Sookie the Shut In and her Clayton’s Security

I realise every so often that I use Australian phrases no one else but Australians (and maybe Kiwis) understand. One of those phrases is to have a “Clayton’s” something or other. That actually derives from a drink that was sold here – a non-alcoholic drink – with the tagline “The drink you have when you’re not having a drink.” For some reason amongst us hard drinking Aussies, it became a sarcastic way to talk about something that is a poor imitation that you shouldn’t bother having. So if you see me talking about something as a Clayton’s, it’s because I’ve forgotten you’re not all Australians. And you should feel good about that. 😀

This post arose from chatting about bodyguards when I wrote before of the possibility of hiring Sookie out. I sort of cut a few paragraphs out of that, because I was going off on a tangent. So instead of discarding those paragraphs completely, I decided to vent here. Guards and security tend to figure big in fanfic, and the biggest problem I find with that is that the guards and often Eric are doing it wrong. So I thought to point out how it’s done right in SVM, and often done wrong in fanfic. Since criminology covers risks of crime, as I’ve spoken about before, I’ll show you how it’s done.

Eh, often times, I steer clear of the often blatantly poor understanding of crime that goes on with people – if you do it wrong, and don’t understand it, then it’s just going to piss me off and turn me off because I do. In fact, one of the things that makes me turn off a fic quick as a wink is when it’s in my area, and you’re talking out your arse because you haven’t done a modicum of research and with some things, you probably should. Like I’ve discussed before, seeing Stockholm Syndrome used as if it’s a substitute for love, and not daily traumatic abuse that ruins Sookie the victim for life. There’s no love story to be made out of destroying Sookie completely, which is what Stockholm Syndrome does.  But such is the nature of amateur understanding and writing.

Okay, so Sookie has had guards before. Her first instance of having guards was actually in Club Dead. This was guards, done well. In fact, that was guards done pretty fucking perfectly. Eric was a champ there:

“Listen and obey me. For now, tell no one what’s happened. Act just as normal.
Live your life as you always do. One of us will be watching you all the time,
whether you think so or not. Even in the day, we’ll find some way to guard you.”

Club Dead,
p. 26

This is pretty much contrary to the advice of every single fanfic guard – who is most concerned to put Sookie in the house and keep her there. When she leaves the house, she is escorted by a cadre of guards, who often tell her she can’t do lots of things. Those are some mighty shitty guards.

So I’m going to break it down why Eric in the books is right, and fanfic guards are wrong. Acting just as normal and living life is what guards are meant to facilitate. If you’re locked in a room and there are guards outside, that’s what’s known in common parlance as prison. Guards are not supposed to be able to imprison Sookie, and thus it always makes me cringe that she “sees sense” and willingly goes into seclusion. Because at that point, she’s given up her entire life to be in prison and make Eric happy. Real Eric wouldn’t be happy with a Sookie with absolutely nothing going on to chat about, but fanfic Eric is often over the moon that she’s “safe”. But that’s just cause he can screw her 24/7 and they don’t talk about anything much in that fic.

Of course, in the real world, with real crime, and in the books, she’s actually not. It might surprise these people to know that what they’re doing is actually more unsafe for Sookie than letting her roam around the countryside unguarded. She’d be safer if she was wandering around Shreveport shopping mall with a big arse target on her back. The reason is that once you have a fixed place, then it’s actually much, much easier to plan a way in. If Sookie is at the mall one day, and then at her brother’s place one day, and you can’t predict it, then there’s actually no way to attack her easily because you have no clue where the fuck she is.

A great majority of the attacks on Sookie have actually taken place at her home – where they knew where to find her. It’s not because the home itself is inherently unsafe, it’s because that’s a fixed place to go where you can strategise laying in wait and breaking in and such. The people in question know she’s going to be there, so it’s far easier to attack her there. A fixed place gives them a fixed location where Sookie can be found, at all times. Once you know the place, then you can start casing it for weaknesses.

