Pets, Vampire Etiquette and Royalty

Firstly, some housekeeping. On the list of links is a link to a post that has the fics I enjoy enough to read and re-read. It’s PMR Crème de la Crème Fics. If you wanna know what I adore from start to finish as far as fanfic, there you go. Now back to our regularly scheduled haranguing.

I had someone say in my reviews a while back that it would be “better” if Sookie was shown the error of her ways and made to be the pet of some vampire royalty. That way she could appreciate all that Eric has done for her. Personally, I think if the primary vote for Eric is “hasn’t made you a pet yet” then Eric sucks arse as a boyfriend. If anything, the idea that Eric hasn’t done just that is an indulgence he’s begrudgingly given her when he could have done the opposite – hell, she should stop seeing Eric all together.

But human pets for vampires is a huge theme running through the community – one that pops up every so often. It goes hand in hand with some of the ideas too of how humans are supposed to behave around vampires. The truth is Eric employs exactly the same methods on Sookie that any other vampire would. This pet bullshit is just that – bullshit. It belongs wholly to other vampire series – not SVM, and if I read that series, I might be able to see if it was thought out. It isn’t thought out in SVM. We have the absolute opposite of the whole “pet” dynamic when it comes to Sookie – for good reason.

The primary thing to consider is Sophie Anne’s plan.

Sophie Anne ran one of the most powerful states in the vampire nation – mainly because it garners vampire tourism. Other businesses, vampires have to push out humans or compete with humans. Not so for vampire tourism. You just can’t find many humans who can be vampires – you have to grow them and then kill them to get them to be that way. Vampires have a monopoly on vampire tourism, just by virtue of what they are. Humans have no way to muscle in – the market is cornered.

So she’s the most powerful monarch in the South – possibly the entire US. Apart from all the other stuff she can get into, she is the main stakeholder for vampire tourism. She’s held that state for quite a while. She devises an elaborate plan – to have Bill Compton go to Bon Temps, see if Sookie really is a telepath (because after all, Hadley wouldn’t know for sure) and then in Bill’s words to seduce her, put himself in her way.

Consider the nature of the plan. Why the hell would Sophie Anne bother to try and manipulate Sookie if it was all about menacing and forcing? She’s smart enough to figure out that Sookie is poor, human and defenceless – if she wanted to force her into servitude, she could. That’s because forced telepaths are about as easy to deal with as nailing jelly to the wall.

The problem with forcing a completely unwilling telepath is that you have to have a way to verify the information. In order to use force, you would need to have some way to prove thoughts. That completely undermines the idea of a damn telepath – because you need to have a resource that will tell you the absolute truth – one that will help you. After all, telepaths aren’t just useful in business deals. If Sookie didn’t hear “stake” in that FotS member’s head, then she could have sat back and let Betty Jo Pickard take one for the team. It works better in your favour if the telepath has a reason to save you because they like you.

After all, a vampire can use all kinds of threats and menaces, and it doesn’t really matter. There comes a point where that doesn’t matter any more. There is a limit of crap that people can and will take. Once you’ve traumatised them enough, they’ll just do whatever you say and they’re largely useless. A good example of what it looks like is Alexei. How fucking useless is he – he’s barely able to be controlled. So using too much violence, threat and menace makes people useless. Take away too much, and humans realise that. They stop caring, and they stop being useful. Maybe that’s useful if you can find a replacement, but there’s not a surfeit of telepaths.

One of the reasons always tacked on to put Sookie into servitude is the fairy blood – feed off her, and use her telepathy. Except that humans with fairy ancestry aren’t all that uncommon. Pam says:

Now that we know you have fairy blood, thanks to Andre, it would be easy
to write all this off. But I don’t think that’s it, do you? I’ve known many humans
descended from the fae, and none of them have been telepathic.
I think that’s just you, Sookie.
All Together Dead, p.86

Best to keep your telepaths for telepathy and your fairy descendants for eating. There really is no point in going to the trouble to acquire a telepath in order to eat them. That defeats the purpose of the whole scheme too. If you really want to have part-fae for eating, then you can find them without having to go to the trouble of making sure they’re telepathic. You could, if you wished, have an entire stable of the part-fae for eating, and never bother to have a telepath at all. Even in a hundred years or so, Pam has run across “many”, so they’re not so rare that you need only telepaths.

