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Gale is the oldest child of the Hawthorne family with three younger siblings; Rory, Vick, and the only girl, Posy who was born after their father died in a mining accident that also killed Katniss' father. After his father's death, Gale struggles to provide for his family with help from his mother, Hazelle. To help feed his family, he hunted illegally in the forest adjacent to District 12, and he applied for tesserae many times. He is 19 in Catching Fire and Mockingjay. When he was 14 years old, he met Katniss, who also lost her father in the same mine accident. They cross each other's paths while hunting in the woods outside of District 12. Despite their initial misgivings about one another, the two slowly warm up to each other and become best friends. They attended the same school but really met at the mine site when it blew. At the beginning of The Hunger Games, Katniss notes that the only time she really smiles is when she is in the woods with Gale.
Katniss recalls that at 14, "Gale already looked like a man." It is later mentioned he was over six feet tall. Similar to many people from the Seam, he has olive skin, straight black hair, and gray eyes.
Gale admits to have fallen in love with Katniss in Catching Fire, and their relationship grows in each book. He holds a hatred for the Capitol and has scars on his back from when he was whipped over 40 times in Catching Fire after being caught by the new Head Peacekeeper, Romulus Thread, illegally hunting turkey. He went to the house designated for the Head Peacekeeper expecting to find old Cray, who was the Head Peacekeeper until Thread came to District 12.
In the books
The Hunger Games
Gale is introduced in the first chapter of The Hunger Games as Katniss's good friend with whom she hunts. When they first meet, Gale thinks Katniss says 'Catnip' when he asks Katniss her name. This name sticks so her nickname is Catnip to Gale. He suggests they run away from District 12 together in order to avoid the Reaping, the process in which a boy and a girl from each district are chosen to compete in the Hunger Games. They agree, however, it would be too difficult with their families, who Gale refers to as their "children". Gale also helps Katniss's family survive when Katniss is taken away after the Reaping, just as Katniss promises to help his family if something happens to him. Subsequent events (such as Katniss entering the arena for the Hunger Games) cause them to be separated. In the arena, Katniss realizes that it would be to her advantage to feign love for Peeta, but she feels guilty because she is confused about her feelings for Gale.
Gale is upset about the affection between Peeta and Katniss in the Hunger Games. Having reached age 19, Gale now works in the mines and can only hunt on Sundays, while Katniss lives next door to Peeta. Gale kisses Katniss in the forest, which leaves her confused about her feelings. The kiss is reported to President Snow, who threatens to kill Gale if Katniss does not obey his orders to present the appearance that Katniss is madly in love with Peeta. Katniss realizes she can no longer be seen with Gale, and resolves to run away with him (and their families) to escape what she increasingly suspects will end with their deaths at the hands of President Snow. Initially Gale is elated, though less so when he hears Peeta and Haymitch will come along. Ultimately he rejects the plan, once he realizes that there had been uprisings and believes that this is the start of a rebellion. Gale is caught illegally hunting by a new peacekeeper, and is whipped almost to death, but Katniss intervenes and puts herself in the path of the whip; her mother is later able to treat them. While Gale is unconscious, Katniss thinks about her relationship with Gale, and kisses him. Although Katniss is supposed to be Peeta's lover in public, she is unable to forget Gale, though when Gale declares he loves her, she replies "I know" rather than returning his affections. After she is taken away for the Quarter Quell, she does not see Gale again until the very end of the novel, when she and Gale meet up on the hovercraft ride to District 13. He tells her that District 12 has been bombed and destroyed, but he managed to evacuate about 10% (about less than 900 people) of the population, including their families.
In Mockingjay, Gale lives in District 13 and spends time with Beetee designing weapons to use against the Capitol. Katniss becomes uncomfortable with the brutality involved in some of Gale's weapons. He is one of the main characters and has a deeper relationship with Katniss while Peeta is a prisoner of the Capitol, but their relationship goes through a number of strains throughout the book. He saves Prim's life during an air raid on District 13 from the Capitol, and volunteers for an extremely dangerous mission to rescue Peeta from the Capitol. He and Katniss even get to hunt together again on the grounds of District 13. He is part of the "Star Squad" that sets out to assassinate President Snow. As the Capitol is conquered by the rebels, Katniss' sister is killed in an ambush attack that Gale supposedly orchestrated. After the battle, Gale realizes that Katniss could never forgive him for the inadvertent role he played in Prim's death; he accepts there will be no future for them and departs. He later gets a "fancy job" in District 2, the masonry district, causing Katniss to feel relieved. In the end, Katniss realizes her love for Peeta, concluding that she and Gale both have a "fire, kindled by rage and hatred" that will only hurt their relationship.
Gale has the common Seam look in District 12: Dark hair, olive skin, and grey eyes. When he first met Katniss at the age of 14 he was already over six feet tall and "was as good as a man" to Katniss. He is described as being very handsome and masculine.
Gale Hawthorne is good at keeping things under control, but tends to get angry quite often, often ranting about and mocking the Capitol. Katniss Everdeen describes him as "a rebel since birth". He is very protective of Katniss and her family, and would rather stay and fight with her than run away. Gale is in love with her, and is sure to let her know, though doesn't force her to decide.
However, Gale believes that the end justifies the means and has been shown to be capable of sinking to the Capitol's level when he suggests trapping the soldiers in the Nut in District Two or in the creations of his traps on a human level. This is one of many things that puts him at odds with Katniss. In the climax of the last novel, it is his aggression that ultimately ends any chance of a romantic relationship with Katniss.
Gale is good at trapping animals in snares and doing activities that occupy his mind. He can also use a bow and arrow even though he's not as talented as Katniss. Later, he is able to transfer his skill in snares into a skill in designing military weapons and tactics.
Gale lives with his mother, Hazelle, who washes other peoples' clothes for extra money. His father died in the mine accident along with Katniss's father. He has three siblings; Rory, Vick, and Posy.
- Carpenter, Susan (23 August 2010). ""Mockingjay" by Suzanne Collins Book Review". the Los Angeles Times. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/23/entertainment/la-et-mockingjay-20100823. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- Reese, Jennifer (28 August 2009). "Catching Fire". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20300507,00.html. Retrieved 24 October 2010.
- Sperling, Nicole (April 4, 2011). "'The Hunger Games': Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth complete the love triangle". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2011/04/the-hunger-games-josh-hutcherson-and-liam-hemsworth-complete-the-love-triangle.html. Retrieved April 4, 2011.