Ack! There’s a Deader in my Hair!

I got bored again. AGAIN. If you had hopes I would choose a theme and stick with it – no dice. That’s not how I roll. ūüėÄ Hopefully this is good on the eyes, but I would appreciate my peeps telling me, since I have good eyesight. It is no hassle – I keep things in layers, so if it needs to be lighter etc., just tell me, and it’ll be the work of a couple of seconds.¬† In other relevant news, for those of you who wanted to¬†read my fanfic complaints, with bonus one weird PMR brain thing that isn’t complaint,¬†click on the links for depiction in imagery. Also, macros.

Right now, as I’m starting this post off, it’s pure wild speculation. One of the reasons I started an LJ was not to actually have people read it, believe it or not. I didn’t start tweeting the link until Thyra asked me to do that for her – being that she didn’t have an LJ at the time. It seems she can talk me into just about anything, because she’s the reason I wrote fanfic, and the reason why I pimp this against my nature. I hate pimping things. So this journal started as me yelling into the abyss, which is why I never mind if no one comments.

I actually find that my thoughts clarify when I put them down. Writing these posts makes me work through each issue and have a connection between each issue. Normally when I write, I have a rather nebulous idea in my head about what I think, and it’s only putting it down that solidifies it, or changes it, or gives me new answers. I usually have a core theme I want to relate, and then as I’m writing, I remember this bit or that bit, and it suddenly becomes more sure or I discard the¬†idea altogether. And I try to keep non-serious stuff off my PC for the most part – so serious stuff doesn’t get mixed with past time stuff – so uploading is my solution.

By that same token, part of the reason¬†I read fanfic is because I don’t like the forums in the fandom for the most part, and the ones I do like tend not to be big discussion sites on the books. Fanfic is a way to source the ideas of other fans without actually interacting with the person¬†forum style.¬†This LJ was then a way to vent about the stuff I thought, while reading fanfic. I can read about the fairy breeding program, and see what that person thinks about that theory with the way that they write a story about it. Each fairy breeding program fic offers a slightly different view – and after reading three years worth of every permutation of the theory, it’s easy to see that theory from all angles of exploration, and in my case, disagree with it. It’s essentially not so different from the ways that people propose theories on forums, although it takes longer, and has more boning in it.

But the forums in this fandom aren’t for me – they have a lot of Sookie hate and Eric adoration. So I don’t like to interact with people on them because of Surprise!Sookie hate, or Surprise!CH hate, which I trample on¬†people for¬†here. At least in fanfic, I only have to read it, and usually come here to complain about it bitterly. Nowadays it has more disclaimers to save myself saying stuff in comments, but that’s the only difference. I’m certainly not any nicer than when I was talking to me – and I’m not here to write little fairytales of no use. To be honest, Eric adoration is of little actual use in understanding the character, and that’s what I try to do – not minimise his faults – but understand his character. If I were to minimise those faults and deify him, then I would just end up thinking that he was ready to propose marriage to¬†Sookie in a heartbeat – and been raging along with everyone else for the last three books.

Most of the things I write here is me building the world in my head when I’m trying to figure it out. So in order to anticipate what characters are going to do, I need to get a feel for their predictability and likely behaviour. That’s why I have quotes – because those bits of character are based on canon evidence. That means that I work stuff out through logic, and the logic comes directly from that quote – that’s one degree. You can see the strings as such, and understand the thought process of arriving at a conclusion.

One of the things I don’t tend to do very often is propose wild speculation. This post started out that way. It could all be wrong. I usually don’t write out speculation because really, I argue with enough people in the comments about stuff I can back up with quotes, without actually creating issues for myself by putting wild speculation out there.

Not to mention that when it comes down to it, I’m not really interested in if anyone else agrees with me, or wants me to prove stuff – I think about this stuff for me, and write it down here for me.¬†If someone wants to help me figure it out, then they can – and I appreciate those who help me with that – my regular commenters, who are probably spoiler junkies too.¬†But, in my experience, publishing speculation¬†usually leads to it coming back to bite you in the arse later, because someone will use it as “proof” you didn’t know what you were talking about with the new book¬†before you actually read it.¬†So I’m not looking forward to someone wanting me to defend this post in light of a new book. But this one I want to work through, and since I’m writing it, I’ll publish it. It just doesn’t happen to come from a place of one degree. Again SPECULATING.

But enough for the rather substantial disclaimer. Proceed at your own risk. So for this particular post, we’re going on the scenic route. Bring water or coffee to get you through. I was thinking mainly about this quote in the new excerpt:

“….though we got a deader hanging around at the Hair, lately.”
Deadlocked Excerpt, p. 14

So, I was thinking about the significance of that. Why would Mustapha mention a vampire hanging around at the Hair of the Dog? I mean, there’s no ban, obviously, but I’m not sure why a vampire would want to hang around with werewolves. After all, Alcide doesn’t hang around Fangtasia, and despite what’s in fanfic, he doesn’t have much respect for vampires. Sure, he’ll deal with Eric if he has to, and he’ll use Eric as surely as Eric will use him, but Alcide is his own power base without Eric. Eric’s not welcome at pack meetings, and Alcide isn’t at vampire meetings. The weres didn’t ask the vampires if it was okay to leave the closet either.