A lot of the attacks have come from weaknesses at Sookie’s house – the weres waiting for her in her lounge room, the fairies Neave and Lochlan waiting for her in her back yard. Murry the fairy. Rene Lenier the murderer. Charles Twining the assassin. Sandra Pelt and Debbie Pelt coming to her house. All of these brutes knew a fixed location that Sookie would come to, and so it was a matter of finding a way to hide or wait or break in, and that was the end of that.

Of course, the solution is usually then to amp up the amount of protection Sookie has on her house. That’s a bit of a fundamental mistake for amateurs to think it works. Consider, for example, the White House, where the USian president lives. How many times has that place been attacked now? I know one incident that stuck in my mind was when a disgruntled father drove a Cessna plane into it. There is positively nowhere in the world that cannot be attacked in some way.

Eric’s house is actually a really great example of what should be going on. He has – in this case – a literal gatekeeper. He’s in a gated community, and beyond ordinary door locks and such, there’s nothing much there. The only thing he does have is a heavy door with bars on the inside to stop daytime transgressions into his sleeping chamber. This is a sensible move – it stops daytime thieves or assassins coming into his room without a lot of work – and the resulting noise. But, there’s little point in fortifying the door so heavily as often seen in fanfic – if they want in, they’re going to get in and have bought the tools to do so. Anything heavier than what he has has the potential to trap him in there, in the event of fire and he wakes up – you don’t want to be in that room burning to death when you could get to relative freedom.

The literal gatekeeper is there to keep people who don’t have approval to be in the neighbourhood in the first place, and to call the police if people are there without authorisation. That would stop the casual incursions of thieves. Eric doesn’t bother with an elaborate set of protections, because they are largely pointless and of little more use than the patrolling guard. In fanfic, he often has keycodes and fingerprint scanners, retina scanners and giant iron doors to get through. If book Eric had that sort of house, that house would be known as “deadly trap”.

That’s because imagine this scenario. Sookie is attacked by Rene Lenier in the first book. He’s been spending days and weeks trying to get into her house. He finally did it. He scoped out where the Benelli was and took it. When Sookie runs for it, she hightails it out the back door. Not so if she had a retinal scanner. She’d have to pause, with her back to the rest of the house and her attacker, and wait for about 15 seconds while it scanned her and then made a very loud beep to let her out. She is effectively trapped in her house, and her attacker has a weapon. See the “deadly trap” scenario?

If Eric had such heavy fortifications on his house, he would be ensuring that he’s trapped in that room, or possibly that he can’t retreat quickly to his hideyhole. He has to stand there and fiddle with the hermetically sealed locks, and wait to get in. It means that if he’s up in the daytime, he can’t get out if something should happen to go wrong. It also means that once he’s in that room, he’s effectively cornered into staying in that room unless he rips a wall out. Since vampires can potentially do that, and any vampire coming after him would do just that, it means that he’s trapped in a room without manoeuvrability.

We saw the same thing happen to Sookie in Rhodes – she was trying to find a way out of a secure hotel, and had a great deal of trouble actually exiting the place:

We knelt to brace ourselves against the end of the coffin and we pushed as hard
as we could till it slammed into the glass, which cracked into about a thousand
pieces. They hung together, amazingly – the miracle of safety glass. I could have
screamed in frustration. We needed a hole, not a curtain of glass.

All Together Dead,
p. 288

If that safety glass was bomb proof and bullet proof, there would have been no fucking getting out. It would have contained the blasts from the street, but Eric, Sookie and Pam would have been mincemeat. That’s part of the reason that the hotel had safety glass – you don’t want it to be impenetrable because that traps you into one route – that being that the hotel is designed to withstand attack, not that it’s designed to let occupants leave if they have to. They carefully weigh that sort of stuff when they build places – one shouldn’t assume that occupants are only going to stay inside them, but also that they might need to escape them.

Just because there’s a retinal scanner up at the door doesn’t mean no one can get into the house. It just makes it harder. It means that another way must be found into the house, and offenders are quite inventive. I read about a guy who spent his time chipping away at the sealant around a window, and then just lifted it right out of the wall. There have been cases of offenders ripping off walls – and look at ram raiding – that shows how inventive people are if they want in. That’s if said offender doesn’t use a blitz attack and blow up the side of your house or shatter a window.

