True Blood: Hot Southern Lust
I recently became a huge fan of the HBO series True Blood because I am reading the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. Once I rented the first season, I was a goner. I had to see the whole thing. I’m especially interested in this hot and sexy soap opera because I write paranormal erotic romances. I’m often asked what is the appeal of undead creatures like vampires? I mean, they bite, drink human blood, and kill you for God’s sake! What’s sexy about that?
Plenty, I tell you.
“True Blood” in many ways is erotic romance. There certainly is lots of hot sex in the series with naked bodies going at it. Lots of people agree that erotic romances are women’s porn and there is no reason to be ashamed of it. Lori Perkins is a literary agent and founder of the erotic romance publisher Ravenous Romance. She agrees that these romances are women’s porn and says “the paranormal part of the equation comes in the freedom to break the “rules” of traditional romance story telling (alpha male meets damsel/heroine, grave misunderstanding ensues to keep couple apart, but hero or heroine figures out how to fix the problem and they live happily ever after) and allow the heroine to be either also be an Alpha, and perhaps kick his ass before saving it.
When supernatural creatures are involved, all rules can be broken, except the possibility of some sort of happy every after or happy for now ending.” Bill Compton, Eric Northman, and Russell Edginton are all Alphas, which makes them aggressive towards women and appealing at the same time. Regina Carlysle writes erotic romances for e-book publisher Ellora’s Cave. She says “Long ago, only men were afforded the luxury of reading/watching their fantasies unfold. Now it’s the ladies turn and that’s great.” Now women can swoon when 175 year old vampire Bill Compton sweeps Sookie Stackhouse up in his arms or when shifter Sam Merlotte can’t resist Sookie’s charms. Everyone in this show is into Sookie! She’s enticing to vamps because her blood is as sweet as ambrosia “ the sweetest, most delectable blood of all.
How many women wish they could be as enticing to mere human let alone a sexy vampire? Part of the appeal is that vampires live forever. Wouldn’t you like to be eternal and live with your true love until the end of time? A serious drawback is that you see your loved ones die around you so you become hardened to tender emotions in fear of getting hurt and abandoned over and over again. For some women, a vamp who feels that way is very appealing in that she may think that she could be the one woman to break through his icy demeanor and make him fall in love with her.
Another appealing aspect of being a vampire is that their blood (in the Sookie Stackhouse universe) gives humans superhuman strength. Short order cook Lafayette Reynolds sold V (vamp blood) as a drug and when he took it he did handstands and made love like a stallion. Imagine athletes using V instead of steroids! Being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound has been popular with humans since before Superman.
I grew up lusting after Christopher Lee as Dracula in Hammer Films and later Frank Langella in the same role. Both men rolled menace and sex appeal into one fanged monstrous lust machine. Now I have it bad for Eric Northman in True Blood. I know I’m not only woman (or man) who feels such a drive for him. But why are vamps so sexy? What makes Bill Compton and Eric Northman such dishes? Why is Russell Edgington so fascinating?
I can’t help but be fascinated by a vamp who carries around his dead lover’s effluvia in a compote dish. It’s because of vampire’s historic place in Victorian literature representing repressed sexuality. Literary agent Saritza Hernandez says, “Ethereal beauty, I think is one of the main reasons for their popularity. The mysticism of being completely in the thrall of a vampire is another, I think. There’s something very intimate about the way a vampire tilts your head, grazes your neck with those incisors and inflicts pain and pleasure simultaneously.”
Both Stephen Moyer (who plays Compton) and Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd (who plays Northman) are scrumptious to behold. They look delicious enough to eat. I seriously doubt women would swoon so much over them if they looked like Wallace and Gromit. These two men embody pain and pleasure rolled up into two sexy packages.
Sookie seems to have her own ability to glamour the way vampires Bill Compton and Eric Northman affect humans, especially women. I attribute her talent to her fae roots. Bill and Eric lure women into their lairs like spiders stalking unsuspecting flies, but their charms have no affect on Sookie. One thing very appealing about her is that she does not take their bullshit. She can dish it out just as much as they do, which makes her a very formidable character.
Bill and Eric are also Alpha Male characters, especially in their possessiveness of Sookie and how they fight over her, much to her chagrin and annoyance but deep down I suspect she actually likes the attention. She knows she has power over vampires, despite the fact that vamps completely wiped out the fairies. Bill and Eric compliment each other quite well, although I prefer Eric’s stoic bad boy vampire to Bill’s tortured “good” vampire persona. Bill is getting to be rather boring but Eric¦ yum! That vamp is exciting! The moment Sookie walked in on Eric having a six hour sex session with a new dancer from Fangtasia and he stood before her buck naked, I wanted to pull down the screen so I could see more. Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd looks delicious enough to sprinkle on my breakfast cereal every morning. Om nom nom! I could eat him right up and have seconds.
Russell is another bad boy over-the-top vampire character played by Denis O’Hare who catches my attention. Not content with being King of Mississippi, Russell has his eyes on taking over Louisiana. He also had the audacity to appear on live television, kill a newscaster, and declare war on all humans and the League of Vampires. Way to go to make a nasty name for yourself, dude.
And then there was The Scene That Everyone Talked About. You know which one I mean. It’s when Bill sexually assaulted Lorena and twisted her head around a la Goldie Hawn in “Death Becomes Her”. What made the scene all the more grand guignol was when Lorena told Bill “I still love you” “ with her head facing in the opposite direction. I almost laughed it was so overdone but I realized there is a lot of violence against women in this show that isn’t addressed. In the first season we had waitresses being murdered.
Now we have Lorena’s rape (but was it really rape?) and Tara’s kidnapping. Granted, Lorena is much older and stronger than Bill, she’s his maker, she killed his wife, and she gets her revenge on Bill for the attack later in the season but this one scene had fans a-gabbin’. Fans all over the internet have had their say and reactions are mixed. One fan described Lorena as “¦ a tragic, lonely, desperate character who may be a little unstable as well. And it all stems from her need to be loved and to have this connection with this man that will never be returned.” I suspect some women identify with Lorena’s unrequited love for Bill. Others found the scene to be vicious and cruel. In another forum (a feminist one) one blogger wrote “this scene was just¦ so¦ ugh. I mean, was it really necessary? I was slightly disturbed by it, especially when she said that she still loves him.”
Another accurately described it as a “hate fuck” and wondered if it was purposefully trying to be controversial. Was it rape? The jury’s out. Some say it was while others don’t agree. I don’t think it was rape because Lorena, being much older and stronger than Bill, could have overpowered him at any time but she chose not to. This scene became water cooler fodder for weeks to come.
The finale left me with more questions than answers. The highlight for me was watching Sookie pour Talbot down the garbage disposal and see him get turned into a Slurry. To my relief, Sookie rescued Eric from the hot sun before he turned into a charcoal briquette. But why on earth would she rescue Russell? Russell is one character who has made her life a living hell. And what happened to the war Russell promised while holding that newscaster’s spine in his hand on live TV? The plot simply dropped the topic.
Maybe next season Russell will go forward on his promise to wipe out the human race and take on the vampires at the same time. And Sookie finally had enough and broke up with Bill! These two can’t seem to get their act together. I hope that season four develops these new storylines with passion and fascination without the confusion I noticed in season three. And keep these characters as sexy and intriguing as they’ve been since the premiere!