- "Here's some advice. Stay alive."
- ―Haymitch Abernathy[src]
Haymitch Abernathy was the only living Hunger Games victor from District 12, having survived the second Quarter Quell, before Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark won the 74th Hunger Games under his mentorship. He worked secretly in tandem with District 13 and other victors in order to incite the Second Rebellion.
The Second Quarter Quell
Haymitch was reaped in the second Quarter Quell along with another male tribute and two female tributes. During his interview with Caesar Flickerman, Haymitch was asked about what he thought of the Games having twice as many tributes; he replied by saying he didn't see much difference as they would be just as stupid.
During the Games, he was able to get a knife and a "backpack of choice" from the Cornucopia. At an uncertain point of time, Haymitch ran into three Career tributes. He was able to take out two tributes with his knife, but the third Career tribute got him and was about to slit his throat until he was shot in the back with a poison dart by Maysilee Donner, a fellow tribute from District 12, had shot the dart and saved his life. He then formed a temporary alliance with her. The two of them went to the end of the arena thinking that something useful could be there.
Near the end of the Games, when there were only a few tributes left alive, they reached the end of the arena and saw nothing. Maysilee suggested going back, but Haymitch refused to leave. Maysilee then broke up the alliance, not wanting to kill him herself. After her departure, Haymitch kicked a pebble off the edge of a cliff, and it bounced back to the spot. He picked up a rock and threw it off the cliff, and a force field threw it back, to his pleasure. Later, Haymitch found Maysilee being attacked by deadly candy pink birds, who speared her throat with their beaks. Haymitch rushed over to her side, just as Katniss did to Rue, and held her hand until she died.
Haymitch and one of District 1's female tributes made it to the final two, and they fought, but both were severely injured. Haymitch, at one point, sliced her eye out, and later was disarmed and hit in his stomach by her axe. A weakened Haymitch rushed to the cliff while holding in his intestines and reached the cliff with the District 1 female right behind him. Haymitch fell to his knees due to his injuries. The District 1 female tribute threw her axe, aiming for his head, but he dodged it. She then just stood there thinking she would outlast him, but the force field returned the axe into the arena, burying itself into the District 1 female's head, killing her and leaving Haymitch the victor.
In Mockingjay, it is revealed that two weeks after he was crowned victor of the Second Quarter Quell his mother, younger brother and girlfriend were all killed by President Snow because of the stunt that Haymitch pulled with the force field. For the next 23 years, Haymitch trained the tributes for District 12 alone. Due to the horror of the Games, his grief over his family's deaths, and the fact that every tribute he trained was killed in the arena, Haymitch turned to drinking and isolated himself from the rest of District 12. He began sleeping with a knife in his hand and refused to let anyone into his house. Katniss would later mention that it was as if he had sentenced himself to solitary confinment.
The Hunger Games
Haymitch first appears when he goes on stage during the reaping. Drunk and staggering, he head-dived off the stage. He is then seen on the train taking Katniss and Peeta to the Capitol, drunk again, and vomits on the expensive carpeted floor, which disgusts Effie. Peeta cleans him up, washes him and puts him to bed. The next morning, he eats breakfast with Katniss and Peeta and gets into a fight with him. Katniss breaks it up by throwing a knife between Haymitch's hand and his drink glass. He is pleased to have finally gotten a pair who will put up a fight. He examines them and begins to formulate a plan for them.During the parade he is surprised by Katniss and Peeta's costumes and takes this advantage by making more future plans to help them. He takes them and tells them about their training for the games and asks if they want to be trained together or privately. He learns their skills during an argument with them while on the train. He tells them to train and learn new things at the training center, to avoid practicing the skills they excel in, and to stay by each other's side.
He is humored and laughs when Katniss tells him how the Gamemakers looked after she almost shot them with an arrow. He is pleased with their training scores and tells Katniss she got a high score due to her attitude. Later he informs her that Peeta changed his mind and asked to be coached in private. He tries to teach Katniss how to speak in front of the crowd during her interview with Caesar Flickerman, but fails and is only angered, saying she has the charm of a dead slug. Before the games begin he tells them to stay alive...the answer he gave them the first time Katniss asked him for a strategy.
