Bill and Godric: Kindred Spirits

August 20, 2009 by  

trueblood09_42For someone who appeared in only four episodes of True Blood, Godric managed to make quite an impression on us. The 2,000-year old vampire showed himself to be a gentle, compassionate soul, and as his body dissolved in blue flames on the hotel roof, I found myself wishing he would stay a while longer, even though I knew he was “full of joy.”

Watching the towering Eric fall to his knees at the feet of his Maker and tearfully beg him not to leave was an emotional thing to behold. Allan Hyde, the young Danish actor who played Godric, exuded wisdom beyond his years as he comforted Eric: “There are centuries of love and faith between us.”

But what happened next between Godric and Sookie was among the most poignant and beautiful moments of the entire series. He was weary of life and of the perpetual fighting between humans and vampires. In the end, he found peace. He was ready for whatever awaited him after he left this earth.

Sookie, waiting for the sun with him, began to cry. Certainly, she was grateful to him for saving her from Gabe in the church basement. What one writer for the Boston Globe suggests is that, on another level, Sookie‘s tears were also for Bill:

She will probably never get to witness Bill‘s “end”– she will probably die first. So she had an opportunity to shed tears for a gentle vampire like Bill while he left the world.

This connection was probably intentional. When Sookie told Bill that she needed to be with Godric, she said, “You of all people should understand how he feels. What if it were you, Bill? What if in 1,800 years, you were Godric?”

Bill has proven that he still has a heart, even if not the literal, beating one. Though a vampire, he cares for humanity. It must have been a great relief to him when synthetic blood became available. He no longer had to feed on humans to survive. He willingly cut himself off from the vampire community — which he knew to be a corrupting influence — and began “mainstreaming.” He regained some semblance of his former humanity. And all of this was magnified further when he met Sookie. He fell in love with her. She was his miracle.

So it is easy to picture Bill, a thousand years or more from now, becoming like Godric. Sookie would be long gone, but he would have held onto the goodness that she awakened in him. If he ever became a vampire leader, he would probably try to calm the animosity between humans and vampires, knowing that it was possible for them to live peacefully if they would only let go of their prejudice. For Bill, protecting humanity would be like protecting Sookie because of humanity’s connection to her.

Eric did not understand what Godric meant when he said that the very existence of vampires was wrong. “You taught me there is no right or wrong. Only survival… or death.” This has been Eric‘s truth for 1,000 years. It’s not his fault that he believed his Maker, but Godric lied to him. So Eric held the fundamental assumption that surviving is the only thing that matters. Bill, however, knows that survival is not the most important thing. He has proven many times that there are things worth dying for: he would have staked himself to be free of Lorena and the cruelty she made him inflict on humans; he would rather have spent years in a coffin with silver chains than turn Jessica into a vampire; and he would have allowed himself to waste away in the sunlight trying to save Sookie from Rene. Bill is only 173-years old, but he already has a gentleness that Godric acquired after 2,000 years of living.


(Photo credit: HBO Inc.)

  • Jen

    I liked Godric as well right from the start. How he seemed like a kid but you knew he was so old. And how much humanity he had in him, he was better than most humans you know. And I absolutely loved his and Erics connection and Erics love and devotion to him. I never really gave Eric more than a second look until this story arc came up, and he cut his hair. Lol. I absolutely started crying when Eric himself started crying over Godric on the rooftop. First time the shows made me cry. It was incredible.

  • ida

    Thank you for a wery good article ! But i have to say that i in one level do fel like eric do have a lot of humanity in him to. Like bill do . He is not the wourst sheriff for example .And like bill he would do enything for here but not die for here . I fel that we are going to see much more of that . Like alexander have said ” Their is more to eric than we know ” . And i totely agre . ( Sorry i had to defend eric a little , i like them bothe doow )Please forgive my writhing .

