A Most Shocking Turn

So, so, so. I’ve been thinking about that blurb while I was gone. Thanks to those who think of me and message me, while I am gone. At the moment, I think of you all regularly, because the wili wili flower grows by our clothesline and it’s in bloom. I see what I consider the peculiar red flower Eric gave to Sookie and think of my lovely friends. Hear that! You’re all vagina flowers to me! I think of you when I hang out or bring in washing. And giggle. 😀

But onto serious spoilerage here, for which I make a cut and caution you that if I’m right – and it’s not foolproof – that I may just spoil the whole damn plot for you. And don’t complain if I’m right that the last book ‘wasn’t exciting enough’ because I figured it out. Spoilers junkies who will not complain only from this bit forward, thank you. There are bits and pieces that intrigue me, though, for speculation purposes:

Sookie Stackhouse  finds it easy to turn down the request of former barmaid
Arlene when she wants her job back at Merlotte’s.
Then a shocking murder rocks Bon Temps, and Sookie is arrested for the crime.
Investigating the killing, she’ll learn that what passes for truth in Bon
Temps is only a convenient lie. What passes for justice is more
spilled blood. And what passes for love is never enough…

I know this fandom so well by now. I don’t even have to go look, but I bet the “love is never enough” is already being applied in a panicked manner to Eric. Foof. Might as well have put “Sookie spends time with Sam” or “Sookie gets help from her neighbour Bill Compton” to send the die-hard fangirls into a tailspin about how Eric and Sookie are doomed…DOOOOOOMMMMMEEED I tell you. Sigh. Same old same old.

Except that these are the truths Sookie learns about Bon Temps. As in the town. So we’ll be going down the NON-ERIC speculation route. I should throw myself off the nearest tall building if all the books were just about Eric and what fucking Eric thinks. Sookie’s an active narrator, not merely an observer. Thus, she has a life outside Eric. Avert thy eyes fangirls, and panic away. It’s your last opportunity to do so, so panic it up and enjoy yourself. Must be a reason you do it year after year. So go nuts, have fun. I’m going to speculate on hints of the plot.

Now, earlier in the linked blurb, there’s mention of Arlene and a shocking murder. It makes me think, CH isn’t going to try to reveal too much about the end of the series, right? She’s not given us first chapters, or any little sips in this dry, dry desert of no spoilers. This is all we have right now. But the core mystery is still there. So I think maybe what Sookie will learn is that someone who loved the murder victim – or what seemed to pass for love – really killed them. I would wonder what sort of murder it will be, but I’m betting that with Arlene back in the mix, it’s going to be something to do with her – after all, chick tried to have Sookie crucified.

Would Arlene’s man of the week murder her? That doesn’t seem to be all that “shocking” though. What people consider, for want of a better term, ‘loose’ women don’t actually garner much shock and dismay at their killings in Bon Temps, and indeed the rest of the world. I mean, look at the other murders that have gone on in Bon Temps. We have Maudette, Lafayette, Dawn, Amy Burley, Crystal Norris, Heather Kinman. Only Heather Kinman’s death got a vigorous investigation, sadly. Check out what everyone thinks about another murder in Bon Temps:

Almost all of these people thought of Crystal only in terms of
Jason’s guilt or innocence. I found it real sad that most
people would only remember her for the manner of death.
Dead and Gone, p. 118

Without the shooting of Agent Weiss, who would have been “shocked” by Crystal’s murder – much less arrested? Very little was done about Crystal’s murder, really. There isn’t even much outrage either, considering she was a pregnant woman crucified in a bar parking lot. That’s pretty cold and callous, but hey – that’s the real life fate of women considered less-than – a whole bunch of people don’t really give a shit if heinous stuff happens to them. It’s how the Green River Killer got away with his crimes for 20 fucking years. And it’s why there’s a whole bunch of women missing/murdered no one seems to give a shit about. Consider how much Crystal was mentioned herself in the discussion after Dead and Gone, versus Claudine, who at least died fast and with dignity. Yeah, I know right? Well, Bon Temps is a microcosm of the world and this fandom.

