The tiger first appears in Chapter 23 of “The Grasshopper”, where Katniss’s small band of rebels needs a place to hide in the Capitol. Katniss herself doesn’t know where to go, but Cressida (played by Natalie Dormer) takes them to the Tigris fabric store. It almost immediately makes Katniss feel uncomfortable because at this point the older Tigger is more of a cat than a woman.
“She’s an extreme example of a surgical procedure gone wrong,” the narration reads from Katniss’s perspective, “because surely even the Capitol wouldn’t find that face attractive. The skin was pulled tight and tattooed with black and gold stripes. the nose was flattened until it almost didn’t exist […] The result is a grotesque, half-feline mask that now looks at us with distrust.”
In addition to looking like a tiger, the Tiger also has a purring voice, tends to growl, and apparently only eats raw meat. (Katniss is skeptical on this last point, suspecting that Tigris is simply lying to maintain his animal personality.) At first glance, Tigris seems to be a clear example of the Capitol’s excesses gone too far. The books often portrayed the Capitol’s inhabitants’ fondness for fashion, makeup, and plastic surgery in a deeply cynical way, as a sign of straightforward decadence and a sign of their unnatural isolation from any real struggles and concerns.
However, in just the dozen or so pages that feature Tigris, we get many more clues about her past, suggesting that her transformation may not be out of vanity as it might seem…