Team Bella or Team Katniss? It’s Not Even Close

The Hunger Games series — about a girl taken from home to participate in annual games which will result in almost certain death — have been called the “new Twilight.” Both of these movie franchises come from best selling books aimed at teenagers, both have female lead characters, both have love triangles, and both have parents wrangling with suitability for their kids.

However, I said no to Twilight and yes to Hunger Games for my kids, and here’s why.

First, our culture needs more Katnisses and fewer Bellas:

As the parent of a thirteen year old daughter, I was disappointed at the lead character in Twilight (Bella Swann) had become so popular…  though she’s always been ingrained in the popular imagination, hasn’t she?  As long as I can remember, there’s a damsel in distress tied to a rail road track, screaming for a man to rescue her in the nick of time.  Just because Bella is waiting for a werewolf or a vampire to rescue her doesn’t make her weakness any more palatable.  Bella is defined – some would argue consumed — by her romantic love.

Which is understandable since she doesn’t have a great relationship with either parent.  In fact, both Bella and Katniss have missing parents.  Bella’s parents are divorced and her mom is an emotionally weak woman living far away from her.  Katniss’s dad died in a coal mining accident.  Ever since her husband’s death, her mom is “vacant.” This plunges Katniss into a dire situation.  While Bella’s absent parents cause her to seek an intense love outside of her immediate family at an incredibly young age, Katniss assumes the role of care giver for her family, learns to hunt, and deals with merchants in the marketplace. She’s fierce, loyal, and independent even in the most trying of circumstances.  (If we could bend the book/time/movie continuum and introduce the two characters, Katniss wouldn’t get Bella.  “Why is she so depressed all the time?” she might say to Gale while looking for squirrels in the woods.  “ Why is she so sullen when she has so much food to eat and so much free time?”

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were fewer Bellas and more Katnisses in high schools across America?

Second, love in The Hunger Games is outward focused, while love in Twilight is inward focused:

Both Bella and Katniss have conflicted romantic feelings, but there’s a huge difference.  Rebecca Cusey wrote about Eclipse:

What concerns me is the very nature of Bella’s love. Edward is … always there, but they never do anything. They don’t hike or fish or go shopping or watch movies or play Wii or volunteer at a soup kitchen or even work at the local ice cream shop. They never laugh. They talk about their feelings. It’s all intensity all the time… While the emphasis on marriage is refreshing, the film begs the question what is the purpose of love, romance, and marriage? Is it solely to love and adore each other?

If the inward-focus of love is all there is, the intense talks and wildflower meadows, then Bella’s desire to become a vampire and adore Edward throughout eternity makes perfect sense. However, if that inward focus is designed to evolve into a greater outward focus, then she will surely miss out.

The love triangle in The Hunger Games centers on whether Katniss shold choose, childhood friend Gale or fellow contestant Peeta. However, the real story is the fight for survival, and the romance does not require characters to walk around without shirts for the duration of the film.  (In fact, there’s no sexual content in The Hunger Games.) Katniss Everdeen’s love causes her to bravely sacrifice on behalf of others – from taking care of her family to figuring out how to play a game in a way that hopefully won’t kill  her friend. As Rebecca pointed out, the love in the Twilight series is inwardly focused and makes you want to toss cold water on the characters’ heads. The love in The Hunger Games is outwardly focused, and movingly portrays characters acting in loving and courageous ways in the midst of tragedy.

Third, we live in a tough time, let’s have tough conversations.

Obviously, The Hunger Games has a more violent — and dark — plot. Though the producers do a great job at avoiding gruesome killings, Katniss must battle it out with the other contestants until there’s one survivor.  So how do you justify letting kids read about such a horrible situation?  Because there’s a strong message about personal freedom, liberty, war, and oppressive governments from which teens – and adults — would greatly benefit.

Plus, it’s time we face it.  We live in tough times.  Let’s start having difficult conversations with our teenagers.

