weapons from sponsors. Look at how Finnick won his Game!. Katniss gives the audience no reason to sponsor her. Peeta's confession of his love for her gives Haymitch something to work with, and playing up that angle is his only hope at mentoring either of them (likely Katniss, because she has had to fight for survival, whereas Peeta's life was relatively easy) out of this alive.
      • You do realize that the reason that, from my perspective, that he has those forty-six dead teenagers on his conscience is because he is truly as incompetent as he appeared to be? Drinking yourself into a stupor doesn't help anyone. A young boy and young girl willing and able in their own ways to fight is. And Kat 'cannot win'? Perhaps I'm the only one who remembers her actual ability at hunting in a large natural field. The governmental body may be able to control a lot, but they cannot control an outside environment nearly as well as they think they can. The gifts are momentary bonuses at best for a competitor based on that implication. It has to come down to the skill of the resulting child.
      • Statistically speaking, every mentor loses at least 1 tribute per year, and 11 of the 12 mentors lose both tributes in a given year. Even if Haymitch were the best mentor in the history of the games, he'd still have at best a 50% tribute survival rate. And yeah, Katniss couldn't win on her own—that's made abundantly clear. Her burns would have led to infection, and if that didn't kill her then the burns on her hands would have made hitting anything with a bow difficult. It was because there were people willing to sponsor her that she managed to live, and it was because of Haymitch's advice, his efforts on her behalf, and Peeta's star-crossed lovers story that she was able to get sponsors.
      • Haymitch was the mentor to the poorest and least favored District. The Stylists in the past had terrible ideas for District 12, the District 12ers are viewed as barbarians, and they have no resources and no other winners... Even if Haymitch were Obi Wan Kenobi, he wouldn't be able to do much.
      • Haymitch was only the second winner from District 12, and he competed in the 50th Games. As in his year, four tributes were sent, there were 102 from District 12 in total; that means that less than 2% of the tributes from District 12 won. Before he won, District 12's win rate was just barely over 1%. Considering his district's disadvantages, it's unlikely that he'd manage to get more than one or two winners in 23 years no matter how good a mentor he might be.
      • First off, not only Haymitch is described as a drunkard, many of the surviving victors apparently fell to vices to drown their traumatic experiences. And "Get your acts together" is not helping with severely undertreaded PTSD (or something that amounts to the same). So while he might be doing a shitty job, I wouldn't really like to blame him. Secondly, the government can control the environment a lot. They use fires and water shortages to draw the tributes to the place they want them to be. It would be no problem at all (except for some bad television) to disallow for any advantage a tribute has (remember the mentioned games where every animal was inedible? Good luck with your hunting skills to survive). The arena in the 75th games also clearly is no "outside environment" as you seem to understand it, but a planned area with invisible borders holding fog or suchlike in place. Thirdly, in a field of 24 contestants in a free for all, nobody can be secure of victory, even if (s)he excels in all aspects. There's a reason for the twelves Peeta and Katniss get at the 75th games - make the others team up, you're basically out of the game. Fourthly, it is made abundantly clear that the gifts can be absolutely game breaking, way more than "mere bonuses". Fifthly, while Katniss may be incredibly good at hunting with bow and arrow, do not forget that others may have talents too, especially the career tributes. From the training scores it is implied that Katniss indeed has the best potential to win, but there's a lot of unknowns. And - coming back to Haymitch - it is very much implied that the average tribute from 12 is just an underfed kid with maybe some strength due to working in coal mining, but normally Haymitch would have not much material to work with.
      • Additionally, it is implied in Catching Fire that Haymitch is not well-liked by the Gamemakers/Snow because of how he won his Games. Any tributes he mentors probably already have the Gamemakers gunning for their death because of who he is (as punishment for his Games), so he has no chance of bringing the kids home while they're being targeted like that. His tributes need to get the Capitol on side in order to survive, so unless the tributes get the Capitol's attention right off the bat (which they rarely do thanks to their crap stylists) the odds are against them/him.
  • Peeta always struck me as a liability, especially when he and Katniss start working together. Unable to move for four days, has to be put to sleep so she can get the medicine, then still unable to help after he moves around. Yeah, he's got a great way with words and a good heart, but this is absolutely infuriating because he should be effective..somewhere. Clearly Katniss is seeing something I'm not if she claims he saved her..somehow. I know he has skills and abilities from the training he went through, not to mention that determination clearly matters to some extent in the Games.
    • Physically, he is a liability and is such through basically the entire series. But he did save her. Without Peeta playing up his crush on Katniss, the public's enthusiasm for her would have faded and she would not have been able to A) get food and medicine from Haymitch for playing along or B) convince them to do the whole 'double winner' thing at the end of the first book.
    • Yeah, my problems with Haymitch are well-founded; letting his charges starve when he has the power to do something for them-and has had it for some time, if we're led to believe that feast cost so much that he had to build it up the entire game, when they could have used that food at any other point. I have no respect for that guy. My thought, though, was that Katt's incredible skill and ability in the games that would get her support and boons from that sicko.
      • I don't think he can just give them things when he wants to. Maybe there's some kind of bar running next to each tribute's name, and once it's filled, you can send them something. We don't know much about what mentors actually do. But I have an entirely different problem with the entire thing, which I'll discuss below.
      • Haymitch didn't send the medicine for the Feast at the end. It was a bribe from the Gamemakers. I don't remember the wording from the books, but in the movie, the voice-over guy says something like "You each need something, and we intend to be generous". Haymitch could only send things when money or items were donated. It is never expanded on in the books, but in my head, I figure it might be Kickstarter-like - fans can donate money to the "Send Food to Tribute Katniss" fund. In the movie, we see Haymitch trying to convince wealthy Capital people to fund things.
    • He did help her out by being a part of the Careers' alliance. It was him who suggested that they just wait her out when she was stuck in the tree; Cato and Glimmer had both failed at getting to her, but most likely, they would have managed to get her eventually. He also was implied, if not outright stated, to have fed them false information about her, which might have helped her evade them, and he held Cato off her when she was stung by the tracker jackers (which also seems to say that he was not totally physically incompetent, as Cato is supposed to be a killing machine; he got wounded, but he didn't die and he at least managed to get away, even if he didn't wound Cato in return. Admittedly, both of them were probably not totally in their right minds because of their stings).
    • Peeta's strength was always outside the actual arena. Suzanne Collins makes it very clear there are two aspects to the games: The fighting/survival skills in the arena and winning over the audience and sponsors. Katniss was very capable in the first aspect but struggled in the second. (And vice versa for Peeta). Without him manipulating the audience, pulling off the star-crossed lovers angle, she'd just be a poor, socially-awkward girl who was good with a bow. They needed both their skills, her fighting and his charisma, to survive.
  • What's with the whole 'Peeta is a better person than all the rest of us' thing the books have going on. He doesn't show himself as being that much better. He was willing to team up with the Careers, who the books portray as evil, and then kill a defenseless girl. His reason for all this is that it was to protect Katniss, which really doesn't really excuse anything, because that girl was no immediate threat to Katniss, and HELLO, YOU'RE STILL KILLING PEOPLE, PEETA, so how is he so much better. Would it have been alright if he killed Rue in order to ensure Katniss's survival? He's also rather manipulative. I'm not saying that he has no good qualities (he has plenty), but for goodness' sake, he's not Jesus.
    • Peeta did a mercy kill on that girl, because the careers had stabbed her and believed her dead initially. When they realized there was no cannon fired, they asked someone to finish her off. Nothing could have saved that girl. Peeta shortened her pain.
    • Sorry, but I'm not sure where you get the "he's a better person than all the rest of us" vibe from...
    • Pretty sure OP is getting it from the scenes in the second book where Katniss specifically says stuff like, "Maybe they see what I see. That Peeta is better than us..." It's pretty blatant that Katniss believes that for the majority of the story. But yeah, I forgot about Peeta killing that girl. I think it was left ambiguous at the time to throw off the reader's perception of him, but in my mind I wrote it off later as he killed her to put her out of her misery later on. I'm sure he apologized to her a lot.
      • Well, also to be fair, he did participate in her maiming as she screamed at first for mercy and then in agony. The way book presents the Careers' and Peeta's attack is that they caused a lot of suffering to her. But really, I think they drop the idea because it would be inconvenient to bring up that Peeta participated in the maiming and murder of a child.
      • Was he necessarily involved in the maiming? Because from what the Careers said, it seemed that he was kind of a tag along more than anything. He finished her off, and he didn't stop the torture, but that could have been the extent of his involvement. Besides, Katniss is telling the story, and Katniss didn't actually witness any of that, so she didn't think it was that important.
    • The books are written from Katniss's point of view, and the only other person who says that Peeta's such a great person is Haymitch. They're both pretty self-centered, so Peeta being so willing to sacrifice himself for someone else looks pretty good to them, even if it was for the fairly selfish reason that he loves her. As for everyone else, they seem to think Peeta is likable and charming, but not necessarily some moral paragon.
    • Besides, Katniss has plenty of blood on her hands, herself. Far more than Peeta ever even comes close to. The idea was never "Peeta's a saint." It's "Peeta's better than the rest of us."
      • Arguably, Katniss has less blood on her hands, especially from her perspective. The only people she killed were terrible monsters in her eyes, whereas he killed an innocent. From her perspective, his murder should be far more heinous than hers.
      • Actually, he had to make the Careers trust him and believe him to be on their side - and the intention was clear: so did the readers - and it's not like she wouldn't have died slowly instead if he hadn't gone back.
      • Something important to consider is that Katniss isn't horrified by the Career's murder of the girl. While she eventually comes to despise the Games and wish that no one else would die, she wasn't thinking that at the time. On the contrary, Katniss herself goes from saying she "wouldn't have a problem taking out [her] new neighbor" and then goes on to actually plan/fantasize about doing just that. Peeta, on the other hand, shows up with the Careers (which he's doing to save his life), stands around with the rest of them while Cato stabs the girl, then goes back to finish her when it's fairly clear she's going to die but is suffering. Under the circumstances, that's a relatively moral action.
      • He did not have to make the Careers trust him, he chose to do that for selfish reasons - it is not okay to help torture someone so that you can save someone else. That makes him a bad person. Also, joining in on a bad activity is not alright, even if it was going to happen anyway. If five people beat someone and one of them says "Well, the rest were going to do it anyway and I wanted them to trust me," that person is still a bad person.
      • ^It is not okay to help torture someone so that you can save someone else.^ Yes, Peeta is a bad person for doing that, but Katniss is definitely not objective in this case. She has no reason to care for that girl, and benefits from her death. It makes sense that she would forgive Peeta for finishing off a torture victim that was going to die anyway since it helped her survive. It may be selfish of her to ignore that girl's pain, but I can understand why she would feel that way.
      • I feel like that might be a fair interpretation if not for the fact that Haymitch also believes Peeta is better than the rest of them. So, unless Katniss is so delusional that she imagines Haymitch saying those things, it seems that this is a view shared by at least one other person. And there is not really any good reason for him to ignore what Peeta did, especially since he probably saw everything. Now, I suppose that could lend some support to the argument that Peeta actually didn't do anything, but then why wasn't that explicitly mentioned? Also, I could see forgiving him for that, or flat out not caring, but instead saying, "He's better than us all," is taking it not just a step farther but in some weird other direction.
      • The way I see it, it's similar to when your cat presents you with dead animals: it's annoying, and you wish he would stop, but you can't really blame him for it since it's expected to happen. Tributes are SUPPOSED to kill each other for their OWN survival. Peeta didn't do that; he killed for Katniss's survival instead. That's why he's a "good" person: he killed for someone else rather than himself, which is pretty selfless and rare during the games. And who is Haymitch to judge? All of the victors are murderers, after all. Besides, killing that girl WORKED. Katniss lived, and Peeta got lucky and survived too.
      • Well, that's looking at it one way. The other is that he killed people so that he would have a chance to get laid by the girl he had been fantasizing about since he was ten (or so) and who he would later force to pretend to love him (granted, he was not aware that this was happening, which does not make it alright, but is a mitigating circumstance). This would not just mean his killing was selfish (in the way Cato or Clove killed to live), but a bit creepy.
      • I know guys are accused of thinking with their dick, but seriously. Peeta's only chance of getting laid at this point is in the Arena (since the rule change hasn't happened yet.) In order for this to happen, he'd have to sneak away from the careers without notice while being injured, and then find Katniss in the Arena. Even if he succeeds, I think it's safe to say that he probably wouldn't want his first time having sex with the girl he loves aired on national television (and this is assuming Katniss is even willing to not kill him on sight in the first place.) Also, it was Haymitch's idea to continue the love charade after the Games, not Peeta's. IMO, they should have faked a nasty breakup a month after the Games were over.
      • Here's how I interpret it though - Peeta participates in the torture and murder of a (presumably) defenseless girl so that he can keep his cover so that he might be able to save the girl he loves if the opportunity arises. Also, his love of this girl is completely based on her singing voice and hotness (from what I could tell). So how is that not an incredibly immoral act? It's not like he killed a person trying to kill Katniss: it was all so that he could stay undercover and maybe have a shot at helping.
      • I think we are overstating Katniss's importance in his decision. Remember, he is both injured and outnumbered by trained killers. If Peeta tries to do anything, he's dead. Peeta's only chance of living through this is to play along and hope an opening arises.
      • Even if that is the case, all that can be said is that Peeta killed a helpless person out of self-preservation. That's not a moral act, it's selfish. So how does that make him a good person compared to Haymitch (who didn't kill anyone in his games) and Katniss (who killed three evil, armed people in self defense and mercy killed another dying person)? And I understand that he should probably be forgiven for killing/torturing someone so that he might live, but just because he was in a difficult situation and the reader can understand why he does it, it is still an evil act.
      • For one thing, we don't know that he tortured her. It didn't even seem to me like any of them did to me (the movie was a bit less amiguous, though, but still). And even if he just stood by, what exactly was he supposed to do? Tell the 4 ruthless murderers to stop? For another, if the girl was in such a state that they were sure she was dead, she was probably going to die anyway. If I were in such a situation, I can honestly see myself going back and performing a Mercy Kill rather than let her get eaten by some muttation or something. I doubt he did it thinking "Sweet, I can get one for the scoreboard", he was probably more like "Oh geez, she's still alive even though [list horrible injury here]. Better volunteer to Mercy Kill her before Miss Cuts-Up-People does."
      • Most tributes in the Arena are trying to keep themselves alive. Peeta is unique because he is trying to keep Katniss alive, ENSURING HIS OWN DEATH in the process. No one else in the Games has ever chose another person's life over their own. That makes Peeta really selfless and unique, and that's what Katniss and Haymitch are commenting on.
      • As already stated Haymitch is the only person other than Katniss who has that idealized view of Peeta. On Haymitch's part I saw it either as him seeing a gentleness and kindness in Peeta that he hasn't seen in any of his other tributes, or recognizing qualities in Peeta that reminded him of the tributes he's liked the best over the years. I'm leaning more towards the latter. Haymitch probably mentored several kids who were selfless and sweet but Peeta is the first one to survive the games. Thus he attributes to him qualities that he might not necessarily have or ignores his bad qualities because he's a reminder of good people who came before him. On Katniss' part I thought her idealization of Peeta was a huge hint as to which one of the boys she actually had feelings for. She's in love with Peeta long before she realizes it or acknowledges it and people tend to be blind to the faults of those they are in love with.
      • Panem is a society that celebrates and rewards murder. While regular day-to-day murders might be looked down upon, victors are celebrities in this society. Peeta being a murderer isn't something that people are going to hold against him.
      • I saw Peeta killing the girl from Eight as a Mercy Kill. Cato and the Careers had pretty much tortured her and then left her to die, and Peeta went back to her, in order to kill her as painlessly as possible. If he had not, she would have slowly died as she bled of whatever injuries the Careers inflicted on her.
      • On the surface, killing the Eight girl was grossly immoral - that's how we naturally view murder. But as horrid as killing is, not all killing is blameworthy. (1) Death was inevitable; (2) death would be slow and painful if no one put her out of her misery; and (3) if Peeta didn't do it, one of the sadistic Careers would. Arguably, Peeta's conduct is doubly self-sacrificial because he has to live with having killed someone, regardless of the mitigating factors. Sure, he would benefit incidentally from the killing. But that alone doesn't make it entirely selfish, provided mercy was his primary motivation. In this situation, Peeta had no good options. He could only make do with the least bad option.
      • He kills only out of necessity, and that’s the best you can do in something like the Hunger Games, which is all about killing. He killed that girl out of mercy. The girl was dying, and suffering greatly from her injuries. It’s heavily implied that Cato and Clove had sadistic streaks in them, with the former being more brutal, but possibly quicker. So did you guys think he should have let one of the other Careers finish her off, or try to nurse the girl back to health (illogical and impossible at this point)? He relieved her suffering, that wasn’t out of self-preservation. Considering what evil can be, that’s not a completely evil act. There were many factors and stressors at play.
      • It wasn't an evil act at all. What kind of insane moral theory are some of the above people subscribing to in which it is in any way immoral to kill someone who would otherwise die slowly? Or in which it's immoral to allow someone to be tortured when you have absolutely zero chance of stopping it, and trying would only serve to get yourself killed and prevent you from doing any good at all? Also, for people saying every victor is a's the HUNGER GAMES! You can kill or be killed, and any innocent people you kill would almost certainly die anyway. Are you people seriously going to say that a man conscripted into a war is acting immorally for shooting an enemy conscript instead of letting himself be shot?
    • In context of the war and the games, Peeta is technically “a better person than all the rest of them.” Morally, he and Beetee are lighter shades of grey compared to many others. In Mockingjay, Beetee votes against a final Hunger Games because it will set a bad precedent— one he’s lived through and experienced personally. He knows that it will only sow the seeds of conflict. But Beetee’s opinions are more utilitarian, and he’s willing to engage in immoral means for an overarching good end. He’s involved in building weapons that prey on the enemy’s empathy so as to bring a quick end to the war. He understands that if it’s dragged out, more lives will be lost. In Game of Thrones, Tywin Lannister uses this reasoning to justify the RW. Peeta, on the other hand, emphasizes that people’s lives shouldn’t be thrown around as collateral. When the rebels are debating over what course of action to take against the Nut, Katniss wishes that Peeta was around because he would’ve been able to articulate why it would be wrong to attack people trying to escape the Nut during the siege. He staunchly votes against Coin’s Hunger Games as well, indicating a distaste for vengeance. Peeta and Beetee both see the big picture, but in different ways.

