Bella vs. Katniss
Let me preface this with a warning: SPOILER’S AHEAD- DO. NOT. READ. UNLESS YOU’VE READ, OR DON’T CARE TO READ, THE ENTIRE TWILIGHT SERIES AND THE ENTIRE HUNGER GAMES SERIES….KTHANKS. I should also note that I’ve not read one single internet article comparing Bella Swan (Twilight) to Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games). This is purely my opinion based on the novels.
I’ll start with my conclusion, then try to show why. I like Bella Swan better. I know, I know. Throw feminist stones, if you will- it shocked me, too. How, indeed, could I possibly justify liking our delicate Bella Swan, over our hardcore, bow-slinging sister-friend Katniss Everdeen?
Resolve. That’s why. Stay with me…
As I mentioned in my post regarding the Twilight Series, I was merely satisfied with the ending of the series. Bella didn’t really have to sacrifice much to get LITERALLY EVERYTHING SHE WANTED. Edward, Jacob, a baby, her Cullen family, and her father, all lived happily ever after- no kidding. Gag me a little. Meanwhile, Katniss sacrificed EVERYTHING and did not end up with EVERYTHING she wanted, though she did get a lot. Maybe even most.
However, Katniss never knew what she wanted- and that’s a big problem for me. An even bigger problem is that when she thought she knew what she wanted, she hesitated every damn step of the way. Initially, her goal was survival- she knew she wanted that, and she got it. Had I read ONLY Hunger Games (book 1) and especially Catching Fire (book 2) and ONLY Twilight (book 1), Katniss would be the CLEAR winner. Bottom line. She was strong, no one dictated anything for her. And she threw EVERYTHING on the line for her sister, not a boy..until she threw everything on the line for a boy (which was the major complaint many feminists had with the entire Twilight Series).
Granted, while the series’ have similarities, it can be rather like comparing apples and oranges because one is a paranormal love story dealing with eternity and immortality, while the other is a very realistic portrayal of a not-so-future America and is not, despite some reviews, a love story at all.
Taking both series as a whole, however, Bella comes out on top. Throughout the Twilight series, Bella’s resolve for what SHE wanted grew stronger, she grew as a person, dealt with very real teenage girl emotions, wants, and needs. She knew that her soul and Edward’s soul (as she saw it) were destined, and she did all in her human power to cross over. Not JUST to be with Edward for Eternity, but to be true to her soul and where it belonged. She raced across the world to face The Volturi head on, which gives me chills every time I see it on screen. She held on to a baby that she wanted, because she knew it would be ok (although I found fault in this while reading it for the first time).
While I have my biggest issues reserved for Breaking Dawn (the final book), Bella dove in to her new role as vampire and fought through unimaginable personal pain and confusion to save everyone she loved. Yes, yes, it’s annoying that EVERYONE she loved came out unscathed, and no one had to sacrifice for HER (would we really have missed Rosalie?), but SHE decided, and SHE did it. She became what she wanted first, even when others hesitated, including her beloved! She knew it would be best for both of them, he did not decide that for her. She was proud of who she was in the end, and her happily ever after was self-created.
Katniss’s resolve, however, faltered greatly (in my eyes), as the series ran on- ESPECIALLY in Mockingjay. For goodness sake, the title of the book excited the hell out of me; by the time we get to Mockingjay we know that Katniss IS the mockingjay. She, however, does not. Or maybe she does. Or maybe not. The whiplash is infuriating. Katniss spent all of her time in Catching Fire being very calculating, cunning, planning, tough, and ready to give the ultimate middle finger to The Capitol.
Mockingjay was lackluster and slow. While it showed the reality of living in a hidden society preparing for a massive takeover- Katniss’s resolve was gone. The anger and energy she could have- and maybe should have-gathered by seeing a destroyed District 12, the bones of those she grew up with, should have empowered her and STRENGTHENED her resolve as the mockingjay. But, this role was annoyingly left to Gale, the one we’re lead to believe loved her though I don’t totally buy it.Gale plotted, planned, acted, fought. I wanted so badly for Katniss to spit profanities and take an active role (despite President Coin) in the uprising, but she just became a drooling pawn for most of the book.
By the time Katniss found her resolve, her sister was blown to bits and she slept for some time, woke up, killed President Coin on her way to kill President Snow, and went back to sleep for a while longer. She was a damn hero and wasn’t present. What. The. Hell.
In the end, however, it did wrap up nicely. And, for the sake of psychology, I’m glad it did. Taking Mockingjay as an isolated book, Katniss’s greatest strength comes in the Epilogue, in her ability to move past absolutely everything that happened in the first three novels. But even then, she didn’t take an active role in maintaining the peace she had a piece in creating. She still didn’t acknowledge the importance of her being the mockingjay, because she knew it wasn’t her choice or her resolve. She said that her children would learn that their parents “had a role in it.” And that pisses me off.