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.

Eric Northman & The Deathly Hallow, Part II

July 12, 2011 in Amnesia Eric, Eric Northman, Secondary Characters, True Blood

We’re back with the sequel! And you didn’t even have to wait a year!

In Part 1 of Eric Northman & The Deathly Hallow, we covered a possible connection between Antonia, Tara, Russell and the Tony/Toni scenes; as well as a possible mythological connection with Mari Ann that could wrap up this Inquisition stuff neatly if the True Blood writers did their homework right.

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Eric Northman & the Deathly Hallow

July 8, 2011 in Amnesia Eric, Eric Northman, Mythology, Secondary Characters, True Blood

It’s the Boy Who Lived! The Chosen One! – The fact that True Blood‘s “Season of the Witch” just so happens to coincide with the release of the final installment of Harry Potter? BLESS THIS TRANSITIONY GOODNESS.

Yet thus far on the show we’ve been left wondering what exactly the deal is with the witches, and how they relate to the Viking. Certainly Ball has beefed up the justification for the witch war from the original premise in Dead to the World - reasoning, as even the most rabid bookie might admit, that witches coming after Eric only for his money, territorial grudges, and a good screw might come off as implausible. Not to mention kinda uncouth. Besides, Yvetta has already been there, done that. And how. Abroom-chee. I’ll be here all the week, folks!

Umkay, moving on.. I’m going to try and pull a lot of stuff together to see if anything sticks. It’s spaghetti tossing time! You in? What do we know about witches and their grudges so far on True Blood? Make sure your arms and legs remain tucked inside the vehicle at all times, it might be a bumpy ride….

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Mordor She Wrote

November 7, 2010 in Character & Plot Analysis, Dead in the Family - Book 10, Dead Reckoning - Book 11, Guest Posts

A LESSON IN VAMPIRE POLITICS – PART II

To review, we learned previously that Sookie should avoid Texas like the plague, Wright is wrong, Fredya might be a key member in the Alliance, and the Ewoks’ empire toppling services won’t be available this go round.


Indeed.

Picking up where I left off last time, I suggested war is the only option for Eric and friends in their attempt to pry the fingers of the Nevada regime from Louisiana. With that in mind, let us examine on a more technical scale the machinations of the vampire political system from the material we have encountered thus far and what drastic measures could be incorporated into the future plot.

How does this Vampocracy thing work from the top down? So far as it can be discerned, the natural order of rule by title of position inside the kingdom goes like this:

Kings and Queens – Russell Edgington, Felipe De Castro, Freyda
Royal Deputies – Victor Madden, Andre
Area Representatives – Sandy Sechrest
Sheriffs – Eric
Lieutenants – Pam
“Investigators” – Bill
Vassals – Thalia

The Kings and Queens are the absolute sovereigns of their domain and are also sometimes the Sheriff of the area they inhabit, ie. Sophie-Anne was the Sheriff of Area 1 in addition to being Queen of the entire state of Louisiana.

The Royal Deputies hold position over the Sheriffs, but do not decide policy independent of their sovereigns unless ordered to do so.**

**I mention this because I want to point out that Victor Madden has not been given the title of King, but rather is stuck as a Royal Deputy.. which I believe is a crucial fact, in so much as we should remember that Felipe De Castro is King of Louisiana and Arkansas (and Nevada).

The Sheriffs answer to the King or Queen, and their Lieutenants act on their behalf with other Sheriffs.

Investigators seduce pretty young girls and maintain databases. High proficiency in stalker skills required. K, investigators probably do something if they actually exist but beyond Bill’s penis envy and need to look more impressive in front of Sookie, they are irrelevant to the plot at this point.

And Vassals, well.. they probably grovel most of the time.


NOT ALL VAMPIRES ARE CREATED EQUAL

How does one become a King or Queen? It’s unlikely that there is a vote amongst the bloodsucker population, but it can’t be ruled out. As is the case with most aspects of vampire culture, the rule of order appears to be based on fear and power. And to a lesser extent, money.

But are money and influence all that is required to rise to the ranks of royalty? Perhaps not. Aside from the obvious trappings of the powerful, we also know that Sophie-Anne had unique abilities that permitted her to keep her children around, as well as communicate with them telepathically. The “vampire elite” must have some advantage over a tween vassal – whether it is age alone is questionable, and it remains to be seen if Felipe De Castro has some secret power up his sleeve that has allowed him to be so successful in expanding his power base. I’m curious to see what might be Queen Freyda’s deal as well.

