The Favour

Yes, of course Waiting-for-Deadlocked is killing me. These last few days are absolute killers. Any time I see the word “spoilers” I am on it so fast. 😀 I foresee that my next post will probably be about the new book. Once I get it, I’m sitting down for a quick and dirty reading because I can’t stand to wait, then an excited squee that I got my fix for the year, then a quick skim over again to make notes, and then posting. 😀 And then the umpteen-bazillion careful re-reads that will mean I can actually weight every word. Oh, and sticking here to avoid the inevitable Sookie and CH hate. I’m doing my best to avoid it right now.

This is just a tiny little post about my thoughts of things. Sometimes there’s a little interaction, and it makes me think about things, and try some deductive reasoning. One of CH’s great strengths is her understanding of characters, so it’s exciting to have an author that you’re able to do it with.

I know that one of the predominant themes is that Sookie being mortal will ruin Eric and Sookie’s relationship. Eric will be forced to leave her for his own emotional wellbeing, or be forced to blib blab blib Meet the Sun blah. In turn, the problems are seen from Sookie’s side that Eric will not be able to give Sookie babies, and therefore, because that’s what she says she’s always dreamed of, she’ll leave him. But apparently, contrary to logic, Sookie has spent years having sex with Eric even though he can’t have children, and her biological clock has been ticking away. If she wants to have babies, damn, she’s doing it wrong by insisting on dating Eric.

I always thought that Sookie’s refusal to become a vampire was actually a huge favour to Eric. It’s what helps him have a relationship with a woman without ballsing it up. Here’s why.

It all comes from something Pam said:

“I think he was lonely,” she said, a faint note of surprise in her voice.
“His last companion had struck out on her own, since children
can’t stay with their maker for long.”

All Together Dead, p. 88

So, we know that Eric’s pattern throughout history – to Pam and the female before Pam – has been to turn some woman, and use her to assuage his loneliness. Now, we don’t have the female before Pam to examine, but we have Pam’s relationship with Eric to look in on.

Pam and Eric both refuse to acknowledge that they’re in love with each other. When Pam is asked during this conversation if she loves Eric, she says that she doesn’t. And in Dead Reckoning, Eric refuses to say that he loves Pam. Yes, they are fond of each other. Yes, they are fabulous companions. It’s not that the absence of “I love you” equals hate. There now seems to be some sort of bleed-through in fanfic of course, with the image of Eric and his spoilt only child Pam, and there’s lots of head kissing, and blather. Except that the bullshit of True Blood doesn’t exist in the books. Pam has been on her own of her own free will:

I went my own way for many, many years, but I was glad to hear from
him when he opened the bar and called me to serve him.

All Together Dead, p.90

They’re fond of each other, but they’re not inseparable companions. Pam had her own life not standing behind Eric all the livelong night and racking up debt on his credit cards or whatever stupid demeaning bullshit AB kindly did to Pam. On top of that, Eric doesn’t have the same ability as Sophie Anne, and can’t keep his children for long. If Sookie did change to being a vampire, their relationship wouldn’t be very long at all – they’d leave each other within a short period of time because of the child/master issue.

But it occurred to me, looking at the qualities of Pam and Sookie. Yes, there are some fundamental differences between Sookie and Pam now, but I doubt there were many differences between Sookie and Pam when they were alive. Pam was a young blonde, daring girl, who risked all for love. She was passionate and brave, strong and apart from those around her. Looking at Pam then, and Sookie now, they’d really present as very similar. Even now Pam and Sookie share many traits, although Pam has lost a lot of her hesitance and her modesty.

Pam and Sookie are such friends now because they’re brave, and they share a lot of the same personality traits. Pam understands Sookie in a way that Eric doesn’t – hence her pressing Eric to tell Sookie stuff. Sookie in turn, knows that Pam’s pride would not take any show of pity well after Miriam’s death, because Sookie herself hates pity.

I think that Eric has gone through time turning women that are his taste. I bet all of Eric’s children – the pre-Pam woman, Pam herself and Sookie, all have the same sorts of personalities, the same things in common. I bet they’re all brave, have a propensity for violence, have get up and go.

Let’s not forget what Eric thought made Sookie worthy of being a vampire early. It was her extracting a promise from Eric that he would kill Lorena in the event of her death and getting Eric over a barrel to do that. When Eric threatened her with torture, Sookie turned it right back around on him. See here:

“So, why isn’t this queen looking for Bill?” I asked,
keeping my voice carefully neutral.

