"Why do I always have to be the bad guy? Is it because I'm so good at it?"
-Atalanta Zimmerman, Training Day One
|Appearance||Bring Them to Their Knees|
Atalanta Zimmerman [Born Atalanta Elissa (A-li-ssa) Zimmerman] is the District Five Female Tribute in the ? 25th Hunger Games and Bring Them to Their Knees . She is the only child of Aetos and Vanora (Hayes) Zimmerman, and often finds herself playing the bad guy. She was voted into the First Quarter Quell because of her aggressive attitude, lethal aim with knives, and surprising knowledge of the world around her.
Atalanta Zimmerman was born on June 8 to Aetos and Vanora Zimmerman. As their only child, Atalanta was slightly spoiled, getting exactly what she wanted as long as she was polite, but it was obvious that Atalanta was not the pretty dresses and nail polish kind of daughter that Vanora had wanted. Rather, she showed great interest in knives, and always watched her older cousins Arend and Thies practice with sharp blades in her backyard with a strong fascination.
It was not until her sixth birthday that her Mom let her try practicing them, and the entire family was shocked-- Arend and Thies included-- when they first saw her throw. Even as a young child, Atalanta had deadly accuracy. The cousins also enjoyed playing Knife Tag, where one person had a butter knife, and tried to throw it at the other two. If someone was hit, the other person could run up and tag them, and then they would both be granted five seconds to leave before the person with the knife could pursue them again. Because Arend and Thies were weary of giving the other bragging rights, Atalanta was almost always the armed person, and was introduced quite early to the concept of being "The Bad Guy."
At school, Atalanta was at the top of her class, constantly trying to outscore her rival Birgitta Jones. They were bitter enemies, Birgitta calling Atalanta "Attie," her much hated nickname that she had just recently grown out of. Atalanta, on the other hand, took Birgitta on with a very cold exterior. She rarely talked to her, but made sure it was known that she was superior. Atalanta's refusal to admit Birgitta as her competition really got to Birgitta's head, which only made them even more hostile towards each other.
When Atalanta was seven, and Birgitta had just turned eight, Arend and Birgitta's older sister, Karita, were reaped. Birgitta constantly bothered her about Arend, saying that he would die eventually, and that there was absolutely nothing she could do about it. Atalanta exploded, announcing that if by some miracle, Karita did make it to the Final Eight, she would die by Arend's hands. They would have gotten into a nasty fight, had it not been for teacher intervention.
When Arend was finally shot by an arrow, Atalanta sunk into an uncharacteristically sullen state. She met Lyric Moore in the restroom while she was trying to wash off her tear stains. They became fast friends, and Lyric later introduced her to Avis, whom Atalanta also befriended. Lyric tried to help Atalanta get to know Birgitta as well, to which she responded by storming out of their sights and saying that she never wanted to see them again. It was not until she saw Birgitta crying over her sister's grave while on the way to school that Atalanta changed her mind. As Lyric had said, they both had a mutual loss, and needed to help each other out of it. Even though they ate lunch together and tried to socialize, Atalanta and Birgitta were still very distant.
A month after Arend and Karita's deaths, Atalanta received even more shocking news. Thies and her Aunt Hopelle had died of drug poisoning, and her Uncle Gustave had developed lung cancer. Lyric, Avis, and Birgitta comforted her. When she was in the Capitol, Atalanta wondered where she would have been without her them, or what may have happened. It was also at that time that she and Birgitta grew much closer, finally allowing the other to see her at her most vulnerable.
Three months later, there was a huge storm that occured while the three of them were heading home from school. They all ran for Atalanta's house, the closest one, but before they were able to do so, a tree fell on Lyric. It was a miracle that she survived, but from then on, Lyric would be bedridden. Atalanta had never felt so helpless.
Ever since, she began practicing with her knives so often, with the intentions of never feeling vulnerable again. Her parents began to worry about her, as she was practicing with them to the point where it was borderline obsessive, but Atalanta never stopped. It was as if every blade contained a tiny portion of her anger that only escaped when thrown. Though she never admitted it, Atalanta would pretend she was throwing the knife at the Career who killed Arend, or the tree that stole Lyric's ability to walk.
