The Hunger Games universe

The Hunger Games universe

The Hunger Games Universe is a dystopic society in which the The Hunger Games trilogy is set. It consists of the nation of Panem which is located in North America at least 100 years in the future and 75 years after a major war has taken place in that future.



The nation of Panem is the main setting for the trilogy. It "rose out of the ashes" of what was North America, which had been devastated by a global war. There is a controlling Capitol city and twelve districts. The Capitol is located in the Rocky Mountains. Long after the global war, and about 75 years before the start of the first novel, there was a war within Panem in which the districts rebelled against the Capitol. This time was called the "Dark Days", and it resulted in the apparent destruction of District 13 and the creation of the Hunger Games.

As revealed in Mockingjay, Panem comes from the Latin phrase "Panem et Circenses" which means "Bread and Circuses."[1] This is also a reference to the actual Games.

Collins has said that it would take "triple digits" (between 100 and 999 years) for the devastated North America to emerge as Panem.[2]

The Capitol

The city of the Capitol, seat of Panem's totalitarian government, is located in the northwestern Rocky Mountains of the former United States & Canada and is the home of dictator President Coriolanus Snow. The Hunger Games were conceived by Panem's government in the aftermath of a rebellion known only as the Dark Days.

Capitol citizens are shown to be mostly preoccupied with fashion, food, and entertainment. Dyes, tattoos, wigs, and costumes of myriad style and vivid colors are all the rage. Plastic surgery and other extreme makeovers are commonplace. A prime example is Tigris, a character in Mockingjay, a former stylist who has had plastic surgery to make her look like a cat, including whiskers and a very small nose. At parties, the selection of dishes is commonly far greater than would allow a single person to try everything. Guests often drink an emetic to vomit the food they have consumed in order to enjoy more. The entire population of the Capitol eagerly anticipates the annual Hunger Games as the highlight of the year's entertainment. Capitol citizens manifest almost no concern for or even awareness of the desperate, starvation-level poverty conditions in which most district citizens live, or the tremendous injustice and tragedy of the Hunger Games. It appears that most of the citizens from the Capitol have names taken from ancient Rome and ancient Greece.

Citizens of the Capitol speak with a distinctive accent. Katniss describes it as "silly", high pitched with clipped tones and odd vowels, the ends of sentences going up as if they're asking a question and a hiss at the letter "s".[3]

Several major characters come from the Capitol.

District 1

District 1 makes special goods (luxury items) for the Capitol. It appears that all the people from District 1 are named for an attribute of some luxury item. Children there take pride in competing in the Games, and are among the group of tributes nicknamed "Careers", who train for the Games (illegally) from a young age and then volunteer to compete. Once the Games begin, the tributes from the Careers districts (including, at least, Districts 1, 2 and 4) tend to band together until they are forced to fight among themselves, and a disproportionate number of Hunger Games winners are Careers.

In the first book, the tributes from District 1, Marvel and Glimmer, were somewhat important to the story. Katniss was responsible for the death of Glimmer; she dropped a tracker jacker nest on Glimmer. She was also responsible for the death of Marvel, she shot an arrow through his neck. In the second book, Cashmere and Gloss were the District 1 tributes. They contributed to the death of Wiress. They were killed by Katniss and Johanna Mason.

District 2

District 2 is a large district set in the Rocky Mountains not far from the Capitol itself. The district is made up of many small villages, each based around a mine. In the midst of District 2 is a central mountain (referred to as "The Nut" by Katniss) which contains the command and control apparatus for the Capitol's defenses. Originally District 2 specialized only in mining and stone cutting but after the Dark Days war it was also tasked with production of weapons.

During the Dark Days, District 2 was the Capitol's staunchest ally and after that rebellion was over, it received preferential treatment from the Capitol. Its citizens have better living conditions.

In the third book, during the second rebellion, District 2 once again supported the Capitol and was the last district to fall to the rebels. It was one of the few districts whose citizens did not attempt to revolt against the Capitol. Many of the Peacekeepers and a disproportionate number of Victors have come from District 2.

