The perception of the truth is an important theme throughout The Hunger Games series. Collins' novels, particularly The Hunger Games, address the perception of the truth and reality versus deception.
It is fitting that one of the first lies seen in The Hunger Games comes from the Capitol in the story the mayor reads about the history of Panem. According to the story, when the twelve districts lost the rebellion, "the thirteenth [was] obliterated" (18). The Capitol uses lies and propaganda to control and intimidate the other districts.
At the beginning of the Games, Katniss realizes that lies can be both a weapon and a defense. Peeta lies about the red-headed Avox girl reminding him of Delly Cartwright after Katniss recognizes her. Katniss, realizing her misstep, repeats Peeta's mistruth: "Of course, that's who I was thinking of. It must be the hair" (78).
During the interview, Peeta suggests that he has had a crush on Katniss for a long time. Katniss takes it completely the wrong way, saying it made her look "weak," but Haymitch corrects her:
"Who cares? It's all a big show. It's all how you're perceived" (135)
Haymitch's viewpoint represents the crux of how truth must be presented, or not presented, during the Games. Lies are told strategically to improve someone's chances during the Games. Katniss and Peeta both use their budding relationship as a strategy to win more sponsorships.
At the end of the novel, Haymitch warns Katniss that she must convince the Capitol that her act with the berries was not treason:
Your only defense can be you were so madly in lcve you weren't responsible for your actions" (357).
Katniss and Peeta misrepresent their relationship to protect themselves from the Capitol's harsh sense of judgment. In the interview with Caesar, Katniss embellishes her feelings for Peeta, confirming when she first realized she was in love with him:
Maybe...because for the first time...there was a chance I could keep him" (368).
Only in the very end, does Peeta realize that Katniss has been playing to the cameras to make her side of the relationship more romantic than her actual feelings.
Lies and truth play an integral role in The Hunger Games.