The Travelling Sookie Show

Let forth ululations of rage and anger. If I have to read one more time that “Sookie runs” I may actually do that at my desk. As you can guess, I just read it right now, so I’m sure I could just about disembowel someone with my bare fucking hands. What’s worse? The person said that Sookie was finally “maturing” and not running….and she hadn’t even fucking done the classic “Sookie runs” scenario in that fic. Because that writer of the fic actually reads the books and thinks about them.

I’ll say it loud and clear – SOOKIE DOESN’T RUN – that’s part of her fucking problem. If she did, you think she’d be sticking around for Vamp Shenanigans of the Week? No. She wouldn’t be. It wouldn’t be actually childish to run away from getting beatings – or from all the other crap that vampires bring into her life. But let’s look at Eric’s one time statement, and when Sookie does walk away, and see why that may be. I’m sure you’ll find it curiously logical, and quite mature.

The actual quote for your edification:

“Had it occurred to you,” he said, after we’d rolled out of the city’s center,
“that you tend to walk away when things between you and Bill become rocky?
Not that I mind, necessarily, since I would be glad for you two to sever your
association. But if this is the pattern you follow in your romantic attachments,
I want to know now.”
Club Dead, p. 244

I’d like to point out that Eric doesn’t mind. He says it. Not that I mind, necessarily. You know, I could feel sorry for Eric if he didn’t like it now he’s on the receiving end if he wasn’t aware of it, but the fact that he’s aware of it? No sympathy from me. That’s like him complaining that she’s terribly tanned – well he fucking knew that going in, so he doesn’t get to change it now. Really, if you like the suitor that wants to change Sookie into a better, more amenable version of what he wants, Bill is your man. He’s got all the belittlement and forcing you could want in your vampire. Eric doesn’t try to change Sookie’s innate personality – and nor should he. He’s supposed to love Sookie, not some glorious idea of alternate universe Sookie where she’s a biddable fangbanger who doesn’t give him an ounce of guff and does as she’s told.

Furthermore, any little fantasies going on about Eric hating Bill’s guts for what he did with Lorena, or in the trunk – out the freaking window. He calls that “rocky”. Again, if you’re looking for a guy liable to be vengeful on that front, Bill is your man.

But, let’s have a look at when Sookie does walk away from Bill.

The first incident is Uncle Bartlett’s death. Bill had Uncle Bartlett killed. Looks like he did her a favour on the surface of it, right? Except, I totally get Sookie’s point. If I complained about something that hurt me in the past, and my husband took it into his head to kill in my name, I would so have a serious issue with it. I don’t actually want people killed in my name – probably because I understand that dead people stay that way. It’s not Kenny on South Park. Sometimes I think some readers don’t understand that death is in fact permanent.

Even though Uncle Bartlett did terrible things, it really wasn’t Bill’s place to do anything about it. If he was protecting Sookie, he was doing it about fifteen years too late. No, Bill made all the decisions about Uncle Bartlett, because it made Bill feel better – not because he was doing anything primarily for Sookie – or he wouldn’t have hidden it. He would have asked the victims Sookie and Hadley what they wanted to do, rather than thinking of what Bill wants to do. This was Bill’s way to lay claim to Sookie – a nice little bit of possessiveness.

I don’t believe that Bill is going round wiping out paedophiles – he just doesn’t strike me as that kind of altruist. Not with friends like Malcolm, Liam and Diane. No vampire is an altruist, except in the minds of fangirls. They’re killing indiscriminately – not based on who is good and who is evil – they’re killing based on their own desires, and who is tastiest. If he hoped to give Sookie the gift that her abuser is finally gone, then this is both a bizarre gift, and one he didn’t even present to the victim until he was rumbled. Really, that was all for Bill’s benefit – to make him feel better – not Sookie’s.

So, Sookie walks away rather than trying in vain to change a creature who has been killing for hundreds of years. Some readers seem to think that if you just say something, a person will change their fundamental nature. It doesn’t work like that. What magical words would work to make Bill stop killing people? Cause Sookie hasn’t found them so far, and I can’t think of them. Perhaps those readers who maintain this is an instant process could go and work in their local jails, rehabilitating long term offenders with a sentence or two. Yep – see how insulting the idea is that asking equals getting?

There always comes a point in time when Sookie would rather walk away than have an impossible fight with a brick wall. May I point out that said brick wall also has a bad temper, and could grind her into a thin paste? I don’t actually think it’s particularly sensible to keep arguing until the brick wall loses its temper and drains you to shut you up.

Let’s look at the second time Sookie walks away from Bill. Start of Living Dead in Dallas. That’s the night Sookie is summoned into Fangtasia, Bill dresses her in what he wants her to wear to show off to the other vampires, and she finds out that he’s let the entire town know she’s his whore. Sounds good right? Just like the date of your dreams.

