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Twilight and the Potter Derangement Syndrome: “But There’re No Vampires in That Kid’s Book!”

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As unhappily frustrating and teeth grinding as this story is, it must be told. For an addiction, an obsession, is once again taking the world by storm. And it’s all for Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. People of all ages are reading willingly, and communities are laboring to destroy such an austerity.

But yet, something far worse is sweeping alongside this epidemic. The fans, who’ve reread the books multiple times, think and talk about them continuously, and stay up for the midnight book and movie releases, are in denial. For they can’t believe, they can’t even comprehend, that their obsession is anything like the Harry Potter mania.

I stumbled rather innocently upon this fact when I discovered my good friend’s computer background is a Twilight picture. More surprised than anything, I jokingly asked if she liked the book itself or just the good looking actor. Admitting the fine looking actor couldn’t be forgotten, my friend did say she was rather obsessed with the books.

“I read the first one in two days – I haven’t done that since See Spot Run. It was amazing. I’m even going to the midnight showing!” She was practically prancing as she spoke, waving her hands excitedly. “But those books – God, they’re just freakin’ amazing. A-ma-zing.

“Sounds like an orgasm,” I sarcastically replied. “No, better yet, sounds like Harry Potter.” This stopped her floundering short, I must say. In fact, she now looked like a kid caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

“No, no, no, no!” She stamped her foot. “Twilight is way different, like way different!”

“Obviously, man, vampires and wizards – I’ve watched TV you know, I’ve noted the differences. I meant your obsession. It’s how I was with Potter, the rereading and midnight events. Plus they’ve got the world reading again – and people trying to stop it. So Potter and Twilight are pretty similar.” 

She literally hesitated for a moment, staring me straight in the face. I could see that I’d caused a clog in the mechanism that fueled her obsessive desire. She wouldn’t, no she couldn’t, allow any aspect of her life to be related to Harry Potter. The absolute horror!

Then she finally sputtered out a phrase that would haunt me throughout my Twilight versus Harry Potter conversations to come. “There’re no vampires in Harry Potter.” 

I imagine that was the epiphany which separated the obsession with Twilight from the obsession with Harry Potter. I unfortunately hadn’t had such an epiphany, which left me vulnerable to indignant attacks.

“You’re…you’re shitting me right? Right? ‘Cause that’s not the damn point!” I had the inane urge to yank my hair. “Obsession is the point, obsession!

“Exactly, man, exactly.” She crossed her arms, looking smug and triumphant. “There’re no vampires in Harry Potter.

”Spastically curling and uncurling my fingers into a fist, I had to turn away. “I… I wish the goblins would take you away, right now!”

Though the end was unsuccessful and immature, my innocent turned aggravating conversation wasn’t to be forgotten. It was like a particularly shrew mother or wife had gotten into my head and decided to nag and nag and nag over vampire and wizard obsessions. And no matter how much I tried to think on issues that matter like the failing economy, the new president-elect, or the upcoming holidays, nothing overpowered the nag.

And so the amazingly frustrating conversation had to continue, it had to reach a conclusion. Unable to talk to my friend, because she was still angry I had “wished” her away, I was forced to confront strangers.

Fortunately, Twilight fans are like Harry Potter fans and are always willing to talk about the books. A good bit of eavesdropping and polite smiles later, I found myself grinding my teeth and pulling my hair.

“Obsession is obsession! Star Wars fans obsess just like Star Trek fans do! Why is Twilight any different than Harry Potter?” I felt the desire to hit my head like Homer Simpson.

“Because,” an unnaturally tall woman — probably six foot four — declared. “We like Twilight, not Harry Potter.” Maybe I should take up drinking.

“I’m not talking plots here.” I am beating a dead horse though. “I mean obsession. You’ve reread the books, and Potter fans do too. You go to midnight movie and book releases, Potter fans do too. Potter causes millions to read, so does Twilight.” I sucked down a deep breath. “The authors are both nuts. Meyer’s had a dream and Rowling starting writing on nappies!”

“Yeah, yeah, but,” the Amazon woman said in with a sigh. And I knew, just knew, what was coming next. “There are no vampires in Harry Potter.

