I was thinking about the side stories to the SVM world – I don’t often re-read them, but I did this time, looking for clues. And yay! I found some really interesting tidbits. I figured I’d share them here, so they can be discussed, and because the little snippets, they bother me and carp at me in the back of my brain. This may not be all of them, but since peeps often wonder about little bits and pieces, I figured I’d do some illuminating.
The Hard Bite
Not again, I hear you say. Let it alone, PMR, you big Eric bully! I know I’ve already dealt with that, but still, you find apology for Eric everywhere. It wasn’t his fault, because he doesn’t understand or know that he’s hurting a mere human (most excellent FrankenEric blundering around hurting humans because he hasn’t connected after 1000 years that all those cries are of pain – what a dumbarse), that it’s Sookie’s fault because she can’t be glamoured, or wasn’t feeling tiptop (ah, blame the victim for getting hurt – totally why the trunk scene wasn’t as erotic as the shower) or that it’s because Eric’s really hungry, and she’s so fairy (meaning never take blood from your wife again, if you can’t control yourself, you arse). If you’ve ever wondered why criminals commit crimes, and don’t feel guilty about it – this is your mechanism. Except criminals provide justification to their own victims in this manner, rather than direct all their sympathy to Eric.
But I have actual canon here on biting, from the mouth of a vampire:
“No. The first time, you can see what makes you happiest.”
Can, she noted. She was sure it could also hurt like hell. Sean had been generous.
“It will feel pleasant next time,” Sean said. He didn’t add, “As long as I want it to,”
but she could read between the lines. “But it won’t be so overwhelming.”
Dancers in the Dark, Night’s Edge, p. 471
This is Sean – hundreds of years younger than Eric, with a woman who wasn’t glamoured and was nervous as hell at being bitten for the first time. He bit her at the end of a dance routine, so there was no glamour – it was all up to Sean if it hurt, or if it didn’t. Had nothing to do with if Layla was going along with it. We’ve seen this couple in the Sookie books – they’re part of the universe – in All Together Dead. They’re the vampire couple dancing – and this scene is while Layla is still human, and it’s her first vampire bite. She ended up in tears of happiness, while Sookie ended up in tears of pain.
So there you have it – don’t get surprised if Sookie does in fact blame Eric. Because it is Eric’s fault. It’s not because of fae blood, it’s not because he’s used to glamouring, it’s not because a vampire who’s been killing people for many years doesn’t understand that humans feel pain, it’s not due to lack of blood bond. It’s not on Sookie. It’s on Eric….not that this will make any difference to the amount of shit Sookie gets – I do realise this. But Eric made a choice to have it be painful because Eric is sometimes a royal dick.
There is a reason fangbangers like getting bitten and get addicted to it, and it’s got nothing to do with wanting to be altruistic platters of food – it’s got to do with the amount of pleasure they receive for getting bitten. It’s like taking a little trip. It’s no surprise to me that someone like Hadley got into vampires – go along to a vampire, and like Layla, relive a happy memory. Layla got the memory of before she was whole (she’s a victim of rape and attempted murder before she meets Sean), and I’m betting Hadley got addicted to feeling whole when vampires bit her too. Back before Uncle Bartlett used to visit.
So, the hard bite was deliberate, just as it was shown to be in the books. Sookie doesn’t mince words about it, but there’s all manner of readers trying to minimise Eric’s damage and let him skate on things like this:
He didn’t make it feel good, an action almost automatic for a vampire.
Tears ran down my face without my wanting them to.
Dead Reckoning, p. 301
This is St. Eric, all sad and shit to even think of tears coming from Sookie – he’s just heartbroken if she cries. Pffft. Give me a break. He’s no such thing. Not only that, but while the initial entering of fangs has always hurt, it’s even automatic for Amnesiac Eric:
…and then he bit.
I may have made a noise, I am sure I did, but in the next second I
was floating on the most powerful wave of pleasure I’d ever felt.
