Eric and Quinn: “A” is for Alpha

One of my favourite things to mull over in the Sookie books is the interaction between Eric, Sookie and Quinn.  In a series of posts over the next week or two I thought it’d be cool to look at this in more detail – Quinn as Eric’s main rival for Sookie, and how the personal and political undercurrents between Quinn and Eric might play out later in the series.


I know Quinn isn’t a popular suitor, and I count myself in the camp that doesn’t want him near Sookie with a bargepole. Let’s face it, the tiger has issues and his creepy habit of calling strange women “babe” is only the start of them.  Quinn tends to be pigeon holed as just another suitor that doesn’t really have a chance and I know, alot of us wish he’d just disappear.  But he won’t!  Now that Bill has found his place in Sookie’s life and it’s not a romantic one, it’s becoming clearer that Quinn is meant to be Eric’s main threat and Sookie’s alternative love interest for the remainder of the series.

I hear you groan. But bear with me here people, this may not be a bad thing. The dynamic between His Purple Pansyness and Eric is really fascinating.

Quinn has similar status in the shifter hierarchy to Eric’s status amongst the vampires. Both of them hold influence amongst their kind. They are very similar in some respects – both “alpha” males, both charming, good looking, and powerful. And they are both completely accustomed to getting what they want. It’s very clear from the first time they interact in the books that Eric views Quinn as his only real competition for Sookie – and that he considers him a far more serious threat than Bill.  In fact, it’s pretty obvious from the outset that both of these men recognise each other – not Bill, not Alcide and certainly not Sam – as the main rival for Sookie.  Both of them have uncharacteristically big emotional reactions to interference from the other.

The first time we ever see Eric and Quinn interact sparks fly.  In Definitely Dead, Quinn arrives to take Sookie on their first date. Eric is already at the house, already in a foul mood, and he comes about as close to completely losing his shit as we ever see him get. He goes straight for Quinn the second he arrives, demanding to know what he has been telling Sookie about her role at the vampire conference. Sookie says he has “fang showing”, and he is so angry his eyes are “throwing sparks”. She also notes that “something lay underneath this”, and that she is a symptom but not the source of their animosity. It is clear from this scene that Quinn and Eric knew each other before their cockfight on Sookie’s porch – so what’s the backstory with these two?  

In FDTW, Eric is so threatened by Quinn that when the opportunity arises to ban him outright from Area 5, he does it without hesitation after he is satisfied that Sookie is done with him. He has never taken such measures against any of Sookie’s other love interests, even though it is well within the scope of his authority to do so.

Eric asks Sookie multiple times if she loves Quinn, or else confronts her about her feelings after almost every scene involving the three of them.  He never asks her how she feels about anyone else, not even Bill. Eric tells Sookie she is “his lover – not Quinn’s, not Bill’s, not Sam’s” – and it’s no coincidence whose name is mentioned here first. When Quinn ignores Eric’s ban and comes back into Area 5 in DAG, Sookie says “I could feel rage on the wind. It wasn’t my rage.” Eric knows Quinn has defied him and come back to see Sookie, and she feels his rage through the blood bond. Not long afterwards, Eric shows up on her doorstep. Five books pass after DTTW with no Eric sexy time – and all it takes is for Quinn to show Eric he is willing to defy him, and suddenly he can’t get Sookie back in the sack fast enough. When the blood bond is forged in Rhodes, Eric deliberately flaunts his obvious pleasure in the process purely for Quinn’s benefit.  Marking territory takes on a whole new dimension for Eric when Quinn is around. Yet he has never felt the same compulsion to taunt Bill with the details of his physical relationship with Sookie, even though Bill knows damn well that they’re having one.  Why?  Because he didn’t need to assert himself over someone he didn’t consider a true threat.

