It’s a set of some of the mostÂ convoluted and delusionalÂ stabs Iâ€™ve heard in a long time.
The likes of Twilight Source said it themselves, there is no comparison.
Personally, I do not like comparing the two sets of novels because I find them to be so entirely different to one another. But the constant comparisons never seem to cease. So Iâ€™m joining the banter in response.
Iâ€™m a Potter fan through and through, but Iâ€™ve read Twilight and seen the film. So as someone who has read the books â€“ both sets from the very beginning â€“ I could not disagree more with the assumption that Twilight is in the same league as Harry Potter.
Itâ€™s not only wishful thinking but impossible.
I would like to present you a few facts (keeping my bias to a minimum, if not non-existent):
(*Warning: Spoilers Below, read with caution if you have not read all seven books*)
1. Harry Potter invented the â€œmidnight partiesâ€
It was the year 2000 and the release of the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in the Harry Potter series. So letâ€™s not be disillusioned for one second in presuming that Twilight is holding a flame to Potter for the â€˜right here, right now.â€™
It was in 2009, that more than one Barnes and Noble and other sellers cancelled their â€œmidnight partiesâ€ for the release of the Twilight DVD because of lack of presales. The one place that remained open was Wal-mart. But guess what? Wal-mart is open 24-hours at some stores anyway.
Harry Potter has never cancelled a â€œmidnight partyâ€ yet.
2. The Wallstreet Journalâ€™s FACT ERROR: Marketing the Romance, Harry Potter does not copy Twilight
The Wallstreet Journal was sadly mistaken when they suggested that the posters for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince were mirroring those of Twilight.
This is what we call in journalism a FACT ERROR. It gives you an â€˜Fâ€™ (a failing grade, below 60%) in your JOU101 class in college, and gets you a nasty talking too by your editor at the paper.
Anyone who has read the Harry Potter books knows for a fact that romance has been a huge part of the Harry Potter books since the Goblet of Fire.
In the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter has his first crush on Cho Chang.
In the fifth book, the Order of the Phoenix, he kisses her and they also break-up.
If the writer at the Wallstreet Journal, Lauren Schuker, took the time to read the Half-Blood Prince she would know that romance, for the first time in the Potter books, plays a vital role in the storyâ€™s plot line. Romance and the relationships of the series are now a secondary story line. So much so, that this secondary story line became one of the seven questions needed to be answered in the Deathly Hallows book â€“ who ended up with who?
So no, in fact, Harry Potter is NOT borrowing from Twilight because, heaven forbid, as the Gawker ALSO pointed out, Â Harry Potter actually has its own series of romantic story lines. Several in fact â€“ some of them quite epic.
Case and point: Lily Evans and Severus Snape — to a certain degree — the reason Harry Potter is the way that it is. Who would have guessed the series was based on love?
I leave you with that.
Now go read the book(s). You might learn something….
3. The astounding presale numbers
If weâ€™re talking shop, letâ€™s talk shop.
Four weeks before the movie release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince newspapers were reporting that some cinemas were selling tickets by the thousands. Yes, thousands of presale tickets.
Less than a week before, popular internet movie site and ticket vendor, Fandango was reporting that Harry Potter has already moved Transformers out of the number one movie spot on its site based on presales alone.
â€œConsidering the early rush of advance online ticketing for the film, MovieTickets.com expects it to be one of its best sellers of all-time,â€ Grant Marek, a spokesman for MovieTickets.com, said in an e-mail.
Twilight’s sequel New Moon to hit cinemas later this year, doesn’t look like it can even compare.
A recent Reuter’s headline: Potter Advance Tickets Outspace Transformers.
Harry Potter makes money. Not just a little bit of money, it makes a lot of money.
In a smart, and often seen as greedy, move Warner Bros. moved the release of the Half-Blood Prince film from the autumn of 2008 into the summer of 2009.
Many Potter fans were angry. So angry, in fact, that they lambasted the studioâ€™s executives with hate mail and death threats.
However, some people, like myself, looked at the move for what it was: monetarily strategic. Â The Potter films have outdone Star Wars and James Bond.
