When This Witch Is Defeated…

November 30, 2012 in Amnesia Eric, Dead Ever After - Book 13, Dead to the World - Book 4, Eric Northman, Sookie & Eric, Sookie Stackhouse

by krtmd

Since the release of Deadlocked, I’ve been reading all over the interwebs about how Eric has always been interested in power above everything else, and that the marriage contract with Freyda is a done deal. People have him so gone, they’re expecting Pam to turn up any moment with a bunch of liquor boxes and packing tape. Well, not me. Perhaps I’m in denial, but I’ve always expected Eric to make good on the promises his amnesiac self made back in Dead to the World, and I’m even more convinced now that he will. In fact, I think he’s already done it, in part. Not only are those promises more easily fulfilled than you might think, but they are also mirrored by what Sookie thinks and says in Deadlocked.

There were two big promises that AE made to Sookie in Dead to the World. Let’s give them a look, shall we?

Promise #1

“When this witch is defeated, I would bring you to my side. I will share everything I have with you. Every vampire who owes me fealty will honor you.”

~Eric, Dead to the World

Of course, when Eric makes this promise, he’s not quite himself. Unsurprisingly, Sookie didn’t believe him. At the time, she called it a wonderful fantasy. As any devoted SVM fan knows, Eric wakes after the witch’s curse is lifted with no memory of his time with Sookie, and it is four more books before his memories return and they rekindle their unconventional relationship. But rather than an empty promise, I think Amnesia Eric’s promise was CH’s way of smacking us with the foreshadowing bat.

So, what part of that promise has Eric already delivered? First, he married her, vampire-style. Nothing says “bringing you to my side” quite like passing a ceremonial knife around in front of Victor Madden. I know, I know. “But krtmd,” you say, “the marriage doesn’t mean anything to Sookie.” True, while the marriage offers Sookie some protection and respect in the vampire world, Sookie doesn’t view them as really married, at least as it pertains to her in the human world. But Eric does, so in essence he has brought Sookie to his side. Additionally, he’s willing to share everything he has with her, although in typical Sookie fashion, she’s reluctant to accept it. And that’s as it should be. Until they are settled in a relationship she views as a marriage, it would be out of character for Sookie to accept these things.

Now what about all those vampires honoring her? Well, I can’t speak for them, but it’s actually Freyda who brings to our attention how Eric’s vamps feel about Sookie, when she comes to see what Eric loves. From Deadlocked:

“Pam is fond of you,” [Freyda] said, not answering me directly. “This one, too.” She jerked her head at Bubba. “I don’t know why, and I want to know.”

“She’s kind,” Bubba said immediately. “She smells good. She has good manners. And she’s a good fighter, too.”

I smiled at the addled vampire. “Thank you, Bubba. You’re a good friend to me.”

Freyda eyed the famous face as if she were mining secrets from it. She turned her gaze back to me. “Bill Compton still likes you despite the fact that you’ve rejected him,” Freyda said quietly. “Even Thalia says you’re tolerable. Bill and Eric have both been your lovers. There must be something to you besides the fairy blood. Frankly, I can barely detect your fairy heritage.”

Even Thalia says she’s tolerable? Considering how Thalia feels about humans, I’d call that a ringing endorsement. We can split hairs and say that none of that implies honor, but I’d say that Eric’s vampires have at least a healthy respect for Sookie, and in the case of Bubba, Bill and Pam, outright love and affection.

Promise #1? Check.


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Promise #2

“We could go back,” he said. In the dome light of the car, his face looked hard as stone. “We could go back to your house. I can stay with you always. We can know each other’s bodies in every way, night after night. I could love you.” His nostrils flared, and he looked suddenly proud.  ”I could work. You would not be poor. I would help you.”

“Sounds like a marriage,” I said, trying to lighten the atmosphere. But my voice was too shaky.

