A few months ago I re-read the Harry Potter series in under a fortnight to ‘remind’ myself about the wonder of the world J.K. Rowling managed to create. (You can read all about it by clicking here.) Last week, I decided to re-read the Twilight series for similar reasons – and because I wanted to look into some comparisons (or lack thereof) between them.
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of Twilight love out there, but there’s also an awful lot of Twilight bashing, especially in the writing world. I’m not entirely sure if this is a legitimate Stephen King quote, but most sources agree that it is, and either way, it’s a pretty good summary:
Don’t get me wrong – I wouldn’t have done a re-read of Stephenie Meyer’s books if I hadn’t at least somewhat enjoyed them the first time around. And speaking of that, I originally encountered the Twilight series at the end of 2008, so that’s nearly seven years ago now, and I really did enjoy them back then. I remember being unexpectedly surprised – especially since I had never liked books with paranormal elements or anything even remotely involving vampires. I was also a bit of a first-person snob when it came to writing styles (as in, I didn’t enjoy reading books written in first person – but don’t worry, that’s changed now! I’m much more open to a whole slew of different writing styles). I remember that it was actually somewhat disconcerting to realise that I was enjoying reading about a seventeen-year-old girl and her sparkly, blood-drinking boyfriend. But I got over that and immersed myself in the story.
It’s interesting to note how different things were this time around, especially since I’ve matured a lot in seven years (or at least, I like to think I have!). I actually struggled to get into the first book this time, but I also had the same problem with Harry Potter last year, so I diligently pressed on, knowing that there must have been something that I enjoyed about it all those years ago. And sure enough, as soon as I was part way through the second book, it began to make more sense to me. I think it’s that, at least this time around, I saw the characters more clearly. In the first book, I really, honestly, don’t like them. Even Edward, who I have this memory of absolutely adoring, he just annoyed me last week. He was pushy and moody and omigosh, all he ever did was sigh! And Bella was just so… eugh. Characters are kinda my make-it-or-break-it qualifier when it comes to books, so it was a mission to get through the first book. But I’m glad I did, because like I said, about half way through the second book, they started to become more likable – mostly. It helped when all the different wolves came into it, because they added the cool element… And it helped that Bella started to (very, very slightly) stand up to Edward and make her own decisions and not be such a wallflower as the series progressed. And the creativity of the more interesting conflict in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn was enjoyable too, especially since it was complimented by richer character development.
So, was it entertaining? Definitely. And that’s why so many people have read it! It might not have the wonder and magic of Harry Potter, but it has its own platform, its own target audience. People slander Twilight because they make comparisons between it and the world of Hogwarts, but that’s like comparing two different brands of chocolate. When it comes down to it, chocolate is chocolate! It’s always going to be yummy, even if different types maybe taste a little different. The same is true for HP and Twilight – they both have their own enjoyable flavour, and they’ve both drawn in readers by opening up delicious new fantasy worlds.
If anything, I feel like young adult authors (and aspiring authors) should salute Stephenie Meyer, because while she’s often ridiculed for her ‘simplistic’ writing, it’s one of the things that has enabled people who don’t read to read her books – and thus it puts them on a path of looking for other YA books to enjoy. (Thank you, Stephenie!)
So, to answer the title of this post (“Twilight vs Harry Potter”), all I’ll say is there is no real answer from me. They’re just different brands of chocolate. One might be a bit sweeter than the other, it might even be the kind of rich, decadent pleasure that only comes from the finest European emporiums… But at the end of the day, if you need a fix, you’ll still satiate your craving with the cheap stuff from the corner store. So, eat up and enjoy!
(That said, if push comes to shove, I’ll always be a Harry Potter girl at heart – there’s no question about it.)
Now, this last pic is totally irrelevant to this post, but I still had a giggle when I saw it and wanted to include it even if it doesn’t have anything to do with what I’ve written here. (Insert non-apologetic shrug).