Angels and Demons

Nope. It’s not going to be some crappy conspiracy by the Catholic Church wherein we Micks are hiding the Virgin Mary and evilling up the Hadron Collider. I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories anyway. Fairies still need some cogitation, but this time we’re going with Desmond Cataliades, sponsor of Sookie Stackhouse, who unlike the religious nuts in Dan Brown’s books, knows how to keep a secret until he wants it revealed.

What a blindside that was, eh? I always wondered why Mr. Cataliades was nice enough to help Sookie gratis in Dead and Gone by sending Diantha up to tell Sookie about the impending fairy troubles, but now I know. I also know why he has always given off that helpful vibe – I couldn’t get a read off him, and “helpful” is not a default state for supernatural creatures unless it translates to “wants to fuck you” or “wants to kill you”. But Mr. Cataliades was a friend of Fintan’s and hopefully wants to do neither of those.

One of the questions asked in another post *waves to fffbone * was if Mr. Cataliades is a telepath, then why didn’t he know that the Rhodes bombing was going down? For a start, there’s no indication that Mr. Cataliades is good at questioning things, or mysteries. There’s no indication that any telepath would go rummaging around in other people’s heads at random, for no good reason. Sookie doesn’t delve deeply into every single person she meets, and so there’s no reason Mr. Cataliades would do the same. Telepaths are really only of use when you have a goal for them. Delving into the minds of others to find random stuff is pointless, and there’s no reason it’s of great use.

I mean, if Sookie lived with you right now, how often do you think something she can actually use? Right – got how “useful” telepathy is when its a free-for-all? So telepaths don’t tend to look closer unless there’s a reason to do so. It’s not like there’s all this useful stuff floating around – it’s all endless noise with some clues. Rarely do people think in sentences. At this point, I’m thinking in a sentence because I’m imagining talking to you all, but I’m also thinking about the coffee I’m going to drink, wanting a mandarin (they’re in season at the mo’ – yum), my television being on, the itch on my head and how bloody long this sentence will go on. Imagine that in a room full of fifty people – even if you turned it on all the time, you’d soon stop listening to the drone because it would be intensely fucking boring.

Telepathy isn’t turned on all the time – it can’t be. Sookie doesn’t focus on thoughts all the time, and I highly doubt any telepath would unless they were on guard, or it was quiet. A vampire conference is not a place where one would like to lose focus either – not when they have such a propensity to either eat you or break out into fighting.

Mr. Cataliades was talking, but I held up a hand. “Hold it for a sec,”
I murmured. The waiter’s quick turn had reminded me of something,
something else that seemed odd.
“Please pay attention, Miss Stackhouse,” the lawyer said, and I had
to stow the thread of thought away……
“But I think you should go find Diantha, Mr. C. I think there’s
something really strange and wrong about this extra coffin
they’re talking about. There was that extra suitcase, too,”
I said. “I carried it up to the queen’s suite.”
Mr. Cataliades looked at me blankly.
I could see that he considered the small problem of extra
items turning up in a hotel to be a small one and below
his concern.
All Together Dead, p. 273

Sookie is a lateral thinker – as I’ve discussed before. This is a rare thing – or relatively rare. Most people don’t question fundamental underlying things. They don’t question why something happened that way. I struggle to do it myself, because I’m a critical thinker. If you want me to get to the crux of an issue, then I’m your woman. If you want me to think outside the box, I’m a bit hopeless. I can only see what is there, and don’t tend to think about what extraneous stuff should be catching my notice. If I was a telepath at that conference, I would have fleeced a few businessmen, but I definitely wouldn’t be thinking about what the serving people were doing, and the amount of suitcases in the basement.

Sookie’s ability – often commented on as unusual even by supernaturals – to think outside the box, to think differently is rare, and it’s all her. It’s what makes her valuable as a strategic planner. I mean, Eric and Pam walk into Vampire’s Kiss and never notice that Victor is an Elvis fan. It didn’t even register on me that the key to the plan to getting Victor would be Bubba. I didn’t even connect it when I read chapter 3 online, and I doubt many others did either. So see how unique that ability is? I’m actually witness to it because I live with a lateral thinker, and he always sees things I never, ever see. Like that Twilight shows Mormon values – I completely didn’t get that until he pointed it out. Damn his lateral thinking hide.

