Home » Why District 6’s Tributes Are Called “Morphlings” In The Hunger Games

Why District 6’s Tributes Are Called “Morphlings” In The Hunger Games

by Oliver Emma


Catching Fire featured past tributes in the Quarter Quall games, two significant addition were the Morphlings, but why were they called Morphlings?


First described in Catching Fire, District 6’s “Morphlings” tributes are a crucial element of the story, and their unusual name reveals a lot about their characters. The Morphlings are introduced as the past winners of the Hunger Games are called back into the arena in the second installment of the series. Representing District 6 in the 75th Hunger Games, the Morphlings had each won one of the past editions respectively. Although it is not specified which one, they had to be Hunger Games victors before the events of Catching Fire take place and had most likely taken on the mentor responsibilities for their district ever since then.

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The Morphlings names are never revealed in Catching Fire as Katniss and the others only refer to them as Morphlings. Haymitch himself, who has known both of them for years as a Hunger Games mentor, introduces them as the Morphlings as Katniss and Peeta watch the other Hunger Games districts‘ reapings. While presented as mostly harmless in terms of competing with other tributes in Catching Fire, during their respective Hunger Games, the Morphlings both used camouflage to hide until the other tributes were dead, which proves to be a useful tactic in Catching Fire as well. However, the name “Morphling” has nothing to do with the pair’s survival strategy.

Related: Hunger Games: Why Katniss Ends Up With Peeta, Not Gale


Hunger Games’ District 6 Victors Were Addicted To Morphling

Morphlings_Hunger Games_Catching Fire

The reason why the District 6 tributes in Catching Fire are called Morphlings is evident in the name itself. In fact, it is revealed early on in Catching Fire that after they won the Hunger Games the two both became addicted to Morphling to cope with the trauma they underwent during the Hunger Games. As established at the beginning of Catching Fire, Morphling is a narcotic painkiller that is used to treat severe injuries or illnesses in the Hunger Games world. Described as quite expensive, it is a drug that can easily create addiction, thus leading to severe side effects.

While Catching Fire cuts an important Haymitch’s backstory, it shows the effects of Morphling addiction. In fact, Morphling made the tributes’ skin sag and yellow and their eyes wide, while their physical abilities were forever altered. The Morphling’s plot, albeit brief, gives further insight into the brutality of the games. Their addiction to Morphling is a direct consequence of the Games for which the Capital is responsible, just like all the victors have to find a way to cope with the post-traumatic stress of the Hunger Games, which is shown through Haymitch’s alcohol addiction and Katniss’ constant nightmares in Catching Fire as well.

What Happened To the Morphlings In The Hunger Games Movies

Morphlings_Hunger Games_Catching Fire_Peeta_Panting

Both Morphlings die during the Hunger Games in Catching Fire, after the female tribute from District 6 protects Peeta from the monkey mutations that attack the tribute. She dies in Peeta’s arms while looking at the sunset. The Morphlings are key to the other tributes’ survival in Hunger Games as their presence foreshadows the plan to get Katniss and Peeta out of the arena, which is only revealed at the end of Catching Fire. In fact, as the Games continue, Peeta keeps questioning why she would want to save him, thus showing a more human side to the tributes in Catching Fire.

Although they are in poor physical condition by the time the Quarter Quell happens in Catching Fire, the Morphlings are still evidently capable and present enough, at least mentally, to be trusted with the rebellion plans by Haymitch. Moreover, they choose to sacrifice themselves in order to protect Peeta and Katniss during the Games, thus showing that, while their physical health was deteriorating due to the Morphlings, they were both still fully aware of the bigger scheme and greater stakes at play in Catching Fire that went beyond the 75th Hunger Games and perhaps their own survival.

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