10 Saddest Deaths from the ‘Hunger Games’ Trilogy, Ranked

The Hunger Games films center on varying themes ranging from despair, grief, and the loss of innocence with constant exposure to trauma, highlighting the real fragility of human life.

The film series had arguably some of the most difficult decisions involving who deserves to live and die as the tributes battle to the death in a desperate plea to survive. Some deaths from The Hunger Games were unexpected while others were imminent, but each one piled on a new layer of grief and trauma for the main characters that they struggled to overcome as they strived to win the games. Fans are likely preparing themselves for even more of the saddest Hunger Games deaths in the prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (now in cinemas). It’s the perfect time to revisit some of the beloved characters from the franchise who unfortunately didn’t make it.

The Hunger Games First Film Poster

The Hunger Games

Created by
Suzanne Collins

First Film
The Hunger Games

Latest Film
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2

Upcoming Films
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is currently playing in theaters.

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10 Thresh

Played by Dayo Okeniyi

Thresh in The Hunger Games (1)

Thresh’s (Dayo Okeniyi) death in the first games was minimized to hurry along the events of the Hunger Games. It was immediately followed by a vicious attack on the remaining tributes, making it more of a moment of suspense over the impending threat.

Nevertheless, Thresh’s loss was notable as he was an easily likable character – he showed affection and care for Rue, as well as mercy for Katniss. Despite being one of the strongest characters in the movie, he didn’t strike as someone who enjoyed the games but was a reluctant participant who wanted to survive.

9 Cato

Played by Alexander Ludwig

Alexander Ludwig as Cato in The Hunger Games
Image via Lionsgate

Cato (Alexander Ludwig) was viewed with disdain and disgust from the start due to his bloodthirsty, aggressive demeanor and disregard, often treating others like prey. While Cato’s behavior was demonstrative of the level of cruelty in the games, being from District 2 showed how his ingrained upbringing shaped the belief that the Hunger Games is an achievement of survival skills, glory, and honor.

After being a pawn in the game, he had a moment of clarity realizing how he lived his life striving to kill for pride. Although many viewers weren’t hesitant to see him go, especially at the expense of saving Katniss and Peeta’s lives, Cato’s haunting cries of distress and suffering were disturbingly upsetting.

8 Castor

Played by Wes Chatham


Castor (Wes Chatham) worked as a cameraman in the Capitol until he escaped with his brother Pollux to help the rebel cause. Although his character arc wasn’t explored, the film touches on Pollux’s experiences after being turned into an Avox and sent to work as an underground servant.

Moments before his death, he reassures his brother who breaks down at the thought of returning underground. Although his shocking death was quick in the movie, it was heartbreaking to see the palpable grief and devastation for Pollux who spent years trying to escape the tunnels until Castor saved him. Only for Pollux to lose Castor to the same tunnels, making them a truly horribly traumatic reminder for Pollux.

7 Morphling

Played by Megan Hayes

Morphling and Peeta in The Hunger Games (1)

The tribute, referred to as a Morphling (Megan Hayes), lunged herself at a vicious monkey mutation to protect Peeta from the attack. The unnamed character’s unexpected sacrifice was the first hint at a bigger plan at play during the 75th Hunger Games. Ironically, she spent the games blending to survive, only for her principles regarding the greater good to convict her as she revealed herself in a sudden surrender.

She died in Peeta’s arms as she slowly bled to death, gasping for air. Thankfully, her last moments were peaceful as Peeta comforted her through the sight of the sky’s colors of sunrise. Despite being an emotional moment in the film, viewers never learned Morphling’s name, a heartbreaking reminder of just how many lives were lost and forgotten.

6 Boggs

Played by Mahershala Ali


Boggs (Mahershala Ali) was first introduced as a military leader, directly under President Coin. He stood out as the most likable character introduced in District 13. Boggs was admirably right-minded, arguing that even in a war, there should be some ethics and rules of engagement. Justifying their inaction for so long, Boggs expressed his fear that had they bombed the Capitol earlier, their retaliation would leave no one to survive to claim victory.