     Peeta's portrayal as The Load 
  • Did anyone else get the impression that, after the first book, Peeta wasn't really portrayed as anything other than Katniss's Berserk Button? Katniss is the only one to acknowledge his charisma and powers of persuasion, and in fact immediately identified him when she was pondering who might be able to talk people into rebellion. Everyone else, however, presumably only tried so hard to keep him alive during the second book because they thought Katniss would have gone off the rails without him. Perhaps it was because of his perceived status as The Load (although this troper never saw him that way), but it just seemed like Peeta's obvious attributes were glossed over in favor of some of Katniss's more informed ones.
    • I also thought it was strange that only President Coin wanted Peeta. Katniss's idea about her dying in the Games and becoming a martyr, while Peeta became the mouthpiece of the rebellion, being both a charismatic speaker and in mourning over his dead wife and unborn child, seemed like a really good one and I don't know why no one thought of it. Haymitch even acknowledges multiple times that people didn't like Katniss all that much, they liked the way that Peeta portrayed her.
      • Haymitch told Katniss "You could live a hundred lifetimes and never deserve that boy." Haymitch was aware of Peeta's amazing personality qualities. But he also knew, like Plutarch, that Katniss was the one who inspired the rebellion and she would be followed by people. Coin also saw Peeta as an excellent charismatic mouthpiece for the revolution, not the least because he could be controlled by Coin, unlike the rebellious and stubborn Katniss.

     The practicality of Peeta's camouflage 
  • Going by the film's depiction, how does Peeta's extremely elaborate camouflage make any kind of practical sense? It would take a team of professional makeup artists hours to cover an entire person with something that complex, and he's a lone guy doing it to himself in the wild. Not to mention that he would have to carry a hefty amount of additional supplies for that or that the camouflage we see him using only works against very specific surroundings...
    • It's implausible in the film, but not in the book: There he camouflages himself at the bank slope of the river with mud, soil and leafs.
    • I could be wrong, but I got the impression that he made the camoflague as a last-ditch effort out of the stuff he had around him. So that explains both the supplies (he had mud and weeds and stuff on hand, and that's what he used) and your point about how the camoflague only works against very specific surroundings (he couldn't move at all, so it only needed to work for those specific surroundings.
    • It's actually not that difficult to make site-specific camo out of items you find. His was a LITTLE more effective than some stuff I've personally made and used, but we aren't sure what technology he has available to him— the conucopia might have things in backpacks other than food, water, and weapons. We know there's rope (Katniss finds some in her pack.) and there could be a full camo kit he might have lucked into.

     Why did Peeta volunteer for the Third Quarter Quell? 
  • Why would Peeta want to volunteer for the Quarter Quell, and why would Haymitch let him? Peeta had to have realized that, if he went, there was a decent chance Katniss would have to kill him, which would completely destroy her. The fact that he did go in wound up getting several tributes killed in order to protect him, which wouldn't have been necessary if he hadn't been there in the first place. Plus he's a Non-Action Guy, whereas Haymitch is even more ruthless than Katniss.
    • Because he was willing to lay his life down for Katniss and as soon as it was declared either he or Haymitch would be in the games he went straight to him to say they have to get Katniss through alive. He was willing to die for her and knew that Haymitch would be better than him sorting things out on the Capitol side (sending packages and possibly stopping the gamemakers going nuts on her [although that last one is pure speculation on my part])
    • Peeta's never been a mentor before, but Haymitch has. It makes sense for Haymitch to mentor again, which leaves Peeta as the tribute. Also, why would Katniss have to kill him? Sure, it might happen, but it's a lot more likely that another tribute or a trap gets to him first. And yeah, Katniss will be destroyed by his death, but she'll be alive. You can get over trauma eventually, but you can't get over being dead.
  • In the second book, Katniss describes each District as being able to pull together one male and one female Victor for the Quarter Quell. The Career districts obviously have more Victors, but each district has at least one of each gender. It's implied by the books and movie that over half of the Victors are from Career districts. Seventy-four years of Hunger Games means there are a total of Seventy-five Victors, taking Katniss and Peeta's co-Victory into account. So that's thirty-eight (at least) from Districts 1, 2, and 4. Add the four from District 12, and you've got thirty-three Victors left amongst Districts 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11. Makes sense, that averages 4 per district. But then you take into account the fact that a number of Victors are deceased, from suicide, Capitol manipulation, or just old age. What are the odds that all eight of these districts would just happen to have at least one Victor of each sex, and even if they did, how could this really be called a "pool" as Katniss described it?
    • Catching Fire, Ch. 14 mentions that there are 59 victors currently alive. 3 of them are in D12, which means that assuming an even split, all the other districts have an average of ~5.1 victors to choose from, and about ~2.6 victors per available tribute spot. Of course, the career districts will have more victors, and there will be more male victors than female (notice that Katniss and Johanna are both the only females available in their district, and that no males are mentioned to be in the same position).
      • The Anthropic Principle at work here: there just happened to be (at least) one tribute per gender per district, so the games could be held this way. It might have been improbable a priori, but it turned out this way.
      • Doesn't Katniss mention that she thinks Snow did it on purpose somewhere?
      • My personal headcanon is that it was not Snow's machination, that seventy-five years before the book starts, the third Quarter Quell was decided to have this particular twist. That said, if one district didn't have a living victor of a particular gender, they might have simply sent two of the same gender, or reaped directly from the families of past victors.
  • Isn't it kind of lucky that the Games in Catching Fire involved previous victors? How would the rebellion have worked if it was normal tributes in the Arena?
    • It's heavily implied that it was set-up that way to kill off the popular tributes.
    • Yes, I realize that. The rebellion must have had a Plan B before the announcement, though. Remember, it has always been 12-18 year-olds in the Arena before then. So, with that in mind, how was the rebellion "supposed" to play out? Would they have bothered breaking into the Arena at all?
      • I think what actually happens is the "Plan B". We don't know Plan A, but possibly, it might have taken a bit more time, because it didn't involve saving Katniss from the arena. I assume they wouldn't have broken into the arena.
    • The Head Gamemaker was in the rebellion and presumably had something to do with the decision.
  • What would they have done with the 75th Games if one of the districts didn't have both a male and female victor? There are two options: the rules were created to set Katniss up or it's just a coincidence that those rules came up that year. Either way, it's possible that one of the poorer districts would have been in trouble—one year earlier, and District 12 wouldn't have had a female. Surely some other districts had not too many victors.
    • It's pretty likely that the Quarter Quell was designed solely to get back at Katniss and Peeta, there was probably a different set of rules intended for that year's games. It's too much of a contrived coincidence that the victors of the 74th games get sent back in the arena the year after they won, it was probably Snow's doing. If the other districts didn't have any surviving victors, they probably would have opened up the pool to include surviving relatives of the winners or something.

