The Hunger Games vs. Divergent
Disclaimer: For those of you who are planning on seeing the movies or reading the books, SPOILER ALERT!
Let’s face it: at one point or another we’ve all thought that The Hunger Games series and the Divergent series were fairly similar. Now we have the ultimate breakdown: which one’s better? In this article, we will be comparing the books and not the movies, since we all know The Hunger Games is much more critically acclaimed and successful, notwithstanding the fact that Josh Hutcherson and Chris Hemsworth combined are nothing to the beauty that is Theo James.
Let us begin by first comparing the dystopian universes. In the Divergent universe, where people are distinguished by the virtues they hold dearest, the real enigma is what’s ‘outside the walls’. In The Hunger Games, there is no enigma. The characters’ lives are all a tragedy on a day to day basis and the book is based around a dilemma: keep yourself safe and the let the system be, or risk your life and challenge the system. Both books take its readers through struggle, bloodshed, war, and death. However, with The Hunger Games, there is a highlighted element of sadism in the ruling body where there is indifference in Divergent.
To elaborate, in The Hunger Games, President Snow has children fight till death in an arena as compensation of their forefather’s rebellion, every year. The children are chosen by picking out a random name from a glass bowl, and since most families are extremely poverty-stricken, the more times a child puts in his name, (thus raising the probability of his/her name being chosen) the more everyday staples he gets. This is all in addition to their pathetic living conditions. This highlights how President Snow and his lawmakers take pleasure in the districts’ suffering.
On the other hand, in the Divergent Series, when the Erudite President, Jeanine Mathews, takes over, the murders of the Abnegation faction under her orders are not out of spite but because they are a part of her plan. To her understanding, Abnegation is a hindrance which must be eliminated and it is, thus showing her indifference. This also shows how Divergent is a more realistic series when it comes unleashing the evils of our societies. People suffer at the hands of their rulers simply because they do not care, not because they like to see them suffer.
Next, we will discuss the element upon which whole fandoms are based: the romance. In The Hunger Games series, we have classic love triangle. In this series, we come across one-sided love, denial and jealousy. On Katniss’s part, she has a hard time juggling her feelings and the responsibility of her family and thus, denies any feelings for Peeta. For Peeta, it’s the one-sided love he has to come in terms with. Having fallen for Katniss at first sight, Peeta has troubles pretending to be Katniss’s lover and fiancé on screen, and switching back to just friends off screen. As for Gale, even with things as bad as they were, it’s hard not to notice the booming chemistry between Peeta and Gale’s own childhood best friend, Katniss. With things getting serious between the two, Gale becomes jealous. With all of this already going on, Suzane Collins keeps the readers on their toes by having Peeta tortured and brainwashed and having him turned into a mentally unstable jerk.
In the divergent series, the love story is pretty straight-forward… well, as straight-forward as it can be in a dystopia. There’s an awkwardness between them to begin with, followed by a swooping rescue mission, where Four saves Tris from her jealous co-initiates. They share their aspirations and fears and fall in to unconditional love. Of course, there are elements of disloyalty and jealousy, but we can all see how their problems are mendable, until the event that must not be named occurs.
Speaking of that event, we will conclude with the heart-wrenching comparisons of tragedies. It’s bad enough that Rue dies in the first book, taking a spear to the chest, but Prim dies too! Yes, Prim dies, blown to bits by a bomb, while treating the wounded of the Capitol. If you think it doesn’t get worse than this, it does! It may be different for every fan but for me, nothing weighs worse than Finnick’s death! Having so lately been revealed as such a person who the Capitol has misused to such extent and having finally married the love of his life, he instantly became a favourite. Then, having to see him die in the underground gutters of the Capitol, left an unfulfilled hole in the depths of every fan’s being. The pain of his death is especially accentuated in the epilogue where it is revealed that Finnick and Annie have a baby boy.
As to the Divergent series, keeping aside Tris’s parents’ deaths, Al’s suicide, Will’s death at the hands of Tris, and even Caleb’s disloyalty, can we all acknowledge the fact that TRIS DIES! Before the fact of the matter hits you while you’re reading Allegiant, before the intensity of the tragedy hits you, you just want to shut the book and ask Veronica Roth, “Are you sure? Are you sure you want to take it this way? Because if you change your mind, we’ll totally support you!” As tragic as this is, speaking for all true Divergent fans, it’s just as ridiculous and totally unnecessary.
Before my emotions get out of hand, I’ll conclude. Both of these trilogies are two of the best literary works I’ve seen by contemporary writers. They have amazing imaginative and descriptive details, and clever and unique plots, both innovative and fulfilling their own way. For those of you who have seen the movies and think there’s no need to read the series, think again. And for those who have, share whether or not you agree with our analysis and comment below your favourite between the two.