    • Janie Logan

      I agree, Ida! I’m interested to see what kind of influence Sookie will have on Eric. He seems like he’s just become bored with humanity after 1,000 years, so the fact that Sookie is always surprising him might make Eric reevaluate humans in general. I just wonder if Sookie will ever be able to truly LOVE Eric because he is such a vampire (if that makes sense). I’m just thinking about the scene where she tells Bill that even though he’s a vampire, parts of his former self remain in him and if they didn’t, she wouldn’t be with him. We’ve only begun to discover the deeper layers to Eric, but he seems to be a quintessential vampire, viewing humans as food and little more (He calls them “breathers,” LOL!). Those who have read the books will know something of how the relationship between Eric and Sookie, but as several have stated here, the books and the show are very different! Stephen Moyer has developed Bill as a more loving character. So I expect his future will play out differently than people expect.

  • Janie Logan

    Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments! There is definitely room for interpretation in all of this, and for the characters to change in ways that we can’t foresee.

    • Nia

      Thank you Janie Logan for that wonderful, thoughtful article comparing Bill to Godric. I saw the same similarities also. Bill is special. He has a heart, even though it does not beat. He loves and feels deeply. He had so far to go, to come back to some semblance of his former humanity, in such a short amount of time, for he is still a young vampire.
      Remember we first saw Godric at 1,000 years old killing without a thought (he casually killed Erics friends before he made Eric). We do not really know when Godric started his journey back to humanity. But we are glad he did. We knew him to little yet he gained our love and respect. Did the 1,000 year old Eric learn anything? I hope he has from this. Remember also, Godric wanted to take responsibility for Erics bad behavior.
      Although contending with so much at the time, Bill understood when Sookie needed to go to Godric, and would have gone himself, risk the sun, to be with her. This he does now and has done before, for love. As I stated earlier, Bill is special, it only took 60 years of living like a vicious beast for him to turn back and try to regain his former self, a good, moral man. He was well on his way back, but it took his love and desire for Sookie to really bring out his goodness. This character has gained so much respect from me. He will be tested now in the episodes and seasons to come. I pray he does not loose what he has tried so hard to regain, his soul and humanity.
      As for those who call Bill a liar and deciever, he did hold some things from Sookie (we are discussing the show here). But he did that to protect her, always to protect her. He is good not perfect. Isn’t it human to make mistakes?

      • Abby

        I concur absolutely, and thank you for saying it all with heart.

        • Nia

          You’re welcome, kindred spirit Abby!

  • Elizabeth

    Loved this article! If Bill seems a bit jaded at the moment, he has a lot to contend with and cannot focus because of his worries about Sookie. Give him time and he will be the “second coming’ of Godric!

  • a cake

    Excellent analysis! In watching the past few episodes, I found it ironic that despite Eric’s reverence for Godric, it’s Bill who actually embodies what Godric preaches: peaceful co-existence with humans, evolving beyond a vampire’s brutal nature, and choosing not to kill with impunity. The parallels between the two characters are pretty poignant and it’s a testament to the skill of the show’s fine writers.

    • Hanne

      uhm, Bill isn’t really like that in the books. He is no saint. (spoiler-alert) He does have an assignment to go to Bon-Temps and to get to know the telepath-girl, and even seduce her if he have to. I like the thought in the article, but I think both the Bill- and Eric-characters are more complex than that…

      • jay

        I think we need more time to see bill and eric’s complex characters develope before we can say Bill we become Godric.. I think both vampz may eventually get to that high esteemed place that I see Godric as, both in their own time.
        Totally agree there are so many parallels between Godric and Bill.
        I think vampires ages have a major influence. Eric has lived so long he has become jaded with humanity, I am sure Godric went through this phase, and I am sure Bill will go through the same phase in his life as a vampire somewhere along the line. Living that long would be difficult.
        Seems like if sookie has become bills miracle in finding compassion for humanity, I think she will be the same catalyst for Eric also, further down the track. Especially if his curiosity grows into something more. She already has effected eric in that sense. Eg) When he decides to heal lafayette for sookie. Although we know he almost always has a hidden agenda. He will always find a way to get something out of any situation. LOL Eric!
        Both Vampz have a long way to go before coming anywhere close to the vampire Godric.
        Have to say this though, I use to be a big Bill fan. Still am. But now I am really torn. I like different aspects of each them Bill, Eric and Godric. If I got asked to pick a fav, I would not be able to. I would say, make me a character that has bills love and devotion to humanity. Godrics wise, commanding compassionate nature, and Erics overwhelming sense of loyalty, passion and love for who he cares about.. And maybe throw in his humour too. Then I would say I have my favourite character! Love this show!!