There’s also one hell of a circuit breaker when it comes to telepaths – one that is not acceptable under Sookie’s current terms, but that I have positively never seen as an option in fanfic. That’s the media. Sookie in the books doesn’t want to out herself. But that’s while she has relative freedom. If she had to be a compliant pet, she’d sure as shit make her way to the nearest media outlet. Try as hard as they might, vampires cannot glamour the entire US population, sleep during the day, and have zero control over the airwaves. Imagine how viral that would go on the net. No vampire anywhere would be safe. If it came down to slavery vs. being outed, well at least the government won’t try to bite you if you don’t say the right thing.

Even if Sookie was trapper-keepered and kept in a prison, vampires don’t do grunt work. Unless she’s also going to clean her room, and all of their rooms, magic food to eat and take care of all the problems, then there’s always a way to get a message out. Vampires are also arrogant enough in their space – like they were at Rhodes – not to see serving staff as a threat.  She also has a town full of people who are waiting with baited breath for her to see the error of vampire ways. There’s also that pesky Longtooth Were Pack and the Hot Shot Panthers nowadays that think Sookie owes them her services for free as well. Not to mention that a telepath is really only valuable, and only works if she can guide their thoughts along the lines she needs – and for that, she needs to talk to them.

Vampires don’t have any way to use their telepath if she’s locked away, and what the hell is the point to having a telepath if you’re going to preserve them like a collectible? Telepaths are only really useful if they’re used. They’re virtually useless if you use only fear and terror to control them.  Quite apart from the fact that that makes them unreliable, it also undermines the very reason you have a telepath in the first place. The whole point is to use a telepath to read humans specifically and generally. Eric certainly seems to find shit to do with her, and it’s not like she replaced his other telepath, who retired (read was killed by some vampire) the night before.

The other question you’ve got to ask is why do vampires want telepaths anyway? The value of a telepath is just as Eric tells us in Dead Until Dark. Instead of putting those human employees to death or torture – as a group – then it’s easier not to have to go through the re-hire process and have the telepath look into their minds and tell them straight off. If you’re willing to use death and torture to get information, if you’re willing to use methods that aren’t on the up-and-up, then you don’t bother to get a telepath.

One of the reasons why telepaths are way better than death and torture is because telepaths can get you the right answer. Torture produces what we call “false positives”. Meaning that people will confess to anything just so long as you stop hurting them. The rate when it comes to polygraph tests, they bring back about ten percent inaccuracy – meaning 10 people out of 100 will test as “lying” when they aren’t. It almost decimated the government when they were first used – identifying people as spies when they weren’t. Consider then if it wasn’t just the standard straps and sensors, but rather a pair of pliers they were using – how many people would falsely confess?

The truth is that we don’t know what the rate is for false positives is in torture. If Eric had decided to torture Ginger, Belinda and Bruce that night instead of using a telepath, then he might have come up with the wrong answer. Bruce might have dipped into his savings (being that he’s an accountant, he’s more likely to have savings than a waitress), and Long Shadow may have gone free. By using a telepath, Eric got to the bottom of it without needing to disappear his damaged staff, and re-hire new ones. That would have cost him a lot more money than $60,000 – it would have blown out to costing him around $200,000. Sookie saved him a lot of money – and she didn’t get to see a dime.

That’s hardly ever factored in – how much money Sookie has saved Eric, or how much money Eric has made off Sookie. If nothing else, she sure has earned all of that protection and more with the amount of cash she’s saved Eric.  She saved him money for bail and the resulting investigation that would go into Eric’s bar and lifestyle (which would have cost a bit) the night she met him. Then she saved him with not having to kill his staff with the missing money, and stopped the leak (because Eric didn’t even suspect a vampire and wouldn’t have known about glamour). Then the Dallas thing – where Eric took his commission for having a telepath in his retinue and renting her out to Stan. Then Mississippi – you couldn’t pay enough money to find Bill – cause there’d be no private investigator who would do that for any price. If I was looking at this as Sookie’s accountant, she sure has been fleeced for the crappiest protection ever – because bodyguards don’t get paid for absolute negligence to their duties – Eric, Bill and Bubba are all too busy with their own shit to really see this as a valuable service.

Telepaths just aren’t like ordinary humans, being that they’re rare, you can’t glamour them, and you don’t want to give them reasons and enough motivation to avoid you or get the hell away. As Eric himself thinks that first night he calls her in to use her telepathy – the time when he is as cold and cruel as he’s going to get – that he could threaten some human that Sookie loves – but he’d like to keep it above board and legal as he possibly can. That’s part of the reason why telepaths are used – to find out where that $60,000 went without having to use illegal methods to find it out.