So Mr. Cataliades could have been at Rhodes and never given serving folk a second thought. He was way too busy running trials to check out the servers, and the people who hold the towels in the bathroom. Like the vampires, he probably didn’t consider humans to be a threat – and concentrated on the actual dangerous creatures – vampires.

Of course, as for knowing about Hunter? Yeah, probably. But Mr. Cataliades didn’t dob in Sookie, or himself, so I doubt he’d dob in Hunter. He doesn’t seem to have had bad intent towards Sookie – he’s been kind to her, helped her out and hasn’t interfered in her life in a bad way. Even Eric thinks he has Sookie’s best interests at heart:

“If you can’t reach Bobby—and I am absolutely sure he will help you—you
should call Mr. Cataliades, though he’s down in New Orleans.”

Dead and Gone, p. 94

See? Eric might still be keeping lots of shit from Sookie. He might have known that Mr. Cataliades was Fintan’s good friend for a looooong time. Don’t hang your hat on Eric “The Upfront Guy” Northman. I also think that any Fae shenanigans that might be going on, Mr. Cataliades has proved himself not part of them. During the Fae War he wanted to stay neutral, and if he’s part of some elaborate Fae breeding program (a popular conspiracy theory) then he plum forgot to send an actual fairy:

“Mr. Cataliades suggested to Her Majesty that I might be helpful in a
diplomatic capacity, and my partners were glad to give me extra time
to perform any duties she might give me.”

Definitely Dead, p. 91

So Quinn wasn’t sent by the Queen to spy on Sookie – he was sent by someone who viewed Sookie far more kindly. You can probably lump Mr. Cataliades and Quinn into some elaborate Weretiger breeding program…but I don’t think that’s going to work. Mr. Cataliades the telepath and demon lawyer thought Quinn was a good guy:

“Quinn the tiger,” Bill said expressionlessly.
“Hats off to you, young lady!” Mr. Cataliades said.
“You are courageous and discerning.”

Definitely Dead, p. 147

I’d like to think that Quinn will get some breaks in fanfic now, with the endorsement of Mr. Cataliades, but we all know that’s not going to happen. Eric might look like a shit choice if you can’t totally undermine Bill and Quinn as people – he has nothing to commend him if you can’t tear down everyone else. With of course the happy result that it makes Sookie look like an idiot for thinking they were even vaguely honourable, and that Eric may not, in fact, be the SVM equivalent of Prince Charming amongst the toads. So it’s a win-win for the Sookie haters.

But such valuable information Mr. Cataliades gave us. Firstly, the stuff about the essential spark was a killer:

“It’s an openness to the other world. Some humans literally can’t believe
there are creatures in another world besides ours, creatures who have
feelings and rights and beliefs and deserve to live their own lives. Humans
who are born with the essential spark are born to experience or perform
something wonderful, something amazing.
Dead Reckoning, p. 312

So for all the thoughts that the essential spark was a Fae quality, it’s not. It’s something special about humans. It’s rare, it’s valuable and it’s human. Someone commented on one of the previous Dead Reckoning posts that Mr. Cataliades doesn’t say that it’s human in origin, but a fairy kind of has to believe that there is another world, a supernatural world. He has to believe his own existence, and he’s part of that world. He can’t deny his own rights, or ignore his own existence. The supernatural creature has no reason to have an essential spark, therefore, it can’t be a supernatural quality if it makes you open to the supernatural world.

So therefore, that openness, that comes with the essential spark has to come from humans. If nothing else, I think this proves the point that Sookie will remain mortal and human. That there is a good reason to show that she accepts supernatural creatures without having to throw her lot in with one group or the other. It was Miss Construed who pointed out to me that Sookie was a sort of mother figure to all the familial groups in Dead in the Family, and she’s a crucial tie, getting Alcide to work with Eric willingly and team up with no talk of “I’ll destroy your father’s business”.

