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"My family were Covey, first and last. Not district, not Capitol, not rebel, not Peacekeeper, just us."
Lucy Gray Baird to Coriolanus Snow[src]

The Covey were a nomadic people in Panem known for their musical talent and performances.


First Rebellion[]

Since they were not tied to a specific location, the Covey remained neutral during the First Rebellion, siding with neither the rebels nor the Capitol.[1] During their wandering days, they typically stuck to the east of Panem, but also claimed to be familiar with lands to the north, which were beyond the Capitol's control.[2]


"A few years" prior to the 10th Hunger Games, the Covey were rounded up by Peacekeepers. Those who resisted were killed by being beaten or shot,[3][4] and the survivors were forced to settle in the districts.[5]

Known victims[]

Life in District 12[]

The Covey performs in the Hob

The Covey performs in the Hob

One group of survivors was "obliged to stay" in District 12.[5] When only six Covey children remained there, an old man took them in for a fee. He died the year before the 10th Hunger Games took place, but a few members of the Covey were already old enough to manage things by then.[1] They made their money singing at special occasions like weddings[1] and birthdays,[6] or putting on regular performances at the Hob. Evidently, Peacekeepers were some of their best customers.[1] However, outside of their work as performers, the Covey were seen as outsiders in District 12, and people were suspicious of them.[4]

A year later, the Covey lived in a house in the Seam, near the Meadow and the woods beyond it.[7] They considered the lake their "second home".[4]


In the epilogue, a new commander took over the Peacekeepers from Commander Hoff, and his first act was to outlaw music shows at the Hob.[8] This removed a major source of the Covey's income, though they may have still been hired to play at events like weddings and birthdays. For reliable wages, they likely had to turn to the coal mines for work like the rest of the district.

Known Covey[]


Lucy Gray performing with Clerk Carmine

Lucy Gray performing with Clerk Carmine

The Covey held a cultural identity distinct from any particular district. They were musicians by trade, known for their love of travel, music, and bright colors, which featured prominently on their clothes.[5] The six Covey alive at the time of the 10th Hunger Games "varied in complexion, hair, and features".[7]


The Covey had a very particular naming convention. Their first names had two parts: the first was taken from a traditional folk ballad,[3] and the second was a color. The one exception to this rule was Lucy Gray; the first and second part of her name both came from the same ballad.[4]

Known origins[]


The Covey had a wide array of folk songs in their repertoire, some of which were passed down through the generations, while others they wrote themselves. They were known to sing complex harmonies and play a number of instruments, including the guitar, drum, mandolin, fiddle, bass,[9] and accordion.[7]


Written by Lucy Gray Baird[]
Lucy Gray writing "The Hanging Tree".

Lucy Gray writing "The Hanging Tree".

Cultural values[]

"Can’t travel. Can’t perform without their say-so. Can only sing certain types of songs. Fight getting round up, and you get shot dead like my daddy. Try to keep your family together, and you get your head broken like my mama. What if I think that price is too high to pay? Maybe my freedom’s worth the risk."
—Lucy Gray on life under Capitol rule[src]

The Covey deeply cherished their freedom of movement and freedom of expression: being at liberty to sing, speak their minds, and hold onto their community and cultural identity. Lucy Gray also mentioned that the Covey believed everyone's purpose on earth was to "reduce the misery, not add to it."[4]

Turns of phrase[]

Coriolanus Snow considered the Covey's manner of speech odd, old-fashioned, and formal, in line with the "society talk" of the Capitol.[3] They had a tendency to use many of their own idioms.

  • Written in the stars[7]
  • Rosebud in the dung heap[2]
  • Like sandstones to diamonds[4]
  • Like a hound in heat[14]
  • You have to go to bed with the birds if you want to greet them at dawn[6]


"Birds. Always birds with her, when it came to the Covey. Singing, perching, feathers in hats. Pretty birds all."
—Coriolanus Snow[src]

"Covey" is a noun used to refer to a flock of birds, particularly a brood of young birds. This is fitting because the remaining Covey are all young, they show a particular fondness for mockingjays,[4] and their harmonies have been compared to the mockingjays' birdsong.[9]


  • Based on their nomadic lifestyle, colorful clothing, and love of music/performing, the Covey appear to be inspired by the Romani people.
    • Some have also speculated that, given that District 12 is located in Appalachia[15] and people from the Seam are described as typically having olive skin,[16] members of the Covey may be Melungeon; however, it should be noted this is a derogatory term with racist and classist connotations.
  • In District 12, the Covey kept a pet goat named Shamus.[7]
    • They had also been talking about building a herd of goats and selling the milk as a second source of income,[6] so some theorize that the Goat Man from the trilogy[17] may have been one of the Covey— most probably Tam Amber.
  • A "lone fiddler" was known to have escaped the bombing of District 12 with his instrument. As a refugee in District 13, he performed at the wedding of Finnick Odair and Annie Cresta.[18] Knowing the importance of music to the Covey, this may have been Clerk Carmine— the Covey's fiddler— or a descendant.
  • Since some of the Covey's songs survived into the trilogy through Katniss Everdeen, who learned them from her father, it's been theorized that they are descendants of the Covey— probably through Maude Ivory, who shared Katniss's ability to memorize music after a listen or two.[19][20]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 6
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 25
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 26
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 27
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 4
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 29
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 24
  8. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Epilogue
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 23
  10. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Acknowledgments
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 9
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 11
  13. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 8
  14. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 28
  15. The Hunger Games, Chapter 3
  16. The Hunger Games, Chapter 1
  17. The Hunger Games, Chapter 20
  18. Mockingjay, Chapter 16
  19. Mockingjay, Chapter 9
  20. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 12
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Main Characters Coriolanus SnowLucy Gray BairdSejanus Plinth
Supporting Characters TigrisGrandma'amVolumnia GaulCasca HighbottomClemensia DovecoteLysistrata VickersFestus Creed
Tributes FacetVelvereenMarcusSabynCircTesleeMizzenCoralHySolOttoGinneeTreechLaminaBobbinWoveyPanloSheafTannerBrandyReaperDillJessup
Mentors Livia CardewPalmyra MontyFlorus FriendIo JasperUrban CanvillePersephone PriceDennis FlingIphigenia MossApollo RingDiana RingVipsania SicklePliny HarringtonJuno PhippsHilarius HeavensbeeGaius BreenAndrocles AndersonDomitia WhimsiwickArachne CraneFelix Ravinstill
Groups AcademyCoveyPeacekeepersUniversityCapitol families
Locations PanemThe CapitolDistrict 1District 2District 3District 4District 5District 6District 7District 8District 9District 10District 11District 12District 13
Behind the Scenes Suzanne CollinsSantino Fontana