Pregames Atalanta is first mentioned in her reaping chapter . It begins with her waking up and going outside to practice with her knives. After eating an apple and having a short conversation with her mom, Atalanta heads over to her friend Avis's house to prepare for the reaping. There, she has a short lived argument with her other friend Birgitta over The Hunger Games and arrogance, because of how likely it was that would be reaped. However, they are interrupted by Avis's mom, who takes them to the District Square.
Atalanta isn't surprised when she is reaped, assuming that her district wants a chance at the rewards that come with winning. In the Justice Building, she says good bye to Avis and Birgitta first, and then to her parents before boarding the train. It isn't clear what Atalanta's token was, so feel free to use your imaginations.
Atalanta is first seen in the Chariot Rides, where Roulla Saney descibes her and Bastian as "...wearing heavy black body suits, witha jagged white line shaped like a lightning bolt traveling from their left hips to their right shoulders, and then looping back to their hips. The sleeves of the suits look as if they are made of wires, and the both of them have spiked hair that sticks out from their heads frenetically, as though they have been shocked."
“She almost never smiles... it seems like the only time she’s ever happy is when she’s talking about her family.” -Atalanta on Vanora
It’s difficult to really know what Atalanta thinks of her mother, as she always acts nice around her, but seems annoyed. Although Atalanta inherited her mother’s red hair, it is clear that she did not get her personality from Vanora. While her mother is calm and passive, Atalanta is fiery, and can be vicious. Atalanta’s angry behavior can often cause disagreements between her and Vanora, but in the end, they always resolve.
A couple hours before The Twenty Fifth Quarter Quell Reaping, Atalanta and her mother had a brief conversation in which Vanora told Atalanta to go to Avis’s house. This could suggest that Vanora is normally the one to give Atalanta instructions. While at the Justice Building, Vanora tries to give Atalanta a hug, but she pushes her away, hinting that Atalanta is somewhat hostile towards her mom. At the end of the chapter, Atalanta doesn’t have any final thoughts about her mother as she gets on the train, showing that she doesn’t really care much for her.
-Aetos instructs his daughter on what to do in the arena
“Stay alert and you’ll be fine.”
The first time Atalanta ever mentions her father in Bring Them to Their Knees is when she is regarding his promotion. She thinks of her father as a successful individual, who knows how to get to a point. While in the Justice Building, he gave her advice for the Games, showing that he does genuinely care for Atalanta. Atalanta also says that she was always better off than most, moneywise, hinting that Aetos has a good job. There isn’t much interaction between the two, but they are definitely on good terms.
-Atalanta asks Birgitta and Avis to keep Lyric company
“Take care of Lyric for me”
Atalanta has been friends with Lyric for as long as she can remember. The two were always really close, which is shown when Atalanta tells Birgitta and Avis to take care of Lyric. Although Lyric does not appear at Atalanta’s Reaping, Atalanta still thinks about her quite a bit. Atalanta and Lyric used to enjoy causing trouble together, until she was bedridden. It is believable that Atalanta never truly recovered from it, because she still felt guilty when she remembered the time Lyric was knocked down by a maple tree.
-Atalanta and Birgitta talk before the Reaping
“You know there’s no reason to worry.” “We have every right to be worried... you’re our friend.”
Birgitta and Atalanta used to get along with each other horribly. They were both battling for the position as the top of the class, before Atalanta’s cousin, Arend, and Birgitta’s older sister, Karita, were both killed in the same Hunger Games. They were forced to get to know each other better when Arend and Karita acted like old friends, during the Final Eight Interview, but it wasn’t until both of their family members’ deaths that they really bonded, when Birgitta comforted Atalanta after finding common ground. The two became friends shortly after that.
