With the second film in the Hunger Games series set to premiere this weekend, it’s tempting to throw The Hunger Games and Twilight series into the same category. Of course, comparisons were made last year when the Hunger Games destroyed Twilight’s box-office record, and they will surely be made again as the new movie opens.
The similarities are there: they’re both young-adult novels turned movies with rabid fan bases. They both include a love triangle, a decent amount of PG-13 violence and have a strong female character as their protagonists.
But that’s pretty much where the parallels end. The Hunger Games follows a girl who must survive a competition in which 24 youngsters are pitted against one another in a battle arena/reality show in a future dystopia, where only one can emerge alive. Twilight is about a girl in Washington State who falls in love with a vampire.
And when it comes to the heroines representing these series, The Hunger Games’ Katniss Everdeen is indisputably better than Twilight’s Bella Swan (which probably accounts for Games’ bigger box office).
Here are 5 reasons why:
1. Katniss doesn’t need saving. She does the saving
When Bella meets Edward, she becomes completely dependent upon him. His love is the only thing that sustains her. Without him, she’s clumsy and helpless. By the end of the series — spoiler alert — she’s pregnant with his vampire baby and refuses to go to college. She is, in a way, the kind of daughter many parents would want.
Katniss doesn’t have time for wedding planners: her top priority is survival. The sharpshooter hunts for food to keep her family from starving. She leads a rebellion against the totalitarian government. And she saves the lives of her suitors — not the other way around. (Notice the swapping of gender roles: Peeta bakes, Katniss hunts.)
2. Katniss’ love triangle is way better
Yes, the Twilight love affair stirred up a lot of drama: Team Edward and Team Jacob shirts still abound. But let’s be honest, Jacob never really had a chance. It was always about Edward for Bella.
When Katniss, on the other hand, bothers to notice her suitors’ affections, she is legitimately torn between Gale and Peeta. But, more importantly, the Hunger Games love triangle is secondary to a much more interesting story about a civil war in a future dystopia. The amorous advances from Gale and Peeta mostly seem to annoy and exasperate Katniss, who has bigger fish to fry, like saving the country from an evil dictator. Katniss is at her best when she lets go with righteous fury. That hormonal angst is Bella’s specialty.
Plus, in Twilight (spoiler) the losing suitor ends up married to Bella’s daughter. Ew.
3. In an apocalyptic battle, you’d want Katniss on your side
Bella can’t even get through gym class without hurting herself. Sure, (spoiler) she becomes immortal — but only because Edward saves her by making her that way. She’s passive. But Katniss? You don’t want to be on the other side of that bow. Plain and simple, she’s a badass.
And when it comes to handling hard situations, it’s no contest. Bella gets dumped, and she spends an entire book in a deep depression. Katniss sees loved ones die and battles on.
4. Selflessness is a more noble quality than selfishness
Bella is willing to give up everything — her family, her friends, her life — to be with Edward. Katniss sacrifices herself to save her sister by volunteering to play in the Hunger Games — almost certain death — in her sister’s place. Which one sounds like a better role model to you?
5. We’d take J-Law over K-Stew any day
Kristen Stewart has become a tabloid mainstay because of her tumultuous relationship with Twilight co-star and on-again, off-again boyfriend Robert Pattinson. She is also known in meme world as being the most boring Hollywood star ever.
Jennifer Lawrence is America’s Girl Next Door. She’s beautiful, funny, sweet and has just enough flaws to make her relatable: when she won her Oscar, she adorably tripped on the stairs on the way up to receive her award. She is arguably the most likable person on the planet.
Comparing the two 23-year-old stars may seem unfair, after all Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) and Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games) didn’t write the characters with these actresses in mind. But Bella seems to share the same boring one-note personality of Stewart: seriously, all she talks about is Edward. Katniss is delightfully multilayered and even flawed, but in a good way: she’s brave and resourceful, but also ruthless and impulsive.