With the on-screen adaptation of the prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, being eagerly anticipated by fans, Suzanne Collins has once again proved the ongoing popularity and pop-cultural significance of her hit series, The Hunger Games. While the original series is remembered namely for its empowering protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, there was another District 12 tribute that also won the hearts of fans: Peeta Mellark.
Peeta’s cunning strategies, soft heart, and tragic fate were some of the best factors contributing to his character development, proving that he had many more layers to him than just being another tribute fighting in the Games. From his charm to his bread-making skills, fans have created countless memes that celebrate the great character.
10/10 He’s Even Tougher In The Books
Peeta Mellark goes through a lot in The Hunger Games. From being pitted against his crush in a fight to the death, to being kidnaped and tortured by the Capitol in Mockingjay, Peeta gets put through the wringer on countless occasions throughout the series.
While he doesn’t always come out unscathed, Peeta always shows immense strength and strong will even in the direst of circumstances. Although this resilient side of him is shown in the films, it’s even more prominently shown in the books, as depicted by @katnisseverlxrk.
9/10 His Self-Sacrificing Nature
Peeta has many varying strengths and weaknesses, and his self-sacrificing nature fits both categories; on one hand, his tendency to put his loved ones over himself can be seen as a weakness that gets him in terrible situations, but it is also generally seen as his most admirable and heartbreaking quality, as shown by @peetaspantry.
His open, sincere, and selfless personality largely defines who Peeta is and what makes him such a cherished and popular character from the series.
8/10 His Resourceful (And Painting Skills)
This meme posted by Redditor yzxba not only hilariously recalls when Peeta camouflaged himself in the series’ first installment but also reminds audiences and readers of the brilliance behind this move.
Using his experience as a baker, Peeta was able to channel skills like his attention to detail and craftiness into survival as he effectively hid from the rest of the tributes. Peeta demonstrates his resourcefulness a few times throughout the series, whether it be through hands-on maneuvers or using his charming words to get sponsors.
7/10 The Fan-Favourite
Peeta Mellark won many hearts throughout the series, an easy feat given how well his character was written in the books and portrayed by Josh Hutcherson on-screen.
He was admired not only for the lengths he was willing to go for Katniss and her safety but also for his overall golden-retriever energy and multifaceted talents and skills. His kind yet courageous and determined demeanor gave many reasons for fans to support him, as highlighted by @TheHungerGames.
6/10 When He (Rightly) Causes Drama
Each main character in The Hunger Games makes a worst decision, but Peeta using his feelings and platform to continuously garner more favor for him and Katniss is definitely not one of them.
Although he is known for telling some lies to the cameras (such as his ingenious pregnancy announcement in Catching Fire), his intentions to stir up drama are always pure, especially in the first installment when he confesses his feelings to Katniss on camera for both their sakes. Unfortunately, Katniss usually does not approve of his theatrics, as shared by Redditor hellotheredani.
5/10 His Feelings For Katniss
Peeta is shown to have genuinely cared for Katniss before his live announcement, and he proves his affection for her time and again throughout the series, whether it be by insisting she win their Games or suffering at the hands of the Capitol because of his love for her.
4/10 Peeta The Baker
One of Peeta’s trademark qualities that fans remember him for is his existence as a baker. Not only was Peeta’s family business an important component of his history with Katniss before the Games, but it was also a large part of his identity before he became a tribute.
His baking skills helped him hide in the first installment, and – although not too relevant later on in the series – him being a baker has been turned into a defining factor of his within the fandom, as hilariously shown in this meme by Redditor sharkio5.
3/10 The King Of Tragic Romance
While Peeta has some of the most memorable quotes from the Hunger Games movies, his conversations with Katniss after returning to her in Mockingjay are the most heartbreaking, as shown by @spideysanya.
Despite being brainwashed to fervently hate Katniss, a part of him is still tethered to her and encourages him to push past the pain and be reminded of what they had. Not only does Peeta show the depth of his emotional turmoil and trauma in this scene, but he also proves himself to be the king of tragic romance, at least within this series.
2/10 His Rivalry With Gale
Although they never quite became one of the best friends-to-lovers couples, there were plenty of fans that were rooting for Gale and Katniss, and the ongoing romantic tension between the two posed issues for Peeta and his arc.
While the love triangle was not the main point of the political and inspiring series, it became a notable point of discussion within the fandom, with fans being divided into Team Gale and Team Peeta. As such, a large part of Peeta’s character is defined by his differences with Gale, one of which is hilariously shown by @nerdy_funny.
1/10 Katniss’ Soft Spot
Katniss Everdeen is not shown to be the warmest of personalities, a trait that is even more true in the books than in her comparatively kinder on-screen portrayal by Jennifer Lawrence.
However, Peeta’s charm and sincerity win her over, and she develops a rare soft spot for him, as shown by @peetaspantry. His ability to break down Katniss’ walls and grow close to her speaks true volumes about his character and the value he brings to Katniss’ life as someone she can be open and loving with again.