District 2 tributes are known as Careers because they begin training for the games before they are even eligible to enter the drawing. Those who represent 2 in the Games are often volunteers. In the 74th Hunger Games, District 2's tributes, Cato and Clove, were formidable opponents. Clove was the only one who ever came really close to killing Katniss, and Cato was the final tribute to be defeated. In the 75th Games District 2's tributes were Brutus and Enobaria.

District 3

District 3 specializes in electronics. Most of its inhabitants work in factories and are very adept with engineering. Some people think of District 3 as weak, but their intelligence provides many benefits. Its tributes tend to use this to their advantage. In the 74th Hunger Games, the District 3 tribute managed to create a mine field cobbled together from the starting plates. One of previous victors to come from District 3, Beetee, won his games by setting a trap that electrocuted many of the other tributes. He was chosen as a Victor to compete in the 75th Hunger Games, where he attempted to use the wire that came from the Cornucopia to destroy the force field surrounding the arena using the lightning that came in a certain hour. It was Katniss, however, who finished the job before being collected by the hovercraft. Their district bread is a small, square roll.

District 4

District 4 fishes for the Capitol, and is another wealthy district from which Careers hail. In the 74th Hunger games, Katniss kills the girl from 4 by dropping a Tracker Jacker nest on her. Katniss finds important allies in the 75th Hunger Games in the Victors from District 4, Mags and Finnick. Mags was an elderly woman and could make a fishing hook "out of anything," and Finnick's weapon of choice is a trident. Mags was Finnick's mentor in the Hunger Games. Annie Cresta, Finnick's wife, also comes from District 4 and is a Victor who won by her swimming skill. It is said that District 4 has the most "decent-looking" people. Its bread is a salty, fish-shaped loaf tinted green by seaweed.

District 5

District 5's industry is power[4]. The girl tribute from District 5 in the 74th Hunger Games is known as "Foxface" because she looks similar to a fox, with a slim face and sleek red hair; her real name is never mentioned. She was one of the last to die because she was very clever. No description or name was given to the boy from District 5, except he was one of the eleven that died on the first day.

District 6

District 6's industry is Transportation. Not much else is known about this district rather than both tributes in the 75th Games were to protect Katniss and Peeta.

District 7

District 7 specializes in lumber and paper. One of Katniss' allies in the 75th Hunger Games was Johanna Mason, who was very good with an axe. Apparently a large portion of District 7's forest is pine, as Mason comments that pine needles "smell like home."

District 8

District 8 specializes in textiles and has at least one factory where Peacekeeper uniforms are made. Two people from District 8, Bonnie and Twill, escaped during one of the uprisings and informed Katniss of the theory that District 13 still existed. It is implied that security is strict in 8, and the citizens are desperate for hope. District 8 was also one of the first districts to rebel, as Katniss saw on Mayor Undersee's television. In the third book, Katniss visits a hospital in District 8, which is later bombed by the Capitol. The leader of District 8, Paylor, becomes President of Panem after President Snow is deposed and Katniss assassinates President Coin. Even before she became president, Paylor's soldiers were apparently loyal to her, ignoring Coin's orders when she commanded.

District 9

The industry of District 9 is grain. It is mentioned once that District 9 has many factories. The District 9 boy tribute in the 74th Hunger Games is described as having hazel eyes, but whether that is a trait of his region is not stated. He died in the bloodbath after fighting with Katniss over a backpack when he was knifed in the back by Clove, the District 2 tribute.

District 10

District 10 specializes in livestock. Katniss meets a man named Dalton when she arrives in District 13, who is a District 10 cattle farmer. His task is to implant frozen cow embryos - possibly from before North America became Panem - to increase the diversity of the herd. He seems cynical, and is distrustful of District 13. Katniss does not note any major tributes from District 10, except one boy with a crippled leg who is mentioned several times. At the 75th Hunger Games, Katniss notes that the District 10 tributes, who are dressed as cows, have flaming belts on as if they are broiling themselves, in poor imitation of Cinna's techniques to showcase Katniss at the Games.

