Life and Death

Okay, so this one is another request number…well kind of. I would have gotten around to it, but it was hummingbirds2 who pushed it up the schedule, and it was a top scorer on the poll early on, so I went straight to work on it some more. I’m still reading the poll for what’s next, so don’t lose heart. One of the things I like about request numbers is the fact that they come with questions. I find it difficult sometimes to put in my holistic view of the books – so questions give me focus on what everyone else might want to know.

Firstly, I’m going to deal with Niall’s plan and the spectre of Gift Wrap, which was one of the questionsIt’s one of focus of a tenacious conspiracy theory because CH said:

I wrote the story to let the reader know something important about Niall.
The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 213

For some reason, the rather bizarre phenomenon of “fairy breeding program” was built up around one night of sex. It even made it into True Blood mythology as a spoiler that was wrong. For those of you who haven’t heard the theory, the idea is that Preston was sent to Sookie to get her pregnant with fairy DNA, with a variety of outcomes. Sometimes it’s so that Niall can harvest telepaths from Sookie. Sometimes it’s a wedding gift for Eric and Sookie, and if Eric Renfields Sookie enough, the baby will magically be his; sometimes it’s so that some human with a dab of fairy can reinvigorate a dying race – buggered if I know how that can be achieved with human/fairy hybrids, but that’s the theory. Usually all the outcomes involve babies as a gift or a pawn for Niall and Eric. Sookie is just the vehicle for the men – she gets to snuggle babies until Eric comes and swoops them up for an extended scene of him changing nappies and trying to lactate, and then dog in a handbag time.

I hate to break it to people but “fairy breeding programs” have to have some sort of program about them. They can’t be one awesome night never to be repeated:

It was wonderful, if you like humans. But Niall said no further contact, and his word is law.
Gift Wrap, A Touch of Dead, p. 191

Most people try for more than one night to have babies, rather than get pregnant the first night. Even if you thought you were the most fertile couple in the world, you wouldn’t give it one night and call it a “program” of baby making. Nor, if you had a program, would you actually allocate one night to do the deed. That’s a pretty crap program.

What CH is trying to convey is Niall’s mindset. That’s the important thing. When understanding Niall’s motivations, Gift Wrap tells us the following:

1. Niall is high handed in a way Eric has only to dream about

Niall decided all on his own to orchestrate a situation wherein Sookie was having sex, even if it included a little bit of magic to “get the attraction started”. Niall thought this would do Sookie some good, and be a nice unique present he could arrange, so he just went ahead and made the decision that she’d have that present, come hell or high water.

When looking at what he did during the fairy war, that sheds light on what the hell Niall was thinking. Niall never gave Sookie specific warnings, or told her what kinds of danger there were, even though Claude and Claudine knew enough to tell Sookie about the spectre of Lochlan and Neave, and to run if she saw other fairies. If left up to Niall, he would have handled it all himself, and Sookie would have been far more vulnerable without the help of the twins.

Niall has done this before, of course – like Eric, his love and interest in Sookie means that Sookie pays a price:

“So in wanting to meet me, he almost caused my death.”
From Dead to Worse, p. 119

Niall didn’t run it past Sookie if that was okay – he didn’t even tell her why she was coming to see him. Sookie was given absolutely no choice if she wanted to risk herself for family. Considering it lead to her getting tortured, then I think that this is something that Niall really should have asked about. Even though he chose to do all this through Eric, it can’t be denied that he knew that one of those dangers was Neave and Lochlan – whom he knew at the time had murdered Sookie’s parents.

It also shows us why the hell Fintan kept his father away from his children. Even though Fintan was alive when Sookie’s parents were killed, Fintan was hands off. He didn’t interfere in the fates of his children and grandchildren. Niall is the type to do what he thinks is best, even if it involves magic to get you to do what he wants and what he thinks will make someone happy.

This is a consistent theme with fairies – doing things that might be making someone happy, but aren’t necessarily good for them. Sookie notes that about fairies:

“Fairies’ll do what they think will make the child happy, or will benefit the
child, rather than what a Christian adult would do.”

Dead Reckoning, p. 47

Niall didn’t think about the Preston situation in the context of how Sookie would feel if she knew her grandfather had bribed a man to have sex with her on Christmas. He did it to make Sookie happy – and that was the end of his thinking. Just like he didn’t tell her about the Fae war because it would make her unhappy. It’s not about what’s good for you – it’s simply about being happy. As I pointed out before, I believe Niall is so ready to make Sookie happy that that’s the currency Claude is trading in to get Niall to reopen the portals.

