Gale Hawthorne

Gale Hawthorne is one of the tritagonists of the Hunger Games novels. He is Katniss’ best friend and hunting partner.

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The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

Gale is a fiercely loyal and highly rebellious character. Brave and highly skilled in various weapons, he becomes one of the major leaders of the rebellion. As such, Gale Hawthorne contributes majorly to the destruction of the oppressive government and the establishment of democracy in Panem.

Gale Hawthorne Character Profile

  • Name: Gale Hawthorne 
  • Age: 18 (first Hunger Games novel)
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of origin: The Seam, District 12 
  • Physical appearance: Olive-skinned with dark hair and grey eyes.
  • Skills: Hunting (with bow and arrow), setting snares and traps, archery, bombs, guns, and the crossbow
  • Strengths: Strategic thinking, stealth, and agility
  • Weaknesses: Hotheaded, overly passionate 
  • Loyalties: Rebel

Physical Description and Personality

Gale Hawthorne looked like almost everyone else from the Seam: with straight black hair, olive skin, and gray eyes. He was well-built and over 6 feet tall at the mere age of 14. He looked very similar to Katniss, a trait that helped him pass off as Katniss’ cousin without being a threat to her and Peeta’s relationship. Gale is also extremely good-looking, to the point where Katniss thinks that he would have no trouble finding himself a wife.

Gale has a fiery personality. He makes his hatred for the Capitol people known to Katniss any chance he gets. He wishes to fight for his rights, often demonstrating his preference for openly rebelling against the Capitol is better than meekly following orders.

Katniss (who was one of his close friends) was often scared of Gale’s strong opinions, as she herself was taught to hold her tongue. However, nothing could stop Gale from speaking his mind and standing up for what’s right. This is the reason Gale became a natural leader during the rebellion.

Gale was a highly strategic thinker, coming up with plans that assured their victory, even if it meant sacrificing a few lives. This is where Gale and Katniss differ from each other, and Gale’s ruthlessness during the Second Rebellion ultimately cost him his relationship with Katniss. However, Gale was extremely loyal and protective of his loved ones, which often led to difficult lives.


Gale’s father was killed in the same mining accident as Katniss’ father when he was just 13 years old. After his father’s death, Gale has become the sole provider for his family, which includes his three younger siblings – Rory, Posy, and Vick, as well as his mother, Hazelle Hawthorne. 

Gale does whatever he can to support his family, illegally poaching and signing up for extra tesserae to put food on the table. After he turns 18, he begins work at the coal mines, working 12 hours a day every day of the week except Sundays.

Biography: Gale as a Rebel

74th Hunger Games

Before the reaping of the 74th Hunger Games, Gale asks Katniss to run away with him into the woods. However, Katniss is too scared to do so. Gale is then forced to watch Katniss fake a romance with her co-tribute, Peeta Mellark, during the 74th Hunger Games. In the meantime, he takes care of Katniss’ family, hunting for them and providing food whenever possible.

75th Hunger Games

Having turned 19 in this novel, Gale begins working for the coal mines, reserving Sundays for hunting with Katniss.

Soon, the rules of the Third Quarter Quell are announced, and it is certain that Katniss is going back into the arena. Gale confesses that he loves Katniss and kisses her. However, Katniss is busy playing up her romance with Peeta to give him an answer. She is also too traumatized from the events of the 74th Hunger Games to reciprocate his feelings. 

This time, it is Katniss who asks Gale to run away into the woods. Gale readily agrees until Katniss lets it be known that she intends to bring Peeta as well. Gale is enraged and decides to stay back to rebel instead when he hears that there is an uprising in District 8.

After his disagreement with Katniss, Gale is caught for illegal poaching by the new Head Peacekeeper of District 12, Romulus Thread. Thread almost flogs Gale to death with a whip (against the old whipping post) before Katniss steps in to save his life. Gale sustains grievous injuries, which Katniss’ mother and sister help heal with natural medicine.