     Peeta: the boy on fire 
  • Katniss becomes known as "the Girl on Fire" thanks to the costume she wore during the chariot ride. So how come nobody calls Peeta "the Boy on Fire"? He wore the same costume as she did. True, Cinna keeps emphasizing the fire theme with Katniss which Portia doesn't do for Peeta but Katniss seemed to have that moniker even before the interviews. Additionally, given how everyone seems to be playing up the "star-crossed lovers from District 12" thing you'd think they'd make good use out of the many connotations there are between fire and love/passion and use it for the two of them as a pair but that never happens either.
    • Well if they wanted to call them "star-crossed lovers", they wouldn't want Peeta to be seen as flaming.
    • The revolutionaries weren't betting on Peeta; they must have known that Katniss was the rebelious kind, and Peeta really was very obedient to whatever rules there were.
    • Also, Katniss seems to be called that by the host and have the monicker pushed by Cinna. I think it is in part due to her being pretty aloof and coming across as boring otherwise. Peeta is shown as having a great personality and one that is open and charming. Having Katniss be seen as fiery and dangerous in combat (and shy and absorbed in love later) work with her withdrawn personality. Basically, they created an image for her that worked with her aloof and fierce personality rather than try to make her more charming like Peeta. After the first games, the fire monicker made more sense because she had proven her defiance and fierceness in the game and became even more of a symbol of uncontainable rebellion.
    • Everyone in Panem is a HUGE Alicia Keys fan.

Other characters

     Why did Gale risk taking so many tesseraes? 
  • Why did Gale who appears to be the only bread winner for his house hold, take out 42 tesseraes on himself. Did he not think about what would happen to his family if he happened to be chosen and sent off to the hunger games? He's skilled, but he's not that skilled, and his chances of getting killed are pretty good. If he really is the only one in his family gathering food, then won't his family be far worse off than if he just put in a couple extra tessraes?
    • Gale would have very high chances to win the Games. He is very tall, strong, can move totally silent in the forest, can feed himself with excellent snares and also some archery and knifes. And he is intelligent and also cold blooded as he explains to Katniss "Hunting humans is no different than hunting animals." Finally he is very handsome, probably receiving adoration from sponsors. If I were a game maker, I would rate him 11. He can do what Cato can do physically but he is a far better survivalist and more appealing to sponsors.
    • It's risky, yes. But plenty of people live all seven years of Reaping eligibility and never get Reaped. He probably thought that it was worth gambling that, even if he put in tesserae (as many, many D-12 children did) his name would never be called, so his family wouldn't lose their main breadwinner to the Games, but would get extra bread. And as it so happens, that strategy worked out fine for him.
    • Gale took tesserae before his father died - he told Madge that he had six entries when he was twelve, but he would have been thirteen when his father died - so it could be that once you sign up, you can't back out at a later date. It's also probable that while hunting can supplement the tesserae provisions and Hazelle's earnings, it isn't enough to provide for a family of five, including three young children without Gale taking tesserae.
    • Also, wasn't Gale the only member of his family who could take tesserae? It's said that his only other siblings are his three younger brothers and it's safe to assume that they weren't eligible to have tesserae, and that Gale had more chance of surviving than them.

     Haymitch's 'betrayal'? 
  • Here's something that I thought about for quite some time. In the second book, at one point, Haymitch tells Katniss that Effie asked him if he would like to "betray her". What does he mean by that? I always had the feeling that Effie completely bought the Katniss/Peeta lovestory and that she was largely unaware of the consequences and the whole civil unrest thing, at least at this point in the series. It certainly didn't feel like she was let in on the whole president Snow threat stuff. So what kind of betrayal is she talking about?
    • If you mean when Haymitch tells Katniss that Effie asked him if he would like to "give you away," he meant during her wedding to Peeta, a role usually performed by the bride's father.
    • Oh my god, that's a case of terrible translation then. In the German version, which is the only one I read, he literally says Effie asked him if he would like to betray her. That explains a lot.

     Foxface's real name 
  • Did we ever find out Foxface's name? I remember reading the end of hunger games and being disappointed that Katniss didn't even want to know, she had mentioned that she admired her and Foxface didn't kill or even try to kill anyone, and I was a bit disappointed that Katniss didn't even have an "I wish I knew her real name " moment after she died. I was wondering if maybe they mentioned it when they did the reaping recap. I thought Katniss just said "a fox faced girl" but did I miss a name as well?
    • Marisa Reynard. Because why not?
    • Considering that her district is the power district and that people are frequently named for something in their district, my headcanon name for her is "Electra". It's as good a guess as anything.
    • The movie guide names her Finch.

     Why was Prim with the Capitol children 
  • Why was Prim with the Capitol children? I don't remember any of them being injured and her needing to heal them, but past that she was barely thirteen (I think). Why would they send a child to take care of the sick? Sending Katniss's mother would have made some sense, and it would be really unexpected seeing that Prim reeks of death. But Prim's death was really... contrived, and unnecessary. I don't mean from the story's perspective because after getting the whole moral at the end that war is bad and unnecessary, but more from a writing perspective that the whole setup just doesn't make enough sense to have any impact.
    • Katniss seems to decide it was orchestrated by Coin to hurt her. It's completely understandable that a kid like Prim, who matured tremendously by the last book, would want to go help people despite any risk to her own safety; it's Katniss's realization that Prim would be too young to be approved without intervention on the part of someone very high up, like Coin, that leads her to believe Prim's presence was no accident. As to why she was with the Capitol children specifically, the bombs in the parachutes were designed to go off in two waves: first wave, most of the kids are killed or injured, then people rush in to help and the second wave hits. As to why Prim, specifically, was there, this can be interpreted one of two ways: either Coin gave orders for her unit to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or she was dropped in with others whose mission it was to try to treat anyone who needed it, and just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

     Rue and Marvel's deaths 
  • Ok, so Rue and Marvel's death scene doesn't make sense. To review, Marvel has Rue stuck in a net that she cannot get out of. Rue, realizing she is helpless, starts to scream for help. Katniss is running toward Rue's location, also screaming. Katniss arrives just in time to see Marvel stab Rue. One moment later, Marvel has a arrow in his throat. My question is, why did Marvel decide to kill Rue right then, when he can hear Katniss coming? Rue is a non-threat while stuck in the net, so there's no rush to finish her off. Yes, she is screaming and attracting attention, but you take care of any incoming tributes before you shut her up. Unless Marvel is deaf, he had to have heard Katniss screaming and approaching. Katniss is clearly the bigger threat, since she a) killed two careers already, b) got a good training score, and c) isn't stuck in a net. Even if Marvel couldn't recognize who was screaming, you'd think he'd be concerned about the possibly-armed person running toward him over the helpless girl stuck in a net.
    • It is implied that Marvel used Rue as bait and aimed at Katniss, but she evaded his spear and Rue got hit.
    • Given that the Careers' weakness is arrogance, I'm sure he didn't expect Katniss to become so instantly deadly the second Rue died. He probably thought she would stop and grieve, or be too shocked to act, or at least be shaken enough to miss her shots. Theoretically, that kind of emotional warfare would be the perfect way to undermine her high training score.
    • Ok, that makes sense to me, but also makes me think of another question: where were the other careers during all this? They are still in a pack at this point, so they should be nearby enough to hear the screams. They don't even show up later while Katniss is tending to Rue's body.
      • IIRC, Rue's role in the whole plot was to set fires to lure the careers away from their actual escape route. Marvel, for whatever reason, wasn't with the careers and intercepted her on her way back to the rally point.
    • Marvel may have thought he Katniss was further away than she was. Also, if he was with the other Careers, last thing he might not know that Katniss had been able to recover a ranged weapon from Glimmer's body and might have though he could take her with the spear.

     Clove's Taunts 
  • At the feast, Clove taunts Katniss about how Marvel killed her friend Rue and there are a couple other times the careers mention Katniss and Rue being allies . How do they know that? The careers never see the two of them together, do they? Rue was completely hidden during the trackerjack attack and the only other time the two of them are together around a career is when Rue is killed by Marvel, who dies seconds later. So how could Clove know that Rue's death had anything to do with Katniss?
     Prim's death 
  • Prim's death. Yes, it was meant to drive the point home that War Is Hell, that Anyone Can Die, but...wasn't the whole driving force behind the premise of the series that Katniss was getting herself into this mess because of her sister Prim! So in other words, killing Prim pretty much defeats the purpose of Katniss entering the Games in the first place. For comparison, it would be the same as what happened to Nunally in Code Geass (except she actually wasn't dead, it turns out) — since Katniss and Prim have the same dynamic as Lelouch and Nunally. What bothers me is that Katniss didn't become a Death Seeker or was Driven to Suicide (though she did go into an Angst Coma and went temporarily insane shortly afterward). In a sense, that whole part of Mockingjay made for something of an Esoteric Happy Ending for me.
    • Katniss attempted suicide two times afterwards. With the nightlock pill after she assassinated Coin. And by starving to death or drug overdose in custody.
    • Well, it certainly isn't supposed to be a "happily ever after" ending at all. Yes, Katniss ultimately failed. This happens. Sometimes even in stories.
    • Exactly, War Is Hell, and it certainly isn't poetic. Despite expectations, real life simply doesn't always resolve itself in a poetic or meaningful manner. A common theme in other books detailing a experiences in war is how utterly meaningless/senseless someone's death or suffering was.

     How was Haymitch able to pull the trick with the force field? 
  • So, Haymitch won his Games by avoiding all the other tributes and basically just making a beeline till he hit the very edge of the arena. Where were the Gamemakers in all of this? Don't they typically drive the tributes towards each other? Especially in a case like Haymitch's, since he was heading towards something was never supposed to be part of the game?
    • In his case, there's the chance that the Gamemakers were too busy with forty-seven other tributes to really care about that schmuck who's wandering by himself in the woods.
    • Also, it's mentioned that the Gamemakers learn from past mistakes and adjust accordingly (the Games where everyone froze, for instance: future Games had easier terrain.) This was the first time this problem happened, so they adjusted. When Katniss tried this years later, they threw fire at her.
    • Actually, I think he did more than hang out on the edge. He formed a partnership with the other District 12 tribute that didn't end until they decided the number of remaining tributes was getting to low. Then, later, he's closer to the interior, or at least the other tributes, for some reason and gets in a last longer race until he reaches the force field. It even seems to be implied that if the girl's axe had missed her when it rebounded, his injuries were such that she would have outlasted him even if they both just collapsed. Also, there was more built-in danger because that arena was a case of "everything can kill you." No matter where he hung out, there was a flock of razor-beaked birds that could send him running towards a Career.
    • Note also that Haymitch didn't avoid all the tributes. At the very least, he fought three of them (the three Carriers before allying himself with Maysilee). After their alliance, it's implied that they have to fight several times, since they get their food by taking it from the backpacks of the Tributes they killed.

    Why was it bad that Haymitch pulled the trick with the force field? 
  • Different to the one above, but related. In almost all the books, it's made clear that there is a great deal of manipulation involved in the Games, and the winners basically always benefit from it: i.e. Annie only survived because the arena flooded and she was a very strong swimmer. A large number of people froze to death in another. Although nobody from that group ended up winning, the boy from District 4(?) rigged the explosives around the food in Katniss' game. Katniss's suicide trick with the berries unexpectedly worked, although Snow was still willing to kill her, but didn't. So why was it bad that Haymitch used the forcefield, so much to warrant killing his whole family's when Katniss' survived? (And presumably Annie's - it's stated that her insanity stems from her Games so we can assume her family weren't targeted.) Katniss states that it's because Haymith manipulated the arena, but isn't this entirely commonplace and not an exception? And it's not like it just made bad TV - Haymitch and the other girl were the only two left alive, so they'd had their Games.

     Finnick is a young career 
  • Briefly touched on earlier, but why *was* Finnick in the games at 14? It seems it would make the most sense to wait until a Career is 18, since a) they're at the strongest and best-trained and b) they get a longer pre-game life that way.
    • Honestly, the story works a lot better if you assume that District 4 isn't a career district. That way, you can ignore all of those annoying questions like "why was he 14?" and "why was he on boats his whole life instead of training?" and "why was he good with a trident, but not a weapon actually found in the Arena?". But, to truly answer your question, remember that the definition of a career is just "one that trains specifically for the Games." Therefore, I assume that everyone in District 4 gets basic survival and weapons training in school (instead of recess or gym or something) and so their tributes technically qualify as careers because of it.
    • Since training tributes with the intent of sending them into the Games is technically "illegal," there can be no official, technical, written, legally-enforceable rule in the 3 Career Districts saying "You must be 18 before you can volunteer." Maybe they typically train until they're 18, maybe the prevailing theory is that being older and training longer ups your chances of winning, but if a 14-year-old wants the glory and is too excited to wait 4 more years, how could they legally prevent him from volunteering?
      • Yes, I get the impression that if you volunteer over someone you're in. In Movie Two (though I can't recall if the book's the same), exchanges between the District 12 Victors suggest this may be so.
    • I think volunteering is a good explanation. But... consider that District 4 might not have been a career district at the time he was reaped for the 65th Annual Hunger Games. After all, his mentor was Mags, who won the 11th Hunger Games decades before. Finnick was well sponsered because of his good looks. His trident was a sponsership gift. Since then, he's been a mentor for other District 4 Tributes, and has undoubtedly used his charm to get them better sponsers. So for the last ten years (and most of Katniss's memory), District 4 has been a real contender. They could very well think of themselves as underdogs compared to One and Two.

