AT the core of every great story you can find one thing the simple fact that people gravitate towards it for whatever reason. the most common reason being is that they themselves can identify with the characters or story. i could easily identify with the general population as to which i am sure have many great stories of their lives to share with us all. after all when you're gathered around a table listening to some fantastical story that happened this one time at this one place with so an so your captivated by the ups and downs and the oh shit even the hilarity or the heartbreak of it. but theres more to it than identifying with a character theres an art that comes to story telling. i am not much of a story teller when it comes to recounting a tale to my friends often they are left with a confused face or a uh huh that's nice sweetie. but my boyfriend could easily tell the same story and have everyone doubled over in pain from laughing at some mildly funny incident that he spins into a wildly awesome tale that sometimes leaves me wondering wow was that how it really happened? even if i was there at the time. in books like harry potter, twilight and hunger games there are reasons why people are captivated beyond the characters there is something more, right?
i have read all three series and can say that i believe i can fairly judge them despite my affection for one more than other. i did not go to sleep at night fantasizing over some made up character in a book or wishing that someday i would find someone just like "him". but i can say that i did fantasize what life might be like if i were in that persons place. it doesn't matter that in most cases the story is completely out of the realm of possibility. but that i can visualize it and put my self in that impossible world and actually see the outcome. i think what you have to keep in mind when it comes to these three particular series that they all hold different keys to the hearts of readers. HP being a story of love loss hardship over coming the odds finding ones self the difference between choice and destiny and life being what you make it. twilight being a story of love, jealousy, life being different but still being. and hunger games a story of hardships life love staying true to yourself and above all else not ignoring the truth that is infront of you. these are all important things that we as readers face in our lives.
for me it is easy to start with twilight as being the weakest series of these three. forgetting for an instant that in a literary sense it is atrocious. but for what it is its great its a quick read an easy read its a book you don't have to delve too deeply into. you don't have to think about a deeper meaning or what it really means to be in Bella's place, mostly because well face it - its so linear. you don't delve too deep you don't go too far you don't question anything. it isn't even a modern day Romeo and Juliet. its a fantastical love triangle that teenage girls secretly desire. ill admit it in my teen years i've had several guys fawning over me and courting me at the same time and i enjoyed it. i loved that more than one guy wanted me and at the same time i hated it. the back and forth games and the BS that comes with it you KNOW who you want you just don't want to say it out loud. that's what Bella did with J and E, simple. she never had to really fight for herself and she was never in any REAL danger, as often as it appeared she would be. it was predictable in many ways and yet the last book was so left field that i don't want to guess where it was coming from. no- that does not undermine my linear comment it just means that the story in trying to keep you guessing (failing at it) went from some rational frame of reference to a WTF. did you ever really question weather or not Bella and Edward would be together? or that in her greatest time of need that he would be there? she was useless with out him and him with out her? personally i have to say if my boyfriend couldn't get off his ass and actually do something if i went missing id have to royally kick it for him and if i was incapable of even communication if he were to leave me i would have to just say... no. i'm sorry that is not even a possibility, not because i could never imagine him leaving me because i am a girl and i am a person ill admit it we all have those fears, but because i am a strong individual who is stubborn and often uncompromising i am seldomly looked at as weak. and if i ever see myself faltering i push myself until i can do it. i don't care if i end up with a broken bone or a broken heart i will do it i will not allow myself to turn into a blubbering mess and just stop functioning as a whole i find that truly unacceptable and if i were to find any one of my friends acting in such a manner i would set fire to their asses and send them on their way. i don't care if the "love of your life" just said they don't want you any more if they were the love of your life they wouldn't say that and if you were worth it to love you wouldn't become a useless hunk of flesh a shell of a body and soulless being. now that i have thoroughly pissed off some teenage girls and then some i will back track a bit and say thank you to miss Meyer for writing a book that millions of people fell in love with. at the time these books came out i was working for a library and i never had so many kids come in asking to read a book. bear in mind i was much younger when harry potter came out and can not attest to how many non readers read it. i remember being shocked by the amount of people coming to read and begging for the twilight books. it was