Claude Stripped Down

Before anyone asks about what happened, I got bored with the purple and black background. I love chinoiserie, so I changed it up. Also, took away the Franken Eric. If you still love to gaze upon his countenance, he’s here. It’s a pity that the pitchforks are gone, but I am now a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I think. You have to read my words to find out I’m a shit stirrer of too honest means.  Just to warn you now, this is undoubtedly going to be whopper of a post. Bring supplies so you don’t starve.

I always wanted to do some sort of story on the fairies, but I could never get a read on them. They come from a completely different mindset and world.  What exactly am I going to base it on, since they’re not of our dimension and aren’t even loosely based on our morality? Even someone like Eric presents with difficulties, because he was never a Christian. He’s not going to value stuff modern day people value. For example, he’ll never dream of having Sookie take his last name – that’s a Norman tradition started after he was made vampire. But I can at least take a running start, because humanity and its conditions are universal throughout time. Some of his traits probably come from his time too – like his lack of sentimentality – growing up in a early agricultural/warrior time period would have meant not caring about a favourite shirt – it meant caring about a shirt that works for the purpose of being a shirt.

Fairy motivations are hard to discern for the same reason – and they are just as alien to us as Viking motivations. Moreover, they’re not based in our common history, or our humanity. They don’t have a time period that they were brought up in that I can take into account like I can with Appius or Eric – they didn’t ever grow up in our world, even if they visit it a lot. The Fae add more dimension to Sookie’s world, and are a valuable little stopgap, as I’ve said before, to stop Felipe and Victor running roughshod over Sookie and making her a vampire. It makes Sookie more of a formidable enemy, because even though we know Niall isn’t going to come back, Victor and Felipe don’t. It also makes Sookie a bit more attractive to supes (huh, like she needed that!).

It also provides a way to give Sookie actual family and her own concerns. Without Quinn in the way, there is really nothing but were and vampire intrigue for Sookie to be pulled into – and that tends to make her a secondary character who can only appreciate how hard it is for Alcide or Eric. That’s not interesting, and these books are not Twilight….thank God. So the Fae stuff provides her with some sort of intrigue away from vampires and weres, and with family. It doesn’t come with only good stuff or only bad stuff – like all family – it comes with some crappy bits and some nice bits.

What I don’t think it came with is a workaround for mortality. One of the things I appreciate about the books is that choices aren’t easy, and issues aren’t clear cut. That appeals to the philosopher in me. Sookie isn’t some fabulous immortal fairy powering from issue to issue – she’s an ordinary woman – made extraordinary not by her telepathy but by her character. Taking the mortality issue out of it would take some of the hard questions asked by the series. Considering the nature of getting together with an old vampire is nothing if it doesn’t mean anything to you. After all, if Eric and Sophie Anne dated, the age difference and mortality wouldn’t even be an issue.

So fae don’t bring a workaround for mortality – they bring familial contact for a girl who is largely alone in the world. Before, Sookie had only Jason left for her, but with the addition of the Fae, she has Niall (even if he is distant spatially – she knows someone out there loves her) and she has Claude and Dermot, as well as any of those other Fae children Niall spoke of having. They may yet pop up in the new book. Of course, she also had Claudine for a good long time – swooping in when it was impossible or inappropriate for vampires to do so.

But onto the Fae. I’m going to go through things that impinge on the Claude situation, and along the way explore the surrounding issues.

Firstly, what is the world of the Fae like? I know that Alan Ball has some highly retarded frolicking meadow type dealie going on. Don’t bother to tell me it’s a Summer’s Eve commercial – I’m Australian – we don’t hawk that shit to girls because it harms them. I would say it’s like a very low rent version of a Ferrero Rocher ad. You guys have that ad for chocolate right? If not, here with an Australian voiceover to boot. But that’s not what I think that the real Fae world is like. We get hints in the books, which shed light on it.

One of the first things is that fairies are allergic to iron. Which means absolutely no machinery. It’s hard to know if CH made them allergic to iron for historical reasons – because having a piece of iron around in the Middle Ages was a way of trying to prevent witches from bewitching you – essentially stopping magic from working and grounding in the metal. Hence, the whole “lucky horseshoe” thing over doorways. But that seems to be at least part of her source material. Of course, in a world without iron, the only thing is to use various magics. It wasn’t until I read the following quote that I thought how much I take iron for granted:

“This is skin! Skin!”
“What else would Niall write on?”

