- "I don't know how to say it exactly. Only...I want to die as myself. I don't want them to change me in there. Turn me into some kind of monster that I'm not. I keep wishing I could think of a way to...to show the Capitol that they don't own me. That I'm more than just a piece in their Games."
- ―Peeta Mellark to Katniss Everdeen[src]
Peeta Mellark, a baker's son from District 12, is the deuteragonist of the The Hunger Games trilogy. He was reaped alongside Katniss Everdeen for the 74th Hunger Games. He and Katniss play out in the arena in order to garner sponsors and manage to both become victors by tricking the Gamemakers. Although his feelings are genuine, he is hurt to discover that Katniss' were not entirely. He and Katniss become friends despite the fact that they are forced to use their fake romance to both placate and subvert the capitol during their Victory Tour and the 75th Hunger Games. At the end of the 75th Games, Peeta is captured by the Capitol and hijacked to believe that Katniss is an evil muttation. He manages to fall in love with her all over again during the end of the war and the years afterward. Eventually, Katniss realizes that she is also in love with him, and they have two children (it is unclear whether or not they are married).
Although he grew up in the merchant area of District 12, Peeta's childhood was less than desirable, as his family life was difficult. His father was kind, but his mother was known to beat Peeta--and presumably his two brothers--if they made a mistake (for example, she hits Peeta for burning the bread).
Ever since he was five years old, Peeta had a huge crush on Katniss Everdeen. On the first day of school, Peeta's father pointed her out, saying that he wanted to marry her mother but ultimately didn't as she married a coal miner. Peeta was confused as to why someone would marry a coal miner instead of his father, but Mr. Mellark explained that when Mr. Everdeen sang, the birds stopped to listen. Later, Katniss sang for their music class, and Peeta realized he was in love with her when he saw that the birds were listening like they did for her father. He said that he had often watched her, but the two never spoke until the reaping.
74th Hunger Games
Peeta is first seen in The Hunger Games when he is selected as the male tribute from District 12 in the 74th Hunger Games. Katniss recognizes him instantly, knowing that he is the boy who, five years prior, purposely burned bread and gave it to her to save her family and herself from starvation - an act that gave her the hope and courage to feed her family. For this, his mother gave him a black eye for being so clumsy.
Once he is reaped, he goes to the Justice Building where his family comes to visit him. His father is distraught, whereas his mother says that perhaps District 12 will have a victor: Katniss, indicating she has no expectations to ever see her youngest son again.
Peeta and Katniss leave the district on the train to the Capitol, escorted by well-known fashionista and socialite, Effie Trinket. On the first night on the train, Peeta is irritated by the District 12 mentor, Haymitch Abernathy, because of his drinking problem and his obvious lack of interest in helping the tributes survive. When Haymitch tells them, "Here's some advice: Stay alive." Peeta breaks his wine glass and receives a punch in the jaw as a result. Katniss then jams a knife in between Haymitch's hand and his wine bottle. Haymitch is impressed by their potential and decides that as long as they don't interfere with his drinking, he will stay sober enough to help them.
When Peeta arrives in the Capitol, he is fixed up by his prep team, led by his stylist, Portia. For the Parade, he and Katniss are dressed in black unitards with synthetic fire to represent burning coal. The Capitol receives them more positively than any of the other district tributes during the Opening Ceremonies, where they are instructed to hold hands.
During the training process, Haymitch instructs Katniss and Peeta to stay together every step and process of the way, though they protest due to their tendency to argue and anger each other. Peeta excels at keeping up the appearance that they are friends, easing Katniss into conversation, and responding to what she's saying at all the right times. He receives a training score of 8 after his private session with the Gamemakers, saying that he threw some weights around because the Gamemakers were clearly not interested in him.
Despite having agreed to train alongside Katniss at the beginning, Peeta decides to prepare for his interview separately. During his interview with Caesar Flickerman, he reveals he is in love with Katniss, much to her surprise. This confession begins the idea that the two are the "star-crossed lovers from District 12," which Haymitch believes will help them get sponsors.
The night before the Games, Peeta and Katniss talk on the rooftop about the horrors that await them in the arena. Peeta admits that he does not believe he has ever been a contender in the games; he merely wants to die as himself and show the Capitol that he is "more than just a piece in their games." Katniss finds herself frustrated by his pessimistic outlook, thinking it foolish of him to have given up already.
At the beginning of the games, it is Peeta who distracts Katniss when she looks ready to run into the bloodbath in order to grab the silver bow and arrows she spies on top of a mound of blanket rolls. He surprisingly teams up with the Careers, as Katniss finds out on the first night. What she does not know, is that he is only with them in order to protect her. When an argument breaks out about the dying tribute from District 8 and whether or not the pack should go back to kill her, Peeta says they are wasting time and finishes her off himself. The cannon only fires after Peeta returns from "finishing her off" but it's not explicit whether Peeta actually killed her (though this seems unlikely, given his temperament), if she simply took longer to die than the Careers expected, or the Gamemakers held off on the cannon to try and get Katniss discovered for a more interesting fight.
After the firestorm, none of the Careers die, but they are injured and much slower than before. They find Katniss and chase her up a tree, with Peeta suggesting that they make camp under it, as none of them are able to climb after her. It's later revealed he stays up the whole night under the tree as part of his devotion to Katniss. In the morning, they wake up to a tracker jacker attack after Katniss drops a nest on them. The Careers, minus Glimmer, and the female tribute from District 4, who die from their stings, retreat to the lake. Peeta finds Katniss at the scene of the attack as she is removing the bow and arrows from Glimmer's body, and he urges her to run due to Cato's impending attempt to kill her. Cato witnesses this exchange and cuts Peeta in his upper thigh for his actions, severely wounding him. It's unclear if Cato deliberately just wounded Peeta, or if he was trying to kill Peeta and Peeta fought back and escaped. Either way, Cato is confident enough in the wound that he and the other Careers don't bother hunting Peeta down.