“Yes,” he said. ~Dead to the World

So, this is the big promise, right? The one we’re waiting for? The one where Eric gives up everything to be with Sookie – and chooses the love over the power? Again, I’ve seen readers on all kinds of fan sites and forums, Eric-loving or not, convinced that Eric will, of course, choose the power Freyda offers over the love that Sookie offers.

But does Eric really desire power? Sookie’s observations in From Dead to Worse, while she awaits the coming takeover:

I mined my head for other bits of information. Five, at the top of the state, stretched nearly all the way across. Eric was richer and more powerful than I’d thought. Below him, and fairly even in territory, were Cleo Babbitt’s Area Three and Arla Yvonne’s Area Two. A swoop down to the Gulf from the southwestern most corner of Mississippi marked off the large areas formerly held by Gervaise and the queen, Four and One respectively … I was pondering the undeniable truth that the most powerful vampire in the state of Louisiana, at this very point in time, was Eric Northman, my blood-bonded, once-upon-a-time lover. Eric had said in my hearing that he didn’t want to be king, didn’t want to take over new territory; and since I’d figured out the extent of his territory right now, the size of it made that assertion a little more likely.

I believed I knew Eric a little, maybe as much as a human can know a vampire…I didn’t believe he wanted to take over the state, or he would have done so. I did think his power meant there was a giant target pinned to his back.

I would argue that Eric desires power only for the independence and autonomy it can provide. Although Freyda comments that it’s an “illusion of independence”, she’s also not wrong when she says that Eric has “been content to be sheriff for a long time. He enjoys being a big fish in a small pond.” He respected Queen Sophie-Anne, and she left him alone to run his area as he saw fit. This was a key reason for he and Victor butting heads. While Victor was threatened by what he saw as the biggest obstacle in his quest for power in Louisiana, Eric seemed mostly irritated that Victor was interfering in the business of Area 5 rather than leaving Eric to run his area independently. That, and those nasty attempts on the lives of his wife and second in command.

As for Freyda’s offer, by the end of Deadlocked we see that Eric is already giving up the power for the love. He’s been fighting the marriage contract since Freyda wrote to him in Dead Reckoning. And that test from Niall, where he told Eric about the cluviel dor, so Sookie would know how Eric would act if he knew she had power? If Eric were really mad for power, wouldn’t he have simply taken it or demanded that she give it to him? But instead he hinted to her that she had the power to make the marriage contract go away – “You could stop this if you chose.” In my opinion, this is what Niall means when he says Eric’s only flaw is Sookie. Instead of acting as a perfect vampire would – taking the last cluviel dor on earth for himself – he hints that Sookie could use it to help them both. That rat bastard, wanting her to use the CD so he could stay with his human lover – how could he?

Additionally, Eric choosing to stay with Sookie will be against what turned out to be the final wishes of his maker, Appius Livius “You won’t keep him” Ocella. While some readers have trouble seeing this, it seems clear as day to me why this is a difficult choice for Eric. A vampire has got to mind their maker – even Bill could empathize with how Eric felt about this. It’s hard-wired into their being, and virtually impossible to resist. Remember Mickey? So I can see how it’s a conflict for Eric to resist his maker’s orders, even after his death. That said, I think we will ultimately see Eric refuse Freyda’s offer in DEA, even though I suspect this will complicate matters with Felipe. And thus Eric will give up the trappings of his world in exchange for sharing Sookie’s life with her. Second promise? Check.

So, what about what Sookie wants? Towards the end of Deadlocked, when Sookie is fantasizing about all the things she’d like to have happen, she thinks to herself:

I had a fantasy that when we got to my house, Eric would be sitting on the back steps waiting for me. He would have ditched all his Nevada company. He would be waiting to assure me that he had sent Freyda packing, that he’d told her how much he loved me, that he never wanted to leave me no matter how much power and wealth she offered him. He would be shooting a final bird at his maker, Appius Livius Ocella. All the vampires in his sheriffdom would be happy about his decision because they liked me so much.

