Typing The Hunger Games

katniss

I was recently encouraged by a reader who likes my MBTI typing posts to write up one on the three main characters in The Hunger Games, like I did for Hannibal Lecter and Spock. Ha, ha… talk about a nightmare. Suzanne Collins, like many authors, bounces her main character around between types in different books. In the end, although Katniss argues that she’s “too much like Gale” to make their relationship work, she has as much in common with Peeta as Gale! But, since it’s fun to do, here goes.

katniss1

First up is Katniss, a butt-kicking heroine who is hard to type, because her leading traits shift from book to book. She’s clearly an Introvert; she hates the attention of standing up in front of people and giving interviews, and spends most of the story inside her own head. But it’s hard to choose between an Intuitive or a Sensor. Book 1 has her using her instincts rather than learning from experience – Intuitive behavior, as well as deliberately breaking rules such as going outside the fence to hunt. (Sensors have a hard time breaking rules, even rules they feel are unfair.) Yet, she also lives in the moment, is very practical, and engaged in the “real world” rather than abstract possibilities, which is a Sensor trait. She deeply resents it when Gale hides things from her (which she sees as a betrayal and a lie; Sensors hate being lied to).

Many, many people type her as a Thinker, but I’m going against the grain, since I see a lot of Feeler in her. Katniss’ entire motivation is to protect her family at all costs (as opposed merely to her own survival), and the later loss of her sister devastates her and destroys her relationship with Gale. She cries when fellow competitors are killed, and represses her own feelings and opinions when she must kill to survive, but her internal anguish shows that’s not her default state. Yet, although she feels awful about killing people, she manages to survive, repress her emotions, and do what she must, which are Thinker traits. She also neither understands her own emotions nor understands other people’s, particularly their attraction to her.

Finally, Katniss is a Perceiver – she doesn’t make snap judgments but instead continues gathering evidence and is indecisive when it comes to the men in her life (afraid she might make the wrong choice, and uncertain about her feelings for both — meaning, she is eternally in the “information gathering” stage), she is spontaneous (volunteering as tribute for her little sister) and adaptable.

This leaves Katniss as an ISFP/ISTP. If she took the test, she’d score high on I, very low on the S (due to her rule-bending, defiant behavior toward the capital), rather low on the T or F, and pretty high on the P. (On a personal note, if she is an ISFP, it explains why I can’t relate to her at all, can’t connect emotionally to her, and find her indecisiveness and Feeler tendencies irritating.)

gale

Next, we have Gale. He is often by himself and seems to have only one person he really confides in (Katniss), which is an Introvert trait, but he’s also a leader who doesn’t mind the idea of leadership, which an Introvert would balk at (they’ll lead if they have to, if no one else will or is competent at it). So, let’s call him a low-scoring Extrovert.

He’s an Intuitive dreamer with a plan for the future; rather than living in the moment, he’s a forward thinker (to the extent of his decision to leave Katniss, knowing she’s never going to forgive him for Prim), defiant, a risk-taker and a rule-breaker.

Gale is a Thinker, since he’s a planner and strategist; he foresees and plays out all potential consequences of his actions in his head, but sees them as an acceptable risk (such as building bombs, which may fall on innocent people), in order to accomplish his eventual goals (victory, through violence if necessary – a TJ trait). He uses his Intuitions and Thinker aspect to make Judgments (about Peeta, about Katniss, about their relationship and its future potential) and acts on them (such as leaving her).

This means Gale is an ENTJ. I always understood and liked Gale, whereas most of my SF friends can’t forgive him for his actions (to me, they were rational and led to conclusions that, while not pleasant, did bring about the objective — winning and ending the war).

katnisspeeta

Finally, there’s Peeta. He’s an Extrovert, since he loves attention, makes easy friends with everyone, and does everything possible to build up his popularity with the audience. He’s charming and charismatic where Katniss is seen by the viewing audience as cold and hard to relate to (Extrovert vs. Introvert).

