Yes, that’s a deliberate pun on Romeo. And no, I don’t think he should die. This post is about the sentiment that Bill must die, or must be punished. I’ve done a post on why I don’t think Bill would be happy with Sookie, but none on what I think of Bill from Sookie’s viewpoint – why I am not for Bill as HEA, yet not on board with Bill dying.
In truth, part of the reason I read some Bill fic is because I can make a great case for Eric as HEA, one for Sam, one for Quinn (although not as strong as Eric’s case) but I just can’t make one for Bill as HEA. It’s one of the reasons I have lurked on Bill babe forums – to try to discern why they are pro-Bill as HEA. I ust can’t make that one for myself, so if in doubt of my own abilities, I source someone else’s. But the problem is that all of the arguments for Bill as HEA fall as flat as a tack once they’re studied. I always come across something that is a deal breaker for Sookie.
As an aside, I must say, having been to pro-Bill forums, and pro-Eric forums, there’s a remarkable similarity on bashing the shit out of Sookie being a substantive part of the agreement there is. She’s wrong, wrong, wrong in both suitor camps. And the arguments for why she is wrong are almost identical. You can switch out “She’s always been unfair to ____ and always believing what ____ said about him. She never gave ____ a chance. She’s forgiven ____ for way more stuff than she’s ever done for ____. It’s ____ that protects her from the bad stuff of the world. ____ hasn’t hurt her the way ____ has, and she just lets it go every time!” Fill in the blanks with either suitor’s names, and you could successfully assimilate in either camp. If Sookie dies in the end through being tortured to death and the men go on to be happy, despite not winning the “prize”, you’d have two happy, happy camps. And hence here? I say both of them are rather crap protectors who’ve done shitty, shitty things and shall not be shown quarter for bad actions because they are men who say they’re in love. I am firmly Team Sookie and want what makes her happy…and why I stay mostly here. Fuck the guys if they don’t get happy as well – either of them.
To be honest, out of all of the suitors, Bill being HEA guy would probably make me a bit sad. Not because I desperately hate Bill – I like him well enough – but because I liked Sookie more once she dumped Bill. I hated the way Sookie deferred to his opinion so much more. I hated the way he wanted to control her iron intake, and she let him, and I hated the very Dad-like way he pulled her into line. I like Sookie who dresses herself and thinks for herself – not Sookie cast in the role of sextoy acolyte to the great learning institution that is the boyfriend. I rant about that when Eric is turned into Bill in fanfic for that reason. Gets on my tits to read her taking orders from someone else all the time.
But now to what I think of Bill and his general situation with Sookie. Where they essentially left their situation last time they were in a relationship – because that for me is where it all fell apart – not any particular shocking incident, but rather the state of the relationship. For many people, it’s the rape and then the Queen’s plan – but it’s not that for me. Although I can’t see Sookie getting a HEA with her rapist, because of the underpinning idea of love in spite of rape, that’s not why I’m against the relationship.
It can’t be denied however, that the rape is a fundamental no-return spot for many readers. I suspect for CH as well. I suspect that the only people who would like that ending are those who love rape-as-romances, since they dig on writing about Bill but calling him Eric and many of them believe that fictional characters always secretly want the bad things that happen to them. But when there are vampires like Mickey, if an author wants a rape to be at the hands of a plain old brutal fuckhead everyone can hate on, then that’s what you can do – choose Mickey, choose Andre, choose Michael (at Rhodes). If CH wanted to have Sookie dealing with rape at the hands of the faceless rapist, she could have done that easily. Lily (from the Lily Bard series) had the faceless rapists. Sookie however, has the common garden variety rapist – the guy you know.
I actually think choosing Bill as the rapist is a good thing to explore in popular culture. Mainly because stranger rapes? Are not so common. You want to look around and find yourself a rapist, you’re more likely to find him not as the shady looking weird guy, but as someone’s husband who once kept going after a girl said no, or who decided he’d bought dinner and a nice present, and he was owed his payback in kind; or the college frat boy who drugs some girl and raped her while she’s passed out. The guy who got drunk and didn’t listen to his girlfriend when she said she wasn’t in the mood. There are far more of those kinds of rapists than there are guys who jump out from alleyways. If we just had to worry about shady dudes in dark corners somewhere, well it would be easy to round them up. Just arrest shady dudes in corners. Bill is made in some fanfic to fit that script – he’s not some tall good-looking vampire – he’s twisted and small and ugly. And often has a small dick – so therefore, quite obviously a rapist. I’ve seen some real life rapists myself, and I hate to break it to you, but they’re not all ugly…except on the inside.
In fact, about 80% of rapes are by someone the victim knows. In the pantheon of rape victims I have known personally (as opposed to professionally), which is eight female victims and three male victims, all but one of them knew their rapists. The one who didn’t was a gay male friend of mine – and he’d seen his rapist around the bar he frequented, but had never spoken to him prior to the night of his rape. He was the only one attacked by a mean looking stranger at night in a dark alleyway. The rest of the victims I’ve known have known their rapist prior to attack – some of them have been boyfriends, some of them have been friends. Dealing with the known rapist is something that a vast majority of victims have to do.