astounding and not because i couldn't understand the massive love for these books, because i could. they were enjoyable they allowed a person to fantasize about all sorts of things that any one person could dream of. the perfect romance, the perfect soul mate, a beautiful boyfriend who was everything you could never dream of and could be hopelessly in love and mesmerized by your enigmatic personality. even becoming the perfect person eliminating all your flaws and becoming impossibly beautiful skin flawlessly smooth and a body perfectly carved as if from stone forever beautiful. its pretty tempting if i do say so myself, id love to get rid of the scars that riddle my body from past adventures and stupid mistakes and everything else that comes with it (especially the awesome speed and fluidity) to have a boyfriend so perfectly perched to keep me fro falling every time i slip and stare into my eyes for hours and never bug me to make him a sandwich (just a joke hon). but i could relate i could see the appeal i enjoyed reading it but what i loved was the hordes of people swarming in hungrily asking for more. not just more twilight but more books more stories they wanted something more than just a movie that they could sit and watch. they wanted a book that could take them away from their lives for a short time and give them what they could dare to want, vampires love lust heart break. they wanted to read. and that is what made twilight great is that it broke the ice for so many people it opened them to w world that never existed before to them. reading was a chore to many people before twilight. after it became something more. though please fans at least come to a consensus those movies they were truly god awful, a movie can never live up to the expectations of a book but that was really awful.
Now you would think with all that i am a full on harry potter freak and ok yes i grew up with it, i remember distinctly my sister coming up to me and furiously screaming in my face louder than a bull horn " i hate you for being 10!" i remember holding my breath on my 11th birthday, and the let down of no owl. i spent hours in lines waiting for a midnight releases and more hours waiting and wanting to know what would happen next, was Dumbledore really dead? would Sirius come back? what are the horcruxes? is snape really evil? and the bonds between me and the millions of others worldwide who laughed and cried at moments or screamed relentlessly out loud and in our heads over the stupidity of the masses refusing to belive the words of the greatest wizard to ever live and that stupidity resulting in his death. i can proudly say i have been first in line for a harry potter movie, and a book release. in the first night of the half blood prince release i read non stop to the very end in a few hours and screamed at my sister... louder than a bull horn " HARRY IS A HORCRUX" harry potter is a legend. people of all ages fell in love with the story. i was never a real reader when i was a kid, like many children i was diagnosed with ADD. simply meaning i just didn't want to sit still and listen to whatever some adult had to say when there was a perfectly good field to run around in or some imagined game to play. and why would i want to sit still and read a bunch of words on a page when i could run and play and make up my own stories? my own adventures and ACTUALLY well... PRACTICALLY live them, at least in my own head. I remember the sorceres stone and the eagerness in which i listened to my mothers every word as she read chapter by chapter night by night and i stayed awake begging for more until i used my "Special light" normally reserved for playing Pokemon blue/red under my sheets past bed time to read what was going to happen next. and pouring over page after page wishing i could be there too, living in a world of magic. this was the beauty of harry potter, this is what made harry potter the greatest series of my lifetime thus far. the characters were more than just real kids they were us, they were each child who read the book were were in there. it was just some alternative reality in which we were supposed to live and a girl was a boy or a boy was girl. these characters grew as we grew and it wasn't the movies that made them real it was the words on those pages and the imaginations that were sparked by those words that made those characters so real. they evolved as we evolved, and perhaps it was just great timing of Rowling or her ingenious idea all along to have the characters grow with a generation, but we all felt the same things those characters felt. their emotions thoughts and actions were not far beyond their age or time. harry Ron and Hermione held the fate of the wiz world on their shoulders but that was not what was so captivating about them or the others it was how they dealt with their lives. they were our age they were us they were real if only because we wanted it to be. but i'm not die hard hp can do no wrong fan. i admire jk's work partly because of her thoughtfulness and her trepidation with every word. she chose everything carefully the names the actions everything so carefully tied together so beautifully wrapped and none of it was so easily expected. but i do have my issues. i wish that she had the guts to kill off harry. i wish she left out some of the rather tedious seemingly unnecessary story, but it really isn't. these were the books of peoples lives. and she made them feel like real lives. it cant not simply be put into words the true story that the harry potter books created. they changed lives. i loved those books and they are treasured pieces of my collection.
