Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games
(Lionsgate)

The New ‘Hunger Games’ Prequel Is Likely To Explore Haymitch’s Time in the Arena

Suzanne Collins is releasing another Hunger Games prequel novel, Sunrise on the Reaping. With speculation that the book is about Haymitch Abernathy, fans of the franchise may be curious about his history with the Games.

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The Hunger Games is a dystopian series set in the fictional country of Panem, where the wealthy Capitol maintains control of the oppressed Districts by forcing their children to participate in the deadly Hunger Games. Every year, each of the 12 remaining districts gives up a boy and girl as tributes to participate in the Games, where they will fight to the death until one remains. When the series starts, the Games are in their 74th year, when Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark are named as the District 12 tributes, but there has been much fan interest in the numerous past victors and tributes of the Games, such as Haymitch.

In the original trilogy, Haymitch is the sole living victor from District 12 and is, thus, chosen to mentor all of the District’s tributes. Now, The Hunger Games series may be delving deeper into his experience in the arena.

Which Hunger Games did Haymitch Abernathy win?

Not many details have been released about Sunrise on the Reaping, but it has been confirmed it will take place during the 50th Hunger Games, also known as the Second Quarter Quell. Meanwhile, the 50th Games is, indeed, the round that Haymitch won when he was just 16 years old.

Every quarter century, the Games celebrate the milestone by shaking things up. While the Third Quarter Quell put past victors in the arena, the Second Quarter Quell forced each district to double its number of tributes. Hence, Haymitch was one of four District 12 tributes “reaped” for the Games. Out of the 48 tributes, the only known competitors are Haymitch and one of his fellow District 12 tributes, Maysilee Donner. The arena was described as one of the most beautiful ever designed for the Games. However, its looks were deceiving as practically everything—including water, plants, and flowers—was poisonous.

Haymitch managed to survive by teaming up with Maysilee and wading deep into the arena. He became preoccupied with finding the end of the arena, convinced there was something useful there. When he reached the end, he found a cliff and discovered a force field at the bottom, which would carry tributes back to the top if they tried to jump. He kept this knowledge to himself and ultimately used it to win when the survivors came down to him and one other girl. She tried to throw her axe at him, but it missed, falling off the cliff until it came flying back unexpectedly and hit her, killing her instantly.

Similar to Katniss and Peeta, Haymitch found an unconventional way to win the Games. However, since the Games are all about the Capitol showing its control of the districts, any perceived rule-breaking or rebellion in the arena has swift repercussions. As a result, the Capitol continued destroying Haymitch’s life even after he came out of the arena. Although the story of Haymitch’s victory in the 50th Games is established in the original books and movies, Sunrise on the Reaping may go deeper into the story of the other 46 tributes and Haymitch’s unnamed family.


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.