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|The Hunger Games character|
|First appearance||The Hunger Games|
|Created by||Suzanne Collins|
|Portrayed by||Josh Hutcherson|
|Nickname(s)||The Boy with the Bread
Lover Boy (by the Career Pack)
The Boy (by Haymitch)
|Title||Victor of the 74th Hunger Games
(with Katniss Everdeen)
Tribute from District 12
(with Katniss Everdeen)
Two unnamed brothers (both deceased)
Peeta Mellark is a fictional character and one of the protagonists of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. He is the male tribute from District 12, picked alongside Primrose Everdeen (whose spot is subsequently taken by her sister, Katniss Everdeen) to participate in the 74th annual Hunger Games. In the second book of The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire, Peeta volunteers to be a tribute in the 75th Hunger Games.
Character background 
Peeta is a baker's son, which is believed to make him wealthier and better fed than most people in District 12, but it is revealed that actually all the food he eats is stale (which Katniss believes is much more "depressing"). He has two older brothers and two parents, all of whom disappear in the fire bombing of District 12 by the Capitol after a rebellious act during the Quarter Quell and are assumed to be dead. Peeta attended school in the same class as Katniss Everdeen before he was chosen as a tribute. When Peeta is selected as a tribute for the Hunger Games, Katniss recalls that he once saved her life by giving her two loaves of bread when she was eleven. At that time, Katniss and her little sister were starving because her father had recently died in a mine explosion, and her mother had become incapacitated by depression. Peeta deliberately burned two loaves of bread, causing his mother to beat him, so that the loaves would have to be discarded. He then gave them to Katniss, saving her life and giving her hope that she would be able to feed her family. Katniss never talked to Peeta until the Games because even though they went to the same school, Katniss usually kept to herself. She also felt uncomfortable about the debt she owed Peeta for his kindness, which she had never acknowledged to him.
The Hunger Games 
Peeta is introduced when he is chosen to be the male tribute for District 12 in the Games. When interviewed before the 74th Hunger Games, he confesses that he has secretly been in love with Katniss since he was 5, which she assumes is his strategy to gain popularity with sponsors watching the Hunger Games. It seems that view is justified when he teams up with the "Careers," a pack of tributes from the richer districts who actively hunt Katniss and the other tributes. He saves Katniss from a raging Cato, the male tribute from District 2, and suffers a serious leg wound inflicted by Cato's sword. Later, the Gamemakers announce a new rule: if the final two tributes are from the same district, they can both be crowned victors of the Games. Katniss then learns from Peeta that his alliance with the Careers was actually a strategy to protect her, knowing they would attack her first; he positioned himself to thwart their plans.
Katniss seeks out Peeta, who is injured and near death from blood poisoning. She cleans him up and takes him to safety, and realizes that if she pretends to be in love with him (as she believes he is pretending to be in love with her), she will gain viewers' sympathy and receive life-saving gifts from sponsors. Later Katniss risks her life to get medicine to cure Peeta's infection. Peeta did not want Katniss to go, but Katniss secretly gives him a sleeping syrup.
Finally, Katniss and Peeta are the last two alive, but instead of being crowned joint victors, the rule is revoked and there can be only one victor. Katniss readies to defend herself, but Peeta throws away his knife. Katniss then suggests they commit suicide by ingesting deadly nightlock berries. Remembering Peeta's earlier comment about showing the Capitol that they are "not just another piece in their games", but actual people, Katniss knows this will show up the Gamemakers and bets that the Gamemakers would rather have two victors than none. The ploy works, but the two learn later that President Snow finds it as an act of rebellion against the Capitol. After their last interview Peeta had come to find out that all through the Games, Katniss had staged her love for him thinking he was doing the same to her to get sympathy from the viewers giving them more sponsors. Peeta is heartbroken and Katniss has trouble trying to comprehend her feelings for him getting more worried about them going their separate ways.
Catching Fire 
Peeta and Katniss embark on the Victory Tour, an event strategically timed in-between each Hunger Games, where the victors visit the other 11 districts as a reminder about the Games and for the Capitol to reinforce its power over the Districts. Peeta and Katniss have barely interacted since the Games; Peeta is disappointed with Katniss for faking affection for him and Katniss is confused about her feelings and is uncomfortable to be with him because of her close friendship with Gale Hawthorne, who also has strong feelings for her. During the victory tour Peeta apologizes for his behavior and jokes that both would be willing to die for each other, but don't know each other's favorite color. Before the Victory Tour, President Snow visits Katniss and tells her he is aware that she was faking the affection towards Peeta, and that her actions in the arena have sparked a rebellion - one that can only be averted if she presents her and Peeta’s attempt at joined suicide in the arena as an act of love-crazed teenagers rather than as defiance.