Consider – it would make a person happy if all they did was indulge themselves all their lives – but that doesn’t make it a good idea for the person to take up “The All-Chocolate Diet”. In the case of Preston, Niall knew it would make her unhappy to find out about the arrangement, so he kept it secret. He knew a few orgasms would make Sookie happy, so that’s what he gave her. The import of it had little or nothing to do with a lame breeding program-that’s-not-a-program and all about taking “high-handed” to a new level.

2. Niall is not Christian, and doesn’t have a human mindset.

Most of the outrage around the Preston incident was all about how Niall gave Sookie a dick in a box for her Christmas present. Ignoring the willingness issue, and the magic issue, this shows how much readers are set in what is undoubtedly the mindset of Christianity or patriarchy – take your pick. Preserving purity, and thus being able to tell way before DNA tests were invented whether you are the Dad is important in patriarchal societies, and in Christian societies. If a woman isn’t a virgin, and she’s been with other men, then maybe her baby isn’t yours.

As we can see from Claudine – this is not in any way important to fairies. Claudine is no virgin, she’s not married when she’s pregnant, and has no long term relationship with Colman:

“Did you date for a while?”
Claudine laughed. “I knew it was my fertile time. I knew he was a fertile male;
we were not too closely related. We found each other desirable.”

Dead and Gone, p. 287

This is no tale of how Claudine will be with Colman forever. It’s an act in getting pregnant, and having some fun along the way. Colman may have come to hunt Sookie down, but from the way Claudine spoke about it, it was no love of the ages. Colman may have been fond of Claudine (Claude’s words), but the first words out of his mouth were about his child, not about Claudine. Claudine for her part doesn’t wax lyrical about how much she found her one true love, and they’re having a baby together.

Not having a Christian morality might seem like no big deal nowadays – many people don’t. But the truth is a lot of stuff is steeped in Christian reasoning, without modern people really thinking about it. Most of the guilt connected to sex for example, comes from Augustine of Hippo (One of Mr. Minty’s favoured subject of study is Christian ascetics – I swear, if I have to hear about how awesome they were to stand on a pole in the desert for 20 years, I’ll….I don’t know what…talk about crime until he’s bored shitless) who believed that lust and spirituality were oppositional. Jerome is another Church father who influenced people greatly – saying straight out that all sex is bad unless it’s for the purposes of procreation – leading to the attitudes of “lying back and thinking of England” and a woman’s duty to her husband.

Modesty is another one that comes from Christianity – check out public unisex toilets in ancient Rome. Romans used those toilets to bend the ear of a captive audience – after all, if you cornered some influential guy, you know he’s not going anywhere, and you can talk to him while he takes a dump. Christianity and the idea of modesty is why your house has more than one bedroom (if you have kids or roommates). Viking longhouses were just that – one long house with no walls between where you sleep and fuck, and where you eat dinner. Think about – no guilt to do with having sex, and a limited idea of modesty. Why would you have a main bedroom with a lockable door? Not only that, but if you saw two men grabbing each other in the nude, you wouldn’t leap to the conclusion that they’re wrestling, right? Naked men do not lay their naked bodies against each other nowadays without getting labelled as gay, and they don’t do it in front of a crowd at the Olympics.

These things are all Christian morals filtered down even if you’re not Christian – and where Christianity colonised, it took them with and judged the native inhabitants hard until they started complying. So someone raised in a modern agnostic or atheistic house still has Christian values, even though they haven’t been raised in the faith. It is the rare person who can throw off all those things, and even if they do, social pressure will install them anyway, or punish the person for not having them – these values of modesty are enshrined in our laws.  A modern atheist just doesn’t celebrate Christmas – they don’t actually throw off Christian values in toto. Where Christianity failed to have an impact, there’s usually some big Abrahamic religious influence – both Islam and Judaism have similar values because they’re all ultimately based on the same strand of common religion. I’m using Christianity in this because Sookie is Christian, and the Christians were the great colonisers of the Western world.

Niall hasn’t ever lived in this world, and only has a nominal understanding – but much like an anthropologist’s type of view. He understands it exists, but he doesn’t really understand why it’s bad. He doesn’t feel why it’s bad. Think about logically how you would explain your own need not to go to the toilet in front of strangers of the opposite sex, giggle/worry seeing two naked men pressed against each other publicly or have sex where children would know about it – and why that’s bad – without any ideas about cleanliness or modesty. Got it? That’s what Niall can’t understand because he wasn’t born in a world that thinks that way and isn’t always here.