But how are the Kings and Queens organized within the Clan-doms you wonder? Eric gives us a description the highest rule of law when discussing Felipe’s takeover of Louisiana:

Eric: “He took Louisana because he wasn’t frightened of SophieAnn as everyone else. He planned, and executed quickly and with precision after the governing… board… of Narayana Clan approved his plan.”

Sookie: “He had to present a plan before he moved on us?”

Eric: “That’s the way it’s done.”
(p 155)



GOVERNING…BOARD?

Consider this pause. Is Eric struggling to come up with the English equivalent of a phrase? Or is it an archaic term he doesn’t want to use in front of Sookie who may misinterpret and overreact? Or, does he not know how Narayana is run? I doubt that.

If Eric is describing a governing board as we would understand it, who is on it? All the Kings and Queens of the Clan? Or are Sheriffs involved too? Do they run on seniority of the members or just cronyism? Or is it run by special interest groups and members of the left wing media with soul corrupting agendas? Eric’s slight hesitation is a head-scratcher, it remains to be seen if there is something more here, but I think we can interpret it as Kings and Queens until proven wrong. For starters, its the simplest answer and for seconds, I do not see Kings and Queens giving up their any of their authority to elected officials, or otherwise.

In my opinion these royal vamps are royal snobs and will not give up an inch of sovereignty to anyone below them.

It’s how they roll.

Moving on, Eric tells us that the vampiric government was conceived in the Enlightenment period, paralleling the creation the US Constitution, which has to mean it bears some semblance of forward thinking logic… albeit with a huge helping of corruption and agism. Natch.

(And maybe they actually make laws instead of waiting around for the judicial system to pick up the slack? Oh snap!)

Anyway, Eric explains to Sookie and the readers that,

“At the first national meeting, about three hundred years ago, there were many disagreements.” (p 154).

He doesn’t elaborate on what those disagreements were about, but most likely they involved how the Clans would be organized and the natural order of vampire law. The allusion to that century makes me think that the Governing Board acts somewhat like a combination of the US Senate and the executive branch, while the King-Queen-Senators also act as governors of their own states. As for the Sheriffs, in relatable terms each appears to be like a US House Representative and dually a mayor of their Area.



HOWDY, SHEWIFF

With the example of Eric contacting Salome about her errant child Mickey in DD, it is evident that each Sheriff can contact another Sheriff directly and without needing to consult the head of state beforehand. Meaning, they are recognized as equals across state lines.

But how do the Sherriffs operate their affairs? Referrring once again to the information session of Chapter 7 from Dead In the Family, Sookie asks Eric for clarification on the nitty-gritty of vampire political activity.

“How does the business of – well, of Amun, say – get conducted between those biennial meetings?” There had to be stuff that came up.

“Message boards, mostly. If we have to have a face-to-face, committees of sheriffs meet, depending on the situation. If I had an argument with the vampire of another sheriff, I’d call that sheriff, and if he wasn’t ready to give me satisfaction, his lieutenant would meet with my lieutenant.” (158)

Lets take the first gem, the message boards. Isn’t that techno savvy of them?

Far be it for me to criticize the Sheriffs for using the internet as a means of communication, maybe Eric is a forum mod? The power to delete threads can be quite… tempting, heheh. But isn’t it strange that they’d use a form of communication that is hackable? Corruptible? With the prevalence of spying in the vampire political sector, some vampire computer geek must be watching those boards at all times.

Database my axe, Compton.

[Also interesting is the fact that Sam partakes in shifter business on message boards. Could this be a clue that Sam is involved behind the scenes in shifter politics? And there is also the incident in FDTW with Sandy Sechrest seeking Sam out specifically in Merlotte’s, in order to give him her business card. Why would a “nobody” shifter need that? Hmm? Churn, conspiracy theory brains! Churn!]

But back to the Sheriffs, and note this part in particular; “If we have to have a face-to-face, committees of sheriffs meet, depending on the situation.” Sheriff committees meet,… This would seem to be a different grouping to that of the ‘governing board.’ Sheriffs probably meet each other more often than not, as there is less of a chance for their communications to be intercepted.

I think we can deduce a few possibilities here. First, there are different Sheriff committees, probably allocated to specific functions (for example Budget, External Clan Policy, War Appropriations etc), and secondly, that Eric is on a committee or committees.

So where does this leave Eric in his attempts to barter within Amun for assistance with his annoying little political problem? It would seem that Eric can only appeal for aid at the committee level, if he is to get any help from Amun at all. Obviously, Eric can’t take it to the governing board – unless he wants to tip off Nevada since they are most likely represented at that level.