 

In conclusion, there’s been a great deal of ink asking Twilight fans whether they’re Team Jacob or Team Edward, and Hunger Games fans whether they’re Team Gale or Team Peeta.  I say we put away these silly questions and declare ourselves Team Katniss over Team Bella.

Because, in the battle between these two teenage characters, it’s not even close.

About Nancy French

Nancy French is a three time New York Times Best Selling Author.

  • http://patheos.com Joy Rhodes

    We made the same decision here at our house based on the reasons you listed, plus one: I’m just not a big fan of “vampire love.” Me and my girls went to see the Hunger Games movie this weekend and I really enjoyed the conversations we had afterward. I gotta say that I do like your spin on the “team” issue. Count me in on Team Katniss!

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Joy, I agree — not sure about the intraspecies love triangle! yuck!

  • Kim Scruggs

    Great job explaining the differences, Nancy. I appreciate your perspective and insight; it helps me end my personal conflict of whether or not I should have let my almost-13 year old son read the series. I am reading it this week and taking him and his brother to see it next weekend. It will be Seth’s second viewing – he was behind you with Joey in that mob at Shadybrook on Thursday at midnight!

    Thank you for taking a stand and not being afraid to share those beliefs. Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Thanks, Kim — I saw Joey and Seth at the premiere!

  • Betsey Usher

    Thank you for posting this. As a person well beyond her teenage years, I am thrilled that “Katniss” is such a strong and positive role model for kids as well as for adults.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Yes, Betsey – I want to be more like Katniss too!

  • Amber

    While I appreciate the well thought out argument, the bottom line is that these books are children killing children in a dark, parentless existence. Is this really the best we have to offer our young adult readers? Shame on us.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      I totally get what you are saying — but you do think that these types of books ideally help us deal with the darkness in our own world? I mean, we do live in a dark place — our kids will have to deal with these terrible geopolitical challenges. Perhaps stories like this will prepare them to face down these challenges with courage?

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      They strike me as quite different. Katniss volunteers to go into the titular games in order to save the life of her little sister — and inside the arena, it’s kill-or-be-killed, and Katniss never (to my knowledge) initiates a fatal attack. She also, in the second novel, rejects the games and leads others in rebelling against them — and is then swept up in a civil war against a repressive totalitarian government. This seems quite different than teenagers (well, okay, immortal vampires with a few mortals sprinkled in) killing each other because they’re hungry for blood or because they are offended or etc.

      I don’t know about “the best we can offer” — lots of things are not the best we can offer. But the Hunger Games has a lot of good things to offer.

      It *is* interesting that so many stories — and this is not a new phenomenon — have protagonists with dead, absent or abusive parents. It opens the door for lots of interesting dramatic and emotional developments, but I think in some ways we have a hard time starting a story with a hero who has loving and supportive parents, unless those parents are killed or stolen or etc., because it doesn’t present as compelling a before-and-after.

  • http://www.fromthenarrows.com Susan

    Exactly what Amber said!

  • Jill

    I was mystified by the popularity of the Twilight series. Bella was obsessed, clingy, and a sad portrayal of teen infatuation. I did not want my daughter to see her as an acceptable model. However, I certainly understand why Katniss is seen as a positive depiction for girls. Yes, Panem is a grim place and the books are violent but the themes that Collins tackles have a timeless quality. Love, honor, integrity, and sacrifice. Our culture has been silent for more than a couple of decades about these very real aspects of humanity.

    Surely, these stories can take their place on the shelf beside Animal Farm, Brave New World, and The Lord of the Flies.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Jill, I like Twilight, but feel like the dad could’ve been much stronger in trying to calm down that teen romance a bit… I guess we’d only had one book then…

  • http://www.fouragainsttwo.com Mandy w

    I am navitgating these waters with my four girls. Two are 12 and I have let them see The Hunger Games. They have read the books, we have talked about the themes. I have also let them watch the first three Twilight movies (with me fast-forwarding some parts) and the older one has read the first three books (with me taking some pages-chapters away from the book). We’ve used them to discuss topics that they already are seeing in their everyday life…well not vampire love, but teen obsession and the definition love for some people. I have not chosen this lightly, but I have to do my best with kids being raised in this world.