As I said previously, only one reported her rape – and that was the victim whose rapists beat her and burned her hair off. So not only do I have academic sources for women who don’t report, but I have friends who haven’t reported. The friend of mine that did report wasn’t actually conscious for a month or two, thanks to the attack, so charges were filed before she woke up. Just for a bit of anecdote closure, her case was prosecuted, and she got victim compensation from the state. There was at least some modicum of justice in her case. But her case is not the standard one – she was unconscious, she was on her front yard when she was found in daylight, the rapists had a history of victimising her, and they burned her hair off. It’s awfully hard for a rapist to plead in that case that she loved rough sex and had consented.
And that’s what they often do – claim that the victim liked it rough – so I do understand why victims don’t report it. One only has to look around and see the attitudes to Sookie and her being raped or tortured – behold, all the people who blame Sookie blame victims in real life too – look in the reviews of rape-as-romances to see how stigmatised actual rapists are by the people who like them. In my professional life I’ve read about the later wives of rapists swearing how he never could have done that and tearing shreds off the “whore” who dared fuck her man and call it rape, even if he beat her bloody, she must have consented or liked it, or something as to why he’s not a “real” rapist, even though he was reported as one.
Sookie didn’t report it – and although Eric knows about it, he does the sum total of nothing. Despite being a Sheriff, there’s nary a repercussion for Bill inside the vampire hierarchy. In matter of fact, Eric seems to use Bill as free, available Sookie-guarding duty:
“I guess you had something to do with Bill being here?”
“And Bill was the closest vampire to send to your house. His task
was to make sure you weren’t being harassed while I made my
way here. He took his role a little too seriously.”
Dead and Gone, p. 168
I get sick and tired of the apologies made on Eric’s behalf – because he’s not there insisting that Sookie’s rapist stay well away – no, he’s sending him right back into Sookie’s company. Just like he’s fine with Appius and Mickey and all the other vampire rapists. Eric isn’t a rapist, but he’s no crusader against rape. And for the record, I don’t think Bud Dearborn would be any better than Eric – in fact, I suspect that he would be much, much, worse. He’d see it as just desserts for dating a vampire, and Sookie bringing it on herself – not only would he blame her, but he’d do nothing but think Sookie is a little slut who got what she deserved. I’d also like to point out that Bill doesn’t punish himself for it – he waits a whole two weeks before he decides they’re ready to reconcile. Sookie is – like many of the victims I’ve known – someone who didn’t report, and who gets zero support from others.
Among the victims I’ve known, apart from not reporting and not receiving support, you know the other place where I notice similarities with Sookie’s situation? Not getting therapy. Only three of those victims I know had any kind of therapy – two discontinued it because they didn’t find it useful, and one had therapy, but still can’t come to terms with the touch of men. She has a big dog and she lives alone. I’m not saying therapy is something no one should do – I think victims should do what they want, not follow some script that everyone subscribes to as “the rules” – but there’s a pervasive piece of advice everywhere – report to police, go to therapy, as if it is a formula required to be followed, or else you haven’t dealt with it appropriately.
Psychology and therapy are relatively new phenomena to the human race – lots of our history has been without. In fact, most of the rest of the world doesn’t have even the most basic trauma counselling. You think kids in Ethiopia are putting therapy up there with clean drinking water? No? What about the Spartans who trained their children to lie and steal and fight from the age of seven? No? Of course not – therapy is largely a luxury for those who have the time and money to afford it, and where it is available. Even in some areas of the Western world – ie. not the middle and upper classes – there is no therapy to be had without money. We don’t have the same big cultural emphasis on therapy that the US does, so I see a lot less of that sort of thing. Sookie couldn’t even afford physical therapy after her torture, and no one paid for it. And to be honest, it’d be lifelong therapy for all the violence she’s endured since anyway.
The victims I’ve known didn’t get therapy, and all but one of them live happy lives. They have hygiene rituals and such, and markers – much in the same way that Sookie and Eric have markers of their abuse. Might I also point out that Eric has not yet attended therapy for his rape either. I’m pretty sure that no one has counselled him about his acceptance of what happened, and it seems he still has an unhealthy attachment and relationship to Appius, yet no one wants him to go and have therapy. I can’t quite decide it’s because people don’t care (because truly, few really listen to Eric and what he wants despite proclaiming how much they love him, they infer what they think he loves rather than taking words out of his mouth); or if it’s only that Sookie dealing with her rape without therapy might inconvenience Eric at some point. Like say here:
His hands tightened in my hair after a minute or two, and I made a little noise of protest.
Dead in the Family, p. 83
Oooh – I remember – Sookie got hauled over the coals for that one. How dare she not let Eric put his hands in her hair! What a royal bitch! Anyone would think she was held down and raped, and held down and tortured, and didn’t actually want to flashback to that while she was having sex with Eric. Who’d have thought? Someone who’s been held down to have bad stuff happen to them might not exactly like being held down again to draw a parallel? In truth, that’s a common thing – to feel like it’s consensual, victims don’t want to feel trapped. They like to keep a clear delineation, and don’t like having mid-sex flashbacks because they felt even slightly forced.