During the Games, Haymitch helps Effie line up sponsors. He also communicates with Katniss through the giving or withholding of her sponsor gifts (does not send water when she is close to a source, sends broth and medicine when she "plays her part" convincingly). He does not help Peeta during the Games as only one of them could live, and he knew Katniss stood the best chance, although it is implied that Peeta may have told him to help Katniss and not him. He is thrilled when both of them come back alive and hugs them both. Before Katniss goes to her final interview with Caesar, he tells her that the Capitol is furious about her and Peeta's act in the arena with the berries, because the Capitol saw it as an act of rebellion and tells her she must act in love with Peeta so that even Capitol and the rest of Panem will see it was not rebellion but an act of love. After the interview, he is positive that the Capitol is convinced she was in love and not rebelling. He goes back to District 12 with Katniss and Peeta. When he gets home he starts drinking heavily again.
In Catching Fire, Haymitch's drinking becomes progressively worse. At times, he gets so drunk that he sleeps for most of the day. At the beginning of the book, Haymitch is passed out and drunk. Katniss fails in her first attempt of shaking him awake, so she resorts to dumping a bucket of water on him. This results in a startled Haymitch who begins to slash randomly in all directions and yell. When he calms down, Katniss tells him about the encounter with President Snow, how he told her how the other districts are on the verge of rebelling, and that the "star-crossed lovers" act must be believed by everyone if she plans on keeping her family and friends alive.
When the time comes for the victory tour, Haymitch accompanies Katniss and Peeta along with Effie Trinket and their stylists and prep teams. He coaches Katniss through the "madly in love" facade which she must keep up with Peeta. Haymitch is surprised and somewhat disgusted by Katniss losing her temper with Effie after she complains about the train's unplanned stop. Haymitch helps them through preparation for their victory speech they must give to the grieving families of the District 11 tributes, Thresh and Rue.
After Peeta finishes his speech Haymitch says to Katniss that she could do worse than Peeta. Katniss' speech to honor Thresh and Rue, and the three-finger salute she does in their honor, are viewed as an act of rebellion by the Peacekeepers. They shoot an elderly man, which causes unrest. Haymitch, is taken along with the others to a room to prepare to depart. Haymitch interrogates Katniss and Peeta for answers, and he and Katniss must confess what has been happening to Peeta since they kept him in the dark, which angers him. Haymitch continues to help them throughout the rest of the time until President Snow declares the Third Quarter Quell tributes will be reaped from the existing pool of victors. Haymitch continues drinking, maybe worse than usual. When Katniss enters his house—after freaking out in an empty victor's house cellar—he laughs because Peeta had already talked to him, making Haymitch promise that he would still try to keep Katniss alive. Then Haymitch asks, "Well, what do you want then?" and Katniss replies "I came for a drink" and Haymitch passes her his drink. Katniss refuses to hand it back, so Haymitch pulls out another. Haymitch is drunk and talks about how even if he is reaped Peeta will volunteer for him to be with her. Katniss asks him what he'll do if Peeta's name is drawn. And she convinces him that because he owes Peeta and he hates life anyway, Haymitch should go into the Hunger Games instead of Peeta. Gale then walks in to where Katniss bawls in his arms.
Haymitch promises Katniss that he will try to save Peeta this time, because he feels as if he owes him, for saving Katniss the first time. Haymitch's name is called by Effie but barely has time to frown before Peeta volunteers. Haymitch begins to plan the rebellion. He jokes and says "stay alive" and urges them to befriend other tributes. When the games begin he works with District 4, and later 3 and 7, since Katniss, Peeta, Finnick Odair, Beetee, Wiress, and Johanna Mason were in an alliance together but are working with Plutarch behind the scenes to help the rebellion.
When Katniss blows up the force field and is in the hovercraft that rescues Katniss, Finnick and Beetee, he, Finnick and Plutarch gather together and talk about what has happened. When Katniss enters the room he is annoyed and explains everything that has recently happened. Katniss is enraged with all Haymitch's lies that she cuts his face with her nails and since he can not attack her they both yell at each other until she is taken away.
After watching the final edit of Katniss' first propo, Haymitch went on the speaker and laughed, stating, "That is how a revolution dies." Haymitch called for a meeting with Katniss and the other rebels. He asked everyone to come up with a moment when Katniss had ever touched them inside. After everyone finished he stated that she did them all by herself. When Haymitch and Katniss found themselves alone in the meeting room, Haymitch told her to say what she wanted and she asked him why he let Peeta get captured. Haymitch sadly asked why she let Peeta out of her sight. The two began to reconnect and comforted each other. Haymitch told her the plan to shoot the propo live in action.
When the group returns and receives medical treatment, they meet in the command room. Haymitch, along with the others, discusses the propo. They decide to allow Katniss to go back into combat and shoot more propos after she is fully recovered. Haymitch is mad at Katniss for removing her earpiece and shows signs of vengeful thoughts towards her. She makes sure not to be left alone with him. When Katniss returns back to her hospital bed, Haymitch enters and talks to her for awhile. He later goes back to the command room to discuss topics and other objectives that must be taken care of with the head of the rebellion.
