Saturday, February 11, 2012

Harry Potter vs Twilight

Every single day I see at least one post on Facebook about how much better Harry Potter is than Twilight and about 200 more posts hating on the Twilight series. I can only assume that a vast majority of these posts are written by people who have never in fact even read Twilight and just feel it necessary to go along with the haters because they like Harry Potter and because its what everyone else on the internet is doing. As someone who has read both series I would like to shine a bit of perspective on the matter.

First of all, the books are absolutely nothing alike. They do not even fall under the same genre: Harry Potter being high fantasy and Twilight being paranormal romance. The only reason this ridiculous comparison came about is because another author started getting a ton of publicity and Harry Potter was no longer the only series everyone knew about; rather petty if you ask me. Twilight and Stephanie Meyer becoming popular did not make Harry Potter or J.K. Rowling any less popular. Its popularity has never been in any way a threat to the Harry Potter fandom, so where all the hate from those people are coming from I cannot figure out.

Next, to all the people who accuse Stephanie Meyer of stealing ideas from J.K. Rowling: I repeat, the books are not even slightly similar. The only thing you can say that relates the two are that both have a werewolf with the last name black, though I would like to point out that in Twilight they are not even actually werewolves so people really need to let that argument go. However, since I doubt my pointing out that they have next to nothing in common will stop anyone from claiming Meyer "stole" ideas from Rowling, lets look at this from another perspective: where did J.K. Rowling get her ideas? No piece of writing is wholly original; it is simply impossible for anyone to write without being influenced by what they have read and J.K. Rowling is no exception. To me, a Lord of the Rings obsessed Tolkien fan, it is blatantly obvious that Rowling was influenced by the Lord of the Rings. Here are just a few examples:
                                                 
Sauron is vanquished but survives through the ring.  
Voldemort is vanquished but survives via horcruxes
Frodo is an orphan raised by his Uncle Bilbo          
Harry is an orphan raised by his Uncle Vernon
Merry and Pippin are the comic relief troublemakers
Fred and George are the comic relief troublemakers
Gandalf is the wise guiding old wizard                    
Dumbledore is the wise guiding old wizard
Wormtongue the deceiver
Wormtail the deceiver(but you're gonna complain about Black?)
Nazgul's screams suck all life and hope out of you  
Dementors suck all life and hope out of you
Smeagol serves Frodo 
Dobby/Kreacher serve Harry
The list goes on and on. Obviously she was influenced by Tolkien, but you do not see people accusing her of stealing ideas from him. Why? Because the Harry Potter books are, at their essence, an entirely different story than Lord of the Rings and are great books for entirely different reasons. Personally I love finding all the similarities between Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings; as another person who is greatly inspired by Tolkien seeing what Rowling did with that inspiration gives me hope that I too may one day write something great. So why is it that everyone feels the need to hate on Stephanie for writing her own story? So what if she happened to have been inspired by Harry Potter (I do not know whether or not she was. Honestly I don't see any similarities between the two, but that is not the point.) If she was then all the more reason to respect her; she was inspired by your favorite books.

Now before anyone tries to say that I must be another obsessed Twilight fan and thats why I feel this way, I am not. I read the books and I enjoyed the books, but I by no means think they are the most amazing books I have ever read. I also read and enjoyed the Harry Potter books, and I absolutely loved them. I personally prefer Lord of the Rings to either of them, but you don't see me getting upset that Rowling is getting more attention than Tolkien. She wrote amazing books and deserves everything she has been given. Stephanie Meyer, however, deserves a great deal more respect than she has been granted since her books went viral, whether you like her books or not. I am sure everyone has read at least one book that they wished they had never picked up, but they do not go out and post such hateful words as people have posted about Meyer. If you prefer Harry Potter then cool; if you prefer Twilight then power to you. But I do not understand why there needs to be so much competition and hate between the two fan bases. Both are good stories in their own right and I enjoyed each of them for different reasons, and so far the world has not come crashing down. So if you are worried that by being a Harry Potter fan that doesn't despise Twilight and Stephanie Meyer you might bring about the apocalypse, I assure you, you're safe. And for those of you who have gone along with the viral hatred of Twilight without ever having picked up one of the books, you should at least read them so you have reasoning to dislike them besides "that meme on Facebook told me to."

2 comments:

  1. I love both Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Sadly, I haven't found the time to read Twilight, but I'm expecting it to be good. I don't understand why people have needless hate ether.

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  2. I know its been years since this post and probably no one will ever read this, but I still feel the need to comment. I have read both the Harry Potter and Twilight stories and, like you say, they really have nothing in common. I also agree that hating on Meyer "in defense" of the Potter fandom is shameful and harmful. However, I do not agree that there is no need to publicly ridicule the Twilight series itself. The Twilight books all portray an extremely unhealthy relationship and tout it as "true love." Edward is over 100 years old, extremely fast and strong, and immortal while Bella is 18, of average speed and strength, and mortal. This creates a HUGE power imbalance in their relationship, and that power imbalance is never addressed or dealt with. Edward continually makes choices about their relationship without consulting Bella, which severely undermines her agency and is another issue never dealt with in the books. Edward is a stalker. This may be excused because Bella likes it, but he began the stalking without her consent, which again undermines her agency. Both Edward and Bella become suicidal when separated- that's not love, that's codependence. And of course, last but definitely not the least issue- Jacob imprinting on Renesme. Some may argue that the nature of the imprint bond, which makes Jacob want to be whatever Renesme needs him to be, negates the creepy paedo factor. It doesn't. In fact, it just adds another problem to the series in that an entire species of people routinely have their free will subsumed by magic and we are supposed to be ok with that. Also, according to the books imprints usually fall in love with their wolves because "its hard to resist that level of devotion." So, Jacob will be forced by wolf magic to groom the child of his first love for a romantic relationship and Renesme will grow up and fall into a relationship with a man who loved her mother and changed her diapers. I have nothing against Meyer, one of her other series is on my all time favorites list, but I do have a problem with Twilight, and dismissing all twilight hate as inter-fandom squabbling erases some very real and serious issues.

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