The Hunger Games is undeniably a difficult read. Not in terms of it being a struggle to flick through the pages, definitely not, in fact, it’s actually really hard to put the book down.
But the relentless trauma and painful topics can be hard for anyone to truly comprehend.
Suzanne Collins, in my opinion, is one of the best Young Adult authors that I have ever come across. The themes throughout the series are definitely dark and incredibly thought-provoking.
The idea of children as young as just twelve fighting to the death for entertainment is certainly stomach churning and it’s hard not to see parts of your younger friends and family members in characters such as Primrose Everdeen and Rue Barnette.
This only provides to make their suffering and agony all the more heartbreaking for readers (or viewers of the movies.)
I think that, particularly in the movies, it’s easy to forget just how young these characters really are, especially because they are portrayed by actors that are much older than the characters themselves.
But the ages of these characters should not be ignored, because it really accounts for the barbaricness of the whole concept. The trauma these children go through is enough to break even the most mature adults.
But being reminded that this is all happening to children between the ages of 12-18 is actually really haunting.
How Old Is Katniss Everdeen?
The Hunger Games
In the first book, The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen is just 16 years old. Sixteen. An age where it’s not even legal to drink or drive.
For most 16-year-olds the most pressing matters in their lives are studying for school, boys, and friendship groups. At this age, most of us still have a fair amount of innocence.
There are usually very few real-life traumas for this age group (If you want to read stories with themes like this, also check out What Happened To You?).
Not this character. No, even before being thrown into the Games, Katniss had already dealt with the death of her Father and had to step up as the provider of the home after her Mother shut down from grief.
She already knew what it was like to be starving, and had very almost died from a lack of food.
And it was at the young age of 16 that Katniss was able to make the courageous decision to volunteer herself in place of her sister Primrose Everdeen who was but 12 years old.
Catching Fire takes place just a year later. Katniss and Peeta have returned home to District 12 as Victors of the 74th Hunger Games.
In this installment of the book, Panem is set to host the Quarter Quell, which is a more ‘extravagant’ version of the barbaric games that usually take on some form of a twist.
The twist for the 75th Quarter Quell? All tributes will be reaped from the existing pool of victors.
As District 12’s only female victor, Katniss, at just 17 years old, realizes that she must relive all the pain and torture of the games, and this time she is resigned to the fact that she is unlikely to make it through these games alive.
In the final installment of the trilogy, it is clear that she has sparked and ignited the beginning of a rebellion.
While still being just seventeen years old, this child (I think it’s easy to forget that she is still just a child) must take on the responsibility of being the face of a full-blown rebellion and war.
In this book, there are many heartbreaking deaths and some very painful goodbyes (so get your tissues at the ready) as the rebellion evolves into a full-scale war.
However, it becomes apparent that those that are fighting for a fair and peaceful life may not actually be after the peace but rather the power.
Proving once again to be wise beyond her years, Katniss assassinates President Coin after she suggests that there should be one final symbolic Hunger Games reaping tributes from the Capitol’s children.
Understanding the significance of such a suggestion, Katniss realizes that Coin is no less evil than President Snow himself.
This action comes at a cost though, and the brave young survivor is arrested and has to spend some time in a mental facility. By the time Katniss is able to go home, to what is left of her home, she is 18 years of age.
Finally, in the epilogue, we fast forward another 15 years to when Katniss is 33 years of age.
At this point, Katniss has one child with Peeta. In an additional five years when Katniss is 38, the couple has their second child and the story finally draws to its conclusion.
Age Of Other Characters During The Hunger Games
- Katniss Everdeen – 16 Years Old
- Peeta Mallark – 16 Years Old
- Primrose Everdeen – 12 Years Old
- Rue – 12 Years Old
- Foxface – 15 Years Old
- Marvel – 17 Years Old
- Glimmer – 17 Years Old
- Cato – 18 Years Old
- Clove – 15 Years Old
- Gale – 17 Years Old
While the actual ages of the characters can be easily forgotten about or lost in a story that has such a heavy plot, I think it’s a really important factor that must be considered.
To think of all the pain, suffering, fear, and trauma these characters go through throughout these books is mind-boggling enough.
But there is something terribly tear-jerking about remembering that some of these children that have been forced to fight to the death for the capitols entertainment are as young as twelve years old.
Every character that is ‘lucky’ enough to survive the games is left with irreparable damage and scars that will never heal. And there is something so honest about Suzanne Collins ending of the trilogy that hurts the heart.
There is no happy ending for any of the characters involved. All must deal with the trauma of such evil. They must live with it forever.
If you are yet to give these books a read – I strongly suggest that you do!