Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Hero with a Heart (Harry Potter or Hunger Games?)

Congratulations to Tonya, the winner of Dana's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.

I just saw on the news that Harry Potter has won Best Hero at the MTV Movie Awards after a close battle with Katniss Everdeen from "Hunger Games.” What do you think about that? Do you agree?

I, for one, am not sure if the competition was completely fair. Harry Potter had five movies to grow into a fully-formed, multi-faceted hero, while Katniss had only one. She’s only at the beginning of her heroic journey. To be honest, I like Katniss better. Maybe I’m biased because I’m a woman. The way I feel is that a large reason for Harry Potter’s victory is his magic powers, which he was pretty much born with. He was destined to defeat the enemy and given the power to do it. He is brave, he is protective of those weaker than him, he never loses sight what he is fighting for and is willing to sacrifice his life for his cause. That all make him an amazing hero.

And I still like Katniss better. I’ve given this some thought this morning. I thought figuring out why I like Katniss better than Harry could be a useful exercise for me, since I’m an author and I write my own share of heroes. For one, Katniss has no special powers. She has to sweat blood to get better, to become good enough to win. I appreciate her courage more than I appreciate Harry’s, probably because Katniss has no special spells to fall back on. It’s all her. And she doesn’t enter the battle by an accident of birth. She volunteers to save her sister. That shows tremendous heart.

So this is the theory I ended up with: I appreciate heroes who show their heart. How about you?

I never thought about this while writing my current release, SPY HARD, but Jase, the hero, shows tremendous heart throughout the book. He is undercover at a South American drug lord’s compound in the jungle. His cover depends on how ruthless he acts. If anyone sees any soft spots, his cover would be blown and he’d be summarily executed. Yet his honor and heart are tested at every turn. When the men encounter a native orphan boy in the jungle, will Jase sacrifice the boy to protect his mission, or save the boy and risk his own life? Then he faces a choice again with a three-legged puppy at the ruthless dog fighting rings. And again when he meets the drug lord’s pregnant sister-in-law who is a hostage at the jungle compound. If Jase messes up his mission, hundreds, maybe thousands of Americans will die, as the villain is now smuggling not only drugs north, but weapons for terrorists. Yet for a hero with honor and a heart, sacrificing the few in order to save the many is not an easy choice to make.

You can read an excerpt about Jase here:

To celebrate the release of SPY HARD, I’m giving away a free book. To be entered into the drawing, all you have to do is post a comment here. I’ll be giving away a copy of LAST SPY STANDING, which features another one of my favorite heroes who shows tremendous heart under pressure. Good luck!

Giveaway ends 9pm EST June 7th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.


  1. Spy Hard sounds packed with adventure! I'd love to win a copy of Last Spy Standing because, well, who doesn't love a guy with a heart as big as his muscles?

  2. beth6325(at)yahoo(dot)com
    After reading your explanations, I definitely have to agree and go with Katniss over Harry. Plus, she's a kickass female, which is always awesome to find.

  3. DANA

  4. HI Dana,

    I agree with you there. I prefer Katniss over Harry.
    The book sound good, looking forward to read it.

  5. Cherie--"...a heart as big as his muscles" I LOVE that! :-)

    Beth--I'm very fond of kickass heroines, too!

    Tammy--Secret Contract... wow, that brings back good memories :-) I loved writing that book. Thank you for reading it!

    Adis--I think we'll like Katniss even more as she grows and becomes more multifaceted in the upcoming stories. I haven't read the books yet. I really should.

  6. IMHO looking beyond gender and skill set the ultimate message is of their stories - when the time comes do you have the courage to do what is right = no matter what the cost? In that respect, both Harry and Katniss are equal. Katniss' struggle is more poignant because it appears she fights alone and that gives more resonance as Harry always had Ron and Hermione.

  7. Im not a big fan of books geared toward teens, but I did love the Harry Potter series. My daughter and I read them together. We also saw all the movies. I gave her the entire set or Christmas this past year. She's 23 and was thrilled beyond belief. I guess you never really grow up and forget the things you really loved. Thanks!

  8. Harry will ALWAYS be my favorite!! It's a battle of good vs evil. I cannot even read the Hinger Games series - kids killing kids - yuck!! So, I'm going with Harry!!

  9. I have seen all the Harry Potter movies - Have not seen Hunger Games yet. Have not read any of the books. I did like Harry Potter.

  10. E Edgerton--I really like your point about the main theme. You are very right. I think the theme is why I like both so much.

    Shelley--Reading a book with a child is one of the nicest things in the world. I'm always giving books to the kids in the family.

    Kelli--I hear you on the 'kids killing kids' thing. When I saw the movie in the theater, every time a kid was killed, the teen audience clapped and cheered. That really bothered me. Remember the old days of chivalry when a skilled enemy was respected and warriors had principles?

    Tammy--So good to see you here! Which one is your favorite HP book? Mine is the first.

  11. I like Katniss, but there is just something about Harry! I would can't wait to read Spy Hard!

  12. Hi, Dana! SPY HARD sounds awesome! Might just have to add that to my towering TBR pile.

  13. oops forgot to add my email!

  14. sounds like an interesting read

  15. Congratulations on the book! The hero sounds great.


  16. I totally agree with you. I found Katniss a more humble & also compelling hero. She has real heart!

  17. ok was I supposed to also add my email...well here it is: :)

  18. I have to say that Harry Potter deserves to win. We have been with Harry Potter the moment he began his magic studies. Katniss, we just met her. We still don't know much about her yet but as the story goes in the next two books, we will know more about her.


  19. Great post and what great read. :} I will have to agree that Katniss gets my vote if you compare her to Harry Potter. She might not have special powers but she has wicked survival skills that Harry does not.
    Thanks for sharing.

  20. Yay! I never win anything. Thank you!


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