Now, of course, we don’t know if there will be something great done, or whether it’s already passed. I’m sure that there will be a million fanfics on how Sookie having the essential spark will make Eric do something great by virtue of fucking her, and she gets to stay in her house where it’s safe; but this essential spark seems to indicate that it’s in Sookie’s DNA to be special, and isn’t a sexually transmitted disease so Eric is in no danger of contracting it accidentally. But ?luckily? that won’t stop a whole bunch of dickheads from writing Sookie as the little woman consigned to the house while big bad Eric goes and makes things happen. *Sigh*.

It could be argued that her work at the Rhodes bombing was special, or maybe her efforts to get supernatural creatures accepted into society is something that’s wonderful. It could be her will to witness vampire and were integration – to be on the ground floor as it’s happening. I doubt any of it is going to be achieved by staying in the house and letting Eric tell her what to do. Thank God. But let’s face it, as I’ve said before, Sookie is an unusual creature in that she’s kind, and looks beyond what supernatural creatures are, to see who they are. It’s entirely possible that the big thing is coming – and in fact, more than likely, since it’s mentioned in the text after the Rhodes bombing. Sookie tends to be surprising anyway, with her lateral thinking.

We see a notable difference in Jason – who as Niall and Mr. Cataliades tell us, doesn’t have the essential spark. Before he becomes a supernatural creature, Jason has problems assimilating that there are supernatural creatures:

I could feel the idea bore a hole through the protective bubble most people
inflate around their brain, the bubble that repels sights and ideas that don’t
jibe with their expectation of the everyday. Jason sat down heavily in Gran’s
recliner. “I wish I didn’t know that,” he said in a small voice.

Dead to the World,
p. 30

Then Jason is stoked to be a panther, even if it’s a bitten were, and has no trouble believing in fairies – even if Calvin tells him not to trust them. There is a notable change – from Jason who isn’t so sure he can cope with a wider world, with lots of supernatural creatures as opposed to Sookie, who finds it easy to accept it. After all, she doesn’t freak out and wish she didn’t know what Sam was – and she finds out not when she figures it out via telepathy, but when she learns because they tell her so.

That’s the very, very special quality that rests with Sookie. The bit that makes her so welcoming, when as I’ve spoken about before, there would be a lot of telepathic bitches if this skill was available to the public at large. For all that most of the readers who condemn Sookie would pat themselves on the back as accepting – the computer says No – merely because they can’t see Sookie as having a right to her own feelings, so if confronted with real vampires, they would undoubtedly take one of those Fellowship pamphlets. Particularly when they found out that their beloved benevolent vampire overlords actually consider them to be cattle not worthy of care as well.

The supernaturals in Sookie’s life seem to want her to join their team wholeheartedly as well. Alcide isn’t just content with having a relationship with Sookie, he has to also have her join the pack as shaman. Eric wants her to be a vampire. Claude wants her to be more fairy. Rather than accepting that she has rights to her own feelings on the subject, and to live her life as she wants to, they’re all too busy trying to co-opt her into their scheme of doing things, and ignoring the words out of her mouth about stuff. So I’d say that the essential spark does not reside with these three jackoffasaurs, because they’re not interested in parallel they’re interested in conformity.

Sookie doesn’t attempt to get Claude to be more human, or Eric to be less vampire, or Alcide to disregard his Were nature. I know she catches the opposite sort of consideration from some of the “kind” human readers, but she’s just tries to assert her right to be human around them. Being that blood doesn’t make her horny, she doesn’t want to be drained by her vampire friends, and she doesn’t want to take drugs to help the pack. A lot of the so-called ‘tantrums’ readers seem to think Sookie has are just because if Eric finds it makes him horny to finally snap Akiro’s neck and stake him, and Sookie doesn’t find it makes her horny, then she should just go along with Eric to make him happy. Conscience and upset be damned….but only Sookie’s conscience, and only Sookie’s upset. Not Eric’s – he can’t take it, the poor wee darling.

