Peeta Mellark is one of the protaganist of The Hunger Games trilogy.
The same age as Katniss, the blue-eyed Peeta Mellark is a baker’s son which makes him wealthier than most people in District 12. He had a simple life with a father, mother and two unnamed brother. However his childhood could still be considerably better as his mother was known to beat her kids up every now and then.
As we move back and forth in time in the three books, we gather that Peeta Mellark had always been drawn by a certain Katniss Everdeen, so much so that he says he has been in love with Katniss since he was five. He remembered eleven years before, on his first day of school, his father pointed out another small child entering the school yard with him. Peeta was fascinated with the girl, in her red plaid dress and her hair in two braids. Peeta told Katniss that his father said, “See that little girl? I wanted to marry her mother, but she ran off with a coal miner.” Peeta had then replied, “A coal miner? Why did she want a coal miner when she could have had you?” His father answered, “Because when he sings…even the birds stop to listen.”
Having a very selfless nature, Peeta also has a likeable personlity. He also shows willingness to compromise, and a flair for showmanship.
When he’s chosen as one of the tributes from District 12, along with Katniss, it certainly poses a dilemma in front of him – of his own survival and Katniss’s.
Peeta’s bold and calculative nature comes forth when he confesses his unrequited love for Katniss on live television in an interview just before the Games. While he was still playing a part in the plan formed by Haymitch Abernathy, his confessions were true and triggered an unprecedented favoritism in his and Katniss’s favor.
During the Games, Peeta Mellark solely acts to keep Katniss from harm while forming untrue alliances to keep other contenders distracted. Throughout the game, as the plot moves to give him sometimes hatred, sometimes love by Katniss, Peeta’s feelings remain unchanged. There was almost no violence from Peeta’s part as he dislikes killing until extremely unavoidable.
While at the end, when Katniss finds him after the rule change in which two tributes of the same district can be saved, he is fatally wounded, his first instinct is still Katniss’s survival.
At the end, when the rule change is unexpectedly reversed, Katniss suggests that they attempt suicide so they will both die together, and they are hastily declared winners of the 74th Hunger Games.
After the Games are over, Peeta is in for a rude shock when he realises Katniss was only partially in love with him and most of it was just an act. Even though Katniss is confused over her feelings, Peeta is estranged.
In Catching Fire, Peeta’s role is the person around which most of the plot revolves, even though is unaware of the on-going turmoil in the districts before he sets foot in the Victory Tour and proposes to Katniss to live up the ‘star-crossed’ lovers image.
Both Katniss and Peeta are once again in the Games Arena as the 75th Hunger Games are the Quarter Quell, in which the previous winners are reaped. While here Katniss’s strategy is to save Peeta, he and their team is working behind-the-scenes to a plan of their own.
Peeta’s love for Katniss is still strong even though they both acknowledge there is something that Katniss feels for Gale as well.
During the Quell, Peeta runs into a force field and his heart stops, but their ally Finnick Odair restarts it by using CPR. At the end, a hovercraft arrives and tries to take Katniss, Peeta, and their allies, revealing that a team consisting of people from different districts were planning to bail them out. But Peeta is among those captured by the Capitol, while Katniss goes with the others to District 13, which is revealed to still exist.
Having been captured by the Capitol, Peeta Mellark goes through a traumatic experience of being “hijacked” and injected with tracker jackers. His family, on the other hand, has been killed in the bombing of District 12.
Peeta’s memories of Katniss are tarnished so he only remembers pain and hurt associated with her. The venom completely alters his view of the world. While before he was the gentle and clear headed Boy With The Bread, now he only remembers that he must kill Katniss Everdeen. After being rescued by District 13, along with Annie Cresta, a team starts to work to restore Peeta. Delly Cartwright from District 12 is the only one who can safely be around Peeta till his responses start to improve.
On several occassions, he is still not sure whether he trusts Katniss, and thus begins the iconic “Real Or Not Real” game where he asks people around him whether a certain memory is real or not.
As time passes, he is almost back to his normal self and gets involved with Katniss with the war and the members of District 13. As he gathers with the Hunger Games victors during the execution of President Snow, he stops Katniss from committing suicide after she kills Coin instead.
Knowing that Katniss is temporarily insane and being imprisoned in her own heart, he helps and comforts her during the aftermath of the war. Later, he plants primroses beside her house in memory of her sister.
Peeta and Katniss grow back together as he stays by her side helping her heal. He becomes Katniss’s “Dandelion In The Spring”, the promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses.
So after, when Peeta whispers, “You love me. Real or not real?”
She tell him, “Real.”
In the epilogue, Peeta fathers two kids, a girl who looks like Katniss and a boy who looks exactly like him.