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Haymitch talking to Capitol sponsors.

"Some water, a knife, or even some matches can mean the difference between life and death. And those things only come from sponsors. And to get sponsors, you have to make people like you."
Haymitch Abernathy to Katniss Everdeen[src]

Sponsorship in the Hunger Games was the program which allowed a mentor to send useful tools to a tribute in the Games to aid them. These gifts were sent with donations from sponsors, which included rich citizens in the Capitol and family and friends in the tribute's district. Tributes were sponsored based on their first impression at the Tribute parade, training scores, impression in the interviews, performance in the arena, as well as a numerous amount of other factors.

The sponsorship program was created just prior to the 10th Hunger Games by Coriolanus Snow, as part of a project proposed by Dr. Gaul. Along with it came the idea of betting on the tributes.[1]

Donations from sponsors included medicines, food, weapons, and more, which were sent into the arena via silver silk parachutes in later Games. The longer the Hunger Games went on, the more expensive gifts become. However, any gift that was sent cost an exorbitant amount, with the cost increasing by how far it was into the Games, which is why it was surprising when Katniss Everdeen received a number of gifts in The Hunger Games and when the tributes got several dozen bread rolls spread throughout the Games in Catching Fire. Sponsors give their donations to the mentors, and the money is spent on necessary tools for the tributes.

Haymitch Abernathy and Katniss communicated indirectly through her actions in the arena and the gifts that that she received. In the film, Haymitch sent Katniss notes of advice with her gifts, like when she received burn cream, she received a note saying 'Apply generously and stay alive - H' and when she and Peeta Mellark received soup from Haymitch, the note that came with it said 'You call that a kiss? - H' referring to the kiss Katniss and Peeta shared minutes before receiving the gift. Katniss realized that if she keeps up the "star-crossed lovers" act, then she and Peeta would receive more gifts from the sponsors.

Mentors could also withhold gifts when they felt that it was necessary. Districts were able to send gifts to their tributes or another one if they chose to: when Rue died in the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss received a gift of bread from District 11, which she believed was originally meant for Rue but authorized to be sent to her as a thank-you gift for what she did for her. In this case, Katniss believed that the entire district pooled their money together for the gift and noted that it was the first time a district sent a gift to a tribute other than their own. During the 75th Hunger Games, District 3 repeatedly sent gifts of bread rolls to Katniss' alliance of tributes, both because the District 3 tributes were part of it and as a signal for when the breakout from the arena was to take place.

In the 10th Hunger Games, the gifts a sponsor could give were limited to only a selection of food (apple, bread, cheese) and water. They were delivered by drones, which found their recipients by facial recognition.[2] Unlike in future Games, sponsor gifts came very often and were the tributes' only method of obtaining food and water besides stealing other tributes' sponsor gifts. The program was still in an early phase and thus a more complicated system of sponsor prizes had yet to be invented. Furthermore, the drone technology used to deliver the sponsor gifts had not been perfected. As such, the first gift of water had to be re-sent[3] and Teslee and Circ, from District 3, the technology district, were able to rewire the drones for their own purposes.[4] Gifts were ordered directly by the tributes' mentors from their communicuffs, based on the funds that they had available.[5] As there was no means of tracking the tributes in these early games, the mentors only ordered gifts to be sent if their tributes came out of hiding, as they would otherwise likely be scavenged by other tributes. Unlike in later Games, there was no system in which relative value was assigned based on the needs of the tributes. Towards the end of the Games, Snow received a barrage of donations based on a passionate speech, but noted mentally that they were of little use, as he could keep her in food and water for weeks based on what he had already received.[4]

Known instances of gifts

In the 10th Hunger Games, the first gift was when a bottle of water was sent to Lamina. Later that day, bread and water was sent to the District 3 tributes, Circ and Teslee, and later to Dill, although Treech stole Dill's water before she could get to it.[3] Coral and Mizzen from District 4 were also sent food and water from their mentors. Sol was given as much food as her mentor could spare, but before they could get to her, she was killed by the District 4 tributes and Tanner.[6] When it was apparent that Jessup had contracted rabies, Lysistrata Vickers sent him water to trigger his hydrophobia and protect Lucy Gray Baird, who was sent food and water after her ally's death.[7]

In the morning of the next day, Lamina collected water, bread and cheese from six drones, sent by Pliny Harrington.[8] When Wovey emerged, Hilarius Heavensbee sent her food and water, but they were stolen by the District 4 tributes after she died unexpectedly.[9] Mizzen was later sent a large breakfast after he mimed eating, but Teslee used a drone she had tampered with to block their homing direction, leading to the drones bumping into him and eventually killing him. Near the end of the Games, Coriolanus sent Lucy Gray several drones with food and water, the gifts of which she collected in her skirt.[4]

In the 65th Hunger Games, a sponsor sent a beautiful golden trident to Finnick Odair. Katniss recalled it was the most expensive gift she had ever seen given in any of the Hunger Games.

Katniss receiving the spile in the 75th Hunger Games.

In the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss received burn medicine, broth, and crescent bread from Rue's district, alongside sleep serum and a container of the rich lamb dish she enjoyed during her time in the Capitol.

In the 75th Hunger Games, the alliance of Beetee, Mags, Katniss, Peeta, Johanna, Wiress, and Finnick received bread from District 3 several times, always able to divide it equally between them. They also received a spile which helped them get water from the trees, and a tube of ointment to help their skin recover from the poisonous fog.

Examples of sponsor gifts

  • Food
  • Water
  • Medicine
  • Weapons
  • Tools (spiles, coils of wire, etc....)

Differences between the books and films

  • The gifts do not come in a protective silver casing in the books.
  • In the book, Katniss receives bread from District 11, sleep syrup, burn medicine, soup, and lamb stew. In the movie, she receives burn medicine and soup.
  • In the movies, the parachutes emit a distinctive chime, while in the books they are silent.
  • In the movies, the gifts Katniss received were accompanied with a small note from Haymitch to hint what she needs to do with the gift or how she needs to act to stay alive. However, in the book, there were no notes and Katniss was left to interpret what each gift meant.

References

  1. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 6
  2. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 12
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 14
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 20
  5. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 13
  6. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 16
  7. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 17
  8. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 18
  9. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, Chapter 19
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