Katniss Everdeen is something of an oddity among YA heroines. At first glance, the protagonist of The Hunger Games may seem typical, given that she lives in a dystopia, every other character tells her she's special, and she's in the middle of a love triangle. Look closer and you'll find that author Suzanne Collins imbued Katniss with some traits that set her completely apart. The series, both in the books and the films, find Katniss taking a harsh, relentless, and ultimately unforgiving hero's journey.
By deciding to focus on Katniss' struggle to make her own choices in the middle of a war between two sides that both value her image-- but not her humanity-- Collins broke new ground in the YA genre. Katniss goes through a gauntlet, winding up with classic symptoms of PTSD by the end. The series never flinches away from depicting the harsh reality that if a real person went through what Katniss did, they'd be nearly broken, too.
Breaking new ground rarely comes without hitches and pitfalls. The world of The Hunger Games and its sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, may be engaging on a visceral level, but there are more than a few plot holes and logical inconsistencies in both the characters and the world. Katniss is definitely not immune to these problems, and this list compiles all the ways her character doesn't quite add up. These entries certainly don't mean she's a bad character, merely that there were some ways that her arc could have made more sense.
Here are 20 Things That Make No Sense About Katniss.
20 No one else have ever volunteered as tribute?
In the world of The Hunger Games, the country known as Panem (which was once America) holds its Hunger Games once a year, with contestants getting picked by lottery unless someone volunteers to take their place. In the series, Katniss is the first person to every actually volunteer from District 12, which makes absolutely no sense.
It's not like Katniss was the first person to have a loved one picked as tribute. For her to be the first volunteer, everyone in District 12 would have had to allow their loved ones to go to the games without speaking up. Plus, contestants who put their names in extra ballots get extra supplies, so if the town thought ahead they could easily get a ton of supplies and then pick the volunteer they wanted. There would have been a volunteer almost every year.
19 Her nation-destroying love life
The first installment in the Hunger Games franchise ends with Peeta and Katniss proclaiming their love to one another, saying they will eat poisoned berries together rather than attack one another. The Capitol allowed them to live, but President Snow insisted they continue to act like lovebirds so as not to embarrass the Gamemakers.
The importance President Snow puts on their "love" is completely out of proportion. Snow acts like anything less than complete infatuation will result in the destruction of the Capitol's control over the people of Panem.
18 Why were the promos she filmed for the rebels so important?
Throughout the series, Katniss Everdeen's image is usually more important than her actions. Both the Capitol and the rebellion value her more as a star and figurehead than as a soldier or diplomat, and to that end she wound up filming a lot of propaganda for both sides.
The rebellion valued her promos much more than they valued her as a person, largely because they seemed to believe the promos were critical to the war effort. A lot of what the rebellion does is designed to sway citizens to their side, to the point where it felt like there was very little actual fighting going on. A rebellion needs to stoke its supporters, but there's no way these promo films were so important they outweighed the actual battles.
17 Katniss never runs out of arrows
Katniss Everdeen falls prey to the same nonsensical trope that finds its way into seemingly every action film franchise: never running out of ammo. Katniss goes through four movies without ever seeming to replenish her supply of arrows, as she always has one when she needs it.
Clearly, The Hunger Games didn't want to deal with Katniss having to find or make new arrows, or have a subplot of her running out. Other films have added this to scenes to increase tension, but this franchise appears to have been largely uninterested. Thus, Katniss' arrow supply is basically magic, allowing her to solve every problem by shooting ever more arrows at it.
16 Her psychic hallucinations
There are a lot of crazy mutant animals in the Hunger Games series, and one of the most important to the first installment was the tracker jacker. These were genetically engineered wasps with especially potent venom that caused hallucinations in their victims. Peeta and Katniss experienced this trait firsthand.
The problem is that the series uses the tracker jacker venom in some extremely iffy ways, the first of which was Katniss hallucinating Caesar Flickerman talking. She saw Caesar accurately describe the effects of tracker jacker venom-- which was weird, since that was what Caesar was actually saying to his television audience. Therefore, this wasn't a hallucination-- the venom should have somehow made Katniss psychic or able to tune in to TV signals.
15 She is always working for people she doesn't like
Here's an unpleasant reality of the world Suzanne Collins created: her characters are literally always doing the bidding of either apathetic or openly malevolent forces. With most YA titles typically displaying heroes that manifest their own agency and make choices free of coercion, Collins went the other way.
