Warning, Spoilers for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The 75th Hunger Games (or the third Quarter Quell) was a contest of champions where the tributes were selected from the existing pool of victors. This was done to show that even the strongest of Panem’s residents could not overcome the power of the Capitol. It was also, famously, the last Hunger Games and the only games that did not have a final victor as the arena was destroyed by Katniss. The remaining tributes were rescued by the rebels or captured by the Capitol. The question I ask today is if the plan to escape failed or if there had been no plan, who would have won the 75th Hunger Games?
Setting the Scene
Initially, I think most events would have transpired the same way if there was no plan to escape. I think Finnick would still have teamed up with Katniss and Peeta. I think the people who died would have died. The battles that happened would have mostly happened. And, I think that Johanna Mason would have joined forces with Katniss due to her fondness for Finnick.
The problem I have is what to do with Beetee and Wiress. I feel that if there were no plan to escape, they would have most likely not been helped by Johanna and would have probably died. However, this stops the alliance from finding out that the arena was a clock and would alter later events in a way that would be too unpredictable to fathom, so I’m going to say that Beetee survives and events happen the same towards the end.
Perhaps Beetee and Wiress meet Katniss at some point (at a similar time that they did in the films and books) and because she likes them, they join forces. There’s a battle at the Cornucopia, Wiress is killed. Then they plan to kill the remaining Careers with electrocution, which is a good plan, even without intending to escape. So, who do we have left? Well, the list is as follows;
- Katniss Everdeen
- Peeta Mellark
- Finnick Odair
- Johanna Mason
There are also a couple of honourable mentions: Brutus (just as brutal as his name suggests) and Chaff (Haymitch’s alcohol buddy). They die just before the “end” of the games. Brutus killing Chaff and Peeta killing Brutus in a rage after seeing Chaff murdered (in the books, not the films). The order that some of the tributes die is different between the books and the films but the final 6 remain the same.
I think that the tributes, after the battle in the jungle and the failed attempt on the Careers, would be forced to split up and after an elected amount of time (or straight away perhaps) start to hunt each other. Now with our scene set, I will reveal who I think would most likely be able to win the 75th Hunger Games, from least to most likely.
This fella is hands down the least likely victor. At this point in the film, he is fried by the forcefield, while in the book he is stabbed by Enobaria. There is no doubt he is the least competent killer. He must be decent in survival, as in his victorious Hunger Games he won after constructing an electrical trap that killed the final six remaining tributes. This suggests that he at least survived in the arena with other killer tributes as he was one of the final ones left.
However, he is a bit of a one-trick pony as this electrocution trick is the same one he tries in the Quarter Quell. If the other tributes know this, they would avoid the Cornucopia and would know where to find him if he tries it again. He only survives to this point thanks to Johanna bringing him to Katniss and the alliance. There is a small chance that he could somehow meddle with the electrics that power the spinning wheel around the Cornucopia. Perhaps he could find a way of making the different clock sector challenges spread, taking the tributes off guard. Though honestly, I see any of the other tributes absolutely wrecking him.
Another obvious pick for me to put at the bottom of the pile is Peeta. Although he would have the advantage of being in a pair with Katniss (no way are these two splitting up), he does not have the survival skills or the sheer danger factor of the other tributes. He is incredibly strong and kills the dangerous Brutus hand to hand which is very impressive.
However, he mostly only survives due to Katniss and Finnick helping him (and literally carrying him at one point). The other tributes are just better. He would also be likely to risk his life to save Katniss and even if they were the only two left at the end, he would probably sacrifice himself. He would know full well that the Capitol would not let them pull the same “Nightlock” trick as they did in the 74th Hunger Games.
Now we start getting to the real potential winners. Enobaria is the female career tribute from District 2. She was famous for her bloodlust and ripping her victims throats out with her teeth (which is why she had them filed into fangs). She is a vicious and accomplished killer that, by way of last person standing, could be considered the best of the Career pack.
However, we have seen that Katniss, Johanna and Finnick are more than a match for the Careers. We already see this from the battle at the Cornucopia, when though Wiress is killed, so are both of the District 1 career tributes. We even know from the book that Finnick chases off Enobaria, which suggests that she at least fears him and knows that her best chance at that time would be to run. Don’t get me wrong, Enobaria definitely has the potential to win. I just don’t see enough of her in both books and films to justify putting her any higher.
The “Girl on Fire” definitely has a chance in a straight-up contest against the remaining three. However, I do not think she could win because of the simple fact that President Snow wants her dead and he would manufacture a way for the arena to kill her. The whole idea of this Quarter Quell Games is to show that even the strongest cannot defeat the Capitol. How could Snow let the face of rebellion show that despite two Hunger Games, despite going through hell, despite the odds most certainly not being in her favour as a random girl from 12, that she could win?
The argument could be made that this would make her a martyr of the Capitol in the eyes of the other districts (by being showered in glory from the Capitol and for killing her allies), but they are already angry and she is already a symbol more than a person. I simply don’t think Snow has a choice.