    All that said, I am Team Katniss and when my girls talk about team Gale or Team Peeta I always tell them that Katniss is not a prize to be won, she is her own self and is amazing. Hopefully they are listening!

  • http://olderthanjesus.blogspot.com Alison Hodgson

    Well said, Nancy. Team Katniss all the way.

  • Jackie F

    Hmmm…. I wasn’t a fan of the book – only because it didn’t grab me – I loved that the story, however, revolves around a strong, independant GIRL. I also love a good, “underdog beats the totalitarian state”, type of story….

    For those outraged by the subject matter; I’ve said it once & I’ll say it again…. Nobody has told this story better than William Golding…. Maybe you’ve heard of him… He wrote Lord of the Flies. You should check it out if you haven’t.

  • Queen Bee

    I applaud the parents who are reading books along with their child and discussing them. What really matters is that we engage our children in discussions. They may then begin to understand our thought process and recognize out concern for their well-being. I hope to see both movies with my 15 year-old son and share feedback. Keep the conversations alive.

  • regular joe

    I’d say the differance is this: Twilight is the sort of girl story girls have always loved, traditional feminine empowerment via being a masculine object of desire of a powerful and admirable man. Hunger Games is another in a long line of Butt Kicking Girls from a Feminist title 9 fantasy, neuvo feminine empowerment thru aquiring masculine skills and needing a man like a fish needs a bicycle. Twilight is twinkies, Hunger Games is offically good for you feminist brussle sprouts. Of course mod moms will say eat your feminist broccoli.

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Regular joe — great lines!

  • Amy

    Thank you, Team Katniss all the way. I want my girls to be empowered that they can be more than a love object and I want my boys to view women as strong and capable, not weak and sex objects.

  • Dawn

    I really appreciate your article and arguments “for” Katniss and Hunger Games over Twilight. However, I have decided, for the time being, my 13 year old daughter is not going to see Hunger Games, nor read the books. And Twilight, well…that’s a no brainer….NO…for us. My daughter IS the only girl in her grade at her small, private school who has not seen it. Though I agree with your description of the GOOD Katniss brings to this unsettling (to say the least) series, my beliefs that we should focus on things that are good, pure, and lovely, keep me from allowing her to see this now. I am a firm believer that what goes into a mind, comes out in a life. And while we can’t escape and hide from the reality of a sick world that we live in, we don’t need to cram it into her 13 year old psyche for 2 hours. Yes, in the end, the good overcomes the evil, but….getting there is a long, drawn out process. It’s just not something that I believe God wants me to expose my child to. I hope that parents and children can understand this…because as it is now, she and I are being ridiculed for not seeing any of these “good movies that everyone else is allowed to go to.”

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      Dawn, no I totally understand your point. I think under different circumstances, I’d feel the same way you do. However, when my husband went to Iraq, it just forced my entire family to look into the face of evil (the war and all of the atrocities we were fighting) and try not to flinch.

      Plus, when we went to Africa to adopt a daughter, it sobered them up to the reality of life in most places. (In fact, after my 11 year old saw Hunger Games, he said, “You know, those people in District 12 still had it better than …” and he named the area of Africa where we got my daughter.)

      So, my kids “grew up” a bit in this area of life. that doesn’t mean they aren’t sweet and innocent in other areas, but they “get” that there’s evil in the world and we sometimes have to face it. Does that make sense?

      • EB

        I actually think one of the strengths of the Hunger Games books is that the struggle between good and evil is so complicated in them. The war at the end seems to be between evil and evil in terms of the leadership, and between two groups of people fighting for survival among the armies, with our heroine trying to navigate a way through that keeps her and those she loves alive. She spends the whole series, I think, desparately fighting for her integrity. This seems much more like real life than those series in which you can easily distinguish the good from the evil.