That sounds a lot like Promise #1 again, doesn’t it? The witch Freyda will be defeated, Eric will stay with Sookie, and all the vampires who owe fealty to Eric will be happy about it. Not only that, but how about the offer she makes him the night of her birthday, when he tells her Felipe will punish them if he stays? From Deadlocked:

“Then we’ll leave,” I said quietly. “We’ll go somewhere else. You’ll work for some other king or queen. I’ll find a job.” But even as I spoke the words, I knew he would not opt for this. In fact, I found myself wondering if I would have said it if I’d believed there was any chance he’d say yes. On the whole, I thought I would, though it would have meant leaving everything I found dear.”

That sounds a lot like Promise #2 to me. And much like Sookie felt in Dead to the World that it wouldn’t be right for her to keep Eric from his life, Eric replies that he can’t tear Sookie away from hers. Additionally, Sookie’s reluctance to use the cluviel dor to prevent the marriage and keep Eric with her also mirrors how she felt when Amnesia Eric offered to stay with her – that it would be profoundly wrong to keep someone via magical means. And people think Dead to the World is just a fun little side trip to hot shower scenes and crazy were witches.

Much is also made of Sookie’s desire to come first with someone. While I can understand the sentiment, I don’t think Sookie means that she wants to come first to the exclusion of everything else. Specifically, I don’t think it means she needs Eric to give up his role as Sheriff in order to put her first, no matter that she wished in Dead Reckoning that he was “just an average vampire”. To paraphrase one of my favorite bands, you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need. So just because Sookie wants an Eric who is free of political entanglements, I don’t think she’ll get that – certainly not one who relinquishes all status and responsibility to become a pawn or a loner. And as frustrating as it is for Sookie that Eric has all this bullshit (for lack of a better word) to contend with, she knows deep down that Eric and the Bullshit are a package deal. All relationships require compromise, and Eric and Sookie’s is no exception. And lest you think I’m indicating that only Sookie will have to compromise, I’m not. I don’t think we’ll see Sookie quit Merlotte’s and move to Shreveport to live in Eric’s house, as much as I think this is what Eric would prefer. Sookie is going to keep her life in Bon Temps, and share as much of it as possible with Eric. Ms. Harris has promised us an unconventional HEA, after all.

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So, where does this leave us for Dead Ever After? We have two characters, Sookie and Eric, who are in love with each other. They’ve essentially made the same promises to each other, or at a minimum have hoped for the same things – the chance for the outside forces that are conspiring to keep them apart to be defeated in some way and sent packing so that they can be together. I’ve already said that I think we will ultimately see Eric turn down Freyda’s offer. I’m convinced he’s been considering it only because it would be a way to avoid retribution for killing Victor. So of course, when the Freyda door closes for good, the Felipe de Castro door swings wide open.

Rethinking the synopsis we’ve seen for Dead Ever After, it’s entirely possible that the reason for Eric’s silence and Sookie’s devastation isn’t Freyda at all, but rather Eric’s punishment for killing Victor. We know Karin will be coming to town, and I can’t imagine any other reason for that to happen other than political maneuvering. Felipe’s grasp on his territory is weak, so I have a hard time envisioning a scenario where it’s good for him that his strongest Sheriff leaves his state to stand at the side of a powerful rival, no matter what Eric might be whispering in Freyda’s ear. The only gain is that Sookie would be left behind; no longer wed to Eric and under his protection, and therefore free to be relocated to Nevada to read minds for Felipe. That doesn’t sound like a HEA for Sookie, now does it?

Obviously, there are still more questions than answers – and it’s a long wait until May. I’m not sure how the Felipe thing will play out, how Karin will fit in, or how ambitious Pam might be about her own position. I don’t know what Freyda and Felipe have been talking about behind closed doors, but I sure as hell want to.

What do I know? That Eric and Sookie have been through too much together to toss in the towel now, and that I remain more convinced than ever that Sookie’s HEA has tall, blonde and dead written all over it.

The Child Formerly Known As….

May 18, 2012 in Deadlocked - Book 12, Secondary Characters

EOC (Eric’s Other Child), now has a name! And she shall be called….”Karin”. With an “i”.