In one of the few moments I ever liked him, the cocky tiger had the balls to tell Bill to his face that he “isn’t even on the list” where Sookie is concerned in DAG. So it’s clear that Quinn, like Eric, sees this as a two man battle now as well.  Quinn’s emotional responses to Eric are volatile and often show him as emotionally stunted (which he is but he is usually good at hiding).  His tantrums over Eric are too numerous to list – but who could forget him telling Sookie in DAG that “Eric loves his little piece of Louisiana more than he’ll ever love you”.  Hands up if you wanted to stab him in the eye? Oh me.

Quinn has no problem killing for Sookie – he has already killed Andre and freed her from what was, at the time,  a very dangerous threat. He’s also sounded Sookie out about killing Eric much to her horror, and I get the feeling that regardless of her objections he would take out Eric in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself.  Eric killed Longshadow in defence of Sookie, as well as a few others along the way – but he won’t kill Quinn unless it’s in self defence. He has certainly had opportunities, and in DAG Quinn gave him a free shot when he defied his orders yet Eric still showed restraint. Aside from knowing that it would hurt Sookie, Eric wants her to choose him because she wants him, not because there’s no one else left. This is what stops him killing or interfering with her other love interests…and just one more reason why Eric is awesome and Quinn is a tool. Quinn went from mildly irritating to the very top of my shit list when he started talking about killing Eric.

Part of Quinn’s function as a romantic interest for Sookie is to give her an opportunity to recognise another Bill – albeit in a slightly different disguise, but that’s for the next post. For Eric, he provides another alpha to square off against – worthy competition if you like.  Quinn forces him to confront how he feels and act on it, and he does it quite successfully.  Quinn is due back in the book after DITF apparently, and I can’t wait. I hate him as a love interest, but I LOVE how he is the only character in the whole series that can send our usually unflappable viking totally off the rails and bring out his insecure streak. When he does show up again, you can bet it’s going to be ugly for all concerned…and not the least for Eric.

9 Responses to “Eric and Quinn: “A” is for Alpha”

  1. 1 Kris (@krisrivera)
    November 28, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    His Purple Pansyness LOL for realllll

  2. 2 CAT
    November 28, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I’m in complete agreement with you about Quinn’s role in the Sookieverse. Without conflict, Eric is incapable of understanding his feelings. I do wish thought that CH had taken it a bit easy on Quinn, because being with Quinn could have been a warm relationship for Sookie that was with a non-vampire.

    • November 29, 2009 at 10:03 am

      The more we see of him the weaker and more flawed he looks – CH is certainly not cutting him any slack!

      I love what you said about Eric needing the conflict Quinn introduces to understand his feelings – it certainly seems that Q has accelerated that process for him.

  3. 4 Gigi
    November 29, 2009 at 2:30 am

    I agree with you in almost everything you said about Quinn, especially the part that he seems to be the “rival” who most made Eric feel threatened. But after his last argue with Sookie (not to mention the way it ended with Bill and him fighting and hurting her – another evidence of the lack of control they both morons have) it seems to me a little difficult that Sookie accepts him near her again. I mean, she interpreted his arguments as he was telling her that no one else will love her, and that’s a very sensitive “theme” for her. Sookie has very serious and deep self-esteem traumas and “men” figure issues; and she NEEDS desperately to feel accepted and loved just as she is. Because of this she has an irrational and unconscious fear to be loved, just to not be hurt (which is worst after Bill’s experience). That’s the only reason that’s keeping her on the “safe zone” thinking as an excuse that Eric wants her because of the fairy blood/blood bond. And Quinn just put his finger on her wound with his stupid arguments. I’m not really finding a way to see how he will be coming back after that, but who knows?

    Anyway, even when we most think that throw another suitor will be too much, I always thought that was CH intention with Remy Savoy (Hadley’s ex) especially after his girlfriend left him. I think he could be a real threat to Eric because he is human, besides that Sookie has always played with the idea of motherhood and his son is her own blood relative and also has her same gift of telephaty. For me, that could be a true, REAL threat to Eric if CH decides to develop that plot line. With 4 books to write after DITF, again… who knows…

    PS. Lord!! I’ll kill myself if I have to read another book full of purple pansey’s “babe” again!! LOL

    • November 29, 2009 at 10:08 am

      Oh I still feel the door is very much open with Quinn. I don’t think Sookie will be really done with him until he tries to kill Eric…I’m so certain that he’s going to be back to do it LOL.