The other thing that often goes hand in hand with this pet mentality is the idea that vampires have a system of complex rules, and humans are better seen than heard. That humans just better shut their mouths, and never protest about their treatment, or they run the risk of being eaten alive, and the vampire who is their “owner” is seen as weak. Most often, this involves Eric giving Sookie a complex set of rules to follow while she’s with him.

The last thing any woman would wish to do is marry a vampire, or be married to a vampire, if you have to follow draconian medieval rules. I know if I was married by ambush, and my husband told me it was a political move, then that’s exactly what it would stay if he was such a small dick man that he needed me to kowtow to him in public.  We certainly wouldn’t go anywhere together.  After all – as someone with a vampire, Sookie has to put up with the disapproval of human people telling her all about not being with vampires (or just thinking it). Going out with Eric is an embarrassment and shame in the human world – yet Sookie doesn’t make him duck his head down when he’s in the car with her. Sauce for the goose and all that.

Not to mention that Eric would only be enforcing these rules for his own ego – so that other vampires don’t make fun of him.  Other vampires are wanting Sookie for their own telepath, so why they would be looking on this with contempt is beyond me.  The only vampire who has looked on Eric with contempt is Mickey – calling Eric Sookie’s “tame vamp”. Yeah, cause Mickey is the one who sets the vampire agenda? Really? His opinion matters? Cause I’m pretty sure Eric set him up to be punished and tortured, but maybe I read it wrong.

There are men all over the world who think that if you don’t beat your wimmin then they’re disrespectful and uppity. They’ve always existed, and they are representative among vampires.  That doesn’t mean that I would look at all humans and take their word on how to look “strong” by subjugating the weaker people in my life. Frankly, it’s pretty poor strategy.  It actually makes you appear weak if you give two shits what the weaker people in your life are doing.  Look at Mel Gibson – his recent reputation hasn’t done him any favours and even though people are afraid of him, from a distance, it’s contempt and no one wants to be around him. He has become a bit of a joke. So too would Eric if he was concerned about what his wife was doing.

Apart from asking Sookie to “Be polite” to Appius, the principle change in Eric’s behaviour is that he ignored her. Now, this could have been for a few reasons – one of which is Appius’ jealousy. But Eric sure did talk to her as if she mattered. He didn’t insist that she do anything more than follow the rules of being nice.  That to me, seemed like a direct order from Appius to get his wife under control.  Not the most comforting thing ever, but it does shed light on what a 2,000 year old vampire expects out of humans. All Appius expected out of Sookie was politeness – and he has no problems enforcing his will or getting Eric to enforce his will. It struck me that perhaps, as a sadist, Appius would have taken a special bit of joy in making Eric kill Sookie as an object lesson in making your wife polite.

Appius didn’t expect bowing at the door, and he didn’t care less what Sookie was doing when she was away from Eric. Most often, I know one of the things thrown around is that Sookie is embarrassing Eric by working at Sam’s bar.  Apparently she wasn’t embarrassing Bill in front of other vampires, but Eric in fanfic has a real chip on his shoulder about it and how it makes him look. Well, the real question is is book Eric ever going to tell her this stuff other than by osmosis? If he hasn’t already, and pulls it out at a later date with the question of “Why haven’t you done it already?” then that seems to me to be a manipulation, pure and simple. If Eric marrying Sookie turns out to be a case of craptacular results for Sookie herself – ie. she’s willing to exchange moving away from home, working for the King and following his stupid rules instead of…moving away from home, working for Eric and following his stupid rules – then she will never, ever acknowledge the pledge and it will require force to get her to do so. Eric doesn’t really get a free pass in Sookie’s head to be a dick just because he’s Eric.

Furthermore, while the pledging undoubtedly has rules, I doubt Eric is ever going to tell Sookie at all. Remember? Talkative like a rock? She might not want to be with him any more? Even if Sookie can’t be with anyone else according to the rules of the pledging – and I doubt that somehow because vampires valuing Christian monogamy isn’t going to be a high priority for them and I doubt Eric would make Sookie a target for rape to break the pledge – then I doubt Eric will tell her so she cuts herself off from him for forcing her into a corner. Eric certainly didn’t fess up this bit:

“I have to. I am Eric’s to command.” Eric had made Pam a vampire.
“You aren’t, though Eric pretends to Victor that you obey him in all things.

