Thresh lived in District 11 prior to the 74th Hunger Games. He had a grandmother and a sister. The family likely was not fed well, as Thresh looked healthier and stronger after entering the Hunger Games than he did beforehand.
74th Hunger Games
Thresh is reaped into the 74th Hunger Games, along with the female tribute from his district, Rue. Since Thresh is the physically strongest tribute in the Games, the Careers attempt to recruit him for their alliance, but he refuses. In his individual assessment, he scores a 10. However, in the film, he scores a 9.
- "He ignores Caesar's attempts at banter and answers with a yes or no or just remains silent. If only I was his size, I could get away with sullen and hostile and it would be just fine! I bet half the sponsors are at least considering him. If I had any money, I'd bet on him myself."
- ―Katniss's thoughts on Thresh, during his interview[src]
During Thresh's interview, Caesar Flickerman encourages him to talk. However, Thresh only answers in curt, single-word answers and remains surly. This, coupled with his physical appearance, causes him to become a favorite among the Capitol for the Games. Katniss is impressed by Thresh's performance and envies him, as he shows such silent, deadly physical power and has no need to make the Capitol like him.
Thresh survives the initial Cornucopia bloodbath. In the film, he is one of the first people to get inside the Cornucopia. After retrieving a water container, backpack, and crescent sword, he is confronted by the District 7 male. The District 7 male tries to stab Thresh with a spear, but Thresh easily knocks the spear out of his hands and slashes part of his face off with his sword, killing him. Thresh is then seen running toward the forest while looking back at the District 3 male and the District 7 female.
- "Then there's Thresh. All right, he's a distinct threat. But I haven't seen him, not once, since the Games began. I think about how Foxface grew alarmed when she heard a sound at the site of the explosion. But she didn't turn to the woods, she turned to whatever lies across from it. To that area of the arena that drops off into I don't know what. I feel almost certain that the person she ran from was Thresh and that is his domain."
- ―Katniss's thoughts during the Games[src]
In the arena, Thresh finds a field of wheat. Katniss surmises that Thresh uses the field to his advantage by using the wheat for food and a source of cover. The Careers know where he is, but view the field as a hazard since Thresh would be at a major advantage if they were to attack. Hence, they avoid him.
Thresh comes out of hiding during the feast to claim his backpack, which contains what he needs the most. While at the Cornucopia, he overhears Clove threaten Katniss and taunt her about Rue's death. Furious, Thresh attacks Clove, pulling her away from Katniss and yelling at her, effortlessly holding her a foot above the ground. Due to Clove's words, Thresh accuses her of killing Rue, which Clove truthfully denies. When Clove sees Thresh holding a large rock, she screams for her district partner, Cato.
In the novel, Thresh smashes the rock into Clove's temple, cracking and denting her skull. In the film, he slams her headfirst against the Cornucopia twice, cracking her skull. Thresh then asks Katniss what Clove had meant about Rue being Katniss's ally. Katniss tells him that Marvel had killed Rue and that she had sang to Rue as she had died. To honor Rue and to repay Katniss for protecting her, Thresh tells her that he will let her go once, but that he will owe her nothing after that. He then tells her to run, as Cato is approaching. As Thresh leaves, he takes not only the District 11 backpack, but the District 2 one as well. Meanwhile, Cato tries in vain to revive Clove until the canon signaling her death fires. He then pursues Thresh.
After the feast, a storm forms over the arena, which Katniss surmises is intended for Cato and Thresh. Because of the storm, Katniss and Peeta do not hear the cannon signaling Thresh's death and only find out he is dead when his portrait appears in the sky. Katniss is distressed at Thresh's death, as she had liked him and hoped he would defeat Cato. Thresh placed fifth out of 24 tributes.
Thresh's muttation is reportedly the largest due to his massive build. Katniss recognizes Thresh's mutt because of his powerful back legs, since no other tribute could have leaped so high. His mutt is killed by Katniss when it tries to leap on top of the Cornucopia as Cato, Peeta, and Katniss try to evade the pack.
- "I only ever spoke to Thresh one time. Just long enough for him to spare my life. I didn't know him, but I always respected him. For his power. For his refusal to play the Games on anyone's terms but his own. The Careers wanted him to team up with them from the beginning, but he wouldn't do it. I respected him for that."