“It’s clean,” Claude said, clearly hoping that would solve my problem. “It’s been processed.”
Dead in the Family,
p. 56

The fact that the fairies have a “process” for treating skin tells me that whenever they write a letter, they use said process. Which would add some weight to the many bits of paper-shit I have lying around my house in piles, and the hoard of books. I don’t know if they just use other Fae – people who have pissed them off, or if they use animals like we once used sheep to make vellum. I would certainly think twice about jotting down grocery lists if I was a fairy. But that’s the thing – I don’t think fairies would think twice about it. I think they’d happily slaughter something to write down “Milk, Bread, Box to store skin in for processing”.

The Fae world is not a nice place. Not even the Fae think it’s a suitable place for living – visiting their special places sure, but only on holiday – or at least some don’t:

“The fae world is too dangerous. Especially now. That’s one reason we live in the human world.”
Dead and Gone, p. 146

Notice that Claude says “especially now” – so the ramping up for the Fae War was a particularly dangerous time, but ordinarily, it’s not hugs and kittens and high tea all around. The world that they live in sounds pretty damn feral. No modern technology, nothing like money, and assessed by two fairies as too dangerous for them – so they choose to come and live in a world full of iron and lemons. Yeah, that speaks to its dangerous nature if this world is safer.

In fact, the world of the Fae might be as dangerous as hell, even for fairies. There might be a reason why they all come here, if this is a major concern:

“Will he help you raise the baby?”
“Oh, yes, he’ll be there to guard her during her early years.”

Dead and Gone, p. 287

I can tell you – the only time a pregnant woman thinks the father of her child is a “guard” is when it’s likely that her child will be attacked. I used to get Mr. Minty to play guard at night when I was pregnant and we were walking to my Dad’s house. When I was worried about being robbed in a park on the way to his house and hurt, and our baby hurt. But generally, I didn’t think of him as a “guard” unless there was specific danger. Most of us humans, when we talk of Dads, we talk of “care”, not “guard”.

We get another glimpse of what the Fae land might be like as well:

The noises continued, and they were graphic enough: rending and tearing, more snarling, and then after some sounds so disturbing I won’t even try to describe them, there was silence. I figured there wasn’t any Sandra left.
Dead Reckoning, p. 324

So just inside the portal are things that would happily eat up a body. Just…right there. That really sounds like a place you don’t want to go, or at least, a place you don’t want to live in. Maybe, if you want to go to some special rejuvenating spring, you might take a quick slip in, but then you would probably hightail it to the human world, where the only things that might want to eat you is vampires. Of course, the Fae world is a world where Lochlan and Neave spent most of their time with their lover Breandan – and none of them are particularly floaty or ethereal. They’re mostly mad and frightening as hell. They strike fear into the hearts of vampires.

Of course, then there’s the character of the fairies themselves. There’s Lochlan and Neave and Breandan. But we’re told that they are unusual for their kind:

Unless they’re at war, fairies don’t like to kill other fairies. Except for Neave and Lochlan. They liked to kill everything.
Dead in the Family, p. 231

That just means that killing fairies might be out of bounds, but other inhabitants of the Fae world are fine. After all, so far there are elves (and they don’t seem like sweetie pies) and goblins (Mr. Hob at Club Dead) and other assorted Fae. Even demons are from the Fae world. Fairies might look lovely, but that doesn’t mean they are lovely.

Even the ‘good guys’ – as in Sookie’s family, don’t seem that good or nice. Niall cursed his own son as a twisted punishment for not liking his fairy nature, and allowed him to wander around quite mad for decades. Claude tells us that there’s a “kill on sight” policy for Dermot if he shows up at the portal. Niall is pretty hard core, for instance:

My sort-of cousin Claudine might be trying to become an angel, a being I associated with Christianity, but Niall Brigant was defininitely from another ethos entirely. I suspected his outlook was, “I’ll take your eye ahead of time, just in case you want mine.” Well, maybe not that preemptive, but close.
From Dead to Worse, p. 229

