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.
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.)
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).
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…