Sookie, Eric and the Colour Red – Symbolism in Sookieverse

This is a completely random post…but I’m on holidays and my mind tends to wandering!

Have you ever noticed that the Viking has a pretty serious red fetish? Eric and the colour red are associated so strongly in these books I find it hard to believe that it’s not deliberate.

  • His car is red
  • The decor of his bar is themed red
  • DUD – He sends Sookie flowers and the “sexually suggestive” feature flower is red.
  • DUD – Sookie wears a dress with “bright red flowers ” and “red high heeled screw me shoes” the first time she meets him at Fangtasia
  • FDTW – He sends Sookie a new cellphone, it’s red
  • DTTW – He sends Sookie a new winter coat, it’s red
  • DITF – A red rose is prominent between them on the cover.
  • So this got me to thinking. I’ve always felt that Charlaine uses symbolism and motif very deliberately in these books, and it’s especially interesting that for every gift Eric has sent Sookie, when he has been able to choose the colour (new driveway and front door obviously being exceptions), he has chosen red. A colour that Charlaine has strongly associated with his character through the car and the bar.

    Red - the colour of love and lusty vikings?

    Now depending on which side of the fence you sit, the red-out could be a really good thing…or it could be a really bad thing.

    Symbolically, the colour red is obviously associated with love. In the context of vampires it is also the colour of blood, so it’s not really surprising that a vampire would prefer it.

    Some positive connotations of red:

  • Romantic love, sexuality and passion
  • Life – due to its association with blood. Eric certainly has a sense of joie de vivre, and even Sookie notes his chemistry is pretty lively for a dead guy.
  • Courage – this is interesting, as courage is something we associate with Eric as a warrior, and also with Sookie as she has developed throughout the story.
  • Eroticism – needs no explanation really. The sex is hot. Duh.
  • In a metaphysical sense, red is associated with the first chakra. This chakra is linked to a sense of grounding and security, and the basics of survival. Eric and Sookie are both survivalists, if nothing else.
  • Negative connotations of red:

  • Danger – it can certainly be argued that as a vampire he is dangerous to Sookie.
  • Death – well, he is dead. No arguing that really.
  • Anger, rage and aggression – Eric is certainly not immune to these emotions, though he does have the self control that comes with age, and he isn’t prone to giving in to them easily.
  • I just think the way Charlaine has wound this colour into Sookie and Eric’s relationship is really quite clever…and quite sneaky of her. As usual, she’s given nothing away – as an Eric lover I can see the red motif as a positive sign in his favour. But if I didn’t like Eric’s character, a good case could also be made that Charlaine is sending a subtle message that he’s not to be trusted.

    While Eric is tied to the colour red and described throughout the books in terms of his exuberance, life force and passion, Bill has also been given his own themes in a similar way. Bill’s voice is “cool” or “cold” and ice and glass are often used as metaphors for his character. If Eric’s colour is red, Bill’s is most definitely blue. Bill’s only gift to Sookie was a pair of topaz earrings. Topaz is – you guessed it – blue.

    I love these books, there’s so much between the lines.

    16 Responses to “Sookie, Eric and the Colour Red – Symbolism in Sookieverse”

    1. 1 nskars
      December 29, 2009 at 12:41 pm

      Ooooooh I love it in 2.03 when Sookie is wearing the red Fangtasia shirt and Eric says, “…and may I add that colour suits you very well”.

      In other news, I think I need to call ASkars Anonymous. Completely head over heels.

    2. December 29, 2009 at 12:45 pm

      Oh oh oh YES! I totally forgot about that!
      Of course he loves that colour on her LOL!
      OK, it doesn’t happen often but just this once I’m going to give Ball credit where it’s due for picking up on Eric’s red fetish 😉

      …and while you’re on the phone to AA make a booking for me.

      • 3 nskars
        December 29, 2009 at 12:54 pm

        Yeah I suppose if he should get something right, it should be the red connection at least.

        No worries, I’ll make a group booking under “sookieverseblog + followers”.

    3. 4 Stef
      December 29, 2009 at 6:36 pm

      OK, I have an un-related and somewht related story to tell. My best friend was in a relationship w/ a guy for 4 years and they broke it off this year. However, he wants her back in a big way. We were shopping in a department store for a coat that she wanted and she tried one on (which happened to be a red/cranberry color). She decided not to buy it b/c it was too expensive. Well, in his grovelling state, he sent a gift for Christmas to her parents’ house. The crazy part was it was the exact same coat she tried on!! We had the fleeting moment of believing he was stalking her. We did dismiss the stalking theory, but it was uncanny how it was the exact coat and her exact size! The cranberry red was just an added bonus…and we both were amazed at the symbolism!

