Sophie-Anne LeClerq – Vampire Philosopher Queen

February 22, 2010 by  

True Blood is one of the few TV shows worth repeated viewings, which is a testament to the quality of the production from conception to realization. Alan Ball may claim that True Blood is popcorn television, but there’s real meat (or is that blood) in there as well.

The True Blood Season 2 episode Frenzy, written by Alan Ball, attracted a fair amount of criticism after its first airing in the US. Critics described the episode as being too wordy; filled with exposition at the expense of action and plot development.

The scenes with the vampire Queen of Louisiana, Sophie-Anne LeClerq, were those that attracted the greatest amount of negative criticism, much of it aimed at Evan Rachel Wood whose responsibility it was to bring the wordy Queen to life.

So who is Sophie-Anne LeClerq and why is she so wordy? Does she spout philosophical wisdom or base sophistry?

Sophie-Anne is an immortal being, who in Alan Ball’s words: “very powerful, capricious, and most likely insane.” She has been a vampire for several hundred years, but was turned in her teens. She has accumulated the knowledge of several lifetimes, but interprets it all with the mind of a teenager.

We first meet Sophie-Anne in her Day House. Inside it is a luxurious confection of light, water, and desirable things (objects, humans, and vampires). Outside, dioramas of sand and sea block out the real world. It is opulent, perfect, unreal, and terribly sterile.

Queen Sophie-Anne LeClerq explains to a somewhat nonplussed Vampire Bill that everything in existence imagined itself into being. She also takes the philosophical position that there is no such thing as “good” (and by extension “evil”) or “time”. She forces her companions to play endless games of Yahtzee, which she extols as the “most egalitarian game in the world” as it is based purely on the chance roll of dice and requires no skill.

She is her own creation. She is what she imagines herself to be. The philosopher René Descartes famously posited “I think therefore I am” and Sophie-Anne appears to think she is one of Plato’s imaginary Philosopher Kings (or, in her case, Queen) and, therefore, she is.

In understanding Sophie-Anne you might remember the scene in the movie A Fish Called Wanda, where Otto (don’t call me stupid) West asserts that, that “Apes don’t read philosophy” and Wanda shouts back at him “Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it.”

Now I’m not calling Sophie-Anne stupid (I wouldn’t dare), but she is a cautionary tale of knowledge without wisdom, power without limits, behavior without boundaries, life without death. She is the polar opposite of Sookie, who is wise but not learned, powerful (in her own special way) but ethical, strong but kind, and bounded by her mortality.

Source: Quote from Otto and Wanda taken from the film A Fish Called Wanda (1988) – MGM

(Photo credit: HBO Inc., screencaps by James)