The Panem Companion

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Title: The Panem Companion: From Mellark Bakery to Mockingjays
Creator: V. Arrow (aimmyarrowshigh)
Date(s): December 2012
Medium: book
Fandom: The Hunger Games
Language: English
External Links: The Panem Companion

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The Panem Companion is an unofficial companion book for The Hunger Games trilogy of books, published in December 2012 by Smart Pop Books. It was written by V. Arrow, also known as aimmyarrowshigh, a BNF in the Hunger Games fandom. In addition to her fanfic, she is well-known for her etymology of names in Panem (now locked), and her map of Panem, both of which are expanded on in the book.

Writing about her motivations for the book, V states that:

Part of what I wanted to focus on most with The Panem Companion, then, was making sure that it applies to Hunger Games fandom, and not just casual readers of the series. Hunger Games fans already know the series’ most basic symbols and allegories, and already spend their time discussing where the districts might be or who might live there. The fandom concerns itself not just with where Katniss and Peeta’s shared life goes after Mockingjay, but where they came from before the series, in the time before Katniss’ narration begins and outside of the scope of her narrow first-person account of life in District 12. I didn’t want to interact with such deep and engaged thinkers, be a part of their dialogue, and then turn around and give them a broad book of information they’ve already discussed to District 4 and back again.[1]

Since its publication, it has been praised on various fansites[2][3] for doing just that, delivering smart literary analysis and criticism that treats the source text with respect and delves into the very nitty-gritty details with the fannish enthusiasm that has made V. so popular.


Cover of the Panem Companion
  • Introduction: The Panem Companion
  • Mapping Panem
  • How Panem Came to Be
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Panem
  • The Socioeconomics of Tesserae
  • The Curious Case of Primrose “Everdeen”
  • Family Life in Panem
  • The Games as Exploitation, Exploitation as Entertainment
  • Gender Roles and Sexuality in Panem
  • District 4
  • Mythology and Music in Panem
  • District 11
  • The Architects of the Rebellion
  • Truly, My Name Is Cinna
  • District 13 and the Capitol: Two Sides of the Same “Coin”
  • Accountability for Acts of War in the Hunger Games
  • Final Notes

Fan Response

Some fan circles praise it for its depth and detail, and for not pandering to the lowest common denominator. Specifically, it is known for addressing the world-building and the controversial issues in fandom such as the race debates and the issues of whether Gale is responsible for the death of Prim, and the book comes up in discussion of these and other issues.

Other reviewers, however, found the opposite to be true, and derided the work for its obvious fannish content and attention to seemingly minor details,[4] some even terming some of the analysis as 'insane', despite it being moderately well-discussed in the Hunger Games fandom as plausible.[5] Others were more concerned that a fan theory book would become considered canon and overtake other legitimate interpretations of the text, despite the fact that it is only theories and not Word of God.[6]

In particular, race, particularly addressed in the chapter "Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Panem", has attracted criticism for being too pervasive or irrelevant to the actual text, thus making the book an important part of the ongoing debates about race in the fandom.[7][5] In particular, on the "Victory Tour", comments demonstrated the ongoing nature of these debates, with some criticizing V. for making a faulty assumption that destroyed the credibility of all of her arguments.[6] Some reviewers have defended The Panem Companion against these worries; Kelly Garbato from V is for Vegan states that "Arrow is fastidious in her research, and diligently distinguishes cannon from informed inferences and fan theories. While you may not agree with all of her conclusions, Arrow never tries to pull a fast one by stretching the facts to support her interpretation of the text."[8]

Outside of fannish circles, The Panem Companion has received largely positive reviews. Bryant Dillon of wrote in his 2012 review that "Not only has Arrow crafted the definitive and ultimate Hunger Games fan text, but with The Panem Companion she has clearly established herself as both a titan of fan academia and as an honest, passionate, and dedicated Hunger Games authority and aficionado. In true Hunger Games fashion, V. Arrow and The Panem Companion both deserve an unprecedented and legendary “training score” of 12 when it comes to their standing in the fan community."[9]

Critical Response

Northern Arizona University hosted a social behaviors conference based on Catching Fire in 2013. It used The Panem Companion as a central class text and included a lecture by Arrow. Student response was mixed, with students who had seen the movie disliking the presentation. The conference was a joint effort of the Psychology, Gender Studies, and Anthropology departments.[10] [11]


  1. Return to Panem with author V. Arrow, Smart Pop Books.
  2. Book Review - The Panem Companion, Victor's Village.
  3. Book Review - The Panem Companion, Hunger Games Fireside Chat.
  4. Goodreads Review
  5. 5.0 5.1 Goodreads Review
  6. 6.0 6.1 The Panem Companion Victory Tour – District 12,
  7. Goodreads Review
  8. Book Review: The Panem Companion, V. Arrow (2012), Kelly Garbato.
  9. 'The Panem Companion' Review - The Fourth Book In 'The Hunger Games' Trilogy, Bryant Dillon.
  10. [1] 'Conference to examine themes of ‘The Hunger Games’'
  11. [2] 'May the odds be ever in your favor at the NAU Hunger Games' Miranda Scott.