Peas in a Pod

This one is a corollary to my post about Bill. I kinda touched on the whole gift thing with telepathy, and that lead to some diverging thoughts. Often times when a new novel in the series comes out, I get a few people contacting me asking if I’m sure Eric is HEA guy. Along with that, the common complaint about Eric is that he’s not really Eric, and he’s not an exemplar of a suitor, blowing every other suitor out of the water. That’s mainly because he’s not the perfect paragon he is in fanfic. So people aren’t so sure he’s the one. But I’ve always thought that some of the “faults” ironed out of Eric in fanfic are what make him HEA guy. So this is to enlighten my readers on my reasoning, and save me time by linking in future. ūüėÄ

When I look around at why people are¬†for Eric for HEA, it’s not for reasons that I am for Eric for HEA. Usually, it seems to be somewhat shallow reasons – like that he’s the oldest one and can protect her best; or that he’s the hottest guy and best in bed; or that he’s the one who’s always saved her from shit. Apart from the fact that I don’t accept those statements as true under logical reasoning, I would never consider that as a reason someone would be HEA, merely because all of those things are shallow. They’re based on the idea that Sookie should look not to who she could spend her life with, who suits her and gets her, but in a sort of gold-diggerish way, who is the best deal and who she can get the most out of.

For me, whoever – and I firmly believe it’s Eric – Sookie ends up with, she has to have a viable long-term relationship, rather than a superficial choice as if she’s comparing fucking insurance companies – and thus choosing someone based on what is the best offer isn’t much of a happily ever after for me.

Not only that, but one of the common reviews for many EPOVs – as in it pops up over and over again – is that people can’t understand why the writer has Eric in love with Sookie. They usually use the same reasons above – he’s a great fuck and he can give her stuff,¬†but what does she give him apart from complete and total submission to his desires?¬†That tells me that even those who ship them together enough to write about it don’t really understand the books or the relationship. To my mind, if I can’t discern why Eric would want to have anything to do with Sookie, and I’m in his head, then that fic is one ginormous fail. If Eric is supposed to be in love with Sookie, but all his internal dialogue gives the reader is that he’s tired of bearing her, and sick to death of her (the author’s subtext without doubt) then that tells me that it’s a shallow exploration that would be better done from SPOV with all the gold-digger or doormat thoughts you can pile in.

As I mentioned before, one of the things that makes me think Eric is HEA guy is because he’s the only suitor to take time to really¬† think about what it’s like to be a telepath – and doesn’t use the word “gift” to describe it. That’s one thing that no one would say about telepathy without any downsides – that it’s a gift – not if they understood it from the inside, rather than what it can do for them. After all, it would be like if vampirism was called a “gift” – sure, there’s flying, and such, but Sookie understands that it’s not all upsides for vampires:

Or maybe it was centuries of conditioning that made the difference; decades of
disposing of people as they chose, taking what they wanted, enduring the
dichotomy of being the most powerful beings on earth in the darkness,
and yet completely helpless and vulnerable during the hours of light.

Dead as a Doornail, p. 227

I mean, it wouldn’t do for someone to have a relationship with a vampire and think it’s an all-night party with no consequences, right? That person would hiss, spit and pout at the first hint that Victor’s a problem who needs to be killed. That’s the problem, I would think, with a lot of fangbangers – they can’t understand why the vampire won’t just party and fuck all night long. Eric needs someone who really understands his life. If he disappears for two months to acclimatise to the new regime, he needs someone who gets it – and Sookie’s shown she gets it. She may not like it, but she doesn’t badger him about where he is, and when he’ll be back. That’s pretty essential for any relationship with Eric – to know that his life isn’t all upsides.

Same goes with telepathy – if your wife can’t get too stressed out and tends to respond to thoughts when she does, then you need to be understanding of that. It’s useless to have Sookie come home and say “When I saw Jason’s blood on the dock, I responded to Alcee Beck’s thought and told him what sort of boots Jason wore, and freaked him right out” and have¬†the guy waiting for her¬†say “Well they just don’t understand what a wonderful gift you have! There’s no consequences to freaking out humans – they love stuff they can’t understand!” You need someone who’ll give you a pat, and not tell you how wonderful shit is. If she says she’s not feeling well and can’t go to a crowded bar, she doesn’t need the blank stare and asking why. Sookie needs someone who understands that it’s not a “gift”.