His decision to build popularity has futuristic potential (Peeta is looking forward to the Games, and plotting how to succeed, rather than living in the moment), which marks him as an Intuitive. He adapts quickly and doesn’t go by established methods (as a Sensor would) – he teams up with other kids in the arena, planning to eventually betray them for Katniss and protect her.

Peeta is a dreamer rather than a realist, convinced he can win over Katniss, and goes on his emotions (feeling deep remorse for his involvement in people’s deaths, to the point of being suicidal), marking him as a Feeler. He’s spontaneous and doesn’t always make rapid judgments about people and places, which shows him as a Perceiver.

Given that he’s fairly consistent in his behavior, that makes him a fairly high-scoring ENFP.

There you have it, my opinion on the character types in The Hunger Games. I’m not wild about this book series. I find it disturbing on multiple levels, which is partly its purpose in existence, but I’m a fan of the writing in the sense that it’s fast-moving, holds your attention, and doesn’t use words it doesn’t need to pad the length. One of my friends suspects you have to be a Feeler to love it (she may have a point… she and her friends all loved it, where I didn’t, and all of them are Feelers), but that doesn’t seem wholly rational — wouldn’t a Feeler be greatly impacted by the sadistic violence in it? Or is it that a Feeler simply attaches so much to Peeta and Katniss’ desire to protect her sister that the actual plot (children killing each other) is secondary to the emotions it brings out in them as readers? Hmm…

30 Replies to “Typing The Hunger Games”

  1. Oh–interesting! Hmm..I’d pegged Peeta as probably being an extrovert/feeler too, and agree with your guess of ENFP. Katniss, I’d never have imagined her as an ISFP–or maybe she just seems too different from the ISFPs I have known, but you make a good case! The only thing is I’d switch around one aspect of the assessment of Gale and Katniss–I always thought Gale was very much the introvert, while Katniss was capable of being slightly extroverted–given how she reached out to the other contestants in the game. As well as how she was relatively calm under the public spotlight, even if she disliked it.

    PS
    Is it bad that I was trying to type them while only midway through the book? I’ve gotten into that habit was a lot of stuff I read/watch lately…

    1. It’s possible Katniss is an E, but wouldn’t she have more friends than just Gale if that were true? I don’t know — I read the books last summer so I should really read them again.

      Heh, I’m typing everyone and everything now — including my own characters. In the book I’m working on at the moment, I keep saying out loud, “Dangit, Richard, I intended for you to be an Intuitive… so why are you a Sensor?!” Oh, well. So be it. He can be the rule-abiding Sensor if he insists on it! 😀

      1. Well, I think an often overlooked factor is the characters’ circumstances, if Katniss and her family were wealthier, or if she were able to look beyond the constant struggle for survival, then maybe she would be more sociable. I got the impression that Gale was someone she felt comfortable with, because they were in the same dire situation. Peeta, or the mayor’s daughter, she might find “nice” and appreciative of a kind gesture, but both were higher up on the social ladder. (This is reminding me of people on MBTI forums who talk about not being their “true” selves until they come to terms with/overcome certain factors)

        Darn characters! How come they almost never do exactly what we had planned for them? Wait a sec–can Richard really be rule abiding if he’s defying you? 😉

        Now I’m curious–do you ever try taking MBTI quizzes “as” your character? Or find yourself noticing patterns, most parental/mentor figures being one type, most love interests being another etc;?

        I’ve seen a lot of debate over the number of friends, and quality of friendship, depending on type. There’s probably some truth to the idea of extroverts having a wider casual circle, vs the smaller, intimate circle of the introvert. But again, I think circumstances play a role, an introvert with a large extended family, who lived in the same small town all their lives might have a surprisingly large number of friends. Because they had a chance to gradually get to know them over the course of their entire childhood-adulthood. While an extrovert who’s never stayed more than a year or two in anyone place, frequently changing jobs/schools, might never have the chance to put down roots, and have fewer “good” friends than you’d expect for someone so sociable.

        1. *SHRUG*

          Don’t know, you may be right. Unfortunately, we’ll never find out, since Katniss is stuck in her situation and the books are over and done with. 😀

          No, I don’t take tests for my characters — but I’ve noticed that my own type comes through in most of the men I’ve written, probably because that would be the type of man I’d have the most respect for — Pilate, Julian, and Oscar all seem to be INTJ’s. I intended my empath to be an INFJ but he’s turning into more of an ISTJ.

