Katniss Everdeen is the protagonist and narrator of the series. She is 16 years old at the beginning of the first book and is quiet, independent, and fierce. She has long dark hair, olive skin, and gray eyes, which are given as characteristic of residents of the coal mining region of District 12 known as “the Seam”. She is named for an aquatic plant with edible underwater tubers, and lives with her mother and younger sister, Primrose (nicknamed “Prim”). Her father’s death in a mining accident several years ago left her mother deeply depressed, forcing Katniss to become the mother figure and to use the hunting skills taught by her father to feed the family. Her favorite color is green, because of her familiarity with the forest. When Prim is “reaped” (chosen by lottery) as a “tribute” who must fight twenty-three other tributes to the death in the 74th annual Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She survives the game along with her co-tribute Peeta Mellark, who is in love with her. When the Gamemakers renege on a promise to let two surviving tributes from the same district live, she defies and embarrasses the government by threatening a double suicide with Peeta, becoming the personal enemy of Panem’s leader, President Snow.
In the second installment Catching Fire, she is forced to fight in the next year’s Hunger Games, an especially brutal edition known as the Quarter Quell which occurs every 25 years. She destroys the force field containing the Games arena, and is rescued along with a few surviving tributes by members of an underground rebellion organized by the supposedly destroyed District 13.
In the third installment, she becomes the Mockingjay, an inspirational symbol of a second civil war against the Capitol. Despite the intent of her limited role as a propagandist, she is drawn into combat by her obsession to kill Snow. As the war progresses, she comes to realize the rebel leader, President Alma Coin, is no less ruthless and power-driven than Snow. Katniss learns that Coin considers her expendable, staged a supposed Capitol atrocity which kills Prim, and after the war, calls for a final Hunger Games using the children of the Capitol war criminals. When finally given the chance to execute Snow, Katniss kills Coin instead. She is deemed not mentally responsible and returns to District 12, suffering trauma and suicidal depression. Peeta’s return draws her out of the depression, and she finally realizes she is in love with him. She marries him, but it is fifteen years until she is ready to have children.