District 11

District 11 specializes in agriculture. It is located somewhere in the south and is very large. The people are housed in small shacks and there is a harsh peace-keeping force. Common traits are dark skin and brown eyes. According to Rue, many tracker jacker nests were left there, leading the workers to keep medicinal leaves on hand. In the orchards small children where sent into the branches to pick the highest fruit. Sometimes during the height of the harvest they were given night-vision goggles to allow them to work after dark. The district also contained fields of grain and vegetables. The inhabitants apparently had extensive knowledge of herbs.

Thresh and Rue are the tributes from District 11 for the 74th Hunger Games and play important roles. Rue was Katniss's ally and one of her best friends in the arena, but Rue was tragically killed by District 1's Marvel. Thresh was a powerful character who Katniss admired for his pride and refusal to join the Careers. Thresh saved Katniss from Clove, whom he killed with a rock, and spared her because she was friends with Rue. The District 11 tributes for the 75th Hunger Games are Chaff and Seeder, both of whom know of the rebellion.

District 12

District 12 mines coal for the Capitol. Katniss, Peeta, and other major characters come from District 12. It is located in the Appalachian Mountains, and the district itself is split into two areas housing two distinct social classes. "The Seam" is a slum where those who work in the coal mines live, whereas the mercantile class lives in the town. Both classes are easy to distinguish physically: those from the Seam generally have dark hair, grey eyes and olive skin, and those from merchant families usually have blond hair and blue eyes.

District 12 is very poor, and starvation is a major issue for the citizens. Due the lack of food, the local Capitol authority figures — the Mayor and Peacekeepers — often bend the extremely strict Panem laws. The fence surrounding the district and preventing access to the woods is often not electrified, and Katniss and her friend Gale often hunt there for food for their families or to raise money by selling their catches in the local black market. The black market, located at an old coal warehouse named the Hob, was where many of the citizens made their money. The Hob was destroyed by the Peacekeepers in Catching Fire. This was followed by the bombing of the whole district after the escape of the tributes during the 75th Hunger Games. However, Gale managed to evacuate about 10% of the population—"a little under 900 people"—to District 13.[5]

District 12 has only won three Hunger Games: one with a victor who has passed away; the second Quarter Quell (50th games), which was won by Haymitch Abernathy; and the 74th Hunger Games, by Katniss and Peeta.

After the war, it is hinted in Mockingjay that District 12 will produce medicine and start growing some food for Panem instead of producing coal.

District 13

Prior to the Dark Days war, District 13 worked in nuclear technology and mined graphite. During the Dark Days they were one of the major forces of the rebellion. Near the end of the Dark Days they managed to take control of the nuclear arsenal. District 13 was supposedly bombed and destroyed before the first annual Hunger Games at the end of the Dark Days war, but it is hinted and later confirmed in Catching Fire that they have survived, and in Mockingjay it's confirmed that District 13 literally became an underground district when the population retreated to bunkers. The Capitol has spread the story that District 13 was destroyed after the Capitol and District 13 agreed to leave each other alone since District 13 made nuclear weapons and the Capitol didn't want a nuclear war. Also, this underground district has its own farms that they survive on after the Capitol destroyed everything above ground so as not to arouse suspicion. This was something that, according to Katniss, that Capitol had underestimated.

In Mockingjay, District 13 is the center of the new rebellion. The lifestyle in 13 is very strict due to their circumstances. When a citizen wakes up, he or she acquires a temporary tattoo of their personalized schedule for the day. They are also very thrifty and ration food carefully—even a small thing wasted is heavily frowned on, and minor theft is punished by cruel detention. Everyone over the age of 14 is addressed respectfully as "Soldier", since almost everyone in District 13 around the time of the novels is being raised for a military rebellion against the Capitol. The leader of District 13 is President Alma Coin, who aspires to succeed Snow as President of Panem and has orchestrated the events of books two and three to circumvent District 13's truce with the Capitol. Coin is later assassinated by Katniss.