  • sonjia

    Outstanding analysis. As a critical-thinking adult and parent, I loved Hunger Games. Though my children are quite young and will not read the book or see the movie for several more years, I have discussed the plot, various conflicts, possible solutions, admirable character traits, and frightening facts regarding totalitarian regimes with my pre-teen children. Brainwashing by the media begins early, best to start young training our kids to be critical readers, listeners, and decision-makers!

  • Howard Blasingame

    I never knew any of this stuff. Thanks for the enlightening.

  • Paul

    Outstanding!
    I like the movie because it is probably one of the most pro-conservative, pro-libertarian movies, right up there with Ayd Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”.

    Keep up the good work!

  • Kathy Tuan-Maclean

    Thanks Nancy! You put in words what I’ve thought. In fact, I listened to the Twilight books on tape and during book 2 and 3 kept yelling at Bella in van because she was so codependent–had a lot of conversations with my girls as a result.

    As one of my friends/colleagues said about using Twilight as a teaching moment with kids, “If a guy says he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to stop himself from killing you, don’t walk 5 miles into the forest alone with him.”

    • http://www.NancyFrench.com Nancy French

      LOL — that’s good advice!!

  • kelly

    This is an excellent analysis of the two, thank you! One note to add about the Bella character, which I find especially disturbing: throughout the book, there is a lot of sideways talk about Edward being unable to “control” himself. Then, of course, there are broken beds, occasional bruises, and other marks of violence. It’s never mentioned directly, but in an oblique way, Bella experiences pretty classic domestic violence, and lives into the cycle of it. A partner who can’t control him/herself, so violence is done, but he/she “really” loves them, so they return, and the cycle begins again…

    It’s a rather terrifying thing to be teaching our teenagers, that if a person “really loves you” but “can’t control themselves” than the violence (whether physical or verbal) is somehow acceptable.

    Just a thought.

  • Jayme

    Of course your post is much more articulate and thoughtfully written, but this is a humorous take on an imagined girl’s night with Katniss Everdeen, Hermione Granger, Bella Swan and Buffy Summers that you might be interested in reading: http://bit.ly/GZltSI

  • anonymouse

    TEAM KATNISS……and TEAM GALE
    YEAAAA

  • Pingback: Twilight « David's Commonplace Book

  • valeria

    First let me thank the Lord for giving me boys. And bless all you parents of girls. Hopefully some of you are raising my future daughters in law! I have not read either books series or seen any of the movies, but from what I have read and heard, I would prefer a Katniss to a Bella in the daughter in department. As a matter of fact, maybe some of us could exchange e mail addresses. I am still diligently trying to convince my sons of the benefits of arranged marriage!

    The Hunger Games concept reminds me of that short story we all read in school, “The Lottery”..and also, as someone else on this thread mentioned, Lord of the Flies and Brave New World. I wonder how those books were received and perceived when they first came out?

    • valeria

      Lots and lots of typos there. Now you moms of outstanding young women are thinking, “Arranged marriage, my foot! I don’t want my daughter marrying into a bunch of illiterates!”

  • http://facebook.com/kippingitreal Russell Waller

    I really enjoy reading on this internet site , it holds good posts . “For Brutus is an honourable man So are they all, all honourable men.” by William Shakespeare.

  • lacy

    You’ve pointed out some interesting differences between the two, particularly how one is inward focused and one is outward focused. I am frustrated with the way you have exalted Katniss’ response to pain and absent parents and condemned Bella’s response. Katniss is found worthy of praise and love and Bella is found worthy of rejection and shame. You to go as far to say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if there were fewer Bellas and more Katnisses in high schools across America?” It is this spirit that I am reacting against.