Dead to the World, p. 123
Amnesiac Eric can figure it out with no memories, but regular Eric is FrankenEric, blundering around hurting Sookie and still not stopping. Sure thing. See, what this tells me is that Eric made a special effort to be a royal dick. Because that’s what he does.
I’d also like to point that even if one could argue he was so badly injured that he couldn’t control himself, well, that’s rather doubtful:
“Thank you for your courtesy,” Dahlia said stiffly. “Can you
help me over to the donors? My arm and leg are broken.”
Dahlia Underground, Crimes by Moonlight, p. 35
So a vampire around Eric’s age, trapped underneath the Rhodes bombing, with a broken arm and leg, badly injured can take the time and trouble not to hurt random strangers, but Eric is incapable? If you still believe that, than your opinion of Eric’s control is rather woeful, and the Fellowship will look forward to your membership application, since you think they’re all uncontrollable animals.
I for one, think it’s rather significant that for the first time, we have an elf in the picture too. Bellenos was the first elf we’ve seen on the page, as a character. There was a half-elf in Two Blondes, but he was an evil guy who drugged Pam. But Bellenos has made a special effort not to be a bad guy it seems:
Elves would eat anything, but they preferred fresh flesh. As in, still breathing fresh. There was a reason elves weren’t seen very often; in the supernatural world, vampires were encouraged to kill them on sight,
though killing them was notoriously difficult.
A Very Vampire Christmas, Glamour Magazine, p. 214
In this story, the vampires come across a bunch of elves who are preparing to abduct and eat children. The fact that Bellenos told Sookie to get covered up is pretty significant. I mean, if he preferred fresh flesh, and breathing flesh, and Sookie was waving fresh flesh under his nose like a bar of chocolate, the fact that he didn’t take advantage says a whole lot. I think we can assume that Bellenos is not being nice just so he can trap Sookie later. He might be into devious deeds, but not outright harm.
Torture or Telepath
Amidst some of the many comments I’ve had here, is the insistence that me believing Eric when he threatens to torture Sookie is me letting True Blood spill over with the Fangtasia basement. Now, while I agree, the Fangtasia basement is quite the stupid place to torture people – what with the raids by police – this doesn’t mean that Eric doesn’t mean it. There are other places – out in the swamps, woods or anywhere. It doesn’t have to be Fangtasia, but it’s not amiss in some out of the way warehouse that isn’t likely to be raided by police. AB is rather stupid to put it in Eric’s basement, but that doesn’t mean that therefore Eric threatens to torture people and doesn’t mean it. This was him being all sloppy fanfic-writer-y and putting the location convenient for the audience to have an excuse to leer at Askars bottom. But that doesn’t then translate to “If there’s no Fangtasia basement in the books, Eric is like unto a fluffy lamb and totally joking about torture”.
Eric threatens Sookie with torture to her face – and her deal is predicated on the idea that if he didn’t have a telepath, he would have tortured Belinda, Ginger and Bruce that first night in Fangtasia. In fact, we have Pam, who got her information out of Hallow, were witch by asking nicely? Lol sure:
“Why Shreveport?” I asked Pam.
“I’m going to find out,” Pam said, smiling.
I shuddered. I didn’t want to consider Pam’s methods.
“How are you going to keep her from doing a spell on you while you question her?”
Pam said, “I’ll think of something,” She was still smiling.
Dead to the World, p. 254
Think Pam’s smiling about it because they’re going to have a tea party? Or because the woman who has now lost her brother, on top of the original plan for vengeance against the supernaturals for her perceived wrongs against her family has now become Miss Congeniality and decides to give it up? I’m betting not. In fact, it looks like Pam had a good couple of hours to torture the hell out of Hallow – none of which need to be done at Fangtasia – but that doesn’t make them not exist:
I guess Pam worked on Hallow right up until dawn was peeking over the horizon.