I find Sookie relatable to victims I’ve known – not only in this particular instance, but also in the way that she has to deal with Bill afterwards. Often times, she is maligned because she still has something to do with Bill – or CH is maligned because she keeps Bill around. And you know what? Sometimes the rapist doesn’t conveniently go away. One of the victims I knew, a casual acquaintance raped her – and he kept calling. She didn’t feel like he ever really imagined that she meant the “No” she said meant he was a rapist – rapists are shady guys in dark alleys – while he was a guy not in a dark alley. He didn’t see himself as a rapist – and it’s rare that rapists do.
She talked to him and saw him around casually. It’s very easy to say that she should have told him to go away, but this man didn’t stop when she said “No” to him and raped her. She didn’t feel confident enough that he’d go away when she told him either. And for a while, she had difficulty reconciling herself to the fact that she was raped. There are a plethora of victims who do the same. Women in abusive relationships are raped by their partners all the time, and yet, they live with them, they deal with them. This is the nature of rape in relationships. It’s really not about the dark alley factor, but when it’s so much more complicated than that and there’s no script to follow because he wasn’t a shady character in a dark alley.
At the end of the day, it would be worth it to figure out exactly what Sookie can do about telling Bill to go away – as in telling him to go away, and he does. If I recall, she already has:
“You probably saved my life tonight,” I said, looking down at him.
“And I thank you for that. But don’t come into Merlotte’s anymore,
don’t hang around in my woods, and don’t do anything else for me.
I don’t want to see you again.”
Definitely Dead, p. 319
I don’t know how much more unequivocal her rejection should be. Since that statement, Bill has been hanging around in her woods, coming to Merlotte’s and doing things for her. Sookie never actually rescinded that notion – throughout All Together Dead Bill didn’t really take to heart that she didn’t want to see him again. He kept coming around and trying to put himself in her presence all the time. And less than six months later, Bill finds his opportunity to say this to a half naked Sookie:
“I would give anything to lie with you again,” he said.
From Dead to Worse, p. 16
So, what exactly is Sookie supposed to do? Bill isn’t listening to her. Maybe she could burn his house to the ground, but then Bill sometimes sleeps in Sweet Home cemetery, so that’s not exactly the most reliable plan, or the most effective plan. Bill didn’t actually stick to his word. His apology, or rather explanation that he’s not a bad guy is rather crap too:
“I hope someday you’ll turn to me,” he said. “I’ll never force myself or my company on you.”
From Dead to Worse, p. 182
So Bill has constructed himself as not the same guy as in the trunk, not the same guy who tricked her, or almost broke her wrists and attacked her in the graveyard. No one else has condemned Bill – not Eric, who has not condemned rapists, including Appius and Mickey, whom he allowed in his area – so her justice doesn’t exist either, just like it didn’t exist for the woman above. And that woman is just one I’ve personally known – there are many more rape victims that I don’t personally know who don’t get the sort of story type justice too often seen in movies, and rarely reflected in real life.
But of course, classic SVM fandom crap – dump this problem all on Sookie’s back, and when you can’t do that, dump it all on CH for daring to deal with issues real women have, with all the murky circumstances and unclear solution that real women have. I could read a book on the feminist utopia, but that’s part of the thing I like about reading books that reflect real life. Real life is not a feminist utopia. Just like Sookie, women get victimised and not helped, they have bad boyfriends who won’t go away, they get hurtful things happen to them and no one cares, they get other people tearing them down. Sometimes the women are not paragons of virtue either, and still don’t deserve the crap that happens to them.
These are issues worth thinking about. Not just being dismissed as bad or hurtful and therefore not worthy to think about, other than maligning the author. I can say for sure that other victims have had that experience. One of the victims I know, her baby’s father used to come around even after they broke up, and hit her, break her things and rape her. And she was still friendly with him because he was her baby’s father and she didn’t want things to escalate. Do I think he was a stand-up guy? No, I don’t – he scared the living shit out of me. But do I understand why she was nice to him? Yes, I do – it’s way better than having all your windows smashed because police can’t teleport to the scene. It would be easy for me to shrug that off because it doesn’t fit the common script for how rape is dealt with, but that would just leave her without support. Much like Sookie has no support from the people who know about her rape – not Alcide, not Eric and definitely not fucking Bill. Considering the spectacular lack of a shit those three gave, I wouldn’t be spreading it around in hopes of sympathy either.
Unfortunately what often happens is that any nuance of discussing the fact that Sookie was raped by the man she loved is usually just swept aside. The Eric fangirls just condemn Sookie, and often blame her for having murky feelings and “Why won’t she let Eric kill him yet?” and the Bill fangirls just condemn Sookie for not letting her rapist talk it out with her and let her apologise. There are surely women in this fandom that have been raped by the man they loved, and yet none of that is discussed – let’s pick on Sookie. God, no wonder victims don’t come out – they’d get attacked by both suitor camps for being weak and somehow calling their abuse on themselves. Like Sookie, they wouldn’t get any sympathy either.
