Katniss Everdeen is the main character of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games trilogy. Her name comes from an edible plant called katniss. Jennifer Lawrence is set to portray Katniss in the upcoming movie The Hunger Games, directed by Gary Ross. Katniss and her family live in District 12, the poorest and least populated district in the fictional nation of Panem, located in the former United States. District 12 is a coal-mining district, located in Appalachia. The novel The Hunger Games takes place about 74 years after the 13 districts rebelled against the Capitol and were crushed, with District 13 being utterly destroyed and the Capitol instituting an annual event called “The Hunger Games” to punish the districts.
The Hunger Games are to demonstrate to the districts the futility of resisting the Capitol. In the Games, one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected annually from each district and are designated to be tributes. The tributes are transported to an arena, where they fight to the death, with the last surviving tribute being declared the victor. The annual selection is known as the Reaping, and the day of the annual lottery is called Reaping Day. As further punishment for the districts, Reaping Day is regarded as a national holiday and watching the Reaping and the Games themselves is mandatory.
Katniss’ sister Primrose, known as Prim, is chosen for the Games, but Katniss volunteers to take her place. She joins Peeta Mellark as District 12′s tributes for the 74th annual Hunger Games. With her hunting and archery skills, she becomes a contender, and unintentionally becomes the symbol of rebellion when she leads Peeta in a suicide pact rather than have one kill the other to win the Games, forcing the master of the Games to crown them joint victors rather than having no winner at all. She becomes known as “The Girl on Fire.” She later becomes the representative for the rebellion and is known in that position as “The Mockingjay” after the bird on a pin that she wore in the Games arena.
Peeta Mellark is the male tribute from District 12. He is described as being “medium height with a stocky build,”having “ashy blond hair that falls in waves over his forehead” and blue eyes. He is the town baker’s son and is talented in baking breads and icing cakes, which proves to be an unexpected asset to him in the arena when he can camouflage himself effortlessly. His mother is a nasty woman, described as a “witch” by Katniss. She tells him that she has more faith in Katniss than in him. He has two brothers, neither of who care for him as much as Katniss cares for her little sister, Prim. His father, Mr. Mellark, is the town baker.
He is described by Katniss as a decent wrestler in the Training Center. Upon arriving in the Capitol, it is discovered that Peeta has an instinctive ability to perform on camera and manipulate public sentiment. He is a brilliant liar and covers for himself and Katniss on multiple occasions. He has harbored a secret love for Katniss since they were five, at the beginning of their school year when he heard her sing. He is rarely moody or upset, and generally takes things lightly. Peeta saved Katniss’s life when she was eleven years old by giving her bread when her family was starving, which resulted in the nickname Katniss uses often to describe him, “the boy with the bread.” The two never talked until the Games.
During The Hunger Games, Peeta declares his love for Katniss after being reaped. In the arena, she first tries to kill him then heals him after an injury. When they both win the Games, he is devastated to find out that Katniss may have been playacting being in love for the cameras.
Catching Fire opens with Peeta “icy” and “unreachable”. When Snow announces the Quarter Quell he makes a deal with Haymitch to keep Katniss alive. At the end of Catching Fire, Peeta is captured by the Capitol. Katniss finds herself willing to kill him to save him from the tortures there. In Mockingjay he is tortured in an attempt to “break” Katniss because of her love for him. Although he and others are eventually rescued, the Capitol had tampered with his memories by using tracker jacker venom – a process called “hijacking” which leaves him frightened and unstable. He attempts to kill Katniss because the results of the Capitol’s hijacking have left him confused about their relationship. He believes she is evil, and he remembers twisted versions of their time in the games.
With help from District 13 doctors and friends, he slowly begins to regain parts of his real memories, although the process is overwhelming and tedious for him. President Coin sends him on the final mission into the Capitol with the squad of soldiers that includes Katniss, Gale, and Finnick, where he struggles with his memories and trauma. Realizing the danger in which he puts the group and the difficulty he causes them, he asks to be killed when it seems that he will lose control and try to kill Katniss. Katniss fiercely refuses and kisses him, which seems to make him stable.
Peeta later votes not to have a Hunger Games featuring Capitol children. When the war ends, Peeta survives and eventually returns to District 12 with Katniss. Later he and Katniss marry, and have two children, who are able to live in a world without the Hunger Games. Peeta’s actual age or birthday are never given, but it’s assumed that he’s the same age as Katniss because he was in her grade when he first heard her sing. His favorite color is orange, not “like Effie’s hair” but “soft, like the sunset”.
Haymitch Abernathy is a “paunchy, middle-aged man” who was the victor of the 50th Hunger Games. Since winning made him independently wealthy, he has spent almost all of his intervening leisure intoxicated to the point of embarrassment. Being the only surviving Hunger Games champion from District 12 (there had only been two in history), Haymitch acts as a mentor for Peeta and Katniss before they enter the Games, as he has for every tribute in the twenty-five years since his own victory. He is often sarcastic and anything but sober, which Katniss finds highly irritating. However, when pushed, he emerges as the pair’s greatest advocate and shows himself to be highly canny as he guides his protégés in a cleverly designed, highly unorthodox strategy aimed at ensuring the survival of both tributes.
Although she disliked him greatly at first due to his drinking and his harshness, Katniss later realizes that he is tired of seeing children placed under his care for the Games only to die, and also that he cares a lot about Peeta and Katniss. After being in the arena, she realizes that drinking was his form of escape from the nightmares caused by his experiences as a tribute. During the book Catching Fire it is said that the liquor supply in District 12 had run out and Haymitch had gone insane, causing him to shake violently and have visions that only he could see. It was left up to Katniss and Peeta to coax him back to health (and get him more liquor). After this Katniss begins to develop a true affection and respect for him. Katniss also realizes that she and Haymitch both think alike, since they were able to communicate through the gifts that he sends her in the arena.