Dead to the World, p. 262
So those hours while Sookie and Eric were cleaning up the remains of Debbie Pelt, Pam was having her “tea party” with Hallow. Or you know – torturing her until she gave up the spell or the anecdote. This is how vampires get information – after all Eric has offered to torture half a dozen people now – one of which is Sookie. It’s not because he’s making a hilarious joke no one else laughs at and that scares the living shit out of Sookie every time he threatens it.
But there’s much pooh poohing about Eric’s value of having his own telepath. That Sookie isn’t actually all that useful, and glamour is far more reliable for vampires. That the only reason Eric ever wanted Sookie around was because he figured she’d be good company…or something like that. But we have a quote of what you do when you don’t have a telepath to mainstream with:
Even the abduction-and-torture team reported failure. True, they managed to find a family-free Fellowship official, and true, they managed to snatch her unobserved,
but to their immense irritation, the woman had a weak heart. She died too early
in the proceedings to offer any useful information. In fact, the team simply
restored her body to her house, and no one was the wiser.
Dahlia Underground, Crimes by Moonlight, p. 39
Don’t think a telepath is that valuable? Major fail for you. This is a lot more trouble than Sookie reading things from people’s heads. If glamour could work for vampires, then they wouldn’t need to torture anyone. And if torture was a failsafe, then you could just use that. Those vampires actually tortured someone to find out information – and it’s not terribly effective because they ended up killing a woman (not that they care) and wasting time doing it. They wasted a whole night for nothing – even worse, for something that Sookie can access with 15 minutes of chatter, instead of nights wasted in ineffective torture that leads nowhere. It’s not as if vampires give a shit about how many humans die, as long as it can’t be tied back to them, right?
Without Sookie, Eric would have had to kill three of his staff, and possibly Bruce’s family, since he didn’t come home and works for a vampire. This is three people who would die and cost Eric money – money to rehire their replacements, get vampire cleanup crews to mop up the blood and hide the bodies. That’s not as fiscally sound as the Sookie you can either force to do it, or pay substantially less (and Eric hasn’t paid her in a while). It’s not as if Eric would bat an eyelash at the deaths of these humans. None of the vampires cared too much for their “valuable” staff who died defending vampire property, or that they were faring okay:
“How is Belinda?” I asked. “Have you made arrangements to pay her hospital bills?”
She looked at me blankly.
“The waitress who was hurt defending Fangtasia,” I reminded her a little dryly.
“You remember? The friend of Ginger, who died?”
“Of course,” said Chow, from his place against the wall. “She is recovering.
We sent her flowers and candy,” he told Pam. Then he focused on me.
“Plus, we have a group insurance policy.” He was proud as a new father about that.
Pam looked pleased with Chow’s report. “Good,” she said. “You have to keep them happy.”
Dead to the World, p. 225
So Ginger is dead, and Belinda in the hospital, and they get flowers. Oh, and candy – let’s not forget that essential help and succour in your hour of need. There’s that human concern for their staff – they’re rallying round and doing all their laundry for them, right? Lol. Pam doesn’t even remember that they’re injured and dead. There she was, kissing Belinda, feeding off her in the club – even in Dead Until Dark – and yet she doesn’t immediately twig when Sookie asks after her. Don’t even bother thinking killing and dying bothers them that much, even by people they’re nice enough to when they’re not injured or dying.
Torture is ubiquitous in the vampire world. All the vampires do it – it’s so normal for Eric he talks about it in polite conversation. He’s threatened Sookie with it. He’s not doing that because he has a subversive bit of humour no one else is laughing about. It’s not because he’s not willing to do it. Who do you hazard taught Pam to do this torturing to Hallow? She hurriedly checked out a book on “How to Torture for Dummies” out of the local library the night before she captured Hallow? Yes, Eric might not use Fangtasia, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t torture.
Eric’s Sookie Only Diet
Now, I’ve covered this before too. But some of the things I’ve read are rather bizarre. Like the idea that the food in Eric’s freezer is there because Eric has Bobby round for dinner or something. Because nothing says hospitality like Eric staring at you while you heat up a frozen meal from his freezer and then eat it, apparently, thanks to this statement:
Eric had bought a coffeemaker for me, and he kept some food in the freezer
for whatever human was in the house. Lately, that human had been me.