I also don’t think that Sookie being friendly or relying on Bill is any indication of how she’ll feel about Bill romantically. Forgiving the rape is not allowing permission for that rape. Plenty of victims try to forgive their rapist – and particularly those with Christian values like Sookie who are taught to turn the other cheek do it relatively quickly – that’s how they formulate getting past the rape as well. But their forgiveness is not retroactively redeeming though. It doesn’t mean that all the shit that went before is somehow just okay with them. Here’s a news article about a real life rape victim – she forgives her attacker, but that doesn’t mean she’s hunky dory with what happened. So other than anecdotes I can only personally attest to, that’s one of many real life victims who forgave. I do wish people would realise rape victims are not homogeneous lumps of sameness who deal with the issue according to some preordained script.
I don’t see Sookie being given any choice in the matter as to how she was dealing with Bill – she told him to go away, and he didn’t leave. She walked out on him and he gave her a whole two weeks to deal with it before dropping in to tell her he was going to Peru. Then Bill just took her saving him at Rhodes with it being okay to resume what he used to do. Eric hasn’t hunted him out because he’s a valuable moneymaker, and Eric hates computers, so he won’t be killing him any time soon and taking over the database – which would probably go to Felipe anyway, since Bill has a contract with him. Plus, Eric has a job. Not to mention, Bill is a free bodyguard for Sookie who lives next door, and says he’ll die for her. Eric is pragmatic and uses his resources. One of them is Bill, rapist or no.
This is something that could be discussed – the lack of real justice Sookie gets, and the reflection of lack of real justice so many women get. But really, it isn’t. Largely because the people who don’t care about a fictional character are the same people who don’t care about real women who have similar experiences. Real women don’t come out and report for the reasons you can see all around the fandom. If you’re wondering why there’s such a shitty reporting rate of rape, look around at the absolutely appalling dialogues there are around the place in the droves of women in this fandom. That’s why. Because it’s not just here – it’s fucking everywhere.
As for what happened with the Queen, I don’t think that is a crucial issue between them – not what made Bill and Sookie break up, but rather what would stop them getting back together again. With this behind them:
His passion had been artificial.
His pursuit of me had been choreographed.
I must have seemed so easy to him, so gullible, so ready for the first man
who devoted a little time and effort to winning me. Winning me! The very
phrase made me hurt worse. He’d never thought of me as a prize.
Until the structure had been torn down in a single moment, I hadn’t
realized how much of my life in the past year had been built
on the false foundation of Bill’s love and regard.
Definitely Dead, p. 187
With so much of what Bill did now being untrustworthy, everything in doubt, I fail to see how Bill can convince her anything he says is genuine. Yes, Sookie can try to pick away the strands of what is genuine and what is not, but that’s not something you should have to do or want to do. Sookie has shown no signs of trying to figure it out – mainly because it’s virtually impossible. It’s only something that would advantage Bill, rather than Sookie. It doesn’t help her to know that one particular incident was all about the Queen’s plan, and one particular incident was genuine love. I just don’t see her sorting through and discerning that stuff for Bill’s benefit.
Not when there are other suitors who can prove that they felt genuinely. Notably, Eric is one who can prove, without a doubt, that no power plans would have factored in with his amnesia. Whatever plans or agendas Eric had, he had five days or so where he lost his memory and could prove he felt genuinely. Even if Sookie found out that there was some big plan for Niall or someone to get Eric to manipulate her from the get-go, he can prove that even without his memory, he fell for her:
“Look inside yourself, Eric. Are you really, really sorry? Worried about Jason?”
Because the real Eric, in his right mind wouldn’t have cared one little bit.
“I know I should be. I should be concerned about your brother, because I love having
sex with you, and I should want you to think well of me so you’ll want sex, too.”
You just had to like the honesty.
“I find I have feelings for you.”
“Not love, exactly,” he said.
Dead to the World, pp. 211-212
In the face of that, it’s far more easy to overlook any grand plan. Eric can prove in a way that Bill can’t that without his memories, without any agenda, he started having feelings for Sookie. More so because it wasn’t something Sookie sought or that she expected. She was surprised that he had genuine feelings – and in the face of his confession that he couldn’t give a shit about Jason, she didn’t storm out – she sought the truth from him. Eric can prove his genuine feelings in a way Bill has no possibility of doing. The witches sooooo did Eric a huge favour.
And as we see, Sookie still doubts Bill’s word even though she might have reconciled with him for most of what went before:
“Do you really love me?” I said out of either insanity or sheer curiosity.
“Or have we just been through so much that you think you ought to?”