As an aside, I should point out, lest you get the wrong idea – I use ‘slut’ and ‘loose’ in inverted commas because I don’t like those words. But it’s easily applied to women and often applied to women. Women are valued on their sexual experience – priced like goods rating the best and least ‘used’ vagina. It’s even thrown around in this fandom with gay abandon. While this fandom considers Ginger and other fangbangers ‘sluts’ you can rest assured that Sookie considered under the same microscope would be the same. And so would all those women who read lots of fanfic porn be considered such. Women apply it to other women without considering that as long as you uphold the standard, you will be a victim of a standard as someone else likes to impose…on you. 😉 I got called a slut at age 11 for developing early – it’s a word used to judge and degrade women – and it doesn’t have to be true – it just has to be hurled like the weapon it is.

And it’s the same for other women considered ‘sluts’ like Maudette, Dawn, Amy – well I don’t think anyone cared that much. I don’t think anyone was really shocked. Yes, they questioned and arrested Jason, but they didn’t put a whole heap of thinking power into those murders. There was no memorial for the victims of a serial killer. Despite that in a small town, three young women got murdered in a short period of time, there was no real shock happening, or rocking the town. The overwhelming theme was that as ‘sluts’, their death was to be expected. They had courted those deaths by exposing themselves to risk in the form of men or vampires.

So Arlene with her many husbands? She is just not sympathetic enough. She’s a waitress (look around the fandom to see how respected they are), she’s not young, fresh and pretty, and she’s been arrested by police. People would barely feign two whole minutes of concern. But there was one event however, that did indeed shock and mobilise the town:

…I hurried out to the bar. I felt the upheaval wash over me. Something
was wrong; almost every brain in the bar was broadcasting a signal
combining excitement with anxiety bordering on panic.
Definitely Dead, p. 63

That would be the abduction of a child – Holly’s son. He wasn’t dead, but there was more of a reaction to the disappearance of a child than there ever was to the murder and crucifixion of a pregnant woman. That’s because children are constructed as innocent and undeserving of their fate. Whereas if the victim is less than perfect, or has qualities society considers risk-taking behaviour, or character flaws, we see them as deserving of the violence and death they “reap” as a result of those qualities. People see God/fate/karma as some sort of overarching punishment theme. A child is considered to be innocent of those faults.

So I’m thinking that a “shocking” murder has to be one that actually shocks people – that a child is murdered. Certainly if you were arrested for such a crime, you’d see the dark underbelly of what really goes on in a town. You’d learn what justice really is, what love really is, and what passes for truth. Would Arlene be callous enough that she’d murder one of her own children to further the FotS agenda I’m sure she still has? That would certainly fit the definition of “shocking murder”. And how terrible for Sookie to be accused of killing a child.

I also think that it would be a way to taint someone who loves or befriends a vampire and other supes. Someone like Eric or Sam could possibly hide it – and I think that they would be careful as to where they are. Sookie however, doesn’t have the telepathy guild to back her up, and she’s regularly around children. She’s pretty much a prime candidate for framing in this way. And let’s not forget that the FotS didn’t have sympathy for those human workers at Rhodes, nor did Arlene and company want to crucify a supe – they wanted an easy target. I’m sorry to say that out of all the characters, Sookie is an easy target.

After all, children being killed is still one of the no-go areas in fandom. It’s one of the most taboo subjects. Both Eric and Bill have talked about delicious human children, and yet, even if they’re violent rapists in fanfic, they’ve yet to damage or harm children…Well, maybe Bill, because jacking it in the bushes doesn’t hold the same evil charm it once did, so I’m sure Bill’s murdered a few babies to prove his evilness in a few fics. But dealing with feeding on children? Any sympathetic reading of the vampires will have fangirls erupt in indignation that their fave vamp would ever think of it. You know, despite them actually mentioning it or eluding to it.

Here’s Bill:

So I tried to be civilized about it, select bad people as my victims,
never feed on children. I managed never to kill a child, at least.
Dead Until Dark, p. 49

Bill put it delicately, but let’s be real here. Dude fed on children, and was thankful he didn’t drain one. Lest you think that Eric is not down with the child eating, well he has a creepiness all his own (with bonus Pam):

“Baby shower,” Pam repeated. She smiled in a chilly way. It was enough to put
frost on your pumpkin, seeing that up-curve of the lips. “I like the term,” she
said. She knocked on Eric’s office door and then opened it. “Eric,” she said,
“maybe someday one of the waitresses will get pregnant,
and we can go to a baby shower!”
“That would be something to see,” said Eric…
All Together Dead, p. 4

Yeah, okay, you want to start the lie-to-yourself-cognitive-dissonance train about how Eric would never harm a hair on the head of a child. Professing to want to go somewhere and coo over knitted booties with human women? Lol. Sure. Look how quickly he got excited about Tara and her babies…oh no, wait…he couldn’t give a shit. And nor could Pam. I think they’re thinking about the vampire equivalent of a chocolate fountain – the shower of babies.

