In The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the 75th games were a "quarter quell".
President Snow decides to make these games special in that...

This year's tributes should be picked from prior year's victors.

My question is...

What if a given district had no surviving victors?

Did that district then fall back to standard tribute selection, or were they left out of the games that year?

I have not read the books yet, so it may be explained there.
I plan on reading them after the movies.

  • Mind, I'm not doubting that - as everyone's pointed out - that his new rule for the 75th games wasn't directly aimed at eliminating Katniss... just wondering about the potential flaw in his logic, that he didn't necessarily think through (or maybe he knew before hand that the necessary pre-conditions were met).
    – eidylon
    Jan 16, 2014 at 17:19
  • 3
    the implication from the book and film seems to be that the Quarter Quell rules were set by Snow, therefore, it seems highly likely that he knew the conditions were already met when he instigated them. Jan 17, 2014 at 7:45

4 Answers 4


The point is moot. It's not as if there was an established rule that Quarter Quells pit previous victors against each other, it's just an ad-hoc trick Snow pulled in order to discredit and kill Katniss.

What would have happened if there weren't enough victors for this setup? Snow would have probably tried a slightly different trick: Maybe with only one previous victor from each District. Maybe with "all new tributes except for Katniss because I really, really want her dead". It doesn't matter. The question of how this rule would be enforced without enough victors could not be relevant.

  • 3
    Is there a canon reference to the fact that Snow pulled the additional QQ3 rules out of his proverbial behind? In the movie, it is heavily implied (at least as I recall it), but in the book I can't seem to find a direct reference. Nov 17, 2014 at 7:29
  • The quarter quells are supposed to be special, I know one was double the number of tributes... I can't remember the other. Noting the two historical games as a precedent would improve this answer
    – Liath
    Nov 17, 2014 at 7:38
  • 25th games tributes were voted on rather than drawn randomly thehungergames.wikia.com/wiki/Quarter_Quell
    – Liath
    Nov 17, 2014 at 7:39
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    Yeah, that's what I'm thinking too. QQ1 and QQ2 had special rules, that were drawn from a box, of sorts. The QQ3 rules were drawn from the same box, but is there a canon reference that President Snow did, or did not, rig the rules to ensure that Katniss was named as tribute again? Nov 17, 2014 at 8:00
  • 2
    @GunnarSödergren: Katniss is the sole source of information in the books (unlike in the movies), and she of course does not have access to such secrets. But it's implied about as heavily as it can be, given the circumstances.
    – ruakh
    Nov 17, 2014 at 8:15

The book doesn't flesh out this detail either. Since each district is polite enough to have at least one male and female previous victor, alternate scenarios aren't discussed.

However, that does beg the question of why the Quarter Quell rule seems a bit unreliable.

Along those lines, I got the distinct impression that the "sealed envelope" rule is subject to being created ad hoc by Snow. Creating a new sealed envelope with a new rule would be quite simple. For all we know, this may have been the actual intent for the Quarter Quells -- not to pre-fabricate special rules, but rather to allow for rulers to create their own as needed, in pursuit of maintaining control over the districts.

The major weakness with this reading is that the Quarter Quell only takes place every 25 years. As this is the 75th year, there have been two Quarter Quells already, with an established cycle of 25 years. That is to say, even if Snow used the Quarter Quell to inject his own custom rule, he was extremely fortunate that it was the 75th year and not virtually any other year.

  • 6
    “he was extremely fortunate that it was the 75th year and not virtually any other year” < If it wasn’t a QQ, then Snow could put pressure on Katniss by threatening to rig the Reaping, and have Prim’s name come out. IIRC, this sort of cheating is implied in the books.
    – alexwlchan
    Jan 16, 2014 at 13:56
  • Also, +1 for “this may have been the actual intent for the Quarter Quells”
    – alexwlchan
    Jan 16, 2014 at 13:56
  • Also +1 for 'each district is polite enough to have at least one male and female previous victor'!
    – Möoz
    Aug 14, 2014 at 21:48

I have wondered this several times, as well. My initial thoughts were that the reaping would just continue as it usually would if there were no surviving victors, but then when I thought about it some more, the idea came to me that maybe President Snow wrote that new rule after the 74th Hunger Games and tossed away the previous one, just to spite Katniss and Peeta for both winning - especially to spite Katniss, being the only female victor from District Twelve. I thought that this reasoning would make sense, because President Snow had already executed Seneca Crane for allowing both Katniss and Peeta to win, so why not just put them back in the games so that they have an even smaller chance of surviving?

  • 5
    I think it is pretty obvious that the Quarter Quell rule was not there before the Katniss incident, and specifically introduced to kill Katniss.
    – xLeitix
    Jan 16, 2014 at 14:47
  • 1
    I agree. The books said that the changes to the rules of the Quarter Quells were written right at the end of the Dark Days, when the games had just begun, but given President Snow's power and influence, the most likely story is that he changed the rule.
    – Dragona13
    Jan 16, 2014 at 14:52

I think President Snow changed the quarter quell after Katniss won. My reasoning is that he had almost a year to do so and it is something he would do.

  • Welcome to SFF.SE. We try not to speculate in answers and instead reserve that for comments.
    – Null
    Nov 17, 2014 at 5:25

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