Besides, Eric must have loads more sheriff comrades then he does royal chums.


TO RIVENDELL, ANON!

So another thing noticed in Chapter 7 of Dead In The Family, which is quickly becoming known as the Chapter of DOOM, a summit lurks in the not so distant future - this time however without the pomp and ceremony experienced at Rhodes. Take it away, Sookie:


Sookie: “Um, okay. So the kings and queens of each state in a particular division get together to make decisions and bond – what, every two years?” …

Eric: “Yes,” he said. “Unless there’s some crisis that calls for an extra meeting.” (p 157)

And then continued a little later on:

Sookie: “And if that didn’t work?”

Eric: “We’d kick the dispute up the ladder, to the summit. In between meeting years, there’s an informal gathering, with no ceremony or celebration.” (p 158)

From this we can extrapolate the following: one, that emergency Amun meetings can be called in times of crisis and two, that there are informal summits in the off years, which means one will be popping up soon.

Say in the next six months.

ATD began at the end of September, and DITF took place in March – so around six months have passed since the last big summit in Rhodes. Based on Eric’s statement, we would therefore be looking at an informal summit in around six more months, give or take. Harris generally covers around one to two months in a novel – usually with time jumps in between books of anywhere between a few weeks to a couple of months, it’s probably reasonable to predict that we’ll see this summit come around in Book 12 or 13.

SVB or someone, please email Charlaine so she does not forget the summit is coming up on the schedule. (And no, that would not be obsessive and/or insane).

With this in mind, let us now depart into the wild area of speculation…

Uhhh I dunno, Philosoraptor. Thats why I’m asking you.


WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

If we may, let us jump to that conversation of the pretty vintage suit and the shirtless wonder in Chapter 3 of DITF, when Pam cautioned that to kill Victor without killing Felipe was too much of a gamble, while Eric on the other hand wanted to leave Felipe out of any plots if he could. Sookie reasoned that they couldn’t take the risk of NOT killing Felipe – that potential forecast is too dicey.

Unless plot developments change the current outlook, the king has to die too.



HOW TO KILL A KING

How does one decapitate or stake through the heart or burn to cinders or expose to sunlight a head of state? Especially when the obstacles are so stacked against Frodo Eric?

If they try to eliminate Nevada with the same tactics that Nevada used to overthrow Sophie-Anne’s Louisiana, Team Eric would fail. Outright fail. There is no way that Eric get enough ‘strike teams’ together no matter how much help he can receive from the outside. Mainly, in order to eliminate Felipe, Victor, and their minions they’d have to do so in three different states while still retaining the element of surprise. A typical invasion would be suicidal kamikaze tomfoolery – this regime is not weak.

But in my humble opinion, where there is a will there is a way.

So what particularly does Eric need to destroy Felipe De Castro and Victor Madden?



MONEY MONEY MONEY…MON-EY

Just how much green does Eric have? He has more than Sookie knows, I think. Combining Eric’s business acumen with what Katherine Boudreaux girlfriend Sallie said, he pays a crapload of taxes (p 241, DITF) and he should have recently inherited the remainder of Appius Livius Ocella’s estate if there was one. Connected to this, Sookie’s observation in Dead in the Family that Eric’s business was down – no reason was given though Pam once mentioned what a witch could do if they wanted to interrupt the flow of a business. Has Fangtasia been cursed? Or has the general attitude towards vamps changed in the local fangbanger populace? Or is it a great government conspiracy to keep the business repressed?

Doubtless, all of Eric’s money can’t be invested in Fangtasia. He must at least be stashing cash under the mattress or have offshore accounts some place that the US government is not able to tax. I think you can take it to the bank there is more dough…well, somewhere.



BUT WHAT TO BUY?

If money can’t buy you love, it can buy you guns. Hired guns. And pretty elven cloaks with +16 Damage Resistance.

Since vampires don’t need anything outside of themselves in order to kill we’ll leave out armor and ammunition, although some stakes and swords would be helpful. How much aid is Oklahoma willing to supply for free? How many soldiers does Freyda have? Can they sway any one else’s favor? More importantly Eric needs as much power as he can buy; bodyguards for protection from the Nevada vamps as well as assassins in order to kill them. The Britlingens cost a heap of money, can Eric afford them?

I’m quite sure this guy is available.

The shark desktop wallpaper just screams BAMF. Hey, Eric and Sookie will take any ally they can get at this point. The dude has a laser pointer, sick.



