Rivalries are half the fun of sports. The thrill of hating on your opposing team is just as great as cheering on your own—though nothing gets the blood rushing and the heart racing faster than someone daring to question the team you love and support. This same passion extends into book fandoms and their movie adaptations. Here, we have the first installment of our new series Great Debates, in which we tackle classic ‘shipping wars, character rivalries, and other arguments that have engaged impassioned readers for years. To kick off, we choose sides in some of fandom’s greatest team wars.
Edward vs. Jacob
Few issues get YA aficionados as worked up as the contentious “Edward vs. Jacob” debate that plays out over the course of Stephenie Meyer’sTwilight trilogy. (It’s also the rivalry that first coined the term “teams” among fandom and pop culture.) Should Bella, the widely-reviled protagonist of the series, choose Jacob the warm, friendly werewolf, or Edward the ice-cold and restrained vampire? If Facebook likes are any indication, Edward is in the lead by a wide margin. However, this doesn’t keep fans from hotly debating their allegiances.
Bookish Votes: Team Edward. Don’t get us wrong—we don’t like Bella, and we don’t particularly like Edward. As such, we think the two probably deserve each other. Plus, we want Jacob for ourselves (or, at least, to save him from a lifetime with Renesmee).
Peeta vs. Gale vs. Katniss
Much like the Twilight debate, there are fierce battles surrounding who Katniss Everdeen’s true love is in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Gamestrilogy. If you’re Team Gale, you know that he’s always been the one for her. They already care so much for each other, he’s been her rock long before the Games; and his strong masculine looks make all the District 12 girls swoon. On Team Peeta, it’s obvious to you that The Boy With the Bread is who Katniss needs to be with. He is so in love with her; they’ve shared such an intense experience in the Games; and he is universally good. She would be crazy not to choose him.
Then there are the people who say, “Wait… hold on… The Hunger Gamesis not a love story.” Those people are Team Katniss. They know that the book is really about fighting for what is right and that Katniss is a strong character on her own.
Bookish Votes: Team Katniss because Katniss, unlike Bella Swan, doesn’t need a man to be awesome.
Harry Potter: Canon vs. Non-Canon
It is well established in many circles that J.K. Rowling is a God and Harry Potter is her Bible. The debate surrounding the interpretation of these works often rises to the level of fanatical. Do we read Harry Potter literally and what Rowling has said is law or is there wiggle room?
Many of the arguments surround character relationships. Rowling makes it clear that Ron ends up with Hermione, and Harry ends up with Ginny. For some people, that is the way it should be. Others believe that maybe Harry/Hermione would be a better match. There are even those who take a further step beyond the written story and think Harry and Draco are perfect for each other. Readers have carried this argument into forums, social media, and even fanfiction. It’s likely it will be the source of fan rivalry for all time.
Bookish Votes: We’ll admit we are a bit all over the board here. On the canon side, we are very Team Ron/Hermione. Given all the build-up and the chemistry between them, we would have been pretty upset if it didn’t happen. But where we disagree with J.K. Rowling is that, while Ginny is an all right match for Harry, a much better choice would have been Draco. Maybe we’re just suckers for tumultuous couples?
The Iron Throne
We’ve already seen beloved characters die while playing the game of thrones—but who will win? Fans of George R.R. Martin’s epic series are starting to hedge their bets as they await the final two books. Despite the Lannisters’ far-reaching power, few fans seem to have their money on Joffrey Baratheon, currently sitting on the throne and terrifying the nation. Fewer want Stannis Baratheon, who likes to throw his friends into the dungeon for disagreeing with him, and his crazy mistress. Then, there are those characters not actively seeking the throne who fans love ardently: Gendry, the charming underdog with more experience in building armor than wearing it; or Jon Snow, the bastard son of Westeros, who currently has greater (or rather Whiter) things on his mind. But Bookish is favoring a leader of a different sort…
Bookish Votes: Team Daenerys. We’d love for our Khaleesi to become Queen. Sure, insanity runs in her family, and yeah, she tends to make quick decisions as Jorah pleads with her to listen to reason—but she has dragons! She’ll take Westeros by storm, and we’re leading the cavalry.
Le Misérable in Love
When regarding Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, fans fall on to one of two sides: true or unrequited love. With a single glance, Cosette and Marius know that they are meant to be together. War and Valjean threaten to keep them apart, but ultimately their love triumphs. The same cannot be said for Éponine. Poor and struggling for everything that she has, she pales in comparison to the beautiful, well-off Cosette. Marius barely glances at Éponine, save to learn more information about his beloved (who he is sort of stalking…), but still Éponine loves him and pays the ultimate price for it.
Source: Tumblr/Physician, Heal Thyself
Bookish Votes: Team Éponine! This is truly a novel of redemption, and Éponine exemplifies that in the best of ways. While her actions are, at the time, rash and selfish, she continues to go against her own desires to help Marius be with Cosette. She is a flawed, passionate, and multi-dimensional character. If Marius won’t love her, then we are the first in line to replace him.
Thor vs. Loki
We can’t think of another fandom where fan affections are so split between the obvious “hero” of the series and his archnemesis—who, in this case, also happens to be his brother. What makes these two Asgardians such a gripping rivalry is their inverse yet well-matched advantages: Thor is brawny and thunderous and Mjolnir’s true bearer, but Loki is shadowy and lithe and a trickster, using a combination of his cunning and shapeshifting abilities. Not to mention that, at the end of the day, they do actually care for each other.
Bookish Votes: Team Loki. Always Loki. We have to root for the runt of the litter.