The Hunger Games movies cut a significant character from the books who, though he wasn't named, carried important themes from Katniss' story into the prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snake. Though Katniss and her immediate family aren't characters in the prequel, which is receiving a film adaptation on November 17, 2023, the story draws connections with their life in District 12. However, with a member of Katniss' family left out of the Hunger Games movies, these connections might be lost to movie audiences.
When Katniss was introduced in the Hunger Games books, her entire being was dedicated to nothing but survival. She had no time for music, rebellion, or even much empathy. After her father passed away, Katniss and her bow were responsible for taking care of her family, although she was only 11 years old. Still, this hadn't always been the case. When Mr. Everdeen was alive, they would sing songs whose lyrics were filled with the spirit of rebellion. Unfortunately, the Hunger Games movies never discussed these moments since Katniss' father was barely featured.
Katniss’ Father Was Way More Important In The Hunger Games Books
Katniss' father was shown briefly in the Hunger Games movies being lowered into a mine. The subsequent explosion revealed to audiences that he had died while doing the dangerous labor expected of District 12 residents, but that was the end of his involvement in Katniss' story. He was never mentioned again, and as far as anyone could tell, Katniss hardly thought about him. However, in the Hunger Games books, Katniss' memories of her father - and the increased frequency in which she thought about him - revealed a lot about her character.
Early in the Hunger Games books, Katniss tried not to think about her dad. Her inner dialogue explained to readers that he had taught her how to hunt and identify edible plants (and that she should avoid things like Nightlock berries). She also briefly considered how he had taught her to sing, but she had grown to consider this a useless skill. However, once she was in the Hunger Games and sang one of her father's songs to Rue as she died - she began to think of his songs differently.
Going into Catching Fire and Mockingjay, Katniss began to recognize that the songs her father sang and his determination to hunt and forage, so he could care for his family, despite the legality, was a sign of his rebelliousness. He taught his daughter songs like "The Hanging Tree," even though it was banned. This helped Katniss realize that she could no longer just survive. Her father had been a fighter, and she needed to be one too.
Why Wasn’t Katniss’ Father Ever Given A Name?
Even though Mr. Everdeen had been killed long before the start of The Hunger Games, his character had immense importance in the overall plot. Still, he was never given a first name. This has much to do with the fact that the Hunger Games books are written in the first person, with Katniss as the narrator. Therefore, she referred to her parents, as people often do, as "mother" and "father." Of course, Katniss' mom's name was revealed to be Carine Everdeen but, despite his importance, Mr. Everdeen remains nameless.
The fact that Katniss never named her father in The Hunger Games is symbolic when considering her mental state throughout the books. Katniss was a girl who had been raised under significant trauma, and this only got worse once she was reaped to murder children for her survival. The only way she could survive was by blocking out painful thoughts and memories, and for a long time, that included her father. He was a constant presence throughout the series but remained nameless to demonstrate his profound absence.
How The Ballad Of Songbirds & Snakes Is Affected By Katniss’ Changed Story
Though Mr. Everdeen added much to Katniss's story in the Hunger Games books, the movies survived without him. Something was lost regarding the heroin's character development, but sacrifices must be made with the limited time available in films. However, the release of the Ballad of Songbird and Snakes novel made his character even more important since several of Katniss' memories of her father were referenced in the prequel story.
Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes introduced readers to a group of District 12 citizens called the Covey, who were revealed to have excellent foraging skills and had been the ones to write the songs Mr. Everdeen had taught his daughter. Additionally, the Covey would sometimes sneak off to a hidden lake deep in the woods - a location that, in The Hunger Games, Katniss called her and her father's special place (because only they knew about it).
The implication is that the Covey are Katniss' ancestors since these secrets were likely passed from parent to child. However, since the Hunger Games movies skipped over Mr. Everdeen's finer details, it will be much more difficult for the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes film adaptation to make this connection. The Covey and Mr. Everdeen were the glue that held the prequel movie and The Hunger Games together - and the emotional impact might just be lost without this.
MORE: What Each Hunger Games District Is Known For, Explained