Peeta uses mud and dirt to camouflage himself by a stream, where Katniss finds him after Claudius Templesmith announces the new rule: If the last two tributes standing are from the same district, they both can win. She nurses him back to health as best she can, but ultimately he suffers from blood poisoning, which she cannot cure without the right medicine. During this time, Peeta plays up the star-crossed lovers angle and Katniss responds as best as she can, which results in sponsor gifts of food.
Claudius Templesmith makes another announcement that they have a feast planned, where a bag containing something that each remaining tribute desperately needs will be placed at the Cornucopia in the form of district packs. Katniss knows she has to go, but Peeta won't let her, saying he doesn't want her to die for him. Haymitch then sends Katniss sleep syrup, which she slyly gives to Peeta in some berries she found; Peeta is hurt by her trickery before he falls into a deep sleep, giving her time to go to the feast. She manages to return with the medicine, after nearly dying at the hands of Clove. Katniss just manages to inject the medicine into Peeta before fainting from her own blood loss.
Peeta wakes up, recovered from the infected wound, and finds Katniss bleeding next to him. He treats her wound, and she wakes up later. They stay in their cave during a thunderstorm, during which Thresh dies, presumably at the hands of Cato. Peeta uses the time to further promote their star-crossed lovers act, and the two share a passionate kiss. After the storm ends, the pair head out to hunt for food, but Katniss is frustrated by the noise that Peeta, who is not used to hunting, makes. They decide to split up, with Katniss teaching Peeta a two-note whistle to signify to each other that they are safe. When Katniss does not hear Peeta whistle after an extended period of time, she becomes frightened and, upon finding him, chastises him for worrying her. She notices that their collection of food, which contains deadly nightlock berries that Peeta mistakenly picked out, is missing a portion, and is irritated with him for having eaten without her, but he denies doing so. A cannon sounds and they see Foxface's emaciated body being picked up by a hovercraft; she stole and ate the deadly berries, which almost instantly killed her.
With only three of them left in the Arena, the Gamemakers drain all sources of water except for the lake, forcing Katniss and Peeta to confront Cato and end the Games one way or another. They notice at the Cornucopia that Cato is covered in full-body armor, which he received from his district pack, that protects him from Katniss' arrows. The three of them are attacked by wolf muttations that the Gamemakers unleash, with Katniss noticing that they all resemble the deceased tributes. They climb onto the roof of the Cornucopia for safety, and in the process Peeta's calf is bitten by one of the mutts, opening up a large wound. Katniss has to use her last arrow in a tourniquet to stop Peeta from dying from blood loss. Once recovered from running for so long, Cato catches Peeta in a headlock to cut off his air, possibly hoping to choke him to death and use his body as a weapon against Katniss, ensuring both of their deaths, and Cato's victory.
However, this does not happen. Knowing that to shoot him in the head would mean both his and Peeta's deaths, Katniss does not know what to do until Peeta shakily draws an "X" in blood on the back of Cato's hand, signaling for Katniss to shoot him there, which she does. Cato reflexively lets go of Peeta, and Peeta shoves him over the edge. Cato falls to the mutts and later returns bloody and mangled, begging for Katniss to perform a mercy kill.
Pitying him, despite his ruthless nature, she shoots him in the head.
When Cato's body is removed and the muttations retreat, Katniss and Peeta believe that they have won the Games, but Claudius Templesmith then announces that the rule has been revoked and only one tribute can win. Peeta tells Katniss to kill him, but not wanting to go home without him, Katniss refuses and pushes the bow and arrows into his hands.
Realizing that the Capitol would rather have two victors than none, Katniss and Peeta decide to commit suicide with the remaining nightlock. Right before they consume the berries, Claudius Templesmith begs them to stop and announces that they both have won the Games. At their final interview with Caesar Flickerman, the pair once again project their mad love for each other, with Katniss only doing so because she knows that President Snow is livid at the unusual events that turned the Capitol into a laughingstock and, more importantly, sparked something dangerous in the districts. Peeta, however, is genuinely in love with her, as is revealed on their train ride home, when Katniss admits that she has been partially faking her feelings for him, leaving him heartbroken and cold towards her.
In Catching Fire, after the camera crews finally left District 12, Katniss and Peeta had a falling out due to the ambiguity of her feelings for him. They spent the next six months basically ignoring each other. Although still heartbroken from learning that Katniss doesn't reciprocate his feelings, Peeta doesn't abandon their image of star-crossed lovers and still "performs" well in front of the camera, playing his role of a boy lost in love. He and Katniss go on the Victory Tour, which begins in District 11. On the train there, when Katniss loses her temper with Effie, Peeta calms her down and suggests that they make a genuine attempt at being friends despite all that has happened between them. At night on the train, Katniss often wakes up screaming from nightmares. To comfort her, Peeta holds her while she sleeps; this becomes a nightly routine.
When they arrive at District 11, Peeta makes a speech in which he offers to give Thresh and Rue's families a month's portion of his earnings each year - something that has never been done before, possibly due to it being against the rules. After Katniss makes a rousing speech about Rue, a man whistles Rue's four-note tune and the entire audience shows their support for Katniss by placing their middle three fingers on their lips and holding them out to her, which is considered a sign of respect and a sign of thanks. As Peeta and Katniss go into the District 11 Justice Building, they see the man who whistled as he is executed by a gunshot to the head. Peeta is shocked, forcing Katniss and Haymitch to explain that Snow does not believe their act of love and that they have been trying to downplay any signs of rebellion on the Tour. Angry that he has been left out and not knowing how risky his kind gesture to Thresh and Rue's family was, Peeta lashes out until Katniss comforts him.
