When we first meet Katniss she is 16-years-old. In the books she is described as slight and small for her age, with long black hair that she wears in a braid. But in the movie she is played by Jennifer Lawrence, who is a lot healthier looking than could be expected of someone who is meant to be close to starvation.
Katniss has a strong, independent personality and is very good with a bow and arrow.
She lost her father in a mining accident when she was younger, and because her mother suffers from depression, Katniss has stepped in as a mother figure for her younger sister Primrose. Katniss struggles each day to find enough food for her mother, Primrose and herself. With her bow and arrow, Katniss hunts for food in the restricted area outside of District 12, where she lives, along with Gale Hawthorne, her fellow hunter and friend. Gale and Katniss watch out for each other, and it's implied that they may have stronger feelings for each other.
When Primrose is chosen in the reaping ceremony to represent District 12 in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. Her bravery in taking her sister's place in the Hunger Games shows a softer side to her personality and wins over our affection.
While she adapts quickly to the kill-or-be-killed mentality of the Games, initially she is oblivious to co-tribute Peeta's love for her. However, she realises that a love story is what the Games' audience want to see, and is therefore her best chance of survival.
When Katniss has to pretend to be in love with Peeta, to win the affection of the audience, she finds it difficult as it betrays her principles of honesty and loyalty.
However, above all else, Katniss is a survivor, and she is prepared to do whatever it takes to win the Games and return to her family.
Even though she is a kick-butt heroine, Katniss is emotionally closed off to those around her. She is unable to read other people's social cues and has trouble integrating with the showy and pretentious nature of the much wealthier District 1.
Peeta is the baker's son, and this position in District 12 puts him above Katniss socially. Peeta brings the emotion to the story that Katniss lacks.
A romantic and an artist, he loves her completely and utterly. But she has always been so focused on her family's survival that she fails to see it until he declares it during the Games.
Peeta and Katniss had met in District 12, when she was out looking for food. He had burned a loaf of bread and had seen her outside his family's bakery, huddled in the rain in despair, because she couldn't find food for her family that day. Instead of throwing the burned bread out like his mother told him to, Peeta tosses it to Katniss, and in that action he reveals his true character. He is the ultimate carer.
Not having faced the same hardships as Katniss, Peeta has developed into a more emotionally mature person. His good looks, inherent kindness, and knack of saying just the right thing at the right time mean Peeta always sets a few pulses racing.
Before he and Katniss go into the arena for the first time, Peeta says that all he wants is to remain true to himself. He always wants to do the right thing, even to the point of saving Katniss, for which he will pay the ultimate price.
One thing that we must not forget, though, is that for all his "Mr Niceguy" image, Peeta is a very good liar.
Gale is a big part of Katniss' life before the reaping. He is her hunting buddy and shares her hatred of the Capitol. They both wish that they could leave The Seam, the poorest part of District 12.
In the books and the first two films, Gale seems to be in love with Katniss, but she is blind to Gale's love because she's so focused on her family's survival.
Gale promises to look after Katniss' family when she is taken away, and is perhaps the hardest hit during her act to be in love with Peeta in the arena.
Unlike Peeta, Gale is determined, rather nasty, and very selfish. Defiant and eager to rebel against the Capitol, he plays a key role in Mockingjay.
While they have a lot in common and seem suited to each other, Gale did not go through the Hunger Games with Katniss. Sometimes it seems that he regrets that.
In the third book, we learn a lot more about Gale's character and he reveals himself to be a cold, calculating killer.
We can't help feel sorry for Haymitch. As the one victor from District 12, he lives alone in luxury in the Victors Village, and tries to drown out the memory of his Games with drinking. Not only that, he is forced to act as mentor to pair after pair of tributes who have less than no chance of survival.
In the books, it's revealed that Haymitch was reaped for the second quarter quell, when he was only 15. He was not expected to survive, but he did. But to survive he exposed a secret of the arena and that did not amuse the authorities. Just after his celebrated victory, Haymitch's family was killed by President Snow. He has had to live with the guilt and anguish ever since.