Dead in the Family, p. 74
That doesn’t make much sense in the context of Bobby. If I had an employee, I wouldn’t keep food in my house for them. Certainly not if I intended to only send them flowers if they died. Since Eric had the vampire cleaning crew come round, I’d say that Bobby’s body is somewhere weighted down in a river, so that the killing can’t be tied back to Eric’s house or one of his employees. Bad for business that. So I doubt Eric has snacks for him in his house – he’s just not that beneficent. Bobby didn’t quit due to becoming a rockstar living millionaire, right – and nor did Barry. Vampires don’t actually treat you so well that you’ll be able to retire in a year or two. Eric is less likely, because that’s fiscally irresponsible and you don’t get to be a business tycoon by moonlighting as the best boss who ever lived. It’s not conducive of respect to have snacks round at your house for your employees either, when they’re supposed to be working.
No, there’s a very good reason to have meals in one’s freezer – for donors who drop round – you know, the ones whose blood you take:
Before they’d left, the humans had piled their plates and cups by the sink.
Fainting humans were bad for business, so the agency had insisted the
vampires take a tip from the blood bank in offering refreshments.
Death by Dahlia, Down these Strange Streets, p. 43
Obviously, Eric has Fangtasia to source feeding most of the time. But there are the occasions when Appius turns up and Pam has to shepherd over some donors for the vampires. You can’t leave those humans high and dry – you need to have a way to give them various foods so that they can use refreshments. That’s what they do at blood banks. You don’t let poor humans stumble home depleted of blood – and blood donation makes you a little wonky.
Leaping to the thought that Bobby comes around to the infamous Eric Cafe with it’s frozen meals has to be one of the most bizarre theories I’ve ever read. The food is there for other humans – and I’m betting Sookie knows why Eric might have it around his house. Much like Eric or Bill may know that Sookie does things like go to the toilet, they don’t have to watch to realise it happens with frequency.
Thou Art Smelled like a Wet Dog
I always wondered about this one – because there’s no wet dog shit in SVM…until I saw it in a Twilight movie. Before you ask, I watch those movies with Mr. Minty, for the lulz. He ships Charlie and Bella, so he’s absolutely hilarious to watch a Twilight movie with. Even though Pam feeds on Jason in Dead in the Family, there’s this persistent belief that no vampire would feed on a were of their own accord. Huh. Not to hear a vampire tell it:
Werewolves thought humans who were willing to give blood to vampires were from the bottom of the barrel. Any selfrespecting Were would rather have his fur shaved off. Dahlia was sure Don didn’t mind giving Taffy a sip in private . . . at least she hoped that was the case. During Dahlia’s own brief marriage to the previous enforcer, her husband had not been averse to a little nip.
Death by Dahlia, Down these Strange Streets, p. 24
These are two vampires – Taffy and Dahlia – married to male weres. They take bites of them every so often. They don’t have to feed on them exclusively, mind you. They married them, and there’s no reason to assume they like the smell of wet dog like two old fetishist friends. Dahlia even hated weres when she first encountered Todd. And just to make it clear that they don’t smell like wet dog – whatever they smell like, it’s good:
The wound in her side was almost healed, but she took her time pushing away
from the Were’s support. He was warm, and he smelled good.
Tacky, My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, p. 140
This is a vampire, smelling a were – a vampire who thinks it’s all too tacky to marry a were. A vampire who just got in a fight with a female were. There’s no “wet dog” smell about it. But this one is like a zombie hydra – it’s not going down with the introduction of canon of the actual series….noooo…base it on Twilight. Jesus.
I’d also like to note the “respect” you get for being a fangbanger from weres. You know, the one that the weres don’t show to Sookie in the books:
“Vamp humper,” she said.