Dead Reckoning, p. 159
This is why they can’t believably reconcile. Yes, Bill may have proven that there is some part of him willing to sacrifice himself for Sookie’s life, and that might have redeemed what went before, but as long as Bill is to be doubted, then there’s not a whole lot he can do. Bill proved himself to be an excellent manipulator and wonderful liar – and he has no other way to prove that he is genuine. That Sookie isn’t basing her HEA on a guy who could be full of shit. Considering how often Bill has uttered words of devotion to Sookie, professed himself willing to die in her name, she’d be a fool to take it as read that Bill always tells the truth. Nor does Sookie have the arbitrator in the sky to ask. We can get definitive answers from CH, but Sookie cannot. Bill might be able to tell Sookie that he genuinely felt for her at thus-and-such point, but that doesn’t mean diddly, because Bill lies and has lied to Sookie.
However, neither of these two incidents are what makes it difficult for me to have a case for Bill as HEA. After all, Sookie could be a fool and take him back, and he’s certainly around with the possibility of wearing down resistance. If they were the sole problems that they had, I couldn’t rule it out as I have. Where I think that the relationship did break down in a very real way though, is not at the rape, or with the Queen. They serve as reasons why Sookie wouldn’t ever get back with Bill, no matter how hard he tries, but it is this bit that makes me think it’s all dead:
Alcide and Debbie were at it again. They were really bad for each other.
But some mutual attraction kept them ricocheting back to each other.
Of course they should separate. They should never be in the same room again.
And I had to take this to heart.
Look at me. Mangled, drained, staked, battered. Lying in a cold apartment in
a strange city with a vampire who had betrayed me.
Club Dead, p. 243
Whatever feelings Sookie has for Bill don’t matter. She considers them “bad for each other”. And to be honest – I totally agree with her. When you’re likening your relationship dynamic to Debbie and Alcide, something is really fucked up in that coupling. The point of realisation that Sookie comes to is not that she feels nothing for Bill, but rather that feelings don’t matter because coming together means badness. Sookie could be desperately in love with Bill again, and it doesn’t change the fact that they kept being like Alcide and Debbie – breaking up, the arguments, the constant push and pull of their relationship.
This is, for me, the moment that Sookie discovers that feelings aren’t at the top of her hierarchy – that it is not just feelings, but results. And she uses the same rationale to break with Quinn and Calvin as well. With Quinn, it is not that she no longer cares about him – it is that he will always put his mother and sister first, and never Sookie. With Calvin, it is that she will have to be around all the other women Calvin has slept with, the children who don’t live with him. Neither of these are about not caring about the man, but considering the circumstances. That’s where the eventual outcome would be badness not because she feels nothing for them, but rather because she couldn’t live like that.
Like Alcide and Debbie – who broke up and got back together all the time, Bill and Sookie broke up and got back together all the time. Like Alcide and Debbie, Bill and Sookie couldn’t just leave it alone. Bill is more like Debbie’s behaviour – coming around, trying to get Sookie back (and I’m not saying they’re identical twins because Debbie is rotten to the core and Bill is not) even while he had other girlfriends. One of the things so many BillBabes use to cite their future relationship is the fact that Sookie gets jealous of Selah and Judith – but this doesn’t mean jacksquat. Alcide and Debbie got jealous over each other’s lovers – that was part of their drama. It was part of the push and pull. So BillBabes usually proclaim this as indicative of their getting back together – but to me it’s just the same as Alcide pulling Debbie out by the roots. Sookie tries to control her feelings about that and get out of that habit. She certainly doesn’t have an epiphany that that’s the reason she should get back with Bill – all the jealousy and fighting that Alcide and Debbie did.
One of the things that broke Bill and Sookie up twice was killing. Firstly, the killing of Uncle Bartlett. Now, personally, I don’t see Bill as doing a selfless thing there, killing her abuser. It didn’t make the abuse disappear, and it didn’t make Sookie “better”. Sure, she was glad he was dead, and good riddance to old rubbish. But she didn’t actually order his death – despite having a vampire boyfriend. It really wasn’t Bill’s decision to make. And might I add that Hadley was a victim of Uncle Bartlett, a vampire herself, and didn’t go kill him. This act was designed to make Bill feel better – a nice bit of possessiveness. As Mr. Minty has pointed out, it was actually Gran that protected Sookie from Bartlett, not Bill. She should get the praise, not Bill who came a decade or so too late to do anything but get his own form of vengeance that he hid from her.
The second incident was going to kill the Fellowship members. I’ve never quite understood why people call Bill the “more human” vampire, because this:
“I got carried away in Dallas,” he said immediately. “Vampires do,
when the chance to hunt presents itself so obviously. We were
attacked. We have the right to hunt down those who want to kill us.”
“We are not human. We can pretend to be, when we’re trying to
live with people…in your society. We can sometimes remember
what it was like to be among you, one of you. But we are not
the same race. We are no longer of the same clay.”
Living Dead in Dallas, p. 230
does not sound like the words of the “more human” vampire. Yes, yes, I know that’s the rhetoric on True Blood, that Bill is “more human” but how the fuck that is human-like is beyond me. Might I point out that they’d been broken up for three weeks, and Bill thinks he’s right, so it’s about time to get Sookie to comply with his thinking. This is what drove me mad about Bill – he could never just put it behind them – he had to force Sookie to see his point of view. He never could agree to disagree, and just leave it alone – he had to force her to acknowledge it’s okay for him to kill.
