Texas Take ‘Em – A Lesson in Vampire Politics

October 22, 2010 in Character & Plot Analysis, Dead in the Family - Book 10, Guest Posts

Alright, so summer is gone and True Blood is over – which means class is back in session! Drag out your copies of the Sookie Stackhouse Novels, we are hitting the books!

First up on the agenda – a look at vampire politics as recounted by Eric in Dead in the Family, and its implications for the upcoming Sookie Stackhouse Companion and book 11, Dead Reckoning. To which I say, finally, I can use my degree towards something!

“As my wife, you must know this.” (p 154)

Dusting off our memories if we can, let’s go back to that clunky chapter where Eric gave Sookie the lowdown on the vampire political system. To summarize for those who don’t have their books on hand, previously Eric had snuck into the hidey-hole the night before while Hunter slept in the guest room, Sookie explains Claude and Hunter’s presence in the house, Eric then tells Sookie he has to give her the 411 – and no, he was not Leif Ericson.

On the first reading, the sheer bluntness and excessiveness of Eric’s delivery of so much information that he felt would help Sookie “negotiate the minefield of vampire politics” (153) was off-putting. Why this? Why this now? It seemed like Charlaine Harris lobbed this at her readers on a late edit. The chapter seemed odd and ill fitting, and it certainly didn’t appear to belong in the narrative, since the rest of the book focused so much on the theme of family and all but completely abandoned the political thereafter. But Eric was trying to tell Sookie important stuff, (by the Hammer of Thor, really I mean it!), and upon closer examination, Harris told us more than I originally expected to find.

Part of the difficulty we encounter drawing the message from this passage is due to Sookie’s narration – her growing impatience and the readers’ own anticipation ( *drool* ) amplify with every mention of mind-blowing, sex, and Eric. Redundant much, CH?

As difficult as it is to not fantasize where the Gracious Plenty is concerned, I suggest on your rereading that you try to block out the distracting sexual subtext, and hold those lady boners in. Think of the kittens Ewoks.

Haha, MAS. I borrowed your joke there. (But added Ewoks. *shifty eyes.*)


Returning to the lesson, Eric and Sookie banter on for about 3 pages with the Amun, Narayana, Zeus, and Moshup delineations, – to which I say nuhuh, hit the ignore button please. The mythology behind these terms is unimportant. Scratch ‘em off the study guide for now. AmunNarayanaZeusMoshup. In test prep terminology, these new vampire territories are “attractive distractors” and are equally distracting as the GP. Sookie perked up when she heard them and feigned interest real well, but the backstory of these ‘stupid names’ is not relevant to where I think the story is going. If you put “Narayana created the sun from his eyes” down on the test later as the #1 important thing in this passage, you will fail.

Just sayin.’

These are not the bombs in the garden you’re looking for.


While this will make a snazzy poster for any of you politicos planning on attending a rally this year, does it have anything to do with AmunNarayanaZeusMoshup, these proper nouns of themselves? Hmm. Not that much.

“I think you need to know what’s going on around you, my lover.” Eric had never looked more serious. “Last night, while I was working, I found myself distracted by the idea that you might suffer for your ignorance. Pam agreed. She’s wanted to give you the background of our hierarchy for some weeks. But I thought the knowledge would burden you, and you had enough problems to handle. Pam reminded me that ignorance could get you killed. I value you too much to let yours continue.” (p 157)

Eric expresses concern for Sookie’s safety here – if we invert it, how could any of the information in this chapter be helpful in saving her life?

Going back a few pages while looking for ideas, I stumbled on a land mine. While explaining the political landscape and the mechanics of vampire governance, the Viking gave Sookie a serendipitous warning. That is, Eric told her where NOT to go. Eeeeerp. What? Jar Jar Binks, play that back again.

Meesa say, Eric told her where not to go.

“Stan’s lieutenant in Texas has struggled these past few months since Stan was injured in Rhodes, and it’s been hard for him to hold on to Texas.” (p 155)


Which is ripe for a take over.