During an interview with Caesar Flickerman, Peeta proposes to Katniss in an attempt to convince President Snow of their love. Katniss, however, is given a subtle gesture from Snow that tells her that this was not good enough to contain the fire that she has ignited. She suggests that they run away together, bringing Gale and her family along with them. This plan is abandoned when Gale is caught hunting and the new Head Peacekeeper, Romulus Thread, publicly whips him, with Katniss realizing that she has to stay in the district in order to protect her family.
75th Hunger Games
When it comes time for the 75th Hunger Games, or the third Quarter Quell, Katniss and Peeta think they are going to become mentors for two new tributes. However, President Snow announces that the criteria for this
Quarter Quell is that the tributes will be chosen from the pool of existing victors. With District 12 having only three living victors (Peeta, Katniss, and Haymitch), it is clear that Katniss will go back into the arena, with Peeta determined to volunteer should Haymitch be picked in order to protect her. When he finds Katniss and Haymitch hungover the morning after the announcement, Peeta is infuriated and rids Haymitch and Katniss of any access to alcohol so that the three of them can train as vigorously as Career tributes.
At the Reaping, Katniss is obviously drawn as the female tribute, and Haymitch is drawn as the male tribute; as precedented, Peeta immediately volunteers to take his place. They take the train to the Capitol, and when they both can't sleep, they decide to watch the video of the 50th Hunger Games, or the second Quarter Quell - the Games that produced Haymitch Abernathy as victor. They learn of Haymitch's ingenious strategy in which he used the force field around the arena as a tool during his final battle, a plan that amuses Katniss, who believes that it was almost as bad as her pulling out the berries due to the fact that the Capitol had not intended for anyone to recognize or use the force field.
Once they arrive in the Capitol, Peeta and Katniss are once again dressed in fiery costumes for the Opening Ceremonies, where they are instructed by their stylists, Portia and Cinna, to look stoic and "unforgiving." The crowd is extremely sympathetic to their love, for it seems that things will never go right for the star-crossed lovers of District 12. Before training, Haymitch suggests they make friends, as the fellow tributes have known each other for years and already have strong friendships, therefore making Peeta and Katniss their prime targets. Peeta fares better in this area than Katniss, but ultimately neither of them wants the other tributes as their allies except for each other.
When it comes time for their private training sessions, Peeta and Katniss both shock the Gamemakers without having planned it: Peeta paints a picture of Rue when Katniss decorated her dead body with daisies, and Katniss hangs a dummy on which she writes "Seneca Crane." To single them out and make the other tributes want to fight against them, the Gamemakers give them both scores of 12 in order to make them targets for the other tributes. In his interview with Caesar Flickerman, Peeta astonishes the audience with his revelation that he and Katniss are already married and that Katniss is pregnant, successfully inciting the Capitol's sympathy.
The Quell ends up being set in jungle terrain with seawater surrounding the Cornucopia. Each tribute is placed on a flotation device in the water. Because Peeta cannot swim, Finnick Odair from District 4, whom Katniss teams up with only when she sees that he is wearing a bracelet Haymitch gave him, retrieves him and Mags from their devices. The four of them team up, collect weapons from the Cornucopia, and leave before the Career pack finishes gathering weapons. They walk throughout the day, knowing they must set up camp and find drinkable water. Katniss is still doubtful about trusting Finnick when suddenly, Peeta unknowingly walks into a forcefield that surrounds the arena and falls unconscious, because his heart had stopped. Katniss is in hysterics and believes that Finnick, who pushes her away from Peeta's body, is trying to hurt Peeta, until she realizes that Finnick is performing CPR and manages to revive him.
Weak, but willing to move, the alliance moves slowly until they decide to set up camp, knowing they must find safe water. They receive a spile from sponsors, which allows them to tap trees and collect water from inside them. Katniss keeps watch the first night until she alerts the other three of a rapidly approaching poisonous fog, which causes severe blistering and paralysis. Peeta, due to his earlier accident and his artificial leg, has difficulty keeping up, forcing Finnick to carry him on his back and Katniss to carry Mags. Eventually exhausted and affected by the fog, Katniss can no longer keep Mags on her back and asks if Finnick can, but he is too winded to do so. Mags then plants a kiss on Finnick's lips and walks straight into the mist, allowing them to continue on by sacrificing herself. The fog stops chasing them when they reach the water, which they use to recover from the poison.
Peeta taps a tree for water, but as he does so, Katniss and Finnick spot monkey muttations in the trees. Trying to calmly get him to back away from the tree, Katniss asks him to "look at something," but Peeta instinctively glances up and sets the monkeys off. The three of them form a triangular shape and fend off the monkeys, but when Katniss runs out of arrows, she asks Peeta to release the sheath that she gave him, giving a monkey time to nearly sink its claws into Peeta's chest; he is spared as the female Morphling from District 6 suddenly jumps in the way and is killed by the muttation. The monkeys retreat, and Peeta stays by the Morphling's side, telling her about his paintings and colors, to soothe her into death.
Once they recover from the monkey attack, they travel through the arena until they run into Johanna Mason, Wiress, and Beetee, who they add to their alliance. The groups pool their resources and experience conflict when it is clear that Johanna and Katniss loathe each other, but they keep vigilance of their surroundings, especially for the Career tributes. Wiress keeps muttering, "Tick, tock," until Katniss discovers what it means: the arena structure is virtually similar to a clock. Peeta draws a map of the arena on a leaf, marking the sections where they know what particular dangers exist at varying times. Wiress then serves as the group's "canary," singing a song that will only stop if she detects danger. When Katniss no longer hears the song, she turns around to find that Gloss has slit Wiress' throat and reflexively shoots him. Johanna then digs her axe into Cashmere's chest. When three cannons go off, the group tries to attack Enobaria and Brutus, but they marginally manage to escape.
