This post is something that I’ve been thinking about for a bit – and it’s kinda like what it’s like to be a vampire in the vampire world. It’s a bit big, so bring some water. 😀 For all the fangirling done, there’s very little examination of Eric’s character or life going on….except for things he doesn’t do. I could point out multiple fics wherein the minutiae of how he buys her a car and some lingerie is explored, but not much on his job and what it means. Probably because bad-to-average fic Eric never actually does his job. I found it really interesting when I was thinking about what it means to be Sheriff of Area Five.
Okay, so we know the surface stuff – that Eric has Area Five from the Queen. Part of that job is making money and paying tithes to the Queen. It’s also keeping the vampires in his Area making money and keeping them in line. But the other half of that job is the essential problems that come up when vampires aren’t in line, and when they’re not making money – and that bit’s interesting. It’s also something that I think Eric has in common with Sookie as far as outlook goes, but we’ll get to that later.
Now, firstly, I should explain where my basic reasoning about the little snippets comes from. In Dracula Night, Pam says:
he was dying, thus ushering in the new era of the vampire. After monks buried him
on an island called Snagov, he rose on the third night to become the first modern
vampire. Up until then, the vampires were like…well disgusting. Completely secret.
Ragged, filthy, living in holes in cemeteries, like animals. But Vlad Dracul had been
a ruler, and he wasn’t going to dress in rags and live in a hole for any reason.”
A Touch of Dead, pp. 43-44
So for the sake of interest – and it sheds a lot of light on Eric’s character – for roughly four to five hundred years, he lived in holes in cemeteries, and ragged clothing. Much like we see Appius in Dead in the Family – only the clothes on his back, and that’s it. He hasn’t had a thousand years to build up a most awesome fortune or a whole heap of historical crap. Pragmatic and practical Eric wouldn’t load himself down with such crap anyway. As an aside, it’s usually why I scoff at the idea that Eric has any shit left over from his human life – like Ocella wouldn’t make him throw it away as punishment for holding onto his old human life.
But this means that vampire society didn’t actually form up properly until the Early modern period (ugh – Mr. Minty is a historian – I get in so much trouble if I’m sloppy). That’s right when Sheriffs were really the thing to have in governance, and soon after they stopped using trial as a literal thing. In earlier times, a trial actually meant a trial – as in one example, you have to carry a heated bar, and if you’re lying, God won’t protect you and your hands will burn. Vampires at Rhodes have the more modern system that we all recognise – where evidence is tested and witnesses questioned. That makes sense – because as Pam tells it, before that they didn’t have a system. One does not run a government from a hole in the ground…unless it’s a really plush bunker.
Sheriffs of the Early modern period had oaths of fealty that they swore to their King, and they were required to keep the law in that area and protect residents from incursions. They collected tithes – but they also had obligations, and this seems to be what Eric has to do:
Living Dead in Dallas, p. 24
I’d like to point out while I’m here, that any and all claims that Eric tries to “protect” Sookie but she won’t have it are undermined by this little piece of canon. He protected Bill’s possession right into an awful beating in Dallas, and then protected her into a stake in the side in Jackson – with all due reference to sacredness. Sookie didn’t ever refuse Eric’s protection – that’s what it amounts to kiddos. He was already supposed to be protecting Bill’s possessions – and those were the books where she got some rather spectacular beatings at his behest. As I’ve discussed before – Eric sent her to Dallas and to Mississippi, no matter how much fangirls like to make it all Sookie’s doing.
But, if you notice – the obligation isn’t just on Bill’s behalf to obey, it’s on Eric’s behalf to protect. Indeed, under Eric’s protection (before he leaves the state for the tender attentions of his maker) there isn’t anything awful that happens to Bill. No vampires victimise Bill or haul him off to another state – which is surely tempting with the amount of money the Vampire Database must make. So it’s incumbent on Eric to stop anyone from stealing Bill away or harassing him.
Eric might not mourn a vampire, or a human victim, but he’s not exactly racing to pop off every vampire who doesn’t do as they’re told. The only vampire he’s ever killed who has sworn fealty to him is Longshadow. He wanted to kill Charles, but he didn’t get to do that – only Longshadow. In that instance, the easy answer is merely to think it’s Sookie that needs protection. But if that were the case, then Eric would have thrown Longshadow off Sookie and left him alive. I mean, he hasn’t killed Bill, when Bill actually drained Sookie and raped her. In the case of Longshadow, not only had Longshadow sworn fealty to Eric, but he’d then stolen the money from Eric hoping to pin it on humans, and then attacked the Sheriff’s brand new asset.
