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Friday, September 4, 2009

True Blood

Call it nerdy, but I love dissecting the characters on True Blood and just having hours of endless discussions about it with my sister and whoever else watches the show. Growing up, I was such an avid fan of anime, and stories like Buffy and Angel, but when I heard of True Blood I was afraid to get on the bandwagon fearing it would be like Twilight. I know Twilight fans will try to burn me at the stake for saying this; but the story just feels so immature and contrived to me. But True Blood did not disappoint me one bit. Alan Ball has a way of writing characters that are completely believable. They are seldom one dimensional, and often tread the line between good and evil in ways that we ourselves do every day. This is what makes True Blood so appealing to me; it has that element that Six Feet Under had (still my number one favourite show of all time). Nate and all the other characters were so utterly human in their exploration of death and life, as are Sookie, Bill and Eric in True Blood. Each character has to battle their own demons, as Lettie Mae puts it and find their way in the grey areas of morality, love, life and death. After all, vampires themselves exist in that grey area of life and death.

But the first character I will focus on is my favourite; Bill Compton. I watched True Blood with fresh eyes; I knew nothing about the series or the books, and so viewing Bill as he in the series (I know he is quite different in the books) just made me fall in love with him. Tortured by the cruelty that he is so easily able to inflict on others (as graphically demonstrated by killing uncle Bartlet and in his flashbacks in season two), Bill straddles the lines between control and impulse and love and hatred.

Now, it goes without saying that first season Bill is very different from second season Bill, and I have my theories as to why that is. As I’ve never read the books (but I do know the book spoilers and how Bill is portrayed in the books), I will focus only on the Bill that is presented in the series. I found first season Bill to have many more layers than second season Bill. I think the writers were trying to pit him and Eric against one another in the second season, so they presented Bill as the do-gooder, but it didn’t do him any justice to deny the extremely dark tendencies he had in season one.


For example, Bill had no qualms killing uncle Bartlet, having a mass orgy with his three vampire friends, or killing Long-shadow. I think that beneath all the layers of goodness that he puts up for Sookie in season two, Bill has a very dark side that I hope will present itself in season three again. Unlike Eric, who is not afraid to be what he is, Bill tries to straddle who he is with who he thinks he ought to be. I think that’s what makes Bill accessible though; that even after almost 200 years he still doesn’t have a good grasp on who he actually is.

bill saving sookie

I found it disturbing that he would willingly associate with those three vampires that he knew were willing to inflict evil just to appease his own loneliness. I understand that the line between human and vampire are not easy to walk, but Bill makes choices which are clearly immoral and so far removed from the person he wishes he could be.


There are also those words from Maryanne which haunt the future of Bill and Sookie: “though I dare say there is nothing stopping him from one day leaving you, cold”.

...I will continue Bill's discussion on my next post...


Maha said...

You took my thoughts about Bill right out of my brain and presented them coherently. For that, I'll always envy you! However, I'm finding that season 2's Bill is weirdly paternal towards Sookie - he's always hovering, trying to tell her what to do... Granted he has a 100+ years on her but I'm eagerly awaiting for more Bill/Sookie dynamics evolution in season 3. Oh and Eric is a damn fine bitch :P

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