I understand that he was honored as an earlier champion, but Haymitch was still from an outlying district and was noticeably disorganized and drunk as well. I'm confused about how he was so well-liked and held sway over sponsors and the Games Master. He convinced the Games Master to allow two tributes to win and got packages delivered to Katniss and Peeta.

So, how did Haymitch convince the elitist capital crew and why did they listen to him?

*Only watched the film, have not yet read the books.

  • 3
    How do you know 'he convinced the Game Maker to allow two tributes to win'?
    – Möoz
    Commented Aug 8, 2014 at 3:18
  • 1
    A lot of the Victors were addicts, not just Haymitch. Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 14:29
  • This never happens in the books. Another addition to the movies. But the part about the packages is true. Commented Dec 5, 2022 at 1:18

4 Answers 4


Disclaimer: I have not watched the movie, I have only read the books.

Haymitch didn't really convince the Gamemakers to allow two tributes to win, and the input he had over the packages was primarily when they would be delivered, and what they were.

Packages being delivered to tributes was a regular part of the Hunger Games. The whole point of making a big presentation of the tributes, from the costumes to the ratings assigned by the Gamemakers, was to establish just how popular each individual tribute was with the crowd. The more popular a tribute was, the more likely they were to receive packages, and the more expensive those packages could be. Cinna probably deserves more credit for getting Katniss her packages than Haymitch, since Cinna's costumes were such a smash hit. However, as their mentor, Haymitch gets to decide when the packages are delivered (and probably has some undetermined influence over what form the packages take).

As for the decision to allow two tributes to win, Katniss gets most of the credit. She was the one who set up the possibility of all tributes dying, a situation which is problematic for the Gamemakers, particularly when the popularity for Katniss and Peeta was so unusually high (due to the "tragic lovers" story they had been playing up). Allowing both of the remaining tributes to commit suicide would have also been a political blow to the government, as it would mean that Katniss and Peeta "beat" the Capital at its own game. It was decided that it was preferable for the Capital to be seen as generous in bending the rules to allow both of them to survive, and it would be for the immensely popular tributes to succeed in openly defying the rules of the game.

That's not to say Haymitch had no role in this. In the later books it is revealed that Haymitch won his Hunger Game by virtue of being very intelligent. He was a careful planner, even after he descended into alcoholism, and was no doubt making key comments at precisely the right time to help nudge the Gamemakers and Capital representatives to make the decisions that would be most beneficial for the District 12 tributes.

  • 2
    Just for understanding the source of the question as relates to the movie, it showed scenes that couldn't have appeared in the books given the singular Katniss POV, including one where Haymitch pitched the idea of playing up the star-crossed lovers to Seneca.
    – Josh
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 16:44
  • 2
    "It was decided (almost certainly by President Snow) that it was preferable for the Capital to be seen as generous in bending the rules to allow both of them to survive, and it would be for the immensely popular tributes to succeed in openly defying the rules of the game." - I seem to remember Snow saying that he would have killed them both then and there before they had the chance to kill themselves. That and Seneca kinda got killed over the letting two people live thing.
    – fire.eagle
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 17:01
  • @fire.eagle Hrm, now that you mention it, that does sound familiar. I've removed the part attributing it to President Snow.
    – Beofett
    Commented Mar 30, 2012 at 17:13

All mentors had access to each other and the Gamesmaker (limitedly).

Though not depicted in the book, the movie suggests Haymitch used his access to appeal to Seneca's desire to "make the best games ever" through exploiting popular sympathy garnered by Peeta's star-crossed lovers maneuver. Greedily, Seneca ate the idea up... Capitol citizens should love the idea and it hadn't been done before.

IMO, he was compelled to do something different, bigger, more grand than his predecessors. Of course, in the book, I presumed the eventual reversal of the '2 may win' amendment was Seneca's way of heightening the drama and pulling a twist... not necessarily political pressure from Snow in the way the movie suggested.

As for sponsors, their motivations are a bit different and varied. They want to throw money at a variety of things, though usually lean toward those most likely to win [probably because they're also betting on them to win]. No one wants to support or throw money at the horse that's likely to lose the race. Support can also come from sympathy or love of the tributes' story though. Favoring a tribute can change the tide for them, and who hasn't wanted to see an underdog, or a 'more deserving' person win?

The Mentors (Haymitch since he was the only D12 victor) was responsible for securing sponsorship for both, though he could only work with what was provided by the tributes (performance) and their stylists (Cinna and Portia). Katniss' prowess (score), the buzz generated by Peeta's story and popularity thrust upon them by their stylists made for great sales opportunities to prospective sponsors.


I think the first thing to point out here is that the books are first-person, so clearly the film is capable of showing more to the viewer as it is not all seen from Katniss' viewpoint (as the books are). As such, this issue (how the gamemakers came to the decision/did Haymitch convince them) is not explictly addressed in the books, but I think we can assume that (away from Katniss' narrative) he did play some part in this. My reasons for thinking this are as follows:

  1. the "rule-change" was in the gamesmakers' interests. Remember, until Katniss pulled out the berries, they had no intention of actually honouring the new rule, rather they intended to set up the two star-crossed lovers to fight to the death. So what happened at the end was in no way intended, which explains how Haymitch could "convince" Seneca Crane to do this (in other words, he didn't actually need much convincing at all, the gamesmakers thought they were getting what they wanted, a great show for the Capitol audience).

  2. Haymitch is capable - without wanting to give away too many spoilers, in the later books Haymitch is shown to be intelligent, cunning, and influential, as shown by the part he plays in organising certain events in the 2nd book in particular. Also, just because he suggests the idea to Crane, does not mean he expects it to lead to both Peeta and Katniss surviving. It seems just as plausible to me that the suggestion is intended to get them both to the final 2, at which point Haymitch anticipates Katniss to win (due to Peeta's selflessness and devotion towards Katniss). You will note all the gifts Haymitch sends into the arena go to Katniss - which shows he has chosen her as District 12's most likely winner, and as such the one he is going to help. Haymitch isn't stupid and doesn't expect the Capitol to allow them to both live, regardless of the apparent rule-change (and this is shown at the end when he warns Katniss of the danger she and Peeta are in - which proves how astute and aware of the situation he is). In the end though, Katniss surprises everyone by coming up with her berries idea at exactly the right moment and ensuring both hers' and Peeta's survival, regardless of anyone's plans (albeit to the delight of Haymitch).

  3. This may be a bit anecdotal, and not conclusive since films often do mess with the subject matter of books - but it seems to me that the scene made it into the film precisely because it is implied that it did happen in the books, albeit away from Katniss' narrative. I don't think Collins would have wanted it put into the film otherwise. It's also noteworthy that throughout the books, Haymitch keeps many secrets from Katniss, so it is not too much of a stretch to imagine that this is just another instance of him not telling her something - and if Katniss does not know, how can she explicitly tell her audience that it had happened in the narrative of the books?


After re-reading the entire series, it’s heavily implied but not spoken in written form that Haymitch has massive influence on sponsors and with other victors of the games. Even though he plays the part of not being a threat and comes off as a self-indulgent drunk.

I hardly doubt Haymitch had influence on Seneca’s decisions as gamemaker, but it’s also been implied by Suzanne Collins that Plutarch Heavensbee had a big impact on Katniss’ trajectory throughout the entire series, even though he was just introduced as head gamemaker in the second novel. Which makes sense since you find out that Plutarch was present and involved in the 74th Hunger Games.

  • There are some very bold statements here, but woefully little evidence to back this up.
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 29, 2023 at 20:53

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