When I recently read Ender’s Game, I really wanted to root for him. He is the protagonist, after all! And so many people seem to really idolize him and the book. But perhaps he’s a creation of his time: we have a lot more YA heroes to look up to now!
|Name||Ender Wiggen||Katniss Everdeen|
|Problem:||Problem—Picked as a child to defeat the alien bugger race, because adults say so||Has to fight to the death in an arena, because adults say so|
|Special Talent||Being smart||Skill with a Bow&Arrow|
|Character Flaws||Accidentally harming others||Being generally unlikeable|
|Setting||Future Earth/The Battle School/space||Future United States (in the form of Panem)/The Arena|
|Parents||Essentially check out of his life forever.||Father deceased; mother mentally absent.|
|Semi-Friendly Adult Tutor||Colonel Graff||Haymitch|
|Adult Who Kinda Cares||Mazer Rackem||Effie Trinket|
|“Friends”||Alai, Petra, Dink, Shen, Bean||Peeta, Rue, Gale, Cinna|
|People to Fight||All the other kids||Almost all the other kids, except Rue and Peeta|
|The Twist||Despite thinking he’s been in training, Ender has actually been fighting the buggers…and defeated them.||Katniss exploits the system of the Hunger Games to keep, for the first time, two players alive, by defying The Capitol and risking her own life.|
Honestly, when I was reading Ender’s Game, I figured I’d do a post like this, and the “twist ending” would be that Katniss and Ender would instead decide they are so similar that they should just be BFFs, and together they would take down the adults.
But then… the end of Ender’s Game. Ender just keeps letting himself be manipulated, even when he’s an old man! He never really seems to act on his own, in that whole book, so I can only assume that if Ender Wiggen were placed in the Hunger Games with Peeta in that final pivotal moment, he would have killed Peeta because the Gamemakers said so and then felt sad about it.
If placed in Ender’s circumstances, I feel like Katniss would constantly try to rebel against the teachers at Battle School, and would ultimately lead a student rebellion, leading to peace with the distant bugger race.
For that reason, in a direct one-to-one contest, I’ve gotta give it squarely to Katniss Everdeen.
What do you think? Who’s the stronger protagonist?