Katniss and Peeta are given the chance to train for the games. Haymitch asks whether they would like to train separately, and they agree to train together. When Haymitch asks Katniss and Peeta about their skills, both are overly modest, and they soon find themselves arguing over how impressive the other is. Katniss explains that Peeta is strong and is a very talented wrestler. Meanwhile, Peeta points out that Katniss is capable of shooting arrows through the eyes of squirrels. He concludes by saying, “She has no idea. The effect she can have,” which Katniss at first takes as an insult but later decides might have been intended as a compliment. Haymitch tells them to stick together, to act as though they are friends, and to spend their time in the training center learning new skills.
The Training Center is open to all the tributes for two days. Although District 12 views their tributes as a sacrifice and a punishment, other districts glorify their tributes as warriors. In these districts, people train their entire lives for the games and volunteer to take part in them. In District 12, these voluntary tributes are called “careers.” At the training center, the careers spend time together, excluding everyone else as though the other tributes are no threat.
However, as Katniss and Peeta go from stall to stall at the Training Center, they find that they have more abilities than they realize. Katniss is talented with knives, throwing spears, and snares. Peeta is particularly good at camouflage, and he explains that he was responsible for icing the cakes on display in his father’s bakery window. However, Katniss finds herself annoyed at Peeta’s prowess, and although Haymitch has instructed them to spend time together, she is losing her patience. When alone, Katniss tells Peeta that she does not want to fake being close when they are in private.
Although Katniss is incapable of pretending to be friends, Peeta is more than capable of making up for it. He jokes with Katniss and instructs her when to laugh. He also explains that each district has its own style of making bread. Peeta is more perceptive than Katniss realizes, and he discovers that one of the other tributes is following them. It is Rue, the smallest tribute, who reminds Katniss of her sister, Prim. Like Katniss, Rue is good at climbing and is knowledgeable about edible plants.
When the open training ends, each tribute is given a private audience with the Gamemakers. As per usual, District 12 goes last. When Katniss enters, she finds a bow and decides to show off her abilities. She misses her first shot and has to take a moment to practice. Although she manages to shoot impressively afterward, the Gamemakers are hardly paying attention. After watching twenty-three other demonstrations, they are really only concerned with their supper. When a servant brings a roast pig to the Gamemakers’ table, Katniss is infuriated and fires an arrow through the apple in the pig’s mouth, which pins it to the wall behind the Gamemakers. Katniss thanks them for their consideration and leaves.