I’d had worse things said about me, but not to my face, and not
from people who intended me to hear them.
Dead to the World, p. 184
Alcide tells Sookie when he first meets her that she’s not like the conventional pathetic fangbanger. Being Eric’s wife or girlfriend doesn’t get you any trim, no matter how pretty he is. Rarely do other people envy you dating dead things. Oh, and just in case you’re under the illusion that no matter how beautiful vampires are, that everyone admires their beauty and envies the hell out of Sookie:
“You gonna get mighty lonely out to your place without him.”
“You offering to take his place, Chuck?” the man beside him at the bar asked,
and they both had a we’re-men-together guffaw.
“Naw, Terrell,” said the salesman. “I don’t care for vampire leavings.”
Dead to the World, pp. 8-9
Nope – no social status. There’s a difference between the women in Eric’s bar swooning all over Eric and Pam, but that’s not something most humans do. Half of his business is tourists and men from the Barksdale airforce who are tough enough to drink at a vampire bar. The rest of the human race stays the hell away from vampires, because people who go there get addicted to biting, and sometimes end up dead.
Lest you’re under the illusion – God knows why but it seems to happen – that vampires respect fangbangers and fall in love with them? Not so – what concern did Eric or Bill or Pam show for Dawn, Maudette, Ginger – all of these fangbangers who died? None. Eric’s mourning statement of a woman he had sex with was “She liked pain”. That’s it. Vampires weren’t weeping at their funerals. They barely remember them. Bill didn’t care if all those girls died in the first book – other than wanting not to be blamed for the crime, and Pam and Eric didn’t ask why Sookie was showing their photo around. They just didn’t give a shit.
Blib blab blib Meet the Sun blah
So much of the bullshit about Sam being HEA is because Eric will be all sad when Sookie dies, and have to meet the Sun because well….blib blab blib. Or at least that’s what I read every time I see this statement. It’s all so much bullcrap. If Sookie doesn’t turn, Eric will not be broken. As I posted previously, Eric didn’t break when his wife died, when his children died. He’s not going to break now.
He’d have to be severely brain damaged to break up with Sookie too. I mean, why have ten years of happiness before your lover dies when you can break up with them and have heartbreak and still care if they die. I’ve never really understood this. I suspect that there’s a whole heap of readers in this community who will leave their husbands and wives the moment they find out their lover has cancer or something. To save themselves the heartbreak, which is just about the silliest romantic idea I’ve ever heard, possibly said by people who’ve never been in love.
But the side stories shed light on vampires marrying humans/weres – in that they do. It’s immaterial in the case of weres – every were would rather die than turn, and no vampire wants to turn a were, excepting Hadley. Remember how welcome Jake Purifoy was around the place? Oh yeah, that’s a good cautionary tale. But two vampires married two weres, regardless of the idea that they couldn’t have children and one of them would die at the end.
As it turns out, for even more enlightenment, one of the weres did die on his wife after a couple of years. And here’s how she dealt with his death (she’s 900 years old at this time, or thereabouts):
Dahlia worked hard to suppress her instant reaction, which was to spit on Kathy.
Or spit her. Either one would relieve her anger. Since Todd’s death, she’d had
a hard time keeping control of her emotions.
Bacon, Witches Brew, p. 4
This is the woman that helped to murder her husband, Todd. There’s no uncontrollable temper tantrum and instant meeting of the Sun. I’d also like to point out that Todd was married and in love with a vampire, and it didn’t protect him from schemes, and it didn’t keep him safe. And he can heal a whole lot better than Sookie because he’s a were, and fight better than Sookie because he was the second to a packmaster. For Dahlia, there’s a whole heap of anger, and shutting down – you know – like we see with Pam with Miriam, and like we see Eric when we first meet him – shut down and cold as a stone. 900 years is a long time to build up the habit of living, and we know that they do that, thanks to Eric:
“This is not a promise vampires make very often, since we grow more and more
jealous of our lives the longer we live. You’d think it’d be the other way around.”