Let’s put aside the Snow conflict for a second and further analyse her chances against the remaining tributes. She has the advantage of being in a pair with Peeta. She also has the advantage of having a bow, a weapon with much greater range and accuracy than Johanna’s axe or Finnick’s trident. She is also a skilled hunter, able to remain quiet and stalk prey.
There are, though, a couple of negative factors that I think outweigh these. First is her mental state. She is a wreck, completely warped and damaged by her experiences with the games and her life in 12. How would she handle Peeta being killed in front of her? How does she handle hearing Prim’s cries of anguish from the Jabberjays if she is chased into that sector again? We see her completely broken at the beginning of Mockingjay so why would being in the arena be any different? Secondly, she is just not a killer in the same way as the others. She mainly stumbles through both games, being saved by Rue, Peeta, Thresh and Finnick amongst others. Over two games, I count only two kills (not including Cato as that was an assist to Peeta, then a mercy kill and not including Glimmer as she was killed by the Tracker Jackers). Her success has mostly been thanks to survival skills, help from others and sheer luck. Not enough to win against the next two.
Perhaps one of my favourite characters in the whole Hunger Games world, it was really hard for me not to have her win this games. Between her and Finnick, there really isn’t a lot in it. Johanna is hardened by the labour-intensive work in District 7 (lumber), highly capable with an axe (which she has) and an exceptional wrestler (easily matching the boys in training).
She won her games by appearing weak and timid, then viciously killing the remaining tributes when their numbers had dwindled enough. Yes, that means that she killed all of the remaining tributes (so they could be considered the best in that regard) hand to hand.
Honestly, it’s so close between Johanna and Finnick. They are both superb killers, both seemingly able to cope with arena-like conditions better than most of the others and both have their weapons of choice. I think Johanna would be crueller, less likely to pull blows and more likely to use underhand tactics (like if there was a chosen start time for the remaining tributes to begin hunting each other, Johanna would ignore it no question). There are two very key factors that put Finnick at the top of the list, which I will discuss next.
We finally have a winner! Finnick Odair is my pick for the winner of the 75th Hunger Games. An incredibly skilled fighter, being from the career tribute District 4 (fishing), he trained from an early age and won his games at 14 (the youngest victor ever). In his games, he was deadly with a trident and a net, which he uses to snare his victims to kill in the same way some gladiators did in ancient Rome.
I would say he is equal in hand to hand combat with Johanna, just as tough and a survivor (himself being from a District with a tough job, like Johanna). He does get stabbed in the leg by Enobaria on the second day of the games, but this does not seem to affect or hinder him later. There is a chance it could get infected but that brings me onto the first reason I pick Finnick over Johanna.
If the wound became infected, he would be sent some medicine because he is the Capitol’s DARLING. They love him, he is one of their all-time favourites. In his games, he was sent his trident as a gift which is thought to be one of the most expensive gifts ever given to a tribute. Johanna is just not as well-liked as Finnick. In the pre-game interviews, Johanna swore and shouted at the audience of the Capitol, whereas Finnick recited a love poem which many members of the audience thought was directed to them (it was really for Annie Cresta, his love). His popularity helped him win his first games, I think it could help him win this one.
The second reason I believe Finnick would win is the attributes of the arena itself. Both of my final two have their natural domain in the arena, Finnick has the sea-like lake with the Cornucopia whilst Johanna has the Jungle (being from District 7, a woodland would be more suited to her but a large area of trees is a large area of trees). It would be tempting for either tribute to try and remain in their own territory, hoping the other tribute would come to them hunting, giving them the benefits of a home environment. However, this standoff between tributes is boring to watch, so the game makers often include “Feasts” (where something the tributes need is placed in the Cornucopia to draw them into the same place, ensuring they come together and attack each other). Alternatively, they flush them together using the obstacles of the arena (we see this twice in the 74th Hunger Games when Katniss is flushed, using fireballs, to the career pack and later to the Cornucopia using the dog-like mutts).
This usually includes the Cornucopia, which is where? That’s right, slap bang in the middle of a big saltwater lake, Finnick’s domain. He has no reason to take the fight to Johanna, there’s food and supplies at the Cornucopia. If there’s a feast, he is already there. The arena obstacles are all in the jungle, so there is no reason for him to go anywhere else. We see how effective the water can be to conceal when Gloss slides out of the water and slits Wiress’s throat, imagine what someone born and raised around the water like Finnick could do. That being said, even in a fair and even fight, on the beach against Johanna, Finnick would still have a good chance of winning.
The Victory Tour
There we have it, Finnick Odair is the victor of the 75th Hunger Games, beating all competition to return to the loving arms of Annie Cresta. Who do you think would win? Do you agree with the order? I’d love to hear your opinions but until then, may the odds be ever in your favour!
For more Hunger Games coverage, take a look at our early movie preview for The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
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