A writing post today and just my opinion, as well.
I do not pretend to be an expert on True Blood, the hit HBO Series based on the books by Charlaine Harris, but I have become a fan of the TV series. A romance with a vampire hero is not exactly my cup of tea, and I rarely read a paranormal (but I love that friends like Carolyn write them!), so why am I tuning in every week?
I think it has to do with the characters. I love complex characters, those who are not wholly good or wholly bad but a mixture of the two. They experience pain, make mistakes, have flaws, but also are courageous, heroic, loving, loyal. Almost every character in True Blood is complex (except maybe Sookie, the primary heroine, although she is brave, loyal, and interesting in her own right).
The male characters are especially compelling.
Bill, of course, has all kinds of dark secrets. He is a vampire, after all. What I find most compelling of him is his single-minded love of Sookie. Even though external events and their differences (one being human, the other vampire) drive them apart, he is always there for her when she needs him. If he cannot reach her, you see his pain for not being able to save her. The hero who is unwavering in his love for the heroine is one readers can love.
Sam seems to be the Beta hero of the series. He is the perennial good-guy, but also has the dark secret of being a shape-shifter. In season two he is battling the mysterious Maryann, with whom he has a “past.” As a hero, a Beta with secrets and private suffering is also a great addition to any story. We want him to find love, because he so clearly deserves a good woman to love.
Eric is the darkest, most Alpha of the True Blood heroes. A vampire leader, he is dark and dangerous and powerful, but he also leaves the impression (to me, at least) that he has a secret good side. It keeps us guessing on whether he will be proved good or bad in the end.
We know Bill will protect Sookie at all costs; we know Sam will behave with decency; we don’t know about Eric. In the right story any one of these heroes would make the reader fall in love with him.
One more thing I want to say about True Blood. Each episode ends with a strong hook, one that makes you want to tune in to the next episode. This is the way to end a chapter! Keep them turning the pages.
What do you think of the heroes and characters of True Blood? If you don’t watch the series, what do you think makes for complex characters. Who is your favorite complex character (in the series or not) and why?
(Note: Anna Paquin, who plays Sookie, and Stephen Moyer, who plays Bill, just got engaged in real life!) Photos by Creative Commons
I’m almost done with my second “soldiers” book! Stay tuned to my website for the latest news about my books.
Fun post, Diane! I love True Blood, even though there are parts that I find revolting. Hunter souffle anyone? Ack!
I’m loving Erik more every episode–I nearly fell off my chair last night–I don’t want to give spoilers–if you watched it, you know! And now Godric is fascinating me!
This is the first vampire series that I have gotten into since I got hooked on Anne Rice years ago. I think you are right Diane, that it is all in the character development. I think I love these guys *despite* their being vampires instead of *because* they are vampires.
I have to confess, I have not read the books, and seeing how some people are objecting to the changes the series is making, I think I want to just stick with the series for now and see how it all plays out. Then maybe I’ll go back and read the books…
I have never watched True Blood, but guessing from the character descriptions I would go for Sam. I love the good guy. I like the clean cut man who always does the right thing. I’m a sucker for that, no pun intended.
I did watch it, Deb! and will watch again today on “On Demand”
It might be a risk in a romance to have so many intriguing heroes who are in love with one heroine (if Eric is-we don’t know). Colleen Gleason kept us guessing about who her heroine would wind up with in her Gardella series, but those books were not strictly Romance.
It does keep us tuning in…like we tune in to Soap Operas, another type of TV show with changing alliances.
Jane Austen, I, too, love a hero who always does the right thing! He can be dark in other ways, though, but for the heroine and “the greater good” he always does the right thing.
I hate movies where the hero (male or female)does the WRONG thing and then the whole movie is about the consequences of that.
Thanks for sharing.
It’s a great blog post.
I love the True Blood series both in books and on HBO.
The best part of the HBO series is that most of the characters have depth and are not just stick figures or caricatures.
I don’t have a favorite, unless it is Eric, no, Sam, er, Jason, no, um, Jessica…
too many great ones to choose just one.