Seeing Coin’s power-hungry demeanor, Boggs was wary of her and, furthermore, sympathetic towards Katniss, planning for her to have a long life after all she had survived. In his dying moments, Boggs chose her to lead the squad, believing the sincerity of Katniss’ intentions. His last words in the movie resonated with Katniss to continue her mission.

5 Mags

Played by Lynn Cohen


Mags (Lynn Cohen) was a willing participant in the 3rd Quarter Quell. Despite knowing she wouldn’t make it out of the arena alive, viewers grew fond of Mags as she was not only willing to volunteer for Annie to be in the Hunger Games, but stepped into the poisonous fog to sacrifice herself with no hesitation.

Mags participation was a living reminder of the cruelty of the games, designed to keep hope just out of hand’s reach. Mags became an epithet of sacrifice, as demonstrated by how willing some were to lay down their lives if it meant a chance at a better life for others.

4 Cinna

Played by Lenny Kravitz


Hunger Games‘ Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) was Katniss’ stylist designing not only her outfits but inventing her public persona as “The Girl on Fire,” as a way to represent her spirit. Cinna was easily the first likable individual in the Capitol as he saw the Games for the brutality it depicted, rather than the glamour it is made out to be – so why did they kill Cinna?

Cinna understood Katniss in a way that many couldn’t, making them close friends in the film. Cinna’s design of Katniss’ wedding dress resulted in his execution, as Katniss was forced to watch him mercilessly dragged out. Although he clearly chose this path, understanding the risks and recognizing the need for change, it didn’t make it any less heartbreaking for Katniss to not see Cinna by her side when they claimed victory.

3 Rue

Played by Amandla Stenberg

Rue in The Hunger Games (1)

Rue (Amandla Stenberg) was the youngest tribute to participate in the 74th Hunger Games. Her gentle and kind-hearted nature didn’t match the brutality of the games. It was made evident from the start that she wouldn’t make it out of the arena alive.

Knowing she wouldn’t survive didn’t make it any less heartbreaking as Rue collapsed into Katniss’ arms, who sung through tears to comfort her. Katniss’ consequent defiance, rooted in love and grief, marked her loss as more than a fallen tribute and made the Hunger Games real. Her death bridged the gap between the games and the rebellion cause.

2 Finnick

Played by Sam Claflin


Although Finnick’s (masterfully played by Sam Claflin) demeanor was initially shallow, his effortless charm and compassion made the heartthrob a fan favorite. Finnick was quick to help others, including supporting Mags at the expense of his own ability to move fast enough, and didn’t hesitate to put his life at stake to save those around him.

His life was ultimately lost quickly after what should have been his ‘happily ever after’, as he re-entered the battlefield to storm the Capitol after his wedding. Since Finnick’s death was immediately followed by an entire cascade of events, viewers didn’t get a chance to mourn the loss of this great character. Nevertheless, the solemn acknowledgment of Finnick’s son was a recognition of the father figure he lost while offering a glimmer of hope for Annie, helping her stay grounded the way Finnick once did.

1 Prim

Played by Willow Shields

Prim in The Hunger Games (1)

Prim (Willow Shields) was an important character, as Katniss only volunteered in the games to protect her. Arguably, many viewers find that the fixation on Prim’s death took away the due respect that other characters deserve. But as the films follow Katniss, Prim’s absence affects her most profoundly.

Prim’s death reflected the fragility of life and how disposable it can be during war, as Coin deployed bombs designed to feed off human compassion. Ironically, Katniss lost what she wanted to save. Although this personal loss shifted the perspective from Katniss on an individual level, and instead towards saving Panem as a whole. Prim was rooted in everything Katniss fought for, and Katniss’ remnant of grief was ingrained in how futile she felt her attempts had been.

NEXT: ‘The Hunger Games’ Movies, Ranked From Worst to Best

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