Thank the goddess we don’t have to keep calling her EOC for the next 10 months.

Ms Harris confirmed the name on her forum earlier today.

3087 Maker 2012-05-17 12:20
I will reveal Eric’s other child’s name. It’s Karin.

Charlaine Harris

While this may hardly be newsworthy for some, those of us who have already spent too much time talking about this woman (and will likely spend much time discussing her in the future!), are quite thrilled to at least have something to call her by!

Karin was first mentioned by Pam in All Together Dead, and mentioned a second time by Niall in Deadlocked. A brief summary of what we know of her to date:

  • She’s female (Pam)
  • She left Eric to strike out on her own (Pam)
  • As a vampire, she doesn’t “rival her maker” (Niall)
  • Thanks to Eric & Sookie Lovers for the heads up.

    Dead Air – Deadlocked

    May 7, 2012 in Blog Talk Radio, Deadlocked - Book 12, Eric Northman, Promo Events

    Time for some shameless self promotion!

    If you’ve never tuned in to EricNorthman.net’s Dead Air podcast, you’re really missing out! No more excuses! I’ll be joining DeeDee and Tiffany on Monday night at 8pm central, for a great discussion on all things Deadlocked.

    We’re so excited! I hope you guys will listen, and maybe even call in! We’d love to hear your take on the book. If you can’t listen live, check back here later and I’ll embed the podcast in this post once it’s aired.

    Listen to internet radio with EricNorthmanNet on Blog Talk Radio

    You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

    May 4, 2012 in Blood Ties and Blood Bonds, Character & Plot Analysis, Deadlocked - Book 12, Eric Northman, Sookie & Eric, Sookie Stackhouse

    It’s been a huge week! With so much fabulous discussion over the past few days, and so much new stuff to talk about, it’s been tough just trying to decide where to start. So, I figured we’d begin with the elephant in the room – Eric’s betrothal to Freyda. What does Freyda really want, is this union as inevitable as Deadlocked would have us believe, and if we grant the basic premise that Eric genuinely doesn’t want to leave with Freyda – what will it take to send this pushy bitch packing?

    It was impossible to miss in Deadlocked – a triumvirate of evil, to borrow from that other guy.   Constant reiteration of the inevitability of this union, reinforcement of Eric’s compatibility with Freyda and the repeated suggestion that Eric has a hard-on for power; an idea that has been actively quashed in earlier books.   Keep Reading…

    Hero Worship

    February 1, 2012 in Character & Plot Analysis, Eric Northman, Sookie & Eric, Symbolism & Motif

     

    You’ve heard the argument a million times – “Eric is bad!” “Even Charlaine says so!” “Charlaine says some fans aren’t reading the same books she’s writing!”.

    But what if being “bad” wasn’t such a bad thing after all?
    This is a guest post by krtmd.

     

    * * * * *

    It should come as no surprise to frequent visitors of Sookieverseblog that I am an unashamed Eric lover. I prefer him to all other characters in the series outside of Sookie, and truly believe he will end the series firmly entrenched in our beloved telepath’s life as her HEA. We’ve explored at length on this very blog lots of ways the books reveal things about Eric that lead us to this conclusion, most notably SVB’s “Loved by a Vampire” series. Charlaine Harris has said that ‘it’s all in the books’, but are there other things about the books that could lead us to the same conclusion? I would argue that it’s Eric’s very role in the series that tells us a lot.

    So, step into my Wayback Machine, boys and girls, because Professor Krtmd is taking you back to high school English class. Let’s explore some themes in literature, shall we?

    Q: Ms. Harris, You’ve continually said that the SSN are not romance novels, and I would add that Eric Northman is a bit of an antihero. Are you surprised by the reader response to his character and the intense interest in Sookie’s HEA?
    A: Yes, very surprised. Some readers are sure they see a traditional romance hero in Eric, but he’s anything but that. He’s a murderer, many times over, and pragmatic. But he does love Sookie. However, romance novels always end with everyone happy except really bad guys, and that’s not the way I write.
    (source – Washington Post online chat)

    When I asked Ms. Harris this question online several months ago, I myself labeled Eric an antihero, and not to my surprise, she didn’t disagree with me. I was surprised, however, to find that some readers were disturbed by that characterization.

