I recently got reminded I have yet to finish reading all of the books in the Sookie Stackhouse series so, naturally, I started reading from book one, all over again. Because it’s such a long series, and mind you the last book isn’t even out yet, it was kind of necessary rereading just to keep up with characters and certain plot twists I might have otherwise forgotten.
I’m a fan of the tv show, True Blood, aswell. After reading the first 4 books in the series, I got to thinking about the differences between the two.
The four seasons out so far ( look out, season 5, incominggg!) are loosely based on those 4 books. I’ll only compare these books to the seasons.
Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD! for all of you who are not up to date with either the show or the books.
First of all, Sookie. She’s pretty much the same in the book as she’s portrayed by the lovely Anna Paquin on the show. However, except for the chain incident with the Rattrays, she doesn’t manifest any other fairy abilities in the first 4 books. Actually she has no powers in any of the books and there’s only one book left, she’s probably not going to develop some kind of shooting-sparkly-orbs-with-her-hands ability now. Also, by the end of book 4, she doesn’t know what she is, apart from being a telepath. The fae part of her isn’t revealed then and contrary to what the show says, her telepathy doesn’t come from the fact that she’s fae.
In close relationship with Sookie, we have Claudine. The show has her telling Sookie she’s her cousin almost right off the bat, telling her about the fae, talking her to their faeland whatever, running from vampires and eventually getting killed by Eric. Wrong, wrong and wrong. Everyone knows who and what she is in the books and she eventually tells Sookie they’re cousins, later in the series though. She does die, but not at the hands of a vampire, much less Eric.
Next we’ve got Bill. He’s even more sullen in the books than he is in the series and really so much more unlikable. An important part of his character’s plot in the books is the vampire database he’s working on for the Queen, something they completely left outside of the tv show. Also, there’s no mention of him telling Sookie he’s working/has worked for the Queen investigating her, like there’s on the show. Sookie does find about that and indeed it’s because of Eric, but not in those 4 books.
What Alan Ball has done with Bill’s character, with all of them actually, is make them more human, inasmuch as a vampire can be human. All of the characters are likeable and loveable in the tv show, even Eric who’s supposed to be a cold, cruel killer. Whereas the novel..mm..you don’t really get the feeling that Bill truly loves Sookie, not for several books and Sookie..she’s mostly horny, not in love. Yeh.
Eric, again, is the same. Gorgeous, smart, powerful and a master manipulator. He does have that affair with Sookie and he eventually remembers, though we’ve already established Sook’s got no fairy powers in the books so it’s not by orb lightning that he does.
Having read the books and knowing they were going to make a series after it, I was SO expecting to be disappointed by their choice of actors for Eric but man, was I wrong. Alexander Skarsgard is just as/even more smoldering hot as Eric is in the books. There is a God. ( clearly, I’m not a fan..ha!)
Oh and Godric? Remember season 2, the mission to save Godric ( Eric’s maker) and the maenad being the Big Bad? Yeah..nope. Godric is not Eric’s maker in the books and the rescue mission has nothing to do with him. Godric’s character is indeed at The Fellowship of the Sun, but of his own free will (vamp suicide). Also the maenad has a small role in the second book, she doesn’t enthrall the whole town and cause mayhem and she doesn’t die in the end, just leaves.
Ryan Kwanten did a terrific job of bringing Jason’s character to life, exactly as I’ve come to love him in the books. He’s silly, but sweet and a good brother. There’s no mentioning of him joining the Fellowship of the Sun and he DOES get turned into a werepanther, in the books, although the show explains he can’t get turned from bites.
Tara..hmm..she barely gets mentioned in the first 4 books. Maybe a line about her in the first one, a couple more in the second and she gets to have a proper dialogue with Sookie in the third. If your read past the 4th book, yeah she really is Sookie’s friend, but they’re nowhere near as close as they are in the show. In the books she’s engaged to Eggs, she dates Franklin Mott for a while (doesn’t get kidnapped/raped/etc) and she has absolutely nothing to do with the witches in the 4th book/season.
Lafayette, probably one of my favorite characters in the story, is awesomeee! He has a couple of lines in the first book and then promptly dies in the beginning of the second. So glad Ball decided to keep Lafayette around in the show, he’s so much fun! The argument scene in the diner, in the first season is EPIC!. Here, enjoy!
Huge changes have been made to story arcs or plots. Like the aforementioned maenad plot, Sookie’s purpose in Dallas or Bill’s kidnapping. Eric doesn’t kill Talbot in the books and Russel doesn’t start a friggin’ war because of it.
Now..if you’re a die-hard fan of the books, you might not like the show as it changes so much; Allan Ball really does give a new meaning to the word “loosely”.
But if you can see both the books and the show for what they are and understand that some changes were required (some being the genius of Ball at work) then you can enjoy both. I do.
Allan Ball is brilliant, I’ve been a fan of his work since I watched Six Feet Under on HBO. One of the things that he does really well is steering the show in a manner that makes it be more than a stereotypical tv show about a love triangle. For me, anyway.
So there you have it. Long post, yes, I know. If you’ve managed to stick with me so far, then all I can say is: whether you choose to read the books or watch the show or both, enjoy!