Now, of course, Niall is a Fairy Prince, so he’s going to be one tough bastard to fight Breandan and keep his own family in line. After all, he makes his fairy granddaughter Claudine call him “My Lord”. But barring Claudine, there aren’t many fairies who are seemingly sweet and kind. That includes Claude. They seem to like to spend their time with humans, but neither Dermot or Claude, Claudine or Claudette (Claudia – and before you ask, I could give two shits about tiny continuity errors) show any fear of the idea of hunting down an enemy. Indeed, sweet and kind Claudine is quite the fighter, and went happily to hunting her former employer:

“Fair is only part of fairy as letters of the alphabet.” Claudine looked formidable: not sweet, not dotty. “If you can dodge us for a year, you can live.”
Fairy Dust, A Touch of Dead, p. 34

The idea of the hunt comes up a few times with fairies – they seem to put great stock in not just killing, or taking vengeance, but of stalking and hunting their prey. Of course, Lochlan and Neave did that to Sookie as well – although whereas all the other hunts we’ve seen have been as a redress for a grievance, the Fae torturers were a little more proactive. I don’t think that living in a world where they could happily hunt you for a year would be such a good thing, and thinking of those growls and the rending, yeah, the Fae World – I’d live here too. None of the fairies are really nice – not even the ones that are nice to Sookie. As Eric says, the ones that live still are very determined survivors, and in order to survive, one has to be pretty ruthless.

As a result, even though the Fae war is over and the portals closed, I don’t think that Claude wants to go back and live in the Fae world. Indeed, Dermot isn’t allowed home. Niall cursed him years ago, and there’s the whole kill on sight policy. I don’t think that Claude has forgotten that the Fae world was dangerous enough to leave before the Fae war and come to a world full of lemons and iron. I don’t think that that is his motivation. I think Claude prefers the world full of delicious humans far more than he would going home.

I know that in Dead Reckoning, there’s a lot of reference to how gorgeous fairies are and how much Sookie enjoys looking at them. But that’s just an acknowledgement of how gorgeous they are, and not a lot more. There’s also Claude making overtures to Sookie – in the form of popping up in her bathroom naked so she can answer the phone. But as I’ve said before, there’s a difference between thoughts, speech and actions. Just because Sookie thinks Claude is as hot as hell (and the one I imagine certainly is) that doesn’t mean anything would happen. I have a cousin who ran a chain of gyms, and he was gorgeous, and I admired his muscles, but I never did anything other than that. I didn’t grow up knowing him, so I never thought of him as family, the same way I do with other family members.

It’s exemplified in her relationship with Eric as well – she thought he was hot the first night she met him. But Sookie is a logical human woman who doesn’t just throw down as if looks are all. She didn’t have sex with Eric for a whole bunch of reasons. She often thinks that Pam is gorgeous too – and she doesn’t have sex with Pam. Hell, she even wanted to have sex with Sam and Alcide, and never ever did due to other extraneous circumstances. So just because Sookie finds someone hotter than hell doesn’t mean anything except that she thinks they’re hot. Sookie is serially monogamous as well – she’s not a cheater – so the only chance is when Eric fucks up.

Lest you think that Claude or Dermot would be able to take Eric’s place and just make it happen, I don’t find that to be credible. If Claude really wanted to do it that way, he already would have done so. Even though fairies have no problems using a little deception to get a woman into bed, I don’t think Claude would take the route of out-and-out deceiving her. Not only that, he wouldn’t need to deceive her if he could just use magic on her:

“I only had to use a touch of magic to get the attraction started.”
Gift Wrap, A Touch of Dead, p. 190

Lochlan and Neave used magic on Sookie as well – to put her to sleep and take her through the portals to the place where they tortured her.  Vampire glamour might not work on Sookie, but fairy magic does. On top of that, Claude is a whole heap stronger than Sookie is. There’s always forcing. So I don’t believe all the dancing around and living with Sookie is for the purpose of sleeping with her. I don’t believe Claude would fart-arse around quite so much if that was his purpose, and I don’t think he’d be inviting Alcide into Sookie’s bed if he wanted to be there first.

