The Hunger Games opened to explosive box office numbers over the weekend. Both fans of the novel and newcomers to the story rushed to theaters to see the much-hyped blockbuster, which was praised by movie critics – including our positive official review and moviegoers alike.
With such a strong cast and so many wonderful characters, we decided to create a list of the 10 best characters in the story. As a fan of both the movie and the book by Suzanne Collins, I used both as references. And although there are many differences between the two, the movie did a solid job showing the main characters and even adding depth to a few of the�supporting ones, including a few who made this list.
10. ) Rue
Rue is a young but agile fighter from District 11 who is chosen to participate in the hunger games. A small but inventive youngster, she’s intrigued by Katniss in the training sessions and eventually forms an alliance with her in the games. Collins writes, “She has bright, dark eyes and satiny brown skin and stands tilted up on her toes with her arms slightly extended to her sides, as if ready to take wing at the slightest sound. It’s impossible not to think of a bird.”
In the film, she’s played by Amandla Stenberg (Columbiana), who shows both the strength and the vulnerability in a character forced to fight a group of teens who are older and much bigger than she is. Although her role in the book is much better described than in the film, this character helps show that the Capitol doesn’t care who is being hurt in the games. They just want to be entertained.
9.) President Snow
President Snow is a minor character in the book but he is described as he watches the new tributes arrive in the City Circle of the Capitol. Collins writes, “The president, a small, thin man with paper-white hair, gives the official welcome from a balcony above us.” He is the powerful and unrelenting leader of a nation that is divided between the haves and the have-nots.
In the movie, Donald Sutherland plays the president as a leader who believes that he has an omnipotent power over his people. He is featured much more in the movie, where he is shown having great control over the games and knowing how important they are in maintaining his dominance over his subjects.
8.) Peeta Mellark
“Medium height, stocky build, ashy blond hair that falls in waves over his forehead” is how Collins describes Peeta in the novel, after he is chosen to serve as the second tribute from District 12. Although Katniss and Peeta have a history together, the two are not friends before the games begin and Katniss is hesitant about trusting him, knowing that the two will have to eventually face-off.
Played by Josh Hutcherson in the movie, the character of Peeta is a tricky one to figure out. Some could argue that his pronouncement of love for the heroine is a strategy designed to propel him further in the games, while others likely see him as an innocent and naive baker’s son who simply wants to declare his fondness for Katniss before it’s too late. Either way, he’s one of the best characters in the story…but was admittedly under-served in the film.
7.) Claudius Templesmith
Very little is made of Claudius Templesmith in the original novel, but he is recognized as a prominent hunger games announcer. Katniss hears him as the games begin. As Collins writes, “I hear the legendary announcer, Claudius Templesmith, as his voice booms all around me. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, let the Seventy-fourth Hunger Games begin!‘”
Played by Toby Jones, the character of Claudius is an intriguing one. This is a man who is known for giving a play-by-play of a game in which teens and young adults kill one another for the Capitol’s entertainment. Without a share of remorse, he symbolizes the opulence that the Capitol hoards over the districts and he shows how distant members of the Capitol are to the heartbreaking substance of the games themselves.
6.) Haymitch Abernathy
Haymitch Abernathy is a drunk. In the book and the film, he is viewed as an alcoholic former hunger games champion. Collins writes that at the reaping, “Haymitch Abernathy, a paunchy middle-aged man, who at this moment appears hollering something unintelligible, staggers onto the stage, and falls into the third chair. He’s drunk. Very.“ Later on, Haymitch becomes an ally for both Katniss and Peeta as they prepare for the games.
Played by Woody Harrelson, Haymitch is given a much more pronounced role in the film. Not only is he an advocate for his tributes before and during the games, he is also seen fighting for them behind the scenes. He pushes game-maker Seneca Crane to focus on the budding romance between his two apprentices– a decision that helps set the stage for a surprising conclusion.