Understanding a Hunger Games Victor
THIS CAN ALSO BE USED FOR SURVIVORS OF WAR, TRAUMA, ETC.
It’s pretty obvious that I have some hardcore feelings about The Hunger Games and that I am incredibly disappointed by the quality of THG roleplaying. One of the biggest failures, is the way in which victors are portrayed. These multi-layered individuals are a rich source for character development and complexities yet I constantly see them played as flat characters or as mockeries of PTSD.
I have compiled research to help you get into your character’s headspace and more accurately portray a THG victor. For more help, check my guide on Creating and Playing a Hunger Games Victor here (x).
A victor’s Hunger Games is going to be the most significant event in their life so you’re probably going to have to or want to write about in a past para or a flashback.
Make sure you know how your character would fight and try to develop their own style. Infusing their fighting with their personality will enliven them and create a more interesting fight which will be easier to write.
- How to Fight Write
- How to Write a Fight Scene
- Writing a Kick-Ass Fight Scene
- Action Scenes
Even if your character never killed, they probably saw others get killed so make sure you aren’t making any blatant errors. Again, figure out exactly how your character would have killed their competition.
There’s no way a tribute got out of the Games without at least one injury. Injuries can keep your character from going into a Mary Sue territory. Consider if they’d have any scars, if the Capitol medics would have let them keep them as they preferred their victors to be sparkling examples of perfection.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AFTERMATH
No one escapes the Games without any psychological damage. Think about it. They are the only one to survive out of 23 of their peers. Even if they didn’t kill, they saw death and had to run for their lives and/or fight to survive. Not to mention, President Snow has no problem killing off friends and family to keep a victor in line during or after their Games.
Remember, a lot of these would only have developed after their Games. Generally, a person with a psychological disorder would not have survived the Hunger Games.
First, make sure you’re in the right mindset when writing about mental disorders and psychological afflictions. Give them respect and do your best to portray them accurately. Tumblr, like the rest of the world, is filled with people who are actually have these disorders so you don’t want to perpetuate stereotypes about them or offend them. These should never be used just to create drama or just to make a character more interesting.
- Writing Mental Disorders
- Using Real Psychology in Your Writing
- 5 Steps to Writing a Character with X Disorder or X Disease
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Honestly, I think every single victor would be suffering from PTSD though the intensity of it will vary. Research this thoroughly.
In rare cases, a victor may react to the stress by becoming mute. Don’t just throw this in as it is a serious issue that can’t just be resolved in a week because your character falls in love.
Whether they were friends with their district partner or had their family killed, a victor most likely has had to deal with grief in their life.
Some characters could be depressed to the point of self-harm or even suicide. I rarely see this played out even though it is true to the experience of the victors.
Here are some other psychological disorders which could be brought to light or amplified by the trauma of the Hunger Games. Note the biological aspect of each.
TYPES OF VICTORS
Though the change may not be drastic, many victors come out of their Games as different people. The horrific experience is one they have to live with every day and they have to figure out how to survive with the memories.
The Emotionally Repressed
These are the victors that are unable to handle the surge of emotions they felt after they won. They may cut themselves off from others or be overly charismatic and witty to hide their true sorrow. Either way, they never actually deal with their feelings.
- Indifferent, Distant Characters
- Writing an Emotionally Detached Character
- Witty Characters
- Apathetic Characters
Whether they feel guilty or don’t know how to react to winning, these victors are defensive about their positions in life. They know they’re the best, but they can’t figure out why they don’t feel like they are. If you ask them about what it felt like to kill they’ll either punch you in the face or go off on a disturbing rant about how they love being in control of another’s life.
They probably were never meant to win the Games, but somehow they did and they live with regret each day. Maybe they were vicious killers, but they see their kills in the faces of every child they see. They can’t cope with what they’ve done and what they’ve seen.
These victors are more than ashamed, they are actively convinced that their lives will never be good. Sure, they escaped the Games, but who knows when they’ll have to fight for their lives again. They have intense fears that inhibit their everyday lives.
The “True” Victors
The Capital’s favorites, these victors wish they could go back to their glory days. They had a great time in the Games (though maybe their enthusiasm is overcompensating for guilt) and would go back in a heartbeat. Still, this doesn’t mean they feel that they owe President Snow anything.
HOW “BAD” ARE THEY
All of the victors are described to be angry with the Capital for forcing them to go through the Games and be their prized possessions in the books. However, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t enjoy killing. Figure out their moral alignment to get a better idea of who your character is and then dive into if they are truly a bad guy.
PLEASE NOTE THAT A CAREER IS NOT NECESSARILY A “BAD” PERSON. They were simply raised to win the Hunger Games. That means nothing as to if they truly find pleasure in killing or are a psychopath. I believe that very few characters would actually fit this section.
Don’t forgo character development just because your character enjoyed a good kill!
Sociopaths & Psychopaths
A small number of victors could possibly considered sociopaths or psychopaths.
Burdened by their Games, victors aren’t able to just return to society as though nothing has happened. Some turn to drugs and alcohol to cope while others are forced into prostitution.
While alcohol is generally expensive, being a victor does has its advantages and some use alcohol as a way of dealing with the past.
In a few cases, the pretty and popular victors were forced into sleeping with Capital citizens by President Snow. He threaten, and would, kill everyone they cared about if they didn’t comply so no one disobeyed. Make sure you understands the effects of this if you choose to have your character go through this.
Though we don’t know exactly what it is, some victors used the drug morphling. In fact, all the canons victors in District 6 where the drug is manufactured were addicted to it. Here are some resources to figure out what would be happening to your character because of their addiction.
Here are some other resources that can help with understand and portray your character.
Body language is going to be key for a lot of victors as most are used to putting on a show. They can’t let the Capitol know how they truly feel while they’re mentors and they don’t want to be seen as sob stories by the citizens. Letting their true feelings show through body language can be a great tactic. Or, maybe they’re always conscious of how they look so that they can better keep up the facade.
Here are some resources on playing a character from a fandom and/or a canon character to help you out with the general stuff.
If you have a link that may be helpful or extra insight, message me so I can add it. I am also available for questions about the Hunger Games or roleplaying in general.