Plenty Gracious

I wondered where to put this one – what to categorise it under – because I don’t really have quotes to prove my point – and my whole point is that I don’t have quotes. Confusing, yes, but you’ll see what I mean. Also, how’s that for an absolute kick arse pun on book content? Dude. I rock.

This post is about the pervasive feeling about Sookie not being “grateful” that she has Eric. That really, bitch better fall in line because in the general scheme of things, he’s taken so many bullets for it, he’s earned a right to do what he likes to Sookie…and she better like it. I have a feeling that the ‘logic’ goes something like “with that whole week of torture at Russell’s, keeping Sookie’s name from Lorena and the other vampires, Bill purchased the right to rape Sookie”. So Bill had a right to treat Sookie that way because he’d purchased it with his protection, and Eric has yet to demand anything from Sookie – and she won’t even kowtow to him respectfully, what with all she owes him.

You know, Eric Northman has got a lot of help from Sookie Stackhouse. And he doesn’t even have the cojones to say thanks for most of it. If anyone should have gotten the shits and jettisoned a user, it’s Sookie. It drives me up the wall to see Sookie being exhorted to do as she’s told by some extremely ungrateful vampires under the idea that she should be thankful.

In Dead Until Dark, Sookie saved Eric spending a night in a silver lined cell – or rather Bill did. It was Sookie’s information, but Bill spilled his guts to his Sheriff. Sookie did tell Longshadow about the raid…who paid her back by trying to kill her next time he saw her. I’d quote the “Thank you” Eric gave Sookie for saving him from jail – but it’s woefully absent. Instead, in the most fucked up form of gratitude, Eric summoned her to Shreveport. I know! It’s a total favour to Sookie to find out who’s stealing Eric’s money! I know I was on the edge of my seat as to what happened to the immortal killer’s money. Someone might have stolen from him – and he did earn it stealing off victims. It’s important to kill and keep killing for money.

So the gracious and thankful Longshadow attacks Sookie, thanking her the vampire way. I’d just like to point out that if Sookie hadn’t put her arm up, Eric wouldn’t have saved her by default – so she deserves equal ownership in that saving. Eric stakes Longshadow, and then as a sign of love and gratitude, tries to eat Sookie. He’s only ameliorated by the fact that Ginger feeds herself to him. Sookie’s apparently supposed to be grateful for Eric staking Longshadow. But let’s refresh our memories – exactly who ordered her to Shreveport? Exactly whose money was missing? Oh, the gracious “Ima eat you now” Mr. Northman.

In Living Dead in Dallas, Sookie gets a marked by the Maenad to send a message to Eric – she’s the supernatural bulletin board here for him. He apologises for that (if in a somewhat begrudging and then mocking way) – which is one of the only times he apologises for all the shit he brings into her life. Eric says that he owes her the healing, and Pam laments that the Maenad could have picked a human that they would rather allow to die. Comforting and gracious.

Then it’s off to Dallas, and Sookie gets spectacularly injured here. This is when readers make her take ownership in her injuries – it was all totally her fault that she ended up that way. Or perhaps, in a pinch, it was the fault of the Fellowship. I don’t remember Eric saying he was sorry he sent her in the first place, so I can’t quote it, but you know. I’m sure he is. That’s why she totally stopped working for Eric.

Oh wait – she stopped working for Eric in that he paid her. Now she gets injured for him for free. Eric sends her off to find Bill in Mississippi – pleads with her, ostensibly pays Alcide Herveaux half a construction company to escort her and ditch her staked in a supe bar somewhere, but at least Sookie does it at Eric’s insistence for free. And Sookie has the absolute gall not to thank Eric for that one.

Then of course, despite Eric being in the planning session for the actual rescue of Bill, readers fail to hold him accountable for any of that. Nope – that’s all back on Sookie again, when clearly, Eric could have whisked her out of Russell’s mansion and found another way to do it. Of course, he might need to risk starting a war to do it his way, so Sookie is totally to blame for whatever’s going on there. If you can’t tell, I’m wearing my sarcasm hat.

One of the things that infuriates me is the fact that Eric is the over-arching, always right vampire who does things right, and is the person who is right, and should direct Sookie round the room. But when something goes wrong, then it all drops back to being Sookie’s responsibility. Sookie gets no trim for getting Eric out of a war with Mississippi, but he gets praise for staying with her in Russell’s mansion. Oh, but it’s all on her if she gets injured in said mansion. Sookie gets no credit for anything – and anything bad that happens, she’s at fault for. Anything goes right, and readers will contort it so that Eric is really to thank for the victory – not Sookie and her moxie – Eric.

In the above scenario, Sookie saved his political hide – and took all of the injury. Eric certainly didn’t go and give Sookie the credit – he didn’t ask her if she wanted something from him as a boon for saving his arse from torture from the Queen. No, he smoothed it all over to Sophie-Anne as if it never happened. But ask some readers, and it’s apparently politically embarrassing for him to have anything to do with Sookie, and if she doesn’t play the good little fangbanger, Eric might pay a political price for Sookie not actually being owned by him. Well, if that’s the way it goes – if she’s his property, and all the risk is on his end, then she should have slept in a coffin with Bernard, while he could saved Bill.  Then she could have bought him a driveway. Boy, oh boy did Eric get a lot of benefit very cheaply.

