The Capitol of Panem is a technologically advanced, utopian city where the nation's most wealthy and powerful citizens live. The Capitol is also the colloquial name for the ruling government of Panem. As the seat of power in Panem, the nation's thirteen districts (twelve after The Dark Days) are ruled from this city, and the Hunger Games are organized and celebrated inside its city limits (protected by anti aircraft guns and multiple launch rocket systems, or MLRS's). Prior to the Second Rebellion, The Capitol was a tyrannical dictatorship, led by President Snow (before his death), and held total political and economic dominance over Panem, enforcing its rule through an army of Peacekeepers, capital punishment, propaganda, the fear of nuclear devastation (like District 13), and the Hunger Games. It is also the only major city mentioned in the trilogy. The Capitol is known for its fashion and food. Following the events of Mockingjay, Paylor becomes the new president, and Panem is transformed into a constitutional republic.
LocationIt is located in the northwestern section of the former North America, seemingly west of the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies also act as a natural barrier and have served the Capitol well, allowing their air force to bomb the rebels who attempted to invade the city during the Dark Days.
Society and Culture
Many Capitol residents are extremely shallow, always looking for ways to be noticed. An outrageous sense of style and fashion are very important to the citizens of the Capitol. It is common for them to tattoo and dye their bodies in extravagant bright colors, as well as undergo plastic surgery to alter their appearances. Known results of the surgeries are whiskers, dyed skin, talons, decorative patterns cut into their skin, and more outrageous fashions alluded to but not mentioned. These alterations are done so heavily that Katniss describes them as disfiguring, wondering if the people of the Capitol realize how horrifying they look to the rest of Panem. Some people of the Capitol also have gems implanted in their skin. Capitol residents frequently wear wigs in a multitude of colors. In The Hunger Games, when Katniss and Peeta are talking on the roof the night before their enter to the arena, Peeta admits that it would be hard to tell if they were wearing any fancy costumes, because you might as well mistake their ordinary clothing for a costume.
In order to have a good time at a party and eat as much as they want, Capitol residents drink a liquid (similar to ipecac) that causes them to vomit, thus providing enough room in their stomachs for more food. The residents seem oblivious to the fact that, although they go through lots of food and still have plenty left over, many of the districts' residents are starving. The food Capitol residents eat is extremely rich and appears in exotic and beautiful patterns, such as bread rolls shaped like flowers and oranges served with a sauce. Everything is luxurious and overwhelming for the tributes that arrive from the poor districts (for example, food dispensers and showers with over a hundred buttons).The people who live in the Capitol are culturally distinct from the rest of Panem, speaking with strange accents; their voices are high pitched, their jaws barely open when talking, and their tone at the ends of their sentences going up as if they're asking a question (this particular trait is present in real life Californian English). They have odd vowels, clipped words, and tend to hiss the letter "s." The only noted exceptions to this are Cinna and Plutarch Heavensbee.
People living in the Capitol are very easy to win over because, despite the fact that they enjoy theatric bloodshed, they love sentimentality and melodrama. Both Katniss and other former victors have exploited this fact to further their own agenda. Haymitch also states that it's possible to gain support in the arena simply by gushing.Capitol residents have often been said to treat the Hunger Games like a celebrated sporting event and a highly anticipated source of entertainment and past time. They take pride in betting on the tributes simply for bragging rights, not understanding or showing any regard for the horror their government is committing by forcing the games upon the districts. Some citizens are sponsors to the tributes, paying money for packages of supplies that are then delivered to them in the arena. Also, the more blood and fighting there is in the arena, the greater the entertainment for the Capitol. Unlike the twelve districts of Panem, the Capitol does not have to offer children for the Hunger Games, although the idea was discussed in Mockingjay.
It is also observed that they are unhappy about the previous victors being thrown into the arena once more for the 3rd Quarter Quell, because they have grown attached to the victors. Many Capitol citizens wanted to stop that Hunger Games from happening.
Because Capitol citizens are extremely wealthy, very few of the residents have jobs or responsibilities. Life moves very slowly until the Games, which make them all the more anticipated. Despite being at the top of both the economic and social chain, there is very little in the way of celebration or festivity until the Games and Victory Tour.