I also think that if either Claude or Dermot did use this technique, they’d be scuppered almost instantly. Gran says in her letter to Sookie:

Sometimes I would think I smelled him!
Dead Reckoning, p. 131

Sookie has noticed and commented on not only the sweet smell of fairies, but also loving the faint dry smell of vampire. That’s something you can’t fake – and she likes it about Eric. Even if Dermot can mask his scent, he can’t produce the smell of vampire. It’s something that Sookie loves, and comments on it often. She talks about when Eric comes to visit, her room smells of vampire, and when she hugs Pam she smells the smell of vampire. She even smells it outside Fangtasia. A fairy who had the guise of Eric wouldn’t have the smell of Eric. Nor do I think Dermot would have made it clear that fairies could assume other shapes if he intended to do that to Sookie.

So, what about those part Fae in Hooligans in Dead Reckoning? Are they some part of a twisted plot to breed the partial fairies and boost the numbers of fairies? Nope. There are many reasons in the text as to why that’s not possible and definitely not probable.  Yes, I know, Preston was sent to Sookie and had sex with her. But the fact of the matter is that’s because Niall has no moral structure rooted in Judeo/Christian beliefs, so he wouldn’t value virginity. If having sex made Sookie happy, and he could arrange that, then why not?

Not only that, but there’s no point in making more human-fairy hybrids if only your great-grandfather thinks they’re of worth:

“My son was remorseful that he’d condemned two children to the half-in, half-out existence he’d experienced as a fairy who wasn’t truly a fairy. I’m afraid others of our race weren’t kind to him.” My great-grandfather’s gaze was steady. “I did my best to defend him, but it wasn’t enough. Fintan also found he wasn’t human enough to pass as human, at least not for more than a short time.”
From Dead to Worse,
p. 65

Fintan didn’t have a good time in the Fae world – and neither did Dermot. Even though no one killed them while they were there, they certainly weren’t accepted as equal. You could have hundreds of part-fairy children, and it wouldn’t make the fairies pure and it wouldn’t bring the breed back. Even when they were growing up, they weren’t acceptable. Fintan and Dermot went to the Fae world, and then promptly seemed to return to the human dimension, where they weren’t welcome either.

In fact, in a crowd of fairies, Sookie’s human nature would be exacerbated:

“If you were in a crowd of humans, I could pick you out
blindfolded and say you are my kin,”
Claude said without hesitation. “But if you were in the middle of the fae,
I would call you human.  It’s an elusive scent.”
Dead in the Family, pp. 198-199

She wouldn’t seem more fairy – even if they could make her take on more fairy attributes – she can’t become a fully blown fairy. CH confirms on her website that a human can’t become a fairy – Source – so they can enhance her fae qualities with proximity, but they can’t make her all out fairy. So all that would happen is that it would make her stand out in a crowd of the fairies in the Fae world. It would make her human blood more noticeable, not less.

The idea that Sookie is a special case because of the gift of telepathy isn’t viable either. While Sookie’s telepathy might make her useful in the human world – where she can read humans – it’s of no use whatsoever in the Fae world. It doesn’t make her better or more respectable being more supernatural. Just like it didn’t for Jason’s baby being part-were:

“We followed your scent to where you work, and we left your
brother’s wife and the abomination outside for all to see.”

Dead and Gone, p. 275

The fact that they are the opposing side shows that they might overstate the fact that it’s an abomination, but they certainly didn’t want any more children with fairy blood in them that weren’t full blown fairies. Just because they were the opposing side doesn’t mean that humans are magically acceptable to the rest of the fairies. It’s not as if the rest of the fairy population stood as an honour guard in between Breandan’s forces and Sookie. Sookie isn’t any more valuable to the Fae because of her telepathy.

In fact, she’s less desirable because of her fairy blood. Sookie was targeted specifically (as opposed to Jason) because she’s got royal fairy blood and Niall loves her. There’s no way that any fairy would even want to think about having a human anywhere near the throne due to that. That’s the biggest problem – Niall loves his human children more easily than his full fairy children:

“Niall didn’t live happily with Branna, and it took him a long
time to love our father, Dillon. Niall preferred his half-human sons.”

Dead and Gone, p. 144

That makes Sookie’s proximity to the throne really dangerous. It’s not as if she’s the daughter of a rank and file fairy – if she was to have part-fairy babies, they wouldn’t just keep the race alive – it’s entirely possible that Niall would install them as the new royalty as well. Which means that fairies really wouldn’t accept her and her babies. I dare say they’d rather die than have a human ruling over them, or influencing their Prince.

