Does Katniss Truly Love Peeta By The End Of The Hunger Games?
Who does Katniss end up with at the end of The Hunger Games? Eventually, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark end up together, but it’s not entirely clear how she truly feels about him. Many have put Katniss and Peeta’s relationship into question and, notably, Katniss was caught in a love triangle throughout The Hunger Games saga.
Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) was presented with the choice between Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and her childhood friend, Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth). Though the movies emphasized the romantic dynamic between these three The Hunger Games characters more prominently than the novels by Suzanne Collins, the choices Katniss makes regarding her feelings for both young men reveal a lot about who she is and what she’s been through. Having Katniss end up with Josh Hutcherson’s Peeta, in the end, makes sense, considering their shared trauma, but their relationship overall is much more complex and layered than just this when it comes to considering if they truly loved one another.
Why Katniss Didn’t Choose Gale
Katniss ends up with Peeta and not Gale because the latter represented everything that Katniss was trying to get away from following her harrowing time in the Hunger Games arena. He wanted to march on the Capitol and take down the system. And while Katniss understood his resolve on some level, she also couldn’t bring herself to match it.
Everything Katniss had been through, which included the horror of being one of the winners of the Hunger Games and being forced into the spotlight – made her wary of a future with Gale. He represented the violence she wanted to leave behind, which became especially apparent when The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 insinuated that Katniss’ sister Primrose (Willow Shields) was inadvertently killed by a firebomb, a device and strategy of Gale’s design. Gale became everything that Katniss couldn’t handle anymore as she sought peace in which to mourn and move on from violence and revenge.
Katniss And Peeta Are Connected By Shared Trauma
As for who Katniss ends up with, Peeta understood how Katniss was feeling like few others could. Peeta had experienced the same trauma, which meant that Katniss could trust him with her feelings, and confide in him in a way she couldn’t with those who merely saw her as the Mockingjay, a symbol of rebellion. Their connection deepened as a result. If Katniss wanted to find a way to move on from the pain she’d had to endure, she knew she would have to be with someone like Peeta, who understood her complicated emotions and grief.
These feelings undoubtedly strengthened their bond, enough for Katniss and Peeta’s relationship to blossom and for them to build a life and family together. They love each other in their own way. There is something to be said for love that isn’t constantly romantic, a love that exists because you are with a person who understands you like no other. That is the kind of love that Katniss and Peeta share, one that builds slowly until it’s clear that there is no future for one without the other.
Why Katniss Does Love Peeta When The Hunger Games End
Does Katniss love Peeta? Katniss not only ends up with Peeta, she even confirms that she loves him in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 epilogue. “You love me: real or not real?” Peeta asks, and Katniss responds, “Real.” Up until that point, she’d had a difficult time expressing her feelings without being made to feel like they were unimportant in the grand scheme of an uprising. Katniss’ admission that she loves Peeta in the epilogue is therefore likely to be true. It is a moment of peace in which she can proclaim how she truly feels.
The Hunger Games movies had a hard task in adapting the books written from Katniss’ first-person point of view. Her inner feelings and conflicts were always laid bare for the reader, and this included her confusion over her feelings for Peeta and his role in her life. In the end, however, the Mockingjay book and the final The Hunger Games movie installment seem to agree about why Katniss ends up with Peeta (not Gale): Katniss and Peeta need each other.
Peeta And Katniss Aren’t A Traditional Happy Ever After
Indeed, Katniss and Peeta’s relationship in The Hunger Games is a complex love that was born from trauma, grief, mutual comfort, and understanding. That kind of love is solid and undeniable and can weave together with romantic love when they both want it and need it and feel it. It may not necessarily be romantic love always and forever, but the love between them will always be there, a lifeline for finding peace after everything they’ve been through.
Katniss and Peeta’s relationship might not be traditional, and it certainly has problematic elements, but it’s also – when it boils down to it – a pretty realistic and believable thread. What both Katniss and Peeta went through was messed up in a way that means there could easily be a TV-MA adaptation made that didn’t gloss over certain details the Hunger Games books and movies only allude to.
In fact, having a happily-ever-after type romance wouldn’t thematically fit the revolutionary tone of The Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark may not fit the romanticized idea of being soul mates, but they are undoubtedly kindred spirits. It makes sense for them to stick together after all they went through, as it’s almost like they’ve already spent their lives bound together, trying to protect each other right from the moment they committed to during their first games.
More: The Hunger Games Mockingjay – Part 2’s Main Differences From The Book