The other big problem offered by retinal scan (which I’ve picked by the way because it is the most secure technology we have right now) is that it can effectively lock Sookie out of the house. They’re actually designed on the blood vessels underlying the eye (so thus a contact lense or picture wouldn’t work) and so if you’re under stress, as you would be if some guy was walking up the driveway with a gun, then that scanner will shut you out of the fortress that is your home. They’re designed that way so that someone can’t be held hostage in order to gain entry – and they’re that sensitive to changes or increases in blood flow.

Even if you go for a retinal scan that doesn’t shut down that way, while someone is under stress, then you’ve still got the potential 15 second wait while your eye is scanning and you’re waiting for entry into your fortress. You’re effectively pausing at a fixed point of entry, with a giant target on your back…and your assassin has a timer as to how long you’ll be there. Predictability is a killer, because once your assassin sees that there is a retinal scanner on your door, he’d just have to wait for you to pause there with your back to the world while your retinal scanner permits you entry to your deadly trap house…which can always be set on fire.

So having too much security on your house actually creates danger. That might actually work if all you were worried about was being burgled, but that’s not the cause for concern in Sookie’s life. Her concern is being attacked. If the concern is being attacked, then you don’t want to throttle escape routes, or be trapped in your deadly house.

Sometimes I’ve read that Eric has an assortment of houses that he goes to – in a rather nomadic existence trying to capitalise on that unpredictability. Great. That’s just ten houses he doesn’t visit often enough to assess if there’s something going on there. It’s actually dangerous to have some sort of rotation of houses – they are all fixed points of vulnerability. Except now you have a choice as to which house it is the easiest to lay in wait for. You could even plant a bomb set on motion detection and Eric would probably end up being none the wiser.

Mainly because every single time Eric moves house, he doesn’t know the area well enough – he sleeps in a bedroom. So whichever house they choose, then they know he’ll be in the bedroom – no special arrangement necessary. Bill actually has a far better plan – one home base, with many hidey holes. Sometimes he sleeps in the cemetery, sometimes he sleeps in the room off the kitchen, sometimes he goes to Sookie’s bolt hole. I’m sure he has many others. But Bill knows the area around his house well. Not like Eric of the many houses, who knows nothing of the regular routines of those houses, and always sleeps in the same room.

It’s actually safer if Eric has one house he lives in all the time if he’s going to stay in the bedroom. He won’t come back five days later to be oblivious that someone cut a hole in his roof and can now drop down into his crawl space and kill him during the day. On top of that, because Eric is never there, his neighbours and guards won’t be concerned with the irregular activity and call the police – because Eric is always the irregular activity.

Nor is it sensible for Eric to have the richest fortress in Louisiana – the beloved plantation house variation. Having a rich looking plantation house would be a fucking disaster. The house itself with its rich environs then becomes a target. Not only will vampires, weres and fairies looking to kill you try to break in, but some random human will be tempted to break in because an obviously rich vampire lives there and they want to steal his stuff.

Of course, the other hoary chestnut that’s often trotted out is that Sookie lives in the middle of nowhere. That that is a danger. But living in the city or in town doesn’t mean dick:

I wondered if any of the neighbours were up, if they could hear the ruckus, and I
prayed they wouldn’t come searching to find out what was going on. I was even
afraid for the police, if they came. We didn’t have any vampire cops to handle
vampire lawbreakers, like the cities did.

Dead as a Doornail,
p. 222

Mickey wasn’t worried about her neighbours or anyone else. Even if they called the police, Tara and Sookie wouldn’t have survived the police response time. Maybe they would have caught Mickey as he was finished snapping Sookie’s neck, or if he decided to torture her and rape her for a long time. But that’s not safe either. And let’s not forget Jerry Falcon, who got into Alcide’s apartment building and was picking the lock on the door when Bubba caught up with him. Living in a city with a guard on the building doesn’t mean you’re completely safe. Neighbours don’t make you safe. Proximity to others doesn’t make you safe. Not for a determined offender – and if he’s there to kill you, then he’s pretty determined.

