The Hunger Games series is easily one of the best YA trilogies ever written, providing readers with political intrigue, well-developed characters and a thoughtful, highly-flawed yet moving heroine. It’s also got one of the best love triangles in YA fiction as a secondary plot, where the heroine is torn between the familiar best friend who has helped her support her family over the years and the boy with the bread, who initially provided food for her family and gave her hope. The young men are polar opposites and although Katniss Everdeen eventually does choose Peeta Mellark over Gale Hawthorne, some fans argue that she should have chosen Gale, who knew her better and for longer.
Author Suzanne Collins gave readers plenty of reasons why Katniss and Peeta also work well together, and they do develop a chemistry together that feels stronger than any feelings between Katniss and Gale. Peeta loves Katniss and would do anything for her, and in the post-revolutionary world she should be able to choose whom her heart wants rather than the most practical suitor. While her feelings seem to point toward Peeta, there’s no denying that she seems jealous over Gale kissing someone else in District 2, or that they made a better fighting and hunting team than she and Peeta did.
After finishing the books, the films and scouring over author and cast member comments, we’ve come to realize that there’s even more to Katniss and Gale’s history than meets the eye.
Here are Hunger Games: 20 Wild Revelations About Katniss And Gale’s Relationship.
20 They needed each other to survive District 12
One could argue that a possible romance between Gale Hawthorne and Katniss Everdeen was doomed from the start simply due to the pair forging their relationship out of survival. They both needed to support their families with their hunting and trapping skills and they relied upon one another to bring in enough game and foraged plants to provide for their houses.
Even so, Gale obviously chose to stick with Katniss out of love, given that he’d already been trapping before she came along and first saw her as competition for food rather than an ally. Many young women in District 12 also sought Gale’s favor, so it was more Katniss’s desperation and Gale’s infatuation that led to their hunting partnership and friendship.
19 Gale Would Be A Better Symbol Of The Rebellion Than Katniss
Of all of the youth in the Hunger Games series, Gale Hawthorne best epitomizes what the rebellion means. He’s a fit, handsome young man who has struggled to support his family to the point of entering his name for the Reaping 42 times. His hatred for the Capitol is fueled by a rage that seems to surpass that of any other citizen. He’s an obvious choice as a rebellious symbol, and he’s much more willing to fight than Katniss Everdeen.
Plutarch Heavensbee knows that the people wouldn’t follow Gale into battle as ardently as they would a lovesick 16-year-old girl who not only survived the Hunger Games but sacrificed herself to save her little sister as well as her boyfriend. He was Head Gamemaker for a reason.
18 Gale Completely Understands Katniss
While Peeta fell for the girl who sang like a bird on the first day of school, he never got to know her like her best friend Gale did. Gale completely gets Katniss, from her self-preservation strategies to her deepest desires. Gale notices how she kisses Peeta differently and he even seems to see her as calculating at times, such as when he tells Peeta that she’ll choose the young man that she “can’t survive without.“
While this seems like an uncaring assessment of Katniss, these are choices she’s had to make her whole life. Gale not only understands this but has seen her make them again and again in order to keep her sister alive. Peeta, whose life was far from perfect but didn’t live in the Seam, doesn’t share Gale’s understanding.
17 Jennifer Lawrence Sabotaged Every Kissing Scene
Jennifer Lawrence is known for her humor and practical jokes, so it shouldn’t surprise any fan to learn that she sabotaged all of her kisses with Gale on purpose. According to actor Liam Hemsworth, who portrayed Gale, prior to any kissing scene, Jennifer Lawrence would ingest garlic, tuna fish or some other disgusting food to make the scene all the more unbearable. He told Jimmy Fallon, “Any time I had to kiss Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable.”
Knowing that Hemsworth and Lawrence were best friends as this went down makes it a little more bearable and a lot funnier, but the fact remains that beneath every kiss had an icky stench and flavor, which had to detract from any chemistry felt on the set.
16 Gale Has The Same Job That Took Out Her Dad
Once Gale is grown, he takes on the same job that most people in the Seam end up doing: working in the mines, an intensely dangerous career that results in health hazards from poor conditions and long hours, loss of life, and a lifetime of drudgery and exhaustion. To be fair, all of the Districts in Panem, aside from the rich ones, have impoverished conditions, too.
Katniss still grieves for the loss of her father from working in these same mines, so discovering that Gale now has the same job has to be hard for her, whether she’s in love with him or not. While it wasn’t a surprise, it surely wasn’t a comfort, even if he is no longer eligible for the annual Reaping.