Katniss and Peeta think they are going to become mentors for the Quarter Quell, a special Hunger Games that occurs every 25 years and comes with a change in rules, usually to make them more gruesome than the normal Games. The new twist for the 75th Games is that the tributes will be chosen from living victors. District 12 has only 3 living victors: Katniss, Peeta, and Haymitch Abernathy. Haymitch is their constantly drunken mentor who won the 50th Hunger Games (the second Quarter Quell). It's clear Katniss will be the girl tribute, as she is the only living female District 12 victor. Peeta makes Haymitch promise to work to save Katniss, not him. He also vows that if Haymitch is chosen, he will volunteer in his place. Katniss makes Haymitch promise that if Peeta is the male tribute, she and Haymitch will work together to keep Peeta alive, even at the expense of Katniss's life. It is a torn alliance for Haymitch. When Haymitch is drawn as the male tribute, Peeta automatically volunteers to take his place. Many of the other returning tributes are friends with each other, but Katniss and Peeta have a disadvantage. They have met none of them, as they are the newest victors. Peeta hopes to play on their sympathies to gain protection from others in the arena, and support from sponsors for Katniss. To this end he lies to everybody on national television, saying Katniss and he had secretly got married before the Quell was announced, and that Katniss is pregnant. This shocks both Katniss and the whole of Panem.
During the Quell, Peeta comes in contact with a force field and his heart stops. Katniss and Peeta’s efficient ally, Finnick Odair, succeeds in reviving him with CPR. Finnick Odair is the District Four male victor tribute and a stunningly good-looking young man. The three soon band together with a few other tributes: Mags from District 4, Beetee and Wiress from District 3, and Johanna Mason from District 7. Eventually, they find out that the arena is shaped like a clock, with 12 sections, and each section is triggered at the same times each day. Different hours indicated different tortures such as, blood rain, acid fog, lightning storms, killer monkeys, big waves, and so on. As they formulate a plan to kill the remaining tributes, Wiress is killed and Katniss is attacked by Johanna. However, Katniss is completely unaware that Johanna is just following through with a rebellious plan. Once Katniss regains consciousness she realizes that Beetee had designed a way to destroy the force field surrounding the arena. She triggers it and destroys the field, setting off a chain of events. A rebel-controlled hovercraft arrives and rescues Katniss, Finnick, and Beetee. However, Peeta, Johanna and Enobaria have been captured by the Capitol. Finnick, Beetee, Haymitch, Johanna and a few other tributes were part of a plan to safely retrieve Katniss and Peeta from the arena with hopes that they would take on roles to start a revolution against the Capitol.
Peeta is captured by the Capitol and is tortured physically, emotionally, and mentally. His feelings and memories are distorted with hallucinogenic tracker jacker venom, a mind-control technique. The Capitol uses this method to turn Peeta against Katniss, making him believe that she is not only responsible for the death of his family, friends and the destruction of District 12, but also that she tried to kill him numerous times and that she is not even human, but rather an evil "mutt". This leads him to try and strangle Katniss when he is reunited with her in District 13. While imprisoned by the Capitol, he witnessed the torture and murder of Avoxes Darius and Lavinia. The doctors of District 13 try to undo his hijacking, but the process is slow and turns his terror into confusion, where he is unable to differentiate what is real and what is not, especially when it came to his relationship with Katniss.
When the rest of the victors journey to the Capitol to fight, Peeta is initially kept behind because he is considered too unstable to be sent into combat. However, President Coin then changes her mind and sends him not only into combat, but assigns him to Katniss's squadron named "Squad 451". Katniss theorizes that Coin has sent Peeta to remove her as an obstacle to her future as President. Despite the fact that the members of the squadron do not trust him, they help with his recovery by creating a game called "Real or Not Real" in which Peeta will ask them about something he believes is true, and the members will tell him if they are real or a hijacked memory. The squadron eventually comes to the conclusion that President Coin had deliberately sent Peeta to Katniss' squad in hopes he will go mad and kill her because Coin sees Katniss as a political rival, and unfortunately during a surprise attack of "pods"(deadly surprises such as flesh-melting light and mines triggered by people passing by), Peeta actually does lose his sanity temporarily in the midst of the chaos and tries to kill Katniss again but Katniss rolls out of the way of his gun descending to crush her skull. He becomes responsible at least in part for the death of one of their team members, who he accidentally throws into a barbed-wire net pod during the attack. The squadron repeatedly debate whether or not they should kill Peeta, and even Peeta himself asks to be killed to stop endangering them, but Katniss cannot bring herself to do it, She refuses and kisses him for a long period of time and it seems to make him stable, proving that Katniss really does love him. Katniss says "Stay with me." To which he replies "Always", which was his response to Katniss' plead for him to say in her room until she fell asleep in Catching Fire.