It’s made clear through Jake Purifoy that weres and vampires don’t get along so well. Jake Purifoy doesn’t like being a vampire so much he goes out in a blaze of glory, plotting with the Fellowship to get himself killed and take out all the vampires with him. It’s not like Twilight – there’s no wet dog smell that the vampires go on (and on) about. Pam has fed on both Jason (in Dead in the Family) and Mustapha (in Dead Reckoning) without arcing up about the disgusting smell – and Alexei and Appius eyed Jason with interest. Eric has a Were as his day man, and if they smelled disgusting, there would be no Were day man. They band together occasionally, but that’s for specific reasons:

The supernatural community seems to band together against humans, but
other than that, you guys squabble a lot, at least as far as I can tell.

Dead to the World, p. 187

They’ll band together against humans, but generally, they don’t co-operate with each other. It’s not over something as trivially stupid as a smell though – it’s over politics and wrestling for their own interests and control. If it came down to smell, and smell alone, then that would make both vampires and weres incredibly shallow and stupid. Like I said – TWILIGHT. I’m just lucky I made Mr. Minty watch the second movie and snark to me – otherwise I would have been eternally perplexed over which fanfic writer thought up such a stupid idea and why so many others ran with it as if it made sense. Supes in CH’s books aren’t so silly, and squabble over important things like political gain and gambling debts. Like humans do.

Alcide generally isn’t at Eric’s beck and call, and Eric generally isn’t at Alcide’s beck and call. And fairies generally think¬†vampires and weres are a bit sucky,¬†but¬†although Niall respects the panthers, they don’t trust fairies. So a vampire going to the Hair of the¬†Dog is a little suss. There has to be a reason for that – and a reason it’s mentioned to Sookie. CH wastes few words. Since I missed the Bubba-key-to-killing-Victor clues last time, and the veil Pam was wearing in DAG, this time, it’s no stone unturned. Although, CH could still blindside me, because Sookie is a lateral thinker and I am not.

When it comes to a vampire being in the Hair of the Dog, I think back to all the other times the Hair has come into the narrative. Now one of those times was when Quinn took Sookie to the Hair. While they were discussing it with Mr. Cataliades, Bill said:

Quinn might know there’s a rebellion fomenting against Furnan already. He’s added fuel to it by letting the revels know that Furnan is trying to kill a friend of the pack.
Definitely Dead, p. 148

Obviously, that’s where Alcide’s friends prefer to drink, and that’s where Mustapha likes to drink. He says that he’s trying to get the smell of vampire out of his nose, and I believe him. If he was there for nefarious reasons, Mustapha is absolutely shit at this to mention it to Eric’s wife. I don’t think there are all that many places to socialise with weres, so why not a bar in Shreveport? Makes sense to me. Jannalynn manages the bar, so she’s there as well. So any vampire in the Hair is going to have information from inside the pack, high up¬†in the Pack thanks to Jannalynn and Alcide, all those in favour with the Packmaster and possibly information on Eric, because his day man drinks there.

I should say at first – vampires spy on each other. It is entirely possible that the vampire is a spy for Eric. Somehow though, I don’t envision Eric being so damn blunt. He’s asked Sookie to read Mustapha, so he doesn’t quite trust him, but other than that, I can’t see Eric outright putting someone in the bar who’s so damn obvious. Because Mustapha wouldn’t open his mouth about Eric with a vampire in the room. Particularly when Eric could pay a desperate were like Basim to actually spy for him without Mustapha knowing. He can’t send a plain old human – one of the key problems with that is that humans can’t enter the Hair of the Dog very easily unless they’re witches too¬†– not even telepathic humans with a dash of Fae flavourings:

The Hair of the Dog had been warded. Someone had paid a very good witch a handsome amount of money to surround the door with a go-away spell. I fought not to give in to a compulsion to turn and walk in another direction, any other direction.
Definitely Dead, p. 109

Eric could always pay another were for the information, but he could also trying to be obvious – a message to Mustapha to keep his mouth shut. Nothing says that like a vampire looking over your shoulder. It’s hard to tell, because Eric is one of those characters known for “vampire political contortions” as Sookie says so eloquently. But I’m going to go on the theory that Eric didn’t send the vampire. Because otherwise, the post is over before it finishes, and I have some edges I wanna work out, even if bits are wrong.

It’s entirely possible though – since vampires do spy on each other, that this is a rival vampire spying on the Area for various information.¬† We’ll get to what sorts of information they might be looking for – the various motives for spying as it were.¬†I don’t think a vampire just chooses to drink in that bar, and just being there would put the weres on notice not to discuss vampire business they don’t want getting back to vampires. Or it should. Weres are less cerebral and crafty than vampires. Eric would know to keep his mouth shut, Alcide… not so much.

So firstly to Mustapha – if he is the target of a spy. I don’t think that Mustapha truly knows such intimate information that can’t be bought anywhere else easily. Eric isn’t sure as to what his motives are, so he’s not going to tell him intimate vampire secrets – that’s if Eric ever actually tells a day man intimate vampire secrets. After all, Bobby Burnham worked for Eric for a while, and he didn’t know much about vampires really:

“Eric won’t let him hurt me,” Bobby said confidently.
“Just as general information – if this guy says jump, Eric has to ask how high.”
“No way,” Bobby said.