Longshadow’s death is a cautionary tale – fuck with Eric and Eric’s stuff, take his money and attack Eric’s assets, and he will fucking end you. It’s not really designed to do right by Sookie – it’s designed to be seen by other vampires. Longshadow’s death is a message that what Eric wants is the respect that he’s due – and that means not ruining his stuff (ie. Sookie) and stealing his money. I don’t think that Eric would have taken too kindly to a supposed partner of his club stealing his money and playing Eric for a chump – it had little or nothing to do with the attraction he felt for Sookie. If it was about her, he would have been quicker than he was, and he would have killed Bill for the stunt in the trunk.
Not only that, but if it was that Eric killed Longshadow just for the offence of attacking her (lolwhut? Vampire killed for trying to attack a human in bizarro world) then Eric has painted a big arse target straight on Sookie. It says to all of his enemies that you can make Eric lose his temper if you fuck with Sookie. Not only that, but vampires who didn’t like that idea would end up killing Sookie – by paying a were to do it or something – or hell, glamouring a human to kill her. You wouldn’t want to keep around a human who if you don’t treat her right, you might find yourself on the wrong end of a stake. So unless you believe Eric is as politically adept as say Sigebert, then drop that theory of “He was protecting Sookie’s delicate sensibilities cause he liked her”.
This is the sort of thing you want to do if you’re a Sheriff – let everyone know that you are not to be crossed:
Softie was not a word you could use in the same sentence as Eric.
“And you can’t cross him. He doesn’t forgive that,” she continued thoughtfully.
Definitely Dead, p. 122-123
See? A reputation that he’s not to be crossed. Leaving Longshadow alive would have made Eric look relatively weak and ineffectual – because it’s not as if Longshadow’s greatest crime was hurting a mere human – it was the disrespect he showed to Eric by stealing his stuff and trying to break his telepath. It’s perhaps a rather harsh punishment, but leaving Longshadow alive would have lead to other vampires thinking it was okay to siphon money from Eric – and that’s the last message Eric wants to send. If you live in Eric’s Area, you’d hear about Longshadow and be absolutely scrupulous about paying your tithe and respecting your Sheriff’s stuff.
But the punishment side of it is only part of what Eric does. That punishment is why Bill isn’t attacked and kidnapped from Louisiana – Eric will get you if you cross him. It’s part of the “not a softie” routine that Felicia tells us about. Another essential part of that equation is the taking care of vampires as well – which isn’t something that shows up in fanfic. Usually, fanfic Eric is all too ready to be a race traitor and kill vampires who owe fealty to him – much like Sookie is willing to assist Eric in killing humans at random. He’s self centred to the point that I don’t think I’d make him Sheriff of my lint brush – because killing vampires at the drop of a hat is dangerous and leaves numbers depleted, and a state vulnerable to takeover.
One of the things that I think shows that few people think about the other part of Eric’s role is the pervasive belief that Sookie is making Eric look weak and ineffectual by dint of her loving him, by not calling him Master and grovelling at his feet. I would hazard that if Book Eric tried that route, he could find himself actually looking weak and ineffectual. It would suggest to other vampires not that his asset is a well trained pet, but rather that his asset is vulnerable. After all – those humans who kowtow to one vampire kowtow to all. Ginger obeys Pam and Eric – so does Belinda. It actually makes Sookie look up for grabs to have her grovelling at his feet.
If I was a clever vampire, I would look at that submissive behaviour and think that Sookie is so well trained to take orders that all I would need to do is get my hands on her and either give her orders (which she would automatically follow since she’s trained to do what Eric tells her and I would be her new Master, same as the old Master) or I would think that if I gave her a little bit more freedom and money that I could get her to switch allegiances. Vampires are at heart manipulators – not Frankensteins – they love to manipulate a human. But that only works if the human isn’t a submissive cow-type human with no backbone – it doesn’t work with a full-on asset who will fight all the way to follow the rules of the Master they choose.