So for me, the whole “gift” thing is an indication who gets her – really gets her – in the way that they’re not trying to see what they want there, but what actually exists there. That’s kind of essential for any relationship – you need someone who sees you for all that you are – faults and all. Not someone who thinks you’re something you’re not. After all, who exactly would they be in love with? The false projection of someone else that¬†isn’t¬†you? Part of being in a sustainable¬†and¬†fulfilling relationship is having someone who knows you and loves¬†you, even if you’re not perfect. And if you’re going to spend the rest of your life with them, perfect is not sustainable. If someone¬†is supposed to love Sookie but just can’t get that her life has been cursed by telepathy, then who the hell are they in love with? Someone who had a wonderful and different life, and who loves their¬†telepathy – which would be someone other than Sookie.

It’s one of the key indicators for me – because the telepathy is one of Sookie’s biggest barriers – without it, supes wouldn’t want to use her, and she’d be happily married with kids rather than an outcast. It meant she was teased and lonely through her entire life and is feared for what she is by people she’s just met (Desiree met her and called her¬†freaky within 5 minutes – and she¬†lives in Shreveport, instead of some small town so the reasoning that prejudice is because Bon Temps is some backwater town is faulty). If the man Sookie is supposed to spend her life with doesn’t get that it’s hard for her, and insists on calling it a “gift” then that shows they haven’t really thought about her at all, and therefore don’t love her, faults and all.

Even if they feel differently from Sookie, love isn’t supposed to be an exercise in being told how to be you. Even if they felt that being a telepath was the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to anyone, then they shouldn’t really tell the person who is the telepath that it’s all good. There’s a difference between accepting you’re a telepath, and being over the moon that you’re a telepath. Trust me – I’ve heard it from the horses’ mouths – disabled people fucking hate being told that their disability is a special gift to them – because it’s also a hassle.¬†They don’t have to¬†be over the moon that we need anti-discrimination laws in first world countries to stop some of that hassle. It speaks to the fact that the person who’s saying it is a shallow twit, who hasn’t considered that it’s not¬†a “gift”¬†to see stairs when you need a ramp.

One of the things I like best about Eric as a suitor is the fact that he doesn’t spend a substantial amount of time telling Sookie things – he waits to see what she¬†thinks about things, and thus gets to know her. For example, looking at the internal dialogue of Sookie when she’s around Sam – there is a whole heap of things that Sookie doesn’t say, for no other reason than she knows Sam doesn’t agree with her viewpoint and they’ll have a fight. Now, as I’ve said before, Sam is off the table for me as a suitor. Probably because since Dead and Gone she’s called him her best friend 345904 times, but no one reads that. But also because this is what Sookie thinks is essential to a relationship:

What kind of relationship was that? Not one founded on mutual respect.
Small Town Wedding, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, pp. 84-85

If Sookie thinks mutual respect is important for a relationship (and here she’s thinking about Jannalynn and Sam), then that’s one of the essential things for her HEA. Sookie doesn’t need someone she has to watch herself around, and keep half of the stuff that she wants to say inside. Love is not really hiding everything that might upset the other person because the poor little manbaby can’t possibly afford to be upset. It also means that Eric can’t really know Sookie – and thus love her – if she’s forced to be on her best behaviour just in case he might ditch her.

Instead, Sookie can be honest with Eric about how she feels – even if it’s not tied up in a neat little bow. She can let him know that she still cares for Bill, she can have Sam and Amelia in her life (as according to Eric, who doesn’t give her orders not to speak to them or try to order her life to suit him – as opposed to both Sam and Amelia who constantly try to point out why she shouldn’t be with Eric). For Eric’s part, he can be honest about how he feels – and have other people he cares for in his life, like Pam. Rather than exert his petty insecurities on Sookie, he allows her to be her and tries to see what’s there, instead of trying to shape her into something he wants – something that¬†Sam, Quinn¬†and Bill try to do – choose her friends or lovers¬†for her, showing ultimately that their opinion really should matter more on Sookie’s life than her own.

Eric might have input on the fairies when asked, and he may point out that when things get rocky with Bill, she walks away, but he doesn’t try to re-order Sookie to his wants, desires and specifications. Never has he come out (like Bill, Quinn and Sam have) and tried to control who Sookie does and doesn’t love – he respects the fact that she might feel something for Quinn – he doesn’t proceed to browbeat her into not loving Quinn – which let me say, you can lecture someone all you like and they feel how they feel. It doesn’t work that way because people’s emotions don’t respond to logic. Their actions, they can control, but not their feelings.

