Bleh with Barry

Random with a cynical twist of lime.

Posts Tagged ‘sookie stackhouse

The Vampires of True Blood *Spoilery Things*

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I am interested in vampires in literature and the media. Anyone I know can tell you this about me…It’s one of the quirks that makes me who I am. So, I think that it’s only appropriate that I discuss the vampires of True Blood a little. What makes them tick and what differentiates them from the other “vampires” that exist in fiction today.

1) They exist on synthetic blood that was produced by the Japanese. It wasn’t until I started reading the Sookie Stackhouse Series or watching True Blood on HBO that I had remotely heard of this idea. I honestly think that it’s kind of brilliant. Why? The overarching idea that now vampires can exist without feeding on other living beings is actually a fun issue to tackle within the framework of any narrative.

They can potentially live off of the stuff. However, for the ones that are thousands of years old, will they actually make the change or continue to be the thief in the night? It also brings up a new level of discrimination amongst species (I don’t particularly see the vampire in fiction or folklore as “human” anymore while they still do have human likeness and tendencies). Even though they are more powerful physically and evolutionarily, the people in the books and the show have an immense hatred of the undead.

I think this is interesting because it brings up these political and social issues that still exist in the world today. However, it makes it easier to deal with the ideas and emotions because we are dealing with something that has never lived…er…been dead….or whatever.

2) The structure of the vampire political system is quite interesting. While in the television show they have dumbed it down significantly to make things less confusing for the masses, the vampire hierarchy is fairly well thought out. In the books, it is made clear that there are vampires who are more and less politically powerful. A sheriff is the lowest form of the ruling body, and they rule over sectors of the fiefs that they live in. There are kings and queens who rule over vampire populated areas. Now, in the show, they have shown all this but what they have not discussed is the fact that the kings/queens may rule over something as small as a city or sections of a state depending on vampire saturation. For example, the city of New York would have its own king/queen whereas New York state would still have a ruler.

I also like that the kings/queens while they rule over the sheriffs have to go through them before they conduct business in the sheriffs’ areas. This is why in the books Sophie-Anne is actually Queen of Louisiana and is the sheriff of the area in which she resides. This way she doesn’t have ask anyone before she does anything in her area. While the show doesn’t make this sort of thing clear, I believe that they have done a fairly decent job thus far of showing the powers of the kings and queens as with them requiring other vampires to stay (Eric the end of season 2) or kidnapping another vampire (Russell with Bill at the end of Season 2/Beginning of Season 3).

3) The detachment of the vampires from the natural world. Even the shape shifters and weres are still considered human in the grand scheme of things. Why? Because they aren’t “walking dead people” as Arlene so eloquently puts it in the series. They are able to blend in and completely be assimilated (other than the fact that they have higher temps than humans and heal faster).

The vampires now cannot fully appear human. Why? People are looking for them. When they were only superstition (Stevie Wonder songs pops into my head immediately…for no real reason…just because of the word mention), humanity laughed at the shadows and feared what they saw in horror films. With the “Great Revelation” of the vampires, it opened them up to the world. In the books and show, they constantly use the term “coming out of the coffin.” This event has complicated their existence of the shadows. Now, the light of some flickering fluorescent lamp has exposed them. Still, vampires like Bill (although he is trying to appear more human and less vampire like) have tried to matriculate into mainstream society and make humans less afraid.

In the series, characters like Nan Flanagan try to show the world that the vampires are not wicked or corrupt that they can peacefully coexist with mortals. However, even Nan has her own scary face that she shows to only the vampire world. This face that she puts up proves that vampires can’t truly be themselves around the human populous but must maintain that distance of looking better and more friendly than they are in reality.

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True Blood Predictions for Season 3: Spoiler Alert

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So, I have several thoughts about True Blood which may be shared by others; however, we shall see. There will be some discussion that will be about season 3, so if you haven’t watched it, I would stop reading now because I don’t want to be the guy who reveals too much (I hate people like this…stupid person ruining the 6th Harry Potter book…I’m not bitter).

1) The Magister must die. Honestly, I don’t see how the season can function unless the cause of a major point of contention for all of them is eliminated. He doesn’t approve of the sale of vampire blood which also means that he would frown upon Russell Edginton giving the blood to werewolves. I believe that the discussion between my friends and I is right that Russell will be the on give him the “final death”. This is sad on one hand because I like the actor who plays the Magister…however, I want Pam to be free from his clutches (she’s my favorite character…and if they kill her [which I don’t think they will] I will quit watching True Blood).

2) Russell Edgington must die. Due to the flash back that Eric had concerning his family and their untimely demise, Eric will kill Russell. Why? To seek the vengeance that he was unable to afford his family. This will probably be very difficult because Russell said that he is 3000 years old. I’m interested to see if they do this this season or if it becomes something that bridges the seasons.

