The Hunger Games Important Characters

Katniss Everdeen

Katniss Everdeen lives in the Seam, an area of District 12. Her father is dead and her mother has emotionally removed herself from the family. She is just now starting to come back to the family, after being devastated by the loss of her husband.

Katniss is still in school, but she is also an adult, because she is primarily responsible for her family. Her family consists of her mother and her twelve-year-old sister Primrose. Katniss will do anything to ensure Primrose's happiness and well-being.

To bring in food and money, Katniss poaches animals and edible plants outside the fence surrounding the district. She and her best friend Gale, an eighteen-year-old young man, work together to hunt and forage to sustain their families.

Therefore, it is only natural for Katniss to volunteer to take her sister's place, when her name is called in the reaping. Katniss knows she has a better chance of surviving the Games, which are a fight to the death, than her younger sister.

Along with Katniss, Peeta Mellark is also chosen to represent District 12 in the Games. Katniss and Peeta have a history that goes back five years, to the day he made sure she received some bread from his parents' bakery. This bread meant the difference between starvation and living, a debt Katniss does not take lightly. She knows she must try to not kill Peeta herself, if she can help it.

The two are thrown together in the Games, pretending to be in love. Katniss is pretending, but for Peeta the feelings are real. Katniss and Peeta survive by working together, but in the end she breaks Peeta's heart as he learns she does not return his feelings.

Katniss is a brave and loyal sibling, who is willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the welfare of her sister. She also feels conflicted about her relationship with Peeta. She doesn't know if she thinks of him as friend or as a boyfriend.

Peeta Mellark

Peeta's family is more financially secure than Katniss', because they own a bakery. Peeta is a sensitive young man with a knack for cake decorating, which serves him well in the Games, when he has to camouflage himself. He is also in love with Katniss and has been for a number of years. He wants to help her win the Games, even if it means he has to temporarily look like a traitor to her. He does this by aligning with the Careers, who are searching for Katniss. He joins up with them so he can protect her from them.

In the end Katniss and Peeta team up to win the Games, only to have the rules changed on them at the end. But when Katniss proposes they kill themselves, instead of each other, Peeta goes along with her idea. They are both relieved the moment the Gamemakers declare them winners.

Peeta is devastated to learn Katniss was for the most part acting like she was in love with him. She did this to ensure they would receive the sponsorships necessary to survive the Games. He, at the end, holds her hand one last time to please the awaiting crowds, as they return home the victors of the Hunger Games.

Primrose Everdeen

She is Katniss' younger sister and the reason Katniss is participating in the Hunger Games. If her name had not been called in the reaping, then Katniss would never have volunteered for the Games.

Primrose is twelve and naïve, she is much loved and protected by her older sister. She is also the one person who Katniss is willing to go through the trials of the Games for, because whenever she feels she cannot go on, Katniss thinks of her sister. Since she is unable to let her down, it gives her the motivation needed to keep on pursuing her dream of winning the Games.

Haymitch Abernathy

He is the last person to win the Games from District 12, so he is Katniss and Peeta's mentor for the Games. The problem is he is lazy and a drunk. His main advice to them, in the beginning of the journey to Capitol, is to stay alive. This is not exactly the kind of advice they want to hear from him and Peeta shows his displeasure by punching Haymitch in the jaw. This gets his attention and he realizes Katniss and Peeta might actually have a chance of winning the Games.

After this he becomes more helpful, suggesting they play up their romance and promoting them to sponsors. In the end, he tells Katniss she is in danger from the Capitol and how to get out of it. He is also the person who unwittingly lets Peeta know Katniss is not really in love with him. He does this on the train home, by telling them to keep up the good job for the cameras until they reach home. Peeta becomes aware it has all been an act for Katniss, which upsets him.

Haymitch starts out a poor mentor, but in the end does a good job of protecting his charges.


Cato is a Career, which is a person who is professionally trained for the Games. These young people usually come from the more affluent districts and are more likely to win the Games. Cato especially hates Katniss, because she received a higher score from the Gamemakers than he did, before the Games officially started.

He is ruthless and powerful, which makes him a formidable opponent. He along with Katniss and Peeta are the last to survive the Games. He takes Peeta hostage in an effort to force Katniss into making a mistake which costs her her life, so he can win. His plan backfires after Katniss shoots him in the hand with an arrow, forcing him to release his hold on Peeta. He is eventually killed by Katniss, but only after being attacked by the mutants.

Cato is not able to accept defeat or being let down by any of the members of his alliance, nor is he able to control his temper. These faults lead to his downfall.


Rue is a small girl from District 11, who helps Katniss when she is trapped up a tree by the Careers. She also forms an alliance with Katniss, which allows them to blow up the Careers supplies. She is killed by a boy from District 1, as Katniss watches. He impales her with a spear, but she lives for a little while and Katniss comforts her until the end. It is because of her, Katniss has the strength to defy the Gamemakers. First Katniss defies them by decorating Rue's body with flowers, which is forbidden by them and second, she defies them at the end by trying the double suicide.

Rue is a gentle girl who teaches Katniss how to sing with the mockingjays.


Gale is Katniss' best friend. He is the only person who makes her feels safe, since her father died. He teaches her how to make a trap to catch small animals, helps her forage for food, and allows her to be herself. She wonders, after the Games, if maybe he could become her boyfriend. She is undecided if she wants to change their current relationship. She thinks of him often during the Games and wonders what his reaction is to her romance with Peeta. She hopes her victory doesn't change how he and her relate to each other, because she would miss his friendship.

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The Hunger Games Chapters 1 - 3 Summary
The Hunger Games Chapters 4 - 7 Summary
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The Hunger Games Chapters 1 - 3 Quiz
The Hunger Games Chapters 4 - 7 Quiz
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The Hunger Games Chapters 8 - 10 Summary
The Hunger Games Chapters 11 - 14 Summary
The Hunger Games Chapters 15 - 18 Summary
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The Hunger Games Chapters 26 - 27 Summary
Literature Summaries

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