Welcome to another Thoughts On book review. You’ll see these pop up on my blog whenever I’ve found a book (or TV show!) I just can’t put down.
I came into True Blood for the southern setting, the thinly veiled social criticism, and the lovely Anna Paquin. But when I got to Bon Temps, I discovered supernatural characters whose utter humanity has impacted me in ways I will never forget.
Listen, it’s a show about vampires. I won’t tell you it’s not. I’m not gonna sit up here and soliloquize about how their fangs represent a deeper thirst for life or how the act of drinking blood is a metaphor for their desperate need to connect with the people around them.
Because they have fangs, they drink blood, and when you stab them in the heart with a wooden stake, they explode into a mess of stringy goo.
And it’s freakin’ awesome.
But what I will say is that in these seven seasons alone, I’ve come to love these characters more than I’ve ever loved any on-screen cast. And it’s simply because the supernatural creatures in this fantasy show are so realistic it hurts.
Yes, Sookie is a faerie princess. Yes, she surrounds herself with vampires and werewolves. Yes, there are gods, spiritual possession, and shape shifters who litter the grounds of Louisiana and Mississippi and constantly cause problems.
However, these Supes are not so different from regular human beings. They have weaknesses like the rest of us–struggles we can all relate to–and that’s what makes them so compelling.
Still, everyone in Bon Temps dislikes Sookie because of her telepathic powers. They blame her for drawing vampires, Maenads, and other supernatural danger to Bon Temps. They are disgusted by the faerie blood that courses through her veins. And because of this, as the show goes on, Sookie feels more and more like an outcast in her own hometown. She starts to doubt her humanity. She wishes she could be normal. She wishes she could be human.
And then all of a sudden, she can.
Struck down with Hep V and despondent after his encounters with Lilith, Bill believes that suicide is the only way to escape his suffering. He is fully resolved to end his own life and offers Sookie a way to change hers in the process. By killing him with her faerie light, Sookie could once and for all strip herself of everything that makes her supernatural.
Sookie could finally be human.
But when it comes time to give it all up and cut her ties with the supernatural world, Sookie has a moment of pause. With the orb of faerie light conjured and ready to throw, she looks at Bill laying patiently in his grave. She sees the blankness in his eyes, the hollow armature of his body, and the weakened spirit of the man she once fell in love with.
And she can’t go through with it.
She realizes in that moment that destroying her light would be just like killing herself. In giving up what makes her special, she would be sacrificing herself and everything that has made her so strong.
In those final moments, Sookie makes the choice to reabsorb her faerie light and ram a stake through Bill’s heart instead. She kills him while simultaneously saving herself. Bill may have chosen death, but Sookie chooses life.
And if that doesn’t make her human, I don’t know what does.