The Hunger Games: Who is Tigris in Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?

Lucy-Jo Finnighan
Tigris in Ballad of Songbirds & SnakesLionsgate

Tigris is a supporting character in The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, but we’ve actually met Tigris before, in the original Hunger Games saga.

The Hunger Games remains one of the defining book and movie series of the past decade. Set in a world in which children are forced to fight each other to the death in an arena created and run by the oppressive Capitol society, the original series proved to many to be the best of its genre.

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The franchise expanded recently when author Suzanne Collins released a prequel novel, The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. This new book focuses on the early life of the original book’s villain, President Snow, along with a bunch of new characters. However, one character is a face we’ve seen before.

You may not recognize them, however, as the character of Tigris has gone through a major transformation throughout the franchise, literally. We’ll explain all, but first, a warning: Slight spoilers ahead for both the original and prequel novels!

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Tigris appears in the original Hunger Games series

In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Tigris habors and helps Katniss and her team of soldiers as they attempt to sneak through the Capitol to assassinate President Snow. She is revealed to be a former stylist for the games, who now wants Capitol rule to end.

In the movie, Tigris tells Katniss that she was the first stylist for tributes of the Hunger Games, until Snow “decided [she] wasn’t pretty enough anymore,” implying how her physical alterations were deemed too much even by the fashionable Capitol.

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These alterations include giving herself tiger-like features, with a flattened nose and whiskers. Her tattooed skin also bears her age, as Katniss notes that it is wrinkled.

After giving Katniss and Co. refuge in her home during the revolution, she styles Katniss and Gale as Capitol citizens so they can sneak into President Snow’s mansion and kill him. In fact, when Katniss mentioned that she plans to kill Snow, Tigris smiled in return. 

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Who is Tigris in Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes?

In Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, we see Tigris in a very different way. Here, she is revealed to be Coriolanus Snow’s cousin, who grew up with him before he became President, and survived with him during the Dark Days, aka the civil war that occurred before the Games were invented.

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Here, Tigris and Snow are incredibly close, and she helps guide him through his mentorship of the 10th Annual Hunger Games. As an underpaid fashion designer, she even makes clothes for him, styling them so the family won’t appear as poor.

She is a kind and open-minded person, seeing the tributes far more sympathetically than many other Capitol Citizens. She also questions the Hunger Games themselves, viewing them as far too cruel.

The actor for the role has changed, obviously. In Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes, Tigris is played by Hunter Schafer, best known for her leading role in HBO’s Euphoria. Check out a clip of her performance below:

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There’s a big gap in time however between the prequel and the main series, so a lot of questions about Tigris go unanswered. For example, we don’t know why she hates Snow so much, though we can figure his cruel future actions will play a part in that. Perhaps the sexual exploitation of winning tributes rubbed her the wrong way, since it’s implied that she has taken part in sex work for survival.

We also don’t see her take on all her feline plastic procedures, but fans have theorized that her choice to alter herself so thoroughly is in part due to her love of fashion and obviously her name, but also in reaction to how other perceives her. In the books, she is described by Snow as having a “long, pointed nose and skinny body, Tigris was no great beauty, but she had a sweetness, a vulnerability that invited abuse. She would find takers, if she had a mind to.” So perhaps her transformation into a more ferocious figure is her way of protecting herself in an ever-crueler world.

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The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes is in cinemas November 17. Read more about the movie below:

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About The Author

Lucy-Jo is a Movies and TV Writer at Dexerto, and has previously written for Screen Rant and Girls on Tops. After earning a Master's Degree in Film and Literature, Lucy-Jo now loves covering films, TV shows, and anime, especially if it's something by Mike Flanagan, or anything drenched in camp. You can contact her at lucyjo.finnighan@dexerto.com