After Peeta's interview, Haymitch clarified that Peeta gave a hint about an attack that was going be launched by the Capitol. District 13 did not believe him, but Katniss did, and the citizens began to panic. Haymitch and the other head members of the rebellion began to form a plan for the impending attack. Haymitch informs Katniss about the rescue team to save Peeta, Johanna, Enobaria, and Annie from the Capitol and tells her Gale was the first to volunteer to be a member of the rescue team.
Haymitch comforts Katniss, who is sad because she did not go along with them. She asks him if they need her help and he informs her she could shoot propos to air during the rescue mission. He explained to her that two weeks after he was crowned victor, President Snow killed his mother, younger brother and girlfriend. Around midnight, Haymitch informs them the rescue party has made it back safely and they go to meet them.
Haymitch goes to District 2 with the others. He meets Lyme and attempts to think of a plan to attack a mountain nicknamed The Nut and take control of District 2. Gale pulls a plan together where they would blow up the inside of The Nut, which Haymitch does not fully agree with.
After the Rebellion, he, alongside Peeta and Katniss, goes back to District 12 and drinks and raises geese.
Haymitch doesn't work, but before the war, he mentored tributes yearly. However, after the war he raised geese in addition to obsessively drinking.
Haymitch is described as paunchy and middle-aged in The Hunger Games. In Catching Fire, he is described as formerly being young, strong, and "something of a looker" 25 years ago when he won the games; he had curly dark hair, his gray Seam eyes bright and dangerous.
It is mentioned in Mockingjay that two weeks after being crowned victor, his girlfriend, mother, and younger brother were all killed by the Capitol due to the stunt he pulled with the force field in the 50th Hunger Games. He made the Capitol look stupid, being the only one to know the advantage of the force field.
Haymitch first meets Katniss when she volunteered to go in instead of Prim at the reaping for the 74th Hunger Games. He stated that she had "spunk." He was impressed by Katniss but he collapsed afterwards because he was drunk, falling off the stage. At first, he dismissed her as well as Peeta but decides that they may be worthy of winning the Games after they gang up on him. Katniss is convinced that Haymitch hates her and he does not try to contradict her. He is hard on them but his teachings are the only things that help them through the Games. During the Games, Katniss and Haymitch, albeit being apart, develop an understanding and a strong bond is forged. Katniss and Haymitch can communicate through Haymitch's gifts. If he doesn't send much food, or none at all, he was telling Katniss to play up the "love" act. Katniss responds well and they communicate without Peeta knowing until the train ride home. Haymitch is the first whom Katniss thanks when she leaves the arena.
In Catching Fire, Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch are closer and always deal with whatever threat comes in front of them. Haymitch keeps his role as a mentor despite the end of the Games.
After Peeta is captured by the Capitol, Katniss becomes angry with Haymitch and rejects him. It isn't until she decides to be the Mockingjay that they speak again. Haymitch cares about her, understanding her more than others. For instance, when she realizes how Snow is using Peeta, Katniss runs to Haymitch as she breaks down, for they both care about him. Later, Katniss goes to Haymitch to confide in him her idea of Coin killing Prim, and when he teases her, causing her to flee, he tries to follow her (but trips) and later tries to get her to talk of her problems. He continues to be her "mentor" when she is sent back to District 12.
Haymitch and Peeta did not get off on the right foot, they fought each other on the train ride to the Capitol during the 74th Hunger Games. The two later work together often and becomes good with each other. Haymitch favored Peeta since he was very useful and good. He admits that he likes Peeta better. He and Peeta form plans together like Peeta's act of love to Katniss. Peeta is able to be told secrets and plans by Haymitch and keep them to himself. Haymitch does not help Peeta during the 74th Hunger Games. Haymitch is hurt when he is taken away by the Capitol and is guilty for allowing this to happen.
Although he does not admit it, Haymitch truly loves Peeta. Haymitch attacks Peeta to see if he will put up a fight in the arena and is pleased when he and Katniss both show strength against him by ganging up. Haymitch forms plans and informs him of all his plans during the preparation for the games. Haymitch helps him and the two both become close to each other. Haymitch and Peeta work together to form the plan of the Star cross lovers act to gain sympathy from the audience. Haymitch is overjoyed when both him and Katniss come back alive. He does everything he can to prevent them from being harmed by the Capitol since they are enraged by the suicide act with the nightlock in the arena. Haymitch is somewhat hurt when Peeta is angry at him for keeping secrets from him and is deeply hurt when President Snow announces the Third Quarter Quell will be reaping victors since Peeta may die. Haymitch is deeply concerned when Peeta is captured by the Capitol. He and Katniss both work together to rescue Peeta. Haymitch and Katniss try their best to help Peeta through the stress and affects of the tracker jacker juice they used to hijack his memories. The two reconnect at the end of Mockingjay.