I screamed.

What, what, was so terrible about Harry Potter that fans of Twilight couldn’t be associated in any way with the books? Harry’s just a boy with a wand! Edward’s just a boy with sharp teeth! People are reading and rereading, willingly, and others are stopping that with insane bands. How are they not the same?

“I don’t like little boys!” Amazon woman yelled with her fingers in her ears. I stopped screaming.

Oh… my… God.

“No, no, not like that!” Her eyes were wide and horrified. “Kids are great, well, I mean I like ‘em… not like like them… oh shit, I sound like a pedophile—”

I felt like crying and laughing. “I get it, man. You don’t like Harry Potter, ‘cause it’s for kids.” Yeah, I get it now. The inability to relate, the cry for difference, it was all denial. Denial!

Why hadn’t I realized that before? There wasn’t a difference and they, the fans, knew it. They just didn’t want to be associated with an eleven-year-old bespectacled boy. Sure, Harry grew up and the story grew darker, but it started as a kid’s book and to them it would always be a kid’s book.

Twilight is full of romance and supernatural drama, the sort that sends chills up your spine. Harry Potter is full of action and magic, from a child’s point of view. So in a way it was wrong to relate the two obsessions.

But really, it wasn’t. The facts still stand strong; the mania surrounding both books are the same. People are reading again, people are attempting to stop that, there are midnight releases, people dressing up, and the fans can’t stop talking.

So while reaching this revelation was grueling and frustrating, it was worth it. For the newest literary obsession of the world is Twilight and it’s quite reminiscent of the Harry Potter mania – no matter what the fans believe or say.

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About Kelsey Marcussen

  • TURNIPS1

    hahaha yeah lol, they obssession is similar,, but twilight is not yet as big as potter… i think… but still the signs say they are very similar phenomenons… but the stories are different,,,, i am a fan of the two,,, but i agree with the author of this article,,,lol

  • umms

    there ARE vampires in HP. they just aren’t major characters.

  • me

    Potter is still better, and it’s NOT just a kid’s book. Almost every adult I know has read, and fallen in love with them too.
    The obsessions are almost exactly the same.
    Too bad Twilight Saga was sucky after Twilight.

  • JenniMiki

    I have to tell you that I’m a major HP fan, and I’m also reading Twilight at the request of a friend, whose daughters are obsessed with the Meyer series. From the start, I’ve noticed the resemblance. Talk about denial! And my friend, who thought I was a fruitcake for liking HP so much that I became a mod on a roleplay site (I’m 38, btw), finally admitted SHE’S obsessed with the story (but not the actual books). Hahaha! I think Potter’s is a better story than the Cullens’, by far. I can see why people like Twilight, but honestly, it’s too emo for my tastes. This coming from one who has always loved vampire stories, so it’s not that I don’t care for that. HP, which isn’t just for kids, has deep plots and character development. I’ve still got one more Twilight book to go. I have it IN my possession, and I don’t HAVE to read it like I did HP. To each his own. Incidentally, yes, there ARE vamps in HP. There’s one at Slughorn’s party in the 6th book. :)

  • Lexi

    Oh my god thats ridiculous. First of all, yes there are vampires in Harry Potter. The Harry Potter series however, does not feel the need to establish the “emo / goth” card that everyone else seems to be aiming at these days. Second of all, the vampires in Twilight are pretty much fairies with fangs. It is possibly the worst vampire story I have read — even Blackula kicks Edward Cullen out of the water. What, do they really think that vampires being in their book makes it all bad ass and adult level? Harry Potter by far was the better literary peice.

  • http://www.myspace.com/sashaorr Sasha Orr

    Hi,
    I am a 29yr old mom and I will proudly say I read both Harry Potter and Twilight and obsess over both. I love them both and feel they are equally great!

    And I’m sorry to point out that there are some vampires in the later HP books, they just aren’t major charaters.

