- “Remember who the real enemy is.“
- ―Haymitch Abernathy, referring to the Capitol.
The Capitol of Panem is a technologically advanced, utopian city where the nation’s most wealthy and powerful live. The Capitol is also the colloquial name for ruling government of Panem. As the seat of power in Panem, the nation’s thirteen districts (twelve after The Dark Days) are ruled from this city, and the Hunger Games are organized and celebrated inside it’s walls. The Capitol is a tyrannical dictatorship, led by President Snow (before his death), and holds total political and economic dominance over Panem, enforcing its rule through an army of Peacekeepers, capital punishment, propaganda, and the Hunger Games. It is also the only major city mentioned in the trilogy. The Capitol is known for its fashion and food. Following the events of Mockingjay, Paylor becomes the new president.
It is located in the northwestern section of the former North America, seemingly west of the Rocky Mountains. The Rockies also act as a natural barrier and have served the Capitol well, allowing their air force to bomb the rebels who attempted to invade the city in the Dark Days.
Society and Culture
Many Capitol residents are extremely shallow, always looking for ways to become well-noticed. An outrageous sense of style and fashion are very important to the wealthy citizens of the Capitol. It is common for them to tattoo and dye their bodies in extravagent bright colors, as well as undergo plastic surgery to alter their appearances. Known results of the surgeries are whiskers, dyed skin, talons, decorative patterns cut into their skin, and more outrageous fashions alluded to but not mentioned. These alterations are done so heavily that Katniss describes them as disfiguring, wondering if the people of the Capitol realize how horrifying they look to the rest of Panem. Some people of the Capitol also have gems implanted in their skin. Capitol residents frequently wear wigs in a multitude of colors. In The Hunger Games, when Katniss and Peeta are talking on the roof the night before their enter to the arena, Peeta admits that it would be hard to tell if they were wearing any fancy costumes, because you might as well mistake their ordinary clothing for a costume.
In order to have a good time at a party and eat as much as they want, Capitol residents drink a liquid (similar to ipecac) that causes them to vomit, thus providing enough room in their stomachs for more food. The residents seem oblivious to the fact that, although they go through lots of food and still have plenty left over, many of the districts’ residents are starving. The food Capitol residents eat is extremely rich and appears in exotic and beautiful patterns, such as bread rolls shaped like flowers and oranges served with a sauce. Everything is luxurious and overwhelming for the tributes that arrive from the poor districts (for example, food dispensers and showers with over a hundred buttons).
The people who live in the Capitol are culturally distinct from the rest of Panem, speaking with strange accents; their voices are high pitched, their jaws barely open when talking, and their tone at the ends of their sentences going up as if they’re asking a question. They have odd vowels, clipped words, and tend to hiss the letter “s.” The only noted exceptions to this are Cinna and Plutarch Heavensbee.
People living in the Capitol are very easy to win over because, despite the fact that they enjoy theatric bloodshed, they love sentimentality and melodrama. Both Katniss and other former victors have exploited this fact to further their own agenda. Haymitch also states that it’s possible to gain support in the arena simply by gushing.
Capitol residents have often been said to treat the Hunger Games like a celebrated sporting event and a highly anticipated source of entertainment and past time. They take pride in betting on the tributes simply for bragging rights, not understanding or showing any regard for the crime their government is committing by forcing the games upon the districts. Some citizens are sponsorsto the tributes, paying money for packages of supplies that are then delivered to them in the arena. Also, the more blood and fighting there is in the arena, the greater the entertainment for the Capitol. Unlike the twelve districts of Panem, the Capitol does not have to offer children for the Hunger Games, although the idea was discussed in Mockingjay.
It is also observed that they are unhappy about the previous victors being thrown into the arena once more for the 3rd Quarter Quell, because they have grown attached to the victors. Many Capitol citizens wanted to stop that Hunger Games from happening.
Because Capitol citizens are extremely wealthy, very few of the residents have jobs or responsibilities. Life moves very slowly until the Games, which make them all the more anticipated. Despite being at the top of both the economic and social chain, there is very little in the way of celebration or festivity until the Games andVictory Tour.
Relationship with the districts
After the collapse of modern civilization and before the Dark Days rebellion, the districts were brought together under the Capitol’s rule, thus forming the nation of Panem. Originally, there were thirteen districts, until District 13 was supposedly destroyed by Capitol forces, due to being the driving force of the rebellion against their rule. Although, District 13 and the Capitol only established a cease-fire after both had nuclear missiles aimed at each other. Though the districts harvest all of the country’s resources, such as fish, coal, lumber, textiles, technology, electricity, transportation, grain, livestock, crops, and gems, they must export almost
all of their resources to serve the Capitol’s citizens and their overwhelming greed. As a result, many districts, such as 12 and 11, don’t have enough coal to power their own district or enough food to feed their citizens (respectively). Districts 1, and 2, typically have a better relationship with the Capitol and therefore receive more, have better food, and are graced with other various goods.
It is said that the Capitol favors District 2 as sort of “lapdog”, since, although District 2 did rebel and is forced to participate in the Hunger Games, is the most loyal to the Capitol. The reason for this loyalty is that, after the Dark Days rebellion, the Capitol needed a new base for military operations in the districts as their base used to be centered in District 13, but after District 13 won their independence, they lost that base. With District 13’s freedom, they looked to a mountain nicknamed ‘The Nut’ in District 2 to be their base of military operations. With the establishment of the base in District 2, jobs were offered in ‘The Nut’ to District 2 citizens and money poured into the District. Another job that was now offered by the Capitol to District 2 citizens was the position of Peacekeeper, which many in District 2 became. Because of this, District 2 citizens began to look favorably upon the Capitol. Although many became loyal, citizens in the mountainous regions who remained loyal to the district trade of masonry, maintained a negative view of the Capitol, and rebelled during the Mockingjay rebellion.
The districts have no political representation since the government of Panem invests all power to the centralized executive in the Capitol, with a President acting as the supreme leader of the nation. Mayors within the districts act simply as governors, ensuring the districts fulfill their quotas of goods to the Capitol and serve no representative roles as a parliamentarian or senator. As a result of this, the massive poverty, starvation, and brutality witnessed in the districts is either enforced or ignored. The Capitol government is aware of the citizens of the districts’ suffering, and primarily enforces suffering as a means of control, and to essentially use the district citizens as slaves to provide for the Capitol.
According to the Capitol.PN the Capitol has a population of 96,463 people. This means that including all districts except for District 13, the Capitol is the eighth most populated place in Panem.