Indeed, despite the fact that the fairy race is dying, they have no problems killing a breeding woman like Claudine – who it should be noted chose to have a pure fairy baby, not a half-human one – so they’re not going to be so desperate as to turn to mostly human women like Sookie. Not only that, but Sookie is herself pretty undesirable from the point of view of the fairies:

You’re a Christian,” he said, as if he’d discovered
I was a hermaphrodite or a fruitarian.
Dead and Gone, p. 155

Remember that the fairies were so involved with nature as to be considered pagan deities according to Eric. The very last thing that the fairies would accept is a human Christian woman, no matter how fertile she was. Much less if she was destined to be the mother of their future ruler. The type of ruler that makes rules for fairies.

Indeed, if that was their plan, they would have started with this plan way back when. Niall would have turned up before the vampires to start such a scheme. The babies that Sookie would have wouldn’t be living in a world where everything is good, and there are many manservants (as there are in fanfic). In order to be fairy, they’d have to be raised at least part of the time in the Fae world, with Fae values like hunting their enemies. If Sookie can’t bring herself to be Eric’s cheering squad with blood on his mouth, or Dermot’s with his severed head, then she’s hardly going to be behind the idea that her children should be raised with completely Fae values.

The idea that there’s some sort of fairy breeding scheme is pretty out there. It wouldn’t matter how many babies Sookie had with Dermot or Claude, the fact that she’s their mother, human and Christian, and that those children are closer to being on the throne than pure blood fairies means that any children from Sookie are in danger if they have more fairy blood. There would be an uprising amongst fairies if she brought her kids home and there was even a hint that Niall would allow her human children to usurp Dillon as the next fairy Prince.

So I don’t think that Claude has some bizarre set up to make a child with Sookie to try to bolster the fairy lines. If he wanted to do that, he’s going about it an obtuse manner. It’s also a bizarre way to go about it when he has all those part-Fae at Hooligans. I’m sure they could have as many babies as they wanted – they don’t need Sookie. If Claude cared about royal bloodlines, he could sleep with anyone and they’d be a child just as royal as him. But I don’t believe he does care about that much. He stayed here, where there is no throne.

So what is Claude’s purpose being around Sookie? I think I have a theory – one that’s sort of alluded to in the text, but never explicitly spelled out. I’m going to outline what I think Claude’s plan is, in amongst the puzzle talking (a favourite phrase now that I’ve read it in this wonderful fic) and I’ll lay out the groundwork for my thinking.

I think that Claude is trying to get the portal reopened. Just that – just reopened. Now that he’s on this side of the portal, and the portal is closed, there are repercussions that Claude didn’t know about before. For a start, he can’t go see the sacred places or visit any family, and he can’t take a little vacation from the world with lemons and iron. It’s wearing the invisible gloves every day. Claude sets out his mindset on that:

“I want to come and go between the worlds, as is my right.”
 Dead Reckoning, p. 98

Note – he doesn’t want to stay in the Fae world. Claude has no wish to go home and stay there. If that was what he wanted, he wouldn’t have been on this side of the portal when it closed – and it looks like he was one of the only fairies left here who had a choice – apart from possibly Mr. Cataliades. Claude wants things to go back to what they were before. Before Niall closed the portals. Before Niall shut them off from each other. Before the portal closing weakened him:

“We felt weak cut off from our homeland, and we had no notion
that there were so many fae left out here.”

Dead Reckoning, p. 97

Before when Claude was in the human world, he wasn’t cut off from his homeland. He was able to go there at will. The connection to his own homeland was still there and the energy permeated this world. In fact, during the Fae war, he was off fighting with Niall, and I have no doubt that he spent a great deal of time going in and taking refuge from the world full of iron and lemons and visiting the very small sacred places. In fact, it might not be possible for fairies to survive in this world:

“I think Dermot is crazy, though he used to be an agreeable guy a few
score years ago. I don’t know if it’s his human side that’s gone batshit,
or his fae side that’s soaked up too many toxins from the human world.”
Dead in the Family, p. 198

See, despite the fact that the world is full of toxins that can kill fairies, he decided to stay here. But what Claude didn’t count on was being able to be more powerful and shake it off. Or to be unable to get help from other fairies. There’s a difference between thinking you’ve planned something out and seeing it enacted, as we see with Sookie and her plan to kill Victor. It’s all well and good to plan things, but carrying them out and feeling what it’s like is a different story. It’s the same with Claude – and this is a repercussion I don’t think he considered.

