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Originally published March 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM | Page modified March 23, 2012 at 6:26 PM

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A-Z guide to 'The Hunger Games'

Let the "Games" begin! Test your knowledge about "The Hunger Games" with this A-Z primer.

The Kansas City Star (Kansas City, Mo

'Hunger Games' map

Author Suzzane Collins has not offered a map of Panem for "The Hunger Games" but several fans and others have tried to create one. Here's a link to a district map with character bios that was created by The Kansas City:
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Prepare to immerse yourself in the world of "The Hunger Games." Here's an A-Z primer on Panem and key elements of movie and book.

Athens: Author Suzanne Collins based her novel on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, in which Athenians were forced to send tributes — seven boys and seven girls — to Crete to be eaten by a monster.

Bow and arrow: Weapon of choice for hunter Katniss Everdeen.

Capitol: The seat of power and wealth in the totalitarian nation of Panem.

Districts: Panem is divided into 12 of these (a 13th was destroyed in a rebellion).

Escorts: Chaperones assigned to watch over each pair of tributes competing in the Hunger Games.

Fire: As in "girl on fire," the nickname for Katniss as the trilogy unfolds.

Gamemakers: The committee that designs the vast outdoor arena and deadly obstacles for each year's games.

Hunger Games: Every year each district must provide two tributes, one boy and one girl, to compete in a televised fight to the death.

Inspirations: In addition to Greek myth, Collins also based her novels on reality TV shows, her father's time in the Vietnam War and the classic movie "Spartacus," about a Roman slave turned gladiator turned rebel.

Jabberjay: A Capitol "muttation" — a genetically altered bird that once spied on the Capitol's enemies and could repeat whole conversations.

Katniss: An edible water plant for which our heroine is named.

Lamb stew with dried plums: Katniss' favorite food in the Capitol — a stark contrast to the starvation in her district.

Mockingjay: Wild offspring of a jabberjay and mockingbird; a symbol of rebellion (and the title of the trilogy's final book).

Nightlock: Deadly poisonous berries.

Odds: The signature line of the games — "May the odds be ever in your favor."

Panem: The nation's name comes from ancient Rome's "panem et circenses" (bread and circuses), under the theory that if the Capitol citizens are fed and entertained, they won't question the government.

Quarter Quell: Hunger Games with a twist, held every 25 years. (Learn more in the next book/movie, "Catching Fire.")

Reaping: The annual sort-of-random drawing for tributes.

Stylists: Clothing designers assigned to each tribute for appearances leading up to the games.

Tracker jacker: A killer wasp, another Capitol muttation.

Uprising: The so-called Dark Days, when the districts unsuccessfully rebelled against the Capitol. For 74 years, the Hunger Games have served as a reminder to never try again.

Volunteer: An eligible boy or girl who steps forward at the reaping to take the place of a chosen tribute.

Wigged out: Elaborate wigs, outrageous tattoos and extreme plastic surgery are all part of the Capitol fashion scene. Stay up on the latest styles online at

(e)Xplosion: Katniss' father died in a coal mining accident when she was 11.

Years of eligibility: Tributes must range in age from 12 to 18.

Zeal: Citizens of the Capitol fervently adore the Hunger Games; district residents fear them.

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