3) Poor Talbot…He’s going to die…I feel it, and he isn’t doing anything but being a vampire…

4) Sophie-Anne–I think there’s more to the whole Sophie-Anne thing than has been explored as of yet…I believe that she may be a pivotal plot point in this season…I just don’t know what as of yet.

These are my thoughts as of now…Please feel free to share if you have ideas as well…

Sookie’s Milkshake Brings All the Supes to the Yard

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So, I’ve recently been reading a lot of the Sookie Stackhouse books and watching the new season of True Blood and a question popped into my mind. What is it about Sookie Stackhouse that make all sorts of supernatural creatures fall in line to die for her. I mean seriously, it’s a veritable who’s who of creatures that begin to interact with Sookie as the books go on (and the series if they decide to keep making it).

*SPOILER ALERT*

If any of you have read the books or watched the show, you know that everyone asks what is “different” about Sookie or “What are you?” They seem to be popular questions that are haphazardly answered within the framework of the narrative. First, Sookie is attractive by mortal standards. She’s blonde, has a tan, and has enough bosom to go around. She is the ideal American woman (kinda coming across as a bit of a “Barbie” in some ways).  These looks keep getting continually enhanced by the vampire blood that she consumes throughout the course of the books. All this would make her attractive in some sense. However, it does not explain the corpses, dust, and muck of the creatures that seem to keep laying down their lives for her.

Two, if you’ve read the books, you know that Sookie is at least partially fairy. In the books, the fairies are a race that humans find intoxicatingly beautiful and are drawn to. The vampires and some other supes find their scent irresistible. The would love nothing better than to snack on a fairy. Yet, even with this factoring in, does Sookie have enough fairy in her to tip the scales to her favor? The reason I say this it the fact that not all the supernatural creatures seem to notice her in the same way that others do. The vampires seem to have an attraction to her. However, this may all be a pissing contest as to who can nail the human and have her telepathic powers to themselves. The weres have an attraction to her because she seems fresh and otherworldly. The fairies know that she is part fairy…it’s just an increasing conundrum of what might cause this loyalty to a mere mortal.

While everyone agrees that Sookie is something more than human, I am not inclined to believe that she is simply attractive because she is partially fairy. This ideal does not seem to connect all the dots for me. It seems like to quick and reasonable of an answer to deal with the larger idea that is floating about that Charlaine and HBO have not touched yet. Is she going to be something that is exceptionally rare in the world? Or will she turn out to be just a sheer victim of circumstance? I don’t know. However, I am interested to see what happens as the show and the books continue to be produced.

Vampires that I Like And I’m not Talking Twilight

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I am an ardent fan of vampire folklore and interesting tales of vampires that spring up now and again. I don’t know why, but since my younger years, I have been fascinated by the sentient undead. I mean sure you have other creatures that some consider undead that are sentient too, but overall, the vampire is the only “undead” creature that has potential for something other than mindless carnage (yes, I’m talking about zombies…they are just mindless killing machines…).

Vampires interest me because they have potential beyond the need to feed on humans for sustenance. They are capable of much more evil or good in some cases. They also don’t have the whole rotting factor that most other undead have (which causes them to have a finite shelf life). Vampires to me have potential within the realm of film and literature that no zombie ever could. However, I’m not going to discuss the pros and cons of vampires and zombies. Like I have said many times, I enjoy reading about vampires and watching movies that contain them. Over the course of many books and movies, I have developed many favorites…some for obvious reasons and others for less.

Dracula–As the quintessential  vampire novel of the 19th century, the character of Count Dracula springs to the pages of the book and into our minds as a fully realized, fully evil creature. He is vicious and stands tall in the face of his enemies. Based on the actual historical figure of Vlad Dracul, Dracula’s heartless attitude and demeanour are mirrored by actual fact. Dracul was cruel and heartless. He committed many atrocities and was (and is) revered by his people of Transylvania as a hero. This character can transform into other creatures of the night, has power over people, possesses super strength and heightened abilities, and can go out in the daytime (see Edward wasn’t the first). Dracula is a first-rate vampire who has lived for centuries and continues to thrive until he meets one who is knowledgeable of him. Dracula was the first vampire character that I was introduced to and therefore holds a special place in my heart.

Pandora and Marius– A couple who were born and turned to serve greater purposes: Marius to be a God of the Grove and later protector of the vampire king and queen and Pandora because Marius loved her. Anne Rice in all her glory created these two eccentric characters (well, maybe not eccentric but a little peculiar). Marius is a renaissance man, term man being loosely used, and floats through the Millenia (2 to be exact) protecting the king and queen and by his constant examination of life, art and the people around him. He is intriguing to me because as much as he stays the same throughout the course of his existence he changes to fit in with the time (save his red velvet which never leaves him).

