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In Catching Fire, Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch and Effie are taken to the capitol. While Haymitch gives the Tributes his "forget everything you think you know about the games" speech there is some creepy-looking person standing in the background looking like a hollow-eyed fencing enthusiast with tape haphazardly wrapped around her head.

I'm guessing it's something addressed in the books. Can someone please tell me who it is and why they're there?

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I thought that she was just a server but when I saw her I knew she was different, she had a headpiece that matched her dress with pulled up hair and dark eyes. When I first saw her I was going to FREAK OUT! –  user9704 May 20 at 17:00

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You are looking at the unfortunate Lavinia. She is a non-character in the movies, but does play some role in the novels.

Note - If you go to any of these links, there are spoilers for the third book. If you haven't read it, be wary. From the Wikipedia she is:

An Avox (a servant whose tongue has been cut out as punishment for treason). She has red hair, pale skin, and striking features. Because of her inability to speak, Katniss initially does not know her name or anything about her. Katniss recognizes her from when she and Gale witnessed the girl's capture and the death of her friend, and Katniss later speculates that she is a runaway from the Capitol.

To explain what an Avox is, from the Hunger Games Wiki:

An Avox is a person who has been punished for being a rebel against the Capitol; a traitor or a runaway. Avoxes have had their tongues cut out, rendering them mute. They are used as domestic servants and waiter upon tributes and Capitol citizens. It is also suggested that Avoxes are charged with the day-to-day maintenance of the Capitol and work shifts in the Transfer network under the city. The term "avox" is from Latin, meaning "without a voice."

Some more information about Lavinia, again from the Hunger Games Wiki:

Before she became an Avox, Lavinia and an unknown boy, whom Katniss believed was her brother or lover, were seen by Katniss and Gale while they were out hunting, in an off-limits wood outside of District 12. They appeared to be escaping from the Capitol for unknown reasons, and Katniss noted that the two had a "Capitol look" to them. A Capitol hovercraft appeared; the boy was struck with a spear that was shot from the hovercraft and was killed instantly, then was lifted up to the hovercraft, not to be mentioned again in the series. Lavinia, however, was scooped up by a net and taken into the hovercraft, and she briefly locked eyes with Katniss and Gale. When the boy was killed, she screamed what sounded like a name, and Katniss wondered if it was the name of the boy.

Years later, Lavinia waited on Katniss as an Avox whose tongue had been cut out for committing crimes against the Capitol. Katniss said she knew Lavinia, but at that time did not know her name or where she remembered her from. This worried the residents from the Capitol, so Peeta stepped in and claimed that Lavinia looked like Delly Cartwright - a girl from District 12 who went to school with them, and who Katniss claims, could be the nicest person on earth. As an Avox, she could not publicly acknowledge anything that was not a direct order, so Katniss' initial attempt at conversation was ignored. However when she later walks in on the mess Katniss has made in her room prior to interview night she shows some response to Katniss' attempted apology, indicating by gestures that Katniss did not need to be sorry, and that there was nothing she could have done, otherwise she too, would have been an Avox.

Finally, some trivia from the same page:

She is the only known Capitol citizen who attempted to escape for unknown reasons.

She is not mentioned in The Hunger Games film due to the thought that her presence would have been rendered useless and would not have mattered anyway.

Lavinia is also the name of a character in Shakespeare's play Titus Andronicus. In the play, Lavinia has her tongue removed after she is assaulted so she will not reveal who attacked her.

She's a truly tragic character and certainly a memorable one from the books.

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In the book, Katniss thought Lavinia was intentionally selected by President Snow to serve them, and by so, Snow showed her that he knows everything about her. And of course, that is the way President Snow shows Katniss that he had the power to make her suffer. –  FallenAngel Mar 18 at 11:06
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Man, you're burning through badges and points like you're catching fire! (I know, that was awful.) Have another 25! –  Meat Trademark Mar 18 at 11:12
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@FallenAngel: I remember that. She's a hideously tragic character in the stories, used and abused throughout. There really is a colossal amount of darkness in the books. –  Andrew Martin Mar 18 at 11:12
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@MeatTrademark: That was beyond awful, but I enjoyed it :P Thanks! –  Andrew Martin Mar 18 at 11:13

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