On the second night, the alliance discusses Beetee's plan to wipe out the remaining Careers by electrocution, using his wire and coil, the lightning bolt that strikes the tree at midnight, and the beach. On the third day, Katniss pretends to teach Peeta how to swim in order to talk to him alone. She suggests that they break off their alliance, but Peeta tells her to wait. Meanwhile, he uses this opportunity to give her a pearl and a locket with a picture of her family on one side and Gale on the other, trying to convince her not to sacrifice her life for him, as he realizes that she and Haymitch want to keep him alive. He insists that he would have nothing to live for if Katniss died, but that she could still start a family with Gale. He tells her that his family does not need him. Katniss, protests, saying that she needs him. Katniss then kisses him and at that point, he realizes that it wasn't for the cameras and that she actually meant it.
That night, they decide to commence Beetee's plan, with Katniss and Johanna reluctantly teaming up and setting the wire in place, while Peeta, Finnick, and Beetee fulfill the rest of the plan. Peeta does not want to separate from Katniss, but she kisses him and tells him that it is necessary and that she'll "see [him] at midnight." When Finnick and Beetee begin their real plan to save Katniss, Peeta is confused and goes out to find her. In his search, Peeta kills Brutus in a fit of rage after Brutus kills Chaff, Haymitch's friend from District 11. Katniss is ensnared and unconscious. As Johanna flees after jabbing something sharp into her arm, Katniss believes that Johanna has betrayed her, that it is too late to escape with Peeta. In truth, Katniss then remembers Haymitch's advice to her - "remember the enemy" - and she shoots an arrow at the forcefield, destroying it. The Capitol arrives to capture the remaining six tributes, but Katniss, Finnick, and Beetee are rescued by the rebellion to go to District 13, (which was told by the Capitol that it was destroyed and it no longer exists). Peeta is among those captured by the Capitol (along with Enobaria and Johanna), where Katniss believes he is being tortured for information he does not have.
Katniss is informed of the prior plans that Beetee, Finnick, Johanna, a few other tributes, Plutarch Heavensbee, and even Haymitch were involved in. Katniss, furious over the plan and the failed rescue of Peeta, lashes out at Haymitch, using her nails to create a long scratch down his face.
Captured by the Capitol
In the third and final book, Mockingjay, Peeta is held captive by President Snow and used against Katniss. During his captivity, he was tortured, beaten, and hijacked using tracker jacker venom to distort his memories of Katniss until he believed she was a mutt trying to kill him. The Capitol interrogated him for answers he did not have, the main reason for his torture seeming to be how it would unsettle Katniss and by extension hinder the rebellion. Peeta first appears in an interview with Caesar Flickerman, where he explains what happened in the Quell arena before the force field blew up and aggressively defends Katniss' innocence. Peeta finishes the interview by stating that a cease-fire is the best option for the rebels, otherwise, human life may cease to exist. Katniss notes he appears healthy.
Katniss also decides to be the rebels' Mockingjay, on the condition that once Peeta, Johanna, Annie and Enobaria are rescued, they must not be held liable for any mistakes they have made (Katniss knows they probably won't keep this condition, so she makes President Coin announce it in public).
After more Propos begin airing from the rebels, Peeta appears in another interview, fifteen pounds thinner, and completely ill in appearance. Katniss is initially baffled by how much Peeta has changed until she realizes there were no indications in the previous interview of when it was actually filmed, and could have been taped weeks ago. He and Caesar exchange empty comments and Caesar asks for his view of the rumors that Katniss is shooting a propo. Peeta states that Katniss shouldn't trust anyone and that they are using her. In his last comment of the interview, he suggests that Katniss should find out what the rebels are really planning.
Peeta is interviewed by Caesar for the third time. He implies that District 13 will be bombed after saying, "And you...in Thirteen...dead by morning!" As Beetee fights for reception with the Capitol, Peeta is seen being beaten and his blood splatters across the screen. After the bombing and much thinking, Katniss has a breakdown in the middle of shooting a propo. She knows the Capitol is using Peeta, torturing him to try to break her, so she will stop the rebellion and let the Capitol regain power. Katniss can't stand this and breaks down when she's asked to film, as does Finnick.
After witnessing both Finnick's, and Katniss' breakdowns, a rescue mission is staged. After distracting the Capitol with live propaganda, Peeta and the other captors are rescued. Katniss rushes to his side and is stunned when he attempts to strangle her. It is revealed that he was "hijacked", and Peeta's memories of Katniss are severely distorted in frightening, life-threatening ways; consequently, he becomes very hysterical and unstable. He believes that Katniss is a mutt designed by the Capitol intent on destroying him, who tried to kill him before and succeeded in killing all of his friends and family. Peeta believes that Katniss is responsible for the destruction of District 12 and the lives of its residents. He lashes out in uncharacteristic fits of rage, retreats into his own head, temporarily loses the power of speech, cannot differentiate between what is an illusion and what is reality, and at one point argues with himself in a fit of madness as if he is two different people. He is only allowed to be treated by people he never knew before as not to trigger anything harmful. Delly Cartwright is the only one able to make contact with him in the beginning, as they share old childhood memories. He shouts that the destruction of District 12 is Katniss' fault and calls her a mutt. Peeta says he remembers Mr. Everdeen singing "The Hanging Tree" when he came to the bakery when Peeta was little. After that episode, Katniss begins to avoid Peeta and blames him for all of her problems, until Haymitch tells Katniss that if she were hijacked, Peeta would be doing all he could to save her. This causes her to realize that she has been pushing him away, and she feels guilty.
