There will be spoilers for the whole Hunger Games Trilogy.
Look Away :-).
That being said, Peeta is one of the most slept on characters in The Hunger Games series. Everyone looks at Gale, because he's archetypal of strength, masculinity, and has been in Katniss' life forever. I can respect why loads of people in the fandom would side with Gale, as he is passionate, and has strong thoughts of rebelling against the Capitol. Meanwhile, Peeta is, for the most part, an observer of Katniss, often fading into the background of her life. It can be said that if it were not for the games, Katniss and Peeta would probably never have grown any closer than they did with the toss of bread when she really needed it (which has a strong enough connotation about Peeta's feelings). But the games did happen, and as readers, we were able to encounter an extraordinary guy. I can't help but believe that this is Collins' own way of showing us that the person, or society, that is second guessed, is the one who is victorious in the end.
Not only does Peeta come from a district that the rest of Panem shrugs off, he goes into this sadistic competition with the knowledge that even his own mother expects him to die. What further grabs my heart, is it seems from the very beginning, Peeta sets out with the mindset that he will die, so he makes his purpose to sway the game in Katniss' favor. He is not your stereotypical fighter, and has a gentle aire about him as the Baker's son, but he is very calculated. He uses his charm, his strength, and his ability to win people over so that he can manipulate the game. Of course manipulation is not the most positive attribute, but it is a weapon used effectively in these games. He knows how to camouflage his appearance, after years of cake decoration, and he's merely using the Capitol's own facade against them. It's quiet and yet effective, because sometimes jumping in with guns slinging can get you killed. While Katniss is in the process of discovering herself and her feelings, Peeta continues to put himself on the line, knowing that it's even imminent that she will not return his feelings.
The unthinkable happens when he is captured by the Capitol, his mind hijacked, so that he does not know what's real anymore. Right after finishing Mockingjay, I saw someone's post on Tumblr basically saying, 'What about Gale?", and I was a bit floored. What about Gale? After all that Peeta endures for Katniss, the torture, the Capitol trying to make him someone else (the very thing he said he didn't want to happen), we still wonder about Gale? Peeta is not perfect, or prince charming, but he has it right. I'm going to side with the guy who can still love Katniss in the midst of echoed lies from the Capitol that she's an enemy.
It was no surprise to me, that Peeta, is the one Katniss chooses at the end. Gale represents unharnessed passion, and such is needed when fighting against injustices, but hope, gentleness, love, and endurance are needed to live life after you've lost everything. They both spur each other on, give each other a hope to hold on to, and have gone through an experience that no one else (unless they were tributes) can understand. Peeta's the dandelion I couldn't resist.
Y'all have fun watching The Hunger Games!!!!