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Eric Northman Versus Bill Compton
HERE'S WHAT I THINK: Eric Northman Kicks Bill Compton's Vampire Boot-ay
Eric Northman and Bill Compton are the two main love interests for Sookie Stackhouse on the popular TV show, True Blood.
Bill Compton is a vampire with a Southern drawl and can be very charming. He was Sookie's first love and her introduction to the world of vampires. Her telepathic abilities are not able to penetrate the minds of vampires so her relationship with Bill was one that brought peace to her life. But as with any "vampire" romance with the sweet comes the sour. The appearance of vampires in her life has brought much heartache and when she finds out that Bill initially manipulated her into a relationship in order to procure her powers for his Queen, she rightfully questions if their love was ever real.
Eric Northman is the Sheriff of Area 5 where Sookie resides and she meets him through Bill. Their relationship is love/hate from the beginning. Eric is drawn to Sookie and can't explain why. She seems to have awakened in him feelings that he thought were long gone. But unlike Bill, who wants to maintain his humanity, Eric loves to be vampire and he is unapologetic about his predatory lifestyle. Sookie may not like his actions all the time but he is loyal to her and upfront with her when everyone else seems to lie to her and hide things from her, for her own good.
Who is the better man (or vampire rather) for Sookie? In my mind the answer is clear... Eric Northman the Viking vampire, kicks Bill Compton to the curb. On this lens I will outline why...
Photo Source: HBO
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The Case for Bill Compton
As stated above Bill is a Southern gentleman vampire. He does not want to lose his humanity and he wants a normal life in which none are hurt. Despite the fact that his relationship with Sookie was in fact manipulated by him to get control over her, he was very much surprised to find that he did fall in love with her. When it came time to hand her over to his Queen as he originally intended he could not do it and challenged the Queen to a death match instead.
Bill had a very twisted maker and for years went along with her murderous ways but he did not like what he became and tried to change. When he fell in love with Sookie he did his best to maintain a normal life with her. When they weren't being pursued by a serial killer, an enemy vampire, or a pack of werewolves, they seemed genuinely happy. Bill risked his life on a couple occasions to protect Sookie or save her life and that does indeed show that what he feels for her is love.
The Case AGAINST Bill Compton
Although I think Bill loves Sookie and that she loves him, I could write a novel about why he doesn't deserve her. One might be able to gloss over the fact that their relationship was planned by Bill from the beginning but we cannot overlook the fact that it was manipulated without her knowledge and free will. On the night they met Sookie saved his life after he was attacked by drainers who sell vampire blood. He tried to get her to drink the blood but she refused. The next evening she was attacked by the drainers and nearly killed. Bill was watching from the shadows and allowed it to happen so that she would be forced to drink his blood or die. She thought his blood would only heal her but as we learned later it can make a person feel a sexual attraction to the vampire whose blood they drank. Their subsequent relationship was born of a blood bond that she had no knowledge of and if not for that they may have never gotten involved. He also rewarded her actions to save him by nearly allowing her to die to further his own agenda.
Bill often treats Sookie like a child or a subservient woman as was common in his day. He hides things from her that he feels she doesn't "need to know", he yells at her and chastises her when she makes mistakes, yells at her to "Shut Up!" and he often tries to silence what he considers to be inappropriate things she says. He tries to change who she is.
In season three Bill tries to distance himself from his feelings for Sookie by having sex with his maker Lorena. Afterwards he calls Sookie and breaks up with her, tells her of his indiscretion, and allows Lorena to gloat over the phone. This is unforgivable in my book.
Bill often lets his possessiveness over her actually put her in danger. AND his plans are poorly conceived. When Sookie travels to Mississippi with the werewolf Alcide he goes to see her when he should have let her be and leads one of the most powerful vampires directly to her. When they are all taken prisoner he makes a ridiculous attempt to kill this super powerful vampire (who swats him a like a fly) and thus ends up with a death sentence that would ensure he won't be around to keep Sookie safe. Bill lets jealousy and his passions come before rational thought. Another example of this is seen when he attempts to kill everyone who knows of Sookie's special powers in order to protect her. Never mind that he was willing to kill EVERYONE in her life who knew about her (controlling much?) he tried to kill Eric Northman who he knew would not harm Sookie and who could in fact protect her. When it comes down to it... if he (Bill) couldn't have her.. no one could.
