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Undoubtedly, the ever ruthless and vicious man, President Snow, would quite fit the bill as the creator of the Hunger Games and he certainly has carried forward the sinister legacy to the best of his capacity during his reign. But one can say with certainty that Snow couldn't have been the creator of the Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games Wiki claims that President Snow is 76 years old. So unless he became the President of Panem at the age of two or three and conceived the Hunger Games in his infancy, and that is as unlikely as it sounds, there was someone else in charge when the uprising took place consequently leading to the evil tradition of the Hunger Games which later evolved under different Head Gamemakers.

If Suzanne Collins has left that to our imagination, I think someone who has read the trilogy thoroughly can possibly try to connect the dots, gather the missing bits and pieces and deduce something relevant?

Who invented the Hunger Games?

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    Have you read the trilogy? I don't want to start mentioning or quoting things from the third book if you haven't read the books and are just watching the movies. Mar 3, 2014 at 13:35
  • I haven't read the books, no. I have just watched two films.
    – Elzee
    Mar 3, 2014 at 13:41
  • Well, as I've stated in other answers recently, there isn't a whole lot of historical information in the books. There's a small amount, but nothing I can think of that would answer the question. There's a vaguely relevant quote from the end of the third book, but it's by no means definitive and it would kind of ruin the ending for you. Mar 3, 2014 at 13:46
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    Also, if you haven't read the books you may not know that they're written in the first person. It's Katniss telling the story of what happened to her, so the reader only learns things that Katniss already knew prior to the beginning of the first book or that she learns during the books. Mar 3, 2014 at 13:49
  • @AnthonyGrist - I see what you mean. And maybe Collins has planned for another book as the prequel to the trilogy and hopefully we will then get to know more about how it all started. That's just my assumption though.
    – Elzee
    Mar 3, 2014 at 13:58

5 Answers 5

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As far as I recall, the books do not provide any detail about the origins of the Hunger Games. They were established after the Rebellion, and the first book shows us the 74th annual games. That is all.

This is an important point -- when the books take place, the Hunger Games are much more than the product of a single, deranged personality. Snow was only a child when the Games began, and by the time he took power they must have been running for at least 30 or 40 years. So the Hunger Games are something which the ruling classes of the Capitol have collectively decided to maintain, for generations.

As such, the Hunger Games are deeply rooted in the society of Panem. The Games are not like the insanity of the Roman Emperor Caligula; they are like the Roman gladiatorial arenas. Caligula was regarded by the Romans as an aberration, they were glad to be rid of him and his policies were not maintained after his death. But the Romans thought of gladiators as a normal part of society, and continued to watch them regardless of who was Emperor.

From the perspective of Katniss and the other characters in the books, the identities of the original creators no longer matter. The important thing is that the Capitol has chosen to continue what they started.

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Casca Highbottom and Crassus Snow

Dean Highbottom and his friend at the time, Crassus Snow (who was Coriolanus' father) invented the game, but did it as a joke whilst drunk. Unfortunately, it caught on, as is the way with Dr. Gaul:

From The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes:

“Not in the districts. In the Hunger Games,” Snow corrected him. “I have you to thank for that. After all, you’re responsible for them.”

“Oh, I think half the credit for that goes to your father,” said the dean.

Snow frowned. “How do you mean? I thought the Hunger Games were your idea. Something you came up with at the University?”

“For Dr. Gaul’s class. Which I was failing, since my loathing of her made participation impossible. We paired off for the final project, so I was with my best friend — Crassus, of course. The assignment was to create a punishment for one’s enemies so extreme that they would never be allowed to forget how they had wronged you. It was like a puzzle, which I excel at, and like all good creations, absurdly simple at its core. The Hunger Games. The evilest impulse, cleverly packaged into a sporting event. An entertainment. I was drunk and your father got me drunker still, playing on my vanity as I fleshed the thing out, assuring me it was just a private joke. The next morning, I awoke, horrified by what I’d made, meaning to rip it to shreds, but it was too late. Without my permission, your father had given it to Dr. Gaul. He wanted the grade, you see. I never forgave him.”

Officialised by Dr. Gaul

Dr. Gaul was a vile woman who was obsessed with the idea of control and the humanity's tendency towards evil.

She took the idea that Dean Highbottom came up with and made it official:

“He’s dead,” said Snow.

“But she isn’t,” Dean Highbottom shot back. “It was never meant to be anything more than theoretical. And who but the vilest monster would stage it? After the war, she pulled my proposal out, and me with it, introducing me to Panem as the architect of the Hunger Games. That night, I tried morphling for the first time. I thought the thing would die out, it was so ghastly. It didn’t. Dr. Gaul took it and ran, and she has dragged me along with it for the last ten years.”

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Sorry I'm a bit late to this, but your question was actually answered recently in the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes if you haven't read it! Spoiler warning for that below as I'm going to explain how the Hunger Games were created.

The Hunger Games were an idea thought up by Casca Highbottom, the Dean of Snow's school at the time of the 10th hunger games. This idea was mentioned by Highbottom to Crassus Snow, who tricked the other man into telling him all about his idea by telling him it would just be a private joke, and then gave it to Dr Gaul, the first Head Gamemaker, who then developed the idea and credited Casca for coming up with it. They then named it the Hunger Games because towards the end of the First Rebellion, the Capitol blocked off food supplying districts, causing many people in others to resort to cannibalism, eating berries and plants which had the chance of being poisonous, or dying from starvation.

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  • No worries about being late, that doesn't matter here. Great find! Could you edit in some of the quotes from the book if they are short enough though?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Aug 12, 2020 at 15:58
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Snow’s father and Casca Highbottom, Highbottom created is as a joke and was drunk when he made it, SnowMs father needed a grade for the academy so submitted it. After the first rebellion the first game maker repurposed the idea and they began organizing it

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F! Can you cite any sources for this? Please read How to Answer; a good answer should provide supporting evidence from original sources. How do we know he was drunk? Why did the Academy exist before the Hunger Games were created?
    – DavidW
    May 20, 2020 at 21:55
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    @DavidW Apparently this is information from a Hunger Games prequel published virtually on May 19, 2020. While the answer needs work, I just wanna point that out for reference so this isn't considered some kind of fanon until the OP can adjust their answer: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ballad_of_Songbirds_and_Snakes May 21, 2020 at 2:31
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The Hunger Games was created as a retribution to Districts 1-12 for their failed uprising (the first rebellion). Following the defeat of the First Rebellion, the Capitol instituted the annual Hunger Games, drafting one male and one female tribute from each district between the ages of 12-18 to fight to death in the arena, with one victor (prior to Katniss and Peeta's duo victory in the 74th). The Hunger Games was created by whoever was in charge during the Dark Days, and following the defeat of the First Rebellion and the signing of the Treaty of Treason. President Snow is said to be in his mid-70s according to the Hunger Games Wikia, so he was probably NOT the creator of the Hunger Games. The mastermind of the HG's was whoever was governing Panem following the downfall of the First Rebellion which led to the founding of the Hunger Games.

It doesn't matter, really, whoever invented the Hunger Games. They were probably long deceased by the time the Trilogy began, and all that matters is that the Capitol chose to continue having them, and continue oppressing the Districts.

As Royal Canadian Bandit said "From the perspective of Katniss and the other characters in the books, the identities of the original creators no longer matter. The important thing is that the Capitol has chosen to continue what they started."

So true.

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