We see that with Victor – he thinks he can use Quinn to drive a wedge between Sookie and Eric. It’s just a matter of appealing to the human with something they want. That whole submissive thing used in fanfic would lead other vampires to attempt to treat Sookie like a fangbanger – easily bought. That’s what Victor was trying to do – promise her something small that would get her on side – and have her buck her Master’s unfair rules. It’s when Victor finds out that she can’t be bribed away from Eric with promises of Quinn that he ends up trying to kill her – because he knows at that point that Sookie is actively choosing to follow what Eric tells her – she’s not an empty vessel. That’s when he starts to think it’s a better idea to kill Eric’s telepath because she won’t be his.
Mostly that was interpreted as Eric being “embarrassed” by Sookie – but that’s not how it would have seemed to Victor. That little scene in Eric’s office would have shown that no matter how much Sookie hates the rules and complains about them, she doesn’t intend to leave Eric over it. It also showed Victor – when he zipped his mouth – that neither of them liked someone butting in on their argument – and would turn their ire on the interloper, not each other. I mean, from Victor’s viewpoint, Sookie is an intelligent asset with a Master that she actively doesn’t want to leave not even for Quinn booty time and nothing can come between them. Hence why Victor decided she needed to die – she’d proven her loyalty, not disproven it, and breaking them apart would be nigh on impossible.
The same goes with Eric’s vampires – they do as they’re told, but they actively do as they’re told. They don’t just blindly follow him because he’ll torture them if they don’t – no, they seek him out to do just that:
so bad.” Felicia shrugged, to show how “not so bad” it was. “He doesn’t
demand sexual services if the woman is not so inclined, and he asks in
return only a few hours in the bar and special chores from time to time.”
“So he has a reputation as a good boss?”
“Oh yes.” Felicia looked almost surprised.
Definitely Dead, p. 122
Eric is really excellent at people management – or vampire management. CH says that he’s done Marketing courses and such, and after hundreds of years manipulating humans, he’s really gotten great at understanding how people work. Eric applies enough carrot to have vampires willing to hole themselves up in his club when the takeover happens rather than surrendering; and enough stick so that they respect him, like being willing to kill Longshadow and Charles Twining for trying to fuck with his stuff.
But, Eric does a lot to protect vampires from any kind of censure or lawful killing. It’s part of what I think a Sheriff’s job is. I mean, Sophie Anne would have been happy to install him as Sheriff for his money making schemes, his hard work and his fighting skills, but I bet that part of that is his sneaking ability, and his ability to cover shit up effectively.
We read all about Eric protecting vampires from the consequences of their actions – and it’s something that I’m sure gives Sookie pause for thought. That’s because most of the “consequences” are dead humans, and Eric saves the vampires around him from paying for those consequences. To the point that he could use the law to pull the lot of them into line – our human law – but he doesn’t. He does the opposite – he hides the vampire’s human law-breaking activity from the police. This is part of Eric’s protection – and it’s definitely at the cost of humans.
The first time this happens is when Bill raped and drained Sookie. That there is where you can see that Eric wasn’t much vested in seeing justice for Sookie – he saw his own protection of Bill as more important. Instead of hauling her off to a doctor for a proper transfusion, he chose to pour True Blood and apple juice down into Sookie’s stomach. That’s not a particularly sure way to save a human’s life. Nor do I think one can argue that Eric “knew” Sookie would want it that way – no, he really doesn’t want to police to know that a vampire from his Area was raping and draining humans.
After all, Eric’s club has been raided – at least once that we know of – so he wants to keep “VAMPIRE RAPIST” out of the headlines as much as he can. It’s not as if he can’t take Sookie to get treated – hospitals and paramedics treat lots of vampire injured people:
believe how many poor girls we’ve had to patch up. And that
was the lucky ones,” Delagardie said grimly.
Definitely Dead, p. 179
Getting a paramedic to treat Sookie for rape and blood loss would have taken the same amount of time as it does for the stomach to digest synthetic blood into the body. But with a Sheriff on scene, he’s bound to protect Bill from consequences from the human police, and to make sure that vampires don’t look bad. On top of the fact that Eric calls their relationship “rocky” at that point, that’s not exactly outraged fanfic Eric shaking his head at Bill “The Rapist” Compton.