Unlike others, Eric doesn’t try to bully her into any realisations, and her internal life is her own. Eric hasn’t tried to persuade Sookie to see anything his way – not the blood bond, not killing humans, not who she should be friends with. Eric will make a cutting remark – like about Quinn being sent from the Queen, but he doesn’t try to sit down and reason with her all the reasons she should choose him.¬†¬†It’s one of his best qualities – and shows me as a reader that he’s interested in knowing Sookie, not just in having her know him and going along with what he’s told her he wants. That’s where true love for another springs from, and it makes his selfishness etc. so much more forgiveable because at his heart, he mostly tries to find common ground by respecting her right to her own internal life. Sookie of course, never tells Eric how to feel either – whether he’s allowed to love the bond or not.

I know that it was considered “disrespectful” to end the bond¬†on Sookie’s behalf in Dead Reckoning, but that seems to be founded on the idea that Eric has a right to be all up in Sookie’s emotions at Andre’s behest. Like he owns her, her internal world and her blood, that she’s his property. There’s no respect for Sookie herself if she doesn’t have a right to just her own feelings in her own body. Surprisingly enough, Eric doesn’t seem to hate her for it, and since the bond has been gone, Sookie’s survived her adventures as she always has and Eric isn’t leaving work every five minutes to check on her and menace people during her recovery. In the grand scheme of things, he can live without it – unless it is just blood that ties them together, rather than love – and he autonomously decided to both start the bond, and make the marriage without once asking Sookie about it.

In the sake of fairness and love for Sookie, Eric hasn’t whined that he doesn’t get his own way, and continue to get his way. When the bond is terminated, Eric gets very angry about it immediately, but he doesn’t turn it into a passive exercise to try to get things his way yet again – he says this:

I should have encouraged you to find a way to break the bond, and
in fact we have a ritual for it. I should have offered it to you.

Dead Reckoning, p. 183

This is the essence of respect on Eric’s behalf. He doesn’t try to say Sookie was all wrong to try to have sole ownership over her own emotional landscape – he understands her feelings about that. Nor does he offer her blood after that – instead he makes her an icepack for her pain. It would have shown that Eric was willing to undermine her own opinion on her life if he kept trying to get blood into Sookie because it’s what he wants. Sure, he could have manipulated her or forced her, but that would have just meant that he didn’t really give a shit about Sookie’s feelings on her own body – like Andre.

Lest anyone say (as they often do because they don’t get it) that Sookie doesn’t in turn respect Eric herself. ORLY?:

“I want to kill you right now,” I said, very quietly. “I want you dead so bad.”
“Don’t” Eric said.
I might still have done it if there hadn’t been pleading in his voice.

Dead in the Family, p. 306

I think it’s pretty clear that Sookie wanted Appius dead very badly, and yet, even though she wants that, she doesn’t completely disregard Eric’s feelings – she leaves Appius alive. It’s what Eric wanted, so she went along with his wishes even though it would be far better for Eric and Sookie if Appius died. This is just one example of how Sookie respects Eric’s wishes on what he wants out of his own life, and completely nullifies the idiot fangirl argument.

Another¬†related thing that works in their favour is the exchange of information. Sookie, as a telepath, often has all kinds of information that¬†she doesn’t really want. Eric, meanwhile, doesn’t like to talk about himself that much. They’ve still got to find out the perfect balance, but there’s a nice thing going on there. Eric won’t overload her with unnecessary information (the classic trick I’ve seen used in fanfic – Eric buries and bamboozles¬†her in a crapflood of pointless and excessive information – the very¬†life of a telepath) but instead asks about her. Honestly, not many people do that to Sookie – they’re too busy telling her secrets¬†straight from their heads or for the supes, telling her what they want from her. Eric likes to get under the skin of something and work out how it works – which means that he’s not talking at her, but rather¬†listening to her. Sookie says that Eric is a good listener – and it’s something she points out about Bill as well – someone who’ll listen to her for once, rather than condemn her to listen to some more fucking dialogue.

