Betrayer or Blabbermouth?

Okay, I got sidetracked a bit trying to put together another post, and this is what came out. I was chatting via PM about Amelia – a couple of times with different people, so I’m going to set up what I think about it. The questions come from the fact that Amelia invited Alcide to vie for Sookie’s hand, in his red undies in her bed. Mainly, whether Amelia is a betrayer or a blabbermouth.

Now, firstly, I should preface this post by saying one of the things that kind of took me by surprise about fanfic is this idea that Amelia is really on Eric’s side. I know I’ve read it one million times – that Amelia, Sookie’s bestest friend, loves the shit out of Eric. She thinks Eric is great to hook up with, and really fantastic; and would bully Sookie into a relationship with Eric in a nanosecond.

Because I never got that vibe off Amelia. At all.

Firstly, the idea that Amelia is Sookie’s bestest friend in the whole wide world. Hmmm. I don’t agree. The first person Sookie went to when it came to Eric was Tara – the chick she’s been friends with since she was a kid. I would think that it would take more than coming to live in her house that would forge a great friendship.

I see a friendship, sure, but Sookie is a lonely woman, and there are so many humans who find her to be a discomfort to be around. Amelia is unusual in that she finds Sookie’s telepathy easy to deal with, right off the bat:

Amelia had adjusted better to my telepathy than anyone I’d ever encountered.
All Together Dead,
p. 63

That’s why they fast became friendly – because Amelia accepted Sookie easily. She wasn’t frightened or put off the telepathy. Amelia needed Sookie to have somewhere to hide from the witches’ council’s punishment for Bob, and for Sookie’s part, she didn’t mind having Amelia around the house. Sookie is a lonely woman – and she’ll take what company she can get. Sookie mentions her loneliness in the text, but it’s usually ignored as absolutely unimportant:

He struck me as lonely, and there’s always something pathetic about loneliness.
I’d experienced it myself. I would ferociously deny I was pathetic, but when I
viewed loneliness in someone else, I could feel the tug of pity.

Dead as a Doornail, p. 103

If I could write creatively, that’s one thing I’d change in fanfic for Sookie – I’d make Charles Twining a friend, not an assassin. There was a nice commonality about their situation, and he’s one of my favourite vampires. Unfortunately, I expect the “doesn’t want anything from her” vibe comes from merely wanting her death to hurt Eric. *sigh*.

But that explains Sookie’s relatively easy acceptance of anyone who wants to be her friend. I always feel that tug of pity when it comes to Sookie, because she’s so dreadfully lonely. I mean – she puts up with “friends” like Eric, Arlene, Bill and Alcide – who have all used her. I wouldn’t have anything to do with any of them, but then I don’t have people thinking I’m a freak and am not known in my town as “Crazy PMR” and my husband hasn’t ever looked down on my race while trying to convince me he’s making an exception for me not to be one of the “vermin”. If Sookie had high standards for her friends, I’m pretty sure she’d still be talking to Sam, Claudine, Niall and Tara…and that’s it. Amelia isn’t really the only unkind person she’s been giving and friendly with.

Indeed, Sookie offers uncritical friendship to Amelia, despite knowing her faults:

On the other hand, Amelia is impulsive and headstrong,
but you have to take people like they are.

From Dead to Worse,
p. 33

Oh, but you say, she told Sookie to fess up and say she loved Eric – either shit or get off the pot time. Well, yeah, she did. But that doesn’t mean she’s on Eric’s side. That means she’s Sookie’s rather blunt friend. Friends say that sort of thing to each other. She also said:

“Had you thought about . . . Sookie, you didn’t ask me, but I think you better
not have any more of Eric’s blood. I mean, I know he’s your man, but you
got to think about the consequences. Sometimes people get flipped by
accident. It’s not like it’s a math equation.”
Dead in the Family, p. 3

That doesn’t read (as fanfic often does) as “Please abdicate all responsibility to Eric. He’s a big bad vamp, and totally knows what he’s doing. Do what men tell you – particularly that manpire”. That’s Amelia telling Sookie not to just blindly follow Eric’s lead. And she even acknowledges that Sookie didn’t ask her, and Sookie further says that it’s “too private” territory for Amelia to put her nose into.