After Katniss is shot in District Two, she notices that Peeta has improved slightly, even being able to frost Annie and Finnick Odair's cake, for their wedding. Haymitch states that he has certain episodes, sometimes becoming rabid, or acting like two different people. He also mentions that Peeta can only sleep if he is in shackles. He is able to have a full conversation with Haymitch and he asks if he could speak with Katniss. Katniss ends the conversation quickly and tries to leave, but Peeta stops her by saying he remembers the bread he gave her so she and her family wouldn't starve. Later, he shows up unannounced to Katniss, Gale, Beetee, Delly, Johanna, Annie, and Finnick, and sits next to Johanna. Peeta tells Finnick to take care of Annie. Peeta and Katniss continue to be harsh to one another until Johanna points out that he is not the same person anymore.
Later, Peeta is sent by President Coin to join the group of Special Sharpshooters, containing Katniss, Gale, and Finnick. He is watched over 24/7 and denied the nightlock pill, which will deliver an unpainful death when taken. To help him cope with his confusion between memories that are real and memories that have been hijacked, the team devises a game to play with him called "Real or Not Real?" At one point during a fight with enemies, he snaps due to his conflicting memories and almost kills Katniss until he is tackled to the floor by Mitchell. This causes him to panic, and he kicks Mitchell into a trap that when it set off, releases a net of barbed wire. He feels deep remorse about it later and insists that they leave him to the Capitol. Peeta is so saddened by killing Mitchell that he pleads for death. He asks for a nightlock pill, but Katniss refuses. The squad travels underground, and Katniss notes that for a moment Peeta seemed to be himself. During the night, Katniss is able to have a civil conversation with him. Peeta asks if she is trying to protect him, and she tells him she is still trying to protect him as he is still trying to protect her. The squad is later attacked by lizard mutts that hiss Katniss' name. When Katniss tries to take the handcuffs off of Peeta, he resists and explains that they help him gain a grip on reality by pressing the sharp edges of the cuffs against his wrists. When they are underground, Peeta huddles himself together. He is frightened of everything that he knows, thinks, feels, and how he acts. Katniss finally gets him to keep going by kissing him, reminding him of memories of times when he loved her, and he relaxes. They later go undercover into crowds of evacuating people, splitting up. Katniss and Peeta say their goodbyes. He goes in first with the nightlock pill that was given to him by Gale.
On the day of President Snow's execution, Katniss kills President Coin instead with the arrow that was meant for Snow. Katniss tries to commit suicide by swallowing her nightlock pill when the guards come for her, but Peeta stops her by grabbing her wrists, preventing her from swallowing them. When Katniss tells him to let go of her, Peeta says he can't. He implies later that he too went mad after Coin's death and that Aurelius, Katniss' psychiatrist, was treating him as well. A few months later, he returns to District Twelve, having largely recovered from his brainwashing after Katniss and Haymitch, where he plants several evening primroses along the house in honor of Katniss' dead sister, Prim. He and Haymitch join Katniss when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the Hunger Games, along with things she is unwilling to forget. Peeta draws the victims if they were not able to find pictures of them. He still has some "episodes" where the hijacking will try to take over again. He clenches onto the back of a chair until it passes. Otherwise, he displays signs that he has returned to his normal self. Katniss and Peeta slowly find each other again. He comforts her when she has nightmares. Soon, they begin to embrace and kiss again. Katniss believes that she has finally found the once-lost feeling Peeta stirs inside of her, that she needs Peeta to survive because he symbolizes hope and rebirth rather than destruction, like Gale does. They play the game of "Real or Not Real?" one last time. Peeta asks, "You love me, real or not real?" Katniss answers, "Real."
In the epilogue, the pair are still together and have two children. Peeta never loses his grip on reality but still experiences flashbacks from the hijacking. He has to hold onto something until it passes. Though it took fifteen years of convincing from Peeta, they have a son with Peeta's blond hair and Katniss' gray eyes, and a daughter with Katniss' dark hair and Peeta's blue eyes. Katniss feels hesitant to tell her children about the Games, but Peeta assures her that it will be okay, because they have each other. So, one day, they will tell their children of the Hunger Games, share the memory book Haymitch, Peeta, and Katniss compiled together, explain Katniss' hysterical episodes during the night, and inform them of the graveyard they happily play above every day, now a meadow. The graveyard is the burial site for the deceased residents of District 12.
Peeta is described as having "ashy blonde hair that falls in waves over his forehead," blue eyes, pale skin, and a stocky build. Even with a stocky build, Peeta is fairly small for a male, especially when compared to the male Tributes of his first Games. This might be partly because District 12's population, even the merchants, normally can't afford enough food to comfortably feed their families. That said, as his family owned the bakery, Peeta is probably one of the best-fed people in the District.
Multiple people describe him and handsome, though Katniss normally calls him 'beautiful' and notes quite feminine aspects of his appearance, such as his long eyelashes.
In the 74th Hunger Games, a mutt (one of the wolves designed to look like the dead Tributes) mauls Peeta's calf. Katniss makes a tourniquet to staunch the blood flow, and this saves Peeta's life but he ends up having his leg amputated below the knee. In Mockingjay, following his capture by the Capitol, Katniss describes his mental and physical condition as slowly deteriorating, because of the torture and interrogation methods used on him.
- "Known for being nice."
- ―Katniss, on Peeta[src]
Peeta has a very likable personality and is very charismatic. Kind and gentle, he is also very clever and skilled at manipulating others with his words. Though not brash or arrogant, he can be quite bold, having announced that he was in love with Katniss to the whole nation and offering Thresh and Rue's families part of his and Katniss' winnings. He is a very talented public speaker, to the point that Coin would have preferred to rescue him over Katniss from the Quell. Similarly, he has a good sense of humor and doesn't take himself too seriously.