There are very few points in The Hunger Games where Katniss Everdeen isn't being forced to do something by a powerful institution. Most of the choices she makes are out of necessity-- either to protect her family or to ensure her own survival. This doesn't stop outside the Games themselves-- even her personal life is dictated to her by President Snow or the rebellion at any given time.
14 Her inconsistent feelings for Peeta
A lot of conflict in Katniss' personal life comes from her love life. Even if we leave aside the potential love triangle she has with Peeta and Gale, there is also the question of whether her love for Peeta is genuine. Initially, Katniss makes it clear that she is only feigning her love because President Snow is forcing her to, but Peeta isn't faking it.
This dynamic continues for most of the series, with Peeta sure in his genuine intentions and Katniss pretending there's nothing real for her. At least, it continues to the end of the series, when the dynamic becomes inverted, and they end up together in the epilogue, married with children.
13 Katniss' whitewashing
Jennifer Lawrence may be synonymous with Katniss Everdeen now, but there was a time when fans and critics were less than pleased with the casting decision. When Lawrence was first closing in on the role, a contemporary news article noted that the casting call for Katniss had explicitly stated that actresses must be "Caucasian."
In case you don't remember the book's description of Katniss, it says that she has dark hair with "olive" skin, a different tone from the fairer skin of the merchant class of Panem. Thus, it would have made plenty of sense for Katniss to be played by an actress of mixed ethnicity. The studio went with the undeniably talented Lawrence, and the rest is history.
12 Gale never really had a shot with her
Like with many other YA franchises, one of the biggest debates in the Hunger Games fandom was the love triangle between Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark, and Gale Hawthorne. Except if you actually read the books or watch the movies, you'll see that Gale really wasn't an important enough character to be a true romantic rival.
Unlike Peeta, who is central to the plot of every book, Gale spends most of the story hanging out on the sidelines pining over Katniss. He's only really important to the plot in the final book, and he messes that up big time. Yes, he's played by a Hemsworth brother and he kisses Katniss, but he's just not essential to the story. Katniss was always going to end up with Peeta.
11 The trap sequence in Mockingjay
Much of Mockingjay - Part 2 is taken up by the rebellion's attempts to infiltrate the Capitol and take down President Snow once and for all. Early on in the film, Katniss' team finds themselves in a minefield of elaborate traps designed to keep intruders out. This outlandish sequence is obviously contrived for maximum visual effect, but it's got more than a few plot holes.
Katniss' team has to deal with a sea of black tar and actual land mines, which claim some lives but are mostly ineffective against Katniss and Peeta. After the grandiose traps in the Games, we were expecting something much more lethal from the Capitol. Instead, this sequence feels like a bootleg Hunger Games, with the added drama of Peeta relapsing into a brainwashed state for a few minutes.
10 District 12 makes no sense
Katniss Everdeen's hometown of District 12 is one of the poorest in Panem, and its citizens are consistently devalued by the Capitol. This is partially because the district was originally made up of coal miners, and then shifted to vaguely defined "medicine." The thing about this is that none of it makes sense.
If the Capitol is so technologically advanced, why would it ever rely on coal power? After the mines became a thing of the past, how did the workers in District 12 switch to producing medicine? What kind of medicine do they make? Medicine seems fairly important, so why does the district get treated so badly? The series answers none of these questions.
9 She’s way better in the games than the Careers
In the world of The Hunger Games, the games themselves are a source of both extreme danger and glory. To that end, while most districts fear and avoid the games, some of the richer ones seek it out, training for the competition their whole lives. You'd think those competitors would be really good at what they do.
You would be completely mistaken. The Careers, as they are called, spend the majority of The Hunger Games getting destroyed by the game itself, or their fellow competitors. Katniss, a girl whose main skill set involves a bow and arrow, runs rings around them in the games. She and Peeta consistently adapt and strategize better than the Careers, which begs the question: what exactly were the Careers doing in that training?
8 The rebellion lets her repeatedly risk her life
Throughout The Hunger Games, multiple factions make it clear that they think Katniss Everdeen is positively vital to their cause. The first to do so is the Capitol, but Katniss herself ends up siding with the rebellion. The rebellion uses her as their figurehead; the face of their campaign to revolutionize Panem.
This means Katniss is one of the biggest VIPs the rebellion should protect. They certainly don't protect her. They may need Katniss to drive up recruitment and stir resentment against the Capitol, but they allow her to risk her life over and over again. If Katniss is really so integral to the image of the rebellion, it would probably be wiser to keep her safe and never use her in actual combat. But that wouldn't make for a good story, would it?