So Sookie gets out of the car and walks away. She could yell at Bill some more, but really, what would be the point? The damage is done, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Sookie has a right to be pissed that people will think she’s whoring herself out to vampires, while being ordered to do stuff by vampires, with the constant threat of death and torture hanging over her head if she refuses. It’s actually fine with me that she’s angry about that. I don’t see any point in fighting with Bill – and he can just go and explain to his boss that he made his telepathic girlfriend’s life exponentially shittier. It’s not like they’re going on a date – they’ve been summoned.

Then there’s the third time she walks away from Bill. Over the deaths of the Fellowship attackers at Stan’s nest. I know, I know – there’s a whole heap of people who feel the Fellowship isn’t worth anything. While I don’t like their intolerant ways myself, I can hardly weigh up the amount of killing Steve Newlin’s done with the killing that someone like Stan Davis has done and say that Steve is the one who should die – no matter how intolerant he is. If that’s the scales with which we weigh the “worth” then vampires lose. They’ve killed way more humans than the FotS has, so in the scheme of things, if that’s worth, vampires should all be killed immediately.

Part of Sookie’s beef is that Bill goes off and has some vengeance, leaving her in the debris. The man she’s loved for quite a while – six months give or take – has just taken off to kill people in vengeance. So what more can she say other than that? How does the impending fight play out to you? Cause what Bill had to say at the time just didn’t cut it. So she should stay there and fight with the killer brick wall? Really? As it turned out, she told him later that he was free to be as vampirey as he liked, but while he was engaging in that, she wasn’t going to sit in the car with the window cracked. She was going to feel free to walk away and be as human as she liked.

Then, the final walk away – Sookie leaves the man that abused and drained her, raped her and cheated on her. And readers apparently hate this trait of “Sookie always runs”. Why exactly should she stay to work that out? What the fuck can Bill possibly say? This is when things become so “rocky” (Jesus Eric uses a mild term for it) that Sookie can’t be bothered to fight Bill into seeing it her way, and walks away for the final time.

Believe it or not, trying to fight with a vampire can be dangerous – and sometimes it becomes tiring when two stubborn people have an argument. Not everyone wants to mire themselves in the shitstorm that is an argument for the next 48 hours. It is frustrating to have to explain that killing is wrong to a killer. Particularly since you’ve got no hope of them actually getting it and stopping or seeing your viewpoint. It’s not actually a character fault not to fight.

One of the things that bothers me is seeing the Sookie slap, flounce and run routine. I know, you saw it on True Blood. It doesn’t fucking exist in the books, people. Sookie has only ever slapped Eric at Rhodes – when she was trying to wake him. She only ever slapped Bill when she was trying to haul him out to the Lincoln post-torture. Sookie doesn’t slap guys – she gets tired of fighting a neverending battle of wills. Like a freaking normal person.

All of the times Sookie walks away from arguments is because she’s sick and tired of arguing with someone who won’t listen to her. She gets, by her own admission “tired to the bone” trying to fight these people that for once will not see it her way, and certainly won’t take kindly to the idea that she should have an equal say over her own life.

I have to say, I’m human, and I’m just as manipulative, bullheaded and high handed as Eric can be sometimes. Part of the reason I like Sookie is because I know what a giant pain in the arse I can be to put up with. My husband can be driven to exasperation the same way that Sookie can be. I rather prefer that he doesn’t stove my head in with a bat and just sticks to complaining. It’s not more mature if he stays around trying to change me until he does actually stove my head in with a bat – that’s the stupid and childish response.

Nor is it “more mature” to just cave to my demands and accept when I’ve made decisions for both us us all on my lonesome. I picked a stubborn man for good reason – without his stubborn nature, I would doubtless run roughshod over him constantly. When you’re a high handed person, you don’t stop just because they acquiesce once – you forget that you didn’t have the right to do it in the first place. If I hadn’t married a stubborn man, I would just end up being a bully.

Most of the time when I see writers showing Sookie “running” emotionally, she’s running from not what she’s actually afraid of in the books – that Eric feels anything for her. I would call it deflecting his attention, rather than running. Sookie deliberately doesn’t acknowledge lots of things about how she feels about Eric. She definitely doesn’t want to think nicely of Eric in any way shape or form. But that doesn’t make her a “runner” or “immature”. It makes her a hell of a lot smarter than most readers give her credit for.

At the end of the day, Eric is an overbearing, high handed guy who kills people, and scares people for a living. He runs his bar on the idea that he’s scary, and he’s works as a Sheriff being scary and killing people. On their second meeting, he made it clear that “death and torture” were part of his working repertoire for such formidable enemies as his small human waitresses. He’s actually scary, no matter how many times he breaks into your house and sneaks into your bed, and no matter how pretty he is. If Sookie were to run far, far away from Eric, that would not be childish – that would be smart.