Haymitch Abernathy

Haymitch Abernathy is the sole living victor of District 12. Having won the 50th Hunger Games, he works as a mentor to tributes from District 12 for 24 years.

The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

Despite being a winner of the Hunger Games, Haymitch suffers from a great deal of trauma in his life. President Snow murders Haymitch’s mother, brother, and girlfriend for manipulating the Gamemakers and using the force field to his advantage during the Games. As a result, he resorts to binge-drinking to cope with his trauma. In the novel, Haymitch is Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark’s mentor during the 74th and 75th Hunger Games. He is also instrumental in sparking the rebellion to overthrow the Capitol.

Haymitch Abernathy Character Profile

  • Name: Haymitch Abernathy
  • Gender: Male
  • Place of origin: The Seam, District 12
  • Physical appearance: Middle-aged and paunchy with curly dark hair and gray eyes.
  • Skills: Good with knives, excellent survival skills
  • Strengths: Quick-witted, strategic thinker
  • Weaknesses: Alcoholism, cynicism arising from depression
  • Loyalties: Rebel

Haymitch Abernathy: Background

Early Life

Not much is known about Haymitch’s childhood. He comes from the Seam and his family consists of his mother and a younger brother. He begins dating a girl from his district right before he is reaped into the Second Quarter Quell (50th Hunger Games). Tragically for Haymitch, the rules of the Second Quarter Quell stipulate that each district would send twice the number of tributes to take part in the Games. Thus, Haymitch’s odds of winning go down dramatically, as he is one among a whopping 48 tributes in the arena.

The Second Quarter Quell

Haymitch’s mentor during the 50th Hunger Games is unknown. During the interview, he showcases his sass and wit by telling the interviewer that the increased number of fellow tributes made no difference to him as they were all going to be just as stupid anyway.

Haymitch manages to escape from the Cornucopia Bloodbath with a knife and a backpack. He then runs into three Career Tributes, two of whom he kills with his knife. The third career tribute almost kills Haymitch when Maysilee Donner, the female tribute from District 12, comes to his rescue. Haymitch and Maysilee then form an alliance with each other, helping one another survive the Games.

Finally, there are only five tributes left in the arena. As allies, Maysilee and Haymitch reach the end of the arena. This is when Maysilee decides to break the alliance and turn back, not wanting to kill Haymitch herself. Haymitch then discovers the power of the forcefield to bounce back anything that is thrown against it. He suddenly hears Maysilee screaming and runs to her, only to witness her being killed by deadly candy cane-colored birds.

Towards the end of the Games, the only two tributes left standing are Haymitch and a female tribute from District 1. After a fatal fight, Haymitch emerges the Hunger Games victor, having used the forcefield to bounce back the ax which the District 1 female throws at him.

However, Haymitch’s victory is short-lived, as the Capitol of Panem is furious with him for outsmarting their invention. Thus, he pays for his stunt with the death of his family and girlfriend. Haymitch then turns to alcohol to numb the pain and becomes dark and cynical in his outlook. This is further exacerbated by his work as a mentor to tributes from District 12, none of whom made it out alive for 24 years. Things finally changed, however, when Katniss and Peeta were reaped for the 74th Hunger Games.

Personality And Physical Description

Haymitch is temperamental and surly most of the time. He is often curt and blunt in his speech, without hesitating to speak the harsh truth. He possesses a rebellious personality and detests the Capitol for its tyranny against the districts.

Haymitch is highly intelligent, using his wits to survive in the Games. He is capable of devising clever strategies, one of which (using the forcefield to his advantage in the arena) brought him victory in the Games. However, this same aspect of his personality also brought the wrath of the Capitol upon himself and his family. The punishment he receives for outsmarting the Capitol drives him deep into alcoholism. Thus, he is a highly depressed and cynical person when Katniss and Peeta first meet him.

Haymitch is described in the books as middle-aged and paunchy. He has dark curly hair and gray eyes that are typically seen in people from the Seam. In the films, however, Haymitch is tall and well-built, with scraggly blond hair, blue eyes, and a scruffy beard.


74th Hunger Games

Haymitch is, unfortunately, the embarrassment of District 12, because of his unkempt self and rampant alcoholism. At the Reaping of the 74th Hunger Games, Haymitch sarcastically congratulates Katniss and Peeta on being chosen as tributes before falling over and passing out. Haymitch then appears drunk again on the train to the Capitol, vomiting all over the floor and collapsing in his vomit, much to the disgust of Effie. Peeta cleans him up and puts him to bed.