Dead in the Family, p. 196

Bobby is not aware of a whole heap of vampire business. But one thing he would know – that Sookie doesn’t – is all of Eric’s business holdings, where Eric lives, and how Eric is likely to react to business deals. Of course, Sookie didn’t know until recently where Eric lives, but she really has no clue how Eric sits in business matters. One can assume that with a day guy, he has a relatively busy day – and Mustapha references a long list he has to follow on what to do during the day. Any day man would have a list of business details and¬†intimate access to all that stuff:

Eric: “I need your knowledge of computers. Bobby and Pam have been backing up all of Area Five’s financial records on the computer. I want several copies and I want them to be safe. And I want to be able to tell if anyone tries to access them. Can you do that?”
Bill: “Bobby can’t?”
Eric: “I would like you to do this.”

The Secret Dialogues of Bill and Eric, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 192

So we know that Eric only trusts two people – Pam and Sookie. Those, he doesn’t question. But he doesn’t trust anyone else – and that includes Bobby. Bobby has information on the financial records of Area Five though – and that’s valuable information. It’s information that can be used to cripple Eric – which is why he’s making sure to back it all up and try to guard any Victor-type tampering by asking Bill to do another backup. So he doesn’t leave it all in Bobby’s hands, because that’s risky – and Bill doesn’t have it all either, because Pam and Bobby are doing their own backup.

Knowing where Eric has businesses is valuable information – information on his revenue streams, and where you can make it look like he’s doing something shady, or undercut him. We do get a hint from Victor though where Eric might have other successful businesses he’s never mentioned to Sookie at all:

“Oh, I’m thinking of opening a tattoo establishment and maybe a lawyer’s office, though my man for that post has to study modern law. He received his law degree in Paris in the eighteen hundreds.” Victor’s indulgent smile faded completely. “You know that as regent, I have the right to open a business in anyone’s sheriffdom? All the money from the new clubs will come directly to me.
Dead Reckoning, p. 85

We know that Fangtasia is the most profitable of Eric’s businesses, but Victor got rather randomly specific here – so I’d say that it was a threat to compete with all of Eric’s businesses and cut off even his backup revenue scheme. This is Victor letting Eric know that he’s going to focus specifically – a coded threat as it were to go after him financially. I had to google about tattoo shops – and they are apparently profitable little endeavours, but require large outlay. Same with law offices – and law – large outlays but they’re good earners. As Sookie pointed out, that’s a signal of vampire involvement in E(E)E:

The two catering and event companies employed both humans and shifters, but I was sure they’d required lots of capital to start up, and they’d begun their operations in a very luxe way. That’s kind of a vampire signature.
Small Town Wedding, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 68

So when you get information from a day man, you can find out how to cripple a vampire financially. Money really fucking matters to vampires – particularly political vampires. Sure, no one cares much if Maxwell Lee can pay for tip-top clothes, but he better pay his tithe in fealty – which makes its way to Eric and then to the royal in question. It’s one of the things that saved Eric’s life in the takeover – him being a good earner.

In fact, when Felipe took over Louisiana, Sophie Anne wasn’t just physically unable, but financially unable – and that’s what enabled him to strike. In fact, take money from a Sheriff, and that stops their ability to pay their royal and disadvantages the whole state. Eric doesn’t need to just earn for himself – he needs to earn to pay the royal and stay in the state. There’s no option not to pay either – Eric is told to kick into the Queen’s coffers after Katrina:

“In the meantime, the queen has talked to the four other sheriffs about the
financial aspect of restoring the New Orleans buildings.”
Eric gave an almost imperceptible inclination of the head.
Impossible to say what he felt about being taxed for the queen’s repairs.

All Together Dead, p. 9

This is why Eric doesn’t have as much disposable money as some readers seem to think. Yes, he’s well off, but only an idiot would spend their savings without having backup for desperate situations like this. The Queen isn’t going to take “I spent all my money on my wife, and the hurricane was at an inconvenient time” as an excuse. She’ll kill you and install someone else as Sheriff. On top of that, Eric has to make sure that his Area is profitable so that other vampires stick around. After all, Eric can hardly ask Maxwell Lee to kick in dollars or time to him if Maxwell can’t work and make money – Maxwell would move somewhere else where he can actually fulfil his obligations. Maxwell Lee here is an example, but it goes for all the vampires in his Area. Money means power to political vampires – the power to keep you in position.

If all the vampires leave your Area, then you’re left high and dry – your revenue stream dries up, and gets smaller. Not as many tithes to buy stuff, and no one to come and help fight your battles. It’s not enough for the royalty to be rich – the ordinary vampire should be able to be well off as well. One can hardly attract them with the idea of free blood, now, can they? As Sookie points out, being poor – and without ready cash for everyone to make is a bad thing for a vampire:

If the summit had started when it was supposed to, the queen could have gone in a
powerful position. She would have had a big war chest and a full quiver of vamps,
and maybe they wouldn’t have been so anxious to prosecute her for the king’s death.

All Together Dead, p. 11

So if Eric – or a royal – were to be decimated financially, that would affect them with other vampires. In order to be powerful in the vampire political structure, it’s not just about your own muscle power – it’s about having lots of vampires and lots of money to buy things. In fact, that’s why Felipe hired the weather witch – to make sure that Sophie Anne would be weaker when she got to the Summit in the first place. And that’s also why I say you can’t disregard how tough and long thinking vampire royalty are – even if they wear capes – Felipe planned his takeover for months. This was no on-the-spur-of-the-moment thing.