Harry Potter is not competing with any other franchise. It is in a league all of its own.
July has always been a Potter month (Books 2,3,4,6 and 7, and films 5 and 6 were all released in July,) so why not continue?
Films are not just about what shows up on the silver screen. They are about memorabilia and what else can be sold. The executives at Warner Bros. were simply insuring their investment. Not that they were ever worried about Twilight stealing Potterâ€™s thunder, for that would be silly.
The executives at the WB were simply ensuring that when they brought the next Potter installment to the public, they brought it with a bang. No one puts Potter in a corner. Especially, not some $12 million dollar â€˜independentâ€™ film which hopes to compete with it.
It is safe to infer that if you take away the fans that overlap between Harry Potter and Twilight, Twilight will be reduced to half its worth.
Case and point: MuggleCast.
Muggle Cast is the most popular Harry Potter podcast on iTunes ever (closely followed by PotterCast via The Leaky Cauldron). At it’s peak, MuggleCast was getting upto 50,000 listeners each week worldwide. The same people that brought you Muggle Cast started Imprint: A Twilight Podcast, which has quickly shot up the ratings/downloads to iTunes success.
5. Competing for the audience that is growing up
Again, the Wallstreet Journal committed a grave error in assuming that Potter doesnâ€™t grow with its target audience.Â
(*On a side note, is it me? Or should there be a Letter to the Editor about this? Way to mislead people WSJ, well done! So much for journalist who actually know what theyâ€™re talking about.)
J.K. Rowling has said on numerous occasions that Harry Potter will get darker as Harry ages. This is not speculation, this is fact.
From the first death in the Goblet of Fire, to the astronomical surprises in the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling spared no expense.
To say that Harry Potter is only for children and teenagers is a wrong calculation. Potter has a wide audience, a wider audience than Twilight. The youngest ages, too young to read about blood suckers and having sex for the first time, are reading Harry Potter over Twilight. And the oldest ages, too seasoned to deal with ample amounts of teenage angst, are reading Harry Potter over Twilight.
This means that Twilightâ€™s target audience are teenage girls. Make no mistake, teenage girls were once children and they grow up. They will grow up into Twilight and they grow up out of Twilight.
The target audiences are, in fact, different.
6. Sex, Rape and Violence
Twilight prides itself on being for young adults and teenagers. This is perfect because this is Twilightâ€™s audience. Sure you have a few people here and there who read the books, but itâ€™s not as large or has the staying power, to hold onto these readers, as Potter does.
This is why:
a) Edward has stalking tendencies
It may have a glamorous appeal to those at a young age: a gorgeous man who canâ€™t get enough of you, he follows you wherever you go, the scent of your blood drives him into madness and he watches you while you sleepâ€¦by sneaking into you room in the middle of the night.
The latter, rather than the former, is the end of the game for those who â€˜grow up.â€™ In the real world, this antic is called â€˜stalkingâ€™ and it is illegal. Furthermore, it scares a lot of people. Adults wonâ€™t glamorize this antic the way teenagers will.
Teenagers have this way of feeling that the world revolves around them, and that is perfectly acceptable, it is a part of growing up.
Another part of growing up is moving on. Edward stalking Bella isnâ€™t romantic when you hit adulthood, itâ€™s creepy.
b) Jacob cannot take â€˜noâ€™ for an answer
Throughout the four Twilight books, we have Jacob Black. Heâ€™s one of Bellaâ€™s best friends and he fell in love with her. At some point, he kisses her. Not once, but twice. She tells him no and he canâ€™t stop himself.
To most girls this would be a turn off and Jacobâ€™s constant outright lusting after Bella could be considered sexual harassment.
However, there is a dynamic here, one that isnâ€™t as easily readable unless you really take a look at what you have been reading.
Just as Stephenie Meyer justifies why things happen to her characters (mostly), she justifies this.
Throughout the series, especially in New Moon, when Edward is away â€“ Bella Swan strikes up a deep friendship with Jacob Black. He is her best friend. He understands her, helps her grow, takes her out of depression and gives her a solid foundation to lay upon.