Which is where Sam’s brother’s wedding is located.


In order to get to Wright, Texas,** Sam and Sookie must go through the Dallas-Texas territory. Blurgh! Will Sam and Sookie make a stopover in Dallas or avoid it all together and take an alternative route? Will Eric freak when he finds out Sookie plans to go to Craig’s wedding but for her only to misconstrue what he is saying as jealousy and mistrust instead of tactical advice? And will she go ahead with attending this out of spite and her independent zeal?

**Apparently there are two Wright, Texases. I chose the one that is closer to Louisiana, but both are west of Dallas.

While I’m certainly trying hard not to panic over this newish layer of intrigue, I think it only spells trouble. Will the ‘takeover’ happen before or after Craig’s wedding? Will Dallas be ground zero of a battle for control of the state? Will news of it trickle to Sookie’s ears while she is there? Will someone make an attempt to kidnap Sookie once she enters that area? Regardless, I do not think it is a coincidence where this wedding is located. Harris has a purpose for this.


Now if California is split into thirds because of population density according to Eric, then the Texas territory might be split at least in half, right? And for all intents and purposes we are talking about the northern half of Texas, which includes the Dallas area and which I believe must include the surrounding areas like Fort Worth. Although who knows, maybe Texas is one whole territory? Overall it could be a relatively moot point, but the focus here is Dallas.

As of right this minute, I am going out on a limb and saying Texas WILL be taken over.

It is only a matter of WHEN.

But I won’t stop there.  Pushing all my chips in, I also say Texas will be taken over by Oklahoma’s Queen Freyda, and NOT Felipe De Castro’s Nevada regime.

Why Oklahoma you ask?

First we know FDC is busy attempting to pry Mississippi away from Russell Edgington, which we learned from Pam in the short story “Two Blondes.” This would make Oklahoma’s blitz of Dallas more likely, since they know Nevada is still trying to expand and thus they will have a bigger sense of urgency.

Geographically speaking, Oklahoma would be walled in on three sides if the Felipe De Castro regime were to claim Texas – since this regime already have full control of Arkansas and Louisiana. I doubt Oklahoma will allow themselves to be surrounded to that degree, and I believe they will make a preemptive strike.

Also, a hypothetical alliance with Eric won’t be of much consequence if Freyda doesn’t command a powerful regime herself. A weak ally is a non-ally.

Here’s lookin’ at you, Alderaan.


This is killing me, I keep tripping all over that j. Fray-da? Free-da?

My research yielded the spelling is likely Russian or Polish and the name means “Peace” or “Peaceful leader.” Is Freyda possibly some old friend of Eric’s? An old flame?

“Freyda” appears to be Scandinavian in origin, and quite close to both Freya and Freyja – the Norse goddess of love, fertility and war. This could very well be a big fat hint of a long standing, past connection between her and Eric – either going back to their human days (a stretch) or simply a connection forged out of a shared Nordic heritage (more likely).

Will Eric approach Freyda looking for help to extricate Nevada and pledge his loyalty to her in exchange for the Queenship of Louisiana? Or instead, will friendly Freyda want a nice neighbor, take cash in small bills, and permit Eric the Kingship of his own state?

I’ll have more on a potential alliance later, but in the meantime why is a Texas takeover so important?


We hardly knew ye.

Mr. Davis is deader than dead in my opinion. There is an off chance that Freyda may allow Stan to live in a non-hostile takeover and/or marries him in lieu of killing him outright, but I doubt it since Oklahoma has their back up against the wall. Well..  technically three walls.

If we’re weak enough to be taken, then we are fair game.” (p 155)

With Stan gone, what does this mean for Barry Bellboy? Is he still in Stan’s employ? Would he then belong to Freyda?  Will Barry leave the state before this goes down? Did he go into hiding after Rhodes? Was he ensnared by Lattesta & the G-Men or enslaved by Victor Madden, who is jealous of Eric’s little telepathic trump card?