    4. December 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm

      I’ve totally thought of that while reading, but never taken the time to think of all the examples! Thanks for pulling all that together–

      Love the site 🙂

    5. 6 VampirePamsGirl
      December 29, 2009 at 10:28 pm

      I love how you make me think about stuff that I’ve not really thought about before. I guess I’ve probably noticed that red is a color often associated with Eric, but I’ve never really put a lot of thought into it. It makes total sense though. And I guess you could make the case that it is a negative thing, but for me (and I am also admittedly biased) the good outweighs the bad.

      Of course, I got even more curious thru this post and I had to research a little bit on my own. A neat little website I found (http://www(dot)color-wheel-pro.com/color-meaning(dot)html) reiterates from the post that red is the color of fire and blood and is associated with energy, war, danger, strength, power, determination, passion, desire, and love and that red is a very emotionally intense color.

      But what I was really curious about was the color blue being associated with Bill. As with Eric, you can make a case for it being a good or bad thing. Blue is associated with depth, stablility, trust, loyalty (yeah, I snorted at those two a little, but that’s just the EL coming out in me), wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, heaven, tranquility, and calmness.
      One statement that I found pretty interesting was that “As opposed to emotionally warm colors like red, orange, and yellow; blue is linked to consciousness and intellect”.

      So yeah. Definitely interesting. Blue and red are quite opposite colors and either can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. So I guess it really just comes down to what you individually prefer.

      Of course, red has honestly always been my favorite color before I ever even read any of the SVM series or saw TB. 😉 And that Eric fan-girl in me just has to add one more line I found on that website about the color blue: “Avoid using blue when promoting food and cooking, because blue suppresses appetite.” Which I thought was hilarious cause Bill does have the ability to make me lose my appetite sometimes.

      And this doesn’t even take us into the whole fire and ice comparisons! Sookieverseblog, I seriously (platonically) love you, lol.

    6. 7 walgigi
      December 30, 2009 at 12:28 am

      ASkars Anonymous, may I help you? (…and tell me how because I neither can’t help myself, the 12 steps didn’t work with E/AS) LOL!!

      Well… In fact, Ball also used the symbolic “bright red flowers” dress Sookie had the first time she met Eric at Fangtasia. But then destroyed and corrupted the original symbolism of its meaning when made a black saucer eye and heavily tattoed zombie MAN wear it at her room on his own written episode Frenzy… (as only a gay man mind could do). I want to make clear this isn’t a homophobic comment. It’s a very deep analysis from all the gay content in TB and the own AB comments on a gay website interview about TB and how he as a gay manages the homosexual theme on his different shows. My best friend (who happens to be my former proffesor and mentor at university and is also an homosexual man) and I had the opportunity to discuss s1 and s2 on several ocassions, and he has emphasized to me a lot of details from the homosexual psychological perspective, too. AB also mess with Bill’s blue color symbolism when he brought Sookie a lavender dress, because though lavender suggests elegance, nostalgia and ambition, it is also associate with homosexuality since the beggining of the last century, because it represents the mix of the pink (femenine side) and blue (masculine side) of it. I think the original story has enough homosexual content to play with and don’t see the need to mess the core of both vampire characters, but again, it’s his fanfic…

      Obviously CH was very clever and sneaky when she associates Eric with the red color and Bill with blue. Red is an emotionally intense color, the color of fire and blood as VampirePamsGirl just said (remeber the BB importance and meaning). Also in heraldy, red is used to symbolize courage and blue means piety and sincerity (yeah… pious Saint Bill… meh! LOL). If blue is linked to consciousness and intellect, then it means Bill has never been a victim of circumstances as he has always tried to look, because he always calculates very carefully each one of his actions. And red really means that between both of them, the real and true vampire is Eric (and have to add he is a very evolved one). The most interesting and revealing fact is that both colores, when used together, complements and creates a perfect color scheme for a superhero. Hence this means Sookie’s perfect suitor is a complement of both… or she really needs or expects a superheroe…? Anyway, even when I don’t trust CH too much (she’s way too sneaky to make me feel safe lol), at least I’m sure THE VAMPIRE who loves Sookie (as Niall used to call him and told her) is Eric.

    7. 8 tradermare
      December 30, 2009 at 3:08 am

      Red Rose Symbolism

      Red roses say “I love you” and also stand for respect and courage.

