Here’s why the next heroine of The Hunger Games series – Lucy Gray – will be completely different to Katniss Everdeen. Jennifer Lawrence’s iconic character may have led the franchise to date, but with a new Hunger Games prequel on the way, a different kind of victor will be put in the spotlight — bohemian Lucy Gray. Like Katniss, Lucy Gray was chosen as the female tribute from District 12 and forced to participate in the Hunger Games by the Capitol, but that’s where their similarities end. Where Katniss is a deadly survivalist, Lucy Gray is a delicate performer who wins the games by taking advantage of the sympathies of Capitol citizens.
In her Games – and the Hunger Games movies – takes a more aggressive role in the arena, killing tributes with her bow and arrows. She doesn’t receive as many sponsor gifts but does use her marksmanship skill to blow up food and sabotage other tributes. While both Katniss and Lucy Gray come from District 12, there are a number of differences between them in personality, training and how they approach the Hunger Games.
Lucy Gray Was Born To Perform (Within The System)
Unlike Katniss, who spends most of her time in the Hunger Games trying to avoid the spotlight, Lucy Gray is a natural showman who takes advantage of her charisma and singing talent to win over Capitol audiences. It’s an unusual strategy for Lucy Gray to take, particularly given the barbarity of the early Hunger Games. In the 10th annual games, rather than being taken to the Capitol by passenger train, the tributes are chained and caged in a cargo train. Before entering the arena, Lucy Gray and the other tributes are kept in the monkey cage at the zoo and not given any food or water. Most of the Hunger Games tributes are children of rebels and are wary of accepting help from mentors when they don’t outright attack them. Many tributes refuse to participate in the pre-Games rituals that later become standard, such as the tribute interviews.
In comparison, Lucy Gray is an open book, introducing herself to Capitol citizens, singing deeply emotional songs about her life and history, and trying to persuade people she’s someone worth caring about. In a way, Lucy Gray lays the foundation for the veneer of civility that takes over future Hunger Games — the lies and pretenses Katniss rebels so hard against. Like the early tributes, Katniss is a generally shy and suspicious person who guards her secrets from the Capitol at all costs. She has no patience for persuading Capitol citizens to like her and is resistant to any discussion of strategy with her mentor Haymitch (Woody Harrelson). While Lucy Gray wins by taking advantage of the system, Katniss wins in spite of the system, refusing to perform for the entertainment of the Capitol.
Lucy Didn’t Pick A Side (But Katniss Had To)
Throughout the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss is torn between her instinct to survive and her impulse to openly defy the Capitol. Unlike Lucy Gray, Katniss was not born into a rebellion and for her, the war is distant history. When reaped, Katniss’ initial plan is to survive at any cost, keeping her head down and playing along with the Capitol rules. But when she arrives in the Capitol, Katniss struggles to willingly submit to the tortures of the games. Throughout the first and second books, Katniss strives to maintain a balancing act between obedience and rebellion. Although she is ultimately pulled into the rebellion and decides to help, she always considers living under Capitol rule a viable option.
Lucy Gray, on the other hand, never had a choice. For her, the rebellion is a fresh horror to which she lost family members. Her livelihood and way of life are threatened and oppressed by Capitol laws. Lucy Gray remembers freedoms that she no longer has — the ability to travel through districts, sing without being censored, and use performance as a way to earn a living. When presented with the option to flee District 12 and Capitol rule, Lucy Gray doesn’t hesitate for a second. For her, the only option is to rebel.
Lucy’s Training Is Completely Different
One advantage Katniss has that Lucy Gray doesn’t is her Hunger Games training — her skill with a bow and arrow, familiarity with traps and snares, and ability to hunt. Lucy Gray is familiar with the woods outside District 12, making friends with snakes and birds, but her ease in nature doesn’t compare to Katniss’ expertise. In some ways, Katniss has been training for the Hunger Games her entire life, learning how to hunt and kill, how to find food and to live off only a little. Until Lucy Gray is reaped, most of her life is focused on the art of performance. She has some District 12 advantages, but her real power lies in her ability to entertain and connect with people.
Lucy Doesn’t Consider District 12 Her Home
Although both Katniss and Lucy Gray are reaped from District 12 for the Hunger Games, Lucy Gray doesn’t have the same roots there that Katniss does. Lucy Gray is a wandering gypsy-type character who doesn’t really settle anywhere. In The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, it’s revealed that she and her family were just passing through District 12 when the war shut down borders. Unlike Katniss, who is beloved by District 12 residents, Lucy Gray is considered an outsider and distrusted by many. Her immigrant status gives Lucy Gray an advantage in the games, with Snow selling her to people as a long-lost Capitol citizen instead of a district-member.
Meanwhile, Katniss’ family history is rooted in District 12 going back generations and her family is well-known, her father having died in a mining accident. Katniss underestimates her own importance, but her hunting and trading at the Hob have made her a familiar face to many in the community. When Katniss is reaped at the start of the Hunger Games series, the District 12 residents close ranks, supporting her, protecting her and rooting for her.