In the world of dystopian novels and films, there are very few that are as simultaneously exciting and terrifyingly prescient as The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games is really the story of Katniss Everdeen and her experiences as a tribute, victor, and rebel in the oppressive state of Panem, but obviously the actual Hunger Games are a huge factor in the story as well.
The Games themselves are one of the most intricate and complex aspects of the entire world of THG, and it’s easy to miss a lot of the small details of the Games that make them so unique and horrifying. So you may have seen or read The Hunger Games, but here are 10 things that you likely never knew about the Hunger Games themselves.
10 A Cornucopia Of Gifts
In every arena, the Cornucopia is one of the most distinct parts of the game. As anyone who has seen The Hunger Games knows, it’s where every game is kicked off and it’s usually home to a lot of valuable items.
But the Cornucopia isn’t just a mess of possible weapons and supplies strewn about haphazardly. In order to make the risk taking more enticing, the rewards are increased as well. Meaning that the items that are found deepest in the Cornucopia are the most useful and valuable in the game, but obviously it’s much more dangerous to go that deep into it.
9 Volunteering Isn’t Always A Sacrifice
Most sane people wouldn’t want to be chosen as a tribute in the Hunger Games, but what is astounding about this competition is that in the districts where tributes are generally favored, a lot of kids voluntarily take the place of the selected tribute in the hopes of winning the games and getting the spoils.
These tributes are often called “career tributes”, and they typically spend years training in order to prepare themselves for the games and hopefully win. And it should come as no surprise, but these tributes typically dominate the games, and it’s rare that anyone besides a career tribute actually wins.
8 When You’ve Won, You’re Done
The Hunger Games is a massive nationwide undertaking that has a lot of rules and regulations. And one of the established rules of the games is that once you’ve actually won the game, you can’t ever be selected again.
Obviously the likelihood of being chosen in the lottery twice is very small anyway, but one of the many rewards that victors are supposed to reap from victory is the fact that they’re safe for the rest of their lives. And of course, this major rule was broken in the 75th Quarter Quell, where every single tribute was actually someone who had already won the game.
7 Viewership Is Mandatory
The Hunger Games is obviously promoted as the event of the year for the entirety of Panem, and it is promoted as an entertainment event designed to both memorialize the previous war and to keep it’s audience enthralled.
But there is clearly a darker purpose, which is keeping everyone in every district afraid of the government and too scared to step out of line. And as a result of that purpose, watching the Hunger Games isn’t exactly optional. It’s a difficult rule to enforce, but every citizen of Panem is actually required to watch the Hunger Games.
6 Targets On Your Back
The rating process that all tributes go through is kind of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, getting a high score before the games can make certain contestants much more intimidating and more likely to get sponsorships, but those high scores also make said tribute a much higher target.
And sometimes the scoring system can be gamed to the advantage of certain players, for instance, Johanna Mason went out of her way to appear weak in her ranking tests so that the other tributes wouldn’t fear her as a threat, and then once she got to the arena she completely flipped the script and won the game.
5 The Youth Advantage
Rue may be cute as a button, but she was extraordinarily unlucky to be chosen for the Hunger Games. I mean, everyone who is chosen for the games is unlucky in their own right (unless they’re maybe one of the volunteer careers), but the games also favors older children for tribute selection.
In what way, you may ask? Well, every year each potential tribute’s name is entered into the lottery every time. So if a kid is 12, their name has been entered once, if they’re 13 it’s been entered twice, and so on, until they hit the age of 18 and get their name entered six times.
4 Winning Isn’t Always About Killing
Obviously, if a tribute is a proficient killer, they are far more likely to fare well in the games or even win the entire event. However, that is not always the deciding factor when it comes to winning the Games. Most tributes win by killing their competitors, but every arena is filled with dangers that can kill tributes too.
As we’ve seen in Katniss’ Hunger Games, anyone can be killed by anything, and there have even been winners that essentially won by default. For example, Annie Cresta wound up winning her Hunger Games because the arena flooded and she was the strongest swimmer left.
3 There Have Been Almost 2,000 Tributes
It’s gruesome enough to realize that nearly two dozen children each year were sacrificed on the altar of Panem’s glorious games, but when looked at in the overall context of the historical Hunger Games it’s even more horrifying to think about.
24 tributes a year over 75 years means that there have been 1,800 tributes in the history of the game (it would have been 1,824 if the last Hunger Games hadn’t reused previous tributes). Panem certainly wanted to scare the hell out of its citizens, and what better way to do that than with nearly 2,000 dead children?
There are a lot of aims behind the creation and maintenance of the Hunger Games, but aside from all of the political and social implications of the event, they are ultimately designed to entertain the masses as well. And as a result, obviously the game makers will do things to spice everything up if the “show” is getting too boring.
One of the easiest ways to make that happen is “feasts”, which are essentially restocks of the Cornucopia after the initial bloodbath in order to draw as many contestants back towards it, and back into confrontations with one another as well.
1 Don’t Eat The Rich
One of the darker quirks of the Hunger Games is that although one name is picked out of the tribute lottery for both girls and boys, there aren’t equal odds for everyone who has entered.
Yes, the kids that are older are more likely to be chosen, but the kids who have been entered more times are also more likely to be chosen. Children can acquire food rations from the government by entering their names in more times, which means that the poorer someone’s family is, the more likely they are to be chosen as tributes for the Hunger Games.
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