33416445Anyone who truly knows me knows one thing: I love to read. Obviously I have read the Harry Potter series, considering my love for Ron Weasley and subsequently Rupert Grint. However, I love a great many books in a variety of genres, and one set of stories I love in particular are vampire tales. Thanks to my mother I became a fan of the 1960s soap opera Dark Shadows which featured vampires, witches, werewolves and the like. Then came Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin off series, Angel. And then I got into the books: Dracula, Twilight and True Blood, also known as the Sookie Stackhouse Novels or Southern Vampire Tales written by Charlaine Harris. There are currently nine books in the series, and HBO is currently airing season 2 of the eponymous TV show. In other news, I am about to read The Vampire Diaries which is also set to come to the small screen on The CW Network in the US.

But let’s focus on True Blood which this article is about. The books are adult – and I mean, if you captured True Blood on HBO first assuming that was just their way of making it sexier, don’t be fooled. The novels are just as sexually explored as the show is. Obviously, the show will create some sexual scenes that you won’t find in the books, as they did with Sookie’s brother Jason. In the books Jason is only described as a sexual being, a ladies man, etc. On the TV show they had to be visual with this, so you can see Jason’s exploits. Of course, this is important because… SPOILER ALERT!!! … everyone Jason has sex with ends up dying! Naturally, this leads to him being suspected in every death that occurs.

257885831Before I go into characters, let me tell you a little bit about the series and the books. The premise is basically that vampires have, as they put it, “come out of the coffin” a few years ago. Then one day a vampire walks into the bar that Sookie is working at. Sookie is a telepathic waitress but she cannot read vampires’ minds. I know what you’re thinking — “Wow, isn’t this the plot to Twilight?” As much as I love Twilight for its simplicity, it could well be said that the Twilight books are a rip off of these novels, because The Sookie Stackhouse books were published long before Twilight.

So, Sookie is telepathic and when she meets this new vampire, Bill, she is over the moon because she cannot hear his thoughts. As you can imagine, struggling to keep out of other people’s thoughts is constant work, so when she can be around Bill and hear — excuse the term — dead silence, it’s amazing to her; it attracts her even further to the vampire. Meanwhile, young girls are dying all over town. These girls have one thing in common: they’ve been around or slept with vampires! Sadly, this problem hits real close to Sookie when her grandmother, Adele, is found dead. (Plot point/spoiler alert: Sookie and Jason were raised by her grandmother when their parents were killed in a flash flood.) As Sookie races to find out why her grandmother was killed and why all these women are being knocked off, and to prove her brother’s innocence, she finds herself in danger from the killer.

true-blood-2As for the TV show, Sookie herself is pretty much on the mark. Anna Paquin has been criticized for not being the perfect Sookie, but I think she embodies the character well enough. In fact, I enjoy her take on Sookie more than how the character is written in the book. To me, Anna’s Sookie is more determined and human. On the other hand, Sookie of the novels is quite funny, whereas the writing for Anna’s Sookie tends to leave that side out. Her chemistry with Stephen Moyer‘s Bill is off the charts and that’s the only thing you can ask for. In the novels, Bill and Sookie are together for three books (this is a span of maybe a year and a half however).

Continuing on with main character is Bill. Looks wise Bill is a bit off, however written wise the character seems to be pretty spot on. However, book Bill always seems to be a little more deadpan to me, while TV Bill seems to be more interactive and interesting. Bill is a tough character to get your head around and the TV show does a good job of, forgive the term, humanizing him. When reading the novels you often wonder just how great his love for Sookie truly is — and this gets questioned further inside the series, as secrets are revealed about Bill’s intentions of walking into Merlott’s Bar in Bon Temps. It needs to be said that both in the books and in the TV series, Sookie and Bill end up into bed together quite early on, as the death of Sookie’s grandmother brings them closer. In the TV series, after her death, Sookie goes running to Bill and the consumate their love for one another, while in the books it’s a few days after.

true-blood-anna-paquin-stephen-moyerBoth in the TV show and the books, Sookie is beaten up badly by a couple who sell vampire blood for money — the so-called “drainers”. Sookie had saved Bill’s life from this couple, and for revenge they beat her up and try to kill her. Bill comes to her rescue killing this couple and has Sookie drink from him — it heels her completely. All the injuries she suffers are instantly fixed. The other effects of vampire blood? Her sex drive is increased, her senses are more in-tuned, and Bill can feel her when she’s in danger.

Speaking of Merlott’s, the bar is much how I imagined it; however, the owner, not so much. In the books Sam Marlott has red hair (probably lighter than Rupert’s), but TV Sam has light brown hair going slightly gray — though his build and height seem right. In the book, Sam doesn’t have much of a back story but the TV series gives him an interesting one. What I mean is (SPOILER ALERT!!!) in the books Sam comes from pure breed shape shifters. Both his mother and father can shape shift and thus, as Sam was first born, he can too. Both in the books and in the TV show Sam prefers shifting into a border collie. We learn in later books that Sam’s mother married someone else who was not a shape shifter and they are from Texas. In the TV show, we hear a reference to Texas, though it seems to be mostly made up. Sam doesn’t “exist” until he arrives in Bon Temps. We learn that he was adopted and that his adoptive parents left when they saw him shift into a dog one night. This makes for an interesting background, and continues a story that is presently playing out in season 2.

Then there are lesser known characters. In the books Sookie’s best friend, Tara Thorton, tends to be someone who just pops up every once in a while. From the description you tend to believe that she is well adjusted and doesn’t hold a grudge from her childhood. In the TV show however they decided to be a bit more inventive. Tara is a fast talking, hard nosed woman who takes her family situation to heart. Her mother is an alcoholic (in the books — SPOILER ALERT — Tara’s parents are dead) and would beat her and Sookie’s grandmother always took her in, fed her, clothed her. In the series Tara has a huge crush on Jason.

