Archive for the 'Symbolism & Motif' Category

29
Mar
10

Meet Your Maker

As most of us have, I’ve often wondered why Alan Ball felt it necessary to change Eric’s backstory with regard to his maker so radically and to a lesser extent, why he gave Bill a child in Jessica. When you think about it, both changes are significant departures from the book series.

It seemed on the surface that changing the identity of Eric’s maker, and bringing him into the story so early was simply to allow the writers licence to show Eric in a more sympathetic light. Similarly, it seemed that giving Bill a child in Jessica was to humanise Bill, make him more sympathetic, and to introduce some comic relief.

But I can’t help thinking there is also a long term plan being enacted here.

In the books, we had the following scenario:

Bill had a maker, Lorena – but no child.
Eric had a child, Pam – but no maker (at least not one involved in the story – yet).

With the addition of Jessica and the changes made to Godric’s character, we have a slightly different scenario on True Blood, in which each vampire now has both a maker – and a child:

Lorena/Bill/Jessica
Godric/Eric/Pam

It’s noteworthy that the True Blood writers have chosen to even things out as far as direct “family” relationships go. As much as I loved Godric, changing Eric’s back story always bothered me – but noticing how it sets up the mirrored relationships above got me to wondering whether these changes were actually made with a very specific purpose in mind.

These changes have resulted in the creation of two “families” that are being used by the writers to mirror eachother. Both families have identical makeup – a maker, their child, and a “grandchild” (for want of a better word). Yet one family is functional, stable and well-adjusted [and I realise this is absurd language to use in reference to vampires but you get the point I’m trying to make here, right?], and the other is dysfunctional, volatile and unstable.

Lorena - Not big on consultative decision making.

Consider the following:

Godric had been watching Eric fight and chose him to be turned as his companion, after seeing something in him that he admired. He found him dying and gave him a choice. Eric was turned willingly.
Lorena took Bill into her house after he happened upon her at random. She too wanted a companion. But she gave Bill no choice in his turning. Bill was unwilling and had to be tricked.

Godric saved Eric.
Lorena murdered Bill.

Eric then chose Pam as his child, and turned her for companionship**. Pam, like Eric before her, was willing.
Bill did not choose Jessica – she was chosen for him – and he was ordered to turn her as punishment. Jessica, like Bill before her, was unwilling and had to be forced.

Eric has a relationship with Godric based on trust, love, respect and shared experiences that he seems to hold sacred.
Bill has a relationship with Lorena based on mistrust, resentment, and shared experiences that he tries to bury.

Pam’s relationship with Eric is founded on respect, loyalty and a mutual understanding.
Jessica’s relationship with Bill is riddled with misunderstandings, volatile outbursts and mutual resentment.

Eric taught Pam what she needed to know to survive as a vampire. He was also willing to fill this role for Jessica in the short term, even though he is not her maker.
Bill has tried his hardest to avoid teaching Jessica much of anything – first palming her off onto Eric and then being completely preoccupied with Sookie on her return.

Through these two “families”, patterns of behaviour are emerging that repeat themselves through the generations. Just as they do in human families.

We have already seen that Godric, Eric and Pam are in control of their destinies. They make their own decisions, and they own those decisions. They don’t blame anyone else – even when they probably could. Have we seen Eric whining like a bitch yet about the fact that SA has him selling V? Did we see Godric even attempt to shirk any responsibility or blame for the Dallas mess? Do we see Pam moaning about anything she does for Eric? No. Because this side of the fence can suck it up, and deal. They are strong, and they are resilient.

The writers even changed Godfrey’s name to Godric – presumably to connect Eric’s name with that of his maker. A clever way to subtly reinforce their positive relationship and family connection in the minds of the audience, is it not?

Could you be a companion of death? Could you walk with me through the world...through the dark? I'll teach you all I know. I'll be your father, your brother, your child.