      Re Remy…I can’t remember if I’ve posted my thoughts about him on here, but I think he’ll die and Sookie will get Hunter that way. But not until close to the end of the series. I think we’ll have a better idea of where all that is heading after we read book 10 though, since Hunter is in it and seems to have a bigger role than he has previously.

  4. 6 Gigi
    November 29, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    what I really meant was that I’m not really finding a way to see how he will be coming back to have a relationship with Sookie after he burned the emotionally bridge between them, but I completely agree with you about the posibility of him trying to kill Eric. They had been challenging each other since he was introduced on the series and they still have aparently old unresolved “issues” between them. The most logical reaction that this mommy’s purple pansey boy with an emotional maturity of a 17 year old boy (as you perfectly described him LOL) will has is trying to kill Eric. But I just hope (and beg) I’ll not have to read the “babe” word again… please LOL!

    About Remy and Hunter I also agree with you. We’ll have a better insight after DITF, since the book is going to be all about family issues.

  5. 7 nbu
    November 30, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Well written and interesting viewpoints, as always.

    I guess I never really took much notice of the reasons behind the E/S/Q fight for affection before because I was so anti-Quinn from the moment he stepped onto the page; but I totally agree that Eric views Quinn as his only real rival for Sookie, and vice versa. I still remember reading DD and thinking, “oooh, I bet Eric turns up as Quinn turns up, oooooh” and my tummy was tumbling deliciously the whole time. I LOVED seeing the conflict even though I was totally rooting for Eric and “EFF YOU”ing Quinn. I can’t stand him really, the “babe” crap, his stupid earring, his awful dress sense… but his presence makes for interesting reading especially when Eric gets so hot under the collar over his association with (read: shameless pursuit of) Sookie.

    Oh and PS:
    “”Eric loves his little piece of Louisiana more than he’ll ever love you”. Hands up if you wanted to stab him in the eye? Oh me.”

    God what was with that? And he even repeated it! You could tell he was desperate, grasping for any piece of crap that he could use as ammunition against Eric.

  6. 8 T.Rece
    February 19, 2010 at 5:11 am

    “His Purple Pansyness” Oh how I love you all and how you think!

    I know that CH makes it hard for any one of her characters to look trendy–even remotely from the 21st century, but really? That single gold hoop earring and the god awful silk T’s…the hammer pants and bald head. What on earth would attract you to that? It nausiates me. I couldn’t believe CH made him so easily laughable. To me the gold hoop is slightly feminine…maybe to make up for “babe” tendency. But I mean seriously who was her inspiration? Mr. T or Wesley Snipes as Nino Brown (circa 1991) http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/dynamic/imgs/080215/Gangsters/New-Jack-Wesley-Snipes_l.jpg I nearly lost it watching the olympic ceremony because I caught a glimpse of two people wearing a single gold hoop earring. My friends thought I was a lunatic! The mere thought that Sookie found him attractive just knocks my socks off in hysterics.

    • 9 Stef
      February 19, 2010 at 5:20 am

      HAHA…that Wesley Snipes pic cracks me up! Maybe that was part of the inspiration for Quinn!! LOL Well, as you can see, none of us are Quinn-lovers. 😛 I don’t even think his character is defendable. To me, he ranks up there with Bill in the list of “characters we love to hate.” Personally, I’m very interested to see how AB decides to portray Alcide’s character in the upcoming season. It probably won’t be pretty for us Eric fans! Look at what AB had done so far!

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My ramblings on the Sookie Stackhouse books, and the HBO series True Blood. Everyone I know is already half crazed with my plot and character assassinations, conspiracy theories, theme explorations and general obsessing, so now I'm going to share it all with you. Spoilers and Viking worship are rampant...you have been warned!

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