On Eric’s behalf, he complained himself that he’s always surrounded by people wanting things – and the only thing that Sookie wants from Eric is his company. He also says that he’s not in the habit of sharing information due to the long habit of years. Sookie doesn’t want to have him flood her with unnecessary information, because that’s not something that she needs. When he disappears with Appius, she doesn’t do anything more than ask him the next time she talks to him if she should continue to have faith that they’ll be together again. She doesn’t ask for a detailed account of where he is, why he hasn’t been back. Rather than make demands, she only ever tells him that the strain of sustaining their relationship on the hope he’ll return is hard for her when he doesn’t talk to her.She’s not going to asking him to do things for her, or to talk for a long period of time. She can take just the silence that they have between them, without needing to fill it with chatter. In that way, the fact that they don’t endlessly talk about stuff means that she gets silence, and he gets to be silent – and so easily at rest. This is another way that they fit together well.

I know that one big complaint is about communication – that they don’t talk enough.¬†But that’s working for them, so I don’t see any reason why they should have to change if they’re happy with it that way. Not everyone in the world is the same, and not everyone loves endless talks about feelings, nor can everything be solved with one small question.¬†If neither of them liking having big long talks, then that’s yet another¬†thing that makes them compatible – in order to change one, you have to change the other. Since they haven’t broken up, I don’t know why that has to be fixed anyway. As I’ve discussed before, they’ve talked out what they need to talk out already. If it’s not a problem for them enough to have a fight about, I don’t see why they have to chat about it.

They also have the whole fighting, angry style downpat. Bill tended towards cold fury – Sookie comments on how cold he got when he was angry with icicles forming on the walls and such. Not so with Eric – she says that his temper tends towards the fiery.¬†Sookie also has a fiery temper.¬†That makes it pretty perfect for them. It means that they’ve never gotten to Defcon1, because Eric can see it ramping up in Sookie, and she can see it ramping up in him. Not only do they both cool down just as fast, and not hold long grudges against each other, but they know when the other one is reaching critical mass and back off, rather than force the point.

The most memorable scene for me was when she had reached her limit over the driveway in Club Dead. Sookie was screaming her head off, and Eric just redirected the whole thing, and suddenly, there was little fighting going on. Bill and Sookie tended to break up for weeks at that point, but Sookie and Eric never do because they don’t let it go too far. Being that they both have fiery tempers, when they encounter it in each other, they back off, let it have time to cool. That doesn’t work too well with someone with a cold temper – they just keep making jabs, and the explosion doesn’t come. Compare the way Bill fought with Sookie over smelling like Eric in Living Dead in Dallas – he made that a fight when he should have backed off.

Same goes with Sookie when she breaks the bond in Dead Reckoning – she backs right off when Eric is mad about it. She doesn’t hop in her car and go to Fangtasia and demand that they sit down and hash it out. She waits until he’s cooled down, and one of the first things out of her mouth is asking Eric if he’s still mad. That’s when she’s fine with talking about it – and they do a tentative dance I’ve done a hundred times living with someone with a fiery temper – a cautious approach and then rational questions. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, I’m perfect and don’t have a temper, so Mr. Minty doesn’t have to worry a bit. But don’t ask him, he’ll lie and say I have a fiery temper too. He’s like that.

Eric and Sookie have yelled at each other, said hurtful things, and needed time to cool down – but they haven’t had to take a break for weeks because of how they deal with each other. Most of their long breaks have been because Eric has something going on – like vampire politics. They rarely have fights – as compared to the epic blowouts Sookie had with Bill – and they deal with everything that they need to keep going with their relationship. Of course, being in love with someone doesn’t mean you never fight with them, or disagree with them. A relationship would be truly fragile if it couldn’t handle any discord at all.

One of the things that has some potential to cause fights is their stubborn natures – and it surprises me how often Sookie gets accused of being stubborn (and thus wrong) and Eric totally skates on it. The man has been insisting on a marriage he sprung on Sookie, as well as calling her “my future lover” minutes after her break up with Bill. If anyone’s stubborn, with more of a history of just keeping on ploughing ahead, it’s definitely Eric. He’s a stubborn arse bastard. I honestly couldn’t see someone making it through the shit with Appius and living in a hole and not being stubborn.

Eric stubbornly insists he’s the man for Sookie, even when she dates other guys – you can’t get any more stubborn than that. I mean, when exactly is it that we’ve seen him change his mind about a decision he made? I think Eric’s stubbornness was exemplified by the fact that he said no to being Hallow’s plaything, and stubbornly resisted until Chow lost his temper and killed a witch. He’s as stubborn as a mule that’s been genetically engineered for stubbornness and¬†who’s taken extra strength stubborn pills.