Possibly unique to Hunger Games Victors, Peeta is very reluctant to get into physical fights and very non-violent, to the point that Finnick would say he is the only Victor who won the Games 'by chance'. He states that he wants to be "more than just a piece in [the] Games", more than the killer the Capitol would want him, a Tribute, to be.
However, when very angry, Peeta has been known to throw objects against walls and shout, so he is not without a temper. He is gentle, but not a pushover; as seen when he breaks Haymitch's wine glass after Haymitch sarcastically tells him to "stay alive" in the Games.
Most notably, Peeta is loving and cares deeply about the people around him. He is described as sweet, gentle, strong, and steady by Katniss several times, and always assumes the best in people, which baffles Katniss who is, by contrast, very skeptical and slow to trust. He is selfless (for his willingness to sacrifice his own life for Katniss's), has a good sense of humor that he uses during tough times, and always knows exactly what to say to make someone feel better. He is able to work with Haymitch on goals and strategy and, unlike Katniss, able to keep secrets and is trusted by Haymitch. It is noted throughout the series his deep understanding of situations such as the Hunger Games where he says, "I don't want to be just a piece in their Games." It took Katniss much longer for her to understand the same concept.
His favorite color is sunset orange. Katniss notices that he always double-knots his shoelaces, sleeps with the windows open, and never takes sugar in his tea.
When he's hijacked, he becomes out-of-control, homicidal, and suicidal. Eventually, through separating "shiny" hijacked memories and real ones, he recovers, though still has flashbacks and trauma.
- "He frosted under heavy guard."
- ―Haymitch, on Peeta[src]
- Combatant: Though not much of a fighter, Peeta is also very strong, which gives him an advantage during hand-to-hand combat. In the book, Katniss mentions he came in second place in a District 12 wrestling contest, after only one of his older brothers, and in the film, she tells Haymitch that he can toss hundred-pound bags of flour over his head with ease. The Careers admit that he is "handy with a knife" and indeed a knife is his preferred weapon in the Games, though he doesn't often use one in combat. In The Hunger Games: Tribute Guide, his weapons are shown to be Camouflage, Strength, and Spear, indicating he's quite good with spears too.
- Gifted Intellect: Peeta's greatest talent could arguably be his way with words. Katniss notes that he always seems to know exactly what to say. He easily builds a rapport with Caesar Flickerman and is very talented at public speaking. When deciding to sacrifice herself for him in the Quell, Katniss justifies her decision by saying that Peeta can "change his pain into words that will move people" to rebellion, and that he could lead it.
- Expert Deceiver: In a similar vein, Peeta is an excellent liar. Katniss is unsure for much of The Hunger Games whether he's lying about his love for her. He lies in her defense when Katniss tries to explain knowing her Avox server, Lavinia, by saying she looks like Delly Carthwright. He also lies to Panem about him and Katniss being married and Katniss being pregnant.
- Expert Artist: Peeta is very artistic, ranging from frosting cakes to camouflage to actual painting. His talents developed from helping out at his parents' bakery by making bread and decorating cakes.
In the 74th Games, when Peeta is grouped with the Careers, they discover the District 8 female and killed her. Moments later, when they don't hear the cannon signaling a death, an argument breaks out among the Careers and Peeta says that he'll go back and check if she is dead. When Peeta rejoins the Careers, they ask him if the girl is dead, to which he responds, "She is now," and a cannon goes off. Later, as an ally to Katniss, he accidentally kills Foxface when she eats some of the nightlock berries he had been collecting, thinking they were edible. He also states in an interview with Caesar Flickerman that he killed Brutus during the Quarter Quell Games after Brutus killed Chaff, right before Katniss shot out the force field. During the battle of the Capitol, Peeta, in one of his rages due to his hijacking, killed Mitchell by unintentionally kicking him into a pod that released net of barbed wire.
Peeta's family consists of five people, but not much about them is known. He is the only one of his family to be named. His father, a baker, is known for being gentle and kind to everyone, as well as a buyer of poached squirrels when the wife isn't around. He told Peeta when Peeta was a child that he wanted to marry Katniss' mother. By contrast, Peeta's mother is described by Katniss as "the witch". She was physically abusive to Peeta, giving him a black eye for burning bread, and supposedly screamed at starving children when they looked through the rubbish for something to eat.
Additionally, Peeta has two unnamed older brothers, one who was too old to take his place in the 74th Hunger Games and the other who could have taken his place but didn't. As Katniss says, "Family devotion only goes so far for most people on reaping day." His eldest brother would be around age 19-23, and the other would be around 17-18 in the first book.
It is quite obvious that Peeta's family is neither close nor very happy. Peeta angrily states how his mother put no confidence in him winning the Games, instead remarking that "she" (Katniss) "is a fighter". He didn't try to hide his hurt or anger over the comment. In Catching Fire, Peeta says to Katniss that his family wouldn't be too worried about his death and that they could go on living without him, further implying the fact. It's worth noting that, unlike Katniss' mother and Prim, Peeta's family did not move into the house in the Victor's Villiage, remaining in the bakery in town instead.
In Mockingjay, it is revealed that all of his family were killed in the bombing of District 12. In the epilogue of Mockingjay, approximately 15 years later, it is revealed that Katniss and Peeta have 2 children. Peeta desperately wanted the children and eventually convinced Katniss, who had initially vowed never to have kids for fear of them being reaped. Their first child was a girl and their second child was a boy (books).
- "I must have loved you a lot."