Someone who has never been Christian and has been brought up in a different world where there are no influences of Christianity is vastly different – completely alien to our mindsets. If Eric’s values seem a little weird – and I think that most people think that they are because they change them in fanfic – then consider someone who’s spent not all his time in this world. Eric at least has lived in a world where Christian values are relatively constant at all times – even if he wasn’t born to them, he understands how those values work. Niall doesn’t think much of them to the point that he’d break them without thought for how that would seem to a Christian.

3. Niall has been watching Sookie for a long time

Gift Wrap helped me understand when Niall came in on the timeline – as in when he was around Sookie – and the things he mentions are things that can be grounded in the books:

She’s not speaking to her brother, so he was the one who ‘loaned out’ her woods.
She loves to help people, so I was ‘hurt’; she loves to protect people, so I was
‘hunted’. She hadn’t had sex in a long time, so I seduced her.

Gift Wrap, A Touch of Dead, p. 191

Consider how damn similar the Preston episode is to Sookie finding Eric on the road. Claudine probably would have told Niall about how Sookie came to pick up Eric, but Niall has sources like Terry to fill in the rest. In the time between the start and end of From Dead to Worse, which is when we know Niall actually knew Sookie, there’s no indication that helping and protecting people is a long term trend. This is what clued me into the fact that Niall watched Sookie – or gathered intel on Sookie – for a long time. The fact that there’s a portal in her woods right next to her house – well, it would have made it all easier.

So Gift Wrap has been dumbed down in the eyes of fans because they leapt to the same conclusions they usually do – it has something to do with sex. Things would be so much easier if peeps didn’t automatically default to looking for an elaborate explanation that has to do with babies, rather than looking past that and then what can happen if you don’t get pregnant.  The story itself gives a lot of backstory as to why it was that Niall kept Sookie in the dark, and where his moral reasoning comes from.

Does Sookie remember?

This is the other important thing that people ask all the time – what Sookie remembers. According to CH, Sookie doesn’t really remember Preston’s visit. This is also made clear (or not so clear to some) in the text:

Once again, something stirred in the back of my head, a memory that wasn’t a memory. Something to do with the woods . . . with a hurt man in the woods. I shook my head to rid myself of the haziness, and I realized I couldn’t hear any voices. 
Dead in the Family, p.  143

This is not Sookie being silly – this is magic Niall cast on her so that she wouldn’t really remember it. Sookie may or may not throw off that magic completely (just like she did regrettably with Neave and Lochlan) but that doesn’t mean that it’s altogether significant. All of the other short stories but Dracula Night were referenced in Dead in the Family, I think because A Touch of Dead was released. CH learned her lesson when people didn’t understand the jump between Dead as a Doornail and Definitely Dead – because a whole heap of people hadn’t read One Word Answer. But to show you that the Preston reminder may not have impact, here’s the other short story references in Dead in the Family now that CH considers them available knowledge to most fans:

Fairy Dust reference:
Our sister, Claudette, appeared to me, since I was older than her by a minute.
Dead in the Family, p. 57

One Word Answer reference:
He might have said, “the bisexual” or “the one the albino,
Waldo killed in the cemetery in New Orleans.”

Dead in the Family, p. 132

Lucky reference:
His daughter turned red when I looked at her, because I knew a few things
about her that made her conscience twinge.
(about Greg Aubert’s daughter)
Dead in the Family, p. 263

All of these references shows me that CH now considers that since A Touch of Dead is released that this is knowledge available to readers should they purchase the book. I know I switched to the book version rather than the electronic version when it came out – so I don’t see the fact that Sookie’s remembering Preston as a segue into a new plot leading to its reveal.

Now, one of the other things I think I should deal with is that CH didn’t go for the fairies so prevalent in most romance genre books. I don’t find her fairies disappointing or upsetting – because they’re the sort of fairies I’m used to, being a horror/fantasy reader. They are the grotesque fairy archetype. You can find them in Christina Rossetti’s The Goblin Market, and in Celtic mythology, with things like the  Tuatha Dé Danann. You can find the Celtic idea of fairies in The Mabinogion too.  I’ve read grotesque fairies for a while now in Kim Wilkins, James Herbert, Phil Rickman and Graham Masterton. They’re basically tricksters, who are sometimes beautiful but always violent instead of gentle beings who occasionally sparkle and try to be good citizens.