As antithetical as it sounds, it’s always better to have two stubborn people together. They’ll actually get somewhere much better because they’ll wait it out until one caves or they compromise. It’s not good to put a stubborn person with someone who isn’t stubborn – that’s what we call a doormat. Not only is it not good for the doormat, it’s not even satisfying for the stubborn person. There’s a certain amount of victory to be had in actually coming to a solution if you’re paired up with a stubborn person. In contrast, it makes you feel bad, and like a bully if you walk all over your doormat.

If Eric is left stubborn, but Sookie becomes a doormat, that would actually lead to their breakup – because Eric feels like he’s a bully all the time, and as if she’s not really connecting with him. And so Sookie wouldn’t be – she’s not invested in it enough. I mean, imagine when they finally come to a compromise about whether they’re married – that emotional pay-off for both will be great. Sure, he could bully her or manipulate her into it, but I think it’s emotionally more fulfilling if he has a wife because she wants to be, not because she was forced or tricked into it. That’s a hollow victory, and not really working for Eric right now – he doesn’t like it that she won’t say wife, even though they’re married.

So even though they’re both stubborn – and I would argue Eric is the more stubborn of the two –¬†then I think that they’re well suited for that very reason. Eric will always feel like Sookie is actually engaged with him if she cares enough to resist – it feels more secure. If she were the type to switch off and say “Whatever pleases you, Master” then he’d feel like he was all alone in the situation. Eric clearly likes an engaged Pam, and clearly likes an equally engaged Sookie – not a reflection of what he wants, but a discrete person and helpmeet. Not to mention that Eric is surrounded by people wanting him to give them something and be in charge all the time. The very last thing he needs is someone else who needs to be told what to do and think.

Of course, looking at Pam, who Eric calls his other great choice, should enlighten readers on what it is that Eric wants. Pam (when not degraded on True Blood) doesn’t spend her time slavishly devoting herself to Eric’s every desire, and being submissive to him, sitting at home holding a tasty fangbanger for his waiting mouth. She has her own life, her own friends, and Eric characterises her as useful – and hardly tries to get her to wait in the back room of Fangtasia so he can fight Victor. In fact, like Sookie, Pam’s taken beatings on Eric’s behalf, and Eric doesn’t put his foot down and demand that Pam is safe – he uses her. Indeed, when it comes to what is “safe” vs. what is “tactical”, Eric doesn’t have issue with Sookie entering the fray so much that he’d demand she stay at home unequivocally:

Of course, Eric hadn’t wanted me to be there. He’d made it plain that a frail human should not be around when vampires were fighting. In theory, I agreed. I would much rather have been at home – but I would have worried every second. The clincher in my argument was that Victor would definitely go on alert if I were conspicuous by my absence, which would have been a clear signal that Eric was about to spring something. Eric couldn’t deny that when I’d made the point at our meeting.
Dead Reckoning, p. 289

As I’ve said time and again, Eric is not about safe to the point that he’ll put his own life at risk for that safety – or his plans. If Eric was really concerned, he would have taken the tactical disadvantage and left Sookie at home. On Sookie’s behalf, she’s obviously willing to enter the fray with Eric, even though she has the potential – which she here acknowledges – to be seriously injured. Neither of them like it, but when it comes to success for the plan, they both come to an agreement. There’s Eric’s stellar no-holds-barred protection, as you can see (of course in fanfic, it turns out to be all Sookie’s bullying – you know it) and his regard for her complete unequivocal safety.

It also shows that Sookie is willing to do things to help Eric, even if it could end up in her death. For all of the discussion of what she gives Eric, I’d love to know when his other girlfriends pre-Sookie showed up to help him out. Funnily enough, they’re mysteriously absent. I doubt that there are many women willing to go into a room of vampires fighting – yet Sookie both does it, and sees it logically as important to giving Eric more of a chance at killing Victor. But she’s ever been ready to do dangerous things for him, just as he’s taken bullets for her. That’s often not seen or discussed as important – usually Sookie takes a bashing for distressing Eric and doing nothing more than being a burden on him to protect, rather than actually helping Eric out at her own risk. As I recall, Eric was completely occupied in that fight with Victor, so he wasn’t standing guard over Sookie either.

