Harry Potter vs The Hunger Games

Bob Trettin

I have been a fan of the “Harry Potter” series since I was nine years old. The magic and heroism of Harry, Ron and Hermione as they meandered through their years at Hogwarts grabbed hold of me and has not yet let go.

Seeing the final movie with my friends at the midnight showing last summer was the long-awaited and dreaded culmination of the whole fantasy and perhaps the culmination of my childhood.

I am certain I will read the books again, watch the movies from time to time and even satisfy my craving for the wizarding world by being a part of the Lawrence University Magical Organization of Students. However, nothing will ever be quite as exciting as opening one of those books for the first time.

When I first began to hear the buzz about the “The Hunger Games” series, I was reluctant to pay attention. My sisters and a few of my friends had read them, and each of them recommended that I give them a shot.

By the time I started the first book, “The Hunger Games” was all everyone was talking about. Since I’m always reading something, I figured I might as well see what the big deal was.

I was pleasantly surprised with what I read. I breezed through the series, and was captured by the story of Katniss Everdeen. Her ongoing struggles against the Capitol were compelling, and the premise was somewhat darkly exciting.

Since “The Hunger Games” has received so much attention, it is reminiscent of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books. The magnitude of Suzanne Collins’ series has certainly not reached that of “Harry Potter,” but there is no denying the popularity of “The Hunger Games.”

In the past decade, these books have arguably come the closest to gaining as much of a following as “Harry Potter” has.

Comparisons are inevitably going to be made concerning the writing styles of the authors, the story lines of the books, the likability of the characters and the overall enjoyment one receives from reading these respective series.

The major differences in plot and the overall idea behind these works make comparing them rather difficult. They are simply two completely different stories. Of course in a broad sense, the destruction of evil is the basis for each of them, yet the paths towards that result are entirely distinct.

After finishing the “The Hunger Games” series, I certainly did not feel the same excitement or attachment to it as I do with “Harry Potter.” Initially I attributed this reaction to my inevitable literary maturation. I figured perhaps teen fiction does not have the same effect on me that it once did.

However, I soon realized that this was not the main reason for my review of the series in comparison to “Harry Potter.” I felt this way because “Harry Potter” is simply far superior to “The Hunger Games.” J.K. Rowling’s incredible creation can never be eclipsed. She created something entirely unique, entirely coherent and entirely magical.

This does not take away from the fantastic series that Suzanne Collins wrote. “The Hunger Games” is truly terrific, and I am sure her goal was not to write a series that exceeded the “Harry Potter” books. She wanted to write a fantastic story, and she accomplished that.

My point is, there are some books that you read, and you are fully aware that you are reading them. This is what I experienced with “The Hunger Games.” While there are other books, a select few, that are different — you get lost in them, consumed by their pages, instead of you consuming them.

This is what “Harry Potter” was like for me. The escapism of it all was what made it special. You can forget you’re reading a book when you read “Harry Potter.” Life’s routine can become pretty mundane sometimes, and picking up a “Harry Potter” book has the ability to take you somewhere above that dullness.