Two Blondes
(Death’s Excellent Vacation), p. 23

She doesn’t belong to Eric, even with the pledge going. Eric doesn’t even bother to give Sookie any rules – he just lies to Victor instead. I doubt he’s ever going to force Sookie into a corner by telling her these rules anyway. That’s the surest way to break up their relationship – too much pressure and Eric really wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

It also undermines the value of the pledge. Therefore, the pledging is just another form of slavery imposed. Except this time, the sole cause for blame rests with Eric himself.  If he tries to put all these rules and strictures on her because of the pledge, which was ostensibly to give her freedom, then finds out that as with the bond:

That hadn’t happened and I wasn’t free, but the chains I wore now were a lot prettier.” Dead and Gone, p. 104.

No longer is Eric an alternative to being enslaved by Felipe – he is just the slave owner instead of Felipe.  That doesn’t make for a happy and fulfilled marriage when you have to parade your slave around, boost your ego and tell her it’s for her benefit, when there’s a perfectly viable alternative of giving her a ticket to England. That would absolutely destroy their marriage if that’s the case, because it isn’t in fact, anything that he’s done to make her life better.  So whatever rules do exist with the pledging, Eric won’t tell her if he can help it.

I’m going to completely ignore the idea that Sookie could sacrifice all of her pride in the pursuit of this idea. I mean, if vampires invited me or ordered me somewhere and expected me to go back for a new debasing and humiliating at their whims? I wouldn’t go. If they tried to force me, it’s off to the media pal, because you’re just not worth the trouble. Or better yet, if they decide to burn your hotel down, I’ll watch across the street, eating popcorn. There’s kinda a reason why telepaths are valuable to creatures who can’t be everywhere at all times.

Let me reiterate that again, the value of a telepath is that she can speak first without being spoken to. Do you think that Stan would have been oh-so-happy if Sookie sat demurely in the corner waiting for Bill’s permission to speak before screaming to the room at large to “Hit the floor” in Dallas? You think she’s due to being punished for breaking etiquette there? Should Bill have roused on her to shut her mouth while adults vampires are talking? Here she was carelessly screaming over vampires, blocking Eric from speaking (the shame!) with her thoughtless warning. Yeah – it totally does sound as stupid as it reads.

So obviously, it’s not one set of rules as to how you speak to your vampire ‘betters’. You’re allowed to scream over them, block their mouths and say what you please as long as you’re saving them, but not as long as you’re not. If I was given rules about when I was allowed to challenge vampire authority that were so definitive, you can bet your bottom dollar, all the vampires would watch me like a hawk in future, because if I hop on the floor, they better. I sure wouldn’t tell their sorry arses. So vampires would never make such stupid rules, because they like being undead, rather than finally dead. The last thing you want to do if you like living is throttling information – from telepaths or from your human lover who has a brother-in-law in the FotS. It’s strategically retarded – you want to encourage humans to tell you stuff – not shut them up. Key intelligence problem for the 9/11 terrorist attacks – information throttling – and that’s why the spy agencies are trying to stop doing it.

Not to mention, let’s have a look at how Bill treats Sookie. In the grand scheme of things, Bill has a great deal of pride, and is far more concerned with appearances and Sookie embarrassing him than Eric is. Bill is the person who schools Sookie on how not to shake hands with vampires, introduces her to vampire etiquette. When Bill has to face Eric, he nods at him. He doesn’t ask Sookie to do anything particularly special the night of Long Shadow’s death. Well, let’s just attribute that to Eric’s easy way of dealing with his underlings, shall we?

Let’s see how do things go in Stan’s territory then, where Sookie has to watch herself a little more, just in case Stan wants to (in Eric’s words) keep or kill her. Bill doesn’t like her asking that her rules about not killing those she uses her telepathy on, and Stan doesn’t react well to Sookie’s questions initially. No one kills her – it’s not as if they can replace their telepath. Bill doesn’t even bother to tell her off when they’re in private – at least on the page. Once Sookie’s won Stan’s respect though, he’s really far nicer to her.