In the general scheme of things, by the time that people hear you screaming, unless the person in question is your abusive husband and doesn’t intend to kill you, just give you a good beating, you’re dead before the police get there. Even if the police arrive, any assassin worth his salt wouldn’t be caught there without the job being done, and by that time, it could be an hour or so that he’s had to beat you. Depends what your neighbours say and what priority they call in, how soon they call in, how bad the traffic is. Police don’t have the powers of teleportation.

That’s providing people call the police of course. Which, more often than you think, they don’t. We lived in a block of flats once, with 5 flats. We were in Number 2. On the night we brought our first son home from the hospital, I was wedged into our tiny bathroom, cooling off (it was a sweltering February) and my lovely husband had brought in the television for us to watch. Around half an hour into the movie, I heard a faint smash and figured someone somewhere in another flat, had dropped a glass. When the movie was over, we turned off the TV, only to hear the distinct sound of flesh smacking flesh. Number 5 had been beating his girlfriend for two and a half hours at that point – and we hadn’t heard it. We called the police straight away, and let me tell you, it was horrifying to listen to. His yells, her grunts, the smack of his fist against her. But more disturbingly, Number 3 and 4 had listened to that shit for hours, clear as a bell and didn’t do a damn thing. Number 4 – a bodybuilder – came up and told us how awful it was when the police arrived. But apparently not so awful he’d put a fucking stop to it by calling the police. He just closed his door and let his neighbour get on with beating his girlfriend half to death. That’s reflected in the fact that Mickey broke Sookie’s window, climbed into her house while she was screaming at him, and the police didn’t show up at all – no one called them.

So there is positively no way to be safe in a house that doesn’t have inherent dangers of its own. Usually it’s not enough to just stay in the house – Sookie is forced to give up work for her own safety. Which is kinda pointless and counter-productive. Sometimes I wonder if the people who write this fanfiction are agoraphobics, traumatised by a bank robbery or some such, because of their serious conviction that house equals safe. The reason is because Sookie’s given up two fixed points of vulnerability (with a little unpredictability of when she’ll be at one or the other) and holed herself up in one sure fixed point of vulnerability.

In order to go to work – and it doesn’t really matter where – Sookie has to go to a fixed place. If that were Merlotte’s – again – she’s been attacked there because she’s vulnerable to plotting. The were in the start of Club Dead found out from Bill that’s where Sookie worked and made his way there. He waited out in the car after getting a description from Arlene for the blonde woman. That doesn’t mean that Merlotte’s is any more dangerous than Fangtasia, by the way – because it just so happened that was a fixed point of vulnerability.

Truthfully, it wouldn’t be any better if it was Fangtasia. Eric might think it is, but it’s not. There are drunk guys, jealous fangbangers, FotS spies and deadly vampires there – all of whom could want to hurt Sookie. Being within Fangtasia’s walls didn’t stop Dracula from trying to eat her (Eric didn’t stop that either) nor did it stop Longshadow’s attack and it didn’t save Audrina. Eric demanding Sookie give up her job is him being overprotective, but overall, not making a whole lot of sense. Unless he has a desire to stand behind her all night monstering her, and staring people down, Fangtasia isn’t any safer than Merlotte’s. Anyone who wishes to attack Sookie there will go to a fixed point – be it Merlotte’s or Fangtasia. At least Merlotte’s isn’t generally full of people who want to hurt Sookie. It’s full of a bunch of men who’ll stand up for her – against Charles Twining and even against Eric.

So while it may look like her work is dangerous, that’s only because it’s a fixed point. The solution therefore is to give Sookie bodyguards. But fanfic guards are, as I said above, merely jailers. They tell her what she can’t do, and keep her in her predictable unsafe house. There isn’t any point really – Eric should just wall Sookie up at that point. She’s not allowed in the outside world any more, so I don’t see the point to reading the story. It always ends up that writers have to make Sookie do something highly stupid to get out of the holding pattern of boredom, and then the mouthbreathing reviewers don’t see the meta-theme – that the writer has effectively stalled the hell out of their story and the only action is ESN – but instead, blame Sookie for being stupid. It’s really just crap writing and reinforces the meme that the house is safe, while encouraging Sookie haters to vent on your chapter.