ALL HANDS ON DECK!

Oh why hello Niall, hello Eric’s Other Child. Heck, Red Rover Red Rover, send Bill Compton over!

But beyond gathering up friends and frenemies, they need a political powerhouse that will back them once they assassinate Victor Madden and Felipe De Castro. What is to prevent another hostile takeover by vamps seeking to take advantage of the chaos and the resulting leadership vacuum? In order maintain their own hold on Louisiana they need a rich ally, yes – but they need a respected and feared political ally too.

This is why Oklahoma is so important.

Compare it to the game Monopoly, (well.. with more dire consequences). If your enemy lands Park Place, you can’t let them take the other blue-property-I-can’t-remember-the-name-of. (Personally, this is why you bribe the banker to start the game, and or become the real estate agent in the first place. Yes, I play dirty – but I WIN). To hold the comparison, Eric can’t afford the blue piece on his own, but Oklahoma can help him with an under the table deal. Oklahoma can’t allow Nevada to purchase the entire board either, but if Oklahoma buys up that other blue piece, at least there won’t be a… monopoly. *shameface.* And then if Nevada trades Park Place to his friend Utah, Oklahoma will still have saved Eric from another.. illegal conglomerate.

Right, so a summary thus far of Eric’s needs: money, mercs and a political heavy weight. What else is left on the list?



A SITCH

Not the Situation,… a situation. A trap. A set of circumstances. Eric and company can’t ninja into the dragon’s den of Nevada to take out their enemies, not to mention the untold evil that sleeps there. On the other hand, Eric’s crew cannot set a trap easily themselves. Victor is not going to set foot in Fangtasia again without a small army alongside after the EPIC FAIL of Bruno Brazell, that much we can derive.

Oh Boromir. You slay me.

That’s right, you do not simply derive, drive, walk, wok, waltz, tap dance, fly, pogo-stick, rock, slip ‘n’ slide, teleport, or even take the train to Mordor.

You let Mordor come to you.

At a summit.

For Kings and Queens.

Of which Sauron Felipe De Castro is obligated to attend.

This informal summit, as we’ve already established, is on track for book 12 at the earliest. Where should this informal summit be held? The last summit was held at Rhodes, Michigan and in all likelihood they will not play host again, (unless Michigan is Amun Clan capital)? Which allies inside Amun will be in on this potential plot? Will Rasul have convinced the remaining Michigan vamps to come to Eric’s aid? What was the point of him spying there on those vamps, of all places?

I can hardly wait to learn how this all plays out. *bites on fingernails.*

This much is assured – if Felipe dies at the summit, it will send a message to other divisions not to mess with Amun.

AND if the other states so choose, they need not say who killed whom. “But no!” you say, “it would risk a Clan to Clan all out war!” Gadzooks! Possibly, but I doubt it; Narayana would only be losing a king, the state of Nevada would still be theirs to control and up for internal grabs. Hardly a reason to get their panties in a bunch, but we’ll see.



OH, AND ONE LAST NUGGET

My preemptive apologies for any waves of uncontrollable panic or fear-induced stomach lurching I may cause throughout the Sookieverse with my final thought – but really it could all be a well planned feint – what more convenient excuse could there be for Oklahoma’s Queen Freyda and her retinue to be present and accounted for at said summit, than her marriage to one of the members of the Amun Clan?

At first this seems counter intuitive, seeing as Oklahoma belongs to Zeus, not Amun. Their presence at the summit can’t be a penciled in marriage to Eric as that would send up obvious neon warning flags to Nevada. Oklahoma can be there officially on another matter though, leaving Freyda to take ‘marriage as payment’ after Felipe meets the final death.

It certainly seems plausible. Just sayin’.

Please don’t hurt me!

Well, thats all folks. I hope I’ve given everyone enough to tide them over for a while!

Until next time (if there is a next time!)…like if I’m not in the witness protection program first. Eeeeeek.


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.*)


STAY ON TARGET… STAY ON TARGET!

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.



IGNORANCE WILL KEEL YOU

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)

Texas.

Which is ripe for a take over.

Texas.

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


WRIGHT ROH, RAGGY!

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.



ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US.

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.


FREYDA: HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE THAT?

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?


BYE BYE STANLEY!

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?

QUINN

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.

FELICIA

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?

“THE SENATOR”

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.



AMUN! NARAYANA! ZEUS! MOSHUP!

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.


PLEASE PUSH THE PANIC BUTTON… NOW!

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…

PART TWO – MORDOR SHE WROTE

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