15 They Can Communicate Without Speaking
The silent communication between Katniss and Gale is impressive throughout the series, particularly in the final book and film. They move in rhythm with each other, knowing one another’s goals without ever having to speak them, whether it’s regarding a formation or what to do if one of them gets captured.
Some criticism has been directed at this seemingly perfect accord in the books, as the two aren’t exactly twins, but they’ve been partners in hunting long enough to sense one another’s actions in battle. It took years of practice for the friends to become so attuned to one another’s thoughts, and many of us can can testify to acting in perfect harmony with a close friend or loved one in the same way.
14 Gale Only Ever Cries Over Katniss
We only witness Gale cry once throughout the series, and it’s not following the demise of Primrose Everdeen, the loss of District 12 or even when getting hurt in battle. The only time Gale cries is over Katniss, which supports his deep feelings for the Girl on Fire. Recalling the words to the song that Katniss sings for a propaganda shoot with Cressida and her film crew during Mockingjay, Gale tears up when he says that he feels as if he is the man in the song, who will forever be waiting for Katniss’s answer.
It’s a bit of a melodramatic moment, particularly in the middle of a war, but it’s also understandable that Gale wants an answer when it’s plain that any moment could be his last– not to mention that he’s a teenager with strong emotions.
13 They Follow Each Other’s Lead
Not only have Katniss and Gale followed each others’ leads in the woods as a hunting team so well that they work in almost perfect synchronicity with one another, but they continue that deep knowledge of one another’s intentions on the battle field as well. Whether they need to complete a quick attack or carry out a plan that requires multiple steps, they are always on the same page as a team.
It’s a stark contrast with poor Peeta, with his big feet clomping in the woods and making noise during the first book while Katniss attempted to find them food. While Peeta’s eloquence prior to the Games and his artistic and diplomatic skills during them come in handy, he’s obviously not equipped to fight or forage in the wild as Katniss and Gale can.
12 Gale Calls Katniss Out On Her Lies
While we need to keep in mind that it’s the self-preservation of a teenage girl who’s seen violence and poverty every day of her life, the fact remains that Katniss is a pretty big liar. She will do whatever it takes to survive as long as it means keeping her family, and especially her little sister, Prim, alive. When Katniss tells Gale that she feels wrong kissing Peeta because of him, for example, Gale scoffs that he wishes he could believe her words.
Gale is the only person close to Katniss who really challenges her and calls her out on her lies, which is the mark of a good partner. While Peeta eventually becomes more willing to challenge Katniss as a partner, he doesn’t seem nearly as good at is as Gale.
11 Gale Didn’t Volunteer For The Games To Help Katniss’ Family
After Katniss volunteered for the Hunger Games in her sister’s stead at the annual reaping, Gale likely considered volunteering in Peeta’s place in order to save his love. Knowing that he had to care for not only his family but Katniss’s while she was in the Games is probably the only thing that kept him from volunteering as tribute.
The Hunger Games could have had an entirely different ending had Gale opted to volunteer in place of Peeta. Not only would Gale and Katniss have made a great team during the Games, but had Katniss utilized the same nightlock berry plan to save them, it would have seemed more believable. Snow may have bought their plan and Katniss and Gale would likely have moved into Victor’s Village, married and possibly remained there without ever starting a rebellion.
10 Gale Wanted To Run Away With Katniss
It’s important to note that Gale, who regularly mocked the Capitol in private with his best friend and spoke of taking down the whole system if given the chance, was willing to throw his values asid in order to run away with Katniss After the events of the trilogy it’s evident that Gale was born to be a leader as well as a military official, but he would have given all of that up had Katniss chosen him as her husband.
Both of the teens change their minds about running away at different points in the series, but Gale’s instinct to put Katniss, along with his family, over any sense of duty or rebellion that he feels points toward his commitment to the girl from the Seam.
9 His special nickname for her
The fact that Gale Hawthorne is the only person who can refer to Katniss Everdeen as “Catnip,” his special nickname for the young woman, is reminiscent of so many other great love stories, while Peeta Mellark’s lack of nickname for Katniss is just further evidence that he doesn’t know her as well as Gale does.
To be fair, we are pretty sure that Katniss would punch the lights out of anyone else who dared call her Gale’s special nickname. There’s also the fact that many brothers and sisters share silly nicknames for one another, giving this tidbit an ambiguous nature.
8 Their Fundamentally Different Views
Katniss Everdeen typically makes decisions to avoid loss of life, even at personal cost. Gale Hawthorne’s views are fundamentally different, as he argues from a more traditional standpoint where casualties of war are acceptable as long as they help win it.
