Gale Hawthorne

Gale Hawthorne

    The Hunger Games
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Grew Up… taking care of his family after his father died in a mine explosion. Gale looks after and tries to provide for his two brothers, sister, and mom the only way he knows how: by hunting in the forbidden forest just outside of District 12's rarely operational electric fence. It is here where he meets Katniss Everdeen, who soon becomes his hunting partner, best friend, and perhaps something more.

Living… in the mining-based District 12 of dystopian Panem with his family. When he's not looking out after them, he's out hunting illegally with Katniss. At one point in their trips beyond the fence, Katniss and Gale run into a boy and girl trying to escape a hovercraft sent from Panem's oppressive Capitol. They look on and are unable to do anything to help. Clearly, living in District 12 requires a daily effort to survive.

Profession… hunter and provider. With Katniss having volunteered in her sister Prim's place to enter the Hunger Games – an annual event organized by the Capitol where children and teens fight to the death – Gale looks after Katniss' kin as well as his own.

Interests… archery, snares, trapping, and hunting. If you're a deer within a mile of Gale, you're in bad luck. Gale is as rugged in his outdoorsman skills as he is naturally handsome. 

Relationship Status… incredibly complicated. Although he's not one to really open up about his feelings, it's pretty clear that Katniss means a lot to Gale. At one point, just before the drawing of the two “tributes,” one boy and one girl from District 12 to participate in the Hunger Games, he even asks Katniss to run away with him: “We could do it, you know. Take off, live in the woods.” But Katniss’ younger sister’s name was drawn and Katniss took her place in the arena. Then things become even more emotionally complicated when, on live TV, Katniss appears to develop a romance with District 12's other tribute, Peeta Mellark.

Challenge… trying to provide for two families at once while his closest friend is engaged in a gladiatorial death match. He also has to keep Katniss' family's spirits up during these tough times, as well as his own. Then when Katniss kisses Peeta in the arena, with all of Panem watching, Gale is understandably upset.

Personality… the strong, silent type. Tall, dark, and handsome, the teenager already looks and acts like a man. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be hurt. Gale deeply resents being labeled as Katniss' “cousin” as an effort by the Capitol’s image-makers to promote the Katniss-Peeta love story line during the Hunger Games. It’s like he’s being written out of Katniss’ life, just as her life is in danger.


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