Lots is made of how Sookie looking poor would impact on Eric – but that actually wouldn’t. If she lived in lavish Hollywood style, then his royal would probably wonder if they were squeezing Eric hard enough – since he has money for excessive luxury for his human wife. It’s not as if the royal wouldn’t have been making sure to squeeze Eric for all he’s worth over the years – he’s had to live in someone else’s Kingdom before the Revelation too – so he wouldn’t have had the time to build up billions and squillions of dollars. Yes – I can certainly foresee Eric buying Sookie nice dresses which she thanked him for stupid wrong memeand living nicely, but the sort of lavish spending of millions of dollars is not going to happen. Eric is unlikely to have his own island, or twenty houses dotted around Shreveport or anything else – he’d be doing the sensible thing that rich people do and not sink it into real estate (ah, global financial crisis anyone?) but rather invest diversely so that his money makes more money for him, and doesn’t have a huge exposed risk¬†in one sector.

So Mustapha is someone worth spying on. In order to weaken Eric, it’s not just as simple as facing him down in a fight. Maybe you don’t really want to kill him (although paying his maker isn’t an issue any more, you have to kick that money into the general fund, Eric says in Dracula Night) but just weaken him to get one over him. Weakening him financially means he has to front up to his royal and say he’s not a good earner, and he has to press his underlings harder for more – meaning that they’re more likely to want to move from his Area rather than continuing to pay through the nose – and Eric soon has no money and a bounty on his head.

The spy isn’t going to be from Felipe – because he would see Eric’s books, and know where that money comes from and how much it is. He has no real reason to spy unless he thinks Eric isn’t being honest with him – and he’s not going to want to affect his own financial status by making Eric weak.¬†Freyda also has less of a reason to find out how much money Eric makes in Louisiana, because she intends to put a stop to all that, and bring Eric to Oklahoma. When he’s ruling one of her bailiwicks, she’ll get payments from him. Eh, she might be doing it for a backup plan, but I have the feeling it’s not the financial aspect that interests her. She isn’t going to nickel and dime Eric to death. She’s richer than him, so a¬†handful of thousand dollars isn’t going to make a difference to her.

But, there’s something else that you can get in the Hair of the Dog. It’s something that both Mustapha and the other weres can provide information on – and somewhere you wouldn’t think to look for a spy on this particular thing. That’s information about Sookie. For a start, Sookie is a Friend of the Pack – and she’s the wife of Mustapha’s boss – and it’s managed by the girlfriend of her boss. So that’s a boatload of information sources. After the Charles Twining debacle, I bet anyone who shows any interest in the Sheriff’s love life is scrutinised to the nth degree if they’re in Fangtasia. Eric would look them up on the database, because he learns from his mistakes.

So you wouldn’t want to ask any questions about Sookie in Fangtasia if you wanted your mission to be discovered. Nor would you want to go and have face time with Sookie and go to Merlotte’s. She’d be sure to mention that a vampire had been coming in – and Bill would totally notice, and you’re back to square one, with Eric ready to¬†go medieval on your arse. I bet he does good medieval. He’s been there.¬†But how many of the¬†Weres would keep quiet about Sookie? Particularly since Alcide still wants her as pack shaman? I’m betting not many.¬†And a vampire doesn’t need to¬†ask about her, they can just listen to the gossip of the weres.

Sookie says over and over that supes love to gossip – and¬†I bet Were bars are a chief source of that gossip. Particularly when talk of Sookie in Fangtasia arouses suspicion – you need to get your gossip from other sources – and¬†after all, that’s what alerted Charles to her importance:

“Because he decided after listening to gossip and much reconnoitring that you were important to me, and that your death would wound me the way Long Shadow’s had him.”
Dead as a Doornail, p. 292

I would think that while you couldn’t in fact, limit what talking vampires do at Fangtasia in any real way, Eric wouldn’t appreciate it, and there’s no reason to deliberately piss off your Sheriff. But the gossip still exists out there – so vampires undoubtedly talk about it with others. And the shifters and weres are probably constantly talking about things because after all, Eric isn’t looking over their shoulders, and he’s not the boss of them. In fact, that’s part of Mustapha’s talk with Sookie in the excerpt – he knows stuff about Sookie’s life she hasn’t explicitly told him or Eric because the Hair of the Dog is a place where you gossip about Sookie:

Anyway, Jannalynn was talking to Alcide while she was serving him a drink. She
knows you loaned Merlotte some money to keep his bar afloat.

Deadlocked Excerpt, p. 14

So there’s an insight into Sookie from her boss’ girlfriend. Not only do Weres discuss pack business generally, but they talk about Sookie at least a couple of times. I’m not suggesting that every conversation is about her, but I’m sure in the general scheme of things, the local available telepath gets mentioned a bit.

I think that that is what that particular vampire is there for. Not to spy on Eric through the Weres, but to spy on Sookie. CH often throws stuff out there that seems inconsequential, but that’s what I’m betting my money on. As I said, SPECULATIVE. So you know. But of course, that then leads me to wonder what that vampire might be snooping around for and how that’s all going to turn out.

It’s probable that the vampire isn’t looking for anything specific. He’ll know leverage when he hears it. In order to spy on someone, and get leverage, you’re not psychic, so you have to find out that sort of thing and then probe further. So any and all pieces of information that weres have is pertinent to the vampire’s interests. It’s just a matter of finding out what they are.