Nor does it sound like the Bill with a “conscience” that other BillBabes swear by. Someone with a conscience who gets lost in the moment doesn’t try to ameliorate their “right” to hunt weeks after the incident. This is not Bill straight after the FotS with his blood running high – this is Bill saying he has a right to kill humans who displease him in cold, cool vampire inspired “logic” weeks after the event. He doesn’t come to his own conclusion that this is a pattern that Sookie doesn’t like. He says he lost his head, but it was totally right to lose his head because he’s a vampire, and they kill. The vampires killed in Dallas were not his best friends – they were just other vampires who happened to be shot – there’s no personal feeling there angrying up the blood. Yet Bill is concerned with his “right” to do what he feels like when he feels like, and fuck Sookie’s feelings as a human in the very same massacre who was beaten by the FotS a day earlier. You know, if anyone had “the most” grievance with them, it was her, and not Bill.
Considering too that Bill might be reinventing himself, but the very same issue that had them breaking up all the time still exists? Nightmare. Because they broke up when he killed Uncle Bartlett, when he killed the Fellowship people – this was a serious issue for them. It’s something that Sookie hasn’t laid down with in regards to Eric either:
I gave Eric a sort of heavy pat on the cheek. Not a slap. A heavy pat.
“Yeah, let’s not forget the two dead men,” I said. “That Alexei
murdered, in a painful and horrible way. I mean, I realize that
this is all about him and your maker and your personal cred,
but let’s spare a tip of the hat to those guys he killed.”
Dead in the Family, p. 243
This is not the Sookie living like a supe, and shrugging off the deaths of a couple of humans. Granted, Eric didn’t actually do the killing, but it’s not as if Sookie has shrugged off the humanity like a dirty cape she’s no longer wearing. Eric doesn’t tend to drive me halfway around the bend because he just ignores it. He doesn’t go into some long diatribe about how he’s a vampire, he’s fine with killing and she should totally apologise to him for daring to point out two humans died. Eric just proceeds on his merry way not giving a shit, and allowing Sookie to feel differently about it without a lecture. And even in Dead Reckoning, she feels guilt over the death of Audrina. It hasn’t gone away yet, and Bill still doesn’t get it:
“I feel I’ve failed you,” he said.
“I didn’t kill them,” he said. “I’d like to,”
I didn’t feel hardly creepy at all at his admission.
I was getting used to drastic pronouncements.
Dead Reckoning, p. 238
How many times does she have to tell Bill she doesn’t like killing to solve problems? Apparently Bill is just being thick as two bricks, and still not getting that killing is not the way to Sookie’s heart. This is still going to be a fundamental point of contention and still is because Bill keeps offering her dead things. Not only that, but later on Bill just spends his time giving yet another lecture about how people have to die, it’s nature, and all the other crap he used to pull when they were together.
Since Bill is showing that essentially, the crap that broke them up – even without the rape and the Queen – just the everyday killing that Bill took for granted, this is still an option for Bill. And he doesn’t even get why it upsets Sookie:
“Did you think that no one would die?”
“Bill, I never believed any of those things. I’m not naive.”
Abruptly, I was tired of this topic. It had happened, it was
done, I had to find a way to get over it.
Dead Reckoning, pp. 303-304
Seriously, it’s like banging your head against a brick wall with Bill. No matter how many times Sookie tells him she’s not comfortable with killing humans or humans dying, he never seems to listen. And he’s not connecting that it makes her feel bad. And it’s been two years already. This is not Eric who just doesn’t care about killing – this is Bill offering over and over to make bodies for her:
“Who do you want dead, Sookie?” There was a spark of curiosity in his eyes.
“I’m not about to tell you.” I gave him a weak smile. “You might try to
make it happen for me. Like you did with Uncle Bartlett.”
“I love you,” he said. “Nothing you do or say will change that. If you asked me
to bury a body for you – or to make a body – I would do it without a qualm.”
Dead in the Family, p. 32
Yeah Bill, tell us something we don’t know. Solve all of your problems by killing them, wishing death on Eric, and the whole nine yards. This is such a barrier – Bill doesn’t change. He keeps repeating that he loves her, but he hasn’t essentially changed the man he was – the toxic one in the toxic relationship. The one who was so bad for Sookie they broke up a couple of times over this self-same issue. The one that kept offering to kill people to solve problems, but on no less than two occasions, completely loses his shit over the death of vampires. Above at the massacre of Dallas, and here:
“They’re dead, Bill, the vampires from Monroe.”
I could feel his cruelty.
I could feel his hunger.
He had never been more completely vampire.
There wasn’t anything human in him.
He turned his face to the sky and howled.
I thought he might kill someone, the rage rolling off him was so great.
And the nearest person was me.
