Can Hunger Games Really Be Compared?

Every day I get at least one Google alert about a story comparing the Hunger Games trilogy to either the Harry Potter series or the Twilight saga. But can they really be compared? I talked to a couple of Young Adult experts and here is what they had to say:

“I think Hunger Games can be compared to Twilight or Harry Potter because they are all series that have attracted a large crossover YA audience. Serialized novels often have a better chance at acquiring a bigger readership than stand alone stories because they build buzz over time and with the release of each new┬áinstallments, new readers are made aware of the series.

“I think The Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter each appeal to us for different reasons; Harry Potter is a celebration of childhood, the imagination and the process of growing up while Twilight portrays how all consuming love can feel, especially the first time. I think the Hunger Games series appeals to us because it clearly defines who is good, who is bad and gives us someone to root for and also against.” Nina Lassam (Wattpad)

“I don’t think that Harry Potter and Hunger Games are comparable. Although Harry Potter turns quite dark in the end, it is still a very simplistic rendering of good versus evil. Sometimes Harry (or other essentially “good” characters) confronts evil within himself, but overall the theme remains the same. In the Hunger Games, the ideas are more complex from the very beginning, the situations and choices offered more life and death, and, conversely, the shades of grey more subtle. Is it a crime to steal to feed your family? What about pretending to be someone you are not to protect them? What about the questions of wholesale, societally accepted violence as entertainment, and what parallels do we have today? In Harry Potter, “Muggles” never have to deal with these issues and are essentially unwitting participants in a parallel universe (portrayed as rather stupid); in the Hunger Games, try as one might, there isn’t really an escape. Even the resistance fighters are swept up by questions of morality.

Additionally, I don’t see the characters evolving very much in Harry Potter, even as they age. They are still the same people they were in the final book as the first. In the Hunger Games, characters emerge from the third book with a new sobriety and understanding of the depth of the human experience, and the trilogy doesn’t cover the same period of time. A comparison can be made, but there are precious few similarities.” Suzannah Kolbeck (Executive Director of HoneyFern School)

I think both Nina and Suzannah bring up really good points. There are certainly similarities in the methods behind the book/movie releases but clearly major differences in the themes. You can also approach the “good” versus “evil” angles of the books from different viewpoints. What do you think? Can a comparison even be made between Harry Potter, Twilight, and the Hunger Games?

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