I remember when i first started dating my boyfriend and he would tell me about some funny star trek thing and i just gave him a blank stare. he would give me a pitied glance and shake his head saying one day... you will understand. i had already vowed to myself that i would never be what could even be remotely known as a trekkie and often when he would wear some kind of star trek shirt i would make him wear a sweater out of embarrassment for myself. little did i know that i would later eat that vow and proudly claim that i have seen almost every episode of every series (even enterprise) and most of the movies. in most cases several times over. and that i can tell you some facts and even laugh when someone jokingly says you'll never appreciate Shakespeare until you hear it in the original klingon. but i know what my boyfriend was really saying when he looked at me with shock when i told him i've never seen a single episode of star trek many years ago. and that i can say i know he said to himself as he shook his head "i can not be dating this girl." because when his best friend and i talked for hours about hp and we asked him what he thought and he stared at us blinking with wide doe eyes with out any comprehension of the mystery magic we spoke and simply said " i only saw the first movie" i shook my head and said to myself " i can not be dating this guy" this was the truth that faced me boldly in the face, and i was dumbfounded, as i can safely say so was his best friend. we could not understand how could he someone the same age as us not KNOW and feel and love this wonderful story that had helped shape a better part of our lives. and be such a great part of it? and i was heartbroken, it became our mission from then on to introduce this boy to the wonderful world of harry potter and now he too can tell off people about what the hallows really are and that socks were not really what Dumbledore always wanted. even if i had to make him watch the movies and booby trap the bathroom with the books instead of playboys. he was even outraged that the hbp movie did not show the true battle for Hogwarts.
i believe this is a key to what separates the truth of what a good book and a great book is. twilight was a good book (well kind of) harry potter was a great book. the way a person tells a story is what separates the good from the great. there was nothing simple or easy about harry potter. twilight there is. just because it is easy to fall inlove with something does not make it great, and often times it is not as great as the things that make us really think. the things that make us question and wonder are truly great things. there were no great questions posed in twilight, just this idea that love is something that conquers above all else and that there is one person out there just for you and while that might be nice, is that really true? harry potter made us question one thing as children as an adult it made us question more things, and every time we look into it there is another easter egg a little treasure written in that we did not see before. Meyer is a writer for teens Rowling is a writer for the ages. i remember there being outrage among communities against the hp books being against religion, or whatever. and it made me angry at first and then it made me proud because it meant that people began to question more and more about what they think and what they think they know. it did not shove the answers to our questions down our throats but made us come to our own conclusions. this inspired so much more than just our imaginations. at first the books were about spells and magic and wonderment then they were about being who you are even when everyone else is telling you what to be, and then they became something else entirely, something no one could really guess at, something special and unique to each individual who read them. but the issues i have with some of the few cop outs in harry potter are my own personal feelings but i can understand many of the choices Rowling made and appreciate them in the end.
Now i will address the hunger games. i was initially introduced to the hunger games by my aunt who told me i need to to read these books how wonderful they are and how full of imagery and wildly creative they are. when i finally got around to reading them i remember looking up from my corner on the couch looking at my boyfriend and simply saying " i know what's going to happen". although i knew that both peseta and katniss were going to live i still wanted t know how they were going to survive how it was going to happen. i loved cinna through to the end, and his daring ways. katniss and her firey personality, even peseta in his almost pathetically puppy love. haymitch always a pleasure and evoked a smile. i could love all these interesting and unique people. and if i hear a single team peseta or teem gale i swear i will have to punch a fan girl in the face. this series at first was a wonderful story and evolved into a much darker adventure. and occasionally even though the books were a bit predictable at times i was caught off guard by some of the actions katniss made. this story would not be so popular or would not really have been possible if it weren't for the books like twilight and harry potter. they opened people up to this kind of book. making younger people question more things in real life. as any person who reads the hunger games can attest to the fact that it shadows quite a bit in our lives. i have read a lot of books about rebellions some of those books i would rank better than hunger games but there is a simplicity to hunger games that is appealing. it is easy to relate to and its got powerful visuals. the girl shes got fire in her spirit. its a good book and i'm glad to see so many people behind it wanting it to be read by the masses. i love that a book can inspire so many people.