    For one, no, it would not be and is not nice to have more teenagers living in defensive modes due to absent, neglectful parenting–however those modes look. Secondly, I find this utterly adolescent to sink to the level of who is cool and who is lame–strong and untrusting Katniss or vulnerable and lovesick Bella. Thirdly, I find this article discriminatory–there are girls and women who are naturally inner focused and there are girls and women who are naturally outer focused and this is not a measurement of strength in any way. This is the domain of human personality, and to declare some people inferior to others based off of their natural preference is bigoted.

    It feels that all you have done here is look at these two girls and idealize one for her strength and crucify the other for her weakness. I do not find your contribution edifying to the world of teenagers and how they navigate their worlds and respond to pain. There are many Bella’s out there who are worthy of our love, not our rejection. Both of these characters fought for what they were missing out on — unconditional, undying love.

    It’s one thing to critique the values and ideas and messages portrayed these books. It’s entirely another to take it where this article has, down into the mire of us versus them, who is worthy and who is unworthy. You may be right that Katniss wouldn’t get Bella, but that doesn’t make the Katnisses of the world more worthy of love and respect than the Bella’s. There are Bellas and Katnisses around us and around our kids, and there are possibly Bella and Katniss parts inside each of us. And they need our acceptance and support.

  • MAZE

    You hit the bullseye within the bullseye! Agree! Agree! Agree!
    Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

  • http://Patheos Katniss

    I agree bella is just a weak little girl who needs a man to do everything for her she has no fihht in my opinion i hate bella for many reasons on the other hand i relat with katniss we hav the same personality and i realy like how she handles everything

    Katniss-Awesome. Bella-sucks. No ofence to anyone i like kirsten stewart i just hate bella

  • Hermione

    I kinda like Hermione granger from Harry Potter, but if I had to choose, I’d definitely choose Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games. I didn’t read the Twilight series; I knew that it would suck the instant I saw the cover.

  • http://www.netfolio.pl Julio Mcconnell

    Really good blog, thank you very much for your effort in writing the posts.

  • Jocelyn

    This is the thousandth article I’ve come upon rambling on how awesome Katniss is. And if I may be so bold, I will say that I’m getting quite sick of it. I respect everyone’s opinion, but I will state MY opinion without giving two damns to anyone who thinks I’m a jerk.

    I personally hate this series. The writing looks like a fourth grader’s, the world-building is sloppy and has more holes in it than Swiss cheese, and every character except Katniss is a flat archetype we’ve seen a million times before. But this isn’t the place to talk about that. This is the place to talk about, of course, Katniss.

    I do realize that Katniss is a badass. In some ways, she is very strong and noble. She sacrificed herself for her sister, provides for the family, etc. But almost as soon as she becomes a tribute, she starts turning into a passive Bella. How? Well, there was that outrageous case with Haymitch and Peeta plotting BEHIND HER BACK. They are LYING TO HER. They are DECEIVING HER. How is this any different from Bella, may I ask? Does her being a badass have anything to with this or what? What makes this worse is that Katniss DOES protest this, but after the excuse of ~*protecting her*~ she simply goes with it. Is a rag doll playing dress up that’s tossed left and right really the kind of role model we want to look up to?

    While I was reading the HG, Katniss began to come off more and more as a sociopath. Before you flame me and shout out that OMG SHE PROVIDED FOR HER FAMILY, bear with me. What I mean when Katniss is a sociopath is that she is emotionally unscathed by the idea of killing. Every single little thing Katniss does is put into a positive light. Never once is Katniss’s humanity ever challenged. Symapthetic characters such as Rue are taken out by unsympathetic characters to solve her problems. When Katniss DOES kill, she feels NO REMORSE WHATSOEVER. When Glimmer died, it was hardly more than a passing thought. When the other tribute along with Glimmer died, it wasn’t important because he wasn’t a major character. When Marvel died it was noble because she was avenging Rue. (Basically, it’s only evil if the person personally knew Katniss.) With Cato it was noble because she was easing his pain. After the Games, it was just like, “yay we get to go home.” She suffers no mental trauma or disturbances of any kind after killing. Instead of having survivor’s guilt or sympathy like a normal, sane human being would, she angsts about her love life. This is shallow, stupid, and utterly inexcusable in every respect, nor is it the person I would want MY kids to be looking up to. Again, she is EMOTIONALLY UNSCATHED by the idea of MURDER. I’m pretty sure we don’t want our next generation to be violent sociopaths.