I think a lot of confusion with how to read fairies comes from the fact that there are romance readers in the urban fantasy pool.  I notice because in fanfic, Niall and company tend to have Arthurian mansions, and servants, and behave. That’s the romantic archetype of fairies. They don’t belong in CH’s books. These fairies live in a world where there’s a recognised process for making letters out of the skin of your enemies, and it doesn’t horrify Claude in the slightest, and he doesn’t think it’s incredibly unusual. Even Eric says:

They’re lovely, male and female both. Incredibly tough and ferocious.
From Dead to Worse, p. 71

If Eric thinks they’re tough and ferocious, then they’re pretty tough and ferocious. That doesn’t mean unassailable – but considering the “mercy” Niall and other fairies showed each other and Sookie, one can see that they’re pretty tough and ferocious. It’s a disjunctive idea that Niall would make paper out of another fairy, but then sit around in his parlour drinking elixir and having extensive gardens. They’re a dying race, and those who are left are “determined survivors”, not “avid gardeners”.

I should also point out that Claudine is not representative of fairies. She’s nice to Sookie, but that doesn’t mean that all fairies are gentle at all times. Claude says:

“I’ve seen a decapitated goblin stick its tongue out at her in its death throes, and
she laughed. But as she gets closer to the light, she becomes more sensitive.”

Dead as a Doornail, p. 280

Becoming an angel has affected Claudine – made her tender-hearted. That makes her different from all the other fairies, because she’s the one trying to be an angel. She’s made a choice to change how she is, and thus, Claudine being calm and gentle means little in the context of other Fae. Dermot had no problems with hunting down Kelvin and Hod. Nor was Claudine universally just a sweetheart, and only a sweetheart:

Claudine looked formidable: not sweet, not dotty.
“If you can dodge us for a year, you can live.”

Fairy Dust, A Touch of Dead, p. 34

Claudine intends to go on a hunt for a human. Presumably after that, she would cut off the human Rita’s head and take it as a trophy. In a world where there are established rites for hunting those you have a grudge against, and hunting them for a whole year, then that gives an exemplar of exactly how brutal the fae world is. In fact, some of the things from fairies in the books remind me of the Mabinogion – particularly in the story of Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed. In that, there is a hunt, there are hounds (like the snarling Sookie hears in the portal eating dead Sandra) and there’s Pwyll looking like another person and taking his place, for the duration of a year.  CH didn’t copy the stories, but she definitely used that mythology for inspiration.

Niall is Prince of these beings – it might be easy to stay Prince of a bunch of fairytale romance fairies who all have plenty of resources, and are prone to just being cordial friends with each other; but Niall is Prince of grotesque horror fairies. That means that if they are tough and ferocious, he is more-so. Sookie tells us that:

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

While he’s kind to Sookie, or loving to Sookie, he’s a formidable enemy. He’s not someone to be trifled with. He even offered to kill Eric and end the bond. Before there’s bawwing in the comments, Eric freely admits Niall would be the first one he killed in the event of a war with the fairies too, because he’s very magical.

Which brings me to the whole issue of magic. I’ve been thinking a lot about it, because that was one of the questions hummingbirds2 asked, or specifically, what I think she was asking about, as I worked it round in my head. But it was my lovely anon poster here who gave me the breakthrough – thank you anon! So first I’m going to set up the bits of canon that caught my attention, and how I came to my conclusions.

Now, in the books, there’s fairies and vampires – and I’m talking here of Fairies, not the Fae (which encompasses all the rest of the supes we see – from Mr. Cataliades to Mr. Hob to the elves etc.). Fairies and vampires are attracted to each other, but they go to war, and vampires eat fairies. Fairies in turn love the smell of vampire – Sookie and Claude mention loving the smell of vampire, and Eric and Pam mention loving the smell of fairies, of course. But they are dangerous to each other. It’s my belief that fairies are basically the magical essence (or represent that) of life. It’s based on in part, this quote:

He just seemed to have an extra helping of vigor and vitality, and it was returning
with a boom now that the misery of his wife’s death was fading. This was his
manifestation of the fairy blood in his veins.