So usually in order to give Sookie some sort of freedom (usually the ability to go somewhere with a cadre of surrogate Daddy Erics telling you what to do) Sookie is given guards or a guard. Sometimes she’s only allowed out with Eric or Pam. Let me put paid to the idea that either Eric or Pam would make a good guard. In the event that Eric or Pam are with her as a guard – and they are expecting an attack – they become more vulnerable. Silver doesn’t kill Sookie, but it burns Eric and Pam. So too – if Eric is shot with an arrow, he would die. Not only that, but he’s absolutely honest about his ability to protect her from arrows – in that he definitely won’t be throwing himself in front of them. Funnily enough, that’s usually portrayed in fics as Eric not being honest. His honesty is both valued and not valued. *Sigh*

Since Eric has been caught by a silver net when he was concentrating on something else, and because he has a job, then he’s not a good guard. Not only that, but as shown by the Fae war, Eric is a good strategist – you don’t make your best asset vulnerable. With Eric to call in Bill and Niall, he was putting a disposable asset in Niall’s hands to possibly die to protect Sookie. Then the disposable vampire dies from a bite from silver teeth, and Eric is still alive. In the case of attack, you don’t want to leave Sookie alive to the vagaries of Eric’s enemies. Particularly since some of Eric’s enemies are bound to be like Victor – and want to hurt Sookie to show other vampires with living loved ones how to behave. But fanfic Eric considers himself perfect at everything and rather invincible, while book Eric worries what would happen to Sookie and Pam should he die.

Not only that, but Pam makes for a guard who’s not much interested in having a dead weight with her. Unlike fanfic Pam, book Pam knows that Sookie is not to be underestimated or taken lightly, just cause she’s a woman. Therefore, in dangerous situations, Pam leaves Sookie to deal with stuff by herself. She doesn’t baby Sookie or leave her defenceless. And she doesn’t make promises that she can defend Sookie against multiple attackers. So Pam and Eric aren’t really guards – whose job it is to sacrifice themselves for their subject. Neither Pam or Eric are that fatalistic.

In that case, a regular old were would be more use. Preferably a very disposable old were – like Tray. Or like Quinn tossing himself in front of an arrow while Eric throws himself to the ground in an act of self preservation. Quinn showed that he was pretty perfect at guarding Sookie. He didn’t insist that she do anything more than hide behind him. And contrary to the unreasonable demands of fanfic prison guards, Sookie didn’t chafe at that – it just so happens that they were attacked from behind. That’s what happens when someone attacks you – they don’t go for the strongest point – they go for the weakest point.

Another good example of this is Charles Twining. Charles was sent to kill someone dear to Eric – he didn’t pick Pam because she’s not defenseless. He chose Sookie instead. That’s because she’s weaker than Pam and easier to kill. As long as Sookie isn’t enabled with her protection – guard or no guard – she is the person that they will try to attack, and they’ll wait until they can get their hands on her, unless she’s constantly surrounded by an unbreakable shield. Even the President of the United States – who’s had armed protection since 1901 – gets attacked.  In fact, Sookie’s greatest danger is not a big group – the biggest danger, like the President, is the lone gunman. Not even the Secret Service can stop them from turning up and shooting at him.

In fact, rather than treating all people as suspicious – as fanfic guards seem to do – you should always keep everything absolutely calm around the subject. You don’t see Secret Service agents acting like crazy batshit idiots, sticking to the side of the President, right? There is a cordon of calm around him. In fact, the subject of the guarding is not the person you have to worry about – it’s everyone else. So you keep that cordon of calm around them, and don’t randomly attack Sam because he tries to talk to Sookie – that’s a bad guard, because while he’s fighting Sam the non-threat, the actual threat could slip into that chaos and shoot Sookie in the face.

That’s not the only ways in which guards become security risks, of course. The classic scenario of many-guards is actually far more dangerous. As I’ve discussed before, there’s nothing surefire about having a telepath. Sometimes the subjects of the telepathy aren’t thinking what you want them to think – and that’s about the betrayal of their subject. On top of that, when Sookie finds out that one guard has betrayed her…well, you’ve effectively hobbled her with no weapons, no information and thus no self defence. She’s at the mercy of her guards, should they choose to misbehave.

