Prim is Katniss’s 12-year-old younger sister. She is originally chosen as tribute for the Hunger Games, but Katniss volunteers in her place. Prim is a sweet, soft-spoken girl who carries a deep love for her sister and family. She has no inclination toward violence and has an affection for animals. Katniss mentions that Prim is no huntress, explaining that “whenever I shot something, she’d get teary and talk about how we might be able to heal it if we got it home soon enough.” Prim’s strength is her nurturing nature – she puts her energy toward caring for the family goat, which provides milk. Her warmhearted personality is further exemplified through Buttercup, the ugly stray cat that Prim brought home and begged Katniss not to kill. Buttercup guards Prim while she sleeps, signifying that Prim is someone who requires and deserves protection, whether from her cat or her older sister. Katniss even mentions that Prim is a beloved person throughout District 12, someone who “no one can help loving.”

In the first book of the Hunger Games series, Prim’s character is less of a fleshed-out person than she is a symbol of innocence. To imagine Prim – or Rue, who bears many similarities to the younger Everdeen sister – fighting to the death in a violent televised tournament is horrifying and exposes the inhumanity of the society featured in The Hunger Games. Prim also represents what is left in Panem to fight for – she is goodness and love manifest. The need to protect Prim is the catalyst that commences Katniss’s fateful course through the Hunger Games and the revolution of later books.