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Haymitch Abernathy is a fictional character in Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy. He first appears in the first novel in the series, The Hunger Games. He is a former winner of the titular games who, as an adult, mentors contestants Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. In the Hunger Games film series, he is portrayed by Woody Harrelson.
When he was 15, Haymitch was reaped for the Second Quarter Quell, where four tributes from each district were forced into the arena. He became an ally to a girl named Maysilee Donner, who was the original owner of Katniss's symbolic mockingjay pin, but was later forced to watch her die. During the Games, he discovered a wall of shrubbery at the edge of the Arena that concealed a force field, which ricocheted anything thrown in its direction. During the final moments of the Games, Haymitch (severely wounded himself) positioned himself by the edge, knowing that when his opponent flung her weapon at him, he could duck and the force field would hurl it back at her. His plan was successful, leaving Haymitch the victor. Within two weeks of his victory, Haymitch's mother, younger brother, and girlfriend were killed by President Snow as punishment for Haymitch using the force field to his advantage. Haymitch became an example of what happens to those who defy the Capitol.
After his victory, he became an alcoholic and has spent almost all of the next 24 years intoxicated. Being the only surviving victor from District 12 (one of only two in the history of the Games), Haymitch was forced to mentor all of its tributes, which consumed him with guilt by being forced to participate in the Games that he hated. He dealt with these feelings with alcohol and openly flouting the dignity of the games. He treats Peeta and Katniss with contempt and is sarcastic, expending no effort to help them. However, when Katniss confronts him, he is stirred from his stupor and emerges as the pair's greatest advocate, impressed by her determination and Peeta's patience. Haymitch shows himself to be highly canny as he guides his protégés in a cleverly designed, highly unorthodox strategy aimed at ensuring the survival of both tributes.
In the book Catching Fire, the liquor supply in District 12 runs out. As a result, Haymitch suffers from alcohol withdrawal. It is left to Katniss and Peeta to coax him back to health (and get him more liquor). After this incident, Katniss begins to develop a true affection and respect for him. When Katniss discovers that Haymitch and his allies from District 13 and the Capitol failed to save Peeta from the arena as they did for her, she claws him in the face. In Mockingjay, Haymitch is forced to go through detox in District 13, as they do not permit the consumption of alcohol. After this, he continues to serve as a mentor to Katniss and Peeta; however, he never truly repairs his relationship with either of them, and goes back to his drinking after the war ends. Haymitch and Katniss, despite nearly always working towards the same goals, are usually hostile towards one another, because they have similarly prickly personalities; also, Katniss and Peeta both resent Haymitch for keeping information from both of them, sometimes at the request of the other.
- "Character Profile: Haymitch Abernathy". http://www.goodreads.com/characters/32726-haymitch-abernathy. Retrieved 29 September 2010.