An interesting rivalry of sorts has come up over this season of True Blood.
There’s Bill, our Teddy Bear With Fangs and Eric, the Big Bad Vampire. If you frequent any True Blood fansite, message board or Livejournal community, you’ll know how much the fans love Eric. People are crazy over Eric. (I’ll admit I’m one of them, to the chagrin of my fellow bloggers.)
The show itself sets up Bill and Eric this way; light versus dark, living among humans versus accepting everything about being a vampire. If you really want, you could use Bill’s youth and Eric’s old age to compare and contrast how each vampire approaches life with humans — whether trying to be one of them, trying to be above them, working with and/or using them. Even their relationships with their makers are completely opposite experiences to watch. But that’s an article for another day.
What I’ve seen lately as a relative newcomer to True Blood is a sudden and bizarre backlash against Bill by many of the fans who love Eric. Are the comparisons to Twilight real? Is this Edward versus Jacob for adults?
Or are the forays into Bill’s past doing the opposite and making fans dislike him more because the writing absolves Bill of any wrongdoing? People aren’t stupid. As popular as vampires have become in the past couple of years, True Blood has never shied away from reminding us that they are stone cold killers. They are predators. Eric ripped a man apart with his bare hands. Why whitewash Bill to such an extent, yet keep Eric the predator he is? And why do we love Eric even more for it?
So, what gives?
Yeah, sort of anti-climactic, I know. But it’s true.
I started watching True Blood because of Alexander, and as such I was inclined to like Eric somewhat when I started. I was surprised and pleased to find that his character began to be filled in when I started with season two, and I think that’s gone a long way toward the surge of fan love. I could go on about how great he is at giving Eric depth before he got to more to act with, but then I’d just start babbling away and nobody wants that.
The thing is, when you have someone like Alexander Skarsgard who, let’s face it, is an ungodly pretty person, there are always going to be fans who will side with his character, no matter what. Even at the expense of backhanding Bill while they do it. The books set up Bill versus Eric with Sookie in the middle, the show is slowly moving in that direction, and of course the fans are following.
It may have worked in the books, but from what I’m seeing at ground zero? Well, let’s just say I’ll be sitting back with the popcorn, waiting for fandom to implode.
(Who is content in the knowledge that if she some day cracks and begins babbling about Eric Northman kicking Bill Compton’s ass, she’s got a whole gaggle of fellow PCR bloggers to e-smack her and ask if she’s gone mad. True Blood airs Sunday nights at 9pm on HBO.)