It’s been almost ten years since The Hunger Games first premiered in theaters. And regardless of my love for the franchise, I still wish several book characters had made it to the screen. I remember being wary of the first movie just because they erased one character that I loved in the books.
There will be spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the books or watched all the movies. All of these characters play a big part in Katniss’s life or push the plot forward. From the person who gave Katniss the iconic Mockingjay pin to the original owner of that pin, you might be surprised who they are if you haven’t read the books.
One of the most significant changes from the books disappointed me a bit when the movies first came out. Madge Undersee was the girl that gave Katniss the Mockingjay pin in the books. In the film, Greasy Sae gives it to her.
Madge is the daughter of Mayor Undersee from District 12. She is also the niece of Maysilee Donner, who I’ll talk about next. She was in the same class as Katniss and Peeta and was the only one who sat with Katniss at lunch. Because of her family’s wealth and status, she didn’t have to be entered into the games more than once.
In the Catching Fire book, Madge and Katniss grow closer as friends. And in Mockingjay, she, her family, and her staff didn’t survive the District 12 bombing.
While she wasn’t alive in the books, Maysilee played a big part in Haymitch’s backstory and the second book. She was Madge’s aunt and the original owner of the Mockingjay pin. She was one of the four tributes from District 12 during the Second Quarter Quell, one of the others being Haymitch. In the books, it’s mentioned that she was best friends with Katniss’s mother.
During her games, she and Haymitch formed an alliance after she saved him from a Career Tribute. However, toward the end of the Games, she left Haymitch so they wouldn’t have to kill each other. Sadly, she died minutes later after being attacked by bright pink birds with sharp beaks. Haymitch cared for her and stayed with her until she died, from what we see in the books.
Sadly, we see a ton of Gale throughout the movies and books, but we never see his family. And they’re the only reason I tolerated him in the books at all. Hazelle, Gale’s mother, was like another mom to Katniss since hers was useless for the entire first book. In Catching Fire, she was Haymitch’s maid.
Vick, Rory, and Posy were Gale’s younger siblings. In Mockingjay, all three children were a source of hope and encouragement in District 13. In the last book, Posy, the youngest and only daughter, also bonded with Octavia, who I’ll talk about later.
We only ever see Peeta’s mother for less than a minute in all four films. We never see his blessing of a father or his two older brothers. His mother is described as an entitled bully, and he is not close to her or both of his brothers.
Peeta’s father, however, is a godsend to Katniss and her family. After the reaping, he visits Katniss and promises to look after Primrose when Katniss is in the games. He also bought squirrels from Katniss when his wife wasn’t around, allowing Katniss to afford to feed her family.
Octavia, Flavius, and Venia
We only see glimpses of Katniss’s prep team. The most we see of them is in the first film when they gossip about Katniss and her appearance. However, in the books, we see how much they care for Katniss. During Catching Fire, they were the only prep team rescued while the others were executed.
Octavia grows close to Katniss in the books. We don’t know much about her, except she cares for Posy, Gale’s sister, and had seven pet mice before the rebellion. Flavius is the most emotional of the group, having to be sent out during the Quarter Quell. Venia is only described as emotionally guarded.
I was extremely disappointed but also a little relieved when it was announced Lavinia would be reduced to an unnamed Avox. An Avox is a person who has had their tongue cut out as punishment for rebellion. In the films, we only see her in the background of two meal scenes.
In the books, though, Katniss recognizes her from her time in the woods. Lavinia had been running to District 13 from the Capitol with a boy. Sadly, the boy was killed in the chase, and she was captured in a net from a hovercraft. She was tortured and killed in front of Peeta in Mockingjay.
This was probably the only change that I was hoping would happen in the films. Darius was the youngest Peacekeeper in District 12 and also Katniss’s favorite Peacekeeper. In the books, Katniss would speak to him at the Hob, and he tried to stop Gale’s whipping in Catching Fire.
As punishment, he was turned into an Avox and forced to serve Katniss and Peeta during training for the Quarter Quell with Lavinia. It was traumatizing for Katniss. It was a dark addition that is probably best left for the pages. He was also tortured and died like Lavinia.
Bonnie and Twill
These two characters are only seen in one scene in the second book, Catching Fire. Both women had escaped from District 8 and were running to District 13. We never know what happened to them after, but Katniss said they likely were killed or captured.
In the books, they’re the people who first introduce the possibility of District 13 having survivors. In the films, we don’t find that out until the end of the second film. Twill was around thirty years old, a teacher, and a factory worker. Bonnie was a previous student of hers and a factory worker.
Fulvia, Plutarch Heavensbee’s assistant, was replaced by Effie in the last two films. In the books, she was the one behind all of Katniss’s propaganda films. In the movie, that was Effie’s responsibility. She is also one of the only named rebels to survive the rebellion.
I would have loved to see her in the films, but all in all, I loved Effie too much to notice. Since the release of The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, it’s rumored that Fulvia is related to Livia Cardew, a fellow mentor to Coriolanus Snow. Since the spinoff is being adapted, I hope this rumor is confirmed.