- "Do you hear that, Coriolanus? It's the sound of Snow falling."
- ―Casca Highbottom, taunting Coriolanus Snow upon expelling him from the Academy[src]
Casca Highbottom was the Dean of the Academy and the face of the Hunger Games at their creation.
- "The evilest impulse, cleverly packaged into a sporting event. An entertainment. I was drunk, and your father got me drunker still, playing on my vanity as I fleshed the thing out, assuring me it was just a private joke."
- ―Casca Highbottom, describing the creation of the Hunger Games to Coriolanus Snow[src]
He attended the University with Crassus Snow, the father of Coriolanus Snow, studying under Dr. Volumnia Gaul. He was failing her class, as he loathed her, which made his participation impossible. For the class's final project, he paired up with Snow. The final project was to create a punishment for one's enemies so extreme that they would never be allowed to forget how they had wronged you. The project suited him, as he had always excelled at puzzles. In a drunken stupor, he created the Hunger Games, following his evilest impulse. Snow got him even drunker, playing on his vanity as he fleshed out the project, assuring him that it was just a private joke. The next morning, he awoke, horrified, only to find that Snow had turned in the project, wanting a good grade. He never forgave Snow for it.
After The Dark Days, Casca Highbottom was credited with the creation of the Hunger Games. In fact, it was Gaul who pulled out his proposal, introducing him to all of Panem as the architect of the Hunger Games. That night, he tried morphling for the first time. He thought that the Hunger Games would die out, being so ghastly, but Dr. Gaul took them and ran. Highbottom developed a grudge against Coriolanus Snow for his father's actions, maintaining a dislike of the boy throughout his years at the Academy.
He personally oversaw the creation of the mentor program, first implemented in the 10th annual Hunger Games. There were rumors that, due to his decline and addiction to morphling, the board of the Academy was losing patience with him.
By this point, he was often heavily dosed up on morphling, thus causing Coriolanus Snow to mock him by creating the nickname "High-as-a-Kite Bottom," which quickly spread throughout the campus of the Academy. Snow initially suspected this nickname to be Highbottom's reason for hating him, supposing the Dean had caught wind of it. This later proved incorrect, however.
Highbottom made television appearances for the 10th Hunger Games, alongside Lucretius Flickerman. He seemed largely bored and disinterested with the proceedings, proving an uncharismatic companion for the weatherman. He was not amused by Flickerman's magic tricks, or his antics with his pet bird.
Highbottom was instrumental in having Snow sent to District 12 and forcing him to enlist as a Peacekeeper. He presented the evidence of Snow illegally assisting Lucy Gray Baird in the 10th Hunger Games, cheating to ensure she would be safe against Dr. Gaul's snake muttations. He likely took some level of pleasure in having Snow sent away, punishing the boy in a way for his father's actions.
Snow eventually returned to the Capitol, where Highbottom finally divulged his reasons for hating him. This would prove to be the Dean's undoing. Having tired of Highbottom's obstructive actions, as well as opposition and hatred of him, Snow slipped some poison into Highbottom's morphling. The Dean cluelessly took it and died shortly after, becoming the very first victim of the future president's signature murder method.
Though once possessed of a fine physique, he later became shrunken and draped with sagging skin. Doped up on morphling, he had the appearance of a sleepwalker. His close-cropped haircut and crisp suit only served to throw his physical deterioration into relief.
Behind the scenes
- It is not mentioned if he was individual who created the scenarios for the Quarter Quells. Given his disgust with his own creation, it is possible that these were most likely something that were created by Volumnia Gaul and Coriolanus Snow, around the time when the 25th Hunger Games were to happen.