And this is the first of a long-running trend for Eric. As in, that’s not an isolated incident. When Mickey was glamouring Tara and beating and hurting her, Eric was just fine with protecting Mickey from any problems. That situation could have been solved with a call to the vampire police that they have in Shreveport. But Eric prefers to leave Tara to her fate, and does absolutely nothing until Sookie calls on him to do her a favour. He knew Mickey was bad news for humans:
your friend Tara. When he was here, Mickey talked mostly to Charles.
Charles tells me he is a rogue. He’s capable of…things that are barbarous.
Don’t go around Tara.”
Dead as a Doornail, p. 41
So Eric is just fine with the barbarous stuff done to humans, as long as it isn’t Sookie personally. He couldn’t give a shit if Tara dies – in fact, Eric above sounds like he expects Tara to be killed in a brutal manner. Just the kind of man you want to tell about Hunter (and don’t give me any crap – Sookie was his heart’s desire by that time – the fact he cares about her now? I wouldn’t gamble the life of a child I love on that).
Eric doesn’t leap up in indignation finding out that there’s a vampire in his Area who could hurt people – or do barbarous things. If Eric really were an upstanding guy, he’d make sure at the very least to get Mickey out of his Area, if not dob him into vampire police (which again, they have in the cities). Instead, he keeps it all under wraps. Even though nothing more than his assertion to Salome that Mickey is poaching in Eric’s Area is needed to recall Mickey, Eric does nothing about it at all – and Mickey is free to kill anyone not Sookie in the most barbarous way he can imagine.
On top of that, when Mickey comes and breaks Sookie’s window, and beats the hell out of Tara, Eric actually offers Tara his blood. There’s no way in hell he wants to stir up shit in his Area if she goes to the hospital. Just like Delagardie above, people would start gossiping about the seven shades of hell vampires are beating out of small human women, and the FotS has a new poster child. That’s not good – and Eric’s job is to hide that sort of thing. Even if it comes at a price to Tara herself or giving her blood instead.
We see that pattern again when Alexei is out carving up young men. Even though Alexei needs to be controlled, and is clearly crazy, Eric doesn’t do anything about that, other than cover it up again. He doesn’t really give a shit about a couple of humans who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but he does care about this:
In my area! He’ll subvert all we’re trying to do here in the United States.”
Dead in the Family, p. 243
Even though he could go to the Shreveport police and explain the crazy arse vampire needs to be captured and detained, he doesn’t. He doesn’t want that sort of stuff going public. So Alexei is allowed to kill and continue killing, even putting Sookie’s brother at risk. If Jason had been home that night (which only by sheer happenstance he wasn’t) then Jason may have been killed.
Not only that, but Eric undoubtedly has complicit knowledge about other illegal activities:
instead, and he just about took out the one who said that.”
Of course. I exchanged a glance with Bill. The offer to “employ” Frannie
had been designed to make anything else look better.
From Dead to Worse, p. 161
I’m not such a naïve fool to believe this is the only incident in vampire history where there was a girl forced into sexual slavery to pay off a debt. Sookie isn’t even surprised by it. You can bet your arse that this is par for the course amongst some vampire regimes including Felipe’s – and even if Eric doesn’t engage in it, he certainly turns a blind eye to it. He’s not doing anything so noble as protecting some humans by bringing down the system. He’ll just ignore what’s going on in favour of keeping it hush-hush about vampires.
It’s not as if the only people he can go to are human either, or that no laws can contain vampires:
Dracula Night, A Touch of Dead, p. 51
Despite knowing that law – he protected Bill, Mickey and possibly Alexei from that. And he hasn’t told the state about what Felipe is doing either. So Eric can’t be construed as just being all about Sookie and not caring about vampires. All of those vampires were breaking the law, and if he’d wanted to, Eric could have done something about it. The fact that he chose to do nothing – and cover up their crimes at the expense of human lives shows exactly whose side he’s on to the point of unfair treatment of humans in favour of his own race.
On top of that, Eric also seems to be engaged in – for want of a better word – social work for vampires. He doesn’t just punish wrongdoers and hide vampire crimes. He also actively takes care of the vampires in his Area as part of his obligations:
Clancy was one Vacutainer short of dead.
