A Role Model For Our Times: Katniss Everdeen's Unassuming Heroism

Katniss Everdeen never set out to be a warrior or a hero - she wanted to protect her family and save her sister from the horror of the Hunger Games. But when she volunteered as tribute for District 12, she became an emblem of courage and leadership both in the fictional world of Panem and in the current context of global entertainment. Both in Suzanne Collins' books and the movie franchise, Katniss is somehow both relatable and larger than life. In two separate columns, The Guardian has called her both a "great female role model" and "a role model for our times."

Nina Jacobson, producer of The Hunger Games films, sees the importance of Katniss' instinctual, ethical heroism in the place of planned superhero-style saving. In her MAKERS profile, Jacobson says, "Katniss as a character I think everybody identifies with her. People just identify with how primal that first decision is, that she makes to protect her sister." Katniss proves that, "You don't have to want to be a hero to become one, and you don't have to think like a hero to be one."

Before Mockingjay Part 1 debuts in U.S. theaters on November 21, we take a look back at some of Katniss' most badass moments, so when she continues to show both strength and vulnerability in this upcoming film, you'll remember where she's coming from. Click through above for arrows and flames.

Featured image via Digital Spy.


At the beginning of the first Hunger Games film, we see Katniss hunting in the forest. Even outside of The Games, she's focused and patient. She wants to provide for her family, and she'll go out-of-bounds to do it.  Image via Associated Press

After she misses her first shot, no one pays attention to Katniss as she shows her talent for archery before the Games. To remedy the situation (and in a great warning to the extravagance of the Capitol), she shoots an apple out of a roast pig’s mouth, following with a snide curtsy. Watch the scene here. Image via Associated Press

While strength is a key component of the Games, they also rely on spectacle. Through Katniss’ actions and stylist Cinna’s designs, she sends messages of confidence to District 12 through carefully crafted costumes. In the first film, she spins and earns the name “Girl on Fire,” in the second, she embodies a mockingjay.   Image via Associated Press

In Catching Fire, the tributes are called back to compete in the Hunger Games again. And when District 12 raises their hands in sad salute, Katniss and Peeta raise their hands in response. It’s the beginning of the revolution. Image via Associated Press

In Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Katniss will help lead Panem's rebellion against the Capitol, and her courage will have to extend beyond the bounds of the Games. It will be interesting to see what challenges she'll face, and how much more she'll inspire us to be champions. Watch the trailer here. Image via Associated Press

Nina Jacobson on her appreciation of Jennifer Lawrence’s attitude, and how she speaks out against the unfair pressure for women to look a certain way.