Jannalynn could end up talking about all kinds of information Sam has given her, stuff she’s observed, stuff she’s snooped out¬†and things she’s seen at Sookie’s house. Of course, one of the key pieces of information Jannalynn has is that the bond is broken:

“You’ve broken the bond with Eric,” the Shreveport packmaster said.
Dead Reckoning, p. 202

Now, I’m not all¬†Henny Penny about the bond being broken – Sookie didn’t have a bond with Eric for the first six books, and¬†got herself out of sticky situations. Eric hasn’t ostensibly done any saving with the bond – but he’s certainly twisted up Sookie’s feelings. And it only distracts him from his potentially deadly job with other killer politician vampires and businessmen.¬†It’s good it’s gone – for both of their sakes.

For that reason, I think that perhaps the broken bond could be a crucial bit of information. After all – Eric can’t seem to feel Sookie at all – and that means he can’t track her. But if you wanted to abduct the Sheriff’s wife and take her away – now is the best time to do it. Of course, you can’t do that indefinitely, and you can’t take her to use for your own telepath because Eric would hear of it. But you can have a nice bit of leverage over the vampire Sheriff of Area Five to get him to do what you want – or even as a personal vendetta against him, but we’ll get to that later. With the bond broken, that looks like an opening to do stuff to his wife, and thus control Eric.

With the bond broken, that’s a bit of information Jannalynn could trade off to the vampire in the Hair of the Dog so that she can get Sookie out of her hair – or she may do it unwittingly, while she’s obsessing over Sookie. That’s not all either. Jannalynn has plenty of information on Sookie if she decides to be out to get her in a deliberated manner. She’d be able to talk about Sookie’s schedule and when is the best time to get at her. Why would she trade information to a vampire, or let slip to a vampire? Well because of this:

She’s big in the pack, and she knows you have pack protection.
You know what she can do to people who don’t.

Deadlocked Excerpt, p. 15

With pack protection, Jannalynn can’t come at Sookie directly – so she’ll push and niggle and try to get Sookie the other ways she can – if she decides to get her. She’ll have to find a way to get her out of the picture – accidentally-on-purpose style so that she can have Sam’s attentions completely. Some way that she can’t be directly blamed for, if she can help it. Debbie Pelt was all about wanting to do the deed – Jannalynn just wants Sookie out of her hair.

After all, if she reveals to some vampire that Sookie is without a bond, then that puts Sookie at risk. As Eric said, without the bond:

Until Victor snatches you up and drains you dry and then says, ‘But, Eric, she was no longer bonded to you, so I did not think you still wanted her!’
Dead Reckoning, p. 188

While the vampire would be keelhauled with the existing state of the marriage – in that permission to have anything to do with Sookie is all about having Eric’s permission – that doesn’t mean that said vampire thinks they’ll be caught. Particularly if the bond is broken, there’s no way for Eric to find her. A vampire could try to argue that they didn’t believe Sookie was claimed. Of course, Eric would kill him anyway –¬†but with the bond broken, Eric’s got to find her first.

Bear in mind that the chances that anyone knows – barring Eric – of the amount of blood Bill gave Sookie is doubtful. After all, it is not common to give blood to human companions:

It’s been decades, maybe centuries since I gave any woman my
blood. Maybe not since I turned Pam.”
“Is this the general policy among vampires you know?”
I wasn’t quote sure how to ask what I wanted to know.
He hesitated, nodded. “For the most part.”

Dead and Gone, p. 178

Bill didn’t tell Eric how much blood he’d given Sookie. For a start, Bill wouldn’t want Eric to know what he was doing privately – and help Eric compete with him, and it’s none of Eric’s damn business what Bill does with his blood or Sookie does with her body. So Bill wouldn’t just tell him, and if Eric asked, Bill would tell him to GFY. It was Sookie who intimated how much of Bill’s blood she’d had – and Eric definitely wanted to know:

He tossed me a bottle and I caught it without thinking. His eyebrows flew up.
“You have had more vampire blood than I thought, Miss Sookie.”

Living Dead in Dallas, p. 248

I know, most of the time, this is really about how Eric likes the scent of Obsession, but come on now. Don’t be so naive. He’s not crafty vampire Sheriff of Area Five for nothing. Eric’s brain is a weapon, and when he chooses to do so, he likes to aim it at figuring out all of Sookie’s secrets. This is how he found out about Bill giving Sookie blood without having to ask either of them. Considering he was possibly chucking the bottle at the floor – if she hadn’t had any blood other than Longshadow’s – then this was not about his love of a particular perfume. It was a test. And an effective one too.

So even though we the readers know this stuff, if Eric had to figure it out, and Bill certainly isn’t blabbing. I doubt that Eric has told people his wife has a blood tie to one of his underlings. On the surface, if you’re not in Sookie’s head, then you’re not going to be factoring in the idea that Bill could track her. They’re not going to take Bill’s ability to track Sookie into account because they don’t know about it – and don’t have any reason to assume that Bill would give Sookie blood, because it’s largely against vampire policy.

Then there’s the question of what Jannalynn feels about Sookie. This was where that previous post diverged. Now you can see why it was important to cut stuff out of this post – which is verging on epic already, and only just over halfway through. I think there will be a turning point that the Jannalynn post I wrote before becomes pertinent. It’ll have to do with either Alcide or Sam – and it will have to happen soon for the books to finish up – she either needs to walk away from Sam, Sam needs to reassure her, or weak arse Alcide needs to inflame her like he did with Debbie, making the situation more definitive than it is now:

You’re on the borderline with her.
Deadlocked Excerpt, p. 14

Sookie can’t stay on a borderline with Jannalynn – it needs to be tied up. And since it’s all down to the actions of Sam and Alcide, there’s absolutely nothing Sookie can really do to control the stupid shit they do. She didn’t have control over Alcide telling Debbie Sookie was wonderful in bed. Sookie had some ownership in Debbie flipping her jealous shit, but so did Alcide, and he was too weak to tell Debbie to back the fuck off.¬† With Jannalynn, it could go either way – either Jannalynn does it intentionally, but without direct culpability, and she disclaims all responsibility – underhanded malice; or if it’s actually accidental.