The Hunger Games

Every year since the Dark Days (which occurred 75 years before the events of The Hunger Games), the Capitol hosts an event called the Hunger Games. The Games consists of two children aged 12–18 from each district, one boy and one girl, who are chosen by lottery[6] to compete in a broadcast death tournament, which is mandatory viewing for the whole country. While in general, the District citizens reluctantly watch them and despise them, the Capitol citizens see it as entertainment.

When a citizen turns 12 years old, his or her name is automatically entered in the "reaping," a lottery from which the tributes are drawn. For every year until they turn 18, they are entered in one additional time. Since many families live in poverty, one may be able to receive additional tesserae (one person's meager supply of grain and oil for a year) for each family member, in exchange for extra entries in the reaping. Therefore, for each tessera, one extra entry is placed in the reaping ball (these entries are cumulative, and are added every year.) For example, if a family has three members, a 12-year-old child could opt to take three extra tessera: two for the two family members and one for themselves; thus their name would be entered four times (one is the required entry, and the extra three are for each member of the family). Since these accumulate, if the citizen keeps taking the extra tesserae yearly, they would have their names entered 20 times by the age of 16, 24 by the age of 17, and 28 times by the time they are 18.

On the reaping day, a spokesperson from the Capitol comes and chooses at random one name from each reaping ball, selecting the two tributes who are forced to compete. However, any other citizen of the same sex, from ages 12 to 18, can volunteer for the tribute, as Katniss did for Prim. The tributes are then taken immediately to the Capitol, where they are given a makeover by a team of stylists to look appealing for a TV audience (Katniss's was named Cinna), learn strategy with mentors, and participate in a parade and interviews along with the other tributes. They also receive training with weapons and other supplies which they use to impress a team of judges, the Gamemakers, who then score their skills in accordance. These scores are made public to show who has the best chances of surviving, which can attract sponsors and help with the betting. The day after the final interviews, the Games begin. Most people with the higher scores are targeted first because they are considered to be threats.

The tributes are put into an underground room until game time, where they are lifted up by tubes to the arena built specially for the Games by the Capitol (which is usually surrounded by a force field) that differs every year. They are instructed not to move from the plates they were deposited on for 60 seconds, before rushing to the giant, golden, supply-filled Cornucopia—or else suffer death via the explosives planted around the plates. The initial "bloodbath" begins after a loud gong sounds signaling the start of the games, in which the tributes fight to get the best supplies in the Cornucopia, which can be food, water, weapons, tools, or other useful items. The closer to the Cornucopia they are, the more valuable and useful the items are.

Because so many tributes die in the first few minutes, the Capitol waits until nighttime to broadcast to the surviving tributes the names of the dead. The seal of Panem appears in the sky, followed by the pictures of the dead tributes in district order. The remaining tributes continue fighting and killing each other – if they do not move fast enough or avoid conflict for too long, the Gamemakers sometimes create hazards in order to generate excitement for the viewers and to force the remaining tributes to fight. Another common occurrence is a "Feast," where a boon of extra supplies or food is granted to the tributes, announced at a particular place and time -- though whether it is a lavish feast, carefully relegated supplies, or a single loaf of stale bread for the tributes to fight over is up to the Gamekeepers.

In most Games, a well-stocked group of tributes (called "Careers", usually from the well-off Districts of 1, 2, and 4) band together to hunt down other individuals, until they are the only ones left to fight each other. The last living tribute is crowned victor by the president of Panem and is allowed to live in a special area of their district called the Victor's Village, where houses are well furnished and fully supplied with food. Families in their District also receive parcels for a year.

It is implied that there are no official rules for the Games except for not stepping off the plate until the first 60 seconds are over. However, cannibalism is looked down upon (a tribute in a past Hunger Games had become cannibalistic, seemingly because the Games had driven him insane). But during the 74th Hunger Games, the rules are altered midway through to allow two tributes from the same district to win – though when Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are the only two left, the rule is revoked in an attempt to have them fight one another. This ultimately fails when both decide they would rather kill themselves than have one have to kill the other. They threaten a double suicide, and at the last moment the rule is reinstated, allowing both of them to win. This leads on to the second book and the rebellion is provoked by Katniss and Peeta when officials in the capitol realized they had been manipulated by tributes and the districts, instead of seeing it as a act of love for each other saw it as inspiration for rebellion.