of course i think there are many other fantastic books out there, great books that deserve acknowledgement of the masses. i even have books that i keep as treasures to myself and hold them dear i don't share them with any one because they are so special to me. and then there are books that i want only my friends to know and the people that i know can truly appreciate the honesty and the truth behind the words. and some stories i value for their amazing ability to move the deepest parts of my soul. So in this which is the better story i would have to say they are all winners, but harry potter was an unprecedented story that just can not be compared by any other means of modern popular fiction. it took the world by storm. not just a generation but the whole world. twilight took a generation, my younger 'sister' was enamored by twilight for years. she had twilight EVERYTHING. on her Christmas list was twilight twilight twilight and that's what she got. she had 4 copies of the first book alone. and read it over 20 times. she would probably kill me now knowing i am going to tell the world about her previous obsession, but it serves a purpose. she wouldn't even hear the argument of harry potter, which she did read, but she was in love "team Edward" all the way for her. and now she wont even go see breaking dawn she ridicules the people who claim to like it and calls it cliche and stupid. Hunger games came out years ago and managed to make a big bang years after claiming the fans of twilight and harry potter and bringing them together in many ways. it had a love story and a plot. it had raw emotion and many of the things everyone desired in a good story. it had feeling behind it. to me it didn't feel like it was written by a woman who carefully thought out every word, but it felt like it was written from the heart of the character. still lacking some more of the eloquence i favor in really good books, but the story was something that moved people.
like i said before theres more to a good story than the character even the plot, its in the words. you can have the greatest story of all time but if you don't know how to pt it into words then you will never reach your audience with the emotion, the raw feeling, the true meaning behind what you are trying to say. it doesn't have to have some deep hidden message it can be in plain sight, but what makes a good story is something that can reach into your soul and guide you through the world that it has created. its the authors talent that you are judging. and it ma not be fair of us as people to jadge someone elses words, but we do. we have. i don't think i can fairly say that harry potter is the far better book, but in my opinion i would have to say as a story, even though it is obviously fictional, it made us belive in so much more than just magic. twilight made us dream and the hunger games made us question and think. they are all books that deserve to be recognized in their own right, and none of them are by far the best books ever written. i cant say i've ever read the best book ever written, but i know i have read books that have made me cry and laugh with the characters and made me think and feel, even books that made me disappear into their reality altogether.
twilighters id would ask yourselves why do you like this book so much? what is it about a character you like so much? would you really like to live that? because sorry but id hate to be Bella a girl who started out very independent and just collapses into nothing with out her man. it seems like a waste of an existence to me. and Edward and Jacob please... there is so much more to being a man.
Harry potter you will always be a part of me, and when i think of you i will always smile with happy and bitter sweet memories. i just wish you took the chance sometimes Jo and made that leap. you didn't just make a magical world possible to us you made magic itself. you left us hungry for more. and i can say wizards and witches spells goblins and all that isn't for everyone, but even if you don't like it you can see it for what it is one hell of a story.
hunger games at times you were predictable and at times you were magnificent. i don't hold it against you for knowing what would happen in the end, and some of the things you did were so haunting to point out the similarities in out lives and the lives of the people in paneam. your characters at time were larger than life and yet so real and the charming quirks you gave them made them like friends to me. i enjoyed you from beginning to end.
you all fall short of the perfect book, of the perfect story the perfect blend of what ever reader wants and what every reader needs. but you are enough of one or the other eve both to make your mark in our lives. there were books before you and there will be books after you.