For best literary characters I’ve read in a long time (other than Robert Jordan of course) is George R.R. Martin’s series.
All the best,
I love True Blood too but for me it’s not the characters, it’s the complexity of the plot and the way the subplots weave around. Remember the great big red herring at the end of Season 1 (the painted toenails)? I also love the vampire culture and its feudal overtones. The characters seem to start off with an element of truth and then become stereotypes.
Of the ones who still have some originality, I adore Lafayette. I wish he’d become a vamp–he would have been so much fun. Bill is a bit of a pain (he’s become a vampire suburban dad)–I’m pretty sure Sookie will end up with Eric who’s fairly interesting so far but looked better before the highlights disaster. I love Marianne too–I know she has a little problem with human sacrifice, but, hey no one’s perfect, and she is a goddess.
Sam, ugh. Any man who makes his waitresses dress like that deserves the worst.
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I love this series. I enjoy the tv show more than the first book. . . Though, they did lift a lot of the dialogue verbatim from the novel to the show for season one.
I love TARA. She’s such a fantastic, vulnerable character with a tough girl shell. . . And she’s not in the book. She’s a complete creation of the tv writers. I was so disappointed when I read the first book and she wasn’t in it.
This tv series is one of the few cases where I feel they’ve improved the book. And it is in the characters and the relationships…
Oh and Janet! I adore Lafayette. I took a true blood test and came out as Lafeyette. 😀
I haven’t seen the series yet, O Divine One, but I am a big fan of the books! I think Janet hit on something. The complexity of the plots, at least in the books, and the very feudal overtones of the world Harris has created really appeal to the historical addict in me.
And someone PLEASE keep Eric away from the Lady Clairol!! In the books he truly is one of the most complicated characters and I hope they manage to convey that in the series. I hate to say it but Janet is also right about Bill. He is sort of your average guy who happens to drink blood, however, in the books he is manipulated a bit by vampire politics and it definitely interferes with his romance with Sookie. Lets just say he does something I would not forgive. Then again I would be all over Eric !!
I read somewhere that women like TB for the “relationships” and the stories, and men like it for the sex and violence–I kinda like it all, especially the sex and violence. 🙂 (though after last night, I think the Marianne story has definitely passed its sell-by date–wrap it up already!)
I hope we do see more Eric in the near future! I think AS is capable of doing so much with the character, and thus far he’s been relegated to the margins and stories that are not nearly as intriguing take up huge amounts of time. (I actually like the shorter hair better, too)
Oh, and I only tried to read the books once or twice and didn’t care for them–I don’t know why I’m so hooked on the show and not the books! The visuals, I guess 🙂
So shallow, Amanda! 🙂 Gotta say I am right there with you. Haven’t seen the show, but the guy who plays Eric is definitely a very effective “visual.”
I haven’t had time to watch much TV but hope the episodes will be available on Netflix in the future. When so many friends rave about something I have to check it out sometime!
I’m with Deb, I’m not into vampire stories just because they’re vampire stories. But good characterization will hook me every time.
(Waving madly to Elena!!!!!!)
RKCharron, nice to have you stop by.
I’m sure fantasy readers have read Robert Jordan and George R.R. Martin, but I haven’t (I’m the world’s worst read Romance author, you see). I did get talked into reading Bujold’s Vorkosigan series and fell in LOVE with Miles and all the characters in that series. I, too, LOVE a character with depth.
Janet, I am not surprised you have your own take on True Blood!! I, too, admire the plot complexity and interwoven-ness, but I think all that cleverness in plot would fall flat without the complex characters. I’m hard-pressed to say there’s any characters I don’t like (except maybe the preacher, but he was supposed to be what he was). I love Lafayette, but I couldn’t include him in “heroes.”
Maire, I love Tara, too! She’s so strong but vulnerable, too. I want her to vanquish Maryanne.
Amanda, I’m ready to get rid of Maryanne, too.
Louisa, O Doggie One. Why am I not surprised that you’ve read the books!!