    Why?

    I’m here to tell you that not only is Eric very much an antihero, but also why you, as an Eric and Sookie shipper, should be happy about that.

    So… what is an antihero?

    According to our trusty friend Professor Wikipedia, an antihero is “generally considered to be a protagonist whose character is at least in some regards conspicuously contrary to that of the archetypal hero…”

    Wait, back up. What’s an archetype?

    Again, our friend the Professor defines an archetype as a “universally understood symbol or term or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated. Archetypes are often used in myths and storytelling across different cultures… Archetypes are likewise supposed to have been present in folklore and literature for thousands of years, including prehistoric artwork. The use of archetypes to illuminate personality and literature was advanced by Carl Jung early in the 20th century, who suggested the existence of universal contentless forms that channel experiences and emotions, resulting in recognizable and typical patterns of behavior with certain probable outcomes. Archetypes are cited as important to both ancient mythology and modern narratives”.

    Huh?

    It’s not that bad. Simply put, an archetype in literature gives us a framework for agreed upon behavior – the mother, the child, the trickster, the gambler, the hero, etc. We expect the archetypal characters to act in specific ways. The hero will be selfless, and always thinking of others. The villain will be devious and evil, seeking the destruction of others. These are purposeful simplifications of human behavior, but useful in literature or movies, for helping the audience to identify and understand a character’s behavior. Of course, in real life, seldom are humans so predictable. Which is precisely why the antihero is so attractive. The antihero has shades of both black and white, exhibiting non-hero qualities, like selfishness or even committing immoral acts, while simultaneously acting in a heroic fashion.

    The antihero is often considered selfish, or judged harshly by his peers. He is surrounded by people who don’t value him, so he is distrustful of others, assuming the worst. He’s been betrayed, or misused, in the past, so he protects himself first. But that doesn’t mean that the antihero doesn’t have a moral compass. In fact, it’s precisely these past experiences that give the antihero a rather strong moral sense of what’s right and wrong, even if they act in ways outside of societal norms. “The ends justify the means” might be their motto.
    The antihero, however, is not a villain. He or she will commit acts of a heroic nature, often at great personal risk. The antihero’s story will often be a journey, not necessarily one of redemption, but certainly one of change. And it’s because of their past experiences that when they come across someone of significance, worthy of notice, of their help, that they can recognize it and are willing to act accordingly.

    Okay, then. Who are some other antiheroes?

    In an article for The Cornell Daily Sun, Kory Mitchell had this to say about antiheroes:

    Antiheroes are protagonists who, contrary to the Supermans and Atticus Finches of yore, display conspicuous personal flaws. Indeed, many are defined by their chronic lack of conviction, gruff demeanor, reprehensible behavior or general moral shortcomings. Often those around them perceive them to be ne’er-do-wells or outcasts until they perform a contradictory heroic deed. Yet, despite these chinks in the armor, or perhaps because of them, we as readers or audience members root for these characters. Though many antiheroes have unrealistically exaggerated “bad” characteristics, the presence of both a light side and a dark side still brings them closer to the truth of human character than the traditional hero. Plus, people with a little edge are just more fun. Thus we love them more deeply because they are more relatable.

    He goes on to cite several examples from literature, movies and television, including Sydney Carton from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Dexter, and my personal favorite, Fight Club’s Tyler Durden.

    “All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.” – Tyler Durden

    According to Listserve, the top 10 movie antiheroes are The Crow, Mad Max, Snake (from Escape from New York), Dirty Harry, Tyler Durden, Clint Eastwood’s ‘man with no name’ from the westerns, The MacManus Brothers, D-Fens, Leon from The Professional, and Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver.