     How did Cato not kill Peeta? 
  • Ok, so in the film, Katniss drops the wasps on the Careers+Peeta, and they run away screaming. The next time we see the Careers, they've teamed up with the D3 boy. The next time we see Peeta, he has a leg wound from Cato's sword. I doubt Cato accidentally nicked Peeta with the sword while running from the wasps, so it had to be after. Why didn't he just kill him instead?
    • Everybody ran to the nearest body of water to drive off the Tracker Jackers. Peeta was the first to return and yelled at Katniss to leave. Cato probably entered shortly after and fought with Peeta after seeing this but passed out quickly due to the stings. Peeta's stings were less serious so he managed to cover a bit more distance after being cut before blacking out near a riverbank.

     Why are Cinna and Plutarch working for the rebellion? 
  • Do the books ever explain why Cinna and Plutarch are working with the rebellion? It just seems jarring that the Capitol is seen as this monolithic entity of childmurdering and oppession, but those two guys from the Capitol? Totally cool. Even if they are directly involved in the Games.
    • It's never explained, but implied. Cinna asked to style district 12 in his first year as stylist. He told Katniss that her volunteering was extraordinarily brave. And that he would bet on her to win if he were allowed to. This and his decent own style and demeanor makes me assume he hated the Capitols depravity and wanted to make statement against it. Which he did with the Mockingjay evening dress. Plutarch had been a member of district 13's undercover agents for along time. He recognized Katniss' revolutionary potential and therefore volunteered to become head game maker to be her secret helper in he 75th Games.
    • Well, what you don't understand is that Cinna is a nice guy. Because only nice guys turn young girls into sex objects to be paraded in front of a nation before being sent off to be slaughtered, right? Right?
      • Hey, Cinna isn't that picky; he'll turn young boys into sex objects too. Besides, he's really doing them a favor, since more sex appeal means more sponsors. I'm sure Finnick would agree with me on this one.
      • Katniss didn't know that many victors were prostituted; in fact, she thought all of Finnick's partners were consensual. It isn't that much of a stretch that Cinna wouldn't know either. So, in his eyes, he's turning people into sex objects so they can catch the public's eye, get sponsors, win the games, get out of the arena and live happily-ever-after. More importantly, in Katniss- the narrator's- eyes, he's turning her into a sex object so she can survive the arena and live happily-ever-after. He treats her like a human being rather than a pet or TV character, he tells her he specifically requests district 12, in contrast with Effie, who constantly complains about how she wants a better district, thus making it all about her rather than the children going to their deaths, he sits with her before she goes into the games and gives her some comfort, he works hard to get her token in the arena with her, and he tells her he's rooting for her. Later, he DIES because he helped her to rebel against the Capitol. It's not like he turned her into a sex object out of malice or gross negligence. He had no way of knowing he was doing anything wrong, especially considering he was a new stylist. Maybe he isn't the brave, incredible hero the book makes him out to be, but he certainly isn't a bad guy, and from Katniss' perspective, that already puts him ahead of most people she knows from the Capitol. Also, don't forget that Stockholm Syndrome could be playing a factor in it- after facing so much cruelty her entire life, it wouldn't take much kindness for her to latch on to and idealize someone.
      • Why wouldn't Cinna know about the prostitution? Why would the government keep it a secret from the Capitol citizens? You can't make money off of the victors unless people know that the they are for sale. Also, Katniss not knowing about it doesn't mean anything; she didn't know about the Avox either.
      • Everyone is fed a story that Finnick, at least, is in this all voluntarily: he's seen as a heartthrob. It's a lie, but that's what they think. It's a secret that it's involuntary, not that he's doing it at all, if you can see the difference.
      • Isn't it kind of suspicious that most of the victors willingly decide to prostitute themselves, then? Unless that's just something celebrities regularly do in the Capitol to make some extra cash, that should give Cinna pause.
      • It's been a couple years since I've read the books, but is it specified that it was a regular thing for victors to be forced into prostitution? I was under the impression that it was just Finnick. But regardless, I think it's something that the Capitol citizens know goes on, but they kind of look the other way or turn a blind eye unless they take a specific interest in that victor/Finnick. If Cinna knew about it at all, he probably did think it was voluntary. It's not unheard of for people to turn to sex to cope after going through something traumatic. We also can't forget that Finnick's lovers paid him with secrets, not money, which makes it a little less obvious that it's prostitution and not just promiscuity.
    • I don't know where all this "sex object" talk is coming from to begin with. Remember that Cinna's not like most stylists. Katniss expected to be stripped naked or sexualized, but Cinna gave her something much more meaningful — and much more effective. He's gone for symbols, emotion, and uniqueness over sex appeal every time.
    • The fact that Cinna doesn't use sex appeal doesn't change the fact that his job is to make sure people look nice before they die. Yes, he's good at making Katniss stand out in a crowd, but again, that's his job. Other than realizing that the sex appeal angle was played out, Cinna is (mostly) exactly like the other stylists. I will give Cinna this: when Katniss firsts meets him, she realizes that he's new. She then asks if he was assigned to district 12 (which apparently is where all the newbie stylists go) and he replies that he SPECIFICALLY asked for D12. So, is he a from a secret underground anti-Games movement in the Capitol? Who knows, but an explanation would have been nice.
    • Just because he did not strip her down to near nakedness does not mean he did not use sex appeal or turn her into a sex object. Why did she need to look beautiful? Why did she not have to look "fake"? Why use a beautiful dress for the interview and the allure of the fire and dazzling gown when parading? This is all about making her look desirable to the audience - they're supposed to want her. Also, as sort of an aside, if he hates this whole thing so much, why be a willing particpant in it? It's one thing for Plutarch, as someone important, he might be able to effect change or to sabotage the games. As a stylist of some district, Cinna had no idea he would be in a position to do anything meaningful - unless the whole narrative was some elaborate conspiracy theory, Cinna just got lucky.
      • I think the mistake made here is using our values for another society and taking them as absolutes. This does not work in history, it does not work in storytelling. Cinna may be kind of a career dick within our scales, but for the time and place he is (or seems) more than decent. Many of those you know from history as liberators of suppressed minorities would be considered the opposite if they showed the exact same values today, but they pushed society into the right (from our point of view) direction. Outside of Hollywood and the Book World you do not change everything at once to the better, but step by step. So he may not be "good" by our standards, but he is "better" than those around him. While he certainly somewhat objectifies Katniss, he uses it to play the system he's living in to her advantage instead of just denigrating her like others in his place did. Within the whole situation you cannot really try to say "I don't like what's going on here so I'm openly protesting it" without it being without anny effect. So, like many others, he tries to get into a position where he can make subtle differences and then does.
      • I think a good example of this is Oskar Schindler. By many accounts, the man was an ASSHOLE. However, he had is own moral line that he refused to cross. He saved lives, even if working for him was less than a treat. For that, he's a hero. I put Cinna into the same category. He used his only tool (designing talent) to take on an impossible empire by doing some things we ordinarily wouldn't care for (sexualizing a teenage girl).
      • I do not know how you can say that Cinna is better than those around him - we have not metric against which to measure him (except for the fact that his predecessors were bad at their jobs). And I'm not sure what subtle difference he is making aside from making people who usually look creepy or campy look sexy. How does that effect even subtle change? It would be like saying the gladiator trainer who trained gladiators better than the other trainers was somehow a great guy because his charges were better prepared to kill/not die. That is not effecting change, that's just helping in the process.
      • Agreed. Being a good stylist doesn't (necessarily) make you a good person. We did see Cinna being nice to Katniss, but there is no reason to think that this is strange or unusual (unless you assume that Cinna looked normal and is therefore nice, while the other stylists looked fake and are therefore mean, which is another can of worms entirely.) And also, using symbolism and subdued sex appeal instead of crazy costumes and blatant sex appeal isn't progress. The basic premise of "24 children are competing for attention that may help them not die in an Arena" is unchallenged. In fact, by drawing attention to Katniss, Cinna probably sealed the fate of some of those other kids.
      • I don't think Cinna got into being a stylist to try to create a rebellion, he just wanted to help out District 12 since they were usually written off and not even given a shot. He only decided to become part of the rebellion and create the mockingjay dress after seeing what Katniss did in her first Games and how much unrest she'd created in the districts. He wasn't trying to overthrow the Games because the thoughte probably never crossed his mind that there was a chance until Katniss came along.
      • This troper actually quite likes Cinna because he seems to be more aesthete than activist, like his highest loyalty was to his art. He probably thought District 12 would provide an interesting design challenge because he knew he could reinterpret the whole Appalachian coal miner look in a fresh way that was sure to attract attention. And Katniss was first and foremost his muse, before she was his friend or revolutionary emblem or whatever. He managed to get through fashion school, or whatever, without attracting any disadvantageous attention from the Capitol elites, but once they try to constrain the content of his design, he is not about that at all.
    • Back on topic, Cinna and Plutarch have lived in the Capitol their whole lives, so there must be other district-sympathizers in the Capitol, too. Maybe some people were smart enough to realize that pissing off the districts and rubbing it in their face was a bad idea? Would have been nice to see them in action.

     Why did Haymitch go on the Victory Tour? 
  • Why did Haymitch go on the Victory Tour?
    • He probably had to. He was the mentor.
    • Yes, and mentors are suppose to give life-saving advice, help devise strategy in the Arena, drop parachutes, and get money from sponsors. None of those things are needed on the Tour. What did he do that Effie couldn't? It seemed he was shoehorned in just because he was a major character.
      • Katniss mentions in the first book how her conversation with Rue about life in District 11 probably isn't being aired, because the Capitol controls information flow. If the Capitol is that paranoid, I can't see them allowing anyone other than the current victor across district lines.
      • Like the second troper said, because he was a mentor. Of course they go on the tours to celebrate the tribute they helped become a victor. And I guess going across district lines isn't really an issue, since they're pretty much in and out within the day. And victors/mentors congregate every year at the Games anyway. But they know the Capitol is always watching...
      • Haymitch himself described the reason, right after Katniss's speech at district 11.
      Haymitch: This trip, girl? Wake up! This trip doesn't end when you get back home. You never get off this train. You two are mentors now, that means that every year they're gonna drag you out and broadcast the details of your romance. Every year your private life becomes theirs. From now on your job is to be a distraction so that people forget what the real problems are.

     Why did Thresh not win the games? 
  • How did Thresh not win the games of the first book? Katniss only lives because Thresh spares her, he is resourceful enough to actually gain weight during the games, and he is even bigger and more skilled than his only real competitor, Cato.
    • Thresh had just killed Clove, which Cato was not happy about. Roaring Rampage of Revenge might have had something to do with it.
    • More skilled? Cato is trained. Thresh is not.
    • To ask that question, one must wonder: How did Peeta survive? How did Annie survive? How did the boy from District 10 make it so far? How did Foxface die? How did Clove die? How did Cato die? Ergo, sometimes the world works in funny ways, and those you expect to have an advantage are the first to go, whereas those you expect to never last are holding on in the end. Use your imagination. This troper likes to believe that, having received an identical "gift" as Cato (that being, heavy armor) and probably wandering around in that armor during a lengthy rainstorm looking for Cato led him to a sticky situation he was unable to get out of with the added weight.
    • Thresh is black, and he's not the protagonist. He was never going to win. Just be happy he didn't fulfill the "Black man dies first" trope. Without a plot driven story that needed him to die, Thresh probably wins.
      • Annie's a career. She just went batshit and could swim.
      • Specifically this. She could swim, everyone else drowned by default. The books make it clear Annie's Game was more surviving against the environment (controlled Earthquakes) than other players.
      • Or as a certain good book puts it, "the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong... for time and chance overtake them all."
      • The film attempts to answer this by heavily implying he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when the mutts were first released. Which, if he was living in the plains or a field like in the book the whole time, makes some kind of sense.
      • Thresh has made 3 mistakes which i believe were the reason why he died : 1. He stopped Clove from killing Katniss, 2. He killed Clove (and Cato didn't take it lightly!) and 3. He stole the backpack which should be taken either by Cato or Clove. Cato got mad because Thresh has ruined his almost perfect plan (If Katniss was killed, Peeta wouldn't get his medicine and would die as well) and also stole his gift from the sponsors. Even Katniss says later that Cato instead of hunting her, probably went to kill Thresh.
    • The books never state when Cato picked up and started using body armor. If Cato killed Thresh, it could have been before their battle.
      • Actually, Katniss makes the assumption that the body armour was the thing Cato desperately needed in the backpack. Thresh stole Cato's backpack, so Cato hunted him down. I suppose he could have sneaked in and stolen it before Thresh could touch him, but that doesn't sound like Cato's style.
    • Thresh might be bigger and stronger than Cato, but like Rue, he's spent his life working fields/orchards, etc. Cato's spent it training to kill (they're called Careers for a reason). Even if you armed them both with a sword, odds on the person who has skill with the weapon being the one who'll win. There's also the implication from the film that he's the mutts' first kill before Cato.
    • Also, Thresh has some rocks while Cato has a sword and spear. Isn't exactly hard to guess who would win then.
      • Not to mention that Cato is no slouch himself. He was likely the largest and strongest tribute after Thresh, and definitely a more skilled fighter.
      • How soon we forget the story of David and Goliath
    • Let's not forget that Cato is a strong fighter too. After all, he's able to fight off a group of muttations by himself and after being exhausted by a long run for quite some time before being overwhelmed. While Thresh has the advantage in terms of strength, Cato has his training and his sword (Thresh hasn't been shown with a weapon, he killed Clove with a rock). So I guess Cato has a legitimate chance to win against Thresh without receiving any help. We don't see the actual fight. Because of the rain, Cato may have been able to surprise him.

