Katniss Everdeen - The protagonist and the narrator for the Hunger Games. She is a mature and strong 16 year old who becomes the main provider for her family after her father’s death 5 years ago. When her father died, her mother became depressed and she was forced to use the hunting skills her father taught her to feed the family. Although hunting is illegal and punishable by death, Katniss continues to provide for her family this way and sells the extra game she hunts. Growing up in this way has turned Katniss into a resourceful and tough person which helps her stay alive later when competing in the Games.
She is seen by others as a tough girl who works hard to gain the skills and knowledge to survive, whether it is in the arena or during her difficult upbringing in District 12. She is extremely protective of her younger sister Primrose and volunteers to take her place in the Hunger Games when her sister is selected. Despite going through such a life altering event as the Hunger Games, she maintains her integrity. She only kills out of necessity and shows compassion to others. She is seen by others as a hardened character and is very practical but has a rebellious streak in her when she is faced with injustice.
Peeta Mellark - The male tribute of District 12 and Katniss’ main ally in the Hunger Games. He is kind and compassionate, and has a natural charisma and way with words in front of the cameras that Katniss lacks. Over the course of the book, Peeta confesses his love for Katniss and offers to sacrifice himself for her. Shortly after Katniss’ father had died and her family was starving, Peeta risked getting beaten to give her two loaves of bread. He also sacrifices himself for her by fighting one of the other tributes in the arena when Katniss is injured, allowing her to escape and suffering a serious injury as a result. He is the son of a baker, and a talented artist which he uses to his advantage in the Games to camouflage himself. He is an introspective person who is concerned with preserving his identity throughout the Games and would rather die as himself then survive and become a monster.
Haymitch Abernathy - The only living Hunger Games winner from District 12, Haymitch becomes Katniss and Peeta’s coach throughout the Games. Although he has a drinking problem and spends the majority of his time being drunk he proves to be a smart and creative advisor to the two tributes. He encourages Katniss and Peeta to play up their romance to the audience, which makes them popular and coaches Katniss throughout the Game on how she should behave so that they will get more sponsors with the gifts he sends. He is often considered rude and can be manipulative so he clashes with Katniss but he understands how to best play the Game and benefit from the celebrity culture around it. He also serves as a reminder that no one ever really wins the Hunger Games. The winners are emotionally scarred and have to coach future tributes, which usually means watching them die.
Gale Hawthorne - Gale is Katniss’ closest friend and hunting partner. He resides in District 12 and the two characters, coming from a similar background, have a great deal in common. Katniss considers Gale to be the only person that she can truly be herself with. Katniss has romantic feelings for Gale but does not allow herself to develop or act on them, but she frequently compares him and Peeta. Gale is not in most of the novel and mostly appears in Katniss’ flashbacks or acting as a form of her conscience. When Katniss leaves to be a tribute in the Hunger Games, Gale promises to take care of her family for her.
Effie Trinket - The escort of the tributes from District 12, she lives in the Capitol most of the year and draws the tributes names to determine who will be participating in the Hunger Games. She teaches the tributes what to expect when they arrive at the capitol and helps to gather sponsors for Katniss and Peeta. She is an upbeat woman who is very concerned with appearances, both her own and the tributes.
Cinna - Katniss’ stylist who becomes her friend and one of her main supports throughout the book. He encourages her to be herself during interviews and tells her that he would bet on her if he were allowed. He comes up with her ‘girl on fire’ persona and helps her make a positive and spirited impression on her audience.
Rue - The small 12 year old female tribute from District 11, the agricultural district. She and Katniss become allies during the Games after Rue warns her about a trap. Katniss becomes Rue’s protector after they become allies, partly because Rue reminds her of her younger sister. Their relationship shows Katniss as a nurturing character, even in the middle of all the violence. Rue inspires Katniss to become fiercer in her fight against the Capitol and to win the Games.