The next morning, Haymitch appears for breakfast, where he proceeds to drink once again. His only response to Katniss and Peeta’s questions for tips on winning the Hunger Games is to “stay alive”. This angers both Katniss and Peeta, prompting Peeta to knock the drink from Haymitch’s hand. Haymitch responds by punching Peeta in the jaw. He then reaches for a glass of alcohol again, which Katniss prevents by driving a knife between his hand and the glass.

Haymitch finally starts to understand that he has a pair of fighters on his hands and begins to believe that there is a chance of victory for District 12. He then proceeds to train Katniss and Peeta to hone their skills and provides several tips to survive in the arena.

Haymitch also actively campaigns for Katniss and Peeta, thereby gaining several sponsors for them. However, he believes that Katniss has a better chance of winning than Peeta and therefore sends the gifts only to her in the arena. Fortunately, Haymitch and Katniss understand each other well. This leads to the development of Katniss and Peeta’s love story, which ultimately leads to their victory.

75th Hunger Games

In Catching Fire, Haymitch’s drinking has gotten noticeably worse. Further, the rules of the Third Quarter Quell dramatically increase the possibility of him having to enter the arena once again. Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch train together for the Games, and during the reaping, Haymitch’s name is drawn from the reaping bowl. However, Peeta volunteers instead of Haymitch, and Haymitch once again acts as the mentor for the two of them. He preps them for their interviews, helps hone their survival skills, and even helps them form a formidable alliance within the arena.

The Second Rebellion

In Catching Fire, Haymitch collaborates with high-ranking officials from District 13 and other victors from the districts to brew a rebellion against the Capitol. As Haymitch and the other rebels agree that Katniss is necessary for the rebellion, Haymitch works extremely hard to ensure her survival during the 75th Hunger Games. Haymitch is successful, as Katniss not only survives but also blows up the arena and is rescued by a hovercraft from District 13. However, Katniss is angry at him for rescuing her instead of Peeta as Haymitch had falsely promised her.

Haymitch then puts his intelligence to good use as a leader of the rebellion, helping the rebels to come up with strategies to take over the nation. He continues to act as Katniss’ mentor, helping to shape her into the “Mockingjay.” Haymitch survives the rebellion and, upon the fall of the Capitol, helps rebuild District 12 into a medical community. He continues to drink while he works to raise geese.


Did Haymitch and Effie have a thing?

No, Haymitch Abernathy and Effie Trinket did not have a thing with each other. In the films, however, there is a scene that is suggestive of the two of them getting closer to each other. At the end of Mockingjay Part 2, Haymitch kisses Effie on the cheek and tells her, “Don’t be a stranger.”

How did Haymitch Abernathy win the Hunger Games?

District 12’s Haymitch Abernathy won the 50th Hunger Games by using the forcefield to his advantage. By sheer chance, Haymitch realizes that the forcefield bounces back anything that touches it. Thus, when the District 1 female tribute throws an ax at him, Haymitch ducks and allows the ax to bounce off the forcefield and back into the District 1 tribute’s head. This ultimately led to his victory.

Who is Haymitch Abernathy to Katniss?

Haymitch Abernathy is Katniss’ mentor during the 74th and 75th Hunger Games. Haymitch is the sole living victor from District 12, and as such, he worked as a mentor to all tributes from District 12 selected to partake in the Hunger Games.

Is Haymitch Abernathy good?

Yes, Haymitch Abernathy is on the “good” side of the rebellion. Although Haymitch descends into drinking and is crude to anyone he meets, he still possesses a good moral compass. As such, he is instrumental in kick-starting the rebellion against the Capitol.

Is Haymitch in love With Katniss?

No, Haymitch is not in love with Katniss. He is her mentor during the Games, and, later, becomes a dear friend. Both Katniss and Haymitch care deeply about one another; however, there are no romantic feelings involved between the two of them. Gale Hawthorne and Peeta Mellark possess romantic feelings for Katniss.

Why did Haymitch like Katniss?

Haymitch likes Katniss for her fiery and bold personality, as well as her determination to win the Games. As such, he begins to feel like District 12 finally has a chance of winning. This is because, until Katniss and Peeta, none of the tributes he was assigned to had a chance of winning the Games.

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