All Together Dead, p. 4
I’m pretty sure I read on CH’s forum that it was Eric who gave Clancy blood. But I may be remembering wrong and for once I can’t be arsed to find it. Someone had to give him blood though – just like Felicia gave blood to Bill in Dead in the Family. And after all, Eric does shed a tear for Clancy on his death, so there seems to be some sort of feeling between Eric and Clancy beyond just ordinary boss type relations – he didn’t weep for Bill or Chow. He also swears vengeance for Chow’s death as soon as he gets his memory back in Dead to the World. As Sookie tells him, he’s already had. Not only that, but the way Eric thought to “punish” Bill for not getting to Sookie fast enough under torture was threaten to remove care and let Bill “rot” rather than give him blood.
Not only that, but we’re told in the start of All Together Dead that Eric is incorporating vampires who have fled from Katrina. It’s not just as simple as taking them into his Area and instantly expecting them to work – it involves giving them the care that they need:
Lucky, A Touch of Dead, pp. 139-140
That would mean providing said vampire with somewhere to sleep – probably Pam’s house or his own house. Both of them have space to billet vampires in – Bill takes the spare coffin at Pam’s the night that Chow dies, and Eric has space for vampires to stay in his house as we see when Appius and Alexei come to stay. It’s not as if a vampire can stake Eric while he’s asleep.
Eric may never say it explicitly, but he has just as much racial loyalty to his own race as Sookie does. Even for vampires like Mickey – he protects him from facing the consequences until it impacts Eric himself or it’s more in his interests to do something different. He protects random vampires who come along – making sure to incorporate them into his area.
I’d also like to point out that Eric’s racial sensitivity in the books shows up occasionally – he doesn’t like being singled out because of his race. And he gets a little touchy about it. We get a hint of it when he asks this:
if she were a human?” His wide, thin-lipped mouth, most often amused,
was in a serious straight line.
Club Dead, p. 53
See, Eric is looking to take it personally if Sookie thinks that vampires are less valuable than humans. He’s a bit touchy about being seen as something that’s expendable – over and above a human. Eric is wondering if the woman who made a deal to make sure that humans aren’t killed has some sort of prejudice going on. And he’s not too happy at the prospect. Sookie of course, mollifies Eric with her answer – that if it was a human, she’d deal with it herself. She’s not judging Lorena as automatically lesser because she’s a vampire. A human that betrayed Bill would get the same treatment – and Eric wants to know that Sookie feels that way.
Eric might have vampire superiority beliefs going on, as I’ve discussed before, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t aware that he’s subject to a whole heap of discrimination. As you can see above, paramedics don’t think Sookie should have anything to do with vampires no matter what a great fuck they are. It’s easy to ignore it through the prism of Sookie’s narration, who is tolerant of all these different races, but in Eric’s world, Arlene and Whit are full citizens of the United States, and he is not. They’re seen as more worthy than him, by dint of being human. Indeed, as I’ve discussed before, there’s not a lot of respect for vampires outside the fangbanger thing – they’re rich, fanged Sugar Daddies to many girls.
In fact, Sookie knows that vampires hate to be seen as less worthy than other creatures and that it’s a sensitive subject:
as if I thought it was okay to require the vampires to register, but the Weres
and shifters shouldn’t have to. Thank God I didn’t open my mouth.
Dead in the Family, p. 77
Apart from rights, there’s a whole lot of discrimination that bothers Eric:
said. “But as it is, we are such attractive scapegoats…it’s galling, when you
think of how much stronger we are.”
Living Dead in Dallas, p. 278
He doesn’t like the idea that vampires are blamed as being what’s wrong with society, despite knowing that there are vampires out there like Mickey and doing absolutely nothing about it.
So I’m often surprised by fanfic, how often the storyline comes up that Sookie should acquiesce to Eric killing whoever the fuck he pleases – up to and including members of her own family. You know – the old chestnut that vampires are made to kill humans, and therefore, it’s wrong to suggest that living alongside humans leaves vampires in a bit of squeeze. So she happily lets him drink Jason dry for selling V or something. Usually it’s someone that readers feel is of little “worth” though. It’s not often some prominent businessman, or a celebrity, but one of the unwashed masses who are tangibly interchangeable to writers. The waitress no one will care if she goes missing, or the fangbanger, or the construction worker.