Dead in the Family, p. 168

So it seems that Jason’s manifestation of fairy blood is extra life – and this is what attracts the ladies – the vitality or life that he has – the extra bit of life. This is furthered by the vampire fascination with them – vampires at their heart have always been dead things that leech life off others. They do that in the form of blood, and the vampires in CH’s books are clearly dead. They die and turn into a vampire – but they have to die first. I know that there’s a certain contingent who want to hide the fact that vampires are dead because dead things are icky, and have a go at Sookie whenever she mentions having to die to become a vampire for the huge insult. Except that’s what vampires say they are:

“I’ve been dead for a few hundred years. I am used to it.”
Living Dead in Dallas, p. 212

Apart from the fact that all the books have “Dead” in the title, there’s also the fact that Eric himself says he’s dead. He’s a dead body transformed and reanimated. All this “he’s not dead he’s turned” crap ranted at Sookie for using the word “dead” is just that – crap. Vampires are dead things. They call themselves dead. It’s not an insult – it’s called being accurate. They are dead, but they’re animated by something else:

Since it’s magic that animates vampires, not normal life force, their brains don’t fire.
Dead to the World, p. 59

Of course, this is what also makes the vampires freak out about the demands of witches – as Pam says:

They control magical forces, and our existence itself is rooted in magic.
Dead to the World, p. 41

Now, the vampires aren’t only animated by just magic – they need blood all the time to keep that magic going, and blood is life force. When looking at what is at the root of fairy existence, we have this from Eric:

“And they are very magical. It’s their essence.”
From Dead to Worse, p. 71

Combined by the fact that Jason manifests vitality, and the fact that magic is the essence of fairies, and magic animates vampires, I’m inclined to believe that CH has set it up so that they’re two opposing forces. Life and death go together – but only parallel. If life and death meet, one loses – so see how that symbolism comes out with vampires and fairies – they’re drawn to each other, but putting them in the same room goes badly for one or the other.

Based also on the Fae War, I’m inclined to believe that fairies are life force magic. After all, part of the reason for the war itself was the idea that when you make new half-breed fairies, you lose some magic:

He believes every time one of us mates with a human, we lose some of our magic.
Dead and Gone, p. 144

The water fairies seem to resent that loss – they think that making humans steals their magic – and they believe that that has lead to the fairies dying out, because they’ve given their magic to humans. So the fairies seem to correlate life with their magic. They also want to close the portals, possibly to stop the exchange of energy between the human world and the Fae world. Breandan might not be right about why the fairies are dying off – but the connection exists in their minds. Niall just doesn’t believe the way Breandan does. In fact, it seems that fairies absorb energy back off humans:

“They give off so much energy, so much delicious emotion. They’re simply…fun.”
Dead and Gone, p. 288

This is Claudine talking about how wonderful humans are, and what fairies get out of being with them. So there seems to be an exchange. Fairies use touch to exchange energy with humans and with other fairies. When Sookie is upset, Claude and Dermot take her off to sleep in the same bed, and Sookie often notices that fairies are very touch oriented:

“…But now I can see you and touch you.” Which incidentally, Niall was doing in a way that wasn’t exactly human: if his hand wasn’t holding mine, it was placed flat against my shoulder, or my back. This wasn’t exactly the way humans related, but it wasn’t hurting me. I wasn’t as freaked out as I might have been, since I’d noticed Claudine was very touchy-feely, too. 
From Dead to Worse, p. 66

In this case, Sookie says that she’s exhausted after the dinner with her grandfather, so it seems that not only was he exposing her to his essence – which she saw for a split second – but he was also exchanging energy with her:

I didn’t realize how nerve-wracking my dinner with Niall had been until I was out of his presence. 
From Dead to Worse, p. 70

It’s my thought that he influenced Sookie to keep calm while he was with her, just as he influenced all the other humans with his “Don’t look” magic. But I think in the case of Sookie, Niall was keeping her in particular aware of him, and keeping her calm – influencing her and making sure she didn’t freak out. And this is where anon’s question influenced me – the significance of touch. A synapse fired off like a cannon when I read this:

“It’s touch, mostly. I mean, I don’t have visions when I’m driving or anything like that.”
If I Had A Hammer, Home Improvement, p. 31

This is Quiana, the psychic, and her talent works by touch. Sookie’s telepathy is also made clear by touch. So fairies touching Sookie is all about the transmission of their particular gifts, and making sure that they can use their magic to influence the situation.  Bellenos is also wary of Sookie with all her skin bared – and put off by it.