     Why did the careers not set the tree on fire? 
  • So the careers have Katniss trapped on a tree, couldn't hit her, gave up, then figured the best thing to do is to set up a fire NEXT TO the tree? How did it not occur to any of them to just move the fire a few feet over, watch until the tree starts burning, and leave?
    • A lot of people speculate about this
    • Hang on. Have you ever tried to set fire to a live tree? It's like setting fire to a book. Sure the substance is burnable, but it's too compressed for the fire to get a foothold. My husband saw a fire where lightning had struck a tree and the gas main under it, and the gas burned around the tree for almost an hour—and the tree survived. Didn't burn, just got scorched some. Now maybe if they built a big enough bonfire around the tree they might kill her from smoke inhalation.
    • In the movie Clove is smaller than Katniss and could've scaled the tree pretty easily.
      • Clove was of the right size to climb the tree, but that doesn't mean that she had the necessary skills. Climbing is about more than just being small enough not to break the branches.
      • Clove not climbing the tree might be a holdover from the book. In the book, Katniss is tiny, while the careers are the largest kids in the field. It looks weird in the movie, but that's what you get for casting for talent instead of size.
    • Starting a forest fire and then leaving wouldn't help the careers. For one, it would make any nearby tributes scatter, and there's no guarantee the fire would kill Katniss after they left.
    • Why did they stay? They couldn't get her while she was in the tree, couldn't get up the tree themselves, and there was no way Katniss was climbing down on her own. There was nothing to suggest that waiting around would fix any of these issues, unless they were planning for Katniss to starve to death. They should have either started chucking knives and spears at her (which has the potential of giving Katniss a weapon) or "left" and then ambushed her when climbing down from the tree.
    • Couldn't they have cut the tree down?
      • Both the book and the movie state that the reason the careers are staying is because they agree with Peeta's point that Katniss is coming down anyway - which is true. Katniss could only possibly last in the tree for 2 days before she either dehydrated and fainted, climbed down to make a run for it, or got forced out of the tree by the gamemakers who would not take kindly to the most entertaining tribute keeping herself in a position that brought the action to a complete halt. The only thing that burning or cutting down the tree would help the careers accomplish is getting her out of the tree faster. And both the book and the movie show that a) Time is not an issue and Katniss is the careers' top concern, so there's no reason for the careers to rush her kill; and b) the tree is so huge that the amount of time it would take to accomplish either task would not be worth the effort expounded for the amount of time it would save anyway. Furthermore, attempting to burn or cut down the tree or do a fake leave and ambush potentially creates more problems than the one it attempts to solve. The careers basically went with the sure, steady bet instead of the fast, risky work.
      • Considering Catching Fire makes it clear that some of the trees are artificial to the point of withstanding several lightning strikes, and in the movie we see trees fall on command and have cameras in them? Being Careers, they may have been warned in training that at least some trees are fake. Due to this don't waste energy in trying to bring them down.
    • Keep in mind that they're on television and hoping to impress the sponsors. They already made themselves look stupid trying to and failing to reach her. The last thing they want to do is make it look like they're being outsmarted. Instead they try to look like they're on top of things by keeping her trapped and waiting her out - reminding the audience that SHE's the helpless one and not them.
    • Logically, couldn't Clove just have chucked some knives up there? There wasn't that much distance, Katniss couldn't run, and Clove has arguably the best aim out of anyone.
    • In the book, Katniss has some experience with throwing knives. Maybe they were worried about accidentally arming her?
    • And throwing a knife into a tree kind of leaves you short. In the film at least Clove does throw a knife at Katniss as soon as the games begin - and thus gave Katniss a weapon (which she used to drop the Tracker Jackers on them). The Careers had Katniss trapped and they had the advantage. There was no reason for them to waste any of their precious resources trying to get her out of the tree - when she'd inevitably have to make a break for it when she got too tired or hungry. In fact Katniss only escaped because Rue pointed out the nest to her in the first place.

     How did Cato kill Thresh? 
  • How did Cato kill Thresh?
    • The Worf Effect? Also keep in mind, it was raining during their fight, so maybe that had some part in it.
    • The Gamemakers Did It. No, seriously: Cato vs. District 12 would provide more tension and violence for the finale than would Thresh vs. District 12, especially since Thresh is sane enough to team up with them against the muttributes. That's one of the points of the novels, really: a lot of us are reading because we like the characters, but according to Capitol, we should be reading because of the gorn.
    • Cato had body armor that he got from the backpack at the Cornucopia, IIRC.
      • No, Thresh took Cato's bag, so Cato must have retrieved it from him. Of course, it's entirely possible that he just took it from his body before the hovercraft appeared.
    • We don't know that Cato killed Thresh, we just assume it. This troper read a fanfic (forgot the title) where Foxface snuck up on Thresh and killed him. For that matter, we don't know Foxface can't fight either. She just never chooses to show it.
      • If Foxface had killed Thresh, Cato probably wouldn't have been wearing the body armor that was in the backpack.
    • Let's not forget that Cato is a strong fighter too. After all, he's able to fight off a group of muttations by himself and after being exhausted by a long run for quite some time before being overwhelmed. While Thresh has the advantage in terms of strength, Cato has his training and his sword (Thresh hasn't been shown with a weapon, he killed Clove with a rock). So I guess Cato has a legitimate chance to win against Thresh without receiving any help. We don't see the actual fight. Because of the rain, Cato may have been able to surprise him.

     Why did Coin trust Katniss to kill Snow 
  • President Coin fears Katniss so much she tries to get her killed by sending a mole into her team. The point is hammered again and again - particularly with the utterly unnecessary bombing of her sister to death (to be clear: I can see the "logic" of killing children to shorten the war, but not the part of enraging Katniss even more by including her sister in the deal). And yet, at the end, President Coin hands her a bow, gives her an arrow and stands in front of her with no protection. It is absurd. All I can think of is that the author painted herself into a corner, and pulled a ridiculous deus ex machina to move the plot further.
    • Coin never saw Katniss as a threat to her life, only to her position. She thought Katniss was interested in ruling Panem once Snow fell, and had Prim killed to ensure Katniss would be in no state to do so after Katniss proved very difficult to kill... She obviously thought she could pin it on Snow, but made the mistake of having Katniss's best friend be one of the conspirators, meaning Katniss did find out it was Coin in the end.
      • So, Coin was simply stupid? A politically-savvy, manipulating president that has ruled a nation that relies on never giving your opponent the chance to destroy you simply wouldn't throw all caution to the winds and hand a person that has every reason to hate you and has repeatedly establish is desire to kill people in such positions the chance to strike. I mean, all it would've taken is a simple window.
      • Many politically-savvy people are idiots.
      • Coin didn't take Katniss seriously from the beginning- she only wanted her around to give District 13 someone to rally around. The fact that she was behind Prim's death was never supposed to come to the forefront (why would she want it to?), and she obviously underestimated Katniss. As far as she was concerned, she probably never gave Katniss a reason to hate her, but Gale ruined it by telling her.
      • I think it was because Katniss didn't seem to be supporting Coin. After the war they were going to have an election for the next president, Coin was going to be a canditate and would thus need all the popularity she could get. Katniss was very popular, even outside the Capitol, and so her opinion would be highly valued in the eyes of the public and Katniss never really seemed to particularly like Coin. So politically it'd be in Coin's best interest to get rid of Katniss, this is why she sent mentally unstable Peeta to join Katniss's team in the hopes that Peeta would get rid of Katniss for her.
    • Is it ever confirmed that Coin deliberately killed Prim? I can understand that she called for the False Flag Operation on the Capitol children, but did she actually order her medics into the blast zone? It seems like that was just an unfortunate element of the plan from Coin's perspective. Feeding an entire unit of medics into the meatgrinder doesn't really advance her goal or breaking the Capitol's support and goes against the hyper-conservationist society she was running in D13. And there is no way on Earth she could have known Katniss would actually be there to witness it, her unit had gone off the grid. I thought she had intended for Capitol medics to be the ones caught in the blast and under-estimated how close her own forces were.
      • Snow, being established as never lying to Katniss, told Katniss in the book that "I am sure Plutarch was not gunning for your sister." In the movie, he spoke about Coin. But Snow makes an assumption about things he has no knowledge about. It could be that Coin deliberately led Prim into the blast zone do destroy Katniss' mind. A mentally destroyed Katniss would be no political opponent to Coin's presidency - or so Coin could have assumed.
      • It's not confirmed, but Prim was technically too young to have been out on the front lines. Katniss points out that someone pretty high up would have had to approve Prim's assignment, and Coin seems like a logical choice.
      • But possibly, they approved her simply because she had talent, had been well-trained, maybe they were short of medics and hey! this is war we'r going to let the issue of her age slip by. Maybe she wasn't sent to the front lines deliberately to be killed. Katniss assumed this at one point, but at this exact moment she was speculating on things she didn't really know and could very well have been wrong about. Although, Katniss seeing her sister killed in front of her would have worked well for Coin had Katniss not found out it was not Snow who dropped the bombs. I think her saying "for Prim" was Katniss "confirming" to Coin that her plan had worked and Katniss was so enraged against the Capitol that she would support Coin's games. But Katniss of course meant something very different with those words...
      • However, did Coin intend her own medics or Capitol medics to be killed by the second blast? Keep in mind that the whole point of this ruse is to cause the immediate end of the war by turning the population of the Capitol against President Snow. So, it has to be somewhat believable and make at least a little sense. President Snow sending out a hovercraft that bombs Capitol children so he can kill the rebel medics who rush to their aid in the second blast? As he himself points out, that would be an unwise and pointless Kick the Dog move, but President Snow sending out a Capitol hovercraft, bombing Capitol children and then killing CAPITOL medics as well? That would be completely insane, so that a large portion of the Capitol spectators might start immediately wondering if the rebels hijacked one of their hovercrafts. So, perhaps Coin sees sacrificing her medics as a necessary move to end the war. Even as it is, I wonder if more people than President Snow and Katniss would eventually start to put two and two together...
    • To be fair, quite a few people in the books are stupid for no apparent reason. The government and Coin share stupidity for misunderstanding Katniss and her intentions. Katniss is clearly not interested in ruling, she's barely interested in most things. Coin gets it in her head that she will have to rub her out, just like Snow decided Katniss was sparking a rebellion (Katniss didn't even pick up on Plutarch telling her he was part of the resistance in book 2).
    • Coin doesn't fear Katniss wants to rule, she fears she may support someone else's leadership. And she believes she's got Katniss on her side when Katniss votes "Yes" on a last Hunger Games with Capitol children.