  • Areya

    As previous commenters have pointed out, there ARE vampires in Harry Potter. But I guess Twilight fans wouldn’t know that if they haven’t read the HP books. I am a Harry Potter fan, and I have seen the Twilight movie. I liked it, I just like Harry Potter more. I do think Twilight fans are in denial though that the series shares similarities with HP, especially in terms of obsession. The only difference I see in the mania is the fan base. Let’s face it: at the moment, HP has a much wider fan base in terms of age and demographics than Twilight does. That could change over time of course, but that just means that if and when that occurs, Twilight will have even more “obsession” similarities with HP, whether Twilighters like it or not.

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    Wow, I thought I was somewhat enlightened, but I was not familiar with the Twilight series. Luckily, I don’t really need to be, to get the point of this funny and truthful post.

    Some people will NOT get the point, even when it’s pointed at their stubborn little heads!

    Keep fighting the good fight Kelsey!

  • Dee

    I’d would’ve said, “There are vampires in Harry Potter, too,” but, like, 12 people beat me to it. I’d also say it isn’t a children’s book either, but it looks like about 4 people beat me to that. lol

    I agree, though. The denial is amazing.

  • http://www.myspace.com/manda_elphie Manda

    I love both of the series and I don’t get why everyone tries to compare them–or why so many Twifans will deny liking Harry Potter. I can see why you get so frustrated, obsession is obsession whether it’s over Harry Potter, Twilight, heck even over Hannah Montana! It’s obsession!

    I believe that both series are incredible and different as night and day.

  • Britt_22

    well i Am a fan of Both the Twilight books and the Harry potter books, theres no denying that…
    i just think that Twilight appeals to me more than harry potter b/c ive read every book…
    ive also read all of the harry potter books.
    but! i started reading the first HP book in 5th grade!
    and now that im a senior in hs i have read twilight which appeals to my age group.
    Yes true hp also grows up and th story develops.
    but i Jus like twilight b/c it can sort-of relate how teenagers are! minus the vamps.
    :]
    Love ur Blog Kelsey!

  • kat

    i personally like both. HUGE harry potter fan here. and twilight is a close second. it’s TOTALLY the same thing. crazed fans stalking fictional characters for autographs.. midnight movie and book releases. who cares if there are no vamps in harry potter… the point is.. PEOPLE are OBSESSED with fictional characters that have magical powers.

  • http://dracutweblog.blogspot.com Mary K. Williams

    It’d really freak out those in denial when you remind them that Robert Pattinson portrayed Cedric Diggory in the HP flicks.

  • http://whalertly.blogspot.com Robert M. Barga

    distinct difference though, Potter is written with several layers, a good plot line, and hidden gems throughout. Twilight, on the other hand, is not that entertaining, is exceptionally predictable (granted, I guess there was a piece of Voldemort’s soul in harry after the third book…), and just downright boring.
    Also, Vampires make everything worse, as they want to pretend not to be talking about sex, but are anyways. Stop using vampires as an innuendo

  • Giorgia Fields

    But there ARE vampires in Harry Potter. Granted, they are not main characters but the HP series acknowledges their existence. They even “show” one. Sanguini, anybody? Anyway, I agree with the author. The addiction is the same. Denial is hard on some of the twilighters.

  • Me

    The obsession is exactly the same. I have read both and yes as many people have said, there are vampires in Harry Potter. Also Harry Potter might have been originally intended for children, but lots of adults read them too. Harry Potter has way more readers, because twilight is mainly teenage girls.
    The obsession is the same. I have gone to midnight releases for harry potter books, and the twilight movie. It is identical, although at some times the twilight one might not be as strong. Those who say differently are in denial, or just oblivious.

  • bret

    Twilight can best be described as stephenie meyers has described her own books many times “… they are my sexaul fantasies, and I just had to write them down…”

    all twilight is is smut for tween girls who have never been in love… I.E. real love, which deals with emotions, not lust for a persons physical godlike faultless, or in the case of edward, the fact that he cant read bella’s mind.

    none of meyer’s characters have any real depth or development, and given that, again, by her own admission, she only spends 3-4 months writing her books, there is no time to at least give them a symbelience of humanity.