For all the talk and chat about how magnificent a predator the favoured vampire is, it’s ignoring the whole predator aspect – in that they regularly eat the babies of their prey. Babies can’t defend themselves – they’re the perfect kind of eating. They lie there, and don’t run. Vampires eating babies is certainly something that’s a thing vampires do – although I doubt they go actively looking for babies to feed on (at least the vampires we know) mainly because eating babies is something people don’t just let go. You don’t go find your baby missing and do nothing. Vampires are smart enough to prey mostly on ‘sluts’ because no one gives a shit if they go missing. And if you do, you’re a hard line feminist or something.

It’s also a fear that people have. I think it’s perfectly natural to worry about fanged beings of another species being around your baby. I doubt any woman who swoons over Eric or Bill would really be willing to appoint a fanged corpse for a babysitter for her own baby. While they might deny that they feel that way, that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t actually pony up some intolerance there. That vampires won’t be able to control themselves, and can’t be trusted. Sookie knows it’s a general fear:

If Jason married Michele, she might not like me holding their babies.
I would feel the urge to attack people, to bite them; they’d all be
walking McBloodburgers to me. I’d think of people as food.

Dead in the Family, p. 256

This is the bit missing from the above interpretation – that vampires see people as food. They don’t feel special exception for children and babies. That’s what I meant before about an alien mindset, rather than a human one. It’s one of the key ways 99% of the fandom tries to ‘humanise’ the vampires – by making what we think of as inviolate, inviolate for vampires as well, when the text does not support that notion. Babies to vampires are just like mini-snacks or like one chocolate out of the chocolate box. And it’s also something she sometimes fears about vampires she doesn’t know like Heidi:

I was a little concerned when I thought of her arrival.
Was I being irresponsible? Was I putting the child at risk?
No, it was paranoid to think so. Heidi was coming to scout around in my woods.
Dead in the Family, p. 113

Now we know it’s not the telepathy that’s giving Sookie pause, because that only springs on her later. And she thinks she’s being paranoid. But it’s not something that she just shrugs off as if it’s no big deal. She’s actually worried that a vampire she doesn’t know could hurt Hunter. And there’s really only one reason you’d hurt a human as a vampire. The telepathy isn’t that source of worry – it’s blood. You wouldn’t find out a child was telepathic and hurt it – you would report it to your boss for later abduction.

It should also be noted that the special dispensation about innocence doesn’t seem to count in the vampire world either. Children aren’t given gentle treatment in the vampire world by any vampire. There’s no rules about that:

“You may be a minor in human law, but to us, you are as responsible as…Cindy Lou.
Boy, it just killed him, having to admit there was a vampire named Cindy Lou.
“If you try to terrorize your human parents, or coerce them, or drink their blood,
we will amputate your hand. And when it grows back, we’ll amputate it again.”
All Together Dead, p. 271

Certainly, no vampire stepped in and called for Appius to have a sexual ceasefire on poor Alexei. We have no tales about how the Ancient Pythoness pulled Appius up and gave him rules about not raping children. You’d think with all the sex rituals she can summon up in fanfic for Sookie to do, she’d at least give Appius a lecture about children and consent. Let’s not forget Eric’s outrage…wait…I mean acceptance of Appius having sex with Alexei. If they don’t cut a break for children who are vampires, I don’t know what would delude someone into thinking that they’d be extra specially nice to human children of ‘vermin’. Plus, you’d think they’d be into that, with all the virgin sniffing they do in fanfic.

So I think that even if they couldn’t get Eric into that situation, it’d be just as good to get Sookie into that situation. That would be one rather excellent way to shun vampires without having to get them to do anything. Just maligned all fangbangers and those who socialise with vampires as baby killers. And I can totally see Arlene being a good patsy for that – just like she was an excellent insight into how to get Sookie to come to her own crucifixion.