But I think that we already have an indication that information is getting out at the Hair. We don’t know how long “lately” is that the vampire has been hanging around the bar. Remember this – which is how Alcide found out about the bond the very¬†night it was broken:

“Your buddy Amelia. She and her boyfriend came into Hair of the Dog last night
to have a drink. I was pretty sure I’d met her, so I started talking to them.”

Dead Reckoning, p. 204

In that time, Alcide conferenced with Jannalynn about what to do with that information, and how he should try to draw Sookie into the pack. In seeking to ‘help’ Sookie here, Jannalynn set about to do it in a manner that would embarrass Sookie. But more than that. It’s the timing of other things that happened – showing that maybe not only were Alcide and Jannalynn paying attention to this conversation, but so were others.

We have the abduction attempt by Kelvin and Hod. Maybe whoever hired them was connected to this mysterious deader. Now, one of the theories that came out at the time was Freyda was behind the Kelvin and Hod thing. I don’t think she was. She really has no reason to abduct a telepath for her own use. You can’t use them if you out that you’re using them. Eric might be her husband soon, but Sookie would then revert to being the property of the King of Louisiana, Arkansas and Nevada. Leaping to the conclusion that she’s getting rid of Sookie doesn’t make any sense either – because she and Eric are still negotiating behind Sookie’s back:

“Excuse me,” he said into the phone. “There is a crisis. I’ll return your call later.”
Dead Reckoning, p. 251

This is the night of the day Kelvin and Hod tried to abduct Sookie. It’s a little extreme to assume that she would abduct the human wife so that she could get her hands on Eric. After all – Eric could then lie about the bond and argue to Felipe he has to stay to search for the telepath. Just like he puts Freyda off due to a crisis and her phone call, Eric would be more likely to put off the marriage for the form of the crisis “Felipe’s new telepath whom I will soon divorce has gone missing”. That gives him a reason to stay in Louisiana and delay some more. So I don’t think it’s Freyda behind the attempt.

I did question if it was Victor though – because of how they were going to transport Sookie to the person who wanted her:

“They found four-wheelers,” Pam said. “I think they had an
excellent time driving them.” Pam looked envious.

Dead Reckoning, p. 247

Victor’s house is somewhere within Area Five because he has panthers guarding his house. Hotshot panthers wouldn’t travel a couple of hours to guard a house, and Victor wouldn’t bother to hire them. It also¬†doesn’t have the modus operandi of any of the rest of Victor’s attacks. Victor chose vampire assassins previously from his own retinue, and he made sure to do it in such a way that it was all hidden. Despite Eric’s worries, I think Victor wanted to kill Sookie, not turn her and keep her.

In the case of Victor, he didn’t send Bruno and Corinna to abduct Sookie – he sent them to kill Sookie. That was ultimately how Victor wanted to hurt Eric – by killing Sookie. Since at last word, Bruno and Corinna were killed after going after Pam and Sookie, I doubt Victor would send a couple of dumb arse humans to do the job of abducting her. He’d be more likely to hire people who are better at it, and they’d have information about staying the hell away from Bill’s house. Kelvin and Hod didn’t seem to clock that there was a vampire neighbour – which Victor knows for a fact – and would have warned them.

However, a vampire not of the Area wouldn’t know about Bill residing so close to Sookie – wouldn’t even think to pay attention to her neighbours. I also think it’s unlikely to be Victor – because of this:

Kelvin also had a condom, a free drink card for Vic’s Redneck Roadhouse,
and a card for an auto body shop.

Dead Reckoning, p. 248

How would that scenario go down? Victor says “Abduct this girl at this address and I’ll pay you. Oh, and have a drink on me.” That’s¬† a red herring to misdirect the reader, I think. It’s a coincidence – and real life has plenty of them. I also don’t envision Victor as that stupid. He might have been cocky, but I doubt he would put all his trust in a couple of humans. Like most vampires, he wouldn’t expect them to be unassailable.

It can’t be anyone who relies on Eric for safety either:

If Eric goes down, we all go down.
Dead in the Family, p. 85

All the Shreveport vampires who are part of Eric’s retinue are reliant on Eric for safety and survival. After all, if your survival is contingent on Eric, you wouldn’t want him to lose his head unless you’d forgotten yours:

“Truly, Eric’s a great vampire, and very practical. But he isn’t practical
nowadays – not when it comes to you.”

Dead in the Family, p. 86

Eric needs to be practical for the sake of himself¬†– and his underlings who will all die if he doesn’t have his eye on the ball. Otherwise Victor would sweep in and wipe them out while Eric was having a Sookie-related-freakout. Lest you think that they’d be able to leave after Eric lost his shit because Sookie went missing? Well, you’d have to make sure you had somewhere else to go, and could kill Eric or ensure your freedom if you’d pledged fealty to him:

“If I live through this,” Clancy said, “I’ll ask you to release me from my vow,
Eric, and I’ll seek another master.”¬†

Dead and Gone, p. 300

It’s only the vampires Eric hasn’t decided what to do with that haven’t sworn fealty – or people who are passing through, or just temporarily in the Area. Otherwise they have to be released from their vow – or at least have a plan where they get the hell away from Eric.