Gale is also eager to jump on the “Let’s take out the Capitol!” wagon, while Katniss would rather run and save her sister and herself. In the end, fighting the Capitol did result in the loss of her sister and thousands of other citizens, but it did end the fascist regime that controlled Panem and, hopefully, resulted in the freedom for everyone in the country. It’s also important to note, as ever, that these two are teenagers faced with daily violence and a revolution. They shouldn’t even have to make decisions like these.
7 Gale Never Told Katniss He Loved Her Before The Games
If there’s something that Peeta Mellark can do better than Gale Hawethorne, it’s express himself verbally. He managed to declare his love for Katniss Everdeen live on national television during his interview with the colorful host Caesar Flickerman, not only as an act of truth but as a strategy to help Katniss have a stronger chance of winning the Hunger Games.
Poor Gale wasn’t able to tell her that he loved her even while knowing it was possibly the last time that he would ever see her. He was able to hand Katniss a variety of slayed animals, mock the Capitol in their secret place, trust her with his own life and teach her how to trap, but he couldn’t voice his own feelings.
6 Their Chemistry Is So Palpable Even Snow Notices It
While most of the passionate moments in the series belong to Katniss and Peeta, there’s no denying the physical chemistry between Katniss and her best friend, Gale. Most of these instances occur during vulnerable, emotional moments during which Katniss seems to seek comfort above all else.
Given the fact that she only sees Gale as a friend much of the time, there’s more of a sibling between them, but the fact that even Snow could see chemistry between the two friends proves that it was there. Gale obviously carried a torch for Katniss more than she reciprocated, but the fact that romantic feelings existed between them still can’t be denied.
5 Gale Didn’t Save Katniss’ Future In-Laws
We’ll likely never know exactly what happened during the evacuation of District 12 following the Quarter Quell, but we do know that Gale was responsible for saving many of the citizens who managed to escape the bombing that lay waste to the District. Most of the citizens didn’t make it out, but it’s a little eyebrow raising that Peeta’s family weren’t among those who received Gale’s aid.
Although there was no way that Gale could have saved everyone even if he tried, there remains some question as to whether or not he even thought about attempting to assist Peeta Mellark’s family.
4 His responsibility in Prim’s fate
Gale’s plans to take out the most people possible by sending a two-bomb attack targeting those arriving to assist the wounded may have seemed like good strategy, but it disgusted Katniss to no end. It ended up being the very plan that resulted in the loss of Primrose Everdeen, the little duck whom Katniss volunteered for in the first place.
Although Gale would never intend to take out Prim, Snow’s denial implies that it was District 13’s bombs and not his own that resulted in the massacre, as he’s never lied to Katniss and would likely gloat had it been his own act. This is something their relationship would never really recover from.
3 Katniss Wouldn’t Have Survived The Games Without Gale’s Training
Katniss Everdeen is definitely one of the most cunning and capable heroines of our time, which is why we love her so much. It would be a disservice to both her and her best friend to ignore that several of her skills were taught to her by Gale Hawthorne. He’s not the prime reason she and her family survived, but he definitely helped her learn several of the hunting tips and tricks that she uses on a daily basis that helped her win the Hunger Games.
This doesn’t detract from Katniss’ character at all. Rather, it shows how important her friends are to her. Much of her survival through her first Games also depended on Rue, whom she befriended during the Games.
2 We Have No Idea What Happens To Gale
After focusing on Gale Hawthorne so much in the series and knowing how important he was to Katniss, we never find out what happens to Gale in District 2– or if he ever even finds happiness. What about his family that he worked so hard to protect? Does he truly never send Katniss any letters or make time to visit?
Maybe Gale feels too guilty to visit his best friend over his role in the loss of her sister. Maybe it’s too painful for him to visit the person he thought he’d marry someday. But the fact that Annie Cresta, Finnick Odair’s widow, whom Katniss barely knew, is able to send her baby pictures while Gale can’t even drop a postcard speaks volumes.
1 They Could Have Easily Gotten Married
After Katniss was sent back to District 12 following her trial for the assassination of Alma Coin, not only did she never truly say goodbye to Gale, but she didn’t even converse with Peeta until she saw him back at home. Peeta could have easily chosen to remain in the Capitol as an eloquent leader just as Katniss could have married Gale upon returning to District 12.
The fact that Gale’s heartless war plan was possibly used in the harrowing moment of Mockingjay that resulted in the loss of Primrose Everdeen was likely the major deciding factor. Had Prim lived, Gale and Katniss might still be hunting together, but it showed Katniss Gale’s warlike ways and ruined their chance of happiness together.
Do you have anything to share about Katniss and Peeta’s relationship in The Hunger Games? Let us know in the comments!