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In the Hunger Games, we know that:

  • the general setup of the arena (habitat, layout, etc.) is decided by the Gamemakers;
  • the 'gifts' sent in to tributes during the Games (by silver parachute) are decided by the mentors - presumably vetted by the Gamemakers - and paid for by the sponsors.

But who decides what goodies are available to the tributes at the Cornucopia from the start? Do the mentors and tributes already get a say even before the Games begin, or are those weapons, food, etc. chosen entirely by the Gamemakers?

(In particular, I'm thinking of Beetee's wire in the Quarter Quell. It was clearly put there in the arena especially for him, and probably by someone who was in on the master plan, but would that have been Plutarch or the District Three mentors?)

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    My thought is that the gamemakers seed the cornucopia deliberately with things pledges will want to encourage a hearty opening slaughter... but I have nothing to back that up.
    – Radhil
    Mar 7, 2017 at 2:00
  • This may be mentioned during the first training. You have to demonstrate what you're good at so they give you the required equipment (to make a good show)
    – OrangeDog
    Mar 7, 2017 at 8:37
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    Balance of probability says it's the gamemakers. Beetee's wire is not an improbable inclusion even without collusion by Plutarch - he won his Games by electrocuting people. Makes sense that gamemakers would provide the tools for him (and all tributes) to succeed and entertain in the quarter quell. Mar 7, 2017 at 8:49

2 Answers 2

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The Gamemakers choose

In the first book, The Hunger Games, when Haymitch is talking to Katniss and Peeta during the first training session learning their strengths and weaknesses, Peeta tells him how good Katniss is with the bow.

Haymitch then says:

After about a minute of this, Haymitch says, “Well, then. Well, well, well. Katniss, there’s no guarantee there’ll be bows and arrows in the arena, but during your private session with the Gamemakers, show them what you can do.

The Hunger Games - Chapter 7

This suggests that the Gamemakers will make a decision as to what will go into the Cornucopia based upon what they see in the private sessions.

The Gamemakers make notes throughout the training as well, again this can be assumed to be part of them trying to make a competitive and exciting games:

The Gamemakers appeared early on the first day. Twenty or so men and women dressed in deep purple robes. They sit in the elevated stands that surround the gymnasium, some-times wandering about to watch us, jotting down notes

The Hunger Games - Chapter 7

After Katniss shoots the apple out of the the pig's mouth in the private session she starts to contemplate the consequences of her actions and muses the following:

You can bet they’ll make sure I don’t have a bow and arrow to defend myself.

The Hunger Games - Chapter 8

Heavily implying that the Gamemasters decide what makes it into the Cornucopia, as Katniss is worried they will not make a bow and arrow available during the games.

Later in the book after Katniss and Rue attempt to get to the Cornucopia and discover it has been mined, it is explicitly stated that the Gamemasters provide the weapons:

You’d have thought . . . and slowly it begins to dawn on me . . . you’d have thought the very ground was going to explode.

“It’s mined,” I whisper. That explains everything. The Careers’ willingness to leave their supplies, Foxface’s reaction, the involvement of the boy from District 3, where they have the factories, where they make televisions and automobiles and explosives. But where did he get them? In the supplies?

That’s not the sort of weapon the Gamemakers usually provide, given that they like to see the tributes draw blood personally.

The Hunger Games - Chapter 16

As the Gamemakers choose what weapons go into the arena they would also have been responsible for Beetee's wire, as Plutarch Heavensbee was the head Gamemaker it wouldn't have been too hard for him to suggest this be included due to Beetee's history in the games:

“He won his Games with wire. Setting up that electrical trap,” says Peeta. “It's the best weapon he could have.”

The Hunger Games - Catching Fire - Chapter 23

And although we do not see Beetee's private audience with the Gamemakers we can assume that he might have made an impression with wires when Katniss talks about the other tribunes, their skills and the weapons they have:

Of course. Johanna Mason. District 7. Lumber. I bet she's been tossing around axes since she could toddle. It's like Finnick with his trident. Or Beetee with his wire. Rue with her knowledge of plants.

The Hunger Games - Catching Fire - Chapter 23

Though some manipulation is likely to have taken place as it isn't an ordinary piece of wire, it is specifically designed, by Beetee himself, to carry the current it needs to:

“Will that wire really be able to conduct that much power, Beetee? It looks so fragile, like it would just burn up.”

“Oh, it will. But not until the current has passed through it. It will act something like a fuse, in fact. Except the electricity will travel along it,” says Beetee.

“How do you know?” asks Johanna, clearly not convinced.

“Because I invented it,” says Beetee, as if slightly surprised. “It's not actually wire in the usual sense. Nor is the lightning natural lightning nor the tree a real tree. You know trees better than any of us, Johanna. It would be destroyed by now, wouldn't it?”

“Yes,” she says glumly.

“Don't worry about the wire — it will do just what I say,” Beetee assures us.

The Hunger Games - Catching Fire - Chapter 25

Plutarch Heavensbee is the person most likely to have made this specific wire available within the arena for Beetee.

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The Gamemakers set the Cornucopia - the mentors and tributes do not get any input.

What supplies are put in the Cornucopia are decided entirely by the Gamemakers - the mentors and their tributes do not have any control over what supplies are placed in the arena. Presumably, the District 4 mentors and Finnick all knew of his skill with a trident, and he was a popular figure who the Capitol had no reason to want specifically killed in the Games, but no trident was in the Cornucopia for him. He had to receive one as a gift from sponsors. If it was possible for the mentors or tributes to influence the contents of the Cornucopia, this seems a likely instance where it would have happened - but it did not.

“He was already a good fighter with the spears and knives he had found in the Cornucopia. When he received a silver parachute with a trident—which may be the most expensive gift I’ve ever seen given in the arena—it was all over. District 4’s industry is fishing. He’d been on boats his whole life. The trident was a natural, deadly extension of his arm.”
- Catching Fire (Chapter 15)

Additionally, it is clear that the Gamemakers are the ones choosing the supplies in the Cornucopia since Katniss worries they might ensure there are no bows in the supplies after she shoots an arrow at their pig because they weren’t paying attention to her.

“If the Gamemakers want to punish me, they can do it publicly. Wait until I’m in the arena and sic starving wild animals on me. You can bet they’ll make sure I don’t have a bow and arrow to defend myself.”
- The Hunger Games (Chapter 8)

For it to be possible for the Gamemakers to remove bows and arrows from the supplies to punish a tribute over an incident in training implies that the Gamemakers have total control over what supplies are included in the Cornucopia.

Plutarch put the wire specifically for Beetee to use to breach the force field for the escape.

It’s explicitly confirmed that Plutarch put the wire for Beetee to use to break the force field. When Haymitch explained the plan to break the tributes out, he said Plutarch made sure the wire was there.

“Plutarch Heavensbee has been, for several years, part of an undercover group aiming to overthrow the Capitol. He made sure the wire was among the weapons. Beetee was in charge of blowing a hole in the force field.”
- Catching Fire (Chapter 27)

Haymitch was part of the plan, and as such would have inside knowledge of its details, so this is direct confirmation.

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    Looks like someone's been reading the HG books recently :-) I've seen a lot of good answers from you in this tag in the last week or so.
    – Rand al'Thor
    May 24, 2021 at 5:28
  • @Randal'Thor Yes, I just re-read them all, actually! :) Aww thanks, I’m glad you like my answers!
    – Obsidia
    May 24, 2021 at 20:11

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