Then the next book, Dead to the World. That’s when we find out that non-Amnesia Eric is like the Fonz. He knows the words in English, he just doesn’t say them. Amnesiac Eric says thank you, and sorry. Possibly his first time of saying the actual words “Thank you”, and his second time of saying the word “Sorry” – except this time it’s without any reserve. In this book of course, Sookie saved his arse from being eaten by were-witches. He only paid her thanks to Jason’s manoeuvring. If Jason hadn’t been there, I don’t know that Pam and Chow would have given much of a shit if Sookie couldn’t feed herself that week.

Of course, she saves his political career by bringing the weres and vampires together – she’s not just providing room and board here – it is Sookie who goes to Alcide and tells them that they have a problem in common. Considering that Pam and Chow didn’t reach out to their allies before that, then that’s all on Sookie. All that political benefit – the winning of the war by combining sides. Even if one could argue that the $50,000 Eric paid to Sookie is thank you for his spot at her place away from danger, that was gratis on top – and I believe she got called names for it. Yep, she did.

Then of course, there’s Dead as a Doornail. That’s when Eric graciously gives Sookie the help she wants for Tara. Even though Mickey is in Eric’s area, and Sookie could have gone to the police instead, bringing a shitstorm down on Eric’s head (for not controlling vampires in his Area – you think the Queen would have looked on that kindly? Cause I sure don’t). They do have vampire police, as proved in the first book. But instead, she doesn’t politically hobble Eric, and he does it for free….oh no, wait, he gets payment for that too. But at least he says thanks….oh no wait, he offers to kill her.

Despite the fact that Eric and Sookie spent that time together in DTTW, and I’ve heard often that Sookie “owed” it to Eric to fill in the blanks, she actually didn’t. Eric has his own memories – and if they’re missing, then tough shit. He doesn’t actually have any right to her account of what was going on – that belongs to her. No one would ever argue that Eric “owes” Tara the memories he erased in Living Dead in Dallas, right? I find it completely disingenuous to feel for Eric that he misses memories, when he is quite willing and capable of taking away the memories of others at his discretion. After all, Tara wanted to keep those memories – it’s only fear that she’ll blab about vampire involvement that gets Eric in on the “Let’s steal Tara’s emotional progress with glamour”. So cry me a river if it happened to Eric, and he didn’t like it.

Again, due to Eric not being on the ball of what’s going on in his Area, with his enemies, Sookie takes a beating, and the men of Merlotte’s save her life from erstwhile assassin Charles Twining. I’d like to quote where Eric says he’s sorry he fucked up, but you know, it’s not on the page for me to quote, and Sookie is left damaged and wanting. As per usual. Oh, but I’d like to quote what he does say – and never a truer word is spoken:

“Was that blasted Alcide trying to use you for some purpose in the contest?”
“You should talk about using.”
“Yes, but I’m straightforward about it,” Eric said, his blue eyes wide and guileless.

Dead as a Doornail, p. 293

Eric himself admits to using Sookie – but at least he’s straightforward about it. Oh well, that just erases the using bit….wait….it really doesn’t. So all the selfless martyr crap that goes on about Eric – hell, he himself doesn’t even think that way. And Sookie should be grateful for a user? Of course – that’s her usual isn’t it? I mean, she did favours for Arlene all those years because of loneliness, so why shouldn’t rich vampires get on that gravy train? They’re in good company.

Next we come to Definitely Dead. This is when Sookie finally gets something off Eric that doesn’t cost her dearly (finally!) when she’s beaten by the Pelts and their goons. Sookie for once, doesn’t thank Eric, but since vampires as a whole have tricked her into servitude, and as Sookie says herself:

“They used to threaten me, you know? If I didn’t do thus and such,
they’d take it out on Bill. Hey, guess what? I don’t care any more.”

Definitely Dead, p. 197

That should definitely be one of the things that Sookie’s thankful for – the gracious care that the vampires have given her up to now. I’d also like to point out that Sookie was dealing with Eric all the time before that book. Who do you think the “they” in the threatening statement is? The alternative Sheriff of Area Five? Cause I’m guessing not. I’m betting that the “they” may not be limited to just Eric (and could include Pam as well) but definitely has Eric in it. That’s what readers want her to be thankful for – the guy who threatened to hurt Bill to make her behave – and has had his political arse saved by Sookie countless times already. Of course, Sookie does actually thank Eric when he knocks her over at the Queen’s battle.

Then we come to All Together Dead. That’s when we finally hear from Eric and Pam about the whole Bill betrayal thing. And what do we have there? An apology from Pam….no, wait, she tells Sookie that she wouldn’t have told her, quoting Vampires First. Oh, okay. And then intimates that Sookie is the cause of all this angst. Woe betide the Area Five vampires that they find they care about Sookie’s feelings. How ever will they continue to use her as a tool to save their arses? You mean they might actually feel guilty about it? My heart bleeds, truly.