There is also an academy and university for the brightest and most well-connected students.
Government and Military
The Capitol has no localised city government as the central government of Panem is housed at the Capitol. Capitol citizens control the government as all members of President Snow's cabinet are Capitol members. There are currently no elections in Panem or the Capitol so it is unknown how President Snow came to his position. The Capitol exerts all political and economic control over all of Panem, and Snow's regime is known to be exceptionally harsh in keeping law and order in the districts.
Headed by the president who is the ultimate authority in the nation, the Capitol imposes a centrally planned economy on the districts, with all major industries under its control. The economic development of the districts is thus extremely limited, and nearly all citizens live in abject poverty.
The President of Panem heads a cabinet whose members are chosen by the president himself. The individual members of the cabinet are charged with various duties and portfolios.
After the Battle of the Capitol, the Central Government is dissolved, and its members were arrested, including President Snow himself.
The Capitol employs a large military force known as Peacekeepers to enforce its laws and police the districts. The majority of the military's manpower comes from District 2, as Capitol citizens are not known for physically fighting. With few exceptions, the only members of the military who reside in the Capitol are the military commanders. The Peacekeepers are armed with advanced, cutting edge equipment and technology, including nuclear arms. Following the overthrow of the Capitol, the armed forces are disbanded as well, with several peacekeepers arrested, tried, and executed.
Relationship with the districtsAfter the collapse of modern civilization, the thirteen districts were brought together under the Capitol's rule, thus forming the nation of Panem. Originally, there were thirteen districts, until District 13 was driven underground, due to being the driving force of the rebellion. District 13 and the Capitol only established a ceasefire afta Mexican standoffher.
Though the districts harvest all of the country's resources, such as fish, coal, lumber, textiles, technology, electricity, transportation, grain, livestock, crops, and gems, they must export almost all of their resources to serve the Capitol's citizens and their overwhelming greed. As a result, many districts, such 12 and 11, don't have enough coal to power their own district or enough food to feed their citizens (respectively). Districts 1, 2, and 4 typically have a better relationship with the Capitol and therefore receive more, have better food, and are graced with other various goods.
It is said that the Capitol favors District 2 as a lapdog, although District 2 is still not excused from the Hunger Games. Out of all the districts, District 2 is the most loyal to the Capitol. Following the end of the First Rebellion and the destruction (in reality, secession) of District 13, the Capitol looked to District 2 as the new center of its military-industrial complex. The Capitol's military operations were thus based in District 2's mountains.With the establishment of the base in District 2, military careers were offered to District 2 citizens. Because of this, many District 2 citizens began to look favorably upon the Capitol. Nevertheless, citizens in the mountainous regions who remained loyal to the district trade of masonry, maintained a negative view of the Capitol, and rebelled during the Mockingjay rebellion.
The districts have no political representation since all power is invested in the central government in the Capitol, with a President acting as the supreme leader of the nation. The districts' mayors serve as governors, ensuring the districts fulfill their quotas of production. They serve no electoral representative role as parliamentarians, senators, or congressional representatives.
As a result, the citizens of the districts live in abject poverty and under brutal oppression. The Capitol takes advantage of the suffering, using it as a tool of control, to keep the districts in line and in servitude.
Following the victory of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark in the 74th Hunger Games, unrest began growing in the districts, particularly the outlying and most impoverished districts, such as 11 and 8. Ultimately, the unrest results in a full-scale uprising, which after several months, led to the takeover of all 12 districts by the rebel forces, led and supported by District 13 and its military arsenal. The Capitol was successfully invaded and captured shortly thereafter, and the Snow regime overthrown.
Interim President Alma Coin called for the remaining seven Hunger Games Victors to vote on a 76th Hunger Games, using Capitol children. The victors approved by a narrow 4-3 decision. However, during the execution of deposed president Coriolanus Snow, Katniss Everdeen made the last-minute decision to assassinate Coin. In the chaos that followed, a free election was held, resulting in the victory of Commander Paylor, a rebel military commander from District 8. The 76th Hunger Games were never held, and the event was entirely abolished afterwards. Under the leadership of the new administration, Panem was transformed into a constitutional republic. Massive economic and political liberalization took place afterwards, and the districts are implied to have prospered.