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.

  • Antonio

    I think a bigger question may be Can True Blood’s Werewolves love? Especially This season we may find out!

  • Lotta

    True Blood just begun on Swedish TV and for me it´s all about Bill. For us adult women he is outstanding. Have all the books and the first 5 are read but I don´t like the upcoming scenario with Bill and Sookie´s fading love story. I kind of see Stephen Moyer in front of me when I read…maybe it´s wrong to see the Tv series first and then read the books.

  • Karen Jennings

    Yes indeed there is True Blood Vampires in love Bill for one Yes, Jessica, and Eric he just don’t know it yet. And why wouldn’t they? Sookie is great.

    • charlotte Pundsack

      Well Bill and Sookie has the natural sexually chemistry that couldn’t be replaced with another character. The love scenes with Bill and Sookie make the show. I think that Eric will find his true love that he has felt for years if the queen of all vampires that has been in exile for protect comes out. And he discovers all the truths that he hasn’t know for hundreds and thousands of years. Eric is a wonderful character and with him being one of the oldest he deserves a love like Bill and Sookie have. Except the difference in the two couples are the queen of all vampires and Eric together are very powerful vampires due to how old they are. And if drawn back together by lust could be shocking to all as to how two vampires are sexually, when there have been thousands of years of separation and the longing to be with one another. But when the truth comes out about the child they share, which because of her mother a princess vampire, how will this effect Eric toward the queen.

      • Lupilu

        Charlotte Pundsack, will you drop the queen of vampires rubbish, I get that you’ve fantasized about this, with Alexander Skarsgard it’s hard not to fantasize, especially when you’ve read dead to the world. from page 133 to page 139, the best part of all these books. Can’t wait for dead in the family!. but I keep my fantasies to myself, the books are written, and while I get that the producer may want to take a different tack, I personally am voting for Eric. I don’t mean to be rude, so please don’t take this to heart, but expressing the desire once was errrm… interesting, but three times is slightly obsessive.

  • antonio

    I think what sets Bill Compton apart from ALL other vampires is that hes Not entirely selfish. He’s brooding and controlling and willfill and can be quite vicious. His love for Sookie makes him want to be a better “man”. He is also struggling with self loathing and despises what hes become….He wants to reconnect and hold onto whatsa left of his humanity. When he turned Jessica he asked her to forgive him…not usually a qulity 1 would hope to find in a bloodsucking monster! His love for Sookie grows and makes him want to more than what he is.
    Of course in Sookie’s sex dream with Eric she says “You seem to have love in you” He says “Only for Sookie”
    I think she has a good effect on the men like that. Bill adores her….Eric desires her ….Sam still feels something for her
    I guess she brings the best out in these guys.

  • Humans were once wild animals??! H-m-m-m…Got nothin??

    • antonio

      This Is a question and a darn good 1. I would say Yes.
      BC has shown love for SS a number of times. In season 2 when she finds out that he had something to do with her uncle’s death she is about to walk out and he stops her. At first he seems controlling and willful “Ah cannot loose you” (southern accent included) Then he makes a sincere attempt to win back her trust
      By expressing his deep love for her and what shes meant to him.
      She will help him to reconnect with his humanity…if theres any left I think there is! He sees in her the chance to be happy and in love..Hes still a vicious,brooding vampire But he believes he has a chance with her. “Sookie, Ah luv ya!”
      Plus he can get such a wounded hurt look in his eyes when he feels that Sookie is mad at him or distrusts him or may be rejecting him. When Sookie was upset “Say something,Bill..Please!” The emotion was So raw it almost brought me to tears! I think he CAN love and he Does feel something real and intense for her.
      Eric on the other hand, Who knows?? He acts indifferent hes cold,aloof emotionally absent Great qualities for a soul mate huh ladies??? LOL Yet he lost it when his maker godric chose to destroy himself he wept and Sookie tryed to comfort him by tellign him she would stay with him. A generous act of compassion on her part. My answer is YES THESE vamppires ARE capable of Love Even Eric Sookie,WE luv ya! We luv u too Billy!

      • charlotte Pundsack

        I agree all creatures are capable of love. Just because one is dead, as a vampire would be, doesn’t mean you can’t love no more. Obviously, vampires do feel some sort of feeling, from the scene with Bill and Sookie, to the scene with Eric and Sookie, after Godric died.
        People think that the attraction between a vampire and human would only be lustful. But even in humanity there’s lust between humans.
        Eric could possibly be emotionally absent, due to a loss in love. Possibly the queen of all vampires, that happens to be related to Sookie. The queen, Godrics sister, which he had a relationship and all of a sudden the queen hurled into exile, with no goodbye to Eric. Eric could sense the family ties between Sookie and the queen, via smell, look in her eyes, possibly even the powers she has, and the ones that are starting to develop more as time passes. Maybe, when he is around her it brings back feeling from the pass.

