How Finnick Odair Won His Hunger Games

Summary

  • Finnick Odair was the youngest Hunger Games victor and utilized his charm, fighting skills, and alliances to secure his win.
  • Finnick’s reputation as a Capitol favorite and his love for Annie were overshadowed by his forced involvement in prostitution under President Snow’s control.
  • Finnick met a tragic end while fighting alongside Katniss and her allies, highlighting the dark and brutal nature of The Hunger Games franchise.


Portrayed by Sam Claflin, Finnick Odair was a force to be reckoned with in The Hunger Games films. The victor of the 65th Hunger Games was a valuable ally to both Katniss during her second run in the Games and to District 13 during the rebellion against The Capitol.

During the later entries in The Hunger Games, Finnick used his charm and fighting skills to win over allies and defeat his enemies. These qualities are what helped Finnick become a Hunger Games champion and a Capitol favorite, a reputation he would carry with him until he joined District 13. The seemingly bright future of Finnick Odair wasn’t all that it was made out to be, however. His newfound fame came at a price.

Updated by Timothy Blake Donohoo on December 12, 2023: The revitalized interest in the Hunger Games franchise has seen several readers and moviegoers look back on some of its darkest elements. These include the character Finnick Odair, who serves a particularly bleak purpose. Though set up to be as much of a hero as Katniss Everdeen, he met a dark fate that only furthered highlighted his tragic nature. This may have made him into one of the franchise’s most disturbing characters due to how he was used by The Capitol.


Finnick Odair Was the Youngest Hunger Games Victor

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Finnick Odair was reaped for the 65th Hunger Games at the age of 14. As a Career Tribute from District 4, he was already very well-trained and was favored to win by many in The Capitol. Thanks to his physical attributes and skills within the arena, Finnick was able to secure alliances, gather resources, and gain many sponsors, which helped him win the Games.

One of the greatest assets that Finnick Odair possessed was his trident, which Katniss described as one of the most expensive gifts ever given to a tribute. Since District 4 specialized in fishing, Finnick was naturally skilled with a trident. Combined with his expert knot-tying abilities, another trait unique to District 4, Finnick was able to trap his enemies in hand-woven nets made from vines before stabbing them with his trident. All of these attributes helped Finnick become the youngest victor in Hunger Games history.

After his win, Finnick became a mentor to other District 4 tributes and maintained a close relationship with The Capitol, where he would gain a reputation for having multiple sexual partners. Finnick became particularly close with two District 4 victors: 11th Hunger Games winner Mags Flanagan, who served as his mentor and fought alongside him in Catching Fire, and 70th Hunger Games winner Annie Cresta, whom Finnick mentored during her run and later fell in love with.

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Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2 Gave Finnick Some Bleak Developments

A close-up of Finnick Odair wearing a black military outfit in The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

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Despite falling in love with Annie, however, Finnick Odair still had a reputation for sleeping with many Capitol women. But all that changed during the events of Mockingjay when he revealed that his lifestyle was forced upon him by President Snow. After winning the games, Snow forced Finnick into prostitution and sold his body to Capitol residents to gain their trust. Finnick only agreed to take part because Snow threatened to torture his loved ones.

Even though he bedded several women throughout his time as a victor, Finnick’s love for Annie remained true. He would go on to fight alongside Katniss and her allies in order to save his love from The Capitol after she was captured and used as a weapon against him. After saving her, the couple finally married in District 13, but Finnick later died on the final mission to kill President Snow. This was a major moment in the rising action of The Hunger Games, though it was handled differently in the books and movies.

How the Death of Finnick Odair Was Handled in the Book Versus the Movie

How the Death of Finnick Odair Was Handled in the Book

Annie Cresta and Finnick Odair kiss in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

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The events that lead to the death of Finnick Odair begin when he sets out to help Katniss assassinate President Snow. Traveling through the tunnels of The Capitol of Panem, the group is attacked by a group of lizard-like “muttations.” These creatures are held off by Finnick, but his heroic act sadly ends in heartbreak for his allies. One of the mutts bites his head off, with Finnick’s Hunger Games victories beforehand doing little to prevent such a saddening and tragic death.

Katniss then ignites a series of bombs that clear the tunnels and kill off the remaining mutts. Despite being able to escape with their own lives, she and the others had lost a firm friend in the form of Finnick Odair. While this is certainly a sad fate for the young man, the way in which the movie adapted the material is actually somewhat darker.

How the Death of Finnick Odair Was Handled in the Movie

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The death of Finnick in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is changed a bit from the original Suzanne Collins novel. Here, Finnick comes in heroically to save the group from the muttations. After he seemingly deals with the immediate threat, he and the others begin climbing up a ladder to escape. Katniss tries to help him reach the top, but unfortunately, he’s pulled down and killed by his attackers. Finnick’s graphic death from the books isn’t utilized, but Katniss’s abject grief and anguish over the event are made even more clear.

If anything, Finnick’s being pulled down into the void of death is the perfect symbol of how dark The Hunger Games was. Even those who had seemingly survived the Reaping and the initial games were doomed in some other capacity. Finnick Odair showcased this perhaps more than anyone, despite his celebrity status upon winning the Games. This was due to the brutal circumstances forced on him at the behest of President Snow.

Finnick Odair Had the Darkest Hunger Games Storyline

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As mentioned, Finnick’s Hunger Games victory saw him become a veritable sex symbol, with many people in The Capitol having physical relations with the young man. In actuality, however, this wasn’t simply the lustful gallivanting of a lascivious young man. Finnick was sold for his body and turned into a prostitute, with the villainous President Snow forcing this on him under the threat of harming his loved ones otherwise. To the outside world, he was merely a man sowing his proverbial wild oats, but Finnick Odair took no joy in these acts. This was only made worse due to the love he felt for Annie Cresta, who sadly became his wife, only to quickly become his widow.

This dark storyline gets to the heart of the Hunger Games franchise’s premise, which notably attacks the distractions and vapidity of celebrity-oriented culture. Many celebrities are treated almost as commodities, with their antics beyond the big screen earning them fans and disdain. This includes the salacious gossip connected to these celebrities, which may or may not be true. Sadly, human trafficking of the sort that Finnick Odair experiences is quite common in Hollywood, especially among female talent. It’s actually somewhat revolutionary that The Hunger Games touched on the topic, especially with a male character. This heartwrenching theme only makes the life — and death — of Finnick into an even more tragic affair.

The Hunger Games First Film Poster

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games franchise shows a dystopian future where teens are forced to battle to the death for the amusement of the wealthy. Everything changes when Katniss Everdeen volunteers in place of her sister, Primrose.

Created by
Suzanne Collins

First Film
The Hunger Games

Cast
Jennifer Lawrence , Josh Hutcherson , Liam Hemsworth , Woody Harrelson , Elizabeth Banks , Amandla Stenberg , Rachel Zegler , Tom Blyth , Viola Davis

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