In Catching Fire, the second book of The Hunger Games series, the 75th Hunger Games take place. There's a few events leading up to them that make me wonder if the rules of the 75th game were known in advance.

Plutarch Heavensbee, the new game master of the Hunger Games, shows off a watch to Katniss, and later, it's revealed that the watch was a hint about how the arena in the 75th games worked. The 75th Hunger games saw Katniss being sent back to fight again in the arena. Did Plutarch know that Katniss was going to be participating again, which is why he showed her the watch? If he didn't, why did he show her the watch with the clue to the games? Katniss wouldn't have been able to communicate any information to anyone in the arena otherwise.

  • 4
    They're not really "rules" so much as properties of the arena.
    – Nick T
    Mar 19, 2012 at 2:54

4 Answers 4


First, he is the Head Gamemaster, so it's reasonable to think he'd know how it's going to work.

Second, even if the Plutarch didn't know how it was going to work, Katniss would've had an opportunity to communicate with whoever was in the arena. As a successful previous tribute she would've been able to mentor the new one. As Plutarch says when they part, "I'll see you next summer at the Games, Katniss." Although that's a clear foreshadow of the Quarter Quell's special rule she doesn't find anything odd about it at the time, because of course previous victors will be at the next Games - especially such famous victors, and especially given that the alternative is Haymitch.

Third, on the same page he shows the watch, he says "the, shall we say, flavor of the Games is being determined now. Believe it or not, I've got a strategy meeting tonight." As the Head Gamemaster even if he didn't know definitely what the Games would be, he is the one ultimately responsible for the rules - and based on his parting line and future actions, he has an agenda to get her back.

  • Good answer, but as far as I know, mentors can't communicate directly to anyone in the arena.
    – thedaian
    Jan 19, 2012 at 19:07
  • 3
    No, but they can give advice beforehand, and he was telling her what the core trick of the arena was.
    – user1030
    Jan 19, 2012 at 23:28
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    In the third book he says he didn't know Katniss was going back in the arena...
    – RobinJ
    May 21, 2012 at 14:31

Plutarch stated that he did not know how it was going to work, at the end of the second book. He stated at the same time he showed her hoping she would be able to help whoever the District 12 tributes were.

He pulls out his pocket watch and runs his thumb across the crystal, lighting up the mockingjay. "Of course, when I showed you this, I was merely tipping you off about the arena. As a mentor. I thought it might be a first step toward gaining your trust. I never dreamed you'd be a tribute again."
-The Hunger Games, Part Two: Catching Fire, Chapter 21.

Secondly, the announcement as to what was happening seemed to be done by Snow. It seems likely that President Snow was the only one who knew what the special rule would be for the Quarter Quell. There is considerable speculation, given all of this, that President Snow actually wrote the rule that recalled former tributes, it was certainly convenient enough.

  • 7
    I always thought that not only did Snow know what the card said before it was actually read, he actually wrote it there himself. I'm of the opinion that the box of Quell cards/evnvelopes is just for show, and the President of the day secretly creates a rule for the Reaping of tributes for the Quell. Snow needed to get rid of Katniss, or else expose her as a fake regarding Peeta, thus turning public opinion away from her.
    – KeithS
    Mar 30, 2012 at 21:17
  • This is the more correct answer.
    – Möoz
    Aug 1, 2014 at 5:44

The Hunger Games began when District 13 decided to start a rebellion, and during the Rebellion was called "the Dark Days." At the end of the rebellion, the President created the Games to show the consequences of trying to stop the Capitol. It had also been decided that every 25 years (a quarter of a century) there would be a new rule to the Games for what is called the Quarter Quell.

Each Quarter Quell includes a new twist to the rules, supposedly prescribed at the end of the Dark Days when the Hunger Games were first created. The rule changes serve as a reminder of some aspect of the rebellion. Officially, whoever came up with new rules assumed the Hunger Games would go on for centuries and wrote rule changes for many Quarter Quells. It is hypothesized in the series that the rules are made up at the time to serve the Capitol's purposes; no one outside the government really knows. The President selects the year number from a box of envelopes and announces the rule change live on television. Wikipedia

You can infer that the rules were written by the President, which would be why President Snow seemed smug while reading the twist for the third Quell.


I'm pretty sure that the Quarter Quell plot twists were written by the Capitol just after the Dark Days- therefore cancelling any chance of Plutarch knowing what was going to happen.

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