Charlaine Harris just finished an online Question and Answer session over at the Washington Post, detailing how she feels about True Blood, her views on some of her own readers, Niall’s return, … oh and Eric. She gave us a lot of material to comb over, as she spent over an hour discussing fan submitted questions.
Let’s get this out of the way first – Charlaine’s opinion on the show:
Q: Are you happy with the Television interpretation of your books? Are you happy or sad about the differences?
A: Happy! I love the show.
Next, a question that strikes at the heart of the matter in which every Bookie who takes issue with Ball’s interpretation cries foul over:
Q: How do you feel about Alan Ball’s wanting to keep putting Bill and Sookie back together? It just seems that Sookie and Eric’s relationship is so central to the books, that if Ball does what he wants, the show will become unrecognizable from the books.
A:I’m not sure Alan is aiming for that, myself. Bill is pretty essential to the story, too, all the way through the books AND the show. I’ll be interested to see his conclusion, which may be different from mine.
Look, this is as close as we’re going to get. No matter how many times the question is asked and the various forms it’s asked in, she isn’t going to give the answer those that are disgruntled with the translation of the books on the show want to hear.
Quintessentially, she is never going to be openly critical of True Blood, as someone in her position should never be, – the best coach does not talk about injuries of his players because it’s not in the best interests of the team. Running a tight ship is a good for business and I don’t particularly think she’s lying either, she may very well be happy with the show. Moreover, I do think Harris deserves a break from our wraith over the fucktastic writing Ball and friends are cranking out these days.
Witless witch plot, I’m looking at you.
That being said, I’m skipping the rest of the True Blood questions and heading straight for the Southern Vampire Mystery related ones:
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 anti-hero. 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.
So “really bad guys” end up happy in Charlaine’s world? Score! Or this could mean no one ends up happy,.. quickly let’s move on.
Q: Obviously everyone that has read the Sookie Stackhouse novels are enamored with Sookie & Eric’s relationship. I know you have said before in interviews that Sookie will probably never be turned into a vampire. If this isn’t the case, what can we look forward to in terms of Sookie & Eric’s slightly rocky relationship?
A:That’s a key part of the last two books, so I’m not going to get into it here.
Q: Your character Eric Northman is hugely popular in the books and the show. Can you tell us in yoiur own words, how Eric has evolved emotionally over the last 11 books?
A: I don’t know that Eric is evolving so much as that the reader is getting to see more and more of his layers acquired over a thousand years of existence. Eric always watches out for Eric, and secondly his child Pam. He does have another child we haven’t met. He is very practical. But he does love Sookie. Obviously, this is a huge conflict for him.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy this answer, for this is what a few of us around here have been saying in response to the gripe that Eric was “acting out of character” in Dead Reckoning. We’re seeing more of Eric as Sookie’s blinders are coming off hard and fast, and this is who he is in the entirety.
Charlaine’s comment also seems to resonate in the struggle I have in understanding the writing team’s direction for Eric’s character on the show in this past episode, “Soul of Fire.” Eric’s willingness to sacrifice himself for Sookie – this is not who he is! No. No. No. While he may take an occasional bullet, Eric does not give up his life wholesale in exchange for a human’s, no matter how much he loves her. He finds a way to live, to get out of the situation. He does not choose Sookie over Pam. Just no. He’s pragmatic and conflicted, but not a lovestruck moron. Bless you Charlaine, bless you.
Q: Hi Ms. Harris, I am really enjoying the SSC, and all the effort put into it is obvious. Job well done. I have a very specific question in regard to the Felipe de Castro bio in the character section of the Companion. It says that “Felipe is aware of (Victor’s ambitions) and, as it turns out, had his own plans for Victor.” I had assumed that Felipe’s plan was to let Victor and Eric duke it out, and that Felipe would stay out of it, preferring to back whoever came out on top, and I view this statement as confirmation of that theory. Would you be willing to shed some light on this?
A:I’d say that was a pretty accurate theory, for the most part.
Interesting. Props to Krtmd for raising that and other quality questions.
Q: How do you feel about the extreme loyalty by some fans to particular characters (i.e. Eric)?
A: I know it’s a compliment, and I appreciate their involvement in the books; absolutely, I do. Most writers dream of such advocacy. But sometimes I feel that they’re not reading the same book I’m writing.
Everyone take a deep breath, and refill your coffee cup.
I don’t think she’s talking about every Eric-Lover here. I think she’s talking about those who whitewash Sir Northman, who attribute to him the misunderstood-good-guy role and the Jesus-in-a-vampire-suit qualities, – ‘extremist Eric-Lovers.’ Most of us realize Eric is still “bad” on the moral grey scale, and that’s why we love him as a character, – for all his complexity. If he were the ordinary cookie cutter boyfriend material, I wouldn’t nearly be as interested in this series as I am now that is for sure. Though despite all of his flaws, most readers can still attest he is a good match for Sookie, who is no saint either.
Q: Will we see Niall in the next book?
You’re welcome, bitches.
Q: Do you foresee Sookie coming to her senses and realizing that dating a vampire is not a smart thing to do? Will she ever realize that she has the perfect guy in Sam, who she seems to only view as her best friend right now?
A: The forthcoming books will have your answer.
If you have a Sam-as-the-happily-ever-after panic button, please press it …now.
Just kidding. As it may be no surprise, I certainly don’t believe Sam is the man nor does SVB, and he’s hardly even “perfect.” He does seem to have a pants tent for one Sookie Stackhouse, however. Unrequited pants tent as it stands now, I definitely think it is going to crash the party next book or maybe in the 13th and this is what Charlaine is hinting. Nevertheless, it’s definitely an issue Sookie will have to deal with head on, but I don’t see her nursing it anytime soon. Certainly, if Ms. Harris wanted to put Sookie with Sam in the end, isn’t it past time to see how they’d work as a couple instead of at the
11th 12th hour?
There are plenty more questions and answers I didn’t address, which in case you missed the link upstairs, here it is again. It’s well worth a read. As I said earlier, Charlaine gave us a huge amount to chew on.
.. and isn’t it delicious?