It is clear that Birgitta cares about Atalanta’s well being. When they are getting ready for the Reaping, she expresses her fear for Atalanta’s safety, and warns her about arrogance, and that it could put her in a tough position. When they are saying their goodbyes in the Justice Building, Atalanta forgives Birgitta for taking something she said personally, because she doesn’t want to leave on bad terms.
-Atalanta on Avis
“As great as Avis is, her family is something I'd rather not deal with.”
Atalanta refers to Avis as the quiet one in her group of friends, and tends to think of her as the comical relief when necessary. At first, Avis may seem like a naive pushover, but considering that she’s friends with Atalanta, it would be safe to say that she is far from that. Avis genuinely cares for Atalanta’s well being, though she doesn’t really show it verbally. Usually, Birgitta is able to talk for both of them, which is shown when she and Atalanta get into a short argument about arrogance and the Reaping.
Atalanta has long, unruly red hair, which she normally wears down, but puts it in a pony when she trains. If she put some effort in it, her hair would be curly, but usually it’s knotty and any hairdresser’s worst nightmare. She has transfixing emerald green eyes, and tanned skin, as well as a dusting of freckles over her nose. She has a thin frame for someone in her district, and an almost bird-like stature, like she’s ready to run at any moment. Atalanta isn’t particularly tall, standing at 5’7. However, due to her training exercises, she is slightly muscular, and strong for her size.
Atalanta normally wears a loose shirt and shorts or sweatpants while training. During her actual reaping, she changed into a sleeveless green dress, which was most likely purchased by Avis.
Atalanta is independent, and has strong instincts, due to her intense studies in school. When she was a child, Atalanta was relatively friendly, but turned cold after losing both her cousins, and a tree falling on Lyric. She doesn’t really trust anyone outside of her friends, and is more likely to stick a knife in your back than smile. She is naturally cold and calculating, and has no problem showing it. In fact, it is likely that no one would ever be able to catch her vulnerable side, because her personality would probably scare them off. Atalanta is usually logical, but can make rash decisions when someone mentions her friends, and can come across as overprotective.
She has a slight fear of trees that she has been harboring since the accident, and hates bows and arrows with a burning passion. Also, when she gets extremely panicked, she starts wheezing, though it’s never happened since she was seven.
Atalanta is very stubborn, and once she makes a decision, it’s nearly impossible to get her to change her mind. She also has a fierce will to live, and is capable of going to high lengths to ensure her survival. She’s not really a people person, and is usually more manipulative than friendly. When you toy with her emotions the right way, she can easily react first and ask questions later. Atalanta also has the temperament of a stereotypical redhead- it doesn’t take much to get her angry. She also hates taking orders, and prefers to discipline herself rather than have others do it. Atalanta is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, to the point where she’ll have a knife at your throat if you take her opinion as a joke.
Even though Atalanta could be described as self centered and self reliant, she is extremely loyal towards those she loves, and if you somehow get on her good side, it’s very hard to get out. She has a natural instinct to protect her friends, to the point where she would volunteer for them should one be reaped.
Her favorite color is green, and her favorite food is any kind of apple, but she favors red. She was named after the Greek heroine who is famous for losing a foot race because she was distracted by apples.
Atalanta is amazing with a knife, and is a highly skilled hunter, both she learned from her two cousins Arend and Thies. She also studies hard, and has managed to gather a vast knowledge on flora and fauna, as well as gather decent survival tactics. Atalanta is also a fair climber, sometimes she would to climb up her trees and pick apples.
Bring Them to Their Knees
- Chapter 6 , "District Five: Chosen to Kill Him".
- Chapter 19 , "Villians Enjoy Themselves".
- Chapter 48 , "How to Get a Weapon".
- Atalanta’s birthday is the same as one of her author’s friends, her middle name is a variation of another one of her author’s friend’s name, and her last name is a variation of her author’s friend’s last name.
- Atalanta was named after the Greek heroine Atalanta, who is most known for being a fast runner, but ultimately lost in a race after being distracted by apples. Ironically, apples are Atalanta’s favorite food.
- Atalanta’s favorite color is green, because it reminds her of the apple tree in her backyard.