    Obviously, some of these famous antiheroes are pretty nasty indeed, but they also have some very real and likable characteristics that make them sympathetic to the audience. Leon is a cold-blooded assassin and yet he takes tender care of the young girl he befriends. Travis Bickle is an outright psychopath, but we find him endearing enough to worry about his outcome. All of the movie antiheroes cited have one thing in common – they’ve been hardened by the world around them and their circumstances, until something comes along to shake their foundation.

    Oh, hey there! You sure are…attractive

    Through Sookie, Charlaine Harris goes to great lengths to remind us how physically attractive Eric is – he’s all man, his hair long and blonde, his body built for swinging a sword. Sookie is tremendously attracted to him physically, and they have a good sex life.

    Although there are many of us who fantasize about such a man, and such a sex life, for ourselves, I think there are other things about Eric, or any antihero that make them attractive characters – and I don’t mean in the physical sense.

    Author of the ASOIAF series (which is riddled with antiheroes – Jaime, Sandor, Tyrion, etc.) George R. R. Martin, recently interviewed Bernard Cornwell for the Amazon blog Omnivoracious, and they talked a little about the attractiveness of the “grey” characters.

    GRRM: A familiar theme in a lot of epic fantasy is the conflict between good and evil. The villains are often Dark Lords of various ilks, with demonic henchmen and hordes of twisted, malformed underlings clad in black. The heroes are noble, brave, chaste, and very fair to look upon. Yes, Tolkien made something grand and glorious from that, but in the hands of lesser writers, well … let’s just say that sort of fantasy has lost its interest for me. It is the grey characters who interest me the most. Those are the sort I prefer to write about… and read about. It seems to me that you share that affinity. What is it about flawed characters that makes them more interesting than conventional heroes?

    BC: Maybe all our heroes are reflections of ourselves? I’m not claiming to be Richard Sharpe (God forbid), but I’m sure parts of my personality leaked into him (he’s very grumpy in the morning). And perhaps flawed characters are more interesting because they are forced to make a choice . . . a conventionally good character will always do the moral, right thing. Boring. Sharpe often does the right thing, but usually for the wrong reasons, and that’s much more interesting!

    Antiheroes are attractive to audiences because they are relatable. I’d venture to say that most of us could easily find and point out our most undesirable characteristics. We are all flawed. To read about the selfless hero, who always acts morally or responsibly is not only a bit boring, but it points out the very things about ourselves we don’t like.

    The antihero can also save the day, so to speak, but he can do it in a way that’s much more intelligible to the audience. Perhaps he does so grudgingly, or for more than one reason. Maybe he acts in spite of himself, or commits a heinous act for the greater good. Whatever the case, this grey area leaves us more to chew on, more to think about – and it’s considerably less boring to read, or watch.

    Eric is attractive to us, not just because he’s hot and has amazing sexabilities, but because he’s a grey character. We wonder at his motivations. We can’t always predict what he’ll do next or how he will react. We ponder, at great length and often around these parts, why he does what he does. This is what keeps us waiting, year after year, book after book, dying to know what happens next. And despite her “surprise” at fan reaction to Eric, Charlaine Harris damn well knows it.

    Ok, so show me how Eric is an antihero…

    Actually, this part is easy. Let’s start with the bad, shall we?

    • Eric has committed immoral acts, including murder. Eric is a vampire. He has existed for centuries, long before there was synthetic blood to drink. “Young vampires are so hungry; at first, I killed even when I didn’t mean to.” –Eric, Dead and Gone
    • Eric can be selfish. In Club Dead, he sends Sookie to Jackson, Mississippi to look for Bill to save his own skin with then Queen Sophie Anne. He also admits he will be friends with Sookie as long as it’s in his best interest to do so.
    • Eric threatens others, including Sookie, with violence in order to get what he wants. As early as their second meeting in Dead Until Dark, when Eric summons Sookie and Bill to Fangtasia to help find the thief, Sookie knows that Eric will use those she loves against her in order to get her assistance.
    • In Dead as a Doornail, he even threatens to kill Sookie himself, in what I would argue is the sexiest murder threat ever, in order to rid himself of having to think about her anymore.