Haymitch was a participant in the second Quarter Quell, when each district had to send four tributes into the arena. He became an ally to a girl named Maysilee Donner but watched her die and was unable to help her (much like Katniss being unable to save Rue, except that Maysilee broke off the partnership shortly before her death, while Rue didn’t). During the games he had also found his way past a wall of shrubbery and to the edge of the arena, where a force field that flung whatever was tossed at it back blocked the participants from exit.
When the games came down to him and another tribute, the girl threw her weapon at him, leaving the two of them without weapons. However, the force field sent the weapon back at her, killing her, leaving Haymitch the victor. Within two weeks of this edition Hunger Games, Haymitch’s mother, younger brother, and girlfriend were killed by President Snow as punishment for Haymitch using the force field to his advantage. Unlike Finnick, he was not used as a prostitute by President Snow since he had no one that Snow could hold over him.
Gale is an 18-year-old who is Katniss’s best friend and hunting partner. Like Katniss, he has black hair, olive skin, and gray eyes. His father died in the same explosion that killed Katniss’s father. While hunting, the pair combined their respective talents, his at trapping and hers at archery, to become a highly effective team. Their success makes them fixtures at District 12′s black market, the Hob, where they trade their illegal game for other valuable items. Gale has three siblings: Rory, Vick and Posy. Gale does not accept the authority of the Capitol and even suggests half-seriously that the two flee to escape selection for the Hunger Games.
Gale is in love with and fiercely devoted to Katniss, although she doesn’t know it at the time. He kisses her after a hunt one day, in the second book, and the two are never really the same again. During the tightened security in Catching Fire, Gale is caught with a turkey he shot in the woods. Though he claims he found it in the district, he is whipped severely, but Katniss’s mother eventually helps him heal. He returns at the end of Catching Fire to tell Katniss that District 12 was destroyed, but that he managed to evacuate about 10% of the population.
Gale lives in District 13 in Mockingjay and spends most of his time working with Beetee to create bombs that prey on human instinct, one of which is used on Capitol children, killing Prim in the process. He is also in Katniss’s “Star Squad” on their mission to assassinate Snow. At the end of Mockingjay, he has found a job in District 2 and is speculated to be married and settled, a fact for which Katniss says she is relieved, even as she could never truly forgive him for the role his bombs played in the death of her sister.
Primrose Everdeen is Katniss’s younger sister, who is called “Prim”. Her face is described as “very pretty” and “as fresh as a raindrop, as lovely as the primrose for which she was named.” Like her mother, she has blonde hair and blue eyes, causing her to be out of place in the Seam. She has her name put in the reaping for the first time at the 74th Hunger Games in the first book, at which point she is 12 years old. In Mockingjay, she is 13.
Her name is chosen at the reaping for the 74th Hunger Games, and it is in order to save her that Katniss volunteers in her place. Primrose also elicits a promise from Katniss that she will do all that she can to win the Hunger Games, which provides impetus to Katniss’s actions.
Prim is thoughtful, sweet, and somewhat delicate in spite of all she has been put through at a young age. She is a skilled healer, and is singled out by District 13 to train to be a doctor. During Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Katniss sees a change in her personality, as she has become more solemn and mature. Katniss once said that Prim is “the only person I’m certain I love and would do anything to protect her.” In Mockingjay a firebomb kills Prim, causing Katniss to go into a deep depression. Publishers Weekly was pleased with the fact that Prim’s character expanded in Mockingjay and readers were able to know her better. She will be portrayed in the upcoming The Hunger Games film by actress Willow Shields.
President Coriolanus Snow
The main antagonist of the series, President Snow is the autocratic ruler of the Capitol and all of Panem. Though seemingly laid-back, this hides a sadistic and psychopathic mind. He initially appears in The Hunger Games when he crowns Katniss and Peeta as victors, but he doesn’t speak to Katniss face-to-face until Catching Fire, when he pays her a visit at home and tells her that he is angry that both she and Peeta were allowed to survive the Hunger Games, as their act of defiance (preferring joint suicide to the prospect of one killing the other) has ignited rebellion in several of the Districts. She is too prominent to kill, but he threatens her family and Gale unless she proves to the Districts that her act of saving Peeta was merely that of a love-crazed teenager and was not related to any desire to defy the Capitol.
Later, Snow indicates to her that she failed in this, meaning that some or all of his threats will come true. President Snow is described as having very puffy lips, which are most likely the result of an appearance-altering operation that is very popular in the Capitol. Katniss describes him as exuding a smell of blood and roses. In Mockingjay, it is revealed that the smell of blood is due to mouth sores he got from one of the poisons that he used to kill people in his monomaniacal efforts to control Panem. He drank the poison in order to allay suspicions, then took the antidote, but they could not cure him of the sores. He also smells strongly of genetically enhanced roses. He always wears a white rose in his lapel to cover the scent of blood.
The strong smell invariably makes Katniss gag. He is said to have prostituted winning tributes, forcing them to have sex with wealthy Capitol denizens, under threat of killing their loved ones if they refuse. Snow claims he only kills for a purpose and he promises Katniss he will always tell her the truth. Whether these assertions are true or not is left up to interpretation by Katniss. He dies at the end of Mockingjay, but it is uncertain whether he choked to death on his own blood from his untreated mouth sores, or whether he was trampled by a crowd of people.