I’ve read a few times that Sookie doesn’t accept Eric’s true nature as a vampire, merely because she doesn’t want to be one. That no matter what she says about being a vampire, it just goes to show that she doesn’t really accept him because she doesn’t want to be like him.
Huh. I probably should get a sex change to show my husband that I really like him and accept him as a man. Otherwise I can’t possibly accept him. I must secretly hate the poor guy, despite how often I sing his praises. But, if I don’t have a dick, no matter how hard I try, it’s meaningless and worthless.
The irony of these statements is that readers don’t really accept Eric’s nature themselves – not in fanfic. Most of the plasticised versions of Eric completely ignore his nature. But they want Sookie to mature and be less selfish about the whole thing. Which just plain old makes me laugh.
One of the things that I notice is totally snipped out of Eric’s nature is his feeding. We have Eric on page acknowledging feeding in the intervening time between Dead to the World and Dead and Gone:
“Busy, were you?”
I wrinkled my nose. “Well, hope you had enough,”
I said with a total lack of sincerity.
From Dead to Worse, p. 152
I hate to break it to the Eric fangirls, but the odds that Eric can’t chat on the phone because it will upset the bottle he’s drinking out of, are nil. Nor would he hesitate to say “Finishing my bottle of blood”. Nor would it take him five minutes to finish his blood. I can slam down an iced coffee in like 2 minutes if I’m thirsty. If I’m not, I put the bottle down and answer the damn phone.
But if he’s in his office, drinking off a fangbanger, he might have the door closed and instructions to be left alone – hence the wait. I know that in fanfic, he tosses those worthless creatures to the ground and rushes to answer Sookie on the phone, but I’m glad for one that while Eric is a murderer, he’s not an inconsiderate stinkpig. Those “worthless creatures” didn’t do anything more than feed him – he has no reason to be nasty as hell to them. I’d also like to point out that Eric is actually not indiscriminately nasty to the patrons of his bar:
in front of Eric. ” Could you please sign this?” she said. Eric gave
her a blinding smile and scribbled on the blank page.
Dead and Gone, p. 92
A blinding smile. That’s what he gave them – not a beating for interrupting his conversation. It’s a tourist bar – it doesn’t make sense to treat tourists like they’re dirt. Maybe enough like it’s France, but not like it’s Franken-Eric’s castle. Eric didn’t even beat the hell out of the guy who asked in Dead as a Doornail why Sookie was sitting with a vampire. He tends not to beat up humans – as well he shouldn’t, since he could put his fist through their bodies if need be. I’m glad he’s not a twitchy tweaker being cruel to humans for no good reason other than “they’re not Sookie”. There’s a whole heap of people in the world that aren’t Sookie. Eric tends to use humans, and forget about them instantly, but he’s not deliberately cruel to them.
So presumably throughout the time since Dead to the World, Eric’s been feeding off fangbangers. I know, I know – blood equals sex, right? Like it did in the hallway at Rhodes – Eric couldn’t help himself. Or maybe it was when Mickey was at the window and Eric had to feed – they had quick sex then, right? Or what about when Bill licked the blood off Sookie’s head when the Rattrays almost killed her? Or the fact that Chow, Eric, Pam and Bill all fed from Sookie – that was quite the orgy. Rhodes even has willing donors in the ballroom, rather than the bedroom. Truth is there is plenty of blood drinking in the books without sex.
The main times Sookie’s stresses the blood equals sex thing is when a vampire is about to rape her. It’s first person – she’s thinking like someone who’s trying to make her rape not matter so much. She’s not making a clear, legitimate statement – she’s preparing herself for badness and trying to dissociate and make it impersonal. The fact is that rape is a personal violation – victims will do anything not to feel like someone is being violent to their core inner selves. That doesn’t make it a damn truism – it just means that readers have to engage their empathy – or they should.