So if it’s not a Shreveport vampire, not Freyda and not Victor or Felipe, who could it be? Now, one of the other things CH said was this on her blog:

A character I thought was dead is probably alive, and I’m real happy for him. Source

I know there have been all other kinds of speculation on this – that it’s any number of characters who’ve been mentioned as dead on page, but Sookie hasn’t seen their guts all over the place or whatever. I’m inclined to think not that it’s people we’ve been told or logically assumed¬†are dead based on the narrative (and not visible bodies) but rather a character that disappeared off page and we don’t have word on their fate. In CH’s head, they died, but that we didn’t see what happened to them after they went off page and that’s out of Sookie’s POV.

One of the things I like about CH is that all of the characters move around off page.¬†For example, in between From Dead to Worse and Dead and Gone, Tanya Grissom¬†and Calvin Norris get married. We don’t hear about it until Tanya mentions it,¬†but in CH’s world, it is not just Sookie that moves on in time – it’s everyone else too.¬†People¬†change and grow along with Sookie. Andy Bellefleur is another character¬†who has changed over time in the books – without him being central to many plots at all. He pops up when he’s proposing to Halleigh, when he’s getting married, all through Sookie’s POV, but he doesn’t stay static. It’s not even always relevant to the storyline either – because Andy hiding his engagement ring in a chicken basket wasn’t a pivotal thing – yet his character is not forgotten and left to stay static until CH needs him to do something.

So I’m inclined to think it’s a character¬†that has ‘died’ in CH’s head, but off page, and we never got to hear about it.¬†That’s furthered by CH’s quote:

No. I didn’t mean to start a wild goose chase. Don’t go reaching back for dead
people you’d like to see resurrected. Not going to happen.

For me, that means that anyone who’s mentioned as dead or thought to be dead in the narrative – too many to list – is actually dead. We’re not going to see someone with some bizarre story about how they¬†escaped from that deadly fire just in time through the back door, or¬†anything like that, but someone off page who ‘died’ in her off page shenanigans. Much like we find out Clancy was alive through off page shenanigans, or Diantha was alive thanks to off page shenanigans – both recounted only when Sookie finds out about them but long before they become relevant to the storyline.

So I was thinking about¬†who¬†it would be. Since the dead guy alive is tied to abduction, it is probably some enemy of Sookie’s or Eric’s that’s disappeared off page and wasn’t going to come back, and thus, he can be alive or be dead again if the storyline works out.¬†Armed with that information, my field narrowed a little – and a quick reiteration – SPECULATIVE. But I was thinking….Hot Rain.

This is mainly borne of¬†re-reading the Secret Dialogues of Bill and Eric¬†a couple of times. After all, much of that is off page shenanigans that effect Sookie, but we haven’t heard about them yet. But they do affect the narrative and it’s not as if the Secret Dialogues are inserted belatedly – they existed at least in nebulous form when LDID was written, even if they weren’t written at the same time as that book (in CH’s chronology of time in the real world):

“She called me and asked me to help.”
Eric was responding to the subtext rather than the statement.
“Then, all right. But you remember our agreement.”
“How can I forget?”

Living Dead in Dallas, p. 274

So, Eric and Bill’s deal was referenced on page in an oblique fashion, but it¬†actually happened off page. It affects the storyline, but it’s not something that was outright stated in the middle of the book. This is the closest we get because we’re in Sookie’s POV. Certainly, neither Eric nor Bill made any talking with Sookie to ask if it was okay with her. Even if it was about her. It’s the Secret Dialogues that tell us what that deal was.¬†But they also mentioned this:

Killing Charles after Long Shadow’s death would not go well for either of us. I’m calling his ruler now to advise them that he has gone against the ruling and sought revenge.
The Secret Dialogues of Bill and Eric, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 126

Eric really gives Sookie a different impression – in that he lets the matter drop completely. He doesn’t bother to warn her in a generalised way, but just lets the¬†whole thing go. ¬†This statement is a lot more ominous than just letting the matter drop – it seems Eric truly believes here that killing Charles would definitely mean that would rain hellfire down on their heads – yet it was the men of Bon Temps who killed Charles, and Eric hasn’t said boo about it going badly for anyone.

While I don’t expect Eric to give two shits if the men of Bon Temps end up getting killed for their part in Charles’ death, this is not something that Eric warns Sookie to be careful of – that hellfire could rain down on them all. Of course, he didn’t exactly warn Sookie the first time round either:

“He seemed to think financial recompense was not all he required.” Eric shrugged.
“As far as I’m concerned, the matter is settled.”

Dead as a Doornail, p. 31

Honestly, Eric might have been hiding his feelings from himself, and not aware of the extensive gossip that made its way to Baton Rouge (where Tara heard about Eric’s fixation on Sookie through vampires Mickey knew) but I’m betting he had at least a hint of what Hot Rain wanted that wasn’t money. But when Eric says one thing, you should probably magnify the danger by about 100 and then you’ll have an inkling of actual danger. He’s not big on the sharing of information.

The vampire spying on the weres has to be related to another vampire. As I discussed above, weres have no hold over vampires, and vampires have no hold over weres. A vampire is going to be working for another vampire – and there’s no better place to hear gossip than at the Hair of the Dog. On top of that, Hot Rain had his pledged vampire – his disposable vampire Charles – do his dirty work for him. I could foresee him holing up somewhere near Clarice, hidden from Eric, and sending an innocuous minion out to spy. That there is a good motivation for abducting Sookie rather than just killing her on the spot.

