Can a Deeply Flawed Advisor Help You Survive the Hunger Games?


Welcome District residents to the first annual Hunger Games Advisor Breakdown. Representing District 12, we have Haymitch Abernathy. Trusted Advisor to Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, winner of the Hunger Games himself, and also a deeply flawed man. Can you blame him? Living in a dystopian future where children are forced to hunt each other for sport would take a toll on anyone.

We already know he has what it takes to survive—but does he have what it takes to be an Advisor when his personality is less than warm?

Read on and find out, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

His Enthusiasm is (Understandably) Lacking

Let’s address this off the bat: Haymitch never wanted to be Katniss or Peeta’s Advisor. It’s a thankless task that invariably ends when his Advisee dies, horribly, in the Hunger Games…and something he has to repeat each year, indefinitely. That is the stuff of nightmares, and the literal definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Frankly, we don't blame Haymitch for being less than enthusiastic at taking Katniss and Peeta on.

That said, it’s a task that he fulfills for his Advisees when they express interest in his experience and acumen and ask for his help.

Look, does his demeanor toward his Advisees leave us a little cold? Sure—but he's literally discussing matters of life or death, and you have to imagine that as the sole Advisor to District 12 Tributes, this is something he's done every year for the past 20-odd years. That would take an incredible toll on anyone's psyche. Yet he does it for the good of his Advisees knowing the cost it will have at a personal level to him, emotionally and mentally. We have to give him props for that because that takes an iron will.

In a perfect world, your Advisors are going to be actively excited to be working with you—but even if their enthusiasm is clearly not there, if they’re willing to help you and are right for the task, it’s important to look past how they present themselves to you and focus on the content they’re giving you.

He Sacrifices His Needs for Theirs

So…normally we wouldn’t consider this a good thing, but Haymitch is willing to sacrifice his safety and his life for his Advisees when Katniss and Peeta are called back into the Hunger Games arena in Catching Fire to compete once more. For better or worse, he's not given a chance to demonstrate this nobility, as his name is called to compete and Peeta immediately volunteers as Tribute.

So, we’re very fairly confident you will never be in life or death stakes with your Advisor, but if you are, you could probably do a lot worse than Haymitch. He’s willing to do his best to shield his Advisees from the horrors of living in Panem and step in to take their place if the opportunity arises. Does that translate literally in the real world? We really, really hope not—but within the Hunger Games universe, it's truly the best you can hope for.

In the real world, it’s great if you have an Advisor who can step in and take control of a situation when it’s gotten out of hand—whether that’s helping you to manage a relationship which needs an additional touch, or maybe brainstorming ways to improve a situation with you—sometimes a situation calls for a hands-on approach, and it’s great if your Advisor can fulfill that need.

He Prepares for the Worst, but Hopes for the Best

In the background of helping Katniss and Peeta prepare to go into the Hunger Games, Haymitch is always working a side hustle to help them survive. In the Hunger Games, he works patrons to get them to donate vital supplies to both while they’re in the arena—and succeeds. In Catching Fire, he literally helps plan a rebellion—that’s pretty hardcore.

The point is, Haymitch is always working to help his Advisees, even if they don’t realize the depth of his actions. He’s there when they need him to provide immediate guidance, but he’s also looking towards the bigger picture of their overall survival because he knows what it takes.

As the saying goes, you don’t know what you don’t know—and Haymitch dutifully addresses what his Advisees don’t know to ask about, to make sure that when the time comes, they have the supplies and skills they need to survive.

In the real world, where again, we hope your stakes are much lower than in the Hunger Games, having an Advisor who understands the direction you're headed in and can help you mitigate some of the challenges you don't realize you're going to face, is an invaluable skill to have in your corner. They can help point out common mistakes you might be overlooking and have enough knowledge of the path you’re on to help you steer clear of some issues you’re not yet aware of.

So, what did we learn, other than that we may love the books and the movies, but we’ll take a hard pass of living in the Hunger Games world of Panem?

Mainly that Haymitch may have been a deeply flawed human being, but he was the best possible Advisor for Katniss and Peeta since they (spoiler alert) made it out of the franchise alive. Sometimes Advisors may not present themselves as a warm, fuzzy type of person—but if they have the skills to help you get to where you want to go, we encourage you to work with them. Clearly, in the case of Haymitch at least, that strategy works.

For that, we're going to award him one much deserved moment of peace, because that's all he ever wanted.

Until next time!