Quarter Quell

The Quarter Quell is a special edition of the Hunger Games that occurs once every 25 years. It was created to mark the quarter-century anniversary of the defeat of the districts in the First Rebellion.

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The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

The rules of the 75th Quarter Quell coerced the protagonists of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss and Peeta, back into the arena in Catching Fire. Usually, Quarter Quells was aired on live television and included a dark twist in the rules, thus causing misery to the districts’ people.

The Quarter Quell Explained

The Quarter Quell occurs every 25 years to mark the quarter-century anniversary of the end of the First Rebellion. It is a special edition of the Games and is celebrated with much pomp and grandeur. It usually calls for several months of extra preparation towards the design of the arena as well as the functioning of the proceedings before the Games.

The First Quarter Quell: 25th Hunger Games 

“On the 25th anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that their children were dying because of their choice to initiate violence, every district was made to hold an election and vote on the tributes that who would represent it.”

President Snow in Catching Fire

The First Quarter Quell was designed to enforce upon the districts the importance of choice. The Capitol firmly believed that the districts should be held responsible for their choice of rebelling and that they must reap what they sowed. As such, the citizens of the districts were required to choose their candidates for the Hunger Games that year. This not only allowed the districts to send their strongest competitors (to increase their chances of winning), but some even took this as a chance to get rid of unwanted children.

“I wonder how that would have felt. Picking the kids who had to go. It is worse, I think, to be turned over by your own neighbors than have your name drawn from the reaping ball.”

Katniss Everdeen in Catching Fire

The Second Quarter Quell: 50th Hunger Games 

“On the 50th anniversary, as a reminder that two rebels died for each Capitol citizen, every district was required to send twice as many tributes.”

President Snow in Catching Fire

Each year, the Hunger Games feature 12 tributes – 2 from each district. However, The Second Quarter Quell featured twice the number of tributes, and as such, each district was required to send two male and two female tributes to the Games. This dramatically increased the odds of losing, as the number of victors remained the same, i.e., there could only be one victor at the end. The Second Quarter Quell was known for two things: its arena, which was a beautiful but deadly meadow, and its brutality, which made the Games virtually unwatchable.

The Second Quarter Quell served to subjugate the districts by first reminding them that even during the Rebellion, they lost twice the number of soldiers as the Capitol, and then by reminding them that they were now completely at the mercy of the Capitol.

Two known tributes of this edition of the Games were Haymitch Abernathy and Maysilee Donner.

The Third Quarter Quell: 75th Hunger Games

“On the 75th anniversary, as a reminder to the rebels that even the strongest among them cannot overcome the power of the Capitol, the male and female tributes will be reaped from their existing pool of victors.”

President Snow in Catching Fire

Although the 75th Hunger Games rules were supposed to be laid out during the founding of the Games, the novel heavily implies that President Snow changed the rules to force Katniss Everdeen back into the arena. This edition of the Games was the beginning of the Victors’ Purge, which was a systematic eradication of the victors of previous Hunger Games during the Second Rebellion.

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are again sent into the arena, and past victors from other districts. This time, the arena is a tropical jungle, with the Cornucopia providing only weapons and no food. Further, the arena was also designed like a clock so that each new hour would bring forth a fresh disaster upon the tributes.

The Third Quarter Quell was the last Hunger Games ever held. It also is the only Hunger Games that has no victor. This is because Katniss blows apart the arena before the conclusion of the Games.

The History Behind The Winners

First Quarter Quell: Unknown

The books do not reveal the winner of the First Quarter Quell. However, some sources state that seventeen-year-old Zenobia Rivendell, the female tribute from District 2, won this edition of the Games.

Second Quarter Quell: Haymitch Abernathy

Haymitch Abernathy was one of the four tributes chosen from District 12 to take part in the Second Quarter Quell. Haymitch forms an alliance with Maysilee Donner, a female tribute from District 12, until they reach the very end of the arena. As Maysilee breaks off the alliance to return to the arena’s center, Haymitch stays behind only to discover that he could use the forcefield to win the Games. 

Later, when the only remaining tributes were Haymitch and a female tribute from District 1, he used his knowledge of the forcefield against the girl. As the girl throws an ax against his head, he ducks, and the ax hits the forcefield behind him. It bounces off and lodges itself into the girl’s head instead. Thus, Haymitch becomes the victor of the Second Quarter Quell.

The Capitol, however, is furious with Haymitch for using the force field to his advantage. Sensing Haymitch’s rebellious streak of nature, the government had his family (including his mother and brother), and his family was all put to death. After this, Haymitch took to drinking, most likely to drown his sorrows and escape the horrors of the Games that he was a part of.

After the 50th Hunger Games, Haymitch becomes a mentor for District 12 tributes, all of whom are killed in the Games except for Katniss Everdeen (the only female victor from District 12) and Peeta Mellark.