    I would say that Katniss’s positive traits, such as fierceness and loyalty, tend to fluctuate. Badly. Yes, she loves her sister and she is loyal to her friends. But almost as soon as Peeta becomes a tribute Katniss starts thinking about killing him. During the Games she outright admits at one point that if Peeta showed up she would kill him. How is this fiercely loyal? I suppose you could say it’s what any normal teenager would do under the pressure of fighting to the death, but 1) Katniss is supposed to be the heroine, meaning she is supposed to overcome obstacles and make the world a better place, and 2) the way it’s written makes her come off as deliberately antagonistic for virtually no reason. She negatively judges people before she even gets the chance to meet them…just like Bella Swan. Want an example? She acs like Effie Trinket is some kind of morally inferior bitch even though Effie has done nothing morally wrong except criticize someone’s manners, which is acceptable because she was freaking raised that way. She also seems to instantly dislike people more attractive than her, like Glimmer. She resents people smarter than her, like Foxface, even though Foxface did NOTHING at all to Katniss except steal a little bit of her cheese. There is also the opposite case with Caesar Flickerman. The narrative treats Caesar like a friendly, outgoing guy who the reader should like because Katniss does. I think he’s horrible. He’s literally befriending and getting to know tributes before sending them off to their deaths, doing it for at least forty years in a row. Yet Katniss likes him. Is her bad judgement what we want our kids to be like?

    You say that Katniss is very mature because of her tragic situation. This was one of the things that I hated about HG. The tragic past was nothing more than an annoying Sue trait. This also makes her extremely difficult to relate to. To truly learn and see a character’s development, a reader must be able to see at least some part of themselves in their character to at least be able to connect with them better. I challenge any HG fan out there to find ONE thing they can relate to Katniss about. Not many readers of HG can relate to having an uncaring mother. Not many people can relate to throwing bitch fits after getting a compliment, which is EXACTLY what Katniss does after Peeta compliments her for her archery skills. (Yes, Peeta’s all suspicious and stuff, but this is just another example of Katniss’s instinctive negative judgement.) Katniss is an archetype. Can readers relate to a stiff, cliche archetype that the author put no effort in to trying to make the character original? No.

    I guess you could argue that Katniss’s negative judgement comes from her past. Because she “doesn’t trust people.” Yet does this flaw ever negatively affect her? No. Flawed characters, in my opinion, are the best of all characters. Katniss is already too perfect. She’s mature. She’s emotionally and physically strong. She’s used to starving. She has every single basic survival skill you can think of. Her perception of reality is already absolutely perfect so she doesn’t really learn anything from the Games. And perhaps Katiss’s attitude DOES come from her past, but again, is this what we want our kids to be doing? To negatively judge people before you even get to talk to them? How is this any different from Bella? How is KATNISS any more different from Bella besides being a badass?