Indeed, when it comes to Claude, he wasn’t so powerful even before, so maybe he didn’t think much of what he’d lose:

“Claude has little magic, I think,” Dermot said.
“He’s been living like a human too long.”
Dead and Gone,
p. 231

So because Claude had been living as a human for so long, he had less magic than before. Maybe he didn’t think that cutting off from his home world would make any difference. It’s not as if he used his magic for something wonderful or great anyway:

Using his inbred fairy skills to draw people to admire him was an ego thing with Claude, which had little to do with economics.
Fairy Dust, A Touch of Dead, p. 24

But now that it’s less than it was before, perhaps Claude doesn’t want to lose those powers. Claude is a completely narcissistic selfish creature, who loves to be admired. That’s one reason for surrounding himself with all of these half-Fae, so that in his own words he can exacerbate his own fairy skills that are fading. Of course, that still doesn’t explain why Sookie in particular is an important keystone of his plan.

The reason is simply mentioned above. Niall cares more about his human by-blows than he does about his fairy kin. That’s why Claude is staying with Sookie. Niall would do anything for Sookie – he did close the portals for her. It wasn’t some other fairy’s child that was killed. It wasn’t Claudine and her baby that influenced him – it was Sookie.

“It isn’t the fae who need to be protected from the human world.
It’s the humans who need to be protected from us.”

Dead and Gone, p. 308

This is what Niall says and does right after Sookie’s torture, and as we find out in Dead Reckoning, Sookie was the reason that the war finally broke out, rather than the hostilities they’d experienced before:

“And that precipitated the fairy war, because the water fairies didn’t want any more contact with humans, much less a minor royal who was only one-eighth fairy.”
Dead Reckoning, 
p. 94

The fact that Niall was willing to risk upsetting his fellow fairies for a mere human (and fairies don’t think she’s a fairy) made everything explode into violence. As I said above – there was only Niall and Claudine standing in between Sookie and Breandan’s followers. I’m not including the vampires here, because Niall isn’t their Prince. None of the other fairies came and risked their lives. Colman didn’t come and protect Sookie as a way to protect his baby – he didn’t give two shits what happened to her. That’s a lesson that Niall learned, scored out on Sookie’s flesh. In meeting her, in visiting her, in being around her, he put her in danger (story of her life or what…I’m looking at you Eric Northman) because the other fairies would hurt her to get him to see sense. None of them would risk their lives unless ordered to, like Claudine.

So, what does staying with Sookie and increasing her fae side have to do with anything? Well, the longer Sookie stays alive, the longer time Claude has to try to get the portal open. Niall isn’t going to open the portal if Sookie is dead. He doesn’t give two shits about Jason. He left Claude out in the human world of his own volition, and I don’t think he cared too deeply about him if he was willing to let him stay here in the human world. It’s only Sookie that matters. So Claude has to try to increase her fairy nature and stop her from ‘withering’. That will buy him more time to get the portal open – the longer she lives, the more fairy she has, she might even yearn for Niall more.

In the meantime, I’m sure that Claude is hatching plans that will encourage Niall to open the portals and come back through. But he’s not going to use making babies to do it. Claude hasn’t formed a plan, but he has ideas. In fact, this is what was bugging me for a while:

I was trying to decide how much I wanted to tell them about Victor and his evilness
when Claude suddenly said, “You’d be out of a job,” and closed his mouth, as if that had sparked a chain of thoughts.

Dead Reckoning, p. 99

Looks inconsequential, but that’s the thing. I wondered why it was that Claude noticeably closed his mouth and seemed to have a whole chain of thoughts sparked by the idea that Sam would be out of business. Why would that matter to him, since Sookie would have plenty of money from Claude himself, and could even work at Hooligans if she so desired? Why would Claude see it as important that Sookie lost her job – if she wanted money she could always get another job or live off her rich vampire boyfriend. But Sookie doesn’t want to do that – she wants to work at Merlotte’s. It should be mentioned that Niall doesn’t like Sookie working:

Though he clearly didn’t like the idea of his great-granddaughter working, the bar
part of it didn’t seem to disturb him.