What does the wonderful Eric Northman say about Bill? That he’s sorry about it?….No. Not even a hollow testament to the fact that the man he used to threaten to get Sookie to behave was a big stinking liar? What about his part in hurting her? Oh, no, that’s right, he throws the whole Quinn thing in Sookie’s face and infers she’s a fool again for believing anyone would love her. He’s so sweet. I suspect that Eric and Pam didn’t bother to offer a hollow apology for what Bill did to Sookie because they’re not really sorry. It’s the way things go with vampires, and it just so happens this casualty isn’t your average vermin that they can giggle at. She may not help them, and they might feel bad she got used – in a somewhat worse way than they routinely use her.

Since this is the book Sookie and Eric bond in, and the bond is given great importance in fanfic, the sort of importance Eric never mentions in the books, then Eric must surely thank Sookie that she chose him and not Andre – after all, she had bad choices, but she chose him over Andre, and that’s surely a testament to how she feels. Funnily enough, I can’t find it in the text. I suspect it’s in the minds of fangirls, and exists only in that realm.

Then in a spectacular show of courage and stupidity (and one Eric never rouses on Sookie for in fanfic) she hurls herself, Eric and Pam out of the window of the Pyramid of Gizeh. That’s when they send Sookie a bunch of flowers for saving their lives right? Hmmm…can’t find it in the text. You know – I can’t find where they thanked her at all. The best Eric gives her is just an acknowledgement that she saved his life and then further pursuit of why it was she did that.

In the grand scheme of things, a bomb in a building – multiple bombs even – is worth way more than four whole bullets. Bullets won’t kill Eric – but bombs will kill Sookie. And still she risks her life for a thankless arse, and his thankless child. It just goes to show how kind and forgiving Sookie is that she speaks to them at all after all the gratitude she’s gotten for them, let alone risks her life tobogganing on a coffin out the window of an exploding hotel.

Then to From Dead to Worse. Eric uses Sookie’s house to take refuge from Victor. Before anyone argues it’s all on Quinn, it’s really not. Quinn was coming along to negotiate with the weres. He did not bring Victor to Sookie’s house – they’re tracking Eric. Oh, and he does some more asking of Sookie to give, give, give:

“My house was no good, not by myself. I couldn’t reach
anyone else. I got your message, Bill. So, Sookie, I’m
here to ask for your hospitality.”

From Dead to Worse, p. 164

I don’t know why the fangirls read that one as Eric being concerned with Sookie during the takeover, because those statements seem to be about Eric and Eric’s wellbeing. Why Sookie should have to thank him for that is beyond me. I’d quote where he apologises for leading the Vegas vampires to Sookie’s house in the middle of the night, but that’s suspiciously non-existent.

Then of course, Sookie saves Eric from Siegbert’s tender attentions (read torture). No mention of thanks there – excepting from Felipe, and he hadn’t even fucked Sookie. Eric didn’t even apologise to Sookie for putting her in a dangerous situation. I don’t believe it was the bond called her back – because Sookie herself says she turned around because she liked Eric – but if you believe it was the bond, then Eric is a giant prick for not thanking her or apologising.

Next to Dead and Gone. This is when Sookie’s supposed to thank Eric for all the protection (Lol) he’s given her, and thank him for making her life better. Eric might have saved her from being hauled off (with Felipe’s “gratitude”) to Vegas, so he should totally get thanks from her over that. Just like he’s been so free with the gratitude and apology to her in the past. He hasn’t? Oh, never mind then.

Of course, she’s supposed to be sorry to Eric that he had to go through all that Victor torture and the terrible experience he had watching Sookie recover. I mean, it’s not like she’s ever saved him from torture….wait, she has. But she’s a completely ungrateful person that he didn’t save her personally. According to fanfic, the bond is supposed to be some sort of help and protection for Sookie, but when it came down to being tortured for a couple of hours, the persons not bonded to her saved her. So it messes up her emotions for when shit doesn’t count, but doesn’t result in any tangible benefit? Why isn’t she over the moon to know about when Eric is feeling angry about something he won’t tell her about? Selfish woman – can’t she see it’s really a favour? I can’t see it, but hey, I just read the damn text and try not to add fantasy passages based in wishful thinking.

Then to Dead in the Family – that’s when Eric thanks her for coming to Shreveport. No, wait – that’s when he tells her he needs her again. He apologises for his maker coming into her house and scaring the shit out of her, as well as almost seeing her naked… wait, he doesn’t. Then he must thank her for killing Alexei when he, Pam and his maker could not. Nope. But it’s important that she’s apologetic for thinking good thoughts about others and not grovelling at his feet and declaring her love.

Oh, but surely without Sookie, their lives would be better, right? Eric, Pam and Bill would have died at Rhodes – they all would have been there if Sookie didn’t exist, and didn’t save their ungrateful selves long after she should have given it up as a bad job. How have they thanked her, or told her they’re sorry for the shit she goes through? That’s right, they damn well haven’t. Sookie is plenty gracious for what she gets out of associating with vampires – in that she keeps talking to the bastards, and keeps saving their lives when really, they’re not grateful for it at all.