Pandora is also an interesting character. Also a Child of the Millenia (a name given to the vampires in Anne Rice’s universe that are of age one thousand or greater), she is extremely powerful and independent. This is why after 200 years of living together she and Marius part because of a fight. She then goes out to seek what she will of the world, trying to find companionship and love. She never seems to find either and remains eternally lonely as a result. She is quite a vampire as shown in Queen of the Damned. For the most part, she is a proper lady. She looks and acts like a normal person should. However, this is what sets others at ease. At one point, during an orgy of followers of Azim, an Indian vampire and her child, she tears out the throat of a victim draining him and then rips out his heart to gain the last bit of blood.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vampire_Chronicles

Anne Rice’s vampires all have interesting personalities and are very different. They are all believable which is why I appreciate and love the characters she creates.

Eric and Pam–In the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries by Charlaine Harris, I also have a male and female vampiric duo that I enjoy. Pam and Eric have got to be the most interesting of the main vampire characters that she creates. Eric is a 1000-year old viking, and Pam is his Victorian English Fledgling. They develop nicely over the course of the books (Eric more so than Pam because he closer to the central character of Sookie). They both have that desire and intrigue that make vampire characters interesting. While the seem to fit in with the time, they both are out of place in their own right. Each is exceedingly beautiful which leads to them being so much more dangerous than some of the other vampires. Along with their banter back and forth and the comedy that comes out of their mouths (especially Pam’s. She has such a dry sense of humor), they seem to be what you would want your “out” vampires to be.

Honorable mentions:

Bill from the Sookie Mysteries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Compton_(The_Southern_Vampire_Mysteries)

Sophie-Anne Leclerq–Louisiana’s Vampire Queen in Sookie Mysteries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie-Anne_Leclerq

Armand from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armand_(The_Vampire_Chronicles)

Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lestat_de_Lioncourt

Louis from The Vampire Chronicles

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_de_Pointe_du_Lac

To All the Vampires I’ve Loved Before

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With the increase of vampire related media in an already saturated world, one begins to wonder if the idea of the vampire has been overused. Has the vampire been overdone? This is a question that I constantly ask myself with each new vampire book and movie that appears in the mainstream. Why is this saturation of vampire paraphernalia so astronomical?

I believe that it deals with the appeal of being a vampire. In most modern vampire stories, the characters of the vampires are romanticised to a point that makes them seem like less of what they are. I mean come on people they drink the blood of living, breathing creatures to survive (whether they be animal or human). If you look at the Twilight series, I feel that you get a good representation of this. In the books/movies, you have a vampire “family” trying to be normal. They live in a place with cloud cover (Washington State) to prevent their “sparkling” in the sun (pretty dumb if you ask me) and feed off animals to survive…The Cullen family is seen as a group of “good” vampires because they don’t feed on humans…However, this idea of a “good” vampire is problematic. Stephanie Meyer who wrote the books seems to want to purely humanize the creatures and fails as a result because vampires are as much humans as a chair is a refrigerator. I believe she sacrificed the ideas behind the vampire folklore/mythos to try to create a Romeo and Juliet story between species….and doing so, her story becomes weird. It seems to lose sight of the creatures that vampires are which really irks me.

I like the stance that Anne Rice takes with writing her vampire chronicles. She seems to take the stance that she is writing about a supernatural creature in a real world. She also portrays her characters very well-roundedly by making each of them sympathetic in their own right but keeping us aware all the time that these are creatures that are monsters…they are not human and thereby are not bound by the rules that humanity sets. Anne wonderfully develops her characters and sets them into actual places…she also seems to have a great deal of respect for the folkloric creature the vampire is (instead of flippantly using them).

Charlaine Harris also does this same thing (to a lesser degree but still intriguingly so) in her Sookie Stackhouse novels. Harris creates a world where vampires and other supernatural creatures exist side by side. She develops nuances and continually keeps up with her mythology that she creates which keeps the coherent flow of her novels (given that in later books things do get a little crazy when fairies, werewolves, witches and other supernaturals come into play).

I think my main point that I have been rambling on about is this: vampires (while they may be visually appealing creatures) are not beautiful creatures to be admired or admonished. Meyer and others have set them up to almost be angels in their own right. In my opinion, this glazing over of their true nature isn’t being true to the original concept of vampirism. I like the models of Rice and Harris better because they allow us to see these vampires as beautiful creatures, but through scenes of violence and heartlessness, they allow us to see the true creature at heart. Afterall, who says that you can’t have sympathy for the devil?