    They are all walking cliches abused by vampire writers. what is different is that this time, it is being marketed directly to 9-14 year old girls, who are at the age where they begin to understand romantic love.

    What is scary is that adult woman are now starting to get obsessive for this, which makes you wonder if their marraiges are simply matters of convience or religous expectation… because anyone who understands the true side of love; the emotional connection between two people that exists at the deepest, most human levels of a person’s existnce.

    Yes bella, we get it, edward makes you sweatty and your heart beat faster everytime you look at his sparkle chest and perfect high cheek bones and gold eyes. yes, we get it you swoon like a cliched heroine in a western film everytime he breaths on you… but thats not love… that is being in love with a image and a breath spray.

  • ejh0904

    As a fan of both worlds, I think the fascination is extremely similar. I agree with the author of the article 100%. The difference between the two is that Harry Potter is an intiation or coming-of-age hero story while Twilight is all about a mythical but true romantic love. Both are wonderful. I think what is drawing a lot of Harry Potter fans (and others) to Twilight, however, is the romantic aspect. In HP, Rowling alludes to romance for her hero but only fulfills it in a very off-page manner. Twilight fans have the benefit of seeing a romance that is unabashedly and unashamedly front and center. Stephenie Meyers doesn’t apologize for it; she simply writes what many of us want to read. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

  • Padme1899

    As someone who likes both, I can see both sides of the story. I personally hate it when Twilight and Harry are compared. The stories are different, but the obsession is the same. I read twilight just as fast as I did when Deathly Hallows came out. Seriously comparing the two in anyway other than the mania they created is like comparing starwars to startrek. There is no comparison, they are different.

  • fstcyr1

    Harry Potter mania and Twilight mania are almost identical. Children aged 11 and their equally excited mothers, aunts, and babysitters all lining up to get the next book or to see the movie sixteen times. While the plots may differ (sort of, as they’re both fictional and slightly supernatural) the fans of the two are just as obsessed as the other. As a Harry Potter fan, I have no problem being associated with Twilight fans, even though I think the books are mindless. The fact that Twilight fans refuse to be associated with Harry Potter is news to me but funny all the same.

  • Kitty

    Oh, I so agree. And I’m going to reiterate what basically everyone else is saying. There ARE vampires in HP. And Robert Pattinson was in the one of the HP films, if that means anthing. The obsessions ARE the same, although you do have to admit HP is bigger. (You know it’s true.) And HP is not just for kids. I know adults and teens alike who are really into it.
    Okay, so that was mostly a summary of everyone else’s comments, but my point is I so agree! You’ll go around in an airport or a school (like mine) and you’ll see people reading Twilight. The hit is similar to HP, even if smaller. So the stories are obviously different, but the mania definitely is.

  • Angelikfire

    “The authors are both nuts. Meyer’s had a dream and Rowling starting writing on nappies!”

    Surely Meyer is nuts, but that thing about Rowling writing on nappies is a eight year old urban legend. Stop with it already!

  • Obviously

    The ‘nappie’ comment is obviously sarcasm. Notice the tone of the article. And, JKR did start Potter by jotting notes/ideas down on coffee house napkins.

  • K

    I don’t see anyone sticking up for Twilight here . . . all i have to say is that i absolutely love the books, but have never read the Harry Potter series so I’m not really all that riled up about the differences.

  • Don

    Well, odd. I seem to be the only one out here, in that I enjoyed the Twilight series more than the Harry Potter series.

    There are similarities, in that they’re both fantasy worlds. Both have an appeal in that they are not your standard “stock in trade” story lines. Even the vampires in Twilight are very different to the vampires experienced anywhere else.

    What made Twilight so much more than “just another HP” is that the characters can be seen as real. Who hasn’t gone to some far-flung place with their parents and found themselves struggle to fit in (or maybe I’m the only one)?
    In HP, the characters never feel real – from the wandmaker to the werewolf that is obviously abnormal in normal form as he is in wolf form.

    I guess it’s a thing of perspective. Can you imagine the character in your own community? I could certainly imagine the Cullens being in my school back when I was in my teens. Not so with the HP world.