- ―Katniss commemorates Thresh[src]
Once Katniss and her district partner, Peeta Mellark, arrive in District 11, Katniss sees Thresh's grandmother and sister standing on the platform for the tributes' families. Peeta gives a commemorative speech in which he speaks of how both Thresh and Rue had made it to the final eight and helped keep Katniss alive. He then offers to give a month of their winnings to Thresh and Rue's families every year, which shocks the crowd.
Afterward, Katniss commemorates Thresh by recounting the time he had spared her life. She explains that she had respected him for refusing to play the Games on anyone else's terms and for rejecting the Careers' offer to join their pack. This causes Thresh's grandmother to smile.
When the Peacekeepers begin shooting, Katniss worries that Thresh's family will be injured or killed. Peeta reacts with anger to the situation, worrying that the families will not receive a portion of the winnings and that they will instead be punished.
Later, Seeder assures Katniss that neither Thresh's nor Rue's families were harmed.
In the Hunger Games, Thresh's main tactic is to occupy a portion of the arena and seldom leave its boundaries. In the film, Thresh is seen participating in the Cornucopia bloodbath. Thresh chooses to enter a field of tall wheat, which Katniss presumes is because he views the area as a source of food, shelter, and safety. Peeta reveals that the Careers had not wanted to attack Thresh while he was there since he would be at a major advantage.
During the feast, Thresh kills Clove, the female tribute from District 2, by smashing her skull in with a rock. He does this after overhearing Clove taunt Katniss about Rue's death. However, in the film, Thresh kills Clove by slamming her against the Cornucopia until her neck breaks.
Thresh is a physical giant, being the largest tribute in the 74th Hunger Games. He rivals Cato in terms of brute power and strength, and is regarded by Katniss as a "physical wonder." Like his district partner Rue, Thresh has dark skin, though Katniss describes his eyes as being a strange golden-brown.
It is noted that Thresh looks even bigger and more well-fed during the Games. Being from District 11, a poor district, it is likely he did not get much to eat. In the film, Thresh is shorter than both Cato and Marvel, and less muscular than the former. However, he still has a stronger build than the other tributes.
Personality and traits
Thresh shows mercy to Katniss when they meet in the arena, even at a time when he has a clear advantage over her, as he believes that he owes her for being in an alliance with Rue, the young female tribute from his district. Through this action, Thresh is shown to have a certain degree of honor and dignity, as well as a caring and gentle side.
Despite his kind-hearted nature, Thresh can be aggressive and vengeful, as seen when he brutally murders Clove for taunting Katniss over Rue's death. Additionally, Thresh prefers solitude and does not make any alliances, demonstrating his preference to work alone. He pointedly refuses to join the Career pack.
Being as strong and huge as he is, Thresh is seen as a threat by the other tributes. He commands respect and is feared by virtually everyone in the arena, even the Careers. Katniss herself thinks that if she were a sponsor, she would bet on Thresh. Being from District 11, Thresh's knowledge of plants presumably helps him survive the Games.
Thresh takes a shining to his district partner, Rue. Her death sends him into a fit of anger and grief, and causes him to enact vengeance on Clove. In the film, during training, Thresh notices that Rue has stolen Cato's knife; this causes him to grin and shake his head in admiration. Thresh's relationship with Rue drives him to spare Katniss's life after she tells him that she had sung to Rue as she had died.
During the feast, Thresh saves Katniss from being killed by Clove. After Thresh avenges Rue's death by killing Clove, he asks Katniss about Rue. Thresh is touched that Katniss had taken care of Rue and tried to protect her from the other tributes, and feels that he owes her. As a result, he spares Katniss's life and warns her to run from Cato. Thresh also takes Cato's backpack, which allows Katniss to escape. This act likely results in Thresh's death, which both shocks and saddens Katniss, as she had liked him and wanted him to win if she or Peeta could not.
During the Victory Tour, Katniss honors Thresh by including him in her speech. She states that she had not known him, but had deeply respected him for his strength and his refusal to play the Games on anyone's grounds but his own. Katniss also thanks Thresh for having spared her life.
Like many other characters in the series, Thresh's name has an actual meaning. "Thresh" is a method of harvesting grain that involves flailing the plant around.
- In the film, Thresh is 18 years old and weighs 170 pounds.
- According to the film, Thresh is 5'11", but according to The Hunger Games: Tribute Guide, he is 6'0".
- In the film, Thresh's odds of winning change from 10-1 to 11-1. Afterward, they increase from 11-1 to 8-1.
- In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2, Katniss states that Cato killed Thresh. However, this is is not in-line with the film continuity, as Thresh was killed by the mutts in the first film.