Tara’s cousin Layfette Reynolds is a character in the books but like Tara his part had changed drastically. While in both mediums he is a gay short order cook at Merlott’s, in the books he is barely visible. However, Layfette in the show sells V (vampire blood) and other assorted drugs, he is a male prostitute, and one of Jason’s best friends.

Some characters who take a back seat in Season 1 were more prominent in the books. For instance, Eric Northman, the owner of Vampire Bar “Fangtasia” (the bar is for humans to gawk at vampires who dress the way they are perceived, though not necessarily accurately). Like in the books, he is a tall blond viking vampire. His personality seems to be pretty much intact leaving out one detail: his attraction to Sookie. While it somewhat exists, in the books Eric makes no bones about it, including scenes that did not appear in the show such as Sookie ending up in the hospital after her encounter with the murderer (more on this later) and Eric floating outside the window and sending her flowers, flirting with her, calling her his future lover.

Then there is Pam. Eric sired her long ago and she now works for him in Fangtasia. Pam in the books becomes Sookie’s friend and is much more interesting. She’s funny and witty. They make sure in the show to show off how different her persona in the bar is from her true self outside. In the TV show, she’s more modern and button down. However that does not take away from her wit, sarcasm, and interestingly enough her good nature. Of course, this doesn’t mean she’ll throw back a bottle of True Blood!

Of course, there is Rene too. While I describe him, you must know that there will be spoilers abound. So if you do not wish to know the basic plot to the first novel and season 1 of the TV show, please stop reading now! Rene in the books and TV show are definitely different as well as their fates by the end. On the TV show, Rene has a Cajun accent: this is to help Sookie realize there isn’t something “quite right” about him, because when she hears his thoughts, he speaks in his regular, American accent. Rene is engaged to Sookie’s friend and co-worker Arleen and tries to settle down in the city of Bon Temps. In the books we learn that Rene’s sister has died; however in the TV series we know nothing about his family or his life. We do get a “weird moment” from him in the beginning of the show where Rene stands up for Sookie at the bar and tells her, “You remind me of my sister…” But nothing else is made of it.

anna-paquin-bleeds-true-blood-23

Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer

As the series continues and young girls die, Sookie is becoming more endangered. Both series of course have Sookie’s grandmother dying and both series have her cat being killed and strung up. But in the TV show we learn the second to the last episode who the killer is. I’m sure you guessed by now that Rene is the killer. He does so because his sister has had sex with a vampire and it sets him off in his brain. So now he goes around killing any young girl who has sex with vampires. In the books Sookie hurts Rene as she tries to get away from him, but she never kills him. In the show though, when she finally figures it out, having heard his thoughts while in her home, she runs away through the cemetery to Bill’s house. Earlier I told you about the bond made when Sookie drank Bill’s blood; so now Bill can sense when Sookie is in trouble. This does not happen in the books, but in the show Bill senses Sookie is in danger and runs out in the sun to try and save her. Fortunately while she is being beaten by Rene, Sam is to the rescue as the dog! He sniffed out Rene’s scent (he picked this up from one of the crime scenes) and tracked them. However, Rene begins to beat on Sam. This gives Sookie plenty of time to pick up a shovel and kill Rene with it.

By the end, all is well in Bon Temps until one of the detectives who was assigned to the case and believed Jason was the murderer, gets stinking drunk in Merlott’s. Sookie and Tara lead him out to his car only to find another dead body! In the books it’s Layfette who’s discovered in the car; but in the series, due to the immense popularity of the character, someone else, a lesser known character who does not have anything to do with Tara’s background story, meets this fate instead.

true-blood-hboSeason 2 has just started so it’s hard to comment on any similarities or differences. There are some, but I’d have to watch the entire season to give it a run down. Perhaps soon enough.

All in all, both the TV show and the books are worth your time and I highly recommend them. The show does the books justice and even sometimes turns out better than the books. Of course, the books have some parts better than the TV show. As mentioned, Eric’s role in the first season is sadly missed and there is also a great vampire character in the books that does not appear in the series. His name is Bubba and he technically is The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll himself; Elvis! He’s a great, funny character who isn’t “quite right in the head” because of all the drugs he had in his system when he was found dead.

To keep this Rupert related, I often read books trying to find a character Rupert Grint could play. Honestly, nothing pops up in the True Blood books, but because the TV show goes its own course, clearly one could be written for him. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Rupert as a bad ass vampire? I think so. His hair slicked back like in Blag and a smirk on his face…

This post was written by:

- who has written 17 posts on Grintastic Online.


Contact the author

3 Comments

  1. Rozali says:

    Great article, Tao! I enjoyed reading it. I love True Blood. It’s become one of my favorite shows, even though I don’t really like Sookie all that much. Big fan of Eric, Tara, and Lafayette. Also, I agree that it would be pretty wicked to see Rupert as a vampire. I want to see him play a baddie at some point. I think he can pull it off (and look super hot at the same time, of course). 🙂

  2. Ivana says:

    I’ve recently gotten into True Blood (courtesy of our Channel 4) and so far I’m loving it! As for those critics who slam the show on the basis of “too-much-sex”, obviously they haven’t read the books. 😉

  3. Click Here To Watch True Blood Season 1 , Season 2 & Season 3(Upcoming – in production)

    http://www.truebloodfree.com/

    Thank You

Trackbacks/Pingbacks


Leave your Reply