- ―Peeta, to Katniss[src]
When Peeta first saw Katniss, it was when they were five; his father had pointed her out and told him about how he loved Katniss' mother but she ran off with a coal miner. Peeta asks, "Why did she marry him if she could've had you?" and his father answers, "Because when he sings... even the birds stop to listen." In music class, the teacher asked who knew the valley song and Katniss's hand shot up. She sang it beautifully and, as Peeta says, "And I swear every bird outside the windows fell silent. And right when your song ended, I knew - just like your mother - I was a goner." This is when Peeta's love for her started. Peeta was always seen with a large group of people and whenever Katniss was around he would notice her, no matter what. When they were younger, Peeta helped Katniss by burning bread as an excuse to give it to her so she wouldn't die from starvation. When Peeta was reaped for the 74th Hunger Games, he saw it as in some way a piece of luck, so that he could finally get to know her.
He and Katniss pretended to be star-crossed lovers, but to Peeta, it was not an act; he truly did love her, but Katniss did not reciprocate these feelings. Peeta never stopped thinking about her during the games. When in the cave, Peeta expressed his love for her and told her of his memories of her, and when he first began to love her. Katniss and Peeta kiss each other and their kiss had real emotions behind it for both of them. She is comforted immensely by his presence throughout their time together. They continued the love act until the final interview. Peeta is hurt when he finds out Katniss did not see it as anything more than an act.
In Catching Fire, he and Katniss assume a cool relationship while by themselves but they soon agree to be just friends. Although Peeta rarely mentions his love for her in his offhand comments, it is clear that he still loves her deeply, as shown by him holding her every night while she has nightmares; it is his presence that allows her to sleep peacefully in his arms.
They affectionately spend their last full day before the Quell together. During the games, Peeta was determined to keep Katniss alive. Peeta knew Katniss had feelings for Gale and if she was happy with him, he would let her go so she could find happiness—even if it meant sorrow for himself. Katniss attempted to bring him home alive, but Peeta had other plans.
Believing these to be his final moments of life, on the beach, Peeta told Katniss how he truly loved her and would die for her. He gives her two very important items: a locket with a picture of Mrs. Everdeen and Prim on one side and a picture of Gale smiling on the other, and a pearl he found, remarking that "coals become pearls when they're under lots of pressure." He compared the precious stone to her. The locket and pearl became very important to Katniss and kept them close to her (this is when Katniss is fully aware that she loves Peeta as well). Despite the pain he experiences, he fights for Katniss until he is taken away from her.
In Mockingjay, Peeta is gone for a portion of the beginning until about halfway through the book, in which he is only shown being interviewed. Shortly after the last interview, he advises Katniss to think for herself and not trust the rebels. In response to Katniss's promos with the rebels, Peeta is tortured and beaten by the Capitol as a means of breaking Katniss. He returns after Gale rescues him, but has had his memories tampered with—or hijacked. While he is hijacked, he is driven to kill Katniss and is unable to remember the intense bond they shared. Over time, with the help of the people around them, Peeta's resilience, and Katniss's efforts, Peeta is slowly able to piece together his true memories and restore his deep love for her.
While on the Star Squad Peeta desired death due to feeling out of control and still having impulses to harm Katniss; on several occasions he asks her to shoot him, give him nightlock, or just leave him to die. Peeta feared he would eventually overpower Katniss and harm her. Nonetheless, she stayed by him and comforted him, even kissing him when he was in danger of losing control, and the kiss was able to snap him back in reality, where he promises to stay with Katniss 'Always'.
When Katniss returns to District 12, he went to her house and planted primroses around her home as a memorial to her sister, who died because of the exploding parachutes. Over time, Katniss and Peeta grow back together again, and one night, echoing a "game" that they had played while he was having trouble recovering his memory, Peeta asks Katniss: "You love me. Real or not real?" She answers "Real." Katniss expresses how she feels about both Peeta and Gale—that Gale was full of fire, and altogether, not the relationship she needed. Peeta, to her, was like, "a dandelion in the spring...signaling rebirth," emphasizing that Peeta is able to help Katniss heal and move forward, which is what she wants and needs and loves about him. Katniss gives in to the 'hunger' that she feels when she is with him, and after reflects that she believes "This would have happened anyways," indicating that Katniss finally realized how deep her feelings for Peeta ran.
In the epilogue, Katniss and Peeta have children after 15 years of being together, and they find a meadow to settle down in. Katniss and Peeta are still haunted by the memories of the Games but find ways to carry on living and cope with their trauma, living in peace with their children.
- "I was jealous of him before I even officially met you."
- ―Peeta, on Gale, to Katniss[src]
Peeta admits to having been jealous of Gale for a long time, having watched him and Katniss from afar for many years and realizing the depth and strength of their relationship.
In Catching Fire, Peeta knew Katniss had feelings for Gale and accepted that he would allow Katniss to be with him if it brought her happiness. When Gale was whipped, Peeta stepped in on his behalf and afterward helped carry him to Victor's Village. Later, while training for the Quarter Quell, Gale teaches Peeta and Haymitch about snares and trapping. Gale stated that he tried to hate Peeta, but it was just too hard because Peeta is too good of a person.
In the arena, Peeta gave Katniss a locket with a picture of Gale inside. He plans to sacrifice himself so that Katniss makes it out of the Quell alive and tells her that he wants her to have a life and children with Gale after he is gone.
In Mockingjay, Gale volunteered first to be on the squad to break into the Capitol and retrieve Peeta from prison. It is unknown whether he did this for Katniss or out of genuine concern for Peeta. Confused and suspicious of Katniss due to his hijacking, Peeta on more than one occasion expresses jealousy of Gale. When Peeta joins Squad 451, Gale does not hesitate to offer to kill him for Katniss but does help him play "Real or Not Real?" later.