So what about the Queen – well she hardly requires more than just politeness, even if front of other vampires. Sookie takes some calculated risks, and interrupts stuff, but only really for important stuff – not for asking for a Coke. The Queen doesn’t require Sookie to bow and scrape. She requires good manners, a bow and being nice, but she hardly requires Sookie to stand by as an ornamental telepath – she engages her in conversations as if she’s another being. Furthermore, when Christian Baruch, newly made and upwardly mobile vampire tries to intimidate and bully Sookie, Sophie Anne and Andre flank Sookie. They confront another vampire who is being rude their telepath and make sure he is the one that backs off – not telling Sookie to submit to fools, even if they are vampire fools.

Sure, the Ancient Pythoness tells the human not to interrupt – but, hey, try standing up in a human court and telling the judge stuff – you’ll find the same reaction. The etiquette required seems to be much the same as old fashioned etiquette. Most vampires were human once, and so they would have their own etiquette systems – which wouldn’t make for consistency. From the looks of it, most of the etiquette rules that vampires follow are medieval in nature, just like their courts. Some of it is modernised, like there’s no trial by ordeal. They’re certainly not following Ancient Greek rules like the Pythoness is – and nor should they – most of that would involve your obligation to your fellow man.

In fact, Sookie commented that there is far less show when vampires think humans aren’t watching – that the trials at Rhodes are without too much elaborate stuff. So they don’t have extensive rules to follow other than simple etiquette stuff. Since their actual society would have been formed post-Dracula, then that when they would have set their standards – and that’s the medieval period. But they’re also interested in being more human friendly, not more rigid:

“It’s an attempt to regularize the vampire world so it looks more palatable to humans. If the American model catches on, the vampire world will resemble a huge multinational corporation more than a loosely ruled collection of vicious bloodsuckers.” Definitely Dead, p. 149.

This is at the very heart of integration. It’s not about forcing the majority of the population to comply to new and stupid rules designed only to bolster how you feel about yourself. That’s like handing the FotS a reason to wipe you off the face of the Earth. Nope, it’s about trying to make your society seem more acceptable and get business going. That’s one of the reasons for vampires to comply with human laws. They haven’t tried to usurp the government – they’re trying to fit in with our society, not try to make us fit in with theirs.

Not to mention that in order to fit in with our society, Sookie isn’t the only human they have to appease. There’s businessmen like Copley Carmichael. While Copley surely wants to get vampire business, that doesn’t mean that he’d be willing to bow and scrape in order to get what he wants – that’s plain old bad business to make yourself so weak in business that you need to always set yourself up to be on the lower echelon. No one would end up doing business with vampires if they weren’t at least partially willing to make allowances. Unions would shut them out for a start – the average working class Joe has little to gain from being favoured by vampires. Bill has trouble getting contractors to his house because they’re afraid of him, so why he’d then impose stupid rules on them – when humans could just shut them out of the market altogether. Money is only useful if you can use it.

The only other humans around vampires are fangbangers. What rules do we see them following? We see Carla at the summit – Gervaise’s girlfriend, Trudy in Dallas, Hugo in Dallas, Farrell’s date in Dallas, and we see Franklin Mott with Tara at Club Dead. None of their vampire boyfriends require them to bow and scrape to them, sit demurely in the corner and never challenge whatever shit comes out of their mouths – not over and above human men. Franklin Mott follows the old rules about passing around willing humans, but he doesn’t seem to follow other ones.  Trudy wanders around the room talking to people at random and mingling. Carla is even taken to the Rhodes Summit, and doesn’t have to follow any silly archaic rules.If she did, well no woman in her right mind would date a vampire – and they don’t have human women clamouring to date them already by dint of them being the walking undead.

In order for vampires to require complete compliance and subservience, they have to see humans as some sort of threat, and feel inferior. Hahahaha. That’s the last thing any of the vampires feel when comparing themselves to humans. Think about how Eric frames how vampires have always thought of humans:

Sookie, you have to understand that for hundreds, thousands, of years we have
considered ourselves better than humans, separate from humans. He thought for a
second. “Very much in the same relationship to humans as humans have to, say, cows. Edible like cows, but cute, too.”
Dead as a Doornail, p. 214

If I was in the same room as a cow (because I eat them) then I would feel sorry for the cow, maybe make a joke about it being delicious, but I’d hardly cringe at the thought of hearing it moo at me. I’d think about how it exists to serve me, that it is too tasty not to eat, and that while it’s all terribly sad, I don’t really give two shits what the cow thinks. After all – that requires me to see the cow as my equal.

