This is a post I (Lina) wrote way back in 20 Aug 2011. Enjoy!!!
There are many heated issues today where people have taken one of two sides. Left wing versus right wing. Monotheist versus atheist. But the most heated issue that I have seen recently has got to be Harry Potter fans versus Twilight fans. That rivalry is brutal, to say the least.
Since staring this blog and podcast, I have been on the Internet more often. Because of this I have seen first hand just how bad this animosity has gotten. For example, on a Harry Potter Facebook group that I'm in, a member posted a question wanting to know what Harry Potter fans thought of the relationship between Bella and Edward in Twilight. People were pissed that someone had dared mention Twilight. So much so that they bullied that member until she took the post down, which was a shame because people were replying to it and had some interesting insights. Another example is a Harry Potter twitter that I follow talked about wanting to delete their account because it was being harassed by Twilight fans. Those fans were harassing that account because it had tweeted about liking Harry Potter more then Twilight. So what is the deal? Why are Potterheads and Twihards so vicious to each other? Why do we become maniacs blinded with rage at the mere mention of the “other” series?
Though I have read and enjoyed both the Twilight and Harry Potter series, I will be the first to admit that I am a Potterhead all the way. I'm sorry, but I feel that the Harry Potter series is better. With that said, I will try to be as unbiased as I can. After all, I do own all of the Twilight books and movies. So clearly, I see the entertainment value in both series. I will first start off with why I think Potterheads hate Twilight so much.
I first learned of the Twilight book series when the trailer of the first movie was released. My friend, SilverNettle, started reading the books and I, being the sheep that I am (and knowing that we have similar tastes), started reading them, too. I was immediately hooked! But then when the movie came out, the media assault started. More specifically the incessant coverage of the stars of the movie. There was a time, though it has died down a bit, that you could not watch TV or go on the Internet without seeing Robert Pattinson (Edward) or Kristen Stewart (Bella). Oooh, are they dating? Oooh, look how hot they are? Oooh, they were seen maybe holding hands, possibly? The coverage got so incessant that it made me start to not like the books anymore. I felt that the actors, to no fault of their own, were drawing attention away from the stories. It all became, in my opinion, very superficial.
And I think that’s why many Potterheads hate Twilight. The series can come off as very superficial and I think the media has helped perpetuate that. The media coverage almost always focuses on how pretty or hot all the stars are. It doesn’t help that the werewolves in Twilight have to walk around with no shirts on. Having read the books I know why they do this and the reason makes sense, but to someone who has not read the books it can seem very beefcake-y. So when a Twihard talks about how great Twilight is, Potterheads become very baffled thinking, “How can anyone enjoy reading this crap? It’s nothing but sparkly vampires and shirtless werewolves?”
It also does not help that Twilight caters more to a female audience. (Or should I say an audience who is sexually attracted to men since I do have male friends who are gay that enjoy the series, too) Having read the books, I can understand why many male Potterheads would find the books silly. The story is told from a decidedly feminine perspective so I imagine it may be hard for many men to relate to the protagonist. I believe this fact adds fuel to the anger many Potterheads feel about the Twilight books.
So when a Twilight fan talks about the books being better then Harry Potter, Potterheads can’t help but feel enraged because to them, it’s like saying a trashy romance novel is better than Romeo & Juliet. It’s like saying She’s All That is better than Pride & Prejudice. Considering what they believe the Twilight series to be, thanks to all the media coverage, the rage is understandable. But is it fair? Is it justified to make those poor Twihards feel like they should be ashamed to love Twilight? After all, the Twihards have good reason to hate Potterheads, too.
I feel that the animosity that Twihards feel does not come from hatred of the books, like it is for the Potterheads. I think the animosity is directed at the Harry Potter fans. This is because Potterheads, myself included, can come off as a bit stuck up and holier then thou when it comes to our opinion of Harry Potter and Twilight. No offense, but we can be very snooty.
First of all, Potterheads have very high requirements for anyone who wants to call themselves a fan. We demand that you read all the books, multiple times, and you need to have seen all the movies, multiple times. And even then, you still have to have read all the side books and know all the extra trivia the J.K. Rowling has mentioned in interviews here and there, and maybe, just maybe, you can call yourself a fan. I am guilty of this. I have basically harassed my friends for not reading the books and told them they can’t call themselves a Harry Potter fan when they don’t even know who Peeves is. When you think about it, it’s no wonder Twihards find us insufferable.
Not to mention, Potterheads can be very insulting about Twilight. We go on and on about Harry Potter being better written or having a better story. Then we are shocked when a Twihard gets defensive, which is the very same thing we would do if someone insulted something we loved. Twihards have every right to defend their love of those books, and unfortunately they have to do it often since we Potterheads won’t shut up about it. If I were a Twihard, I would hate us, too.
So there it is. Each side as good reason to hate the other. But I, being the optimist that I am, do not think things need to be this way. I think, if we try, we can find that Potterheads and Twihards are really not that different. After all, we both clearly love reading fantasy literature. We both love being taken to a world of magic. We both look forward/have looked forward to the next book or movie. We both spend untold amounts of money on merchandise tied to the series. And if you think about it, the overall theme of both series is love. So tell me, does this animosity make any sense at all?
I think instead of fighting about what is different we should be celebrating what we have in common, a simple love of reading. Not to mention, both of these series have made people, young people in particular, excited about reading. Both books have value. I say instead of insulting the other series, maybe try reading them. If you’ve never read Harry Potter, give it a shot. If you’ve never read Twilight, why not see what the fuss is about. You may find yourself a fan of both. And even if you still think one series is superior to the other, that’s no reason to make anyone feel bad for not agreeing with you. After all, I don’t think Harry or Bella would ever do something like that.