Obviously, the constant need for Eric to kill something is usually used in fanfic to show Eric’s total dominion over Sookie. It’s rewritten from the first parts of the books – or it’s modified from later in the books so that Sookie can show she really wants to make Eric happy in every single way that she can even if that involves killing people. She doesn’t want to do something that is such a betrayal of Eric as not letting him kill her fellow humans. She loves him so much, she’ll help him kill whoever he thinks needs to die – you know, like Arlene did for Whit Spradlin in Dead and Gone. Whit decided Sookie had to die through crucifixion for the offence of consorting with vampires, and Arlene made sure to lure Sookie out to her trailer so Whit could have at it. It made her boyfriend happy – and it’s important that he doesn’t have a slight whiff she might feel differently to the man who controls her life.
As you can imagine, I just don’t like that Sookie – the Sookie who is Arlene. I do believe I wouldn’t feel so terrible for her if the FotS did actually point her out as someone who should be killed for consorting with vampires. That’s because really, she’s doing something so much worse than just fucking them – which is not inherently bad and I would defend her right to fuck whoever she likes over the age of consent. What’s so much worse is that she’s helping them to commit a crime, and she’s using unfair advantage to make sure she does it. In fact, I would argue that she’s infinitely worse than Arlene, because at least Whit didn’t have a thousand years of killing humans cause he was hungry or he wanted to under his belt at the time. In the scale of who is a more worthy citizen – Whit wins for just attempted murder, while Eric loses for mass murder.
Sookie is the image of the passive, servile slave, who would happily give up members of their own race to make their own slavery easier to abide by. Instead of standing up for someone like Belinda, Ginger or Bruce, Sookie gives them up – betraying the thoughts straight out of their heads – to her vampire masters. If they get killed for offence to vampires, then that’s all their own fault. Usually, Eric justifies it with the idea that he’s a vampire and it’s somehow in his nature to kill people who have offended him, and he knows that he’s got the right culprit because Sookie has betrayed their true thoughts on it. He apparently has no problems with providing him the means to do it outside his vampire abilities, but he’ll only go outside his own purview if it works for him. Sookie doesn’t feel guilty about killing and enslaving her own people and perpetuating the system – she just wants to stay alive and make Eric happy.
To my mind, if Sookie’s going to haul off and have a hand in disappearing people who hurt and kill others that no one loves, then she really should start with Eric. No one would miss him, and he’s killed a lot of people – and if he can’t control himself because someone upset him in fanfic and dared to challenge his supposed rightful rule of us mere humans, then I kinda think she’d be doing the world a favour. I don’t think Eric is a natural moral arbiter by any stretch of the imagination and nor would I acknowledge his “right” to take out humans who displease him or upset Felipe or Sophie Anne. Sometimes the argument is that he doesn’t really want to kill them (poor victim Eric the put-upon murderer) but Sophie Anne or Felipe will think badly of him, which means Sookie should comply. Like vampire royalty know the minutiae of which humans should live and die in Area Five, and you know, care.
But I was thinking about the vampire argument that he really has a right to kill humans if he wants to – and the fact that I don’t think any of these people have used critical analysis (surprise) on Eric’s actions in the books on how likely he would be to argue that he can kill people at random, and the standard that Sookie catches hell for in fanfic, but Eric never does.
In fact, the only vampire who catches hell for it, at least in this section of the fandom, is Bill. I’ve been kinda shocked a couple of times now reading that Bill is inherently a “bad” vampire, while Eric is inherently a “good” vampire. When Bill comes to manipulate Sookie for Sophie-Anne’s pleasure, that makes him a bad man. When Eric forces Sookie to work for him through covert threat, that makes him a good man. Bill is often somehow evil for killing humans and discarding them, but Eric does it in the good way – presumably through loving care he sends them to the grave or something. Or possibly because he’s honest about wanting to kill people who piss him off. That makes him a “good” vampire.
Yeah, I don’t know about the idea that one vampire kills people and is therefore bad; while another vampire kills people and is therefore good. No matter how fucking honest he is about it. After all, Andrei Chikatilo was more honest about his want to kill people, while Ted Bundy didn’t admit he’d done it at all. I don’t think one is okay because he happens to be honest about the fact that he wants to kill people. So the idea that just admitting that you like killing people and want to do so some more doesn’t make you anything other than the same kind of murderer as the other one. I’m not on board with the idea that honesty ameliorates killing people.
Not only that, but Bill was pretty fucking honest about wanting to kill people. He made a point of having arguments with Sookie over coming round to seeing his point of view:
“That’s returning to days of lawlessness,” I said.