From Dead to Worse, p. 70

It’s not that she’s a barmaid – it makes no difference to a fairy prince what our social implications are for being a barmaid are. He couldn’t give two shits what humans think is dignified or not in the hierarchy of our social structure. Barmaid or CEO would seem about the same to him. It’s the bit about working for a living that he obviously doesn’t like. As Eric pointed out:

“You didn’t mention contacting your great-grandfather,” Eric said.
“He could make sure you never wanted for anything.”

Dead Reckoning, p. 70

Niall would give Sookie all the money she could ever want. But Sookie has pride (oh please, fanfic world, note SOOKIE HAS PRIDE) and wants to do things for herself. If she wanted to lie on her bed and eat bon-bons all her life, I’m sure that Niall would arrange it. But Niall loves Sookie for who she is – that’s not the girl who’s just going to hop on the nearest man she can use to make her life easier. It’s why I love her too. Indeed, Niall knows her very well – because he was the one who set up the Preston scenario, tailored to Sookie’s need to help and protect others. Niall even knew she hadn’t had sex in a while, and that she’d be all alone on Christmas.

But if Claude could get Sookie to lose her job, and need Niall’s help, then he might be inclined to open the portal and come out and help her. Claude is seemingly staying with Sookie to try to work out what kind of thing she’ll need the Prince for. The job is just one possibility – but it’s not that Claude wants something off Sookie – he wants her to need Niall’s help on something. What that thing is is neither here nor there for Claude – he’s just trying to find a way to use that leverage to get the portal open again.

The way he’ll get leverage is by getting Sookie to ask for help that only Niall can make happen. Claude needs Sookie to beg for the portal to open again – so he can send an entreaty on her behalf. Niall is absolutely eager and frantic to help her:

“Nothing else? Nothing more?”
“I have to say…this sounds mighty ungracious…but I can’t help but wonder
why you seem to want to do something for me so badly.”
“Why would I not? You are my only living kin.”

From Dead to Worse, p. 292

Niall wanted to do something for Sookie since he’d met her. Sookie, as always, didn’t use these boons to ask for something big – she asked for something small that was incredibly special. She asked for Remy Savoy’s name. In fact, he didn’t consider finding Remy to be adequate to discharging the offer to do something for Sookie. Since that was the last – and only – thing that Niall did for Sookie, I bet he feels that it wasn’t discharging that offer to her.

I’d also like to point out the little bit of portal left open – the mail slot. What exactly would be the purpose of doing that?  Niall left it open for a purpose – it still cuts Claude off from the world of the Fae – so it’s not existing for Claude’s benefit. If it worked for Claude, Dermot or anyone else’s benefit – if it was as simple as sending a note through to ask for passage back then Claude would have done that. If he has sent a plea to Niall, it’s been ignored. I think it’s been left open for Sookie’s benefit – after all – it’s the portal closest to her house. I can’t imagine that it’s left open for anyone but her.

Sookie is the human great-granddaughter of Niall – and the one Niall called his “only living kin” – without a care for Dermot, Claude, Dillon, Jason or Claudine. Sookie is the one with the essential spark, and the one Niall cares enough to kill his own kind for. Sookie is the reason the war started, and the reason Niall closed the portals. He left one little slot open near her place, and has sent her letters since he closed the portal. She’s the motivation for Niall to have something to do with the human world – if she asks that he open the portals, he’d probably do it. Claude’s just got to find the right motivation to get her to do it.

Will Claude get what he wants? I don’t know. But I think he’s aiming to have the portal reopened by using Sookie’s troubles to lure Niall out to help her. Even though Eric knows the portal is closed, even he believes that Niall would help Sookie. Claude needs Sookie to ask for that – and selfish Claude doesn’t care what’s best for Sookie – which is why he’s not asking her outright – he’s trying to manipulate and manoeuvre Sookie into it. Luckily, she’s been practising not being manipulated by vampires for a while now, so there’s a good job she’ll work it out.

Sookie is Claude’s lever to get Niall to do what he wants – he’s just got to make Sookie want it, and in the meantime, he’s trying to work out how best to do that. Whether it would be a money thing, or something else that Niall would need to help Sookie out with – whatever he can use. And for those of you who made it thus far: A bonus shopped picture of Eric the manbaby (as requested by Emma):

Eric the Manbaby

Isn’t he cute with his little socks on his widdle feets and his Dracula costume? But you did good soldier, with the monumental disgorge of information stripping down Claude. Kudos.