The more people you have guarding someone, the worse the situation gets. Every single one of those guards is a possible false point of security. Any one of those guards could be having gambling debts, or their own loved ones held hostage. That’s what happened with Basim – he was close to her, got favours from her, but it was him that needed the help, so he betrayed Sookie as quick as a wink. Same with Antoine – all of those people you’ve brought into contact with Sookie could be working for other sources. Just like Charles Twining was. Increasing the amount of people in on a job increases the vulnerabilities. Every single one is a possible weak point – and Eric only ever seems to hire these people and leave it at that, which is kinda stupid of him. If I wanted to attack Sookie, I’d go to the guard who wants to make some money – Eric would never suspect him because he’s basically background noise in that fic – no one pays the guard any attention. Easy pickings.

On top of that, the real killer for guards is actually boredom. If you’re going to hire a guard, then you need to make sure they’re constantly on the ball. If they become complacent, then that’s bad. In fact, that’s the biggest danger for guards – when things are too safe. There was a prison break here, run by an offender called “The Postcard Bandit” because he would post postcards taunting police. He used the guards’ boredom against them. He conscripted a whole heap of prisoners to throw orange peel at some microphonic wire that was designed to register breaches by beeping. Finally, the beeps became old hat for the guards, and they ignored it. That’s when he and his group took the opportunity to break out – when they’d gotten bored with the beeps and weren’t vigilant.

So having long term guards for the same duty of sitting around the house makes that house a nice, big, fat target. Sookie is always there, the guards have a regular schedule, and all it takes is lulling them into a false sense of security and you’re in. Send in your shifter who can change into anything – and Sookie is ever accessible and sitting around in her house bored out of her mind. At that point, it might be slightly exciting for her to fight for her life.

Of course, that’s somewhere else where fanfic fails big time. Rarely if ever is Sookie co-opted into the process of protecting herself. If she’s so damn valuable like a Faberge egg that she has to be locked away like a Muslim woman (and hey – you could always get Freyda as a sister wife for Sookie to have someone to talk to) then you need to make her able to have her own sense of defence.

One of the most valuable things the subject can do – and ultimately what all security measures are designed to do is give the target time. They should have enough of a delay between first indications that something’s going wrong to pull out contingency plans. In case the offender gets through the front door, you don’t want Sookie standing there like a deer in the headlights, or bounding up to him and licking his hand. You want to give her the opportunity to get away, or to fight for her defence.

You don’t want Sookie to just stand there, or have no contingency plan. Effectively, you want her to delay her assassin until some other help can get to her. If she’s Faberge egg woman (which book Sookie is not) then she’s going to die when the assassin looks at her cross-eyed. In that case, the guards shouldn’t be ordering her about – they should be doing their jobs and taking down the threat. Sookie has to be part of her own plans. She can’t just listen to Daddy Eric surrogates, otherwise Daddy Eric would lose her for good when one assassin figures out how to take out all of her surrounding guards. Then like a lamb to the slaughter, Sookie has nothing.

She should either run or fight for her life – give enough delay for some other measure to get to her. Locks on doors are part of delay, because technically, if someone were to throw a bomb at my front door, or even just kick it in, it would come open. The protection it affords me is forewarning to do something. It gives me delay time to get to my back door and back yard. It gives me time to get into my kitchen and grab a knife. It’s not a magical door lock that can prevent entry. Otherwise police in general would be screwed if offenders pulled the cunning trick of going behind a locked door.

Sookie in fics is often imprisoned by her guards when let out of the house to stretch her legs once a month. This is a real problem – because in the eventuality of an attack, Sookie is surrounded by people who are supposed to protect her with their lives – and that often means getting hurt. In so doing, away from the deadly trap that is her house, she has a moving deadly trap known as guards. They’re all so close to her, and she’s on a schedule and everything – it’s really, really dangerous. In the event of an attack, the guards being shot would put Sookie in the crossfire. An attack might do her some good anyway – she could make a break from her prison of love and have some excitement. Break the tedium of getting fucked and frittering her life away.