“What would that punishment be?”
“Oh, with her, it’s difficult to tell.” He gave a choked laugh.
“Something very unpleasant.”

“Eric.” He’d given me more information than he knew.
“Really, what will the queen do to you if you can’t produce
Bill on the date her project is due?”
My question got the desired result. Eric pulled away from me
and looked down at me with eyes bluer than mine and
harder than mine and colder than the Arctic waste.

I returned his look with eyes almost as cold as his.
“And what will I get in return for doing this for you?” I asked.
Eric managed to look both surprised and pleased.

Club Dead, pp. 51-52

Sookie draws Eric in with innocent questions – when all he’s been about is forcing. She turns that around and asks questions in a very non-threatening way until she inveigles out of him that the Queen will torture Eric if he can’t produce Bill. Then Sookie has a little of the upper hand. No longer can Eric make out like he doesn’t gain Sookie’s protection as soon as he sends her off.

I always loved this passage, because Sookie goes from a girl frightened she’s going to be tortured and screaming into the woods around her house to letting Eric know in a very subtle way that he better not push it because he needs her if he doesn’t want Sophie Anne to come down on him like a ton of bricks. And in that way, he owes her the favour of killing Lorena if she fails. She goes from a girl with no power, to one with leverage over Eric. After all, at that point – right about when Eric realises, and his eyes go cold at her implied threat – if she flounced off over Bill, Eric would be tortured.

It’s that bravery and ruthless daring that she shares with not only Eric, but Pam as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if Eric’s first child is exactly the same. The ordinary girl who is made of cold, hard steel under the surface. The type to risk everything and play hard, close to the edge. Yes, if Sookie flounced, the Queen might come around and torture her eventually, but that’s what makes it such a ruthless gamble. No wonder Eric thought she’d make a decent vampire after that little display.

Of course, this is not the first ruthless gamble she’s made with him – her initial deal – the bargain with a vampire on his word of honour was ruthless daring as well. Sure, Sookie could lose out, but the fact that she dared would have gotten Eric’s attention quick smart. Looking at how Pam got out of her house – a plan to see a boy that could have ruined her reputation, with reckless daring during the Victorian era, well, that’s really the same quality, just not as amplified.

The other thing that Pam and Sookie share though, is wanting to be seen as equal, and wanting their own freedom. Sookie says she wants that the most out of her relationships:

I definitely liked to be in charge of my own life – I didn’t
want anyone owning me – but my concept of marriage
was more in the nature of a democratic partnership.

Dead and Gone, p. 105

And that’s where the way his relationships with Pam, and possibly his other child go to pot. Unfortunately, once you turn a woman, a woman who values being treated equally, well, she’s no longer your equal. If she displeases you, you could end up punching her in the face if she pushes it too far, or she has to go down on one knee to beg your forgiveness. She calls you Master. You change from being equal to being boss.

I think that Eric has been looking for his “type” for a long time – first he found his first child, then Pam and then Sookie. Unfortunately, before the Revelation, he turned the first two, making a relationship as equals absolutely impossible. It was ruined as soon as it got out of the gate. Right from the inception of their relationships, love never developed because Eric was the boss of them.

I think if he’d met Sookie pre-Revelation, that would have gone to pot as well. If she’d been willing to turn, it would have stymied any love with the person you will never be equal to. If she turned now, it would kill it for them too – as I’ve discussed, she would not be Vampire Sookie, but Undead Suckie. Sookie already feels it would be inappropriate to have a relationship with her boss – as she’s made clear with Sam. It would be so much worse if said boss could give you unspoken orders on how to behave.

I think the combination of the Revelation, wherein you no longer turn women in the darkness without giving them a hint of what you are and what’s going on; combined with Sookie’s refusal to turn is what has helped Eric actually get the relationship he’s been trying for for all these years. He didn’t kill it out of the starting gate by making himself unequal to the woman of his affections – he fostered it by giving her agency, and a will to be with him, rather than forcing it on her and making her his subordinate all in one fell swoop.

So I don’t see her lack of immortality as having killed their future relationship – at all. I think it’s what’s made it possible. Dying in her own time, making her own choices, choosing to be with Eric is a great favour Sookie has done for him – one his other children couldn’t give him. It’s what Eric has been wanting all along – without ever knowing it’s what he needed to get what he wants – and circumstance has made sure that he has a chance. It’s the favour of a lifetime that Sookie doesn’t want to turn, because it would produce the same pattern as it always does – going your separate way for years, not ever falling totally in love because you’re not equals.