“Every now and then you’ll find someone who wants to meet the sun after a long life,”
Pam said, as if she wanted to set the record straight.
“Yes,” Eric said, frowning. “Every now and then.”
From Dead to Worse, p. 289
Even Eric thinks it’s weird to do this – to meet the Sun. Since it usually goes hand in hand with the idea that Eric has been in love with Sookie since before he met her, and was just waiting for her, huh. Why hasn’t he figured out that he’ll be doing that soon, you know, when Sookie dies. Because at this point, if you believe he’s so in love with her he’s going to kill himself – she’s still human. He knew he’d have to go missing for a period of time for the Vegas vamp takeover. He should see meeting the Sun as something he has to do if he’s not attentive enough.
I actually don’t think there will be romantic blib blab blib when Sookie dies. Pam hasn’t descended into blib blab blib now that Miriam is dead – it’s all about bravado for vampires:
As the car left the parking lot, Pam began sniggering and Eric grinned broadly.
I was too startled to ask them what was funny.
“Victor just can’t restrain himself,” Pam said. “Making the show of my poor Miriam.”
Dead Reckoning, p. 87
Despite the fact that Pam was all worried for Miriam while Miriam was in there, there’s no eternal declarations of how much it hurt Pam to find Miriam in that position – drugged and abducted by Victor to threaten and frighten Pam. Because after all, if you were going to break under threat of death, you’d do it bi-weekly in the vampire world.
In fact, I suspect that if we ever got to see Eric outside of Sookie’s POV and she died, he wouldn’t be chatting about how he couldn’t live without her, and would break, or that he’d be going round sniffing things. He’d be more likely to be like this:
“He was my weakness,” Gerhard said violently. “I am glad he is dead.”
Death by Dahlia, Down these Strange Streets, p. 52
Gerhard finds his favourite donor dead on his kitchen floor – killed by a vampire. Now this donor had snuck back in to see Gerhard and Gerhard seems to have welcomed this flagrant breaking of the rules – he cares about this human. Yet this is one of the first things out of his mouth, because better that than break down. This is how vampires get through the centuries – not by having mini-breakdowns every time something bad happens.
Oh no you say! Eric wouldn’t! He luuurves Sookie so much that his bonded getting hurt would blib blab blib! Sure he would, since he’s already said something like it, although usually what happens is readers read this and go into denial:
“Should I just bite you, and end it all?” he whispered. “I would never have to think
about you again. Thinking about you is an annoying habit, and one I want to be rid of.”
Dead as a Doornail, p. 220
This is where Eric was joking, right? Or where he said something that was dishonest? Or where he really meant he was going to go for his sleeping with Sookie, not this one, even though he said it out loud. Why isn’t Sookie laughing her head off at Eric’s hilaaaarious joke and empty threat then? What’s she thinking that a vampire would kill her! Fool! Really, the manner of denial is rather stupid with this one. I don’t even have to show you how stupid the arguments are – if you can’t see every excuse written here, blankly like this, well then, there’s not much hope for you. Sorry.
But I suspect that if Sookie died, Eric would force himself to be okay just as he has in the past. He wouldn’t break, just like he didn’t when Sookie was tortured. He kept it businesslike, and with an undertone of anger when he was in the supe hospital. No blib blab blib Meet the Sun shit. That’s over-dramatic teenager crap. Not what someone does when they’re my age – 37 – let alone 1000 years old.
So, these are the little bits and pieces that don’t really fit anywhere, but provide cogent statements about some of the canon willfully ignored or misread. Since I found these particular bits after I wrote posts on them, I figured I’d gather them all up for you and chuck them up. If you’ve ever thought that vampires don’t think like human beings, all one has to do is read these side stories, and find that their thoughts are inherently no different. Dahlia feels pain, Sean feels love and concern. Vampires are very similar to humans, but with an added side of slightly alien and terribly violent in the SVM world. While a lot of readers see side stories as pointless, they add different perspectives and spice.