          I have a large extended family and have done my best to avoid them all my life. Then again, I haven’t spent an enormous amount of time with them — and don’t really care to. 😉

          1. I have a large extended family and have done my best to avoid them all my life.

            OK–for some reason this made me want to burst out laughing 😉 I guess I was thinking in terms of an um…nice extended family? (Though I know what you mean, what “family” I have is–well, “estrangement” implies you used to be close, and I’ll leave it at that 😛 )

            As I believe I’ve mentioned before, most of my male leads seem to be INFPs! (Supposedly the ideal type for ENFJs) Though I never once thought of them as being romantic or even attractive! They’re also quite different physically, or in terms of hobbies and quirks so–I’m not quite sure how this happened.

            Y’know an ISTJ empath might be really interesting actually. Too many people try to match personality type with the person’s occupation/status. The duke is reserved and stiff, the society girl is outgoing and a trifle giggly. Are we to believe there’s never been a mirthsome nobleman or icy debutante?

            Healers are sensitive, and soldiers are stoic. Irregardless of the fact that in the past, many young men entered the army because their fathers had, or because the country needed men. (That’s why there were no sensitive poets in WWI, didn’t you know? Nope, no tragic, soulful poetry about death and combat to be found in any English Literature collection!) In the same way a man might be expected to be an artist, composer, or craftsman based on childhood talent, his father’s occupation, or what the family thought was most sensible.

            (Don’t even get me started in lazy appearance characterization, redhead=fiery, tall and broad-shouldered=authoritarian etc; )

          2. Good. That was my intention. 😉

            My family is nuts but in an entertaining way — and I like all of them fine, but have no desire to have friendships with most of them. I just don’t like big groups of people…

            Doesn’t your personality impact your career choices, though? I could never be a politician because I would hate all the attention and conflict. Whereas a more rigid personality type who likes being under authority might be drawn to a career as a soldier. It doesn’t work universally, but it would work in individual cases. I doubt you’ll find very many Feelers stay in law enforcement — the awfulness of the job would eventually get to them.

          3. When given a choice, I’d say personality definitely influences your career, but I guess since you mentioned your Titanic novel, I was thinking in a historic context, back during the era of apprenticeships etc;

            Actually, the fact that certain types are drawn to certain professions might be one of the very causes of problems within these industries. Big picture people ignore crucial details, and detail-oriented types don’t stop to consider the long-range implications of their actions.

            When it comes to politics…* sighs * My mom and I have often discussed how in this era of photogenic, television pleasing candidates, an ISTJ or INTJ would probably never make it. Remember all the comparisons of Obama to a hollywood celeb, or that Romney seemed like the perfect choice…to be cast as a TV drama president. So much for ever getting another Washington or Jefferson. I’m sorry but if having a “hip” president is what’s most important, why don’t we start picking them straight from Hollywood?

          4. Picking from Hollywood worked with Reagan but that’s the only time. We’ll never be able to elect the, well, plain politicians with the heart of gold ever again. What has society done?

          5. Who are you and why do you keep jumping in and replying to my comments? * shakes fist *

            No wait–don’t answer that, a quick look at your profile has revealed you for exactly who and what you are–awesome! 😀 (No really, your blog is adorable ❤ )

            Well, even with Reagan, he had already served as governor, and left his hollywood career behind for some years by the time he ran for president. So I would not object to a former screen star, if he seemed qualified and serious.

            Politics, involving so much money and power has always been a somewhat dirty game. But I really doubt that many candidates today, irregardless if they lean right or left, have the intellect or objectivity to lead a country.

            P.S.
            I am looking over your blog, and you seem to have awesome taste! I love your book reviews!

          6. Oops! My bad! Well, not really, since I’ve been meaning to “meet” you for months. I’ve actually really enjoyed reading all of your comments on Charity’s blog and love what you have to say.