  • Virginia

    Of course vampires are capable of love. They were capable of it when they were humans so they are capable of it as vampires. Humans were once wild animals but have evolved since then to become the civilized and intelligent beings we are now. However, every now and then our animal-like traits come back to surface. It can be that way for vampires too.

  • julie

    The one thing I have picked up on is in my humble opinion Vampires are in no way emotionless. Of course Eric feels love, he just doesn’t understand it, his tears at the fact he was losing a person connected to him are an emotion of love. Bill’s jealousy of Eric and Sookie an emotion. Jessica’s tears and anger (fangs popping out at Hoyte’s mother and her fleeing when Maxine said she couldn’t give Hoyte babies). I think the list goes on but as for humanity I would say Godric displayed the most humanity not only by his words but actions.

  • Seriously??! A real(If there was?)vampire…Uh..I don’t think so..CAUSE, they are DEAD!! Oh yeah, the question was “True Blood Vampires!!” Well, YEAH!!! They totally can!!!!!!!! Sookie, should hook-up with Eric…might scare some sense into her!!? (Vampire!! maybe she get’s it this season??!)So, that leaves cutie, hot Bill to get and fall, for some other lucky women..Good times!!!

  • HellzBellz

    Nope FangsR4Ever… Eric cant just move along. LOL. This is truly a delemma. I believe both vampires are capable of love. I just happen to find the quest with Eric much more entertaining and amazing. Many want to see Sookie tame Eric, the rogue with hopefully a hidden heart and bring him back his humanity after 1,000 years. I believe he is capable and deserves love. That would be a wonderful story.

    Too bad there aren’t two Sookies.

    • charlotte Pundsack

      I agree with you. Eric deserves love. And how does anyone know that he hasn’t ever felt it before. Possibly with a new character, a new queen of all vampires. A queen he once has a relationship with. Godric’s sister. Could she tame the player as one may call it in Eric. They loved, until she had to go into exile due the child she conceived with Eric. The ulitmate humanity shock to Eric.

      • charlotte Pundsack

        As for there being two Sookies. The queen of all vampires is related to Sookie. Which could be why Eric is attracted to Sookie. In many scenes he has made a remark about her scent,maybe it brings back memories of love lost. And could confuse him as to how Sookie,seems so similar to an old love.

  • FangsR4Ever

    I love the Bill and Sookie romance. Can’t Eric just move along!!!!

  • amyinla

    I think Eric’s feelings for Godric go beyond loyalty and respect…the level of Eric’s anguish in Godric’s leaving was that for a parent, child, sibling, and perhaps more. Eric may be a player with women, but he’s also someone who has sustained a 1000 year old relationship with Godric that was very meaningful. I have no doubt Eric would have perished with Godric, if he had let him.

  • Elizabeth

    I would like to know what Alan Ball has planned for Bill. He is being forgotten, I feel. No smart, AB.

    • Shayne

      Elizabeth, I don’t think you need to worry too much about Bill being forgotten. When Alan Ball originally read Dead Until Dark he said it was Bill who caught his interest. He’s also said, although I can’t remember where I saw it, that if Six Feet Under was about death, then True Blood is about second chances. And it’s extremely clear, judging by the vast number of ways that True Blood Bill is better (more honorable, more loving, more compassionate, and unless I miss my guess, way more honest) than Dead Until Dark Bill, that the biggest second chance on the show belongs to Bill. And since that was one of the ideas that drove him to want to make the show in the first place, I can’t see him letting Bill fade too far into the background any time soon.

      Also, he may not be the most prominent character right now, but he showed some major growth in episode 2.9, especially when he showed mercy to that LODI kid instead of draining him.

  • Ashley

    I’d like to comment on how the author seems to take for granted that being a so-called “player” precludes deep human emotions. True, what the show has portrayed of Eric so far seems to indicate that his knowledge of deep love are limited at best and perhaps non-existant. But what a person “is” and what a person “does” are two separate things. Simply because a person has had many relationships does not mean that he or she has not loved just as deeply and just as fiercely as one who has had fewer. There could be many reasons for such a pattern of relationships, including perhaps past heartbreak or a certain self-image.

    Having said that, let’s consider that in certain periods of history, men’s attitudes towards women made it possible for them to be a kind of “player” even while they had families at home. Do we know whether Eric had a family? HBO has not established such, as far as I know (yes, I am a reader of the books). Though I am in NO way condoning such a treatment of women (as I am one myself), it is possible that Eric did indeed have a family and loved them deeply, but philandered as a war hero because it’s what his culture permitted and perhaps even encouraged or required to establish such a masculine identity.