Again, Amelia isn’t her bestest friend in the world – she discussed this stuff with Tara, but not with Amelia. And it wasn’t because Amelia is all gung-ho about vampires and Eric in particular – it’s because Sookie doesn’t feel she’s that close to Amelia. She didn’t even want to tell her about the amount of vampire blood she’d had before:

“Good reflexes,” she said startled.
I shrugged. Though it had been ages since I’d had vampire blood,
a trace seemed to linger on in my system.

“Maybe it’s the fairy blood,” Amelia said, staring at me thoughtfully.
I shrugged again, this time with a definite drop-this-subject air.

All Together Dead, pp. 64-65.

If Amelia was Sookie’s best friend, and was totally fine with vampires, then Sookie would have told her why it was that her reflexes were so good. Amelia would be fine with Sookie guzzling vampire blood if it was Eric’s presumably. Because it’s Eric and she’s his mate. Except she’s not. She didn’t like Eric when she said this:

“Yeah,” Amelia said heavily. “Thanks a lot, Eric,
for making a beeline for this house.”

From Dead to Worse,
p. 166

Amelia (quite rightly) attributes Eric as a whole dumptruck full of trouble. One that could get them killed because Sookie associates with him.  She doesn’t like vampires as much as it seems to be written in fanfic. Indeed, just after the blood bond was formed, Amelia said:

“Bye. Don’t get any strange fangs on you.”
All Together Dead,
p. 204

Of course, it seems that some have taken that to exclude Eric – but it’s not – it’s a general vote to keep the hell away from being bitten by any strange fangs. Since Sookie is at a vampire summit, and it was already too late by that stage, I’m not so sure why anyone thinks that Eric is not considered to be part of “strange”.

I’d also like to point out that unlike every other girl in the world, Sookie doesn’t date vampires – either Bill or Eric – because she’s hooked on vampires. She dates them for the quality of their minds – and as I’ve mentioned before, that makes her the unusual one. Most girls like Trudy from Living Dead in Dallas, date vampires in order to piss their parents off. Or they want to be a vampire like Hadley. Girls like Trudy grow out of their rebellious stage, and go off and have 2.4 children and live as normal women.

They do things like have children, and breakfast (or hell any kind of meal) with their lover. They end up buying a house and leaving the craziness behind. They settle down into their life. They don’t hang around Fangtasia, and which vampire would it be that we’ve seen with a long term lover and a life? Would that be the model vampire couple of Gervaise and his girlfriend Carla; or Cleo Babbitt and her male lover? Even with Miriam – would it have played out differently with Pam if Miriam wasn’t dying?

Vampire lifestyles get old. Amelia knows that. She’s also aware that there’s not much about them that’s classified as “settling down”. Lots of girls go out with bad boys, enjoy the sex, enjoy the danger, and then the guy either calms the hell down and they stay together; or she leaves him to do just that. There are the occasional subcultures like bikers where the women get co-opted into their lifestyles – but they’re not women like Sookie. Before anyone tells me that bikers are just fine…yeah, honey, it’s not like they show you on Sons of Anarchy. Find out about pulling trains for a start, before you romanticise that lifestyle. The sociological research on women’s lives in bikie gangs makes me want to heave my feminist guts up.

Eric’s life will never do that. It will never become safe as houses to be loved by him. There’s no breakfast, children or buying a house in the offing. There’s more damn Fangtasia, more politics, more death, more danger. It is a very natural progression to move away from vampires, not to settle down with one. Settling down with one – much less a political one – is unusual. Amelia didn’t pick some random guy – she took into account the fact that Sookie is a telepath – and chose one Sookie had mentioned before. One who could have breakfast, children and buying a house.

Moreover, this isn’t the first time Amelia has tried to set her up with a non-vamp:

“If you want to meet us after you get off work, I’m betting Drake will be there.
He’s seriously interested in getting to know you.”