7 Continuity errors
Filming an action movie is no easy task, especially in the days of internet pedants who go over every frame for continuity errors and other on-set goofs. The Hunger Games film franchise is not immune to these problems, as fans could see in several of Katniss' shots.
These continuity errors are scattered throughout the series, beginning with Katniss' hair changing positions at the reaping in the first movie, and continuing to her firing real arrows that seem to just disappear in a training sequence in Catching Fire. Katniss' weapons, tools, and appearance change around frequently, perhaps the most egregious of which was her facial wound disappearing in one shot in The Hunger Games.
6 Neither of Katniss’ parents are ever given a first name
Given that Katniss Everdeen's mother and father are huge influences on her life, one would expect that we would at least know what their names are. Instead, fans have realized that Mr. and Mrs. Everdeen (as they are called in the films' scripts) were simply never given canonical first names.
The Hunger Games is written from Katniss' first-person perspective, and it does make some sense that someone wouldn't think of their own parents by their first names. It's still puzzling that Suzanne Collins seemingly decided to never give the Everdeen parents first names at all, with no other characters referring to them by name in dialogue.
5 Katniss didn't stop Prim from being a battlefield nurse
Primrose Everdeen is basically Katniss' main reason to do anything throughout the Hunger Games series. She's the reason Katniss first volunteers as tribute, and getting Prim and people like her a better life is what drives Katniss to join the rebellion. You might think that Katniss would watch Prim like a hawk to make sure she didn't get into any danger. You would be wrong.
One of the biggest plot twists in Mockingjay comes when Prim runs onto the battlefield in the Capitol to treat the wounded. She and other innocents are then bombed in a scheme by the rebels to sway the sympathies of the Capitol's citizens. Regardless of the implausibility of Prim having the skill to be a battlefield nurse at the age of 14, why didn't Katniss pay attention and stop her?
4 She never suspected the rebellion would betray her
By the time Mockingjay rolls around, Katniss Everdeen has spent most of her young life having her image exploited by those who care nothing for her. The Capitol has been using her image to maintain their own for the entire series, and when she joins the rebellion they basically tell her they're going to do the same thing.
Katniss doesn't really take this as the warning it is. She doesn't fully trust the rebellion, but she spends no time thinking about how working for them might screw her over. The leader, Alma Coin, personally ensures that Katniss' sister perishes in a bombing, and Katniss had no idea it was coming because she never stopped to think how the rebellion might go against her.
3 She didn't take Gale to task for making bombs
Gale Hawthorne helped make the bombs that took the life of Primrose Everdeen. That is an unavoidable fact that hangs over any potential relationship between Katniss and Gale, but Katniss doesn't really chastise Gale.
Gale didn't mean to help bomb Prim, but that doesn't erase his culpability in designing bombs for the rebellion. This fact rules out the possibility of any romance between Katniss and Gale, but that's kind of it. If the most you can do to punish someone for having a hand in the passing of your sister is not date them, you should maybe look into more effective ways to take them to task.
2 Playing Katniss destroyed Jennifer Lawrence's hair
You might expect there were more than a few annoyances Jennifer Lawrence had to deal with while portraying Katniss Everdeen. The physical demands of playing an action heroine and the fame of starring in a YA blockbuster are all real, but perhaps the hardest part was what it did to her hair.
Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence insisted that Lawrence not wear a wig while playing Katniss. To that end, she had to continually dye her hair to the correct shade, rather than simply put on a wig. Dye is not good for hair, especially in large, repeated doses, and so the director says this process "fried" his lead actress' hair. Her famous pixie cut apparently came about because of this very problem!
1 Jennifer Lawrence outgrew her
When Jennifer Lawrence was first cast, she seemed like a good match for the character. Back at the beginning, Lawrence was only a few years older than Katniss was supposed to be. In the books, Katniss is never older than 17 (excluding the epilogue). Lawrence filmed The Hunger Games when she was 20.
Lawrence was 25 by the time Mockingjay - Part 2 hit theaters, almost a full decade older than her character. By that point, she no longer looked young enough to plausibly be Katniss Everdeen. It didn't help that she had also starred in several other high-profile blockbusters playing older women, so audiences definitely didn't think of her as a teenager anymore.
What else doesn't make sense about Katniss in The Hunger Games? Let us know in the comments!