Of course, without the essential spark, then it’s questionable whether or not people are able to accept vampires, weres, shifters and the supernatural world. Steve Newlin – for all of his faults – should be let off the hook a little if he has no choice in whether he’s born with the essential spark or not. If he can’t accept vampires, then he shouldn’t be forced to be joining hands and singing Kumbaya with them. He was born without the ability to accept them, and to a certain extent, it goes against his nature to be a kind and accepting person. Of course, that doesn’t justify making sure he wipes them off the face of the Earth. Just ignoring them will do just fine.

It also explains why Niall didn’t have any respect for Jason not having the essential spark – and it didn’t come from vampire blood, fae blood or anything else. Finally, there’s something special about Sookie that isn’t due to a man. Nope, it’s due to a woman:

“Fintan loved humans, and he especially loved human women, and
he even more greatly loved human women with the essential spark.
They aren’t easy to find.”
Dead Reckoning, p. 313

Gran had the same kind of relationship with the supernatural world that Sookie does. She accepted that they were beings with a right to have their own lives parallel to human beings. Not only did she raise the Stackhouse children that way, but passed her legacy down to Sookie. In fanfic, Gran is some overbearing moral bully, but that’s not Gran’s purpose in the books. The amount of times Gran “scolds” Sookie in her memories is under ten (I can only find three from LDID onwards) and usually, when Sookie brings Gran up, it’s all about morals or etiquette. It’s not always about how she has to follow Gran’s rules, but how Gran’s rules don’t fit what she’s doing at the time. One of my favourite quotes about Gran is this one:

Even my grandmother would have said, “Oh, shit.”
Club Dead,
p. 219

Gran in the books is only referenced as hitting Sookie a couple of times, rather than the constant barrage of “Gran would tan my hide if I didn’t do what Eric told me.” It seems of course that there are a lot of parallels between Sookie, Gran and their relationship with the supernatural world. Gran couldn’t even take a sip of some vintage wine that was brought around to the house without it being laced with some demon blood and bypassing her consent to the whole thing. I’m waiting for that one to pop up as a new and retarded rule in fanfic that Sookie must follow. “No drinking wine unless you’ve grown, babysat and pressed the grapes yourself.” Yay? Maybe Gran will be whipped for being stupid enough to drink wine. Yeah, you know it could happen. I’m putting 50/50 on that one.

But that’s a nice parallel with what happened with Gran and with Sookie. Irrevocable decisions made by supernatural creatures without your consent – and it doesn’t just turn out happy. On Gran’s behalf, she ended up passing on the telepathy to her poor granddaughter and feeling guilty as hell about it. Sookie ended up being blood bonded to Eric Northman because he said he needed a bullet sucked out. Where Gran had the option of eschewing supernatural contact and going for a normal life, Sookie doesn’t, because she’s a telepath. Poor woman.

Of course, it was Mr. Cataliades who gave Sookie the “gift” of telepathy. I personally don’t think it’s much of a gift, as I’ve mentioned before. I’m with Sookie on the curse, but I could go with Eric’s neutral term of “talent”. Figuring out Mr. Cataliades motivations is kind of important to me, because his agenda seems to run alongside fairy agendas. Or at least Fintan’s agendas.

So one of the primary things I came out of Dead Reckoning with was “What the fuck was he thinking?”

For the purposes Mr. Cataliades told her he thought she could have used it, he was right. In concrete terms, telepathy has protected Sookie – but it’s also endangered her as well. Without her telepathy she’s not reading Eric’s employees, but then she has no reason to be in Fangtasia then does she? But of course, she narrowly dodged the killshot from Sweetie in Dead as a Doornail. For the purposes of the gift, there is the benefit Mr. Cataliades saw. It does seem to be a lot of hassle and not so much of a gift.

If Sookie was born with the essential spark and no telepathy, then she wouldn’t have had favours to call in to protect herself, and no Bill to come and bite out Neave’s throat. I dare say Niall still would have been interested in Sookie, because of the essential spark and Niall’s bloodline, so she still would have been endangered by his love and affection, but she wouldn’t have had protection that comes along with the telepathy. Supes aren’t that into altruistic acts for others (excepting Sam) with no form of benefit. Without Sookie being a telepath she wouldn’t have had warning of an attack. Mr. Cataliades isn’t psychic either, but he did what was right at the time, with mixed results – namely on the quality of the rest of Sookie’s life, barring pending Fae Wars.

