Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's Your "True" Happily Ever After?

I finally got around to reading Deadlocked, book 12 in Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse series. With the final book in the series, Dead Ever After, coming out in May, I figured the timing was about right. That and my number finally came up at the library.

I will admit that I had a lot more fun with the earlier books than these later, darker ones. I've also only seen the first 2 seasons of True Blood - the TV show veered way off the books after that and I just lost interest.

If you haven't read any of the Sookie books and you want to without any spoilers (to which I wish you good luck with keeping surprises 12 books in), then you'll want to stop here and come back after you've caught up.

The series has followed Sookie Stackhouse, telepathic waitress from Bon Temps, Loisiana. We've met her family and friends, she's found love in the arms of a couple of vamps and a shifter, she's tangled with murderers of the human and supernatural variety, and found out the truth about her family history. She's been beaten, kidnapped, tortured and almost killed so many times. She's also had to get her hands dirty, something that is coming easier and easier to her.

Now that the end is nigh, many fans are obsessed with the question of who will be Sookie's Happily Ever After (HEA). After the jump, I'll throw in my two cents.

Note: spoilers for Sookie and Harper Connelly books.

 I'm going to start by touching on each of Sookie's love interests.

Bill - Vampire William Compton was Sookie's first love. As a telepath, Sookie found it damn near impossible to date her fellow humans. Kind of hard to be on a date with someone when you instantly know their true feelings about you, the waitress, the girl in the next booth, and so on. With Bill she found blessed silence. Of course, not knowing what was going on in his head brought about its own danger, and we learned quite a few things about Bill's initial motives. He claims to still love her, and I believe him, but I don't see Sookie fully trusting him again. So, no. Don't think he is her HEA.

Alcide - With Alcide, a werewolf, Sookie could still have a family and be with someone with relatively the same average lifespan (although given the dangerous world they live in, maybe not). The timing never quite worked out for them, though. I think that a lot of the fans who are pro-Alcide are thinking of Joe Manganiello from the TV show.

I can see that. However, the Alcide in the books turns into a ginormous douchenozzle, so no to him too.

Quinn - A weretiger, Quinn was the first love who didn't seem to have an ulterior motives. He does have family obligations that get in between them in a big, dangerous way (because Sookie can't seem to cross the street without someone wanting to kill her). When she broke up with Quinn, she said she wanted someone who would put her first. Quinn never really stood a chance, I'm afraid, and the odds are not in his favor.

Eric - However, then she got involved with Eric, a very powerful vampire who can't put her first, either. He owns a bar, is the vampire Sheriff for the area, and is always involved in some kind of power grab. They have a blood bond, for awhile, and are "married" by vampire standards. However, Sookie was tricked into it and she is never quite 100% on board. The bond was recently broken, and a very powerful vampire queen is sniffing around Eric. In Deadlocked, they seem to be testing each others love, and I think both fail. Ms. Harris has mentioned that Eric is not Sookie's HEA, although authors can be wily about their hints. Still, I get the feeling that their romance is doomed.

Book 4, Dead to the World, where Eric lost his memory, that was their happily for now. It will never get better than that, and Eric can't be the way he was. Yes, Eric is hot, sexy, and Sookie has enjoyed herself. I also think that somewhere in him, he does love her. At heart, though, Sookie is practical. Eric is not practical.

Sam - Sam started as Sookie's boss and friend. He is a shapeshifter and has more or less been there for Sookie throughout the series. They have a lot in common, and although they do not share a passionate attraction, I could see Harris ending with the two of them together.

I know, I know, Eric and Bill fans, your screams are not falling on deaf ears. However, at the end of it all, I can see Sookie wanting someone who she could trust. Sam she can depend on (unless we find out something horrible about him in the last book). Let's take a look at Tara and JB. They got married not because they were head over heels in love, but because Tara had been dicked around so much she latched onto a guy who she could more or less depend on not to hurt her, and who she thought she could live with. Sure, they say they love each other now, and they are attracted to each other, but it seems a relationship that was built first on caring and friendship and fear of being alone. Now, I don't find their relationship ideal, but I think Sookie is on board with the reasoning.

I can see practical Sookie getting so fed up with the vamps and everything else, she decides to try building a relationship with a friend.

But fuck it. I don't really want her to end up with any of those guys. If it were up to me, Sookie would be starting things with Manfred by the end of book 13.

Manfred? There's no Manfred in the Sookie series. You are correct - Manfred was a major supporting character in Harris' Harper Connelly series. He almost got the girl in that one, and I really liked him. He is a psychic, so he knows what Sookie has gone through. He does seek the limelight more than Sookie would be comfortable with, but I'm not saying she has to have his babies, maybe they can just meet for coffee.

But he's in a different series, you might say, this is all crazy talk!

But wait, there is precedent. Lily & Jack from Harris' Shakespeare series had cameos in 2 books. So a little crossover love is not completely out of the question. And to the other shippers, I think you might just come to love Manfred, if you gave him a chance.

All fun aside, though, I don't think that Sookie has to be with anyone to have her HEA. While reading Deadlocked, I was struck with how the happiest moments in Sookie's life were when she was doing things on her own. Living a more or less normal life of work, family and friends. It's been that way for a few books now. I wouldn't be surprised if in the end, Sookie just stands tall by herself.

That will be happy enough for me.

Are you a fan of the Sookie series? What are your predictions?
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