But what happened once Eric got his memory back? Did he stop feeding on fangbangers then? Meh, probably not. I don’t see Eric playing the martyr and denying himself his favourite type of food for the sake of his wife. There’s a difference between shoving it in Sookie’s face, and doing it where she can’t see. It’s like when partners send one outside to smoke – just so long as the other one doesn’t have to endure the smoke, things are okay. Sure, it’d be in bad taste if Eric came home smelling of fangbangers, and with someone else’s blood on his lips, so he doesn’t do it. But Sookie sure doesn’t think about Eric feeding on others in a bad way:
Dead in the Family, p. 193
Notice there’s no mention of “orgy” – but there is a mention of food. I also challenge any reader to find actual evidence of Eric biting Sookie in the last book. He just doesn’t. Personally, I think their relationship is about more than being Eric’s personal feedbag – but some readers see it differently, and some fics have her glued to his side like a packed lunch. Since Eric in the books has gone missing from Sookie’s life when Appius arrives for a week, I don’t believe that Eric is meekly sitting around drinking True Blood. His maker may not have taken a particularly nice view of that.
Funnily enough, I don’t see Sookie as being too concerned about who’s feeding what, where. She’s been talking to fangbangers at Fangtasia all that time, and she’s a telepath. She must have been bombarded with images of Eric feeding on other women. In exchange, Eric doesn’t boss Sookie around on what can and cannot be eaten. She goes out to a restaurant and eats Crawfish Etouffee – which has garlic in it. I think a lifetime of watching what you eat so your husband can eat only you – particularly after a couple of fairies took you away and bit you for a couple of hours – just doesn’t have that romantic ring to it. That sounds like a heavy yoke of responsibility and sniffs of being overly controlling. It also happens to be something Sookie did with Bill, not Eric.
So Sookie accepts his nature is to feed on humans, and doesn’t require Eric to feed only on her. Rather than muddy up her relationship with “sole food source”, Eric gets his food takeout style. I don’t always cook for my husband, and I can see that that has helped our relationship – not hurt it. Sometimes he even gets Eagle Boys Pizza, the scoundrel. It doesn’t mean that he’s in love with the pizza chef, or that they’re sleeping together. He can be nice, get his food and come home. Particularly since if I present him with a meal, I’m offering out of love most of the time. Not because he might see that pizza chef, who is largely faceless to him.
The concern for fanfic Eric only to be on a solely-Sookie diet smacks of putting too many influences into why they’re together – ie. Sookie is extra tasty. I like it better when it’s left out, not a daily job to keep her husband fed and farm herself appropriately for his tastes. The whole point is for both of them who loves them for who they are as a person – not their race, or racial attributes, like fangs or blood flavour. So I prefer Book Eric, who seems to be eating fangbangers, and saving the rest of himself for Sookie.
Another place where I don’t see readers of fanfic accepting Eric’s nature is in leaving bite marks on Sookie. There is absolutely zero evidence that Eric heals his marks with blood. ZERO.
Dead and Gone, p. 171
No mention of Eric healing it with his blood. Eric asks Sookie to take his blood after that, and it’s possible that his blood healed that mark, but he didn’t apply blood directly to the site. Only time that was done was Bill when Sookie lost her virginity to him. The saliva of a vampire heals it with the anti-coagulant (stake in the side anyone), but that doesn’t mean there’s no damn marks. On the contrary – there’s still marks. Sookie even mentions Eric’s marks:
were not on my neck where they’d been in the past. Dead to the World, p. 127
So if Eric is healing his fang marks with blood, it’s not on the page. He’s leaving his marks on her – possessive vampire anyone? I don’t believe he’s going to try to preserve her untouched state, and remove his marks of ownership – not when he can’t stop himself from saying Mine every so often. If the marks heal through serendipity like Sookie drinking his blood, I can’t see Eric gouging some in to mark her, but nor can I see him removing them. Sookie doesn’t seem to mind them either. Sookie’s not so vain, remember?
Eric isn’t ashamed that he’s a vampire, that he leaves marks, otherwise he wouldn’t make marks on anyone – including Sookie and the fangbangers. Sookie in turn is not trying to hide that she’s with a vampire either, so she’s not trying to get rid of the marks. Sookie wasn’t exactly ashamed of Bill’s marks, so why she would be fussing over Eric leaving a mark, I don’t know. She got the marks of the Maenad on her back as a message to Eric, and she’s hardly demanding that he remove that too.
The next one is that Sookie doesn’t accept that Eric kills people. Uh? Hello? Why the hell do you think she’s been scared of Eric? Because she was worried about the puppies his beauty might slay? The second night she met him, Sookie had no illusions that Eric freaking kills people. She made a deal with him so that he wouldn’t. That’s the whole point to their arrangement.
