Another Look at The Hunger Games Names

The Hunger Games movie finally opens this Friday, and I’ve already got my tickets to the premiere. The story is set in a futuristic, post-apocalyptic society, and fittingly, the characters all have unusual names. I took a quick look at them in a previous post, but with the film set to break all sorts of box-office records, it’s time to go further in-depth. Here, my thoughts on the main characters’ names.

Katniss The heroine of the stories is named after a genus of aquatic plants. I like the potential for this name: It has the easy nicknames Kat and Katie, and it’s tough to really go wrong with a flower name.

Primrose Okay, what I said about flower names? Never mind… at least in this case. The only way I see this name making an impact is if parents go with the nickname Rose (and if that’s the case, why not just choose the name Rose?). But the books often refer to Katniss’s little sister as Prim, so it may be too late to change. Prim just isn’t a great name — it sounds too much like “prim and proper” to me.

Gale Katniss’s best friend (a guy) has this cool name. The only problem is it’s similarity to the girl’s name Gail. If you can get past that association, though, it makes a very strong nature-based name — think a gale of wind.

Peeta I’m mixed about this name, used for Katniss’s fellow Tribute. It’s similar to Peter, but a little more feminine. It could work for a very strong male, but that’s definitely a chance to take.

Rue The District 11 Tribute’s name strikes me as slightly poignant. For a little girl named Ruby, this makes a good nickname. I’m not sure about using it for a given name — it’s just a little too sad.

Haymitch I like this boy’s name. The character is a little less likable, though — he’s the angry, drunken man who’s the only Tribute from District 12 (Katniss’s district) ever to win the Hunger Games. It’s a strong, distinctly masculine name that’s not gimmicky and doesn’t have any other associations.

Cinna Katniss’s stylist’s name is cool in a vacuum, but in reality is too close to the word “sinner” to make a good name. It’s a shame, because I really like the sound of this name, and as a character Cinna is extremely likable.

Effie Effie, Katniss and Peeta’s chaperone, has the opposite problem as Cinna — she’s an unlikable character with a name that’s not bad. It sounds nicknameish, but I can’t think of the full name that it corresponds with. The only problem I see is its closeness to the letter “f,” which makes me think of a certain four-letter word. I might be overthinking this one, though.

What do you think? Did I miss any good (or bad) names? Would you use any of the Hunger Games names?

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  1. by Jackie

    On March 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm


  2. by AGiles

    On March 22, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Haymitch is not the only district 12 tribute to win the hunger games, he’s the only LIVING tribute at the time of the first book. Also, I was hoping this article would be an actual analysis of the names (like I’ve seen before, there is a formula, and you get a score) rather than just the writer’s opinion. Which is not really much of an opinion….

  3. by Julie

    On March 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Effie is short for Eupehmia (well spoken)

  4. by Lj

    On March 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Effie can be short for Elizabeth, they did that on the show Skins

  5. by Tina

    On March 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Cinna –> “Sinner”. I hadn’t even thought of that! I loved the series but did not care for any of the names. Even when I first read “Katniss” I immediately thought “Catnip”. And then lo and behold, Gale (who I agree has a girl’s name) kids with her about her name for the same reason. And Peeta – definitely a girl’s name too. Finnick is not bad though. A nice possibility for people wanting to choose a nice alternative to “Finn”.

  6. by Star

    On March 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm

    I like Katniss & Cinna…
    But, I think Cinna could be a girls name too.
    I’m sure they’ll be popular, like Bella was…

  7. by Robin

    On March 22, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    There is always Joanna or Annie from the second and third book. ;)

  8. by Sarah

    On March 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Have you read (or seen) “Game of Thrones?” Lots of interesting names.

  9. by Arsenal soccer shirt

    On April 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Absolutely right. Going green is the future in every sense. Because if we don’t go green, then there might not be a future at all.

  10. by Hunger Games 006

    On May 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    [...] The Hunger GamesHunger Games 019Another Look at The Hunger Games Names [...]