Also in Mockingjay, Katniss wakes to a hushed conversation between an injured Gale and semi-hijacked Peeta. Gale helps Peeta drink some water, as his hands are cuffed. They speak like friends and talk about Katniss. Katniss' internal monologue mentions that Gale and Peeta "aren't friends" and "never have been. Though they're not exactly enemies." During this conversation, Gale expresses regret for not having volunteered in Peeta's place during the 74th Games, preventing her and Peeta's relationship altogether. Peeta reminds him that Katniss would probably resent him greatly for abandoning their families in such a situation. Peeta also claims that Katniss is in love with Gale, while Gale denies it and asserts that she loves Peeta. Peeta wonders how Katniss will choose between them, and Gale says that she will choose whoever "she thinks she can't survive without."
- "In the end, the only person I truly want to comfort me is Haymitch, because he loves Peeta too."
Peeta and Haymitch did not get off on the right foot, fighting with each other over Haymitch's drinking habits on the train ride to the Capitol before the 74th Hunger Games. The two later work together often and become good friends with each other. Haymitch favored Peeta since he was very useful and good. He admits that he likes Peeta better. Peeta and him form plans together like Peeta's act of love to Katniss. Peeta is able to be told secrets and plans by Haymitch and keep them to himself. Haymitch does not help Peeta during the 74th Hunger Games.
Haymitch is hurt when he is taken away by the Capitol and feels guilty for allowing this to happen. Although he does not admit it, Haymitch truly loves Peeta. Peeta is attacked by Haymitch to see if he will put up a fight in the arena which he is pleased when he and Katniss both show strength against him by ganging up. Haymitch forms plans and informs him of all his plans during the preparation for the games. Haymitch helps him and the two both become close to each other. Haymitch and Peeta work together to form the plan of the 'star-crossed lovers of District 12' act to gain sympathy from the audience. Haymitch is overjoyed when both he and Katniss come back alive. He does everything he can to prevent them from being harmed by the Capitol since they are enraged by the suicide act with the berries in the arena.
Haymitch is somewhat hurt when Peeta is angry at him for keeping secrets from him and is deeply hurt when President Snow announces the third Quarter Quell will be reaping victors since Peeta may die. Haymitch is deeply concerned when Peeta is captured by the Capitol. He and Katniss both work together to rescue Peeta. Haymitch and Katniss try their best to help Peeta through the stress and effects of the tracker-jacker venom they used to hijack his memories. The two reconnect at the end of Mockingjay.
Peeta seemed to get along well with Effie, never giving her many problems. Peeta did anger her when he and Katniss joked around about Haymitch being drunk during the reaping and making a fool of himself on national television. Effie yells at them telling them he is their only lifeline and the only thing keeping them alive.
Peeta is kind to her and always follows her plans. Effie did try to do her best for him and Katniss during the games. Effie was sad the night before the 74th Hunger Games and couldn't bear say her goodbyes because she truly does love him. Peeta tolerated her nagging during the Victory Tour. There was no known interaction between Effie and Peeta during Mockingjay.
- "Oh, Peeta, don't make me sorry I restarted your heart."
In Catching Fire, Finnick and Peeta ally, along with Mags, Katniss, and later, Beetee, Johanna, and Wiress. Finnick saves Peeta's life after Peeta runs into a forcefield—initially, Katniss believes Finnick is actually kissing Peeta, while he is really performing CPR.
During the events of Mockingjay, Finnick shows concern for Katniss and Peeta, and goes out of his way to save Peeta's life again. Before Finnick's death, they are shown to be friendly enough with each other, with Peeta having baked and iced Finnick and Annie's wedding cake. Peeta seems rather regretful or Finnick's death toward the end of Mockingjay and in the epilogue.
Peeta and Johanna are known to have been tortured together in the Capitol along with Annie Cresta and possibly Enobaria. Johanna later reveals that the two are "familiar with each other's screams." They were also allies in the 75th Hunger Games.
Portia was Peeta's stylist in the 74th and 75th Hunger Games and details of their relationship are unknown. They were most likely friends and got along very well considering the fact in Catching Fire he briefly makes a comment about her.
Not much is shown about Prim’s and Peeta’s relationship in the books. However, in the films, Prim was chosen as the person to tell Peeta about the fires in District 12. After Prim’s death, Peeta plants primroses in her memory.
- In the Tribute Guide, Peeta has three 'weapons', the most of all 24 tributes.
- In the film, Peeta weighs 145lbs and has 23-1 odds of winning the Games.
- Katniss and Peeta are the only victors to ever participate in the Games two years in a row.
- He is the only male volunteer from District Twelve.
- When hunting, Peeta is very loud compared to Katniss and Gale, who are seasoned hunters and skilled at moving quietly.
- He is the second tribute to volunteer in his district, the first being Katniss Everdeen.
- In the Hunger Games film, when the training scores are revealed, he and Katniss are the only tributes recognized by their first and last names--the other Tributes are only referred to by their first names. This is likely a writing error, however, as theirs are the only last names known to the readers.
- Peeta's favorite color is orange, like a sunset.
- Peeta in Greek (πίτα=peeta) means "pie".
- His name may also be related to pitta; a type of bread.
- His name also means "beaten up" in Hindi.
- In the book, Peeta has to have his leg amputated and a prosthetic made after a mutt mauls his calf. In the movie, after Katniss gives him the medicine for his blood poisoning, he doesn't sustain any further injuries to his leg.
- Peeta's favorite candy is peppermints, according to Catching Fire.
- As a promotion for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Capitol TV released an article that explains that while he was captured by the Capitol, President Snow appointed Peeta as his Special Counsel.
- Since the Quarter Quell ended after Peeta killed Brutus, and since the Quell was the last ever Hunger Games in Panem, Peeta officially has the last ever kill in the Games.