I think perhaps being powerful, Mr. Cataliades didn’t really consider that a human with the essential spark would have so much more trouble with it. After all, he doesn’t seem to suffer with not having any way to block people out, or possibly he’s used to it. Lots of supernatural creatures are used to dealing with things that are part of their nature. We see supernatural creatures doing things that would seem more painful or more of a hassle for them than it would be for humans:

I put my hand across my nose, which didn’t help at all.
I couldn’t imagine how the others were enduring it, since
it would be so much sharper to their senses. Maybe they
were also more practical, or simply more accustomed. 

Dead in the Family, p. 186

So, it’s possible that Mr. Cataliades (I cannot bring myself after all these years of calling him such to refer to him as “Desmond” so I’ll stick with the polite name Sookie’s always called him, plus I love Cataliades as a word) can either cope with it, or has learned to live with it. In practical terms, he has other abilities Sookie does not.

Mr. Cataliades was doing his best to – well, it looked like
he was just trying to touch her.
Definitely Dead, p. 310

I’m not sure what this ability is – really not sure. The goblin in Club Dead can burn with his touch when he’s angry. So, I can’t tell if this is that ability, or if Mr. Cataliades is trying to limit the fire he can make in a room full of vampires, some of whom are on his side:

I deduced from that that Diantha could make only a small
flame, not a large one. Gladiola must have been taken
completely by surprise by the vampire who’d killed her,
because vampires were flammable, much more so than
Dead and Gone, p. 138

But it also occurred to me that Mr. Cataliades gave the gift of telepathy long before the vampires were ever going to come out of the coffin. With vampires in the coffin, I don’t know that they would have pursued a human telepath. It’s not what happened to the psychic mentioned in Dead until Dark. Cause Eric ate her Source. So it’s not as if he anticipated that a telepath would have anyone pursuing them later on in life. As he said, it was only a matter of time until some vampire walked into that bar, but that doesn’t mean that pre-Revelation it would have gone down the same way.  I’m going to be dealing with what I think it was like when vampires were in the coffin, because it wasn’t like it is for vampires now – trust me – there are hints in the text that I was trying to get to post about before the new book distracted me with its shininess.

Of course, the fact that Mr. Cataliades never offered to give her help with her telepathy, and just thought to give it, then Sookie’s way of dealing with it is probably the only way of dealing with it. If anyone were hoping that there would be a better way to deal with it, if only stupid Sookie would ask, well, now we know. The only person who does know is currently on the run from two grey blurs, and he didn’t give her some quick fix potion. That shit is for fanfic, not real writing.

Not to mention that Fintan seemed to resent Niall’s meddling in his life. He expressly kept his kids away from Niall to stop that. He didn’t want them to have an altered life of politics and being not enough fairy and not enough human. So the likelihood is that being they were friends, Mr. Cataliades thought the same way. As I said above, he tried to stay neutral in the Fae War, and he tried to keep Sookie out of it as well:

“Uncle has to stay neutral,” she said clearly.
“Nopapernophonecallsnoemails. That’s why he sent me.”
Cataliades had really stuck his neck out for me.
No, he’d stuck Diantha’s neck out.

Dead and Gone,
p. 137

I doubt that Mr. Cataliades is in a position to be a mentor, and his protection is the routine type of protection Sookie usually gets – a heads up to look after herself. He hasn’t used his telepathy to make himself a business – and he can protect himself. He chose rather to go into law, and keep his telepathy for his own personal use.

Overall though, I don’t see that Mr. Cataliades has a sinister motive. I don’t think he would have gone to the trouble of gifting all of Fintan’s descendants in the hopes of getting something out of it. It’s clear that he doesn’t run alongside Niall’s political agendas, and that he has no need for Sookie’s telepathy. When not viewed through the prism of 20/20 hindsight, his motives aren’t ill intentioned. He’s a valuable friend to Sookie in that he doesn’t seem to have an agenda for her that he’s waiting to enact. His agenda has already run, and it was for a fairy long dead and opposed to his father’s beliefs.