Team Bella or Team Hermione? The Twilight vs. Harry Potter Debate, Part 2
By Hanako M. Ricks
Oddly enough, it’s taking me a lot longer to put together my pros and cons for this comparison, simply because I’m really trying to be unbiased towards Bella, but am finding it hard. Why? Let’s discuss:
Bella Swan – Bella’s personality in the books is that of a loner; she admittedly did not have many friends in her old hometown of Phoenix – where she lived with her mom, nor does she have many in her new hometown of Forks – where she now lives with her dad. Truthfully, she does not approach anyone herself with friendship until she meets Edward. they are drawn to each other, but in different ways: she is intrigued by his mysterious persona, he simultaneously desires her while at the same time, wants to kill her. She convinces him to give a relationship with her a chance, and they both fall head over heels in love. Within a few months, she is convinced that he is the only guy for her, and she begins a four-book campaign (which takes place over the period of 1 1/2 years) for him to change her into a vampire. During this whole ordeal, she also falls in love with her best friend, werewolf Jacob, and this causes more complications between the three characters. Bella knows that she wants to be with Edwards, as a vampire, yet she also does not want to let Jacob go, not does she want him to stop loving her. Her relationship with Edward puts not only herself in danger numerous times, but also the lives of her high school “friends” (that she usually has to be forced to spend time with), her parents, and the whole city of Seattle. Although she does try to sacrifice herself to save these people at different times, the fact is her selfish decisions have oftentimes put the people she loves in jeopardy. The whole focus of her character throughout the series is to 1) always be with Edward, and 2) to turn into a vampire.
Turn-ons: Bella does seem capable of genuine love, and that fact is clearly shown by her unexpected desire for a child (and the dangerous conditions that comes with that decision) in Breaking Dawn. She also apparently knew that she was destined to be a vampire long before anyone else ever did. Her “power” to block other vampires’ special abilities does save her clan in the end.
Turn-offs: The fact that Bella is so consumed by the love she has for Edward, in a most unhealthy way. When Edward leaves her, she literally stops functioning – she becomes extremely anti-social, stops eating, and literally wastes away pining over him. She takes unnecessary risks with her life, just to see hallucinations of Edward. In the books, Bella describes being away from Edward – even for just one night – as being physically painful for her. She’s also selfish, wanting Jacob to still remain friends with her – even to still love her – although she knows how much doing so hurts him. She wants to be turned into a vampire, no matter what the cost, yet she balks at giving Edward what he wants…at least, until it benefits her. She is obsessive, selfish, dependent, and manipulative.
Hermione Granger – When we first meet Hermione of the Hogwarts Express, she is not a very likable character. She is a bossy, snobbish “know-it-all”, who takes pride in boasting about how much she knows about the wizarding world, even though she has lived as a muggle all her life. Fortunately, we come to find out that this act is just a mask to hide her loneliness, which is evident when Ron teases her unkindly after an incident in Charms class. Eventually, she becomes very good friends with both Ron and Harry, and it is then that we begin to see her personality emerge. Even though she is definitely a “follow the rules” type of girl, we see that part of her personality gradually change, as she makes decisions to break the rules, for the greater good. Her focus throughout the series always remains the same: being the best in her class, helping Harry find ways to defeat Lord Voldemort (while trying to keep him alive in the process), and her important – but vastly changing – relationships with Harry and Ron. And not necessarily in that order. Hermione does have the same issues as most teenage girls do: the conflict of falling in love with your best friend, dealing with the attentions of other boys, dances and the sort. But she also has other issues to deal with: her divided allegiance between the world she was raised in and the world she belongs to; keeping her parents safe in the midst of the trouble in the wizarding world, freeing house-elves from enslavement and taking a stand against the evil that threatens to overtake the wizarding world. Similar to Harry, she has had to deal with love, loss, sacifice, betrayal, and death.
Turn-ons: She’s not afraid to be herself. She puts the safety and well-being of others before herself. As she has matured, she stubbornly accepts that even though she’s “the brightest witch of her age”, she doesn’t always have the answers, and she can occasionally be wrong. She’s patient (especially in matters of love). She’s not impulsive – she thinks things through, which has saved Harry and Ron’s behinds more than a few times.
Turn-offs: She still exhibits part of her bossy, know-it-all attitude. She has a bit of a temper when things don’t go her way. She speaks up to defend others, but will rarely stand up for herself when it comes to things she wants. She is a little obsessed with being the smartest, or always right.
My vote: Yeah, yeah, you knew if was Team Hermione once you began reading my thoughts on Bella. I’m sorry, and I really tried to be fair, but Bella’s unhealthy obsession not only with the first guy she’s ever been in a relationship with, but also of her determination to become a vampire, just doesn’t sit right with me. She’s only 17 years old when she begins making all of these big decisions, and she’s doing them without having experienced life, or anything else. Granted, Hermione has to make some grown-up decisions of her own way before the age of 17, but her issues were on a more global scale; when you compare saving an entire race from enslavement or helping to defeat a tyrant to freaking out because you’re physically a year older than your immortal boyfriend or wanting to end your human life just to be with said boyfriend, the comparisons seem a bit silly, don’t you think?
So which damsel would you be more apt to rescue if needed? Are you Team Bella or Team Hermione? Share your thoughts!
And you can review my thoughts on the Team Edward vs. Team Harry debate here.