    I have to disagree with you on the love triangle. Yes, Bella’s love triangle is the actual plot and Katniss’s is just a subplot. But I thought Katniss’s love triangle was absolutely unnecessary and did NOTHING at all–not plot wise, not character development wise, or anything–to contribute to the story. It was just Katniss going “Gale or Peeta? Gale or Peeta?” And while I hate Twilight with a flaming passion, you did miss the fact that Twilight is a form of escapism. It isn’t supposed to be realistic. It is designed for the reader to immerse themselves into the story and indulge in wish fulfillment. Supernatural love extends all the way back to Greek mythology. It is, again, a form of wish fulfillment, and that is the sole purpose of Twilight. Comparing the two love triangles is, in my opinion, is stupid, unnecessary, and does nothing to strengthen your argument of Katniss being a better person, because they are two entirely different love triangles with two entirely different purposes and in two entirely different genres. And even if it wasn’t, I thought Katniss’s love triangle was pretty bad. It was stupid and implausible. There was NO chemistry whatsoever between ANY of the people in the love triangle. Gale and Peeta had little to no personality, or at least not nearly enough for Collins to pull the triangle off believably. The love triangle in HG is not any better than Twilight’s, in my opinion. The love triangle has NOTHING whatsoever to do with survival, it was nothing more than a distracting, petty side plot that did not develop Katniss in any way except for her, shall we say, hormonal growth. It does not portray them being brave in the midst of tragedy, it portrays three shallow teenagers bitching back and forth about virtually nothing at all. It was, in my opinion, not moving in any respect, partly because Collins’ writing is unbelievably bad and empty, partly because the love triangle served no purpose except to give Katniss something to angst about.

    Does HG have good themes? Certainly. Does Collins ever try to develop it? No. This is one thing that Stephenie Meyer at least tried to put some effort in and Collins didn’t. Smeyer failed miserably, but at least she gave it a shot in trying to develop her themes. Collins? She prefers to ever so coyly dance around it, nervously poking it with a stick if we’re lucky. There is no moral ambiguity. Never is Katniss morality or humanity challenged. She conveniently keeps her hands clean throughout the Games, suffering no mental trauma from killing, suffering no survivor’s guilt, having no sympathy whatsoever for those who died.

    You said it would be better for there to be more Katnisses and less Bellas. If that were true, most of our girls would be stoic sociopaths with the emotional span of a teaspoon. Katniss IS just as selfish and whiny as Bella. She whined so much in Mockingjay I wanted to punch her in the face. She keeps pissing and moaning about being the Mockinjay even though people DIED just so she could escape from the arena. Everything about HG is always about Katniss. The writing is centered in such a way that it must ALWAYS be about Katniss. Remember the Avox girl? What Collins should have written was that Katniss feels guilty and wants to repent, but what Collins DID write was that the reader should feel sorry for KATNISS for suffering the guilt instead of LAVINIA’s plight. Katniss also constantly belittles her fellow tributes while gushing at how awesome she looks, which, by the way, seemed rather hypocritical because she always keeps saying the Capitol women are fake shallow bitches.

    Again, Katniss is a girl with a very negative and pessimistic view of the world. The main lesson of the entire series is, essentially: “Life sucks, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” There are so many good themes in HG, but Collins never really tries to develop them. Katniss pisses and moans about the world but never ACTIVELY tries to fight against this. Compare this to Harry Potter, with Hermione ACTIVELY combating discrimination and unfair labor, Harry ACTIVELY accepting his death for the good of others. HP is also quite bleak, but the characters know how to move on. Katniss? She lies in a hospital bed, crying and whining, throwing herself pity parties in the closet, letting everyone sacrifice themselves for her because of her stupidity without taking any responsibility.

    You are aware that there are millions of girls around the world who can relate to Bella? Because, despite the fact that Bella is a whiny, pathetic, insufferable pushover with the IQ points of a block of wood, she is still quite honest as a character. Yes, she is a Sue. Yes, she is weak. Yes, she is someone we all wish would find a bowl of soup to drown herself in as fast as possible. But is she relatable to the average girl? Very. The way you wrote your article came off as “we should only care about people who are more like Katniss and people like Bella don’t deserve two damns from the rest of the world.” As much as I would love to kick Bella in her retard face and hit her with a shovel, I will admit I could see at least a glimmer of myself in Bella. Like Bella, I can be quite whiny. Like Bella, I can have my immature moments when I think the world revolves around me. Katniss? Uh…no comment.

