The Hunger Games featured one of the strongest and most complex heroines in recent young adult fiction and movies, Katniss Everdeen. Apart from being a heroine that you could root for, we saw Katniss grow through the many challenges that she was forced to face.
In the novels, we learned even more about our heroine and the path that led her to save her sister, Primrose, from being reaped as tribute in the cruel game played by the Capitol. Katniss famously yells, “I volunteer as tribute!” This protected her sister and led Katniss down a path that she thankfully survived, although just barely. Read on to learn more about the things that you never knew about Katniss, both from the movies, the casting, and especially, the books.
10 Still in Grief Over Her Father
Katniss was especially close to her father. By the time the story starts, her father has already been dead for some time, leading her to become the provider for the family. She develops the hunting skills that her father taught her in order to give her family food.
In the book, we see more of her inner thoughts and turmoil over her father’s death. We also have hints of it in the movies. It was clear that her father was not only an important and beloved person to Katniss, but he was part of the reason that she became such a strong and independent woman.
9 Hadn’t Sung Since Her Dad Died
In the book, we learn that Katniss had a beautiful voice. She was close to her father, who liked to sing. However, when her father dies, she stops singing. Katniss hadn’t sung for years.
This makes her singing to Rue extra special. It shows how much Rue’s death affected her, making her break her pact and desire to never sing again. While we see Katniss sing in the movie, we lose some of this valuable backstory.
8 Rue’s District Sent Katniss Bread
It was rare that another district would send a tribute from a different district any package. Since District 11, Rue’s district, sent Katniss bread, it showed how much they connected with her and appreciated her kindness towards Rue. It was one of the first steps in uniting the less privileged districts.
In addition, District 11 was very poor, meaning that many people would have had to sacrifice and pool their resources together in order to help Katniss.
7 Was Olive-Skinned with Dark Hair
Initially, fans of the books were uncomfortable with Jennifer Lawrence cast in Katniss’s role. While Katniss’s race was never specifically addressed, the Katniss of the books did have an olive skin tone and dark hair.
Additionally, she was underfed but slight with muscle. Jennifer Lawrence wasn’t the person that fans had in their minds. However, Lawrence played the role so well, that many fans forgot their previous criticism.
6 Didn’t Want to Become a Symbol
Throughout the story, Katniss becomes a symbol to unite people against the Capitol. She uses that power to save those that she loves. While she may believe in some of the ideals of the more impoverished districts, she really just wants to survive, and for those she loves to survive as well.
In later movies and books, the mysterious District 13 tries to use her as a symbol to bring down the Capitol. However, President Coin of District 13 turns out to be as twisted as those in power at the Capitol. She wants to make the children of the Capitol suffer and have to play the games. Katniss realizes this and tries to take down District 13, as well. At the end of the day, Katniss doesn’t want this notoriety. She wants to be left alone and live another day with her friends and family.
5 Saw Rue and Peeta as Being Like Primrose, Her Sister
Katniss saw Rue as a major extension of her sister. Rue was about the same age, slight, and unlikely to make it out alive. Originally, Primrose was meant to be the tribute. No doubt, Katniss imagined Rue as Primrose, with odds stacked against her. Because of this, Katniss tries to protect Rue, just like she would her sister.
Additionally, Katniss admires that Peeta is kind-hearted just like her sister. His kindness and willingness to help others eventually lead her to realize that she cares for him more than she does about her childhood friend/sweetheart, Gale.
4 Used Her Hunting Skills to Save Her Family
When her father died, Katniss decided that she needed to take care of her family. To do so, she learned how to hunt and provide food for them. Later, these are the very same survival skills that end up helping her survive in the game, as well.
Unlike the Career tributes, who built their skills and trained in order to play the games, Katniss’s skills came from necessity. Training was a luxury.
3 Had More Freedom in District 12
Although there was still a hierarchy in District 12, the lines were more blurred. Those that were slightly wealthier still resided and worked alongside those who were not. Since District 12 was on the outskirts (so to speak), it became slightly more neglected than the other districts. This neglect benefited Katniss. She was able to improve her hunting skills and provide for her family. In addition, she was able to befriend several types of people, including Madge, the mayor’s daughter.
Madge doesn’t appear in the film series, but she is really important in the books. Katniss and Madge are close, although they are from different backgrounds. The fact that Katniss was allowed to become friends with a member of the local elite speaks to the unique freedom that existed in District 12.
2 Madge Gave Her the Mockingjay Pin
In the book series, Madge gives Katniss the Mockingjay pin. Although this is not in the movie, it is important that Madge was the one giving Katniss the pin. Madge, from the local elite, recognizes something important and rebellious in Katniss. Although it isn’t necessarily directly stated, it seems that Madge does know the symbolism of the pin. While the pin once belonged to Madge’s aunt and is a thing of value, she easily and willingly gives it to her friend, showing that her friendship with Katniss is of greater value.
In addition, Katniss’s friendship with Madge shows that Katniss recognizes shades of gray, unlike her friend Gale. She recognizes that there is potential good in others and that many people (regardless of social status) are caught in the same ugly games as her less privileged family. The friendship also shows that Katniss has the ability to gather and unite people from varying backgrounds.
1 Bonded with Peeta Due to the Games
We see Katniss in a love triangle between Peeta and Gale. Peeta was the kind-hearted man she knew, but initially, had to pretend that she loved in order to survive the games. Gale was her childhood best friend and potential romantic interest, the one which she trusted to protect her family. Both men seemed to be good options.
However, in the end, she chooses Peeta. Since she and Peeta had been through the trauma of the games, they had a bond that couldn’t be duplicated. They knew each other’s tragedies and appreciated life’s small treasures, which made them closer. Gale couldn’t come close to this bond.
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