'The Hunger Games': a quick guide for the uninitiated

Wondering what the commotion over Suzanne Collins' 'Hunger Games' trilogy is all about? Here's a guide to help you catch up before the movie is released on March 23.

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3. Katniss Everdeen

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    Katniss (l., played by Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (r., portrayed by Liam Hemsworth)

    Murray Close/HONS/Lionsgate/AP
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The main character of "The Hunger Games" is Katniss, a 16-year-old resident of District 12, an area of the country which is responsible for mining coal for the country of Panem. After her father died in a mining accident when she was younger – a loss from which Katniss's mother never fully recovered – Katniss became the primary breadwinner for herself, her mother, and her sister Prim, a sweet 12-year-old girl who loves animals. In order to get her family food, Katniss became proficient with a bow and arrow, which she uses for hunting. She works with a fellow District 12 resident, 18-year-old Gale Hawthorne, to catch food illegally in the woods.

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