After the games, the victor (or victors in the previous case) is healed by doctors and sent home (after a final celebration and interview in the Capitol) to reside in the Victor's Village with their families. After six months, the victor must take a tour through every district in Panem in order for the Capitol to keep the memory of the Games fresh in everyone's minds. The victor is given a forced celebration and ceremony, usually accompanied by a victory rally and dinner with top officials. The tour begins in the highest numbered district and ends in the victor's district. An extra "Harvest Festival" is provided by the Capitol for the winning district, giving the people more food.

After the final war in which the Capitol was defeated, the arenas were completely destroyed. Memorials were raised and children were taught about them in school.

Quarter Quell

The Quarter Quell is a special Hunger Games that occurs every 25 years.[7] There is always a twist to the Quell that was supposedly planned out at the time the Games were first created. The president selects the year number from the box and reads aloud the new rule. It is unknown, but likely, that the arenas chosen for these Quarter Quell Games were special, for instance the "beautiful but deadly" poison arena for the second, sending a similar message about the Capitol, and the clock for the third, which suggests "only a matter of time."

In the 1st Quarter Quell (25th Hunger Games), each district had to vote on which boy and girl would compete in the Games, instead of being drawn at random, "as a reminder to the rebels that their children were dying because of their choice to initiate violence".

In the 2nd Quarter Quell (50th Hunger Games), an additional boy and girl from each district were chosen to compete, raising the number of tributes to 48 as a reminder that two rebels died for every Capitol citizen. The winner was Haymitch Abernathy, who won by dodging the axe thrown by his opponent. The axe fell off the edge of the arena and hit the force field that Haymitch had previously discovered, causing it to bounce back and kill the girl. Because he used the Capitol's actions to his advantage, the Capitol was humiliated and Haymitch's family and girlfriend were killed, causing him to sink into depression and alcoholism, but also causing the Capitol to have no hold over him.

The rule in the 3rd Quarter Quell (75th Hunger Games) was that the tributes from each district were to be reaped from its living victors, akin to an all-star edition of a reality TV show today.[8] This Quell's message was that not even the strongest among the Districts can hope to defy the Capitol. The only living female victor from District 12 was Katniss, which meant that she would automatically go back to the arena. Of the two male victors, Haymitch's name was drawn, but Peeta volunteered to go in his place. The 75th Games had no winner, as Katniss destroyed the force field surrounding the arena on the third day of the games by throwing a wire into it just before lightning hit the metal tree that the other end of the wire was connected to. 6 of the 24 tributes survived: Enobaria from 2, Beetee from 3, Finnick from 4, Johanna from 7 and Katniss and Peeta from 12. This was because there had been a plan in the districts and even among some defectors from the Capitol to rescue the tributes and start a new rebellion against the Capitol. Enobaria, Johanna, and Peeta were captured by the Capitol. Only Beetee, Finnick, and Katniss were picked up and brought back to 13.

The Arena

The official arena is nowhere in particular, and it can be anywhere without human population. For example, in the third Quarter-Quell, (the 75th Hunger Games) Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark and all of the other members are placed into the ocean. There is a small island far away so that contestants must swim to the shore, those who couldn't swim had a life belt used as a flotation device.

Most arenas are designed to kill many quickly. In Haymitch's case, he was placed into a beautiful meadow with flowers and a fruit-bearing forest and mountains, but everything was designed by the Gamemakers to be poisonous, including all of the food and all of the water. The Gamemakers can create any hazard they wish, such as setting the forest on fire in the 74th, or creating an active volcano one year that kills all but one tribute.