Might I also point out that Eric has just recently given a damn good demonstration of how you smear vampires, and how with enough public visibility, you can turn the tides against vampire and supes. With the incident of Kym Rowe, never has there been a clearer demonstration of what you can do to frame someone and get people to hate on them. And who better than Sookie, who is linked to a vampire everyone knows, who’s recently been embroiled in his own scandal:

Pretty unlikely that a police officer in Shreveport wouldn’t know
the city’s most prominent vampire, but it could happen.
Deadlocked, p. 102

Eric is most prominent within the city – everyone seems to know him and be interested in his life. Harp Powell knew all about Sookie – he came to her house, and asked questions about the night Kym Rowe was killed. Sookie doesn’t mention if she was included in the newspaper article, but you can be damn sure that if she was arrested, it would be linked by the papers to Eric and the Kym Rowe incident. Someone would make that connection, and tie it to Eric and Sam – it’d be relatively easy to do that. Just point out that she works with a shifter and dates a vampire.

Sookie’s networking is a double edged sword, and the help she’s provided to supes would ensure that there’s far more interest in what she’s done. As well, Sookie has links to all the other supe groups – she was even on the news in Texas:

First message – “I’ve seen you on the evening news. Call me.” BEEP.
Small Town Wedding, The Sookie Stackhouse Companion, p. 77

Not only can you sully important and prominent vampire business men, but you can taint the were protests. I’m sure that the FotS would be able to drop that little bomb – and even some pictures from Rhodes wouldn’t go amiss. With something like the murder of a child, that would be something that would pick up if not national interest, then at least statewide interest. It wouldn’t be the sad tale of a small town woman considered a ‘slut’ murdered by another ‘slut’ who lived with strippers.  It would be the tale about the evil ‘slut’ preying on children for weird supe rituals.

People would think twice not only about Sookie, and supe friendly humans like her, but they’d also think about why exactly supes are willing to keep company with human ‘trash’ and baby killers – unless they like that sort of person. It would taint all those who have something to do with supes with the same brush, and it would taint all the supes as well. I can tell you – as a criminologist – some people really fucking hate you if you chat to certain types of criminals as if they’re fellow humans, even if you are just trying to figure them out so you can prevent more of them.

I think it would make for both a shocking murder, it’s easier to frame them (because you don’t believe baby killers – doesn’t matter if there’s proof or not – they’re baby killers and no one should be seen to be sympathetic to those types) and it would provide a way to strike at vampires without having to choose a hard target like Bill, Sam or Eric. They’re strong, and the FotS thinks of them as evil soulless monsters with too much power – so easier to choose someone to make an example of, just like last time the FotS targeted Sookie. I would also provide a damn easy mechanism for showing the FotS as they truly are if Sookie investigates and can prove it is them. It would be a happy note on which to leave the series.

Not only that, but considering how else I think about how Eric’s going to get out of marrying Freyda? Think how much of a blow it would be to public relations – specifically to Eric’s public relations if it was believed that his wife murdered a child. Hoooboy – Freyda wouldn’t be able to get away faster from that one. Not to mention, there’d be no way that Felipe would either be able to take someone under arrest to another state, or want a baby killer in his casino, working for him. The PR from that would be absolutely terrible. So that protects Sookie from Felipe wanting her as well.

I think that this fits quite well into all of my theories for the last book, and I think it fits the blurb as well. I can’t tell you how or who the child will be – just that thanks to this piece of information (kudos to Anon who I think is Toonsie with a dynamic IP!), we can rest assured Hunter is safe. I would say that if it’s connected to Arlene – and I think it would be, because she’s the one who was willing to see Sookie die – that it could be Coby or Lisa. While I’m not sure that Arlene would be let into the plan, I’m sure that it would be easy to use her to position Sookie in order to frame her.

I think that setting Sookie up as a baby killer would also lead to all those people she’s helped, help her out too – a shocking murder that would indeed rock the town. It would also fit nicely with the idea of justice being ‘more spilled blood’ because people get so damn irrational about certain crimes, and are willing to harm offenders and call it ‘justice’ instead of what it really is – revenge. And of course, if someone who proclaims to love Arlene does this to one of her children, then that will be a very fitting thing to what ‘passes for love’ being enough.