Dead Until Dark, p. 180
This is supposedly “more human” Bill? The one who can’t seem to comprehend that humans getting killed upsets Sookie, but he can sure understand that vampires getting killed upsets him. And what’s more, is that his immediate response is to try to kill a human – in this case, Sookie who had nothing to do with the deaths of Malcolm, Liam and Diane. This is not a one off, where Bill can be constructed as getting vengeance on the people who did him wrong – Sookie was upset at their deaths too. Yet, he takes it out on her. As I’ve discussed before, this is another issue of the murky rape in that Sookie doesn’t call it that, Bill doesn’t acknowledge it or might think it’s consensual, but it happens often that women smooth it over.
It’s for this reason I don’t buy the argument that Bill is more human, and closer to humanity, as so many Billbabes make out. Yeah, he may be closer when he’s sneaking up to kill them, but this is Bill who still hasn’t learned that Sookie doesn’t like killing – even post-torture when there are people she wants to die, she’s not handing them up on a platter for cold blooded murder. He just can’t seem to learn that this is a bad thing Sookie doesn’t want, and not only that, but he fails to understand why killing makes her feel bad. Even though he feels the same way about vampires dying, Bill cannot grasp what was wrong with Sookie at the end of Dead Reckoning.
Time and time again, Bill’s offer of love and honour is like a cat’s – let me go hunt and kill something to show my love. Say what you like about Eric, but he’s not doing this crap. He’s not the one that brings her a bunch of corpses instead of flowers. Which is probably why I don’t have an anecdote about the time they broke up because he was doing blah, blah, blah. Eric might be a stone cold killer, but he doesn’t use it as a device to show his love for Sookie. He takes the radical move of using loving gestures to show his love and never offering to make something dead for her.
Truly, you just know, that if Bill and Sookie got back together again, it would be the same old pattern that it always was. Bill and Sookie are together, Bill kills someone, Sookie says he shouldn’t, he says “I am vampire, accept me” cue to a breakup until Bill figures out a way to get her back – probably by torturing her with other women, and then finally getting back together with the requisite lecture about how Sookie must accept his vampireness and he does absolutely nothing to comprehend why after all the dead bodies he keeps making, she seems to react the same damn way every time. This is what makes the comparison to Debbie and Alcide.
We don’t really see other suitors other than Eric killing people while Sookie’s dating them – but that’s where the fundamental difference comes in. When Sookie says Eric shouldn’t kill, Eric doesn’t feel the need to get Sookie to comply with his thinking. He moves right on, and they just agree to disagree, and the fight pretty much ends there. Bill is not content with just disagreeing – he requires full and total acceptance of the fact that he is vampire, while completely ignoring that Sookie is human. And he can’t be told otherwise, years after their breakup. And he still doesn’t grasp why she might get upset. Despite the fact that right up until at least From Dead to Worse Bill could feel Sookie’s emotions, he hasn’t quite grasped what this feeling is of upset, and how it’s connected to killing.
One of the primary reasons so many BillBabes are pro-Bill HEA is because they reckon that Bill just understands Sookie well. Apparently not. Bill keeps offering the tribute of corpses, and Sookie keeps telling him no until she’s abruptly tired of trying to explain to Bill why killing is not okay with her. Since this issue has broken them up a couple of times already then it’s foreseeable that this would come between them for all time, because after two years, Bill shows no sign of getting it.
Many of the other reasons are very superficial. For example, there’s the idea that Bill is the one who was always truthful with Sookie, as opposed to Eric. Um, no, he hasn’t always told Sookie the truth any more than Eric has always been truthful. Bill has shown that he kept things from Sookie so as to spin the tale to benefit him. Bill has shown – on page – that he’s happy to omit the truth just in the same way that Eric has. And the fact that he told her he was back to look at his relative’s house? That there is a downright lie in the same way as “The bullet will heal inside my skin. Suck it out.” was. Ain’t no advantage for either vampire in the “Who tells the truth” stakes.
Some of the arguments for Bill as HEA are based on personal preference too. So Bill being 6 foot tall, wide shouldered, brown hair with sideburns, brown eyes, Grecian profile, gentlemanly ways is enough of a reason to have him as a favourite. That’s not really based on actions though, that’s based on looks. As a woman married to a brunette with long hair and blue eyes, I can say for sure that neither of the suitors fit my personal taste. Stephen Moyer might have blue eyes, but Book Bill has dark eyes. Neither of the actors appeal to me personally, so that doesn’t factor in. I wanted a hot Chow myself. So I don’t buy that as a reason for HEA either. If I had my choice, Sookie would be with Pam – who I think is a way better match for her in terms of HEA by book 8. But I understand that Sookie is not me.
I suspect that a lot of preference for Eric is really just covert love of Askars, or preference for his looks too – looking around at the fanfic in this fandom. Because I have read Bill’s speeches about why killing is totally fine and why it’s totally fine because he’s a vampire out of Eric’s mouth more often than I can shake a stick at. It usually comes with the requisite lecture about how she must accept his vampire nature, just like one of Bill’s lectures – and then the requisite beatdown of Sookie’s opinions on killing. Then Pam goes out and chooses Sookie’s wardrobe so she can spend all day staring at the wall or sleeping. I would so kill to see Pam on her little parrot legs going out and buying those clothes so that instead of just Bill, we can have Eric and Pam condescending to Sookie. Bill just didn’t have the beatdown qualities – with the two of them, it takes ten minutes, tops. Bill had to take the long way round with weeks of emotional torture with other females – when he should have just gotten a woman to gang up with him.