     Clove is a young career 
  • Rewatched the movie, and realized that Clove was 15 during the Games. The careers' advantages going into the Hunger Games are 1) their training, and 2) being some of the oldest kids competing. Clove would be older and better trained in three years, so why did they send her now?
    • Perhaps the preferred, older female tribute from her District got injured during training? Considering what they learn to do, it's not much of stretch to consider.
      • If tributes were at risk of getting hurt before the Games, then the districts that train would have replacements ready, since it's in their best interest to have the oldest/biggest/most trained kids there. If the first-choice 18-year old female is unable to go, there should be a second-choice 18-year old to replace her. Sending Clove in at 15 implies that there are no 16, 17, or 18-year old uninjured trained females in District 2.
      • Just checked, Clove is 18 in the book, but the actress who played her was fourteen.
      • That's really weird, cause a shot of an information board around 42 minutes into the movie clearly lists her as 15 years old (and 5'4" and 100 pounds and with 5-1 odds of winning, if anyone out there was wondering.) For comparison, Cato is 18, and both Glimmer and Marvel are 17. So, they didn't use either Clove's age or the actress' age when making the prop? Weird. They should have just listed her as an 18-year old, the actress could pass for one.
      • I hate to say it (this particular excuse always riles me up when people use it) but it seems to me that the people who wrote the screenplay didn't put that much thought into Clove's age. I mean, they didn't bother giving last names to any of the tributes except for Katniss and Peeta, which was exceptionally careless. Either every tribute should get their last and first names mentioned, or none of them should. That's an intense IJBM moment for the film, for me.
      • Last names? You can't blame the movie for lacking them when the author didn't even bother to give most of the kids FIRST names! Out of 24 tributes, we have eight names (and Foxface.) It would've helped the narrative if everyone had a name/description, not just the obviously important characters. It was all just so telegraphed. Was anyone surprised when all the named characters survived the bloodbath? Or when Rue managed to meet up with Katniss in the Arena?
      • Good point. But the book is told strictly from Katniss' POV, and she's not interested in learning about other tributes except for what threat they pose to her. The movie didn't even have that excuse.
      • I agree with this wholeheartedly. Katniss had no reason to memorize their names (but they should still have them!), since it won't help her live. (Just checked: Thresh is the only name Katniss learns of her own volition (by paying attention to his interview.) Peeta tells her both Rue's (in training) and Clove's (in the cave), and idle conversation after she got chased up the tree gives her Cato's and Glimmer's. She doesn't learn Marvel's name until the victory tour.) What will help her live is giving a quick once-over to each tribute, and determining if they are a threat or not. This would have been a good time for Katniss to describe everyone while giving her opinion. She does this on the train, describing the monstrous boy from 2, the redheaded girl from 5, the boy with a crippled leg from 10, and a small 12-year-old girl from 11. I don't know why the author didn't have her continue this during training; it would have helped the other tributes feel more like people, rather than numbers.
      • Maybe they do have names. The fact that they're not mentioned doesn't mean they don't have any. And frankly, I wouldn't have wanted an extended description of everyone. There are 24 Tributes. Fewer than half of them are important. I don't really care what color hair some random boy who died in the bloodbath had. And it would take a very skilled author to make all 24 of them unique, distinct, interesting characters, so that option's out too.
      • Nice stealth insult against the author. Honestly, if we had more than half a chapter dedicated to the three days of training, this wouldn't be an issue. We'd have seen Katniss sizing up the competition.
      • They are right though. Collins is a good author, but pulling that off is just very difficult, especially from first person POV. Compare it (once again) to Battle Royale, which isn't written from that perspective, and therefore allows the author to switch to the POV of other characters and to establish backstories of people who may have died within the first hour of the game. Trying to emotionally distance herself from the other tributes also fits in well with Katniss's character. Also, keep in mind that half of the characters die very quickly in the initial bloodbath. In BR, the characters were sent out alone with a couple of minutes between each exit. Using up a couple of chapters to establish characters who quickly die off-screen would probably be a bad move. And generally, people want to read about the game. Delaying it for another couple of chapters probably wouldn't have done the story a favour.


     Peacekeeper weapons 
  • What weapon do the Peacekeepers use? One of the books describes them as using something very similar to a laser (some type of solar powered beam weapon), which is stolen off of one - but in the movies, and in the rest of the books, they're said to be using bullet firing machineguns.
    • Some variety of assault rifle, for the most part. If memory serves, that solar-powered beam weapon was noted to be comparable to a bazooka, and as such is not standard-issue.

     Hover planes 
  • Why use hover planes to bomb places? Why not regular planes?
    • Explained in the books: regular planes do not work anymore due to a changed density in the atmosphere. Complete rubbish as it is written, but consistent.
      • Always remember that everything we get for information is filtered through Katniss, who for all her virtues is a scientific and technological know-nothing.

     Safety of explosive arrows 
  • Katniss's bow shoots explosive and incendiary arrows. Explosive and incendiary arrows that she keeps in a quiver. A quiver on her body. A quiver stocked with explosive arrows. That explode. I know that some modern soldiers do this with RPGs, but isn't it kind of a bad idea to store such a potentially dangerous munition on someone who's both a national hero and in close proximity to other national heroes? Aside from the potential dangers of basically telling Capitol troops to shoot her In the Back, if she does get shot in the back, has a bomb or grenade go off nearby, steps on a landmine... goodbye Katniss, hello squad-killing fireball of death.
    • Her Mockingjay bow has "special properties", among them voice control and the ability to override the type of arrow. One can assume that one of the "special properties" is the ability to activate the explosive charge on launch.
    • Well, I feel like you're overestimating the explosive abilities of the arrows. And, frankly, I think if she's in a situation where the enemies are able to take aim at her that kind of precision, anyway, they're all basically screwed to begin with. Besides, Coin didn't really care if Katniss died. If worse came to worse, they'd just spin it for more tear-jerking propos.
      • The explosive arrows are powerful enough to blow up one of those hoverplanes. I would say they're pretty explosive.
    • Weren't they supposed to be high-tech arrows or something? I just assumed they were advanced enough that unless they were actually shot by that specific bow (which sounded like it had freakin' AI intelligence, so not much of a stretch), they would behave like ordinary arrows. But they don't really give many details other than "this starts fires and this one makes a boom", if I remember correctly.
      • That brings up another good point - what use is there to having an AI in a bow?
    • Presumably the arrows are like current explosive technology, where the explosion is only triggered after it has shot a certain range - just like the current M204 grenade launcher in US service. The explosive tip doesn't arm until it travels 15-20 meters, if it hits something before that it just bounces off. Current military explosives are extremely stable - despite Hollywood portrayals, grenades do NOT explode when shot (in fact, I have a buddy that had a bullet ricochet off a grenade he was carrying in his vest), bombs do NOT go off at the drop of a hat or the touch of a wrench. Do you know what happens if you put an open flame to C-4? It burns - like firewood. If you shoot C-4? Nothing happens, it just sits there.

     Katniss's tracking bug 
  • What happened to Katniss's first tracking bug? Didn't they put one on her the first time she went into the arena? They make a big deal about taking the bug out in the 2nd book, so that she can't be tracked, but what about the first one? If if wasn't taken out, was that how the Capitol was able to easily track Katniss' movements in the woods after the first games? Perhaps not (since they have silent, invisible hovercraft) but it's strange that it's not mentioned.
    • The first tracker was probably removed once the games were over.

     What was the forcefield? 
  • Movie: In Catching Fire, what was the deal with the forcefield? In the training room and in the Hunger games control room, it appeared to be just an electromagnetic field that shocked people who touched it. However, when Katness blows it up at the end, girders and other structure start falling out of the hole as if to show it was a physical structure with a fake sky the whole time.
    • I assume Plutarch cut the hole into the hull from the outside after Katniss destroyed the forcefield inside. When considering meta-plausibility, the introduction of a physical hull in the movie was a mistake: The (stealthy) Hovercrafts of the Capitol could not have flown out of the Dome if there was a hull (without it being visible to the tributes). But they did so to haul away the dead tributes. They also brought in gifts from sponsors. If there were only a forcefield, it could have been deactivated locally to allow the hovercrafts to fly out. The structure of the dome is the most irritating implausible part of the story.
    • Electromagnetic shield, paired with a giant illusory sky. It seemed like what the coworkers had in mind was, the entire arena is actually in a controlled, covered dome. But you need to block the tributes from touching the "sky" and finding a way to escape from it, without the help of a massive electrical surge.

     Explosive collars 
  • So why didn't the Capitol toss in explosive collars as part of the whole deal? It would have ended Katiness rebellion by reminding every tribute they will die if they try to bend the rules.
    • Because the comparisons with Battle Royale would be even worse than they already are. Also, the only rule-bending Katniss did was trying to kill herself and Peeta, which could be done with berries OR collars, so not much change in there (unless they only killed HER and not Peeta for giving the idea. Knowing Peeta however he'd swallow the berry immediately anyway, so my point still stands). If you're talking about the Games in the second book, however, it only worsens the situation. People were already mad that they sent the old victors to kill each other (including a pregnant woman), imagine if they explode them all and give the people 24 martyrs. It just helps no one whatsoever.


    Is The Hunger Games a rip-off of Battle Royale? 
  • I get that people note that the idea of children death combat is the same as Battle Royale, but how exactly do people get ripoff from plot points that are ultimately perpendicular as the two franchise come and go in different directions.
    • I think when people look for things to be critical of, it tends to make their case look stronger if they can cite something that's generally considered better. e.g Eragon is considered a tandem rip-off of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings. Hunger Games is a High Concept story that had almost limitless possibilities as to which direction it could have gone in, so at best the base idea can be seen as similar.
  • Why is so hard for some people to believe that The Hunger Games is not a rip-off of Battle Royale? Many of the elements that are similar in both works have a long history in western society, which as an educated person, Suzanne Collins would have known about. These include: the taking of children for sacrifice (Theseus and the Minotaur, Ancient Greece); fighting to the death for the entertainment of others (Gladiator fights, Ancient Rome); setting is dystopian in the future (George Orwell's 1984, 1949); incredible amount of bloodshed (again, gladiatorial battles, Ancient Rome); and star crossed lovers (Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet c. 1591). Further more, before The Hunger Games came out in 2008, Battle Royale was an obscure work to American audiences. With the exception of appearing in the Seattle Film Festival in 2001, thousands of miles away from where Collins lived, it did not gain a wide release until 2011. The book was relatively unknown during development of The Hunger Games in the USA, and it is unlikely that she would have known about it.
    • It has elements in common with Battle Royale? This is TV Tropes.
  • This troper always saw it as more in common with The Running Man than Battle Royale. Which is not obscure by any measure. But yeah, the similarity is really just in base concept, it does legitimately do different stuff with it.

     Why is this film PG-13? 
  • Why in god's name would the movie be PG-13? In fact, tons of things about the movie are already bugging me and it hasn't even come out yet. Gale and Peeta are both played by muscular looking actors, and Cato looks like he's 12. I have a feeling they're going to go with a Twilight Love Triangle angle instead of the real message behind these books. Disappointing.
    • I am wondering if the OP wasn't comment on Cato after seeing images of Alexander Ludwig circa "Race to Witch Mountain" or "The Dark Is Rising" and before more current publicity shots came out. Not only did he bulk up a lot for this film but in the intervening 3-5 years that kid got HUGE. I was shocked at how big he got. I would never have guessed that he would grow up to be that big a guy based on what he looked like in older movies. I figured he would grow up to be on the small side of average.
    • Why are you surprised that it's PG-13? There is no world where this book, marketed to teenagers and some pre-teens, would be rated R. Gale is muscular. He's a hunter. How is that even remotely a problem. And Peeta doesn't look overly strong, just like someone who's used to heavy lifting, as was stated in the books. Also, Cato's actor is 19, which is older than the character anyway. I hope they don't go Twilight Love Triangle too, but the rest of your complaints made no sense to me.
      • With the content in the books, it's going to have to rely on a lot of Gory Discresion Shot for it NOT to be rated R. As far as the actors go, I think I may have mixed up the two (I always thought Peeta was blonde, and Gale's actor is blonde) so that complaint is pretty dumb, I'll admit. As far as Cato goes, it's not so much how old he looks, just that he seriously looks smaller than Rue, yet he's supposed to be a career tribute? Just the fact that Gale, a resident of one of the poorest districts (hunter or not) looks like he can beat up Cato feels like a lot of the visual focus is going to be directed, again, towards the love triangle. I'll admit, I'm being paranoid, but the whole thing does seem like a new attempt at a love triangle movie series.
      • Why shouldn't Gale look like he can beat up Cato? Also, Cato looks smaller than Rue? The hell promotional materials are you looking at? That's Cato standing at Rue's right, Peeta on her other side.
      • I thought Cato would be small too after hearing that he would be played by Alexander Ludwig, but he really bulked up for the film, it's possible that some people are commenting on what he looked like before, which was pretty slender in comparison and I never take stock of actors hair color cause its easily died, which they did here. Also the PG-13 rating is just a flaw in the system, because the american system fails to recognize that alot of stuff that is suitable for 16 year olds is not suitable for 13 year olds. So you get things like this movie which is borderline suitable due to violence that get pg-13 ratings for both marketability and also because it's not so unsuitable that you could say its only for 18+. I'd imagine its could get a 15's rating in the countries that have that rating.
      • They get away with a PG-13 via Gory Discretion Shot mixed with a lot of Jitter Cam.

