I received a thought-provoking comment on my Hermione post from By Word of Mouth Musings last week. She mentioned that her daughter admired Hermione from the Harry Potter series, but didn’t identify with Bella from the Twilight series. This got me thinking about the two characters that I have fallen in literary love with and then I had to throw Katniss from The Hunger Games into the mix. What characteristics would I like my daughters to look up to and which ones do I hope they pass over?
Years before I read Harry Potter I had had a mom at the hospital name her daughter Hermione and I thought she was a little weird to do that, I must confess. Then when I started reading the series and actually got to know her character a bit more I became to admire her greatly and totally agreed with the name choice of the mother I had met years before! Who doesn’t want their kid to be Hermione-Amazing?
Hermione is extremely intelligent and she is not apologetic for it in the least. Along with her smarts, she is brave and clever and can always come up with a plan. She has patience (poly juice potion takes a long time to make you know) and grit and can rock a Yule Ball dress. Her cause of championing the enslaved house elves showed she is a pure at heart.
Born a witch she could have gone to Hogwarts and aced the OWLS and NEWTS and become one successful professor. She, however, stood by Harry and Ron and kicked some butt! It is hard for me to find a criticism about Hermione. She was a bit precocious in her younger days, but who wouldn’t be with that brain?!
I first read Twilight after the first movie came out. I had not heard of the Twilight Saga, nor had I seen the movie, but my friend Julia gave me the book to read and I finally read it. I fell head over heels with the series and though I agree the writing could be better, the story was an intriguing one. I liked Bella. She reminded me of me a bit. Quite, not wanting to bring attention to herself thinking of others.
While I liked Bella, I made Meg wait until the sixth grade to read the first two books. I then let her read Eclipse, the third book, with some pages off-limits. I did this for a few reasons. One the sex, or I should say the topic of sex was a little too much for her to read. Also I didn’t like how Bella was so intently dependent on Edward, how he was so possessive to the point of controlling of her. As an adult I can handle this of course, but I didn’t want Meg to think this was a healthy relationship to have.
Through the series, Bella has gained confidence, courage and she has grown in to her character. Unlike Hermione, she was pure human, a muggle if you will, and got to choose her future. Bella is steadfast, determined and brave. Those are good qualities that I would love my girls to model.
She is also unable to be alone and that is not a good trait at all, that scares me a bit actually. I want my girls to be independent and I want them to find love of course, but not to have to have it.
The Hunger Games was a thrilling read for me. My heart immediately went out to Katniss and her plight. Even before she was put in the spotlight, she was a tough provider for her family. Brave and unwavering with amazing nerve in a crisis I can only hope I would act as cool as her.
She does have a sadness about her that goes so deep I don’t think she will ever recovery fully. I certainly hope my girls can recover from any sadness they have or will encounter. Like Bella, she is totally human with no super powers or magic to aid her in her quests.
Her self-sacrifice is genuine, but unlike Bella it comes from a need to protect her family and not the need to not be alone.
So there you have it. My thoughts on the three most popular young women in young adult fiction. I know the world was waiting for my synopsis!
What do you think of the ladies I spoke about. Do you let your daughters read the books and use them as a jump off point for discussions?