Dead and Gone,
p. 221

This was while she knew that Sookie was in an undefined relationship with Eric. Amelia didn’t bother to ask Sookie if she was dating a vampire, or what might be going on in her love life. One could argue that she had some ignorance because he comes at night and she slept heavy, but that doesn’t preclude her from asking. Amelia doesn’t have to hate all vampires in order not to want to see Sookie with one.  But I don’t buy she didn’t know by virtue of being asleep. She knew that Sookie was sleeping with Eric:

“Even now that you’re screwing the big blond?”
Amelia couldn’t keep her mouth shut.

Dead and Gone, p. 243

That’s why I don’t think Amelia actually intended to do more than set Sookie up with yet another breather. If Amelia disregarded the fact that Sookie was sleeping with Eric back then, I don’t see why she wouldn’t disregard it again. Not only that, but she also has a history of dropping Sookie right in it without ever asking Sookie:

“Amelia told me about your problem,” Octavia said.
“And about your very kind offer.”
Ah-oh. What offer?

From Dead to Worse, p. 232

Not only did she randomly invite Octavia for an undisclosed period at her house, but she also made out like it was all Sookie’s idea. She didn’t ask Sookie – but like many an entitled rich girl, assumed it would be fine. Amelia was good in some ways, but she was damn inconsiderate in other ways.

Further to that, Amelia has never gotten the message that loose lips sink ships. She hasn’t understood that Sookie might want to tell people about stuff, and not have it spread all over the place. I’m sure you’ve known those girls – the girls that let it all come out, in the hopes of “clearing the air” and don’t understand that when you tell them something, you don’t want it to go further:

“And for God’s sake, don’t answer any questions about me!”
I could see from the guilt on her face she had already answered quite a few.

Dead and Gone, p. 221

That’s at least part of the reason as to why Sookie doesn’t tell Amelia everything. Amelia is the sort not to understand that she has to keep secrets. She doesn’t have many – or it seems any – of her own, and Sookie is diametrically her opposite. Sookie has her own secrets, the secrets of her telepathy, and the secrets of guys like Eric. She’s not the sort of person who can let it all hang out, unless that is, she wishes to be lynched.

Amelia, as you can see above, doesn’t understand the nature of Sookie’s life amongst vampires. She’s like all those fanfic reviewers who believe if you just talk about stuff, it’s all good. Tell people about Hunter, and be told about how good the blood bond is. Amelia has no caution, and doesn’t understand why she can’t just be honest and have things turn out as she wishes. That’s a relatively facile understanding of the world – and certainly, would have gotten Sookie killed or duped if she just believed stuff people told her and spread the information around.

So I don’t see Amelia as having any evil intentions inviting Alcide into Sookie’s bed. Amelia’s too direct and thinks honesty is the key to getting what you want, so she would have taken Alcide at face value – not considered that he might have an agenda just as dangerous as Eric’s. For Amelia it’s simple – Sookie and Alcide do the do, Sookie has babies, and they get to be alike, with a similar lifestyle. She doesn’t understand that Sookie might have her own thinking about it.

I think Amelia was inconsiderate, and completely rude, but she’s not alone. There are a whole bunch of people waiting for Sookie to ankle Eric and get over the vampire phase – I can’t think of one person who’s behind the relationship in a good way. Amelia is like a lot of people – and maybe if I wasn’t in Sookie’s head, I wouldn’t be behind her being with Eric either. Amelia’s right about the long term viability of the relationship, and about Eric being a dumptruck load of trouble. But Sookie makes the point that it is her life, and her choice. She shows that it’s not just Eric who gets told off for managing her life – it’s everyone else as well. Eric isn’t being treated differently.

On the whole, undistorted by fanfic, I’ve never seen Amelia as Eric’s personal plant in Sookie’s life. She might have dated Pam, and she doesn’t hate vampires, but that’s not the same as wanting your friend to waste her life taking beatings and living in fear for her life. Amelia saw Pam as a “wild hair” and moved on. I can see her expecting Sookie to do the same.