“But vampires hunt, Sookie. It is our nature,” he said very
seriously. “Like leopards; like wolves.”
Living Dead in Dallas, p. 230
Of course, as usual, the secret-Bill fangirls then put a version of those words into Eric’s mouth. He tells Sookie it’s in his nature to hunt, kill, HULK SMASH, and destroy and Sookie usually swallows it anew with maybe a little token resistance. Like when Eric says it, it’s somehow valid; but if Bill says it, he’s a prick. Usually, it’s explained as Sookie “finally understanding” she’s with a vampire. Which means that the vampire has “finally forgotten” he’s with a human. Lucky for him, because he sees them all as rather shit, even if he is fucking one.
But that completely ignores the fact that Sookie has already critiqued how much she agrees with Bill:
no choice, you understand?”
“I get that a lot with vampires,” I said, remembering all the times in the past
when Bill had explained things by saying he couldn’t help himself.
I’d believed him at the time, but I wasn’t so sure any more.
Definitely Dead, p. 215
Why did Sookie start thinking she wasn’t so sure any more? Well by watching Eric and Pam. Yes, Eric is a thousand years old, and some Bill fangirls will argue that that’s why he can control himself. However, according to Two Blondes, Pam is 160 years old (or thereabouts) and Bill is 230 years old (or thereabouts). So the age argument doesn’t work so well when considering the fact that Pam doesn’t lose her shit and randomly attack people. She doesn’t start hurting people when she’s angry with them – and she’s been angry enough with Sookie in the past. In Eric’s office, when Longshadow was staked, Pam was the only vampire under control.
What’s even more glaring is that Eric seems to understand that Sookie maybe doesn’t want him to enter into wholesale slaughter when she’s spending time with him. He controls himself rather than hauls off to do his usual:
incident, which had so much potential for some juicy violence, they had to
scramble to look busy when Eric’s eyes swept the surrounding tables.
Dead as a Doornail, p. 34
That was the incident where the drunk guy came up to tell Sookie she shouldn’t be sitting with a vamp, and Sookie decided it wasn’t worth it for a drunk to die in a fight in a vampire bar. Of course, fanfic Arlene-as-Sookie would probably have stood back and sicked Eric on that drunk guy, and made sure that one stupid drunken remark meant he died for his crime. Bill-as-Eric would have kicked the shit out of the stupid human at the very least – that’s if he didn’t take him downstairs to torture for a while.
Of course, Bill does have a measure of control when he bothers to work at it. We see in Dead Reckoning, that part of Bill re-inventing himself is Bill changing it up. He can haul himself out of a room with a fairy in it, and yet, he’s only aged one whole vampire year (and no crap about how that’s a vampire nanosecond or some bullshit – their time is our time – they live every night same as nightshift workers). Of course, this is probably in the hopes that Bill can win Sookie back, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s completely doable, and if you work on it, you can fucking control yourself, and not act like a newborn.
Ironically, Arlene-as-Sookie doesn’t just acquiesce to Eric – she loses a commonality with Eric. She doesn’t have as much in common with him that Book Sookie does. Of course, I should point out that Eric doesn’t much admire humans who don’t think well of other humans – no matter how much he might hold them in contempt himself:
night with a dog like Portia Bellefleur?”
“She’s kind, too,” Eric said. He looked down at Tara with a sort of beneficent
but disappointed smile, like a dog breeder regarding a cute, but inferior, puppy.
Living Dead in Dallas, p. 275
It’s not something that Eric really appreciates in females – he doesn’t like the idea that Tara isn’t a kind person. I’d say in the complicated thing of worth that goes on in Eric’s head, he’s able to treat humans harshly and justify it because they themselves treat other humans harshly.
When Arlene-as-Sookie offers up her fellow humans for Eric’s killing wants and desires, she doesn’t just start following his rules – she actively loses something that they have in common. The same Sookie that is willing not to consign Uncle Bartlett to death by virtue of vampire boyfriend is matched up to the same Eric that is willing not to consign Mickey to death by virtue of the shit he does to humans. She doesn’t just follow his rules – she becomes less able to relate to Eric over racial loyalty than ever before. If she didn’t lose his respect as more Tara-like, then they’d have one less point in their favour on understanding the other’s reasoning. Arlene-as-Sookie as a race traitor doesn’t really understand the needs of being Sheriff of Area Five.