In the 75th Quarter-Quell, the Gamemakers set the arena up as a clock, the Cornucopia at the center, its tail pointing 12. At each hour section, a different terror is set up by the Gamemakers, to go off once every hour, to quickly eliminate tributes. A strange, time-set fog killed Mags, an 80-year old woman partnered with Finnick Odair. In another, jabberjays repeated what sounded like the screams of loved ones to drive tributes in the area mad.At the 12 section of the clock a lightning storm occurs.

In Katniss's first game, there were two berries that looked quite similar. One was good to eat. The other, nightlock, "will kill you before it reaches your stomach." Foxface has to learn this the hard way.

Fauna unique to Panem


Muttations, usually shortened to "mutts," is the term for genetically altered animals bred in the Capitol.


Jabberjays are small black birds with a crest that were bred during the Dark Days in the Capitol's lab.[9] They were engineered to be able to remember human conversations and repeat them back verbatim with human voices. They were used to spy on the rebels in a form the rebels would never expect. Figuring this out, the rebels fed lies to the jabberjays, and they were abandoned by the Capitol and set free. Because the jabberjays were bred to be male, it was thought that they would die off in the wild, however, when released they bred with female mockingbirds and created the species "mockingjay". They no longer have the power of human speech, but they can repeat back songs that they hear humans utter.

During the third Quarter Quell, one of the hours in the clock-like arena featured jabberjays that voice the screams of tributes' loved ones, such as Katniss's sister, Prim, Gale (Katniss's hunting partner), and Finnick's love, Annie Cresta.

Tracker jackers

The tracker jackers are genetically altered wasps created in the Capitol during the Dark Days. Disturbing the nest causes them to chase after the offender, and the stings bring on hallucinations and extreme pain and also cause the swarm to follow, or track, him or her. The venom can also be used to brainwash someone in a technique called "hijacking", in which memories being focused on while the venom is introduced into the victim's system can cause them to become distorted and make them begin to think along the lines the Capitol torturers wish. Katniss drops a tracker jacker nest on several tributes during her first Hunger Games, and causing the death of two: Glimmer, the girl from District 1 and the un-named girl from District 4. Katniss and several other tributes are stung and hallucinate briefly after the attack. In Mockingjay, Peeta is hijacked using tracker jacker venom and "re-programmed" to abhor and want to kill Katniss. Peeta eventually begins to sort through his memories and notes the ones that may have been altered by the venom as being "shiny".

Wolf mutts

Wolf mutts appeared at the end of the 74th Hunger Games to herd Katniss, Peeta, and Cato into a final fight. Eventually they mutilated and tortured Cato so badly that Katniss is forced to shoot him out of mercy. The wolf-like creatures mimicked the 21 dead tributes, particularly in fur and eye color, but also with tags which match the tributes' district numbers. One wolf Katniss identifies as Rue, and other tributes she knew like Glimmer or the boy from 9.

Rose-scented reptile humans muttations

These mutts are seen in Mockingjay in the underground tunnels of the Capitol, supposedly created especially to hunt Katniss down; they are the only breed seen in the books hissing her name. They are described as having tight, white skin, long sharp claws and teeth, and are also a mixture of lizards and humans. They also smell of roses, thought to be so because Katniss hates the smell of the Capitol's altered roses, due to their association with President Snow. They can jump extremely far and decapitate with a bite to the neck. Finnick Odair and several of Katniss' other troop members fall to them, but Katniss herself, as well as Peeta, Gale, and a few others make it out of the tunnel. Katniss has the Holo device self-destruct by repeating 'nightlock' three times, and then throws it into the underground tunnel to kill the mutts.

Monkey mutts

There were also muttation monkeys with switchblade claws and orange fur that would attack during the 4th hour of the "clock" in the 75th Games.They attacked at the tributes in packs when Peeta glanced up at them in the 75th Hunger Games, but the woman victor from 6, or 'female morphling', as Katniss calls her, jumps in front of Peeta to save his life, as she was part of the alliance formed to defend Katniss and Peeta at all costs.