            I admit, my style differs from Charity in what I post about on my blog (such as the annoying myriad of book reviews), but what can I say, I LOVE writing book reviews! Anyway, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed your roaming through my blog. Looking back, I’ve written about some interesting and bizarre topics. *laughs*

            This is true about Reagan. And he was never that good of an actor anyway (Did I say that out loud?) and made a much, much better politician. In that regard, his training in Hollywood really paid off and gave him a polished demeanor in an elected office. If Romney had actually had acting experience instead of just looking like an actor, it might have helped. That last election will stick in my craw for a long while.

            Wait, you’re expecting intellect from our politicians? So THAT’S what’s been missing from them for years! I was wondering! Seriously though, I wish they could unbrainwash themselves. I don’t even fit all that well into my political party anymore because it feels like they refuse to bend any of the rules at all, even the ones we don’t need. Both parties are exactly the same in that regard, making it hard for the younger generation to connect to them.

            Anyway, it’s awesome to finally “meet” you!

          7. Romney was a flip-flopping moderate. He had no chance of winning. No moderate will win again in this country — so long as we run moderates, we’ll lose.

          8. Great, so we’re stuck with frauds for the rest of our lives. Oblabla can give a great speech (that really says nothing, and has no meaning, and is full of bad information) but he sucks at running a government. *sigh*

  2. I would say ISTJ for Katniss and INFP for Peeta. The conversation they have before the games leaves it clear to me, when Peeta is all “I’m staying true to myself blah blah blah”, very Fi, and then Katniss is like “Nope, food on the table”, all duty, all family. She has a lot of SJ values (I don’t see her at all as rebelious, she agrees to follow everything Snow asks for as long as she can keep her family safe, understandable but shows her priorities). I can concede that she has some ISTP moments, mostly in the next two books. And Gale is a definite ENTJ, I agree on that.

    What would you say abot my favorite characters from the books: Haymitch, Cinna and Finnick. I think Haymitch might be and asocial ESTP, posibly ISTP; Cinna, some IxFx type. Finnick… maybe an ENFJ or INFJ, I dont even know, he seems introverted despite being very charming; he is very reserved about who he really is. What do you think?

    1. I’ve only read the books once, so you may be right. It’s possible she flips between personality types in the first and second books. I’m not convinced Peeta is an Introvert, though — he enjoys attention and easily wins over the crowd.

      Since I don’t remember any of the secondary characters that well, I really have no idea. Haymitch is their trainer, right? I’ve seen him typed as an INTJ before, since he’s so blunt about everything, but you know him better than I do.

  3. I keep saying I need to reread the books, but I really don’t think I liked them well enough to reread. There’s only one thing I’m not convinced about, but even that doesn’t bother me enough to reread them.

      1. At the end where they talk about more Hunger Games and it seemed to me that Katniss was fine with it and it didn’t make sense to me, but someone else told me that they never happened.

        1. I vaguely remember that. I think it says somewhere in the final book that there were no more Hunger Games. If she didn’t object, that would make her a T instead of an F, so… *tears hair out*

  4. Well done! Katniss is the hardest to type since she does bounce around a bit. I agree that Peeta is the most consistent of the characters, and most definitely a feeler compared to Gale being a thinker. i also agree that Katniss is most likely a feeler, too. If she were more of a thinker, I don’t think she would need the emotional support that Peeta freely offers her, certainly not to the extent where she would cuddle with him for comfort in the same bed.

    Congrats on typing a series I know you’re not that fond of. You did a great job.

    Now, could you pretty please consider typing Dean and Sam for me? Hmmmmm? 😉

    1. I do think Katniss leans toward Feeler. She spends an awful lot of her time being internally emotional, and the consequences of events stick with her a long time.