That’s all the fic consists of anyway – until you have to make something happen, and the only way to do that is have Sookie do something silly. Of course, there are some who choose to confine her to the house for the rest of time, like an Amish grandmother with a mind numbingly boring life. Of course, the truth is that the story has stalled in a big way, and the situation isn’t all that safe – it’s amateur safety, which relies completely on the safe house method.  It’s safety the ordinary person uses to protect their television from being lifted, but absolutely useless against assassination attempts. I suspect it’s because writers don’t really understand how genuine security works, and can’t face the fact that house does not equal automatic safety.

You know what writers could actually do to making Sookie safer? They could enable her with her own protection. They could make sure that Eric tells her stuff, rather than ordering her around. They could make sure that Sookie has a weapon – and Pam (Yay Pam!) supplies Sookie with that stuff often – information, and in Two Blondes, a gun. Sookie defeated Mickey all by herself, she fought off Charles Twining (using the delay technique), she fought off Rene Lenier, she dodged Sweetie’s bullet. She’s not exactly your standard female – she’s got good reactions, and she doesn’t freeze.

If they wanted to make her safer, they could give her more protection that actually works – information and defence mechanisms. A stun gun for one (Sookie doesn’t like guns so much) would not take an entire fortune to buy. Being visible around others is another thing that would serve her well – complete strangers out in public, because only complete morons attack people in a crowded area – and end up like Sandra Pelt with a bat to the head. She could even end up with fashionable bullet proof clothing or even silk clothing. Silk is actually a good fibre to wear for protection, nutsy as it sounds – because it’s fine enough to twist around projectiles. The Mongolians used to use it to stop arrows in battle – it twists around the arrow head and stops it from going too deep – stopping the momentum, while being so lightweight you can wear it all the time. It’s actually more effective than leather armour for the damage it stops.

On top of that, you’ve got to think of security risks as drawing poison from a wound. The more you lockdown an area around a target, that doesn’t actually protect them – ie. White House and President – and in fact, one of the key things that the security agencies do is allow the plans to form when they become aware of them. They just stop it before it gets to the end stage, so that they can see where the holes are in their own security. Then they plug those holes so that no one tries that one again. Trying to lock Sookie up in a smaller and smaller space and squishing all opposition when it rears its head is actually mega dangerous. Like with spies – as I’ve spoken about before – give them enough rope to hang themselves. Rely on all the other contingency plans to guard Sookie’s life – you know, like book Eric does.

While it’s somewhat risky, it’s less risky than the blunt and short-sighted instrument of quashing all visible opposition – cause that’s all that’s being done – quashing visible opposition. Resentment and hate and assassins will always exist as long as they live in the dangerous supernatural political life. They don’t exist in these fics, because the writers are a little silly and don’t understand what they’re writing about, but in the real world they do. In the books, Sandra Pelt still exists after umpteen books with a boner for killing Sookie. Boxing Sookie up in her house didn’t save Sookie – she tried and tried and tried until she got through.

If instead of boxing Sookie 24/7, Sookie did what she did in the books, and lived her life as normal – sure – she had problems. But like drawing poison out of the wound, Sookie delayed that attack, stymied that attack until she could actually have done with it. She didn’t try to cordon herself off from the world so that the threat that is Sandra Pelt never ever went away. I mean, in the Sookie the shut-in fics, it doesn’t actually have an end date – it’s effectively the rest of her life. One enemy, and you go to prison. Surely a harsh punishment. But by refusing to live in a prison of her own accord, but using protections like wards on the house, she delayed the attack until she could effectively deal with it, and get back to her life.

Not only would these techniques serve to save Sookie’s life, but they’d also mean that the story doesn’t go dead in the water, with all the interaction between four walls, Sookie being brain dead and only good for ESN. It’d mean that Sookie has a life, and something to do, and still, she would be safer than she’s ostensibly supposed to be in her fanfic prison. Cause let’s face it – she isn’t, or else the story doesn’t go anywhere and have any drama to it. It’s bland nothingness and naval gazing. Don’t make Sookie a shut-in because of a fear of crime – don’t give her Clayton’s security. Give her a life and the ability to live it and protect herself.