But then Edward returns and everything goes to hell. Literally, there is a gigantic love triangle, Bella canâ€™t stop leading Jacob on, but runs back to Edward for her â€˜lovingâ€™ etc.,
Itâ€™s a vicious cycle, but make no mistake, it is there.
c) Stephenie Meyer justifies Rosalieâ€™s rape and abuse in all of her novels including, the yet to be released, Midnight Sun.
This is something that I personally find disturbing.
Throughout the books we have a more beautiful that life Cullen named Rosalie Hale. Sheâ€™s gorgeous and Jacob often refers to her as â€˜Barbieâ€™ â€¦ a psycho Barbie at that.
The thing is, we find out that Rosalie was turned into a vampire when Carlisle Cullen found her near death and bleeding on the street. It is inferred from the text, that Rosalie was beaten and brutally raped by her ex-fiancÃ© and his friends. That being said, also, throughout the books, Meyer writes about how vain Rosalie is; how shallow she is. And in Midnight Sun she further clarifies this, but having Edward gaze into Rosalieâ€™s mind to only find her thinking about herself.
In all four books, five if you include the unpublished one, Meyer makes it â€˜okayâ€™ for the other characters to be mean to Rosalie and consistently hound her for being vain, shallow etc.,
The point I’m trying to make: Her looks perpetrate the terrible treatment she receives.
Then we have Bella Swan, sheâ€™s pretty plain looking, not very smart, pretty clumsy and nothing special. Yet, Bella gets everything. She never had to work hard for anything in her life and basically gets the easy way out. From Jacob taking care of her when Edward leaves, to Edwardâ€™s family being exceedingly wealthy, to having given birth to the only half-vampire half-human baby, to being the only newborn vampire ever (a contradiction of the universe Meyer created in which she said a] vampires cannot have babies as they are ‘dead’ on the inside and b] newborn vampires are crazy and have extreme bloodlust) not to have the cravings and frenzies of a newborn vampire.
There is no moral struggle, it is not real, it is not completely relatable to real life and Stephenie Meyer seems to justify sexual abuse in her novels.
Is it just me? Or is something very, very wrong here?
d) Violence but not Sex
And the wrongness, continuesâ€¦
Stephenie Meyer, a very religious Mormon woman, does not write about sex in her novels. In the third book, Eclipse, Bella is urging Edward to have sex with her because she thinks sheâ€™s ready. He refuses. Eventually, he gives in, after they get married, in Breaking Dawn.
The thing is, Meyer doesnâ€™t write the explicit scenes, she alludes to them, but contradicts her own beliefs system massively when she writes about massive amount of violence.
Violence, but not sex? Or really?
Let me list it out â€“ In Twilight, Meyer illustrates very well how to kill a vampire, you tear apart the vampires body and burn the pieces. Or in Breaking Dawn, she has no problems writing about the fact that Bellaâ€™s half-vampire half-human baby is eating Bella alive from the inside out. The only way for Bella to sustain herself is to drink blood, in a cup, with a straw like itâ€™s Coca-Cola. It is these same scenes where Stephenie Meyer explicitly describes that the Bella-Edward-Hybrid-Baby is so out of this world, that sheâ€™s making Bella very pale, and turning her skin all sorts of purple, yellow, green and bluish tints. Hence, being eaten from the inside out.
But no sex? Really?
So now I wonder, if the above really makes Twilight a young adult book or an adult book?
Potter doesnâ€™t contradict itself, or make its readers question the authorâ€™s sanity.
Itâ€™s very simple. Potter maybe not be perfect, as no book is, but it is more seamless by a longshot.
If, as reader, you need not question the author’s sanity, you will continue to REread.
7. Edward Cullen is NOT Mr. Darcy; Edward Cullen is NOT Heathcliff.
There is only one problem.
Women love Mr. Darcy; women love Heathcliff; girls adore Edward Cullen.
Being based on great men of literary history, does not make you great, just a mirror image.
8. Letâ€™s not forget the Lord of the Rings
While some people are suggesting that Twilight is the first series to compete against Potter, I must say in terms of the films, these people are sadly mistaken.