    As for Katniss handling what you called the “dire situation,” I thought she handled it a bit too perfectly. Even her freaking charity had to be speshul. And I really, really, REALLY had to wonder why her mother had to be uncaring. Wouldn’t it give Katniss so much more to fight for if her mother was loving and responsible? In fact, if this were so Katniss would have undergone significantly more character development, so she could miss having her family by her side and learn to be more independent, eventually pushing through and triumphing.

    I know the HP comparisons are probably getting annoying, but I’ll have to do it again. Hermione Granger beats the shit out of Katniss. Not just physically, but also as a character. Hermione’s perception of reality is far more realistic and relatable to readers. She actually feels for people around her, and she handles problems with pride, dignity, and admirable rationality without behaving like an immature whiny brat and throwing temper tantrums left and right. You can almost literally see her grow as a person. She has flaws and weaknesses, but no matter what happens she always pushes forward and wins. She stands by her friends without complaint and she will always fight for what she thinks is right no matter how much people belittle her for it. She is brave not because she is 100% fearless, she is brave because she overcomes her fears and insecurities. She is willing to get to know people before judging them, and while she has generally wise judgement she still makes mistakes that impact her negatively. And as an added bonus, she is actually quite original as a character, while Katniss is a boring, overused archetype that we’ve seen a millllllllion times before.

    If you flame me for stating my opinion, I. Won’t. Care. If you want to refute any of my statements please do it with some civility, and please don’t ramble on about how selfless Katniss is because I just pointed out several instances when Katniss was the opposite.

    • Sufia

      Hey Jocelyn i get your points. All i have to say is that no one’s perfects, if they were they wont be characters they would be god. So the question is with all the negative and positive qualities of the characters who would I prefer.? I read the novel TWILIGHT when i was 18, and honestly speaking i was a reflection of Bella ‘damsel in distress’, but i ended up not liking the novel or the character, apart from many things i found the love story very unconvincing and boring & wasn’t really inspiring in any way, she was more inclined towards escaping than bearing the burden of being a human being and since i did not really had a vampire boyfriend so i didn’t really have that option. Therefore in spite of all the cynicism and flaws i would prefer Katniss over bella who inspires me to (quoting you) “no matter what happens she always pushes forward and wins”. I don’t know weather i will win but i will keep pushing forward ON MY OWN WITHOUT DEPENDING ON ANY GUY.

  • kera

    ow about Breaking Dawn vs Mockingjay? Bella was ready to sacrifice herself for the loved ones. She was involved in the final battle and she contributed significantly.
    I was expecting more growth from Katniss throughout 3 books. And in Mockingjay she was still excluded from “adult”discussions.
    Maturity-wise I vote for Bella

  • vero

    whats the hate for twilight?? it’s fluff. it’s entertaining. and bella was pretty hilarious- the “you’re killing my buzz edward” scene in BD made me laugh, as well as the “i’ll be the one in white” and other lines. i didn’t imagine her at all like kstew, i imagined her more lively. katniss i find nothing fun or relatable to her character, kudos to her for being strong and kickass though

  • vero

    and i completely agree with the last poster. hermione is way better than katniss. mostly because she comes off genuinely good hearted despite everything else. katniss doesnt and i dont care what bandwagon hunger games lovers say.

  • Nita

    Jocelyn

    Please before insulting Katniss and saying such rubbish please actually READ EVERY HUNGER GAMES FRICKIN BOOK NOT JUST THE HUNGER GAMES! I will challenge that ridiculous notion that Katniss has no remorse for killing. If you bloody read Catching Fire and Mockingjay you would realise that in most parts of the books she feel traumatized and guilty for the killing. She recognizes that she is responsible for so many deaths and executions and heck does she feel guilty? DUH, she feels really guilty. If you read MOckingay as well she reflects on people she killed. OK I realise how much emphasis I put in her killing people but if she did it directly it was to defend herself. You know the word defend? She feels bad


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