Once Katniss heads back to the Capitol for the Games, Gale once again provides for Katniss’ family. When Katniss destroys the arena with her electrically charged arrow, the Capitol retaliates by bombing her home district. Gale manages to escape to District 13 while rescuing around 915 people, including his own family and Katniss’ mother and sister. In District 13, Gale begins training as a soldier in preparation for the Second Rebellion.

The Second Rebellion

Gale becomes one of the major leaders of the Second Rebellion. Being highly attractive, he is chosen to appear in propos along with Katniss to spread the messages of President Coin to the people of the districts. As a part of the rebellion, he spends his time training with new weapons while hunting with Katniss in his free time.

Gale helps Beetee design weapons for the rebellion, most of which are highly destructive in nature. He also is one of the first people to volunteer for the rescue mission to bring back Peeta and the other tributes (Johanna Mason, Enobaria, and Annie Cresta) who were captured at the end of the Third Quarter Quell. Gale most likely volunteered for this mission for Katniss’ sake, as she was extremely concerned for Peeta’s safety. The rescue mission, although dangerous, was successful, and Peeta was brought to District 13 in safety.

Gale goes back to planning war strategies and designing military weapons once again. The rebels from District 13 go to District 2, where Gale comes up with a plan to take over the “Nut”, a critical Capitol base. The plan involves bombing the Nut from the inside, which means losing the lives of several innocent people in the process. Katniss heavily disagrees with Gale’s trap, causing a rift between herself and Gale. Despite Katniss’ initial misgivings, the two come to a compromise, although Katniss is injured during the execution of the plan.

Gale is then included in the “Star Squad,” along with Katniss, Peeta, the camera crews, and a few chosen soldiers. The squad was formed to lead the rebels in the Battle of the Capitol and was tasked with the assassination of President Snow. Footage of the squad members was broadcast to the districts. The squad encounters various dangers, most of which they are able to overcome in the short term. They lose several lives on the way and in the tunnels. Gale is injured from a pod and is taken away by the Peacekeepers. He requests Katniss to kill him, but she is unable to.

After President Snow has been captured, Gale gives Katniss the arrow that was designed for her to kill him. At that point, Katniss asks Gale if her sister died from one of Gale’s bombs. Gale replies that he does not know. However, the two realize that their relationship can never be the same anymore because of the way Katniss’ sister faced her end.

After the assassination of President Coin, Gale is promoted to military captain, what Katniss calls a “fancy job,” and moves to District 2.


Is Gale in love with Katniss? 

Yes, Gale is clearly in love with Katniss, although Katniss does not harbor any romantic feelings toward him. Gale confesses his feelings to Katniss before the Third Quarter Quell in Catching Fire when he asks her to run away with him. However, Katniss refuses. He is hurt by Katniss’ on-screen romance with Peeta and wishes to form a deeper relationship with her.

Was Gale responsible for Prim’s death? 

We do not know for sure if Gale was responsible for the bomb that killed Prim or not. However, the strategy of double-bombing (dropping two bombs consecutively – the second one on top of people who swoop in to help victims of the first bomb) was originally Gale’s idea. This is the same strategy that caused the death of Katniss’ sister, Prim.

How old is Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games?    

Gale Hawthorne (one of the main characters and a leading figure in the Second Rebellion) is 18 years old at the beginning of the first Hunger Games novel. He is played by Liam Hemsworth in the film adaptation of Mockingjay Part 1 and 2.

Does Katniss marry Gale or Peeta?  

Katniss marries Peeta Mellark at the end of Mockingjay. Although she loves both Peeta and Gale, Katniss chooses Peeta as he gives her new life. Gale, on the other hand, was too passionate and fiery to bring her any peace after the rebellion. 

Why did Coin kill Prim?   

President Coin most likely sent in the two bombs that killed the Capitol children, as well as the medics who rushed in to help the wounded. Among the medics was Katniss’ sister, Prim, who died when the second bomb was dropped.

Did Coin kill the Capitol children?  

Although we do not know for sure, it is heavily implied that President Coin sent in the bomb that killed the Capitol children. It is speculated that she made it look like one of President Snow’s bombs so that everyone would condemn the act as heinous, thereby swinging victory in favor of the rebels.

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