    But, like the other antiheroes I mentioned Eric is slowly and subtly changed by his relationship with Sookie. He begins to do things for her that might not be in his best interest.

    • In All Together Dead, Eric steps in when Andre tries to force Sookie into a blood exchange in Rhodes. Now before anyone jumps all over this, I will state unequivocally that, yes, Eric benefits personally from having Sookie bonded to him. But it was also at great risk to himself that he stepped in against Andre’s wishes.
    • In From Dead to Worse, Eric surprises Sookie with marriage, vamp style, in Fangtasia. Does Eric benefit from tying Sookie to him, yet again? You bet. But he also makes an enemy of his new boss, Victor Madden, in the process. And Sookie doesn’t have to go to Las Vegas.
    • In Dead and Gone, Eric wades into a conflict between the fairies to protect Sookie, the woman he loves. In fact, he and Pam further anger Victor Madden in order to render aid to Sookie when she’s caught in the fairy war.
    • Even Pam has noticed that the usually pragmatic Eric has changed. “Truly, Eric’s a great vampire, and very practical. But he isn’t practical nowadays – not when it comes to you.” -Pam, Dead in the Family.

    Compare and Contrast Time

    A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

    George Lucas wrote a little series of movies that changed cinema forever, yadda, yadda, yadda. But he also gave us one of the greatest popular culture antiheroes of all time.

    In a nutshell, when we first meet Han Solo, he’s a mercenary for hire. A smuggler looking out for number one – himself. He’s not in it for the ‘revolution, sister. He’s in it for the money.’ But something comes along that slowly changes his mind. Hmmm. Could it be a woman?

    It can be argued that Han sticks around the Rebel Alliance for so long because, against his better judgment, he befriends both Luke and Leia. Their lives begin to matter to him. He starts to risk his own life in order to save theirs. And to show his commitment to Leia, he joins the Alliance in the final movie and eventually admits his love for her.

    Is this starting to sound familiar?

    I’ll go one step further. The object of Han’s affection? Leia? Yep, she’s an orphan. A princess, in fact, with some strange, secret relatives. Oh yeah, and she’s got some special powers. Other people want her dead, and she needs to be protected, although most of the time, she ends up rescuing herself or the hero. (Yeah – it’s a little creepy isn’t it?)

    Now I will say this. While in both cases, these men make changes in their lives, in neither case is at the behest of the woman involved. Eric isn’t changed by Sookie, or even wants to change because of Sookie, nor does Sookie really have a desire for Eric to change. Rather, Eric is changed by the love he feels for Sookie. In fact, both Eric and Han resist their feelings for a long time, choosing to push away rather than embrace the woman they are so conflicted about. But once they’ve made their peace with how they feel, well then it’s game on.

    So, in conclusion…

    I think a strong case can be made for Eric as a classic antihero. While demonstrating several conspicuous character flaws, Eric can also behave in a heroic fashion – at least when it comes to the woman he loves. He might have gained significant political power by marrying Sookie, but he also prevented Victor from carting her off to serve Felipe de Castro in the process. Most importantly, I think we will see Eric make some choices (*cough* Queen of Oklahoma *cough*) in the final two books that will show unequivocally how he feels about Sookie, and how much of himself he’s willing to risk. Perhaps we will even see a fulfillment of the promise he made way back in Dead to the World.

    Popular culture contains numerous examples of antiheroes, and we’ve examined only a small sampling in this post. Many of these classic antiheroes share several character flaws with our Viking; acting in one’s own best interest, threatening others with harm in order to get what they want. These are not necessarily the ideals of society, but certainly effective motivators all the same.

    And I’ve also admitted I have a Star Wars obsession in a public forum.

    Oh, and by the way…

    In the end, Han Solo gets the girl.

    Image: Blue Milk Special

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