Other Mutts

In the 50th Hunger Games, several other muttations are mentioned. These include highly poisonous butterflies with stingers, "carnivorous fluffy golden squirrels", and candy-pink birds with bladelike beaks. The candy birds killed Maislee Donner during the 50th Hunger Games not long after she and Haymitch ended their alliance.


Instead of the jabberjays dying off like the Capitol intended, they mated with female mockingbirds and created a unique species, called a mockingjay. They reproduced, and mockingjays became "as rare and tough as rocks," as Katniss stated in Catching Fire. They lost the jabberjay's ability to enunciate words, but are halfway between jabberjays and actual mockingbirds - they can perfectly copy, down to the last note, any human tune. If a singer with a voice the mockingjays respect sings, they will fall silent, a fact both Katniss and Peeta note several times throughout the series. District Eleven is known to have an especially large mockingjay population, as confirmed by deceased Eleven tribute Rue.

Mockingjays have a certain level of symbolism in Panem. That is, the Capitol did not desire these birds to come out the way they did, therefore it is a symbol of rebellion, due to its undesirable effect. At the beginning of The Hunger Games, Katniss was given a mockingjay pin by Madge Undersee. She recognized this not immediately but while she was waiting for guests to say their 'final' goodbyes before going into the arena, and said that it was a huge "slap in the face" to the Capitol, because mockingjays were never intended to exist. Katniss wears the pin as her token in the Games, and by Catching Fire it becomes a symbol of rebellion. In Mockingjay, Katniss becomes the titular character, a person who speaks to the districts for the rebels, and she wears a mockingjay-inspired costume and the pin.

Flora unique to Panem


Nightlock is a wild berry plant that Katniss first heard of from her father. He warned her that the consumer would be dead before the juice reached his/her stomach. Nightlock becomes a major plot device in The Hunger Games, and is first shown as the berries Peeta has gathered. Katniss warns him not to eat them, but one of the remaining tributes, District 5's "Foxface" (as Katniss calls her), steals them, eats them, and dies. Katniss and Peeta take some with them just in case, and they are needed once more at the climax of the novel, where the previously-instated rule of a district's two tributes being allowed to win together is revoked. Instead of battling each other, Katniss suggests that they eat the berries and both die at the same time. However, they are both announced as winners before they swallowed, due to the fact that the Capitol would rather have two winners than none. In Catching Fire it is learned that the Head Gamemaker of the 74th Hunger games, Seneca Crane, was executed as a result of this stunt pulled by the two.

The nightlock name takes on a symbolic role in Mockingjay in two ways. First, Katniss and her companions are given pills called nightlock, which are euthanasia pills located in pouches on their shoulders. In the event of capture, rebels are supposed to kill themselves in order to avoid torture and/or interrogation. Katniss tries to take one after she assassinates President Coin, but it is destroyed by Peeta before she can use it.

Secondly, a voice-controlled device called the Holo, a holographic map of the Capitol used by the military of District 13, can be made to self-destruct anytime when anyone says the word "nightlock" three times in a row.

The plant nightlock may have some resemblance to and likely takes its name from the real plants nightshade and hemlock, both of which are deadly poisons.


  1. ^ "Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins - Powell's books". Powell's Books. Retrieved 3 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Author Profile: Suzanne Collins". August 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Collins, Suzanne (2008). The Hunger Games. Scholastic. pp. 61. ISBN 0439023483. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Carpenter, Susan (23 August 2010). ""Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins: Book Review". Los Angeles Times.,0,4302544.story. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  6. ^ King, Stephen (8 September 2010). "The Hunger Games". Entertainment Weekly.,,20223443,00.html. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  7. ^ Dill, Margo (20 July 2010). "Catching Fire Discussion Questions (Chapters Ten Through Fifteen)". Bright Hub. Retrieved 31 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Franich, Darren (6 October 2010). "'The Hunger Games': How reality TV explains the YA sensation". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  9. ^ Marglios, Rick (1 August 2010). "The Last Batle: With 'Mockingjay' on its way, Suzanne Collins weighs in on Katniss and the Capitol". School Library Journal. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 

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