I am a fan of The Hunger Games. Also, of Twilight. I know! I’m a unique flower and my taste in the arts in nothing less than avant-garde. That said, not all over-consumed pop-culture pap is created equal, and I’m not just trying to be like the fickle 13-year-olds sitting next to me in the theatre this weekend, who, during the preview for Breaking Dawn Part 2 were all like, ‘Gale is way hotter than Edward’ and ‘I’d rather kiss on Peeta than that hairy beast Jacob.’ Oh, snap!
Maybe Gale is hotter than Edward (of course he is), and maybe I’d be worried if Peeta and Jacob ever did have to get in an arena together (don’t underestimate the baker’s son, son), but there is one competition that is over before it even begins – the real competition. The one between 17-year-old female protagonists. Katniss vs Bella. And whether the competition is based on feminist ideology, fashion sense or base likeability, the odds are ever in Katniss’ favour.
Katniss vs Bella
Katniss: Volunteers to leave her family in her little sister’s stead to fight to the death in a cruel, fascistic game designed to intimidate and oppress citizens.
Bella: Abandons her hard working, loyal, loving, father to join a coven of vampires, live in sprawling forested manse and achieve immortality.
Katniss: Subject of unrequited love; bond with Gale forged out of shared history, determination to survive and a healthy dose of codependence.
Bella: Subject of unrequited love; bond with Jacob forged out of shared non-vampiric lineage, Bella’s need to be admired and protected and Jacob’s willingness to admire and protect her.
Katniss: Hunts animals under threat of death to provide for impoverished family.
Bella: Hunts animals because it’s not cool to eat humans in mixed company.
Katniss: Fashion inspiration: Coal Miner’s Daughter/Amazon warrior with more intricately braided hair.
Bella: Fashion inspiration: Kurt Cobain (she doesn’t necessarily get points off for this).
Katniss: Hopes and dreams: escaping the dour everyday reality of life under a regime of fascism, poverty and oppression.
Bella: Hopes and dreams: escaping high school, achieving mortality. (Doesn’t Edward go back to high school year after year?)
Katniss: Endangers herself and her people by defying The Capitol in the hope of a better life for all citizens.
Bella: Endangers herself and her people by defying the Volturi in the hope of marrying a vampire.
Katniss: Survives the games and President Snow’s wrath by relying on her wits and skills and not shying away from hand-to-hand combat.
Bella: Survives the marriage and the Volturi’s wrath by amassing an international horde of vampires and werewolves to fight for her while she hides behind a tree.
Katniss: Legacy: reluctant symbol of uprising; wife to quiet and steadfast Peeta; eventual mother to children that will hopefully never know the pain her parents experienced; possible PTSD.
Bella: Legacy: reluctant symbol of interspecies marriage; wife to controlling protectionist Edward; mother to a most unfortunately-named child that will eventually end up with Jacob in a strange Woody Allen-esque turn of events.