But Peeta and Katniss must rely on Haymitch for survival. In the first movie, his interactions with his district's tributes are limited to messages to Katniss through the sponsored packages delivered to her in the arena by a mini parachute. These are delivered along with notes to remind her to play up her romance with Peeta so the audience roots for her more.
In the second movie, when Katniss and Peeta are chosen to compete in The Hunger Games again, Katniss has Haymitch promise he will do everything he can to save Peeta.
But in what seems like a terrible betrayal, Haymitch rescues Katniss instead, who has become the rebellion's ray of hope. Can he smooth things over with the pair in Mockingjay? It seems unlikely.
Effie Trinket is, in a way, as shallow and materialistic as her surname suggests. She has to take two children, have them scrubbed and styled, and then pushed in front of cameras for a voracious audience who are just waiting to see them die in a brutal way. These children will either kill or be killed, and District 12 doesn't have a great track record. One has to ask how much of a psychopath she would have to be to act so pleasantly towards the two tributes she is leading to slaughter. But under all that make-up, the stress is taking a toll on her.
She's borderline obsessive-compulsive over etiquette and protocol. She is driven to succeed and sees the characters from District 12 as a stepping stone in her career.
However, we need to remember that Panem is a totalitarian society in which everyone must know their place and act accordingly. The Hunger Games is all about giving the audience a good show. Should Effie refuse to do her job - and do it well with a smile on her face - she puts herself at risk.
By the second movie she is far warmer towards Katniss and Peeta, and while she shows a touch of genuine affection towards them in the first film, in the second it's unbridled and her sadness at sending them into the arena again is blatant.
Remember when Katniss got her first private moment with the Gamemakers and they were more interested in their food than her abilities? Who could forget Katniss grabbing an arrow and hitting the apple in the roast pig's mouth. The reaction was priceless. The man who fell into the punch bowl was Plutarch Heavensbee.
In the second book and film, Plutarch is made chief Gamemaker after Seneca Crane, the previous Gamemaker, was executed for the embarrassing debacle of the last Hunger Games. In Catching Fire, Plutarch tries to win Katniss' trust.
At the end of that book it is Plutarch who arrives in a hovercraft to save the final four. Katniss discovers that Plutarch is in fact the head of the rebellion. He is expected to be a big help to the rebels because not only does he know many of the traps they will face in the Capitol, he actually designed them.
The actor who played Plutarch, Philip Seymour Hoffman, died on February 2 with one week of shooting for Mockingjay - Part 2 left. Movie producers said they would be able to finish the series without Hoffman and so this will be his final work.
President Coriolanus Snow
President Coriolanus Snow is the arch villain. He is the ruthless president of Panem who is often noted in the form of a smell - of roses and blood. From the books we know he wears the rose to cover the smell of blood on his breath. According to former Games winner Finnick Odair, Snow poisoned many of his rivals. But Snow had to drink the poison at the same time, and despite having an antidote, he still has open sores in his mouth.
Snow is ruthless and does not hesitate to kill those who get in his way or fall short of what he requires of them. We are never sure how he came to power or exactly how far his power extends, but he does keep on surprising us. It was Snow who ordered the execution of Haymitch's family and girlfriend when Haymitch revealed the force field around the Games arena.
He is the one who really terrifies Katniss, forcing her to maintain the charade with Peeta. It often seems like he has eyes and ears everywhere.
Because Katniss' mother falls into a deep depression when her husband dies, Katniss is left to raise her young sister Primrose. For the most part, Katniss shields Prim from the reality of their existence. Prim loves animals and has a pet cat and a goat.
Prim is the opposite of Katniss. She wants to be a healer and doesn't have what it takes to be a hunter. She is gentle and caring.
She is the one picked at the reaping in the first book and film. When Katniss volunteers to take her place, the whole chain of events is set in motion. We see little of Prim during the first book and movie. But we know that Katniss loves her dearly, simply because Katniss reveals she promised her little sister she would try to survive and win the Games for her.
In the second book, Prim shows herself to be a good healer. She forms a much deeper bond with her sister and is prepared to help her in the rebellion against the Capitol.