As long as said cow doesn’t attack me, and can’t accuse me of unfair treatment in a language I can understand, I don’t care much what the cow does. That’s one of the failings of this architecture – that pets are required to intermingle with vampires – you know – cause I bring the cow I’m going to eat next week with me to social functions, and then promptly treat them like they’re not supposed to be there at all. That other vampires will consider vampires weak if they can’t control an asset they own – as in every single moment that the human is up at night. Which would require vampires to either watch and control their humans every single minute they’re awake, rather than just ignoring them, as I would with a cow that I wasn’t eating or patting.

It is a little bit more complex than that though, because I never used to be a cow, and I don’t want to fuck cows. Eric points out that complexity with the whole lions and antelopes thing. I don’t include cows in my fundamental business decisions either. So therefore, if I did, I might have a little bit of empathy with said cow, and not try to be too much of an obvious tyrant. Particularly since unless vampires are overlords – which they are not at least in SVM – then I have options like the media to get away from them. It’s so much harder to go missing when the world is watching.

Not to mention, since they can glamour humans, why they would bother to have any of these rules in the first place is beyond me. If the human is pissing you off, you can glamour them and shut them up. They’re hardly going to make any rules for the rare telepaths that pop up every so often. I know that people think (thank you stupid fanfic) that weres can’t be glamoured, but they apparently can be. Sandra Pelt, when being held down by Eric doesn’t let him catch her eyes for fear of being glamoured in Definitely Dead, and Jason doesn’t meet Appius’ eyes in Dead in the Family. If they can’t be glamoured, then this is consistent, yet highly retarded behaviour. Of course they can be glamoured. Vampires are not going to make rules that don’t apply to anyone.

Now with all that said, there are indeed vampires who would do this stuff, but they’re one True Blood short of a six pack. Eric even thinks of them with contempt – those that need so desperately to be reflected in humans:

“The best of us look askance at a vampire who makes servant after servant. The human is lost when the vampire assumes too much control. When the human goes
completely under, he isn’t worth turning. He isn’t worth anything at all.
Sooner or later he has to be killed.”
Dead And Gone, p. 178

So the best of the vampire race does not want, in fact, someone to fall into line and do what you tell them. Frankly, it doesn’t make a lick of sense to seek out humans to make them act like vampires. They could just go off and bite a human and then go and socialise with other vampires. Other vampires seem to think (as I do when I look at men who need this sort of confirmation of their manliness through controlling their wimmen) that there’s something wrong with the vampire – not the human. So other vampires are going to see you as the vampire equivalent of a short-dick-man – not as more powerful, but more insecure.

With a telepath, it plain old wouldn’t work, and the vampires I’ve seen who would think this is a good idea aren’t good enough to be in politics anyway. Sure, Andre tried to force his blood on Sookie, and could have enslaved her, but he was rushing the Queen’s plan. Hence why the Queen would have told him to slow down. Andre didn’t have enough finesse to be a royal – he was Sophie Anne’s second in command, not the other way around. It only would have worked with Andre anyway if Sookie didn’t associate her captivity with Sophie Anne. Sophie Anne would have made it “all better” and apologised for the enslavement – just like she had Andre do for the attempt:

“I know,” he said, “that is, Sophie-Anne tells me that I have done wrong to you.
I’m not sorry, because I will do anything for her. Others don’t mean anything to
me. But I do regret that I have not been able to refrain from causing
something that distresses you.”
All Together Dead, p. 272

Sophie Anne is trying to repair the breach of trust her telepath has in her. She’s not really that interested that Sookie is all upset over the blood bond, and if she could have been in Eric’s place, she would have bonded to Sookie in a heartbeat. But she doesn’t want to give Sookie any reason whatsoever to throttle information. Sophie Anne has had her plans revealed way too early, thanks to Andre’s impatience. Unfortunately, Andre’s early abuse has lead him to be this way – so emotionally disconnected that he doesn’t manipulate – he uses force. Andre is what Alexei would have become in time. No one would put Alexei in charge of anything, now would they?