The relationship between Lorena, Bill and Jessica could not be more different to that of Godric, Eric and Pam. These three are perpetual victims – always at the mercy of others, always able lay blame with everyone else for their misfortune. Even when that misfortune is a direct result of their own poor decision making or lack of backbone. Lorena is a victim of her vampire nature, to the extent that she uses it to justify the most abhorrent, sadistic behaviour and a lack of desire to evolve. She is also a victim of her obsessive fixation on Bill. Bill blames either Lorena, or Eric (and eventually Sophie Anne I’m willing to bet) for practically every mess he finds himself in. Jessica blames Bill or Maxine Fortenberry or her father for her various issues. This family is passive, weak – and most likely doomed.

If I were Jessica Hamby I would be pretty nervous, right about now. If there is something to the idea that behaviours in these relationships are repeating down the line, she is fucked – not to put too finer point on it. Based on the patterns playing out between Lorena, Bill and Jessica I think it’s likely that Jessica will eventually turn on Bill. And probably end up dead as a result.

There is a very clear dichotomy being set up here that did not exist in the book series, at least not in this form. Charlaine used various methods to contrast Eric and Bill, but for the film medium many of them just would not translate (the frequent hot/cold metaphors, for example). Ball has come up with a different, yet still very effective way of showing us what is really going on with the characters of Eric and Bill. Or more correctly, showing us where the writers are heading with them. When the series is over and can be viewed as a cohesive whole, I suspect the impact of these changes will be much clearer.

So take heart, fellow Viking lovers. Some heinous crimes have been committed against Eric, and the Eric and Sookie pairing on True Blood. But I really am starting to come around to the idea there is going to be a reason for all of this in the end.

Or maybe it’s just the Prozac talking.

**[I realise this hasn’t really been covered in TB yet. I’m surmising, based on the nature of their relationship, Pam’s turning in the books, and comments made by Kristin Bauer which support the premise that TB Pam was turned voluntarily].

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29
Dec
09

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.

    10
    Dec
    09

    Dead in the Family – Cover Art

    The cover art for Dead in the Family has hit the interwebs!

    It’s not up on Charlaine’s site yet, but from what I can ascertain this seems to have been leaked by her publisher.

    So – we have a red rose, front and centre. The red rose of course is most commonly associated with true love. Interestingly, it is also symbolic of respect, and the recognition of courage. Both courage and respect are a constant thread running through Sookie and Eric’s relationship – and this was never more evident than it was by the end of Dead and Gone.

    The rose shows two stems entwined, leading into one single bloom. Eric and Sookie’s lives have been entwined for such a long time now and the thorns are interesting too, since that attachment has never been easy for either of them. Are they finally heading in the same direction?

    We already know that there’s going to be trouble for Sookie and Eric in this book – the arrival of Eric’s maker Appius, and the discovery of Debbie Pelt’s body practically guarantee it. And of course the reappearance of Alcide, who somehow always means trouble and at least one good bashing – usually of Sookie. Even granting all of that, this cover gives me hope that perhaps – finally – Sookie is going to be willing to allow Eric into her life as a partner and an equal. They’re reaching out for eachother and Eric almost looks as though he’s smiling. Pleeeaase let this happen Charlaine. Don’t make us beg. He has waited SO long and he’s shown the patience of a godamn saint. They deserve it.

    I’ve suspected for a while based on spoilers that Sookie may spend some time at Eric’s house in this book – finally accepting after the fae war that perhaps a bit of protection is not such a bad idea in the aftermath. Eric has already offered this to her willingly, and looking at this cover the possibility that Sookie might start to see some sense in Eric’s offer is becoming a little more tangible to me.

    I am squeeing here. Tingling right down to my E/S shipper toes.

    I might also like to take a self-indulgent moment to reflect on the fact that Bill/Sookie shippers are probably spitting blood, as we speak. Many are convinced that Sookie fell in love with Bill again at the end of DAG, and that the spoilers for DITF about an E/S relationship were either exaggerated or a hoax. For six months we’ve had to cop the most vehement Eric bashing, made worse with the True Blood crowd getting in on the act as well.

    Well look at that cover.

    They can all kiss my Viking-wench ass.

    Source




    ABOUT SOOKIEVERSE

    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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