     What's with the Humans Are White? 
  • What's with the Humans Are White here? If Panem is the US in the future, it should be at least 50% PoC, as the US is projected to be majority minority by 2050.
    • There isn't one: District 11 is the largest District, and its residents are implied to be mostly descendants of modern day African Americans. People from the Seam are ambiguously beige, and there's a certain degree of segregation between them (Katniss's parents and Katniss herself being exceptions). Aside from the aforementioned and District 4 (green eyes, brown-auburn hair) there's no racial descriptors for any other districts. It bears mention, however, that Panem is a post-apocalyptic (global warming?) nation that, although located in what was once the USA, probably received a certain influx of people "heading to high ground" when most of North America went underwater. This means that the majority-minorities of both Canada (Asians) and Mexico (caucasians) should be considered, neither being particularly dark skinned.
    • I think it's the eye colors and hair colors that throw me. Grey eyes aren't very common in most races, and since Rue and Thresh are mentioned specifically as dark skinned, it seems that they stand out.
      • Grey eyes could have been a trait that was spread over time. I kind of thought that 12 was the district for people nobody wanted, so they got a mishmosh or races that probably had Mediterranean origins of some sort, or possible Hispanic origins, plus some white people, plus some grey-eyed people that spread the genes.
      • Thresh and Rue have brown eyes. Katniss has grey eyes, but since "olive" is a very broad range for skintone (she could be quite white with a "winter" complexion, or she could be dark) it's not implausible given the recessive nature of both blue and grey eyes (her parents' eye colors). Same issue was handled better with Katniss and Peeta's children, by pairing his dominant eye color with her dominant hair color in their daughter, and her recessive eye color with his recessive hair color in their son.
      • I take it gray eyes means North European, especially Russian, Finnish, Samii. Also, the blonde and blue-eyed look of Katniss's mother and sister remind me of Icelandic women, and I find it plausible that there may have been refugees from Europe during the original Apocalypse and that they got integregated into the "lowliest" Districts, what with citizens of District 13 also having gray eyes.
    • Rue and Thresh are explicitly described as having brown skin and eyes and hair, as is everybody else in their district. Wiress and Beetee are both described as ashen with black hair, and in the audiobooks their dialogue is spoken with an Asian accent of some sort, so I would hesitate to describe them as white. Katniss and others from the mining district are described as having olive skin and dark hair and eyes, so while you can't rule them out as being white that doesn't mean they might be some other ethnicity, either.
    • It's also not as if we can apply contemporary racial projections to a post-apocalyptic crapsack world, either. It's not a world of white people, but we also have no reason to think our current predictions of US ethnicity would hold up in this scenario.
    • Essentially, there is no Humans Are White. Collins has stated that everyone in District 12 is likely to be mixed race because humans bred so much that races didn't really matter anymore. In District 11, Rue and Thresh are definitely black (which makes sense when you realize that District 11 has a lot of parallels to slave plantations), and the Betree and Wiress are both Ambiguously Brown. So it's really not that bad a case of the trope.
    • In the films, many of the actors are Caucasian. It is possible that those in charge of casting the characters did not choose a properly diverse group of actors, or that people today in general don't look like how people would in Panem.

     Focus on romance 
  • Am I the only one who thinks it's strange that a lot of fans are focusing so much on the romance aspect of the story, even though it's not the main plot? At least it made sense with Twilight since the romance was the focal point of the book, but why do the same with The Hunger Games?
    • Well, the first book take a major time-out from the action so that Katniss and Peeta can have an extended forced make-out party and a huge amount of time in the second book is dedicated to her deciding whether she wanted to be with Peeta or Gale. And then even more time is taken in the second book with her thinking "I need to die to save Peeta because he's the best person ever." So, it seems like Collins/Katniss is also pretty focused on the romance plot.
    • It's probably because the film came out after a whole series of YA paranormal romances that imitated Twilight's style. Some people just assumed that this was the same.
      • Yes. Also, the Hunger Games trilogy contains a lot of love, but very little erotic. Many media people may have confused erotic with love.

     Why didn't the books receive more backlash? 
  • This troper often wonders how this series managed to avoid the Moral Guardians. Battle Royale had a similar premise, and it's American remake has been put on hold because of that (and Virginia Tech).
    • They didn't. The Hunger Games trilogy is indeed among the most challenged books.
      In 2011, all three books occupy the number three position, and the complaints have grown more varied: “anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence.”
    • I have been wondering that too, and the only thing I can come up with is the fact that Battle Royale is gorier and has sex and rape in it and is clearly aimed at an adult audience while THG are aimed at young adults, with less gore and some relationship issues thrown in for good measure.
    • Also, Battle Royale uses guns, while I'd be hard-pressed to see someone shooting up a school with a bow and arrow/throwing knives/etc.
      • There was a case a few years ago where some students in Germany planned to shoot up a school using crossbows [1]...
      • Well, a friend of my mom's did try to have the books removed from her daughter's school's library...
    • Before I read the books, I was skeptical as to whether I would enjoy them going off the dark premise, but it helps that killing people in the Games is never presented as something easy or fun from Katniss's perspective. In both of the Games she's in, she only kills out of self-defense or mercy, never in cold blood. She becomes a bit more ruthless in Mockingjay, but her actions are mostly justified and she still suffers severe PTSD. I'm not very familiar with Battle Royale, but the major draw of Hunger Games is in watching Panem overthrow the corrupt government and the system of the Games, not in the entertainment value of the Games and the violence that goes along with them. However, it is still impressive that there hasn't been much outcry to ban them from people who haven't bothered to read the books (along the lines of people wanting to ban the Harry Potter books because they supposedly teach children witchcraft).
    • Well books simply don't have to get past the moral guardians in most cases. As for the movies I think the big difference is that while the Hunger Games does have children it seems to focus on teens that we mostly identify as young adults and not specifically children. Also I think an argument could be made that the Hunger Games makes a stronger effort at a story and Battle Royale at times slips straight into the Saw styled violence porn.


    Birth Control 
  • So Mr. Mellark was in love with Mrs. Everdeen and she apparently broke his heart when she chose Katniss' father. How is it that Mr. Mellark managed to have two children before Mrs. Everdeen had her first? The book makes it seem like Katniss' mother ran off and married Katniss' father, causing a bit of a scandal, and that it broke Peeta's father's heart but he either moved on and married Peeta's mother or he settled for her/married his rebound. Either way Mr. and Mrs. Everdeen would have been married for a while before Mr. and Mrs. Mellark got hitched. It's also heavily implied that there is no safe method of contraception in District 12 other than not having sex. So did Katniss' parents wait like four years into their marriage before they had sex? I'm not saying it's a plot hole (they could have waited, used primitive birth control methods such as pulling out, maybe they had fertility issues) but it seems a little odd that the loser of the love triangle would move on and have two children before the winners have their first in an environment with only primitive methods of birth control.
    • There probably is some kind of birth control. Remember, at the very end of the trilogy, Katniss and Peeta agree to have children 15 years after the events of Mockingjay. I doubt they went that long without sex.
      • The Capitol most likely had birth control but I doubt the districts did before Snow was overthrown. The whole point of having the Games kind of goes out the window if people can simply opt not to have children. Plus Katniss mentions she doesn't want to fall in love and marry because she doesn't want to have children. If reliable birth control was available she could marry and have all the sex she wants without worrying about getting pregnant.
      • There are plants that help with birth control (or cause miscarriage). They aren't as reliable as modern medicine, but if anyone in District 12 would know what they were, or be able to get them from the woods, it would be the Everdeen family. But it may not be the kind of thing her mother would talk about with Katniss.
      • Even without birth control, it's not as if biology works like "All right, married, sex, SHAZAM! You're pregnant!" Especially since being even not-chronic-starvation-level underweight/malnourished can make it very hard for a woman to conceive and stay pregnant, let alone the constant subsistence-level or less diet District 12 gets. The Mellarks had access to better food all along, while even with Mr. Everdeen supplementing from hunting and gathering they didn't. It's possible they even did have other pregnancies that didn't come to term or where the infant was stillborn or died shortly after birth from malnourishment before they had Katniss and Prim.
      • It's also possible that Mr. Mellark knew Katniss's mother was in love with Mr. Everdeen and gave up on her a long time before everyone else knew about it - they could have hidden a relationship from the town at large for a long time before they finally got married.
    • You're forgetting that not all forms of sex is the kind that causes conception.
    • Fun fact! People who ovulate can track their ovulation and fertile days through cervical secretions and basal body temperature. It can be pretty reliable. Lots of people use it to track fertile days to make getting pregnant easier. Don't have sex on those days combined with pulling out/oral or non-penetrative sex = good chance of no babies.
    • Summation: no modern birth control ≠ no birth control. Low fertility + knowledge of plants that can act as birth control/cause miscarriage + fertility awareness methods+ unreliable methods such as pulling out = decent chance of preventing unwanted pregnancy.

     No other hostages other than Peeta or Annie? 
  • In Mockingjay, Katniss realizes that President Snow is keeping Peeta alive so he can manipulate her, using Peeta as bait so she will be afraid to do anything because she doesn't know what worse-than-death torture they will do to him. Annie was being held hostage in the same way to torment Finnick. Ok, do Plutarch, Fulvia, Cressida, Messalla, Castor, Pollux, and any other Capitol rebels in District Thirteen have no family members/loved ones in the Capitol that Snow could use against them in a similar fashion? It seems unlikely that all of those people important to each of them could be gathered up, put on the hovercraft, and transported to Thirteen along with them at the time the escape was made; things happened very quickly and they barely made it out of there. Also how did Cressida and the cameramen get to District Thirteen? They weren't on the escape hovercraft apparently, and in the movie Cressida says she "up and left", but certainly they didn't travel on foot all that way, what with all their equipment and of course the difficulties of surviving/not getting caught the entire considerable distance.

     The word 'muttations' 
  • This is pretty minor, but I'm still a bit curious about it. Namely, why does everyone refer to the animals that the Capitol created ( such as jabberjays, tracker jackers, and the wolf/tribute hybrids) as "muttations" or "mutts"? Where did that term come from?
    • "Muttation" is most likely a portmanteau of the words "mutt" and "mutation." A mutt is traditionally a term used to describe a mixed-breed dog and a mutation is a change in genetic material.
    • Or Fridge Brilliance, it was just a natural result of a language evolving. Over the years, mutations became muttations, Peter became Peeta, morphine became morphling, ect... When the world we know was destroyed and Panem rose, paper and digital records were probably destroyed and people wrote things how they were pronounced (we don't know if they even use the same writing we do) and the words were corrupted in pronunciation, not to mention regional accents, before the final spellings settled.

     How do you pronounce 'muttations'? 
  • How do you pronounce "muttations"? It is just mutation with an extra t in the spelling or mutt-tation?
    • Since it's a portmanteau term, I'm going to assume that it's mutt-ation.
    • If it's any help, the audio books do in fact use the latter pronunciation.