Effie annoys Haymitch greatly by her Capitol ways. Since Haymitch isn't familiar to Effie's manners, dead lines and appearance he becomes annoyed when she nags him about this. He annoys Effie as well by being at his worst and frustrate her by his appearance and manners like when he eats with his hands and like an animal. The two do have their moments together like the night before the Third Quarter Quell. The two say their final goodbyes before she is taken away and Haymitch shows to care for her.
Haymitch and Effie do not start off right. They first encounter each other when Haymitch shows up drunk and in poor conditions at the reaping for the 74th Hunger Games. He throws up and hugs her which messes up her pink wig. He reappears again when he throws up on the train which only makes Effie more enraged. Haymitch and Effie work together to help Katniss and Peeta and she helps him line up sponsors. Haymitch and Effie are shown to be the same during the Victory tour as he shows poor manners and Effie annoys him with her nagging about his appearance and manners. The two seem to let Katniss and Peeta decide their own choices during preparations for the Third Quarter Quell. The night before the Third Quarter Quell, Effie is taken away but before Haymitch and her say their final goodbyes and this is the first time they show to like each other and care for one and another.
Haymitch and Chaff are old friends who both have a sense of humor and bad attitude at times. They often get drunk together and play jokes on others to get a laugh out of it. For example, Haymitch and Chaff play a joke on Katniss after the parade in Catching Fire when Chaff kisses Katniss on the lips; they both laugh over her reaction. The two probably worked together to keep Katniss and Peeta alive.
Haymitch briefly allied with Maysilee Donner during the 50th Hunger Games, and seemed to be a Haymitch-sort-of friendly to her until she broke off the alliance. When she was hurt by muttations Haymitch heard her scream and ran to help her. He then stayed with her until she died, much like Katniss did with Rue. Katniss, in Catching Fire, after watching Haymitch's tapes before the 75th Hunger games, thinks about the similarity: She was too late to save Rue, and Haymitch was too late to save Maysilee.
Haymitch is often drunk, surly, and harsh, but on rare occasions he can be understanding. And as mentioned by Peeta in the Hunger Games, sometimes sober. He was District 12's only living victor until Katniss and Peeta won. He is often sarcastic and unfriendly, but it is revealed in Mockingjay that, even though he doesn't say it, he adores Peeta and Katniss. Even though he admits he had chosen to keep Katniss alive during the 74th Hunger Games.
He and Katniss are on the same "wavelength" for most of the books, as he can "communicate" with Katniss by unconventional means, such as the timely deliverance of a sponsor's gift. After the war is over, Haymitch is sent to District 12 to look after Katniss, but for a long period after arriving he does not visit her, opting to stay in his house and drink. It is indicated that his relationship with Katniss and Peeta is somewhat repaired as time goes on.
Haymitch doesn't sleep at night because of nightmares pertaining to the Hunger Games. When he does sleep he always clutches a knife. Drinking is Haymitch's way of tuning out the present and the pain of his Hunger Games. His alcoholism was also prompted by the loss of his entire family shortly after he won the Games, at the hand of President Snow, due to his rebellious victory. Haymitch did not have access to his liquor while he was in District 13, as the intoxicating substance is banned. He was mostly unaffected by this after therapy, but his skin became noticeably yellower. As soon as they returned District 12, he began drinking again. When Haymitch is in withdrawal, he becomes violent, incoherent, and prone to hallucinations, screaming and shaking and scaring people half to death.
Nevertheless, despite his severe drinking, Haymitch does have some degree of control over it as he tells Peeta and Katniss in their original deal that, if they let him drink as much as he wants, he will remain sober enough to help them. He also functions rather well while sober.
Haymitch is quite handy with a knife as proved when he killed two Career tributes. He is also quite intelligent, outsmarting his fellow tributes and making the Capitol look stupid with the force field. He was remarkably strong and quite handsome when he was younger. Although he has low endurance, he is good at lying, as evidenced by his ability to keep Katniss clueless about the rebellion. He can be convincing, persuading Districts 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 11 to protect Katniss and manipulating command in District 13 to allow Katniss into combat. He was able to communicate with Katniss through his gifts in the arena, though Peeta believed that ability was due to the similarities in their personalities.