      The Supernatural boys are hard to type, since some of their behavior is contradictory — for example, Dean has traits of an S (living in the moment, gathering evidence, following daddy’s rules without question) yet is a habitual criminal (impersonating police officials, credit card fraud, etc). It’s hard to tell if he’s an Extrovert (does well with women, isn’t afraid to take charge of situations) or an Introvert (spends most of his time alone and doesn’t seem to mind it, only has a few friends). But if I had to type him, I’d say:

      Extrovert (good with people, well-liked)
      Sensor (information-gatherer and goes by established methods instead of pulling ideas out of midair)
      Feeler (he forces himself to act like a Thinker, but is very emotional)
      Judger (he makes quick decisions — “YOU ARE AN IDIOT”)

      Sam is easier to type but weak on the last letter.

      Introvert — loner, awkward, less comfortable with himself
      Intuitive — bucks the system, questions the establishment, finds new ways to accomplish his goals
      Feeler — makes emotional decisions, is haunted by things
      Perceiver — information-gathers, is more spontaneous, has an ongoing guilt complex (he could also be a really low-scoring J, due to his decision-making traits)

      Typing characters is difficult but also fun — I was doing it watching Twilight last night. I suspect Edward is an ISFJ and Bella is an INFJ. Jacob is possibly an ISTJ (he argues more logically than the rest of them). And Aro, dear Aro… why, he’s an INTJ… naturally. 😉

      1. Dean is definitely an S. The only part of him that doesn’t fit is his criminal side, which is odd. Still, if you were raised that way, to obey orders and commit crimes, why would you question that upbringing?

        Remember the Wishing Well episode? I watched that the other night and when the little boy runs past with the bullies chasing him, Dean hollers after him “Run, Forest, run!” If he were an introvert, he would have never thought to do that. Extrovert really fits his personality. He’s always the one with the inward thoughts turned outward into comments. Like when he says out loud “Oh, that’s just gross!” or “Sure, that’s totally normal.” If he is an ESFJ, and I suspect you’re right, then he’s able to voice the thoughts I would have, but would never express. Cool really!

        Maybe that’s why I always connected to Dean because his reactions, especially his protective ones like in The Benders episode in the 1st season (the hillbilly family), are exactly the same reactions I would have in that situation.

        I have a tough time connecting to Ps, so it makes sense Sam could be a P. Sometimes he annoys the heck out of me, and I totally get why Dean calls him Sammy. It lowers the amount of irritation you feel towards him by calling him Sammy.

        Sam and Dean fight the most because their N and S are so different from one another. Possibly also because they’re J and P, but it’s really hard for the S and the N to get along. Dean is a stronger S than me, and Sam is a pretty strong N so it makes their relationship ripe for conflict.

        But, because they’re both Fs (and I totally agree with that conclusion), they can connect to each other on an emotional level, which is why they won’t ever permanently betray one another. Despite the whole Ruby thing with Sam, he’s still undeniably loyal to his brother and cares about what he thinks. Dean really does fight against his F, but there are moments when you can really see it. He hates those hugging/tear-jerker moments that occasionally crop up, but that’s more because he feels so strongly it makes him uncomfortable than being impatient with the emotions.

        I LOVE this show! Still! After all these years! I’m wading slowly into the later seasons and finding myself enraged at some of the changes, but the stand-alone episodes of the later seasons are excellent, just like the first three seasons. There’s some I have GOT to show you the next time I come out. We’ll just plop in front of your computer and stream them from my Amazon account for a few hours. There’s another clown episode in season 8 with Sam! HILARIOUS!

        1. Dean is a criminal because it benefits the writers for him to be one, which is why it’s hard to type certain characters — rather than their personality resulting in the plot actions, the plot dictates their personality (hence why Elijah in TVD is inconsistent between the second and fourth seasons… it benefited the writers for him to be that way).

