Just a quick note to let everyone know – I love spoilers. Truly, I do. But every single year, I have read the reviews of others, and have wondered what book I’m reading when I finally get my hands on it. When there were spoilers released for Dead in the Family, one of the reviewers said that there was something going on that was out of character because Eric cried over Bobby’s death. Go on, I dare you – find me the bit where Eric cried over Bobby’s death. Just so you won’t search for all time, thinking you read that while you were crazy, it doesn’t exist. Reading comprehension is way down in this fandom, and it’s worse when people are excited.
Similarly, every single year, I hear the lamentations of the women (thanks Conan) all about how Eric and Sookie will break up. Every single year since Dead and Gone was published. Without fail. Because if they aren’t glued at the hip making googly eyes at each other, if there’s actual plot in their relationship, stuff they have to cope and come to terms with, it’s Henny Penny time.
I dare anyone to find a period of relationship where it’s pages and pages of Sookie blissfully happy with any of the suitors thinking about how she wants to never separate, and has no doubts about anything ever. It didn’t appear with Bill, it didn’t appear with Quinn and it hasn’t appeared with Eric. That’s not CH’s style – that’s romance novels. In fact, happy fun times spent going out with any of the guys are not included in some great big scene unless it’s relevant to the plot. They’re mentioned in passing, not set out as some big scene where we can all just sigh over what a wonderful time Sookie is having. Observe.
You ought to hear a vampire band.
But when I’d been dating Bill, he’d taken to hear a group playing in Fangtasia
for one night while making their way south to New Orleans.
Dead as a Doornail, pp. 35-36
He’d been in Shreveport one weekend as he passed through on his way to somewhere else, and we’d gone out to dinner at Ralph and Kacoo’s, a popular restaurant.
All Together Dead, pp. 30-31
Since I’d been on my feet for hours, this plan was not the most tempting.
But it had been a long time since we’d had fun as a couple – in public.
Dead Reckoning, p. 63
And just in case anyone thinks that Sookie is referring to Rhodes (even though they weren’t a couple then and she wouldn’t count it) it seems to me that Eric has been taking her on joyrides at least once, for want of a better term:
In his light-stunned stupor, he couldn’t fly very well. This was not the smooth
progress I’d experienced before; we had more of a zigzag, bobbing descent.
All Together Dead, p. 288
Notice the bit about “experienced before”? You only know that if Eric has taken you flying before (and he’s the only flying vampire in the series so far) that the descent is different. Lots of things happen off page. Things have to be relevant to the main plot, or to build the relationships – and they’re on page, but lots of other shit isn’t. Like blood sharing, having sex and Bill and Eric coming to see Sookie Christmas night – Eric gave Sookie a handbag to match her cranberry coat as referenced in Two Blondes. Romance books would be full of that stuff, but not the Sookie books. Because they’re not romances – and every time you come across a problem in a relationship, it is going to be explored on the page. Happy times – mostly – aren’t.
If I believed the spoilers wholeheartedly, then I would be lamenting that Sam and Sookie were HEAing it in the next book. Because it’s the catchcry of every single year since Dead and Gone – you could almost use it as a title – that’s how fucking predictable and pervasive it is. So, before trickle becomes the deluge of people asking me if I’m still sure about stuff, let me reiterate:
For years now, I’ve watched “neighbour Bill” and “boss Sam” get turned into OMG SHE’S DATING THEM INSTEAD OF ERIC just because they were mentioned in a blurb. I’ve watched waves of panic strike the fandom because Eric is surely on his way out…like he is this year, and it’s been almost three years I’ve heard that the sky is falling. Please don’t panic at me this year. I can’t reassure you until I read the book, and I haven’t read the book yet. Every single year I hear that Sookie and Sam look like the HEA and break up is impending in the next book. I wish they’d change the record. Seriously.
And my final thought – the most important one – I don’t judge the breakdown of a relationship on Henny Penny reviews. I’ve seen freaking years of them now. While everyone else was wringing their hands over Freyda, I was jumping for joy, because it simply means that Eric, who has never said he wants to marry Sookie to be married to her, has never told her he cared about her first, will now have the opportunity to do just that by fighting like a wildcat to be with her. Eric is occasionally a royal dick. He has been persistent in occasionally being a royal dick.
He was a royal dick when he married Sookie without asking and telling her only “Felipe wanted you.” in Dead and Gone.
He was a royal dick when he took off with his maker and didn’t call her for a week, before expecting her to come when called in Dead in the Family.
He was a royal dick when he bit Sookie hard in Dead Reckoning.
Yes, yes, he’s all cute in the pink tights with swirls like Jason’s truck, and he has funny banter at times. But Eric is not so one-dimensional and plastic. Newsflash: Eric will be a royal dick in the new book, without a doubt. Whether it’s the final nail in the coffin or not, I’ll have to wait until I read the book myself. I’m not going to go on speculation and spoilers, and I’m not panicking. I rarely agree with everyone else anyway. I’ve heard the song that Sam and Sookie look like HEA before and that break up was imminent.
It’s why there’s a panic every single book – it’s not what Sookie did wrong – it’s readers being reminded that Eric is occasionally a royal dick who’s hanging on by his teeth, and not doing enough to help himself. I get that many people have had just under a year to forget why their relationship was in trouble, and to forgive Eric all wrongdoing and make it all Sookie’s fault, but the new book will remind them that he will be a royal dick on occasion, like oh…..once every book Eric will do things arse backwards. He has a tag and everything.
On a happier note, those of you who observed my SVM Bad Fanfic Bingo, in my post about Comfort Food – the wonderful hummingbirds2 has written a story which manages to cram every single one of the fanfic clichés into it. It’s hilarious. Read eet.