A few years back there were a trilogy of films, one of them even winning Best Picture at the Oscars, which competed with the Harry Potter films. It was the Lord of the Rings trilogy produced by Peter Jackson.
Again, fans overlapped. But the distinctive difference between the Lord of the Rings and Twilight will forever be that Tolkienâ€™s book series was never a blip. It survived a few generations to make its name in literary history. Stephenie Meyerâ€™s name will be there, but over time it will be smaller.
Twilight is a fad, it is a blip. Itâ€™s over lapping fans are using it to fill the void Harry Potter left behind.
If J.K. Rowling were to write a Harry Potter prequel â€“ one book or seven â€“ from the days of the Marauders leading up into the end of the First War, it should not be mistaken that a 400 million books sold will slowly develop into near a billion.
9. 400 million versus 50 million
J.K. Rowlingâ€™s book series has sold well over 400 million copies worldwide. Making it one of the largest selling books of all-time, next to the bible, and it holds the world record for the fastest selling set of booksâ€¦ever.
Stephenie Meyerâ€™s series has sold 50 million copies worldwide. That is roughly one-eighth of what Potter has sold.
The numbers speak for themselves. Interpret them as you wish. But they are there and they do not lie.
10. Robert Pattinson
And by the way â€“ Cedric Diggory didnâ€™t dieâ€¦he became Edward Cullen.
11. Fan Fiction, the Draco Malfoy crush and the Slytherin Bad-Boy Syndrome
One of my favourite lines from the Wallstreet Journal article is the last one â€“
â€œNobody really believes you can have magic, but some people believe you can find the perfect guy.â€
I was so amused when I read this because it showed how wrong and obviously misinformed the journalist who wrote this piece was.
In all types of writing, journalism, academics etc., typically you choose your last sentence as something to reflect not only your point, but it is the kicker.
Well this kicked the other way.
Allow me to introduce you to something called Fan Fiction and Harry PotterÂ owns it.
Besides for the image above, of FanFiction.net, where you can see that Potter has three times as many postings as Twilight, I encourage you to venture over to a website called HarryPotterFanFiction.com
Harry Potter Fan Fiction houses over 58,000 individual Harry Potter based stories. There is nothing else like it on the internet.
This means the J.K. Rowling awakened an insatiable need in her readers that was not and cannot be filled. So while Twilight, is merely filling the void for the time being, make no mistake that Twilight is not alone.
So if the assumption is, that Edward, his brothers, Jasper and Emmett, are filling the girlhood fantasies of menâ€¦ then let me be the one to inform you, that you are wrong.
Girls worldwide are getting their same â€œfixesâ€ from the likes of Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, Severus Snape and yes, my dears, even Tom Riddle pre-red eyes and a snakeâ€™s tongue!
Google it if you are skeptical.
I think you will be entertained and enlightened.
12. The Memorabilia
While, Twilight fans may have DuWop creating a Lip Venom lip stain for them, and Mattel making an Edward and Bella Barbie Doll set due out in October â€“ Harry Potter fans have much more than just that.
There is an entire world of shopping that can be done in Harryâ€™s magical world.
From places like the Noble Collection, to Alivanâ€™s to custom made things on Etsy, there is no short supply (though in some opinions there ARE) of memorabilia and no short supply of people who WANT to make it.
That being said, from the Harry Potter Museum tour, to the scenic tours across England, to the collectible Tales of the Beedle Bard nothing says â€˜staying powerâ€™ and â€˜powerhouseâ€™ franchise quite like having all of those and moreâ€¦like your own theme park.
13. The Wizarding World of Harry Potterâ€¦theme park
Yes, Harry Potter is getting a theme park. Coming in 2010, sprawling 20 acres in the Universal Orlando property â€“ Florida welcomes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park.
I donâ€™t think I need to further make my point.
Sasha Muradali runs the â€˜Little Pink Bookâ€™ . She holds a B.S. in Public Relations from the University of Florida (â€™07)Â and an M.A. in International Administration from the University of Miami(â€™08). She loves Twitter and all things social media, so you should find her @SashaHalima.