     'Pity does not get you aid' 
  • When Kat is burned by the Gamemaster's trap, she mentions that 'pity does not get you aid.' Now, normally I would agree with that, except that as Haymitch, Peeta and Cinna have all mentioned from their original argument, Kat is likely the fantasy and desirable interest of some rather rich and powerful men and women in the capitol. If they really were interested in her, it would make sense that her need for help would drive them to act with sending medical supplies, unless Haymitch really is sitting on his ass and sending nothing to her. I hate that son of a bitch.
    • If pity got you aid, parachutes would be constant and the Games would be not only much less exciting but expensive for the Capitol crowd. Also, if pity got you aid, there wouldn't be Games in the first place.
      • See, that doesn't hold up for Haymitch's tactical perception of Katt to the crowd, one of the few things I can agree he did well: As he says himself, the idea of Peeta attributing affection for Katt was to make her desirable to those in The Capitol. That was the entire point to their plan. A lot of rich boys in the capitol, if the plan worked, would be interested in Katt and wangint to support her with tributes and boons.
      • That was still early in the Game, however. Gifts are pricey. I'm sure the Capitol crowd is savvy enough that they don't want to waste money on a tribute who's not going to survive. And besides, Haymitch sends her burn ointment soon after that, once she's faced down the Career pack, defied them, and begun putting her plan to kill them via tracker jackers to work. That's the moment when she proves she is a contender.
      • If that is true, then there was no point to Peeta weaving the story that he had feelings for Katt. If all she had to do was prove she's a contender, the trials would've been enough-alongside the basic stuff that Cinna did-and wait until the Games started without that little fabrication. Even if he did love her, it only disheartens the story and weakens their cause, especially if Haymitch doesn't act on it. He's already on a great deal of thin ice with margalinizing both tributes and not giving Peeta anything at all despite his ability to stay alive-which has also made him a Butt-Monkey in comparison to Katt. Acutally, this has really become unforgivable in terms of Fridge Logic for Haymitch; he only just gave them food because it served their little stupid story when he had the ability to save them THE ENTIRE TIME, and yet he sits on his ass and lets them starve throughout the whole of the game until the near end, showing little to no respect or dignity until he decides to grow a pair near the end, after they already won the games. There's a difference between being stern to protect the cause, and being outright unwilling to keep them alive when they needed it at any other point in the games. Unforgivable and laced in poor tactical judgment, and they still respect him. There's no respect that should be given.
      • First of all, calm down on the Haymitch rage. Second of all, I think you're attributing a little too much power to Haymitch. Yes, Katniss and Peeta are two tributes to watch from the start, but Haymitch doesn't have unlimited funds, and he can't just send them anything, anytime, lickety-split. Was he unnecessarily harsh to both Katniss and Peeta in training? Yes. If I'd spent the last quarter century watching children die year after year, I would probably be apathetic to most new mentees myself. The Game isn't played by "Whose mentor will send the best stuff at the best time," the tributes within the Arena have to suffer and struggle and make a great show of it because that's what the Capitol wants. In the case of not sending Peeta any goodies, that just enhances the cathartic response when Katniss finds him and nurses him back to health.
      • Haymitch probably did not have the ability to save them the entire time as you stated. Despite everything in Kat's favor, he still has less resources to work with. He cannot send in supplies as he wants, he has to wait until people spend money to give him the ability to at least send something in. So he better not spend it all at the first occasion, but when it gets really dire or otherwise important as far as he can judge from the outside. If you think he could just send in anything at will, you better reread the pertinent parts of the book. He couldn't.
      • Also, in regards to the original post, where you said that Katniss is a fantasy object of some Capitol citizens, you're again overstating the power of one factor in winning the Games. Katniss only mentions one Victor — Finnick — whose victory was due almost singlehandedly to his astounding attractiveness. Katniss is never described as that stunning. She looks her best when she's in one of Cinna's divine creations. For contrast, in that same book, Glimmer deliberately cultivated sex appeal as her gimmick, and look what that got her.
      • Katniss is repeatedly described to be stunning: By Peeta, who says "She has no idea. The effect she can have." By her prep team who tell her how pleasantly surprised they are by Katniss' looks after she got cleaned to "beauty base zero". By the Capitol crowd who throw her flowers and hats and whatnot while Katniss rides the chariot. When Katniss throws a kiss towards the crowd, they go insane with desire for her.
      • Well, for all we know, Glimmer had tons of money in her name, just waiting to be spent. That, I think, is one of the main issues with sponsoring: there is no reason to donate to a tribute until they need aid. Katniss got lucky, in that she got into a situation where she needed aid but was still alive to get aid. Glimmer died too quickly for anyone to help her.

     Roman names 
  • It's really grating that when the book decides to give people Roman names, it's almost always cognomen or nomen used as people's first names. There's a Cinna, a Cato, a Flavius, a Brutus, a Plutarch, a Seneca, a Caesar, a Claudius, and a Coriolanus. But none of these are names that would correspond to a Roman person's first name. A few of these names could be forgiven, like Brutus and Caesar, which have become first names over time (Brutus is an uncommon English name and Cesar and Cesare are not uncommon Spanish and Italian names), and it is possible that the same thing has happened with regard to other Latin cognomen and nomen, but that is not a satisfying answer, especially given that Cesar(e) has connotations beyond the name (that is, to the title). Why couldn't the book just name the people Marcus, Publius, or Gaius? It’s the equivalent of wanting a Nazi flare and giving people names like Hitler Snow or Von Hindenberg Templesmith or wanting a Russian flare and naming people Zhukov Flickerman or Dostoyevsky Crane – it just makes no sense.
    • OP here. Also, what’s with the use of Cato and Brutus as the names of psychopathic child-murderers? Many of the characters names have overt symbolic overtones (like Katniss and Rue) or at least refer to some aspect of the character's personality or background (like Thresh and Peeta) and if that’s applied to these two names, then there’s a huge dissonance between the symbolic importance of both of these names and the characters’ behavior. Both Catones were paragons of Stoic philosophy (the opposite of the emotional, psychotic murder-machine depicted in the books) and Cato the Younger is most famous for fighting against tyranny and preferring to die free rather than live under a tyrant. And the Bruti were staunch republicans who fought against tyrants, Lucius Junius founding the Republic and defending it against his sons, Marcus Junius the Younger committing tyrannicide and fighting to defend the Republic from those who would subvert it. Now, it could be argued that Cato the Younger and Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger both fought against populist forces, but given that the populist “party” wanted to subvert a republic with a mixed constitution and backed tyrants, that can hardly be seen as a bad thing. Basically, it seems to subvert the books intention to use names symbolically, which it does in droves.
      • VERY weak tie: Cato uses a sword to kill others. The historical Cato used a sword to kill himself.
      • I actually laughed pretty hard at that connection and thus choose to believe that was Collins's thought process.
    • Classical & Near Eastern archaeology major here. Praenomia were rarely relevant to the general public and the Capitol— which should not be confused with Rome, as there can in fact only be one Rome— probably realized this as historically they were barely used and largely forgotten. Seeing the fallacy in this system it isn't hard to believe that the Capitol did too and broadened their scope in taking their inspiration to avoid the ridiculous measures to which Rome had to go to keep its citizenry straight; endeavors which it bears mention were largely ineffectual seeing as, in spite of additions of more and more names and titles, the daughters of the Julio family might still be referred to as Julias the first, second, third, fourth, etc.
      • Before I offer up a critique of your main points, it's "praenomina", not "praenomia" and "gens Julia" not "Julio family." Anyway, as to the difficulty in keeping it's citizens straight, we do that today as well. We have given names and surnames which contribute to how we identify people. In addition, we often have middle names, which can provide an extra layer of identification when confusion is otherwise possible (i.e. George H. W. Bush as opposed to George W. Bush). Also, in professional discourse, we often use surnames more than given names. For instance, it is rare to refer to artists by their first names (we speak of Kafka, Dali, and Nietzsche, never Franz, Salvadore, or Friedrich) and the same can be said of politicians and other professionals, where either a surname is sufficient or a full name is used (i.e. we would never call James Carter by anything aside from his full name or surname. The same could be said of people like Warren Buffet or Ted Turner). It is only in colloquial language that we primarily refer to people by their given names. So I do not understand the difference you are drawing between Rome and the present day and the future of The Hunger Games. Perhaps you might be refering to the fact that people often neglect praenomina, but I would also find it offensive if people in the future were calling themselves Montesquieu or Petrarch or Collingwood rather than Charles, Francesco, or Robin. And, as to the issue with women's names, the problem with all the Julias (Juliae) was one that disappeared under the Empire, as it became fashionable to name one's daughters, rather than use the feminine form of the gens name. So, if the evil empire of the Capitol was willing to use names from the Roman Empire (which seems logical, rather than have them follow the Republic), then there would be no issue with women's names. And finally, if you want to look at the steps that need to be taken to identify citizens, everyone in the US is given a nine digit number to identify them because a name alone is insufficient. In addition, people also get lengthy ID numbers from their state's motor vehicle association that are secondary identification numbers, because one is, apparently, insufficient. So it is not as though the US does not have to go through extra steps to ensure that citizens are differentiated. And I'm sure all those cognomina that were used to differentiate people were honors bestowed, not ways of asking "Now how are we going to identify random person 1 from random person 2".
      • My point was that the Romans as well as the Greeks were terribly uncreative with their names and your quibble related to family names being used as first names is ridiculous. You do not need to discuss the intricacies of "sufficient full names" with me as I live in China; everyone's name is preceded by their family name and it is a personal thing to refer to people by their first name. English has evolved so surnames have become forenames (Madison, Taylor, Cooper, Jamison...) so it is preposterous to believe that society could not evolve to accept what is by all intents and purposes a surname as a first name. I will also take this opportunity to apologize for my lack of Latin proficiency and modernisation of what is apparently a sacred language for you. I took a different route by choosing to concentrate on an area of the ancient world that didn't treat women like chattel, thus the "Near Easternism" of my major...
      • I said it was grating that Suzanne Collins uses historical figures' nomen and cognomen as her characters' praenomen (or given name, since you seem to not like Latin) because I assumed that it was symptomatic of her ignorance of the Roman culture she decided to use as the basis for the Capitol (which I also thought was shown in her decision of what names to give different people). I did not say that it ruined the book (the poor characterization and terrible plot did), only that it's annoying (which it is). And why does your being Chinese have anything to do with naming conventions in either the modern West (i.e. the use of surnames when refering to people of academic or historical importance) or antique Rome. Unless you mean to say that someone like Caesar Flickerman was being refered to by his middle name and surname (of which we see no indication in the text), but that seems absurd since the point of the character is to mock modern TV sensibilities and on modern TV we often refer to talk/gameshow hosts by their first or full name (i.e. Oprah, Dr. Phil, Pat [Sajak], Bob Barker, Sally Jessy Raphael, or Alex [Trebek]). If she wanted tos how a shift to impersonal naming conventions, she should have done it more overtly, since it does not come across thusly. I suppose it is possible that language evolved either thusly or so that ancient nomen and cognomen became thought of as given names (but that would depend on how long such names were part of the naming culture). As to Latin - I feel like if you are going to use it, you should use it correctly. There is no reason to incorrectly write praenomina (and your fake word is not even a modernization) and there is also no reason to corrupt Julius/a into Julio (I probably wouldn't have mentioned the term gens if you had said either Julius or Julia or even Julium [assuming English's lack of gender would tend towards neuter]). And as to Rome and Greece treating women like chattel, for one it has nothing to do with proper Latin (what if I like proper Latin because I love Church Latin or Neo-Latin?) and for another it's simply incorrect. I'm not going to argue women were treated well, but they were not viewed as property in the way that African slaves in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were (which is the direct equivocation your statement demands).
    • Alternatively, you're both taking this way too seriously. Think about the mindsets of people from the Capitol for a second: naming their child "Cinna" or "Brutus" just because it sounds cool (if we take the Watsonian perspective here) is exactly the kind of thing they would do. Why would citizens of the Capitol care about accurately representing Roman naming tradition, or even if it was a forname or a surname? Given the abundance of weird names in the books, naming your children after anything you think sounds good seems to be the norm.
      • I probably am taking this way too seriously, but it still irritates me. I suppose my only response is that the Roman names are specifically associated with the Capitol - almost every individual from the Capitol has one and no one aside from Capitol citizens (and some of the people from districts 1 and 2) have one. If people are actually just picking crazy names without caring about the origins or symbolic importance, it would seem odd that there would be a clustering like this.
    • The vast majority of the ancient Romans to are best know to modern people by their nomens or cognomens, their praenomen known only in conjunction with their nomen and/or cognomen. If someone mentioned the Roman Marcus, would you think of anyone in particular? Probably not, but if somebody brought up Brutus of Antony, the answer would probably be different. Since The Hunger Games takes place in a post apocalyptic society, likely out of a recent dark age, knowledge on the details of ancient cultures are likely limited and to the common people. The people of the capital probably don't know much about their names, but they do know that they are ancient names and sound cool.
    • I'm also in agreement that the Roman names used incorrectly are a non-issue. There are many Roman inspirations and parallels, but it is not intended as a literal allegory with everything having a direct correspondence. This is not alternate-universe Ancient Rome, it is far future North America.In the Capitol, Roman names are apparently trendy. Most of the Capitol citizens seem to just live for entertainment and the only one shown to have any sense of history or the distant past is Plutarch Heavensbee. Would you expect the way they used classical names to be anything other than a bastardized Theme-Park Version? I visit first name websites and this kind of thing happens all the time even today. People think names sound "cool" and give them to their children without much thought to the history behind them or their traditionally "correct" use. At least all the Capitol's names were used on the correct gender.
    • It just seems to be an attempt to show how the names have evolved over time, as they have in real life. For instance, Shirley was once considered a boys' name. But after Shirley Temple became famous, it was more associated with girls. Likewise, Ashley has frequently alternated between being a male and female name for decades.

     Why is the entry to the underground inside someone's house? 
  • So I've got a relatively petty Headscratcher here that's been bugging me since I finished Mockingjay last night: they mention that the utility door that leads to the underground tubes is located inside some of the center apartments; Messala even says that they're a pain to live in because workmen will be coming in and out at all hours. This is how Katniss ends up killing the unarmed Capitol woman when she and the survivors of her team exit the underground from the utility room in woman's apartment. So my question is...why on earth would anyone build an entry to and from the underground inside someone's private residence? Wouldn't it make more sense for the entrance to open into the hallway or somewhere more public?
    • I can hardly think of a more dystopian feature than an access panel which allows strangers to come in on you at all hours of the night.

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