It also speaks to someone from outside the Area – someone who doesn’t know anything much about Sookie. After all, Charles had to do all the legwork himself, and Hot Rain didn’t know anything other than the fact that Sookie was important to Eric – if he knew that at all. Kelvin and Hod didn’t have a clue about the vampire next door, and whoever sent them severely underestimated Sookie, as if it was simple to kill her. This is not Victor, whose minions fell into a black hole, and who must have figured out by now that Sookie is not easy to kill. This is someone who figures she’ll go easily.

But since it would officially be out that Eric married Sookie, thanks to Victor and Felipe, and all those vampires in Fangtasia the night Sookie was tortured, then that information is already known. Now the minion for Hot Rain just needs to go and find out crucial information on how to access her. Since he can’t ask any questions at Fangtasia, then he has to find somewhere else. I’m sure that during the debacle of Small Town Wedding, and Sookie being on television in the midst of shifters and weres – and it’s not a huge leap of logic to go to the Hair of the Dog to source information.

The minion has to be innocuous – because Eric would know if Hot Rain checked into the area – and the same goes for other vampires Eric knows have a grudge against him or Sookie – like Mickey. Of course, like Mickey, that vampire could be from Baton Rouge and driving to spend a couple of hours a night in the city of Shreveport (meaning if they don’t live there, they don’t have to report but could have come from the unwatched Area One Victor left wide open). It can’t be anyone obvious either – no one the weres would know. Eric is unlikely to check the background for an innocuous vampire who told the Sheriff he’d be in the Area if that vampire doesn’t even look like he’s going to go near Sookie. Then that minion finds out the bond is broken, time to abduct Sookie and hold her over Eric’s head or kill her.

I think also that we should look at how the enemy is far more devious than she would ever suspect:

She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever
suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

The enemy has to be far more devious than Sookie would ever expect – and as you can see, under this wild speculation, it’s pretty fucking devious. Devious suits vampires – they…well I would say live and breathe this stuff….but they do neither. Deviousness is a vampire way of unlife. All of the really devious schemes that have blindsided Sookie have been vampire ones – from Bill coming to Bon Temps for the Queen, to Eric’s impending marriage to Freyda and Appius’ purpose for his visit. So just based on past devious schemes, it is more likely to be a vampire enemy than not.

I did consider Mickey, but it doesn’t strike me that he is all that devious. Plus, he wasn’t ever slated as dead – he’s in reserve. As for his maker –¬†Salome – she probably is, as she’s the original Salome from the Bible made vampire¬†(that’s two women way older than Eric in Louisiana – he’s a little baby – and Salome is in Baton Rouge, while Thalia is in Shreveport)¬†but she doesn’t really have any reasons to come after Sookie in such a way, particularly since she has to work with Eric after the kidnapping is over under the royal of Louisiana. They’d have to see each other at summits, and that wouldn’t go down well.

I don’t think Sookie is putting too much past Felipe, Freyda or others. It’s someone devious that she doesn’t suspect. But that could also apply to Jannalynn giving out information. At this point, Jannalynn has been telegraphing her moves in an obvious manner. Giving that information to a vampire to get Sookie abducted would be indirect and devious. On top of that, an enemy like Hot Rain waiting around and doing all this sneaking to get vengeance on Eric is pretty damn devious. Eric hasn’t thought of it, Sookie has no warning, and as far as my little travails into the community go (which aren’t far – see forum issues above) no one is mentioning Hot Rain either.

Even if it’s not Hot Rain – and that guy that was alive is dead again and replaced with someone else –¬†my money is on the abduction attempt in Dead Reckoning coming to mean vampire shenanigans in Deadlocked and having a carry-over effect. It’s really foolishness to think killing Victor means Eric has no vampire enemies. Killing Charles didn’t help stop Victor from existing. Killing Bruno didn’t help stop Victor from existing. Eric fears that Sookie would be used against him, and killing one enemy doesn’t do dick. Eric makes them on a nightly basis thanks to vampire politics.

Being beloved by a vampire – particularly a political vampire like Eric – puts Sookie in all kinds of shit. It’s not just some sort of beneficient prize that means Sookie is untouchable. It means that other vampires learn quick smart that Sookie is his weakness and if you can get your hands on her, you have Eric by the balls. It means that as long as Eric doesn’t tell her a whole bunch of stuff, her life is under threat all the time, from anyone she has contact with, because the wrong person might say the wrong thing to the right person.

Of course, the solution is not to put her in the house – because Victor himself got around that by ordering her out and trying to spike Eric and Pam’s drinks with fairy blood. Other vampires could find a way round just as easily – by targeting Jason or Sam or anyone else. Even Sandra Pelt figured out how to get Sookie out of her house. It’s not that hard. And as I’ve discussed before – that’s what’s known not as protection, but as “prison”.

The real solution is to inform Sookie, like Pam knows, like Mustapha knows. It’s not keeping her in the dark and letting her work all this out for herself. After all – I have had the benefit of conversations that Sookie never had, and the omniscient view of the author – and Sookie does not. She has Eric, who isn’t into breaking things down and telling her to watch her back because one of the enemies he made by killing Long Shadow may have a yen to kill her to hurt him. It’s full disclosure and warning. It’s about telling her that there might be a deader not in her hair, but out for her throat.