The Purpose Of The Quarter Quell

“When the laws of the Games were laid out, they dictated that every twenty-five years the anniversary would be marked by a Quarter Quell. It would call for a glorified version of the Games to make fresh the memory of those killed by the districts’ rebellion.”

President Snow in Catching Fire

The Quarter Quell was an idea conceived of during the founding of the Hunger Games. It is said that the makers of the Games decided to create the Quarter Quell to remind the districts of the consequences of their actions during the Rebellion. As such, the rules of the Quarter Quell Games were created with a cruel twist, which made it incredibly difficult for the districts to partake.

How The Quarter Quell Came About

“Are you planning the Quarter Quell Games already?” I say.

“Oh, yes. Well, they’ve been in the works for years, of course. Arenas aren’t built in a day. But the, shall we say, flavor of the Games is being determined now. Believe it or not, I’ve got a strategy meeting tonight,” he says.

Katniss Everdeen and Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire

The Quarter Quell is the brainchild of the founders of the Hunger Games – either Dean Highbottom and Crassus Snow, who conceived of The Hunger Games, or Dr. Volumnia Gaul and Coriolanus Snow, who refined the rules of the Hunger Games. 

The Games founders designed rules for dozens of Quarter Quells, meaning they intended to hold the Hunger Games together for centuries. The rules for each Quarter Quell were written on a piece of paper, sealed in an envelope (marked with the respective Games number), and hidden inside a wooden box. The President at the time of the Quarter Quell would pick the respective envelope and read out the rules. 

It is said that no one but the founders is privy to these rules, not even the President. However, it is implied in the novels that the rules of the Quarter Quells are changed to suit the President’s requirements. For instance, many people believe that the rules of the Third Quarter Quell were changed to force Katniss Everdeen back into the arena specifically. This is because President Snow perceived her as a major threat to himself and the Capitol and realized that the easiest way to take her out of the equation would be to send her back to participate in the Games once again.

“…Then I get it, what it means. At least, for me. District 12 only has three existing victors to choose from. Two male. One female…

I am going back into the arena.”

Katniss Everdeen in Catching Fire


What is the Hunger Games Quarter Quell?    

The Hunger Games Quarter Quell is a special edition of the Hunger Games that occurs every 25 years to mark the quarter-century anniversary of the end of the First Rebellion. Quarter Quells calls for special celebrations and special themes with an original twist in the rules of the Games. The Third Quarter Quell, for instance, reaped tributes for the Games from each district’s existing pool of victors in order to curb the rising rebellion.

What was the Quarter Quell for the 50th Hunger Games?    

The Second Quarter Quell, i.e., the 50th Hunger Games, required each district to send double the number of tributes to the Hunger Games. Thus, 2 boys and 2 girls were reaped from each district in keeping with the theme of that year.

What was the 1st Quarter Quell?    

The First Quarter Quell, or the 25th Hunger Games, required the citizens of the districts to vote for the tributes they wished to send into the arena. This rule was introduced to remind the districts that they were responsible for the children’s death (by the beginning of the Rebellion).

What is the 3rd Quarter Quell in The Hunger Games?    

The Third Quarter Quell in The Hunger Games is a special edition that occurred on the 75th anniversary of the end of the First Rebellion. A special rule was introduced in this edition, which caused tributes for the Games to be picked from the existing pool of victors in each district.

What was the 4th Quarter Quell supposed to be?

It is not known to anyone what any of the Quarter Quells are supposed to be. It is said that the makers of the Hunger Games rules decided the rule twists for different Quarter Quell simultaneously. They put the new rules in an envelope, which would only be opened at the time of the particular Quarter Quell.

What was the 100th Quarter Quell?    

We do not know what the rules of any of the Quarter Quells are, except for the first 3. This is because while the rules were made many years ago, the specific themes are not revealed until the last moment. The founders created numerous Quarter Quells, enclosing the instructions in small yellow envelopes (with the respective roman numeral on it) kept in a locker box. Therefore, one can only guess what the 100th Quarter Quell is supposed to be.

Which Quarter Quell was Haymitch in?

Haymitch Abernathy, Katniss Everdeen, and Peeta Mellark’s mentor was in the Second Quarter Quell, i.e., the 50th Hunger Games. Haymitch was the victor this year and has worked as a mentor to District 12 tributes ever since then.

Who plays Effie Trinket in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games?

Effie Trinket is portrayed by Elizabeth Banks. Finnick Odair, Mags, Wiress, and Gloss (all victors from earlier Hunger Games) are portrayed by Sam Claflin, Lynn Cohen, Amanda Plummer, and Alan Ritchson, respectively. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson continue to play Katniss and Peeta in the 75th Games, while Jena Malone and Jeffrey Wright portray Johanna Mason And Beetee Latier.

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