‘Hunger Games’/'Twilight’ Showdown: Katniss Everdeen vs. Bella Swan
With the upcoming release of the ‘Hunger Games’, we judged these two leading ladies based on their strength, wit, and loyalty.
It’s no secret that we’re mildly (okay, completely) obsessed with all things related to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy. Set in a dystopian future, the story centers around Katniss Everdeen, a teenager who must fight for her life in a twisted tournament of death run by the government. Naturally, we’re super psyched about the upcoming movie based on the books.
Before the March 2012 big screen debut of The Hunger Games, we decided to pull Katniss out of the arena and square her off against another well-known female lead: Bella Swan of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Most of us have watched the love fest between Bella and Edward blossom in Breaking Dawn Part I, but how long would the newly-minted member of the Cullen family last against the vengeance-seeking freedom fighter from District 12?
We divided this friendly competition up into the three categories we believe every heroine should possess: strength, both emotional and physical; wit; and loyalty. Read on, see how they measure up, and tell us if you agree. Though vampire Bella might pack a nasty bite, we don’t!
WARNING: Here there be SPOILERS, so if you haven’t read all of the Twilight Saga or all of the Hunger Games trilogy, proceed at your own risk.
Bella, Emotional: In Twilight, we learn that Bella’s parents, Renee and Charlie, divorced when she was just a few months old. Tough? Absolutely. And it takes major guts to care for yourself when your parents are well-meaning but secondary characters in your life. Bella could be considered pretty self-reliant, as evidenced by her part-time job, minimal parental involvement, and kickass grades.
But when she meets Edward, her entire existence changes –and it’s not necessarily for the better. Edward is gorgeous and brave, but he’s also clearly in control at nearly every point in their relationship. This is especially evident when he decides to leave Bella after a paper cut nearly makes her a snack for the Cullens in New Moon, as well as when he removes the engine from her car in Eclipse to prevent her from visiting Jacob (jealous, much?).
At his very core, Edward has outdated ideas about relationships (he was born in 1901, after all); worse, though, he can be a controlling brute. He watches Bella as she sleeps because his superhuman powers allow him to break into her room with ease. Sex and intimacy run on Edward’s schedule, with which Bella must always comply. And throughout the series, Edward determines what is safe or unsafe for his girlfriend. Doesn’t sound so great, does it?
Since Bella is a fragile human and can die, Edward takes off in New Moon. But it’s not their choice as a couple; it is solely his. Bella’s input isn’t given even a shred of consideration. And what does Bella do in response? She crumbles, becoming almost catatonic. Finally, Charlie steps up and realizes that this behavior might not be normal. And he’s right—it isn’t. It isn’t normal– let alone heroic– for a 17-year-old girl’s only raison d’etre to be her vampire boyfriend. Bella falls apart when Edward leaves because she has no identity apart from being Edward’s soul mate.
In Breaking Dawn, we finally—finally— watch Bella defy Edward by defending their unborn baby. The issue of teen pregnancy aside, Bella actually stands up for something she believes in, Edward and Jacob be damned. And after witnessing her being passed around from vampire to werewolf like a rag doll, this is somewhat liberating; sadly, though, her major act of defiance comes three books too late.
Katniss, Emotional: From the very beginning of The Hunger Games, 16-year-old Katniss is exceedingly mature for her years. Page after page, the young fighter demonstrates her intelligence, resourcefulness, and bravery. She hunts illegally in her district’s forest to feed her family, fully aware that she could be murdered for it, an admirable act of defiance. Katniss volunteers to take her sister Prim’s place in the Hunger Games arena knowing that her chances of survival would be slim to none. And in Catching Fire, when Katniss is forced to re-enter the games, she continues to display an incredible sense of discipline and bravery.
No, Katniss is not the willing hero critics hoped she’d be, but you try feeding a family, heading into a death arena twice, making it out alive both times, serving as the face of a revolution, and watching your own sister burn in front of you, and see how you fare. Oh, and just to make things interesting, try doing it all before you turn 18. Her reluctance and insecurity only adds to the believability of her character, and it is nothing short of amazing that this teen doesn’t suffer a multitude of mental breakdowns.
Much like Bella, Katniss is thrown into a love triangle with two attractive young men, but unlike her vampiric counterpart, she never fails to stand on her own two feet. Hunger Games fans would cringe to think of what would happen to Peeta if he ever made an attempt to take charge of her life (hint: it involves arrows).
Through Katniss’ faults, we find a powerful, driven young woman who doesn’t make excuses for herself. With a dead father, a mentally unavailable mother, and a government out to kill her, she could live her life shirking off any responsibility and harboring a deep well of resentment. But she chooses against all odds to be resilient, to act as a savior for her family and her people. And this, in our eyes, is what makes her such a strong, unique, and praiseworthy heroine.
OUTCOME: Let’s just say that if we shoved Bella into the arena with Katniss, she would last approximately .05 seconds. Sorry, Twi-hards, but Bella’s suicidal rampage? Not cool.
Up next, see how Bella and Katniss fare against each other in terms of physical strength and wit!