Of course, this is just one of many compromises that they both come to. But the definition of compromise in other people’s minds doesn’t seem to involve anything more than Sookie compromising absolutely everything she holds dear – up to and including her own life for Eric’s sake and Eric compromising absolutely nothing. I always think of this quote I often use in my ethics class when I think of that:

“The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

It’s all very well to make out like Eric has a right to do whatever the fuck he feels like when it comes to Sookie, but this is the essence of an actual compromise. Eric has a right to take off and go be with Appius for a while, but he also doesn’t expect that not to have any effect whatsoever on Sookie. His right to take off and say nothing finishes at the point when it starts to affect Sookie. Same thing goes with the bond. I had no real beef (other than the deception to do so) with him giving her blood to feel her emotions, but that is limited when he starts to impinge on Sookie’s emotional inner life through the bond.

I think that that is one of the things that they still need to iron out – the all or nothing attitude that comes around vampire politics, or some of the bigger issues facing them. Eric has a right to ask Sookie to be around, but his right does not extend to forcing her to be vampire for his sake. That’s where the right to move around in his own space starts affecting Sookie in her own space – to the point that her life is compromised. Same goes with information sharing. If Eric keeps it secret that say Felipe has started trafficking in human slaves, that’s fine. When Felipe decides to enslave Sookie, then she has a right to be a part of the plan to avoid it. Not just get dragooned into marriage because Felipe wanted her.

I would argue that the bond is now solved as far as that goes – Sookie doesn’t want the bond, and Eric’s “right” to have a bond with Sookie is contingent on her decision when it enters her personal space. I also think that they have a potential to work all of that out if they want to do that – and Eric has shown that he respects Sookie on that front at least partly:

“And you won’t ever turn me.” I was absolutely serious.
“No, I won’t ever force you into subservience. And I will never turn you, since you don’t want it.”

“Even if I’m going to die, don’t turn me. I would hate that more than anything.”
“I agree to that. No matter how much I may want to keep you.”

Dead and Gone, p. 179

Of course, the fact that Sookie believes that she can actually trust Eric on that front shows that for all of the carping about how she doesn’t trust him, she clearly thinks that she can just be honest with him about not wanting to be a vampire, and Eric will hold to his word. Considering that her becoming a vampire impacts him in an active way, when Hunter and his telepathy will not change Eric’s quality of life in any form, the fact she’s talked about something that concerns him shows that when it comes to her, she does trust him. But it also shows that she has clear boundaries about what is and isn’t his business – just like he didn’t tell her all about what Felipe was doing until it impacted Sookie.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s kinda sensible for Sookie to keep Hunter from Eric. Eric is in a political world where he has to use everything he has. Eric himself says so:

“He’s handsome, ruthless, and clever,” Eric said.
“Like you.” I could have slapped myself.
Eric nodded after a moment. “But more so,” Eric said grimly.
“I’ll have to keep very alert to stay ahead of him.”

From Dead to Worse, p. 262

If she served Hunter up – no holds barred – then not only would the already overloaded Eric have one more thing to add to his list (and as it is, Hunter is actually in Eric’s area) of shit he has to stay ahead of. It would actually draw attention to Hunter and his telepathy if any of the spies hear about it, and come on – Niall’s relationship with Sookie was found out by Victor. Eric has already shown that information he has has the ability to be leaked to others. Not only that, but as long as Hunter is in his house, there’s nothing for Eric to do.

It would however, be a temptation for Eric to use whatever he has in a plan. I mean, in his previous plans, he’s had no problems in sending Sookie into other areas, where he’s had to send Bill to keep her from being kept or killed. When it came to getting Bill back, Eric’s stellar protection amounted to Alcide Herveaux, the world’s most useless bodyguard. If it came down to his own death or a plan using two telepaths, Eric would want to use Hunter – and going by previous experience, he may not ask Sookie if that’s okay with her. So there’s a limit to her trust – weighed against other people’s needs. Sure – Eric isn’t the ultimate boss in Sookie’s life, but that’s kinda how it should be. Until she has a reason to let him know, then there’s no reason to share what doesn’t impact him.

But on becoming a vampire, she feels like she should have some say in it – remember, because his right to act ends at her body – and ultimately she trusts him not to do something she hates:

“Are you sure you should do this?” I asked as he bit himself for the second time.
“Yes,” he said. “I know how much is too much.”
Dead and Gone, p. 291

Sookie trusts Eric not to go against her wishes and compromise in his favour – she even tells Amelia to butt out when Amelia points out that you can be turned by accident. So Sookie trusts Eric’s decision there far more than she does Amelia. Since this is the most vampire blood Sookie’s ever had, I think it shows that she trusts Eric to do it – and it’s not as if she refuses his blood even after this monumental dosage. And Sookie knows that Eric wants her to turn – he’s been explicitly clear about wanting Sookie to be a vampire, and what a decent one she’d make. So the trust exists, but it’s also weighted with the knowledge of who he is and what demands his life has – the true knowledge of what Eric will and won’t do.

