It has become a trend to always compare the latest emerging franchise with the previous ones in order to get people to notice and spend their money on books, movie tickets, merchandise and so on. Over the past few months I have more than once read articles concerning the Hunger Games, comparing it to franchises that have done well before it, most notably Twilight. I don’t hate Twilight, but the comparison still bugs me because aside from both of them being written by women with a girl as the protagonist, they really are nothing alike. The immediate comparison also makes me fear that they will use the same promotional strategy for Hunger Games by making it all about team Peeta or team Gale.
In my opinion Twilight is not at all comparable to the Hunger Games. While Twilight is a book about a teenage girl who falls completely in love with a boy who she later finds out is a vampire, Hunger Game is a series about growing up in a world of oppression and trying to break away from the government’s control. Bella is driven by her own desire and love for Edward, and at times Jacob, while Katniss is driven by her need to stay alive and protect her family, friends and in the end, all the districts.
More importantly, the characters themselves are so fundamentally different. I don’t want this to sound like I’m bashing on Twilight, because that is not my intention. Bella is not a strong female character. I think she improves towards the end, but throughout much of the series she is only driven by her love for Edward. Just take a look at New Moon and how she just shuts down when Edward leaves and how she is willing to just pretend to leave and never see her family again just so she can be with her boyfriend.
Katniss on the other hand, is the complete opposite. Despite having both Peeta and Gale express romantic interest in her, she doesn’t even acknowledge their feelings in the beginning. When she does realise and accept it, she pushes it away and tries to avoid thinking about it as much as she can. Her main focus is to protect her family and friends, which she does despite being scared out of her mind in the games while fighting for her own life. Even in the end when she loses so many of the people who mean the most to her, she is still fighting to make things better for all of Panem. There is no way you can compare these characters, just like you can’t compare the stories themselves.
So I hope that they do it differently this time and stop relying on the Twilight comparisons in order to get the audience interested. This is a series that reaches a larger demographic and that people are not as ashamed to admit they like in the way many people are with Twilight. In many ways I think comparing it to Twilight will be a disadvantage, because as much as some people passionately love Twilight, others passionately hate it. I don’t take sides, I only hope that the journalists who write these comparisons check their facts and realise that they are nothing alike.