Lemon hears people’s thoughts too. Should she be worried?


John is supposed to be in the new novella and we know that this wedding Sookie has promised to attend is in Texas, so is there a connection? Is he there in his unofficial capacity as Traitor-in-Chief while spying for FDC on the Supes in Texas? Is the rest of the Nevada gang far behind? Is Frannie there too? Is Quinn stalking Sookie? Is he standing right over the border waiting for Sookie since he can’t step foot into Eric’s area? Has he finally given up pit-fighting and joined the circus?

It seems fairly certain that one final wedge will be driven between Quinn and Sookie to put that mess to bed forever, hence his reappearance in the novella. The tiger’s track record on choosing sides is nothing to write home about, and his habit of leading trouble straight to Sookie doesn’t bode well, either.


That dead little spy that Alexei annihilated at the end of DITF belonged to someone. Who dat? I’ll be damned if it isn’t Freyda. Since I think Stan is dead vamp walking, it doesn’t serve the story much if Felicia was in his employ, but rather if it was Freyda potentially she will send another minion to enquire about Felicia’s disappearance, and she could bring charges of wrongful death against Eric, since he was responsible for her as a vampire in his area. There is a lot of explaining to do to somebody on that front.

And what information did Bobby Burnham possibly pass along to her during their dirty little fling?

The likely implications of Felicia’s presence are that Freyda knows the situation in Louisiana from her reconnoissance, she knows that Eric is under Felipe De Castro’s thumb, and she will demand payment in some kind if she is to offer aid – regime toppling isn’t free last time I checked and payment via an alliance with Louisiana would have to seem mighty attractive to her vulnerable state. Who knows – if she is a connection of Eric’s, maybe she will offer it at a reduced price?


Shortly after the geography lesson and the mind blowing sex (which we the readers were not allowed to witness in dripping graphic detail. Nerds!!!), Sookie starts acting weird due to Appius’ arrival and the stressed blood bond. She blurts out this:

“Hey, I heard on the radio today that one of the senators from Oklahoma came out as a Were. He said he’d register with some government bureau the day they pried his fangs from his cold, dead corpse.” (p 161)

Does this Were-Senator have any bearing on the state of Oklahoma’s vampire hierarchy since the human government is starting to merge Vampire Affairs with Supe Affairs? Why did CH drop this? Was it supposed to be some random inconsequential fact? Why mention Oklahoma twice in the same chapter? Especially when this new character Freyda looks to be rather important if she is the “new Queen on the board” from the Dead Reckoning synopsis and that this Were-Senator holds an anti-registration stance. This may be in the long run irrelevant, but color me intrigued.


Okay, we can discuss their geographical relevance now. Oklahoma belongs in Zeus if Texas does and they share the common vertical dividing line, so most likely Zeus will support Oklahoma’s plan in solidifying inter-Clan power structures, especially in light of Felipe de Castro’s growing dominion.

So what does it mean if Oklahoma becomes a Louisiana ally, since it will be across Clan lines and not internally within Amun?

Amun has been decimated from the bombing of the last summit, so that makes them poor and self-serving and in my opinion they do not care about Eric’s troubles in so much their own. There is not going to be an army of droids help coming from his own Clan,  Eric has to look somewhere else for aid.

Which brings me to wonder how many marriages are allowed between Kings and Queens outside of their respective Clan. Eric seems to suggest marriage does not need to be inside the Clan when he recalls the summit:

“There are visitors at the summits, if they have some vested interest in a topic under discussion. Or they are engaged in a lawsuit against someone in that division. Or if they’re going to marry someone in the division whose time it is to have a summit.” (p 155)

The evidence in the Sookieverse suggests otherwise however; Sophie-Anne married Arkansas, which was internally within Amun, and Russell married King Bartlett of Indiana, again, internally within Amun.

Based on this, marriage and ‘peaceful’ alliances across Clan lines may occur, but don’t appear to be common.


