Rue is the 12-year-old female tribute from District 11 in the 74th Hunger Games. She is one of Katniss’ closest friends in the arena.

The Definitive Glossary for The Hunger Games

Rue provides Katniss Everdeen with comfort and security in the arena, while her untimely death sparks the fire of rebellion in her. Rue is, therefore, one of the just significant characters in the trilogy, with her death acting as the catalyst for the upcoming rebellion.

Rue Character Profile

  • Name: Rue
  • Age: 12 
  • Gender: Female
  • Place of origin: District 11
  • Physical appearance: Dark-skinned with golden eyes and thick dark hair
  • Height: 4′ 8″
  • Skills: Extensive knowledge of flora and fauna, skilled at climbing trees, excellent survival skills
  • Strengths: Stealth, agility 
  • Weaknesses: Physically weak
  • Loyalties: Unknown

Family and Background

Rue comes from District 11. Even at 12 years old, she works in the orchards from sunrise to sunset, much like everyone else in District 11. She is quick on her feet and agile, with an ability to jump from tree to tree while hanging on to the slenderest of branches. She also scales some of the tallest trees in the district, which provides her with the ability to see the flag at sunset every day, signaling the end of the day for the workers. Upon seeing this flag, Rue sings a four-note tune (the same four-note song she uses as a signal with Katniss in the arena), which is picked up and carried around to the rest of the district by the Mockingjays in the surroundings. Thus, Rue says that she has a special bond with the Mockingjays and that they are her “friends.”

Rue came from a family of 8 and was the eldest of 6 siblings. Her family lived in extreme poverty, and Rue would almost always give her food rations to her younger siblings while foraging for more food in the fields for herself and her family. However, the laws in District 11 (which were much stricter than those in District 12) made this an offense punishable by death.

During the Victory Tour, Katniss sees Rue’s family for the first time. They are instantly recognizable as they highly resemble Rue. She sees the parents weeping and is afraid that one or more of them will be hurt in the subsequent show of solidarity against the Capitol. However, Katniss learns from Seeder in the Third Quarter Quell that Rue’s family is safe.

Physical Description

Rue is a young African-American girl of 12 years of age. She is described in the books as having satiny brown skin and thick dark hair with golden eyes. She is small and always seems to be leaning forwards on her toes, with her arms outstretched, like a bird taking flight. For her pre-Games interview, Rue wore a sheer dress with glimmering gossamer wings.

Strategy and Tactics

Rue’s main tactic in the Games was to make herself difficult to catch by staying off the ground. She used her ability to scale tall trees to hide from the rest of the tributes. She also preyed on them for more information while she stayed well hidden. None of the tributes were able to climb trees as well or as high as Rue, which gave her a great advantage in the Games.

Rue was not skilled in any particular weapon, nor was she good at hunting. She managed to survive in the Games by foraging plants and berries, using the knowledge she gained from her time in the orchards. She also fared well on lack of food as she was used to poverty and starvation in District 11.

74th Hunger Games

Reaping and Training

Rue was reaped as the female tribute for the 74th Hunger Games along with her district partner, Thresh. When the District 11 escort asked if anyone would like to volunteer in Rue’s place, no one answered. This disturbed Katniss as Rue was the same age as her sister, Primrose Everdeen.

During the Tribute Parade, Rue and Thresh wore farmers’ outfits to represent her district’s main industry: agriculture. During the training, Rue spent a great deal of time observing everyone else. On one occasion, she stealthily flicks Cato’s knife, causing him to fight with one of the other tributes. Peeta also informs Katniss that she has a “shadow,” which turns out to be Rue. 

Rue receives a training score of 7 in her private training session with the Gamemakers. It is likely showed her skill of scaling trees and her knowledge of flora.

During her interview with Caesar Flickerman, Rue asks him not to count her out, because she was fast. She says that the others would not be able to kill her as they would not be able to catch her. Caesar assures her that he would not count her out in a million years.

In the Arena: Rue’s Relationship with Katniss

Rue managed to survive in the arena by staying off the ground. She escaped the bloodbath at the Cornucopia with a small backpack that contained a small water skin and a pair of socks, which she used to keep her hands warm at night. Rue also fashioned a knife out of a shard of rock and made herself a slingshot.

During the forest fire, Rue jumps from tree to tree to escape the fire, sustaining several burns in the process. At night, she signals to Katniss (who was hiding from the Career Pack nearby) to drop a nest of tracker jackers on the Careers. Katniss does as indicated and manages to scatter the Careers away and escape.

Rue continues to follow Katniss, who soon invites her to make an alliance with each other. Rue agrees, and the two help heals each other’s wounds – Katniss offers Rue her medicine for burns while Rue shows Katniss how to use some leaves to heal her tracker jacker stings. Katniss offers Rue a groosling leg from her hunting spoils and the two share stories from each other’s districts.

Rue tells Katniss about the Careers’ strategy for gathering and protecting supplies in the arena. Katniss then develops a plan to blow up the supplies while using Rue as a decoy. Instructing Rue to build three different fires to distract the Careers, Katniss heads to the Cornucopia, where she manages to destroy the Careers’ bundle of supplies.

However, Rue only managed to light one fire. While lighting the second one, she gets caught in a trap laid by Marvel, who shoots a spear in her abdomen. Katniss runs to Rue’s rescue and shoots Marvel dead in retribution. However, it is too late to save Rue. She asks Katniss to sing to her as she dies, and Katniss fulfills her dying wish. She then covers her with beautiful white flowers and presses 3 of her fingers to her lips in farewell, rising with vengeance boiling in her heart, determined to win the Games for Rue’s sake.


Who killed Rue in Hunger Games?    

Marvel, the male tribute from District 1, killed Rue in the 74th Hunger Games. He shoots her with a spear in the abdomen right after Katniss blows up the supplies of the Career Pack.

Why was Rue’s death significant?    

Rue was one of Katniss’ closest allies in the arena. She also reminded Katniss of her sister, Primrose, and therefore acted as a source of comfort and security. As such, Rue’s death was hugely tragic for Katniss, and it sparked the fire in her to undo the wrong that was done to young Rue. This fire ultimately led to the Second Rebellion and the downfall of the Capitol.

What did Rue do for Katniss? 

As an ally, Rue provided comfort and company to Katniss. She also shared her knowledge of plants with her, as well as stories from home in District 11, which Katniss was fascinated to learn about.

Why did Peeta paint a picture of Rue?   

During his training session with the Gamemakers during the 75th Hunger Games, Peeta paints a picture of Rue (lying down in death, covered by flowers), claiming that he wanted to hold the Gamemakers “accountable” for her death.

What does Katniss do as Rue dies?   

Katniss covers Rue with flowers and presses three of her fingers to Rue’s lips as a gesture to say goodbye. Katniss also sings her a lullaby from her district until she passes away.

What were Rue’s last words?

Rue’s last words were a question posed to Katniss, her ally. She asks, “Did you blow up the food?” and Katniss replies, “Every bit of it”

Who plays the character of Rue in The Hunger Games franchise?

Actress Amandla Stenberg plays Rue in the Hunger Games films by Lionsgate Entertainment, while Jennifer Lawrence plays Katniss Everdeen and Jack Quaid plays the character of Marvel.

What is the casting for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins?

Lucy Gray Baird, the girl tribute from District 12 in the 10th Hunger Games, is being played by Rachel Zegler in the upcoming Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes movie.

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