Friday, November 18, 2011

TWI vs. HP

Guess who is going to see Breaking Dawn tonight?!

I’m very excited! First of all, as I’ve said in another post, I just like being around fanatics. I want to go to ComicCon not because I’m a Trekkie but because I want to be around Trekkies. As for Twilight, I have seen and will see all of the movies that come out. I was just as enthralled as anyone when I first read the books. I remember being on a trip to see my in-laws when I was finishing the first book and I went into a somewhat manic state in the need to get my hands on the second. I ended up buying it in the Indiana University Bookstore and I proceeded to not talk to anyone for the rest of the trip, so deep was my nose buried betwixt its glossy black covers. However, as I finished the series and as the overall arc, characters and morals sunk their little fangs into me, I became a bit of a cynic.

Looking through Pinterest last night I came across a bunch of memes that articulated my feelings in awesome ways. So instead of straight bashing on Twilight, I’d rather tell you why I love Harry Potter so much more.

When the love of her life leaves her, Hermione stays true to her course and continues with her impossibly difficult task of bringing down the Dark Lord.
When the love of her life leaves her for her own protection, Ginny helps lead a group of students to rebel against Death Eaters, restart a defense group and protect other students against wrong-doers.
When the love of her life leaves her for her own protection, Bella slides into a comatose-like state for several months and then commits (suicide-like) dangerous acts in hopes of seeing him/getting him back.

Harry’s story is so sad and real because so many people were lost in the quest for his survival and the triumph over evil. Five parent-like figures are killed and Harry emotionally deals with each of these losses. Harry ultimately sacrifices his own life (or tries to) in order to protect the people he loves.
Bella’s whole storyline prepares her for the choice she has to make…mortality and its beauty, but loss of things like family, Jacob and childbearing - or immortality, Edward and love. In the end she gets everything and gives up nothing.

HP teaches youth that wealth does not determine your worth. The richest characters (Malfoys) are some of the worst, while the poorest (Weasleys) are good and rich in happiness.
In Twilight, the main characters each have their own smokin’ cars and never wear the same outfits twice.

HP ends with an epic battle.
The Twilight series’ last three books lead up to an epic battle…but in the end someone gives a little speech and they all just agree to go home.

HP teaches kids that you have to kiss a few toads before you meet your prince. Harry didn’t marry Cho, Ron didn’t marry Lavendar, Ginny didn’t marry Dean, Hermione didn’t marry Viktor.
Twilight teaches girls that it is entirely understandable to give up your family, friends and your MORTAL SOUL for the boy you date when you’re 17.

Lily Potter – sacrifices her life so Harry can live. The image of a mother's love.
Molly Weasley – fiercely protective of her kids and their friends. Dives between her daughter and Bellatrix Lestrange with the oft-quoted line, “Not my daughter, you bitch!” (Interesting note – this is the only place I’ve seen this word used in the series)
Renee – such a non-mother that Bella is the more nurturing/responsible of the two. Plays relatively no role in her daughter’s life. Ships daughter off when Renee wants to go live with her boyfriend.

HP’s character flaws are real. Their main characters go through phases of insensitivity, darkness, recklessness, irresponsibility that puts others in danger, angst, being an “insufferable know-it-all,” being obtuse.
Bella’s biggest character flaw is being (charmingly) clumsy. Edward’s is loving Bella too much.

I used the HP books to earn extra credit points in high school English because I could find all of my SAT vocab words in the books.
The word “chagrin” is used 15 times in the Twilight books. (Another fun fact – there are 165 references to Edward’s beauty.)

It must be noted that HP isn’t perfect and that I must not take all of these points TOO seriously because I did read all of the books and am willingly (and likely in-costume-ly) going to Breaking Dawn tonight. In the end, anything that caused young people to pick up and book and start reading and maybe even plant a seed that leads to a lifelong love of literature…well, that’s fine by me. Would I let June read Twilight? Of course. But you bet your sparkly butt that I would be having a conversation with her about healthy teen relationships, including but not limited to the unhealthy nature of boys breaking in to your home and watching you sleep and also disabling your car to prevent you from going to see your friends.

1 comment:

  1. I was enthralled by your detailed comparison of these two fascinating series. I, like you, will always have a stronger love and connection to the characters and storylines of the Harry Potter chronicles more so than the Twilight saga. However, as a public school teacher, I do agree that anything that encourages young people to pick up a book, be transferred into a magical world of fascination and creativity over video games and the internet is fine with me!