      A single rose stands for simplicity. In full bloom, it means “I love you” or “I love you still,”

      Two roses taped or wired together to form a single stem signal an engagement or coming marriage.


      Just sayin’

    8. December 30, 2009 at 8:57 am

      @pamsgirl & @gigi – I love it when I post stuff and you guys just run with it 🙂

      That is really interesting about the symbolic meanings of blue – I didn’t get that far with my reading. Trust and loyalty….LOL. Although I guess at this point in the books he has proven his loyalty now, even though it certainly was lacking to begin with. Some of those other traits are Bill to a T – calmness…Sookie often comments that she feels safe with Bill, that his presence calms her. I think Bill is intelligent – to a degree…but I also feel like he thinks he’s alot more intelligent than he actually is. And he’s book intelligent. He reminds me of those academics who have reams of information stored in their heads about the most complicated stuff, but they don’t really like or understand people very well. Eric’s intelligence is different – it’s worldly and based on his experiences. Eric understands people but I guess that comes with age too. Bill is certainly a deep thinker though. The saying “still waters run deep” comes to mind when I think of book Bill.

      And yeah, there is definitely a fire and ice metaphor going on in here as well that deserves a closer look…..

      @tradermare – That cover is certainly loaded with symbolism huh. My current favourite theory is that the rose represents the blood bond…but I change my mind daily 😉

    9. 10 ksr
      December 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm

      “ Negative connotations of red:
      • Danger – it can certainly be argued that as a vampire he is dangerous to Sookie.
      • Death – well, he is dead. No arguing that really.
      • Anger, rage and aggression – Eric is certainly not immune to these emotions, though he does have the self control that comes with age, and he isn’t prone to giving in to them easily.”

      Let me disagree with you in this respect. If I’m not seeing these statements as positive, I don’t seeing them as negative easer.

      Danger is natural part of LOVE and LIFE. Even if your life and fillings looks like creamy cake it’s also danger (just let me remind you about cholesterol and food poisoning :)) ), besides what kind of excitement without danger, and what kind of life without excitement?! Let’s be honest, ‘The Danger’ is real factor which attracted Sookie and us (to keep her company) to all vampires and especially to Eric. So I’ll put ‘danger’ rather to ‘positive connotations’.
      Death? What’s wrong with it? ‘Each day of our life, from ever beginning, is just one more step on our way to death.’ Don’t remember who said that, but it’s so true. Because death is natural thing and practically nobody is ‘immortal’ in the Absolute, neither vampires. And even if Eric is ‘dead’ nevertheless he’s not finally dead. So in my opinion if ‘death’ is not a ‘positive connotation’, so it’s not a ‘negative’ one either. I’ll count it like a ‘neutral connotation’.
      Anger, rage and aggression. Well… It’s also part of our nature. Even Gods fall into rage. And there is NO creature in this world which is ‘not immune to these emotions’. So could we really count it as Eric’s special distinguishing features? And if we will look closer to your statement ‘he does have the self control that comes with age, and he isn’t prone to giving in to them easily’ we’ll be able to put it to ‘positive connotations’, cause sometimes ‘anger, rage and aggression’ don’t let us panic in front of real danger thereby save our life, espacialy if we do ‘have the self control’.

      Wow… I’m so good in demagogy!)))) But you know exactly ‘on which side of the fence’ I sit! ;)))

    10. 11 bellaella
      January 25, 2010 at 5:21 pm

      All I can say is – CH should hire you as her editorial assistant instead! You write well and all your discourse and insights are far more sophisticated then the books and I suspect , CH herself!

      It’s the first time I have ever bother to read so much on a fictional character/s I am crazy about, on just one blog.

      Great insights – you add more dimension and intelligence to the actual books themselves actually. CH should thank you 🙂

    11. 12 Ashley
      March 24, 2010 at 6:56 am

      One of my favorite things in the books is that when her house is on fire sookie just has to run back in to get the coat Eric gave her….and when shes shot in the parking lot of the library the first thing she thinks of is that shes glad shes not wearing the nice coat Eric got her! I love those little things that show how much she cares about Eric.

    12. 13 Lindsey
      March 28, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      I’d like to note that topaz isn’t necessarily blue. This caught my eye because the birthstone for my birthday in November is yellow topaz. So while blue topaz fits nicely into the red/blue dichotomy, it may not be blue earrings.

    13. 14 Heather
      May 20, 2010 at 2:05 am

      My apologies for arriving late to the Eric the Red party. Don’t I remember Sookie washing Eric’s feet while he is wearing little red briefs? Absolutely cannot remember which book, sorry. Feel free to read into that what you will.

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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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