Of course, that also includes Sookie knowing that if she wants to be with Eric, that there’s a whole heap of stuff that she’ll have to give up. Eric might have to give up not being with Sookie forever and always, but that doesn’t mean that Sookie isn’t giving up a whole heap of stuff:

I’m not a saint. I thought of how wonderful it would be to be with a man who could go shopping with me in the daytime, a man I could have a baby with, a man who knew how to treat a woman well. But even if I decided I wanted to leave Eric, Eric would always be sure, through his vampire contacts, that Quinn paid and paid and paid.
Small Town Wedding, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 109

Sookie is under no illusions just how much she’ll have to give up, if she stays with Eric, or if she leaves him. There’s this weird perception that I’ve read a few times – that Eric is giving up just as much, but he’s not really. He had children. He had a woman he could be with in the daytime – right before he died. Sookie will never have that taste of normality that Eric once had. Eric knows what it’s like to be well-loved and popular when he was human. I’m not one hundred percent clear on what Eric’s giving up to be with Sookie, other than he knows she won’t survive forever. But I don’t see that as a guarantee anyway – because as Sookie points out in the novella Small Town Wedding, every single member of her family but Jason has all been murdered, and Sookie herself doubts getting to her fortieth birthday.

Looking at Eric’s “safe” life, with all the assassins, I don’t buy the argument that Eric is losing the ability to have a wife forever. I don’t know what books these people are reading when they act as if immortality is a promise you get – it’s what you make of it. And since Sookie has had to actually save Eric’s life twice already (with stuff only a human could do to save him) then I don’t see where vamping it up gives anyone a guarantee of survival, not even Eric. Not to mention, that while Sookie will have to give up any semblance of a normal relationship, Eric can’t have everything his way. Remember – the right to things stops when it impacts others – the essence of respect and compromise.

Of course, as much as Sookie loves the sunlight and being human, Eric loves stuff about himself:

Eric loves being a vampire. He loves it more than anything.‚ÄĚ
Maybe more than he loves me, I thought, surprising myself.

Small Town Wedding, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p.65

Both of them love the conditions of what they are. It’s not all upsides, but it doesn’t change the fact that as much as Sookie loves daylight, Eric loves drinking blood and fighting. Yet another commonality they have – that they love what they are.

Most of these are just the big issues when it comes to Sookie and Eric – and I’ve ignored a lot of their simple commonalities. The fact that Eric says more than once he hates computers, and according to The Secret Dialogues of Bill and Eric, even emails in shouty caps; coupled with Sookie who knows so little about the possibilities, when she stole Bill’s database disk in Dead in the Family, she ducked down just in case the disk blew up on her. They share a sense of humour, they share a love of adventure and such. There’s also their identical appearance to deal with racial issues, and a whole heap of other themes in the text itself – like age differences, family loyalty, racial loyalty and all the other themes where they find common bonds, as well as a lot of other posts I’ve written on their mutual understanding.

In fact, they understand each other so well, that they can have a whole collection of interactions without dialogue:

He raised blond eyebrows, as if to say, “Can I go on and get to the point?
Or are you going to give me grief?”
I spread my hands: “Keep on going.”

Dead in the Family, p. 154

That’s just the most obvious and spelled out – but there’s times like when Eric squeezes Sookie hand in Dead to the World, to show he wants her to ask about the witches; when he catches her eyes while staked in Club Dead to let her know to go along with his lies; when Sookie lays her hand on Eric’s arm in Dracula Night – all of these are just a selection of the huge amount of deep and unspoken dialogue that she has with Eric.

So there you have it – that’s my reasoning when it comes to why Eric is HEA. I can see why it’s difficult for some readers to see it the same way I do, merely because much of fanfic is spent ironing out Eric’s faults as if they don’t exist, while bashing the living shit out of Sookie’s character for having the exact same faults. For me, it’s a happily ever after not because Eric is the richest, best looking, most perfect suitor, but that when it comes to the things they enjoy, they get along, and when it comes to their faults, they match up as well. When it comes to Eric and Sookie, they are peas in a pod – not only the good things that they have in common, but their faults also match up pretty perfectly as well.