So, you might think that since Charlaine Harris had elected not to post a spoiler chapter for the final Sookie Stackhouse Novel Dead Ever After, that it would be a long dry wait for any book news. Well, in what might read as a minor spoiler, Ms. Harris piped into a conversation on her forum to answer a timeline question that just might have major repercussions.
But first, let me back up a bit. In the past two years, Ms. Harris has published two Sookie short stories in book anthologies she edits with author Toni L. P. Kelner– If I Had a Hammer, from Home Improvement, and Playing Possum from An Apple for the Creature. Ms. Harris has said that the Sookie shorts do not have a direct impact on the main story arc of the novels, particularly after the confusion surrounding the story One Word Answer and it’s impact on the events of Definitely Dead. So on the surface, this little tidbit might not attract much notice.
But I think that it would be a mistake to overlook the significance of her confirmation of how these stories fit into the Sookieverse timeline. (Spoiler alert, if you have not yet read IIHAH or PP.)
In IIHAH, Sookie and Sam help Tara and JB renovate their house to make more room for their young twins, and in doing so uncover an old murder mystery. It’s not really the story here that’s significant, but rather how she refers to Bill and Sam in particular. Besides labeling Sam as her “boss”, Sookie also refers to him as her “friend”.
After a summit meeting the week before, attended by me; my boss, Sam Merlotte; and Tara’s babysitter, Quiana Wong, Tara and JB had made a plan.
“Good job, Sook,” Sam said behind me.
I jumped, and he laughed. “You were thinking too hard to hear me come through the new closet door,” he said. “I tried to walk heavy.”
“You are evil,” I said, climbing down. “I don’t think I’ll work for you anymore.”
“Don’t tell me that,” he said. “What would I do without you?”
I grinned at him. “I expect you’d find a way to carry on. This economy, there are plenty of women who need a job, even working for a slave driver like you.”
He snorted. “You mean a pushover like me. Besides, you have your own financial interest in the bar now…”
“All right,” Sam said grudgingly. “But not tonight. It’s nowhere near the full moon, so it won’t be as easy to change. I need a full night’s sleep first.” I wouldn’t do this for anyone but her, Sam thought, feeling ashamed that he was dragging his feet.
I could only be grateful I had such a friend.
Bill merits only one mention, as her former boyfriend.
“You won’t believe who the policeman was, Sam,” Tara said. “It was a man named Fuller Compton, one of Bill’s descendants.”
I didn’t want to start talking about Bill, who was an ex of mine.
In, Playing Possum, there’s no mention of any of the men in Sookie’s life, besides Hunter, whom Sookie is visiting at school in Red Ditch for a Labor Day party. She refers to her partnership in Merlotte’s and even talks to Hunter about being the boss, but otherwise is silent about the details of her life. Of course, this is by design. Ms. Harris certainly doesn’t want to give away too many hints about the big mystery of the novels. Both IIHAH and PP take place exclusively in the daytime, and for the record, neither story has any mention of Sookie’s current squeeze, Eric.
So, while the action of these stories gives away nothing big to take back to our analysis and predictions about the end of the novel series, I can’t help but think that it’s significant that Sookie refers to Sam as her boss and her friend, and Bill as her ex in a story that take place after Dead Ever After in the timeline. Call me crazy, but that’s not how I’d expect Sookie to refer to the man she’d chosen to spend her life with, do you? And what self-respecting woman refers to her significant other as her “boss”, even if they do work together?
For those of you keeping score at home, Deadlocked ended the day after Sookie’s birthday – which would be July 2, 2006. Playing Possum takes place on Labor Day, which fell on September 4 of that year. If the endpapers actually do reveal that a full moon occurs during DEA, there were two in that time period, July 10th and August 9th, 2006.
Of course, I would argue that the text of the novels has already revealed the HEA, if the reader has been paying attention to what Sookie says she wants and who she loves. But who doesn’t love a little confirmation? What do you think of the ramifications of how Sookie refers to Bill and Sam in these stories now that Charlaine Harris has confirmed they fall after DEA in the timeline, and what, if anything, does it say to you about Sookie’s HEA? Sound off in the comments!