Realizing he cannot convince anyone to kill him or leave him to die, Peeta insists on remaining cuffed instead since the pain in his wrists helps him stay focused in reality instead of succumbing to madness. Further on in the Capitol, when the team is escaping from an army of "mutts" (animals genetically engineered by the Capitol), the nightmares in Peeta's mind become so intense that he is on the brink of losing his sanity, but Katniss manages to reach him. After the rebels win the war, Katniss is driven to depression and mental instability due to the death of her sister, Prim.
In the epilogue, Katniss and Peeta marry and have two children together. It is implied by Katniss that Peeta wanted to have children first and took around 15 years to persuade Katniss to start a family.
Peeta is 16 in the The Hunger Games and has bright blue eyes and blond hair. Katniss describes him as having a "stocky build and medium height with bright blue eyes and ashy blonde hair that falls in waves over his forehead". He had the lower part of his left leg amputated after the 74th Hunger Games because a mutt almost bit off his leg during the Games. Katniss tied a tourniquet around the leg so he didn't bleed to death, but he removed the tourniquet to end his own life to save Katniss. After he left the arena, he was immediately treated with medical care. He lost his leg and received a prosthetic limb, however shortly thereafter he began walking normally.
Peeta's main talents are baking, painting and camouflage. He is also very strong. His artistic talents developed from helping out at his parents' bakery by decorating the beautiful cakes that Katniss and Prim sometimes looked at in their bakery's window. His larger build and strength also give him an advantage during hand-to-hand combat and wrestling. In the Games, he usually carries a knife, although he rarely uses weapons in battle as he is not as violent as most tributes are. Peeta has a great amount of strength from working at the bakery, first mentioned by Katniss; Katniss says she's seen him lift bags of flour over 100 pounds "right over his head ". In Catching Fire Peeta reveals his artistic skills, first painting pictures of the Games, then painting a picture of Rue (district 11 tribute in the 74th Hunger Games) during his private training session, in order to "hold them responsible, just for one moment, for killing that little girl." Peeta has a talent for speaking to crowds for he can always pick the right words to say to win them over. Katniss mentions that Peeta is "able to turn his pain into words that will change people". Another ability that Katniss admires is how much of a convincing liar he is, used both in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire to cover for her. He can also decorate pastries with skill. Peeta decorates a beautiful wedding cake for Finnick Odair and Annie Cresta's (both victors of the Hunger Games) big wedding in District 13, which, at the same time, served as a therapy for him when he temporarily lost his sanity in Mockingjay after being hijacked by the Capitol .
Peeta is a baker's son. He lives with his parents and two older brothers in the family bakery. He seems to be close to his father but less so with his mother, who beat him and his brothers. His relationships with his older siblings is unknown, but when he was chosen in the reaping, his brothers didn't volunteer for him. His family died during the bombing of District 12. Later, as revealed in the epilogue of Mockingjay, he married Katniss and they eventually had two children, a boy with blonde curls and grey eyes and a girl with black hair and blue eyes.
Critical reception 
Entertainment Weekly said that Peeta, as well as Gale Hawthorne, were "thinly imagined". MTV listed five reasons why Peeta is "badass", and that "Peeta gives her [Katniss] a run for her money in the coolness category".
On March 23, 2011, Lionsgate began casting the role of Peeta for the upcoming film of The Hunger Games. According to The Hollywood Reporter, contenders for the role included Josh Hutcherson, Alexander Ludwig (later cast as Cato), Hunter Parrish, Lucas Till, and Evan Peters. On April 4, 2011, Lionsgate announced that Hutcherson would play the role.
- "Who Will You Support?". Scholastic. Retrieved May 17, 2010.
- "Catching Fire Summary".
- Collins, Suzanne (2008). The Hunger Games. The Hunger Games trilogy. Scholastic. ISBN 0-439-02348-3.
- Reese, Jennifer (28 August 2009). "Catching Fire". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 28 August 2010.
- Schwartz, Terri. "'Hunger Games': Why Peeta Mellark Is A Badass". MTV. Retrieved May 2012.
- Ayres, Tom (26 March 2011). "Liam Hemsworth 'audtions for Hunger Games'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- Kit, Borys (25 March 2011). "Lionsgate Testing Actors to Star in 'Hunger Games' Opposite Jennifer Lawrence (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 March 2011.
- Sperling, Nicole (April 4, 2011). "'The Hunger Games': Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth complete the love triangle". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
- Peeta Mellark on IMDb