The other part that occurred to me too is that vampires don’t shake hands – it’s vampire etiquette. Now, I thought for a bit about that. Vampires can’t catch diseases, so it’s not a cleanliness thing. And I thought at first that maybe they did that because they’re dead and cold, and don’t shake hands because pre-Revelation, it would reveal them. Except that all you have to say is “Sorry I don’t shake” and people can’t force you – and vampires have glamour. Vampires are out now, and don’t shake even though it would be fine to take on a small human thing like a handshake. But they don’t – they just stare at you when you offer your hand. But it occurred to me – if they are animated by magic, perhaps the power of touch is at the heart of why they don’t shake hands. Eric nods at Niall – leaving him free of magical influence.

We have evidence too that offering a handshake is significant for fairies – for the value of touch:

“A pleasure,” I said. I extended my hand. With some surprise, he took it and shook.
He looked at his sister. “She’s a trusting one.”
“Humans,” Claudine said, and shrugged.

Fairy Dust, A Touch of Dead, p. 10

Saying that she’s a trusting one – well, not shaking hands with a fairy wouldn’t stop them from killing you – so that type of trust is irrelevant. But you’re offering your hand for their magical influence – and that would require more trust – trust that they won’t use their magic on you. Sookie doesn’t know what she’s doing – because neither vampires nor fairies have explained it to her. Touch is the way they transmit magic. So that nicely explains why it was that Sookie and Claude were able to break Dermot’s curse with touch – a kiss on the cheek. It’s possible that Niall put a rider into the spell to free Dermot should his family accept him as well – and a kiss is accepting Dermot.

But there’s more to fairy magic – because it goes further than just touch transmitting magic – we also have breath:

Dermot laughed, put his hands on my shoulders, and kissed me. My heart leaped
in shock, but I recognized the stance. He was breathing into me.

Dead Reckoning, p. 244

Dermot was healed by Bellenos’ breath. And here Dermot is breathing into Sookie – sharing some of his breath with her. I have a feeling that that’s a bigger dose of fairy magic. Perhaps – the breath of life. We have evidence that breath is withheld too:

He seemed to hold his breath while I did so, and his skin felt soft and lustrous
as a silky plum under my lips. 

From Dead to Worse, p. 70

It’s possible that Niall held his breath because it has a larger effect – and it’s not clear what that effect is. It’s also possible that breath played a part in curing Dermot of the curse. I haven’t really pinned down for sure why breath is so different – why it heals, and why Niall held his breath. I think it’s a bigger dose of fairy magic – sharing your life force – but fairies are twisty and secretive, and they don’t tell Sookie things.

The last question was about the spark. Now again, we know little about the spark from the fairy perspective, and what makes it so attractive to them – but I’m inclined (and this is one degree) to think that the essential spark appeals to fairies because it’s a spark of a little extra life. Mr. Cataliades can only pass his telepathy gift onto those with the essential spark. The essential spark is relatively rare too:

“Fintan loved humans, and he especially loved human women, and he even more greatly loved human women with the essential spark. They aren’t easy to find.”
Dead Reckoning, p. 313

As Claudine mentions above, humans are fun – they give off energy. Fintan also loves humans, but his favourite type of human is one with the essential spark. When I was looking for another quote, I also found this:

“But she is not quite gone. There is a spark.”
Living Dead in Dallas, p. 212

So vampires can only be made when there is a little spark of life in a dying human. Bill seems to confirm that too – that it’s that little bit of life – the last dregs that allows the change into a vampire. But that’s what makes me inclined to think that the spark is that extra bit of life. Sookie has her human life, plus a little bit extra – generating more of that delicious energy output.

And the final point that I’d like to make – when considering Niall’s actions towards Sookie. No, I don’t believe he has some dastardly fairy breeding program – he makes his motivation for meeting her clear, in all its high handed and dangerous glory:

“I imagined I only wanted to meet you before they succeeded in killing me, and I
arranged it through the vampire to make my movements less noticeable,
but in arranging that meeting I’ve drawn you into danger.

Dead and Gone, p. 157

Niall’s want to meet Sookie was because he thought that Breandan was going to win. This is perhaps his motivation for not sharing breath with her – he wanted to keep that last gasp for himself, to stay alive. But I don’t think he has bad intentions per say, but rather he is thinking emotionally, as he often seems to. So I don’t think Niall is going to turn out to be one big betrayer who’s using Sookie for gain – he just wanted to meet the only great-grandchild he valued before his enemies killed him. He’s thinking about the last bit of his life as he wants to live it before his death.