Hunger Games: What You Need to Know

The Hunger Games is the most anticipated movie of the spring season. Here is what you need to know:



The nation of Panem arose from the ashes after apocalyptic events and a global war nearly destroyed life as it was known in North America.  Over time, 13 districts came under the rule of a despotic Capitol hanging on to the last vestiges of civilization.  Approximately 74 years before these Hunger Games, Panem experienced the so-called “Dark Days,” when the districts unleashed a deadly rebel war on the Capitol.  The Capitol regained control, obliterating the 13th district completely, and instituted the Hunger Games as a means of intimidating its citizens, lulling them with its unforgiving form of entertainment, and keeping the youth in line.


The Capitol:


Located in the area formerly known as the Rock Mountains, the Capitol is both Panem’s central seat of government and a decadent realm of style, fashion and indulgence.  Those who live in the Capitol have their own lifestyle and are largely unaware of the suffering of those who live in the outlying districts.  The Capitol is also the home of Panem’s dictator, President Coriolanus Snow.


The Districts:


The twelve outer Districts of Panem are industrial centers serving the interests of the Capitol.  They vary in wealth and culture, but the iron fist of the dictatorship controls all.  No District citizen can visit the Capitol except to play in the Hunger Games.  District 1 manufactures luxury goods; District 2 is a gem mining and defense center; District 3 produces electronics; District 4 is dedicated to fisheries; District 5 is involved in science and research; District 6 develops transportation; District 7’s specialty is lumber; District 8 is the textile center; District 9 grows the nation’s grain; District 10 raises livestock; District 11 is focused on agriculture including vegetables and herbs; and District 12, located in the Appalachian Mountains, is the coal mining district that fuels the Capitol.


The Hunger Games:


An annual contest for the last 74 years, in which 24 Tributes ages 12 through 18 – one boy and one girl from each of Panem’s 12 districts – are forced to enter a themed arena contest in which they are forced to fight, until only one person remains.  The entire event is broadcast live and is mandatory viewing for the entire nation of Panem.




Tributes are aged twelve to eighteen years and chosen for the Hunger Games via lottery.  Tributes can also volunteer for the Games or volunteer in place of another person, as Katniss does for her younger sister Primrose.


Career Tributes:


Volunteers for the Games from the richer districts, who have been training their whole lives, entering the Games with incredible advantages in strength and skill.  They have been taught to believe there is no greater glory than winning the Games.




Panem’s version of police, who work exclusively for the Capitol and patrol 24-7.



Often flamboyant Capitol citizens who accompany the Tributes to the Games and serve as their advocates, advisers and PR strategists.


Prep Team:


A group of stylists and make-up artists charged with making the Tributes glamorous celebrities for their public appearances and the televised Games.


Tracker Jackers:


Genetically altered wasps created in the Capitol and known for their vicious sting.




Victors are those few who have won the Hunger Games, after which they attain riches for life, though at a terrible price.  Some Victors, such as Haymitch Abernathy, become Mentors, training Tributes from their districts.


Nightlock  Berries:


A poisonous fruit that factors into Katniss’ ultimate strategy to beat the rules of the Hunger Games.