The Hunger Games Revolution Didn’t Actually Start With Katniss

In The Hunger Games series, Katniss Everdeen is known as the spark that started a revolution. However, a different tribute really started it all.

The spark that started the monumental revolution in The Hunger Games trilogy was not lit by Katniss Everdeen but by someone else entirely. Throughout the Hunger Games trilogy, audiences witnessed the 13 districts of Panem rise up against the Capitol to stop their tyrannical reign and the horrifying Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen was chosen as the symbol of the rebellion and was often referred to as the catalyst for the districts finding the hope to fight back. However, the revolution began with a different tribute from the 74th Hunger Games.


In The Hunger Games, the first tribute Katniss allied with was the twelve-year-old Rue from District 11. Katniss was drawn to Rue as she reminded her of her little sister Prim and sought to protect her in the Games. It was to end in tragedy, however. Katniss killed Marvel from District 1, but only after Marvel murdered Rue. Rue died in Katniss’ arms, and the moment was the true catalyst for the beginning of the revolution. Not only did it facilitate the first instances of rebellion, but it continued to inspire people throughout the rest of the series.

Related: The Hunger Games Director Explains Meaning Behind Rue’s Death Scene

Rue’s Death Was The Spark Of The Revolution In The Hunger Games

Rue atop a tree in The Hunger Games

Along with becoming allies with Rue, Katniss honored her after her death by surrounding her body with flowers and doing the three-finger salute to District 11. While, for Katniss, this wasn’t a conscious act of defiance, District 11 began to riot after Rue’s death. This was the first instance of a district rising against the Capitol in the trilogy. This riot prompted President Snow to worry about the upheaval in the districts. Hunger Games‘ Gamemaker Seneca Crane even considered killing Katniss in the Games. In the books, District 11 also sent Katniss bread as a thank-you for honoring Rue, a further act of solidarity caused by Rue’s death.

Another alliance formed after Rue’s death was Katniss’ bond with Thresh, the male tribute from District 11. When Katniss traveled alone to the Cornucopia to get medicine for Peeta, she was attacked by the female tribute from District 2, Clove. Clove got the better of Katniss and taunted her over Rue’s death. However, Thresh overheard and killed Clove in revenge. When he questioned Katniss about what happened, she told him how she buried Rue in flowers. Thresh decided to spare Katniss out of mercy.

Rue’s Legacy Continues To Influence The Revolution Past Her Death

Rue looking up at the sky before she dies in The Hunger Games

Even after her death, Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Hunger Games: Mockingjay continued the legacy of Rue. When Peeta and Katniss went on their victory tour in Catching Fire, the first stop was District 11, where Peeta and Katniss made speeches about Thresh and Rue. After Katniss gave an incredibly moving speech about Rue, a man in the crowd whistled Rue’s four-note song and saluted Katniss. This resulted in another riot, and the man was executed. This sparked numerous other districts to speak up as the tour continued. Later on, Peeta painted Rue with the flowers surrounding her as an act of rebellion against the Capitol, which inspired Katniss to rebel in her own way.

In Mockingjay, the growing revolution continued Rue’s legacy. When Haymitch asked what attributes or actions made district citizens like Katniss, most of the answers were about Rue, including Katniss choosing Rue as an ally and then singing to her as she died, indicating it was Rue who made Katniss likable to Hunger Games‘ districts of Panem. Later, Rue’s four-note song was added to the end of the propaganda videos made by District 13 that were broadcast to the districts. It was heard again when District 7 rebelled against the Capitol and set a trap to kill Peacekeepers. The signal used to begin their attack was Rue’s tune, showing that Rue, in spirit, was the one who signaled the beginning of an act of rebellion.

Related: Hunger Games: Who Killed Thresh? Movie/Book Differences & Theories Explained

While Katniss was the symbol of the rebellion and certainly earned her spot as the Mockingjay, all roads of the revolution led back to the death of Rue, and it improved the story. The districts never bought into the Katniss and Peeta love story and did not rally behind the Girl on Fire because of that. The rebellion began because the death of one innocent girl resulted in alliances between the tributes of the Hunger Games. Her legacy will live on forever in The Hunger Games franchise, even if the odds weren’t in her favor.

More: What Happened To The Rest of the World in Hunger Games?

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