being a bookworm

"If you had to choose a series, would you pick Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?"

This was the bomb that The Best Friend dropped me a few months ago while we were drinking. We were playing a game where you had to pick one of the given choices, which was going along swimmingly until he posed this question to me, his metal-mouth in a triumphant grin.

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At that moment, I despised him—not because I didn’t know what to answer, but because I knew exactly what the answer was and I was too afraid to say it out loud.
So are you ready to hear it?
My choice is…

THE HUNGER GAMES!!!

Calm yourselves, everyone! I assure you, I can explain. Sort of. I mean, should there be any justification behind personal preferences? Am I taking this too seriously again? Or do I just feel like I’m cheating on HP and I want Potterheads to understand my choice? (Answer: probably a little of both.)

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

HP is wonderful. Everything is well-written: the plot zips along without the feeling of being rushed, the lovable characters have flaws and redeeming characteristics, the dialogue is organic, and the world is so well-constructed, no detail was left hanging. In fact, from what I wrote there, I’d say that HP is a much better series.

However, it is very black and white. The characters are flawed but they’re still either good or bad. Severus Snape is the bad nice guy, who fought against Voldemort until his last breath. Dolores Umbridge is the nice bad guy, the head of Muggle-Born Registration Commission.

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Everything, from the characters to the war against the The Dark Lord and his Death Eaters, is down to black and white. (The only exception I could think of right now would be the Malfoys’ struggle with keeping the family alive.)

In THG, though, nearly everyone is disgusting. Haymitch kills and lies, Katniss kills and lies, Gale kills and lies… Even President Coin, the head of the rebellion, the supposed “good guy”, is not to be trusted. They have good traits, and horrible, awful traits that make them do disgusting acts.

L-R: Obsessed with escorting young teenagers to their deaths,
alcoholic killer,
fashion designer who uses his outfits to inflame the rebellion,
innocent child killed by a spear to the stomach,
angry rebel with a cause,
the greatest person you will ever meet, and the worst.
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Plus, THG doesn’t revolve around right versus wrong. In fact, everything is pretty much gray, from the Katniss-Peeta-Gale love triangle to the revolution, its methods, and its leaders.
For instance, when the parachute bombs were dropped on children, Katniss isn’t sure if they were sent by the Capitol or the rebellion. And if the latter were true, is it right to shed young, innocent blood for the sake of ending a war that may cost a sizable chunk of the entire population? Is there a right answer?

That’s not to say that HP didn’t discuss heavy themes as well. They covered death, friendship, and discrimination (can you say Remus Lupin?). Heck, the entire seven books were all about accepting death not as a possibility, but as an inevitable end. It was a dark topic to write about in a book meant for youngsters. But it still didn’t provoke as much internal debate in my head as THG did.

Of course, I may be wrong. I haven’t read the books in around a year so my memory may not be reliable, but so far, I remain firm in my conviction that THG comes out on top.

How about you, fellow geeks? If you had to choose (and death is not an option), which camp are you in?
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