Can True Blood’s Vampires Love?

August 17, 2009 by  

HBO Producer Alan Ball has taken the ageless question of love flourishing between different ethnicities or cultures to a wider stance as he closes the second season on his award winning series “True Blood.” Each week millions of fans explore love and humanity trying to flourish between species or, to be more exact, between humans and the un-dead. After her first close encounter with a vampire, Tara Thonton, played by Rutina Wesley, looks thoughtfully out a window and asks,“ Do you think they are capable of loving a person?” bill1

Alan Ball has challenged fans with what may be the central core of the show, an important dilemma in the search for our souls. How much morality and humanity is needed for love to flourish?  Must some seed of morality and humanity be planted or can one will themself to evolve into new dimensions? The AVL (American Vampire League) advertises, “Vampires were people too.” A handsome and remorseful Bill Compton insists, “I am not human” yet professes his undying love for Sookie Stackhouse. Conflicting messages given throughout HBO’s “True Blood” leave me wondering, “Are vampires susceptible to and capable of human emotions? Can their morality evolve toward the humane? Or, like their physical appearance are they doomed to the limits of their emotions as they were when turned?

True Blood’s three sexiest and intriguing male vampires, Bill Compton, Eric Northman, and Area 9 Sheriff, Godric (Godfrey), give us mixed views.

Bill Compton, dark and brooding, played by Stephen Moyer was turned a hundred and forty years ago. He is merely a teenager in the immortal life span of a vampire. In Bill’s thirty human years, he was an honorable family man. His high moral character, religious beliefs, and patriotic duty led him to a military position. Having survived the horrors of the civil war, his family reunion is tragically destroyed by Lorena, an old vampire who is immediately drawn to Bill’s morality and sensitivity. Lorena, although intrigued by Bill’s humanity, leads him into decades of death and destruction by feeding off the lives of humans. It may have taken years for Bill’s remorse to will out his blood thirst, but ultimately, his suppressed morality wins and he becomes the repentant and loving creature that has captured not only the heart of True Blood’s favorite waitress and telepath, but millions of fans throughout the world.

Our sexy controlling vamp, Eric Northman is played by the long, lean 6’4” Swedish import, Alexander Skarsgard. Eric, a former viking, was born in 1047. Most Vikings of that era did not live past 40 years old, thus it was common for men before they were  20 years old to marry brides as young as 12.  If we are to apply the common life of Vikings in the 11th century, we can assume Eric chose the life of a soldier and left his family at a young age. Given that vikings were well known as sailors, he would have traveled to many parts of the world. Our speculation is strengthened by the scene of Eric being turned in 1077 at the age of 31. Fresh from a viscous battle, fellow soldiers try to comfort a gravely wounded Eric, who makes the comment “wherever I am, there will always be women.” Now, we have the vision of a sailor with a girl in every port. Our conclusion is drawn that Eric was what we would refer to in today’s world as a “player” Not to suggest that he was of low moral character, but more to the idea that, although Eric had many women and sexual encounters, there was never love.  With a thousand year afterlife under his belt, Eric dresses, talks, and has the strut that he is undeniably a “player” with no outward display of regret.

Danish heartthrob, Allan Hyde plays Godric, sheriff of Area 9, and the newest vampire on the scene.  Having been turned early in his human life, he still has the look of a teenager. Godric, however, is well over two thousand years old. He is the oldest vampire in North America. With an afterlife so lengthy, he implies that the thirty three years of Jesus’ life is a mere moment to him. True Blood’s creator has left much of Godric’s past open to speculation. We can infer by his Ancient Roman tattoos, he may have been a gladiator or soldier. Both of which would have started training as early as 14 years old. Strong in his conviction, absolute in his authority, Godric fans have little problem with this conclusion.

Our first image of Godric is at the turning of Eric Northman. Unlike Lorena’s savage and unwilling turning of BillEric’s turning is kinder, with a promise of love, companionship, and family. After brutally killing Eric’s companions, Godric gives a near death Eric, the choice of an afterlife.  Godric must surely have fulfilled his promises, seeing the respect and loyalty Eric, after a thousand years, still shows for his maker. We know of only one instance, but being vampire and having survived over two thousand years, we can only assume Godric has had many moments of savagery and taken his share of lives.

We find Godric as a willing hostage to the Fellowship of the Sun Church. He is fully aware that he is to “meet the sun” and his ultimate destruction. Why is he so willing to end it all? Is it that he has evolved into humanity, or was the morality always inside him, thus gradually making him remorseful for the lives he has taken? At what point did the remorse begin? How many, decades as with Bill, or centuries did it take for Godric’s evolution to humanity? Having freed the human traitor, Hugo, and showing respect for his lieutenant, Isabel‘s feelings, we clearly see that he not only recognizes, but also understands the concept of love. Actions, which have endeared Godric to his own legions of faithful fans.

Now battle lines have been drawn,  Sookie & Bill vs. Eric. Millions have seen the interest Eric has shown in the telepathic barmaid. Is it just her special abilities Eric wants? Many would argue that there is something there. Bill sees it, and even Eric may admit, there is something…. But what? Eric admits he does not understand the concept of love.  As a player, does Eric see Sookie as just another of his many conquests? Conquering Sookie would certainly put the hierarchy of sheriff planted firmly in Bill’s mind. Is Eric’s toying with Sookie a game, pure entertainment, or is it rooted in an unknown emotion? Eric takes pleasure in teasing Bill‘s “love” for Sookie. Is Eric’s taunting simply to hide the fact that Eric himself has been bitten. A feeling with which he clearly, is not accustomed.

What is behind Eric’s desire for Sookie? Many fans would cheer for Eric to realize he love’s Sookie. But, is it possible? Can a thousand year old vampire who has never understood love, evolve to enough humanity and morality to accept the concept?  Does Eric secretly thirst for the ability to love?  Can he will the evolution of his feelings? Must the seeds have been planted before he was turned? If the latter is the case, Eric’s dalliances with Sookie will be looked upon as pure physical lust and sport, thus, crystallizing his bad boy persona.

Many of Eric’s fans will vote for the evolution of his humanity.  This evolution will, however, bring a new set of problems. Will he know how to act and react with his new found feelings? His 31 human years and thousand year after-life may not provide him with enough emotional experience to carry an adult relationship. Has Eric‘s recent flirtation the resemblance of pulling a little girl’s pigtails so she has to look at you? Is it too late for Eric? He may find that his new feelings will bring him more anguish than happiness.

Do we have enough facts to solve our dilemma? Bill knew love, knew what it was to lose his humanity. He fought very hard to get it back and find love again.  Eric, we can determine, although he may have had some sense of morality, true love most probably had always been a foreign concept to him. We only have hints of Godric’s level of morality before he was turned. We can, however, see that he now has a clear understanding of morality, humanity, and love.

Unfortunately, we have no concrete answers. After all, humanity, morality, and love are the most complex of human issues. Maybe that’s why Vampires prefer the unemotional lifestyle. We will have to wait and see what Alan Ball has in store for Eric and his Fans.