The battle of Hogwarts. The battle for Bella. But aren’t we forgetting an even bigger battle? Yes, the battle between two books! Twilight and Harry Potter are not written in the same time period but they are two of the most successful book series.
I am a major Potterhead. When I was 5 years old, I read my first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I think Twilight, written by American author Stephenie Meyer, is one of the most frivolous books I have ever read. It all starts with the cliché protagonist, Bella Swan, an average girl who comes to stay with her father in Phoenix, and on her very first day of school she attracts the attention of not one, not two, but five boys? Now, I know that the Harry Potter theme is not that original, either: good vs. evil and good wins. But this is just one of the many spheres of story-telling—the general plot. Others are foreshadowing, suspense, and connecting things like a jigsaw. Even after reading each of the Harry Potter books nine times, I still find so many new deeper meanings and connections to other parts of the series. While Stephenie has just got one single plot: girl falls in love with vampire, a werewolf is in love with her, and she can’t decide between the two. I can see from the very beginning that she will chose the vampire, and I haven’t even read the ending yet.
The most important weapon Rowling has used is her knowledge of Latin. For example, the character Bellatrix, Latin for “female warrior” has a name which describes her character (a total lunatic who is the best in Voldemort’s army!). Remus Lupin, Latin for “wolf”, is a werewolf. And when re-arranged, Remus Lupin becomes Primus Lune, which means Full Moon. I wonder if Stephenie could ever think like this. Almost the whole Black family is named after stars or constellations.
Another interesting tool Rowling used is the way she fits things together like a jigsaw! In the very first book, Snape asks Harry, “What do you get if you add powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?” In the last book, Snape’s love for Harry’s mother, Lily, is revealed. When researching the meanings of asphodel, I discovered that it is a plant from the ‘Lily’ family and wormwood symbolizes “bitterness or grief”. If you look at the question Snape asked, it’s clear that because of the death of Lily he feels bitter towards Harry and is grieving. I was numb, too, after I came to know of this.
One more example is that Sirius Black’s vault number is 411, which is also the page number in which he dies in the UK version of Order of the Phoenix. If you hadn’t read all the Potter books you would have termed it as “a mere coincidence,” but knowing Rowling, I say that it cannot be a coincidence.
Rowling also proves her knowledge of anagrams: “TOM MARVOLO RIDDLE” becomes “I AM LORD VOLDEMORT.”
I was talking about foreshadowing. Here’s a really good example of it: in the third book, during a divination class, Professor Trelawney asked Ron to predict something for Harry. Ron predicted that Harry was going to suffer but be very happy about it. Four years later, Harry was waiting for the killing curse, but he was very happy that he was saving everyone. Rowling very subtly hints the outcome of the series but we take it as a joke because all the divination classes have been so silly.
Once again, Rowling makes connections. In the earlier books it’s stated that seven is magically the most powerful number, and this is justified throughout: there are seven books; Hogwarts has seven years; there are seven horcruxes; there are seven Weasley children, Ginny being the first girl born in seven generations (she is the seventh child, thus her outstanding magical ability); there are seven players on a Quidditch team, Harry’s number being seven; the seventh book is dedicated to seven people, the seven being us. And there are a 100 more (to read them go to a note on Facebook ‘Seven’ by the page ‘Hogwartsia ~ A tribute to Harry Potter’).
She also shows connections through magic itself. For example, a patronus is a positive energy force primarily used as a shield. But it is also influenced by the state of your heart and mind. Snape’s patronus is a doe, the same as Lily’s. A little different was Tonks’ patronus that changed to a werewolf because she had fallen in love with Lupin. Ron’s patronus is a Jack Russell Terrier, which is known for chasing otters; Hermione’s patronus is an otter! (Spoiler Alert: For those who didn’t understand, Ron and Hermione end up together.)
Here’s a good example to show how disturbing Meyer’s writing is: when “Bella’s Edward” left her she curled up in a ball, screamed every night and jumped off of a cliff. Pathetic. When Ron leaves Harry and Hermione, he swallowed his pain and swore to keep on finding the keys to destroy the darkest wizard of all times. Reading this, you should think that Stephenie Meyer is the biggest setback in feminism since the sandwich.
By now I think I have made it clear that Twilight can never be compared to Harry Potter. So no matter how many times Stephenie calls herself the Goddess of Writing or no matter how many times teenage girls tweet “twilight>>>>>>>harry potter,” the truth is that Harry Potter is a legend, and J.K. Rowling is a genius and our Queen.
“The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn,” Stephen King said in an interview talking about the Twilight vs. Harry Potter war. “She’s not very good.” Enough said! The KING has spoken for the QUEEN!