      • TG

        I agree with Hanne the fact is Sookie and Eric have the same lust for life for lack of a better word since Vampires are are undead. In the books Bill realizes that and envies it a little. Alan Ball might go there in the series but in the books Bill and Godric not alike at all.

      • a cake

        aaaand, we’re talking about the show, not the books: two very different things. One area where I expect we’ll disagree is I think the show’s characterisations of pretty much everyone are far more complex than what the books managed to achieve, simply because our perceptions and knowledge of the characters are not limited to just what Sookie experiences.

  • Karen

    I really doubt that. ‘Cause as I saw, Bill surely didn’t have any compassion for Godric, he said Godric wasn’t their concern. And Sookie has to explain to him that he should be moved by Godric.
    But it’s Sookie who sees Bill as a saint so I’m not buying her word.
    If Godic is who Bill sees himself as, which apparently not, it’s hilarious that Bill doesn’t give a shit.
    I just can’t stand anyone compared Bill to Godric.

    • wiwa

      Saying they’re kindred spirits doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same. Anyway, there was nothing said by Stan or Isabel to show that Godric has been sharing this teaching with them prior to offering himself to the FOS, or they wouldn’t have been so in the dark about where he was. Godric was still evolving himself. Godric clearly saw himself still as flawed, not as a perfect role model. And Godric has 1800+ years on Bill and is the most powerful vamp on the show. As we’ve been reminded since season 1, episode 3, Bill is low on the ladder of respect and power in the vampire world. In the few minutes leading up to the scene you’re complaining about, he had just seen that rubbed in his face again, watching Sookie repeatedly eye Eric throughout the meeting. He was going through his own crisis realizing that he’s probably losing her, and yet, when she came to Bill he did listen to her and afterward agree that she was right, even praising her for it. And he was willing to face pain to go up to the roof with her. Bill had started on his own path of realization before meeting Godric or Sookie. As the article points out, he has made or was willing to make his own sacrifices to do less harm or protect humans. He isn’t a saint and wouldn’t call himself one. He admits his faults to Sookie all the time. There may be more revelations about Bill to come, but it is often shown through the series that True Blood Bill is not the same as book Bill.

      • Nia

        Wonderful wiwa, couldn’t have worded it better myself.
        So many want to see only the monster in Bill. He is not even that way in the books, which I read in the beginning of the first season. Of course Bill is not a saint, he is a vampire but he has more heart than the rest of them combined. He hesitated and tried to talk Sookie out of going to Godric because of all the feelings he was dealing with at the time. If he was truly a monster he would have kept her from going, instead he agreed with her, his love for her helped him understand, and he let her go. If that isn’t close to sainthood in any man, I don’t know what is.

  • Ciridian

    I enjoyed the article and take exception to only the very last line; we don’t actually know how long ago Godric’s humanity was reawakened in him. My inclination would be that he’s probably felt this way for quite some time. Vampires have centuries to ponder their existence and I doubt they would make decisions such as this overnight.

  • Lou

    Great article! I was struck by the similarities between Godric and Bill and had hoped they’d share a scene or two. They aren’t exactly the same, of course, but I’d love to see Bill develop into a Godric-like figure at some point, wielding influence and bridging the vamp/human divide. He’s the one on the show most poised to take that step, IMO.