That brings me as well to what the hell sort of plan Sophie Anne – which is just something glossed over, or not really explored. I did try to write a fic about it, but my fundamental problem is that writing it in Sophie-Anne’s POV – which is what it was in – was almost impossible. After all, Sophie Anne doesn’t understand a woman like Sookie – with her connection between love and sex – and her POV would be impossible to understand due to the flaws in what we know of Sookie. Readers probably wouldn’t have gotten it, so I ditched it. But that’s why she couldn’t see the problem with sending Bill with the plan. Sophie Anne thought that it would be fine – mainly because she had that burned out of her. It’s why she did so well with other sexually traumatised people. In someone like that, they don’t get it – not the way that other people get it. They can make a close facsimile of “making love” but they don’t really feel the connection. That was forced to break a long time ago when their sexuality was forming. It’s how they disconnect the body from the internal self. That’s how they make it through – partition off the very inner part of themselves from sexual activity, and then, when the sexual abuse has finished, that’s how they are – sexual without the emotional part connected.

But for that fatal mistake, Sophie Anne’s plan would probably have worked. But this whole plan isn’t to offer Sookie a job as her human telepath. God no. If that was the case, a phone call would have sufficed. Nope, the whole plan was to turn Sookie – have her own telepathic child she can keep at her side forever. No one goes to this much trouble for an employee – not when you can just pay them and let them retire. All of this trouble is for Sookie to become the next telepathic child of Sophie Anne Le Clerq. Since Sophie Anne never has to part from her vampire children, she doesn’t have to worry about what happens when Sookie leaves. Cause she’s not intending to let Sookie go.

If you wondered why CH had to kill that character off – well, hell, that’s why – all of Sophie Anne’s interest and purpose was done. The Queen’s circuitous route would have lead to Sookie being vamped up. As soon as the Queen deemed herself a “friend” of Sookie, she would have turned her. It didn’t occur to Sophie Anne that Sookie wouldn’t want to be a vampire – after all, all she has to go on are fangbangers – and they want to be vampires. Sophie Anne loves her undead life enough that she would never think someone would choose otherwise. But, as long as Sophie Anne could create an imperative, that would have been a small thing – contrive a deadly injury, and then turn her as a “friend” would do. As long as Sookie is useful as a telepath, doesn’t resent her maker, it’s a month lost at most, and then it’s an eternity of free telepathy.

No other vampire will go to such lengths to get Sookie, by the way. If Victor or Felipe don’t have the talent of keeping their children with them for all time – which odds are that they don’t since they’re not surrounded with them as Sophie Anne was – then there’s really no need to turn Sookie. Sophie Anne was keeping an asset all to herself – while Victor or Felipe would be making an asset they can only force to be with them for eighty or so years. That’s not so helpful if you’ve forced said asset to turn – they will make sure that they go to your enemy (and the telepathic vampire knows what you fear most) and sick them on you.

In order to give Sookie further protection, just in case Felipe isn’t too swift, Niall was created, as one big impediment. Niall will stake your arse if you killed his great-granddaughter against her will – he was willing to kill Eric to end the blood bond. No one is going to cross Niall and create a war with the fairies, mainly because while vampires might feel all superior, fairies can stay awake any time of the day or night, pop right into your day chamber and stake your sleeping arse. So even that initial eighty years is something you don’t want to do. The fact that the portals are closed – sure, they are, but would Victor or Felipe really want to wager that they will stay closed for as long as now immortal vampire Sookie is alive? I think not. I’m pretty sure Sookie can hold a grudge for a long time.

The idea that Sookie could just be abducted and turned one day – that’s not going to happen. After all, I doubt that Victor was going to fight Sookie and get her on the plane when he was there at the pledging. Yes, he can subdue her, but that’s not the way vampires work. They’re all smiles and niceness. Every single vampire that has met Sookie is as sweet as a little pie until the time comes to kill her. They’re masters of subterfuge who do not broadcast their intent long before they throw a punch. That’s how they fool each other and that’s how they fool humans.

Sophie Anne, Victor, Felipe, Andre, Eric and Bill – every single one of them has wanted to use her – and some have been more successful than others. The very last thing they want to do is broadcast it and put her on guard before they get her where they want her. It’s rather similar to human offenders too – if you’re robbed, you’re way more likely to be stabbed than you are to be shot. That’s because people holding guns feel more in control of the situation than people holding knives. They’re not likely to use force if they feel like they have all the power – the menace is enough. Same with vampires – the real intent is a sharp blade hidden within bright smiles and niceness.

So in the end, there are lots of stopgaps that have Sookie more compliant than ornery – her life and freedom are a careful balance against how much she’s willing to get back at vampires. CH has done considerable work to make sure that the other characters have reasons to hold back, and to leave Sookie the hell alone. Sookie herself could break her one condition – not coming out – and be free of vampire intervention in her life forever.