Some BillBabes say that Eric is too rough and mean for her. But it is Bill who has been the most rough with her – not only emotionally with Selah, which really made me hate what Bill was doing, but physically with stuff like this:
In the excitement of the moment, Bill reached behind him to catch my wrists
in his hands and began twisting. I choked with pain. Both my arms were about
to break when Sam took the opportunity to sock Bill in the jaw with all his power.
Dead as a Doornail, p. 143
As for the argument that Bill is totally a sweetheart to Sookie? This is not any situation where Bill is in danger – he’s in a blind jealous rage over a woman who isn’t his girlfriend any more and he hurts her. And his payback for this? Bringing Selah into the bar the next night. Of course, the standard argument is that all these “rabid Eric fangirls” just don’t admit the bad shit that Eric does, and completely ignore it. Lol, yeah, sure – I fit in that category. I get semi-regular complaints that I should be nicer to Eric in my comments. While I agree with the general sentiment that Eric fangirls are guilty of this, I would argue that both suitor camps are guilty of the exact same behaviour. See above, re: Me here.
Other arguments are that Bill is the one good guy who tries to do right. Now, I agree that the plan with the Queen does not make him a bad guy, and the rape in the trunk doesn’t make him evil to the bone. But he’s not a universally good guy. He doesn’t get why killing is a problem for Sookie. In fact this scene:
I drank and saw visions, visions all with a background of darkness, of
white things coming up from the ground and going hunting, the thrill
of the run through the woods, the prey panting ahead and the
excitement of its fear; pursuit, legs pumping, hearing the
thrumming of blood through the veins of the pursued…
Dead Until Dark, p. 197
is a happy moment of Bill’s. This is a guy who gets turned on by hunting, hunting prey, hunting human prey. There’s nothing sweet and fluffy and human about that. There’s nothing there that speaks to how terrible Bill finds it to kill and tries to do his best. There’s no conscience blocking this thought and making it happy-bunny-funtime. And this vision is during sex, so you know… So I don’t buy the idea that Bill has kept a minimum of killing. He’s certainly not shying away from battles, and as you can see above, tried to justify why it is totally okay that he should be able to kill who he wants.
Overall, I agree with CH not killing Bill in Dead and Gone, as she first conceived. She did consider him dying, but didn’t do it. Nor is it for the money – which is really just a sneaky way to insult the writer, and one I don’t personally appreciate. I personally would have felt that Bill, dying as a martyr for Sookie would have screwed up her relationship with Eric in a monumental fashion. To group him with Claudine as one of the deaths in the end of the fairy war would be an injustice, and honestly, Bill didn’t need to go out in such a senseless way to make a point. Which of course, it wouldn’t have made a point about how rapists get their just desserts in the end…by dying in a situation which would make them look like a good guy, dying for the woman he loves.
While I can’t see a case for Bill as HEA, no matter how hard I try (and I have tried because I like to be fair and to test my theories) I just can’t see how they get past all the stuff that keeps them apart, and all the stuff that drove Sookie from Bill in the first place. Nor do I think that Sookie’s virginity is so damn important to Eric that he should have to kill Bill (and maybe Quinn and Preston) to proclaim the seat of honour of the only alive guy who has been in Sookie’s bed. Nor do I think the Eric who was a virgin for Appius would really place so much damn value on being anyone’s first man. I don’t think Eric or Sookie should be the ones to kill Bill, because frankly, I think that’s way too much of a storybook ending for a series that doesn’t go for fairy tales and everything being okay at the end. If the fandom can’t deal with non-storybook endings, I’m more than glad CH can.
I hope that if and when Sookie leaves to be with her HEA guy, Bill continues on. I don’t need to have Bill die so that Eric can have an unanimous victory over his possessive nature. If Eric wanted Bill dead, he would make him dead. He doesn’t need me to be his cheering death squad. Nor do I think Sookie should have victory over Bill. Bill dying wouldn’t solve all of her problems, it wouldn’t make the rape un-happen. Bill might stop lurking around her house, but as long as he lurks, he’s a free guard service. Whatever bad – and good – that Bill has done, I don’t see the need for vengeance or reward for either. I for one, hope that Bill Compton does not die.
P. S. I’ve already had a couple of enquiries, so I’ll say it here. At the moment I’m extremely busy. Most of my online activities are getting neglected or shifted to the backburner. I’m trying to keep up with reviewing and this LJ, but most other stuff is falling by the wayside. Even here it can take a day to get back to comments. I just want to assure everyone I’m okay, nothing is going wrong (just the opposite in fact), I’m just really, really late with everything sometimes. 🙂