Knowing he does it and ignoring or discouraging it is different to being his cheering squad. Her feelings don’t become invalid because she thinks it’s wrong to kill people, and Eric doesn’t mind at all. That just makes her oppositional to Eric, but it doesn’t mean that Eric has to invent a time machine, and go back in history and never kill. Sookie doesn’t even react so badly to Eric killing people.
when they were young, they killed. Dead and Gone, p. 89
Sookie is well aware that Eric has killed people. That doesn’t mean she has to like it to accept him. Readers seem to forget, not only that Sookie is human (I don’t buy the mostly fae argument – one eighth does not make a mostly no matter how many essential sparks there are in her) but that they are human as well. She’s not actually supposed to be cheering it on like it’s a gladiator sport. She’s witnessed Eric and Bill tearing apart men in her own living room, seen him fighting in various wars. Not only that, but no matter how much it annoys her, she still knows that Eric doesn’t give a shit about humans dying:
care at all about the deaths of two humans. Dead in the Family, p. 243
Sookie isn’t begrudgingly accepting that – she knows it’s a factoid about Eric. That doesn’t mean that she has to sit there and not say a word. Eric isn’t in a relationship all by himself. Funnily enough, he seems to get that, and doesn’t resent Sookie for not wanting him to kill humans. After all, I wouldn’t roll over and play dead if someone told me that they liked to murder women – I’d take it kinda personally – because I’m a woman. Substitute women for humans, and it doesn’t sound so palatable.
Sookie’s feelings, and even her opposite feelings about wanting to be a vampire are not invalid. I don’t think Eric would be willing to exchange his vampirism for being able to hear the thoughts around him and give up his super strength. I don’t think that Eric should have to eat Crawfish Etoufee, sunbathe and waitress in order to accept Sookie either. If she were to end up with a shifter, no one would expect that she become a bitten were in order to fit better in with Alcide, Quinn or Sam’s lifestyle. So too the same with becoming a vampire.
The assumption is that Sookie makes decisions while being clueless about the vampire world, and I don’t think she is, as I’ve mentioned herein previously. Sookie has just as much information as we do about what it’s like to work for Peter Threadgill, and she hardly expected Eric’s, Bill’s, Pam’s, Judith’s or Heidi’s story to be happy-happy-joy-joy stories. Sookie’s the person who’s been personally bullied by Mickey and Andre – she’s not blind to how things really go – and in some cases, she has the emotional, physical and mental scars to prove it. It’s just not put on the page because woe betide CH thought readers might use their brains on cue when Sookie says she’s going to “think about that later” – her feelings on not wanting to be a vampire have nothing whatsoever to do with what she thinks of Eric – it’s how she sees herself.
Sookie values her small town, her waitressing job, and her life. Just because someone else doesn’t want that life, doesn’t make it contemptible. But there seems to be a bit of snobbery associated with the “worth” of Sookie’s current life. I dunno – maybe all those readers sneer down their noses at waitresses in real life as worthless. Yes, Sookie doesn’t make a lot of money, and doesn’t get respect for her job, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t suit her needs. She says herself that she can’t work in offices because of her telepathy, she likes slinging beers, likes talking to patrons and doesn’t mind hard work. She doesn’t have work she has to take home, no office politics, and flexible hours that keep her up for a boyfriend that wants to see her at 1am.
Plenty of people choose to take an alternate road than riches and the fast life – for their own reasons. People who decide that being a barrister (one told me she works from 8am to 6pm daily and takes her kids to work on the weekends) is better than being a university lecturer (one I know works 9am to 5pm on weekdays and can take days off when her kids are sick). Sure, the barrister has more money, but not the same amount of time. Each trades off what they want to have. If Sookie is simplistic enough to want sunlight, good food, waitressing jobs, small town life and a natural death, she’s not invalid because readers really want to be a vampire, even though no one is offering it to them.
If Sookie is thinking about it simplistically as not wanting to spend an eternity being dead, then that doesn’t say anything about Eric. Eric is already at that stage – he didn’t have a choice. Sookie does, and it’s not somehow lesser to choose to be different to the person she’s going to be with. Sookie shouldn’t have to change everything she likes about her life and herself to fall into line with what makes Eric happy, and shows him she accepts him. Sookie accepts Pam and Amelia as bi-sexual, without ever needing to try it out. Sookie doesn’t need to become a vampire in order to accept and love one.