    My final point has to do solely with last Sunday’s episode. The author quotes Eric’s feelings towards Godric as “respect” and “loyalty,” but I personally saw love in his tears of blood. Whether this sort of love can be transferred to a human, in Eric’s mind, is still a mystery. But in watching the show, I believe that HBO is setting up Eric’s character to reveal a deeper nature than his hardened, Viking-warrior surface shows. As watchers of TV and film, readers of fiction, and even just consumers of stories, we want to watch a character grow. Even in so-called “lighter” fare, like romantic, stoner, or other slapstick-type comedies, a satisfying end requires character growth. I think HBO knows that and I think they’ll give it to us. Whether you think that Eric’s character in Sookie’s dream is just a projection of what she’d like to see in Eric or an actual peek through the hard-as-nails exterior, I believe HBO is setting up a more complex, more humane Eric. Personally, I’d find it more satisfying for Sookie to end up having to choose between the two sexiest vampires in pop culture not just because of trickery, but because she sees two very complex beings genuinely worth her love. But that’s just me.

  • L Clisto

    Book 2 Living Dead in dallas – chapter 4 page 171. I believe is where it is implied they are Roman…
    But, Where his tattoos are from is not what this article is about..I believe the article is about humanity….

    • Lisa

      Well, if you wanna put it that way, I guess I could say that to understand someone’s take on humanity, someone’s opinion whatever the subject, I’d first like a better understanding of who they are. Cultural heritage defines people. Godric’s tattoos are not just a question of aesthetics, but a very visible tale of where he comes from and who he is.

  • Val

    I will miss Godric werever he came from! He was interesting and ethereal and when he was turning Eric quite exciting!He will be missed.

  • Red Bone

    In the case of Eric, I think it might just be that he sees human love as a kind of worship and something amusing. There’s something fierce about the way humans love that is very much based on their own mortality while a vampire has an eternity to even decide if he or she is fond of you. All in all I think he finds it highly stimulating and amusing outside of the quick wins with regards to sex.

  • Lisa

    So, Godric has Roman tattoos? Gotta say, my opinion is something like No Way In H*ll. First of all, the Roman (Latin) word for tattoo? Is “stigma”. We still use that word today. That’s what it was back then. They did not have a tattoo culture in Ancient Rome. You would tattoo a slave so they couldn’t run away (facial tattoos, saying “Stop me, I’m a runaway” or “Tax Paid”).
    Imho, Godric’s tattoos in no way resemble slave markings. They do, on the other hand, resemble protective symbols used by the pre-England settling Saxon Germanic people. Um, oh, coincidence; Godric is an old Saxon name!

    So, let’s see. A guy who looks very very Scandinavian has been cast playing a character with a Saxon name, heavily tattooed (indicating a heritage which celebrated such markings), tattoos strongly resembling symbols with meanings like protection and victory in battle, he has a name popular with Saxon tribes up until the Normandic take-over at least, the first geographic place we know him to be in is in old Norse country, he chooses to make a Norse man his companion.
    Clearly, he’s a Roman. Yep.

    • Thoma Hamgra

      I am not any kind of an expert in roman, anglo saxon, or scandinavian history or theology, however, I think the profile errors or characteristics belong to Charlaine Harris and HBO Executives. HBO and Charlaine Harris put togather Godric’s profile, appearance and characteristics and right or wrong have listed them as Roman era tattoos.

      • Lisa

        Gotcha. That is so weird, though. Nothing of that adds up.

        I think I’ll just file that as character outgrowing its makers, then, haha! Those tattoos are not sloppily done, nor would it take a short time to create them. They shoulda drawn them uglier if they wanted me to believe they came from a culture where they were used as punishment. 😛

        Just For Fun. Compare design of Norse people:
        with Roman:

        I guess he could be 600 years older than he claims and thus Etruscan? Tattoos vaguely resemble Etruscan runes. There’s no evidence the Etruscans had a tattoo culture, though, rather the opposite. That whole area had a long history of despising tattoos as something barbaric.
        Hadrian’s soldiers are said to have had tattoos. On like, their hands. Which they received after proving themselves in the service, like when turning officers and stuff. Most historians seem to favour theories of designs like eagles and such, and yeah, the Romans didn’t seem to go all that much for stylistic designs, really.

        Just tell me to shut up. I could go on forever.
        I sure would love to get my hands on some early brain storm sessions on the character Godric from the source. 🙂

      • Wandergirl

        Why do you think that Charlaine or HBO have said that Godric is Roman? In the books, Rome or Roman tattoos are never mentioned. It’s just stated that tattoos are blue and Sookie describes them as strange and probably having lost meaning. It’s never clear where Godric came from, and he’s a very different character. For starters, he’s not Eric’s maker. And after searching HBO’s website, I can’t find a profile for Godric indicating he’s Roman or that the tattoos are Roman.

        • Lisa

          Mmmm, that means my dreamed up theories are yet to be proven wrong! Hah. *rubs hands* And also, if someone mentioned “Roman era” somewhere? I can work with that. It’s just an era, indicating that part of history where the Roman empire was in action. No geography.

          Sookie thinking they’ve lost meaning. I love it. I bet if she asked Godric, he’d know. 🙂