          So, it’s hard for N’s and S’s to get along, huh? Explains a lot about Brenda and Sharon in The Closer/Major Crimes. I was trying to figure out Brenda the other night — Sharon is a total ISTJ, but I’m not sure about Brenda… I’m thinking E (she’s never afraid to share her opinions, and speak out in public), N (she doesn’t always put together the case based on evidence, but often intuition — and habitually breaks rules), F (she had an affair with her boss, and reacts emotionally whenever Fritz argues with her about anything), J (she forms conclusions and acts on them — such as “condemning” various criminals to death over the years). One can see why she and Sharon conflicted so badly…

          I still enjoy an occasional episode of Supernatural but it doesn’t dominate my heart as much as it used to. I think for me, once a show disappoints me severely, I can never entirely fall in love with it again — it also happened with Sanctuary, where my once adoration for it has faded into almost a kind of contempt. That’s really what happened with Twilight — I enjoyed the book before it was popular, New Moon frustrated me, I loved Eclipse and then Breaking Dawn destroyed the entire franchise for me. Moffat very nearly destroyed Sherlock for me with the Irene Adler episode. It’s also happened with Downton Abbey. Having been so severely disappointed with the third season, I’ll never again love the first seasons as well. It’s a strange pattern with me.

          1. That’s why I’m picking and choosing my episodes of Supernatural with care. I never saw the Angel/Dean episode so I don’t have that trauma, although I will hate that the writers went there. The show is still brilliant, or at least, the original concept was brilliant. They ruined it for Christian fans by delving down a road none of us ever wanted to go.

            You might be surprised by the S trait. I’m not inherently honest, in fact, I sometimes have lied if it protects my best interests or I’m afraid of getting into trouble over something. Less now than when I was younger, but it is possible for an S to be deceitful. Sharon’s just, I don’t know, the best of the S trait, perhaps.

            I get it if you have no desire to watch Supernatural again. It’s just sad because the stupid writers ruined something so brilliant.

          2. I watched two episodes yesterday — Wendigo and the one from season… seven? … that spoofs vampires. I assumed it would be funny, but it really wasn’t. Have you seen the black and white Dracula episode yet? That one amused me when it aired, but I’m not sure which season it is from.

            Sharon is just… awesome, and that’s all there is to it. 😉

          3. I saw Wendigo recently too. Awesome and scary as all get-out! I’ve also watched the three episodes with Sam’s uber-fan and that writer nut job/prophet who foresees the Winchesters every move. HATE THAT STORY ARC, but the Supernatural convention episode was a hoot! Still, my favorite of the new ones is the clown one in season 8. Definitely the clown. Sam gets beat up by not one, but two, freakin’ clowns! AWESOME!

          4. I really don’t like that episode arc either… the writers got too smug about the popularity of the show, what with turning Sam and Dean into book characters, and bringing fangirls into it. It was just… pretentious and a bit insulting, however true it may have been. I don’t think it’s real smart to insult your viewers like that. But yeah, the haunted house with all the fake Sam and Deans running around was funny. 🙂

          5. I think what amused me about elements of the arc was that there are Supernatural books out in paperback. Since I work in a library, it just struck me as funny. But not that they were divinely inspired before Sam and Dean made a move in real life. The Winchester Testament? I’m going to rip out my hair now. I think that’s what known as righteous indignation, the same as when Christ threw the moneylenders from the temple. Precisely how I feel, messing around with Scripture and adding gospels. The writers are going to be mightily surprised when their time comes and they find themselves in judgment before God. Suddenly, their show and its blasphemy won’t seem like such a great idea after all. Demons, yes; angels, no.

  5. Interesting… Though I don’t necessarily subscribe to Keirsey’s view that ENFPs are the ideal partner to INTJs (I always I would like an ENTJ better), in this fictional example, I much prefer Peeta’s personality to Gale’s, even though I identify more with Gale. Gotta love those strangely emotional men!

    1. Maybe in terms of balancing one another out, an ENFP would be good for an INTJ… but I think an ENFP would drive me totally nuts!

      Peeta to me was just… well, weak. But in truth, I couldn’t connect emotionally to the series on any level, so I never really had a strong preference for who Katniss wound up with. (I did find it irksome that she never really “chose” Peeta — Gale’s leaving meant she stayed with Peeta, but then as a P, she might never have picked between them anyway.)

      1. I had a hard time connecting emotionally to the series too, except for Peeta’s character. Peeta was weak in a sense, but aside for the period in the third book when he was more or less insane, he managed to retain his humanity, which is the quality I love about him most. And in the context of the book, his “weakness” was balanced out by Katniss’s strength, which made them a good fit.

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