Harry Potter VS Twilight: Why Can't Fans Get Along?by: Posted:
Why do people insist on comparing apples and oranges? Or, more to the point, why do fans feel the need to compare the Harry Potter series to the Twilight series? The two couldn’t be more different aside from the fact that both film series are wildly popular and the books that spawned the films were both categorized in the very broad, Young Adult area of publishing. Past that, the similarities end. Characters, plot, and genre are all quite different.
Harry Potter is a fantasy film, full stop. Any tale which weaves together dragons, witches, wizards and goblins fits quite solidly into the fantasy genre. On the other hand, Twilight is quite obviously a romance. The film is about forbidden love, first love and eternal love. The plots of all the films centre around those themes. The action in each film may increase but that does not change the story at its core, and at its core it is romance.
Thirdly, you cannot compare plots of the films. For one thing, Harry Potter has a longer series arc, with the final resolution not coming until the 8th film in the series. Twilight, on the other hand, will have everything wrapped up in five. Also, Harry Potter is set in Britain and plays a lot with cultural structures like boarding schools and government ministries. Twilight is set in America, mostly in a high school. As a result, Harry Potter has a much wider world to pull from, allowing the series to draw parallels between the story and the real world around us. Twilight; however, is focused mostly on a single community which makes the story more intimate and local; leaving little room for any kind of global message.
Lastly, there are the characters. In Twilight we have the characters typical in a romantic saga. First we meet the average, relatable, girl-next-door, Bella Swan. She is clumsy, awkward, unsure and self-conscious. In Bella, girls are meant to find someone who reminds them of themselves, or at least them at their most vulnerable. Then we have Edward, the hero. This character is the idealized man most women dream of and a perfect foil for the third character in the romantic triangle, Jacob Black. Jacob is the best friend that most girls have and find themselves relying on (albeit the ridiculously gorgeous version of him). These are the kind of archetypal characters that exist in a mythological romance. Bella, Edward and Jacob make up the core of the story. There are, of course a mix of other likeable, and not-so-likable characters thrown into the mix. But the main plot is always driven by these characters, with good reason, since this is a LOVE story.
Harry Potter’s three main characters function differently. Sure, there are two boys and a girl, but any romantic feelings have been a side note of the story and have always existed between Ron and Hermione alone; with Harry falling for two girls (Cho and Ginny) who exist outside their triangle. This is because these characters are not telling a love story. They are part of a fantastical world which is keen to explore themes of friendship, bravery, sacrifice, life and death. The motivation that drives the Harry Potter characters is very different from Twilight’s trio.
Harry Potter and Twilight are two very different series with two very different purposes. There is no reason why fans should have to pick one over the other. They should feel free to love and enjoy them both because they will get something very different out of each story.