Marriage as a means to form an alliance between Oklahoma and Louisiana seems pretty likely. Shark farts! With the example of Sophie-Anne and Peter Threadgill it was made clear a marriage of convenience does not have to be consummated, heck they don’t even have to like each other. Could Eric marry Freyda and have Sookie as a consort? Will Eric be forced to ask Sookie for a divorce? (Please CH – god, no!) Does Eric perform the matrimonial services at his own wedding? HAHAHA.

Oh, fudge buckets. I’m crapping my pants over this.

Can Eric form an alliance with Oklahoma without marriage being a necessary component? I have no frakking idea how it will play out. All I do know is Felipe De Castro and Victor Madden aren’t walking out that door of their own free will, which to me can only mean one thing.

This is war, Peacock.

To be continued…


Dead in the Family – A Tome

May 11, 2010 in Dead in the Family - Book 10

DISCLAIMER: I’ve only read DITF through once, and I’m in the middle of a slower paced reread at the moment. The following started out as a review, and ended up being infiltrated with random bits of analysis and god knows what else. I conclude from this that I am too opinionated to write wanky book reviews, and also completely incapable of shutting myself up. So for better or worse, here’s what I’m thinking after my first read.

* * * * * * * * * *

The very first thing I need to say about Dead in the Family is that I liked it – alot. It was certainly a change of pace from the last few books, as we were told it would be. It was also a “transitional” book, but in saying that I don’t mean to call it series filler. Harris has finally decided to start addressing some long lingering issues that have become distracting. And she has also started to lay – very subtly – some groundwork for the ending of Sookie’s story. I cannot tell you how relieved I am about that.

Dead in the Family is very much a character driven book. Not since Dead to the World has this series seen an instalment focused so heavily on character development, and at this point in the story a closer examination of the characters was certainly due. By her own admission, Harris is much better at drawing characters than she is at keeping track of her numerous plot lines and after the upheaval of the last two books, I really didn’t mind that this one meandered plot wise a little more than usual.


Keep Reading…

This one goes straight to the Gracious Plenty Hall of Fame

May 7, 2010 in Dead in the Family - Book 10, Sex in Sookieverse

Way back when, we had Sookie’s “quivering puppies waiting to be petted”.

Then, we had Eric as “deep inside as he could get without an operation”.

And now…NOW…we have this. Sookie’s latest hilarious attempt at worshipping the GP, which I hereby induct into Sookieverse canon as the most cringeworthy line in Book 10.

Are you ready? Here it comes.

“That looks painful. Do you want me to NURSE IT?”


Sookie, my love. The Gracious Plenty is not a fucking disease. You don’t nurse it. You GET ON THAT pronto. Stop asking stupid questions.

Three years of hot vampire sex, and you still sound like a virgin on prom night.

Oh, Charlaine.

Ten books down, and your sex scenes are still like bad 70′s porn – I hear the music, I know what’s coming….and I still can’t tear myself away.

But I still love you. Both of you.

And now I go back to trying to cut my review of DITF down to a length you guys can read without taking a day off work.

Sorry, I needed a distraction.

Dead in the Family #2

May 5, 2010 in Dead in the Family - Book 10

A new post for discussion, the original post is now locked for comments as it’s getting too long.

Same rules apply as the previous post, and please read House Rules before commenting.


Dead in the Family Released!

May 4, 2010 in Dead in the Family - Book 10


It’s been one very long year, my fellow Sookiephiles and Viking lovers. And today is the day! We finally get Dead in the Family in our hot, sweaty little hands.

Though some very kind souls have spoiled me to within an inch of my life in the last few weeks, I haven’t read the full book yet so it will be a day or two before I have anything coherent to say about it.

Actually, it could be a few days before I’m capable of saying anything coherent at all.

In the meantime, this post is for those of us who need somewhere to play while we’re reading. It’s open season in here, feel free to discuss any aspect of the book you like.

Posting rules and big, chunky spoilers after the jump.


Keep Reading…

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