Bill may love Sookie but it is a sick, deranged love.
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The Case for Eric Northman
When Sookie and Eric meet for the first time there is curiosity and attraction for both but as she is falling in love with Bill already they do not pursue the hint of what is there. Sookie later becomes enraged with Eric when he abducts her friend Lafayette.. feeding off of him and keeping him chained in a filthy basement. Although according to vampire law this was within Eric's rights to do since Laf was selling vampire blood. Bill even admitted that most other vampires would have done far worse and Eric did not know that his prisoner was Sookie's friend. When Sookie slaps Eric in anger and tells him she would prefer cancer to his company something starts to fester in Eric... a deep admiration and appreciation for the little blond hellion who is not afraid of him. Whereas Bill seems to like a docile and well behaved Sookie, Eric celebrates Sookie for who she is... an untamed, passionate, strong, and independent woman.
Upon seeing how angry Sookie became when Eric harmed Lafayette, Eric heals Lafayette by feeding him his own blood. He later employs Lafayette as well, gives him a sports car, saves his life, and in general become friendly with him and tries to atone for what he did.
When Eric's maker dies and Eric is shattered, Sookie begins to see the humanity in Eric and the other side of himself that he tries to hide.. one that is capable of deep love and loyalty. When they are trapped by a church group intent on killing vampires Sookie asks Eric not to harm anyone and Eric does as she wishes.
Later on Eric comes to Sookie's aid after Bill is kidnapped. He has no desire to find Bill but he cares for Sookie and doesn't want to see her hurting so he sends a werewolf to help her find Bill and protect her. He also tells her details of his past that may help her in her search even though it opens up old wounds. When Sookie is kidnapped by the King of Mississippi Eric pretends to have no feelings for Sookie so that the King will not use her as leverage against him and he has to endure more of Sookie's rants against him.
But when Eric sacrifices his own life by going out to meet the sun with the King handcuffed to him so that Sookie will be safe, we see that the cold hearted viking vampire is falling in love. We also see someone worthy of such love.
The Case AGAINST Eric Northman
Eric is a vampire in every sense of the word. He feeds on human blood and enjoys being who and what he is. He does not try to gain back feelings of his humanity and in fact when they sneak up in him, he tries to push those feelings aside. He shows no remorse for his actions and how they might hurt people. He also looks out for his own interests before that of anyone else.
He killed several human men who were found to be attacking vampires and he imprisoned Lafayette for selling vampire blood. Eric tricked Sookie into drinking a small bit of his blood by faking an injury. He did this to encourage Sookie to develop romantic feelings for him and it worked. While she did already feel attracted to Eric in some ways the blood amplified those feelings and caused her to start having erotic dreams about him. He manipulated Sookie in much the same way Bill did, although on a smaller scale and without letting people beat her nearly to death, he did it to be closer to her.
As part of his plan to rid them of their formidable enemy King Russell, Eric chains Sookie in the basement and uses her as bait. He and the King drink from her in a ruse to make the King think he can daywalk after consuming Sookie's blood. Both of these acts were hurtful to Sookie but ultimately did save all their lives. Afterward Eric apologized and seemed accepting of the fact that Sookie may not forgive him but as Sookie confessed to Bill she knows Eric would never allow any real harm to come to her.
Eric Northman Wins - Hands Down
Okay so a sane person might decide that neither of these men deserves Sookie but what fun would THAT be??
I think Eric Northman is the better choice because he is honest and upfront about who he is and what he wants. Yes, he may do things Sookie does not like but in general he does not lie to her. Bill is a sneaky little snake who lies CONSTANTLY. He was given many opportunities to fess up to Sookie about the circumstances surrounding their first meeting and he chose to keep it a secret and kill anyone who might warn her.
Eric does not try to change Sookie and he never talks down to her like Bill does. He also helped her to find "the other man" even when it would have been advantageous for him not to. Clearly he cared enough to want Sookie to be happy, even if it meant she was with someone else. By comparison Bill tried to kill Eric when it became clear that he and Sookie were through. He claimed it was to protect her from nefarious Eric but Eric had already proven himself to be trustworthy and capable of controlling himself around Sookie's powerful fae blood, so in actuality Bill was trying to ensure that Eric couldn't have Sookie either. This action showed a very selfish love and since Eric is 1000 years old and more capable of protecting Sookie than Bill, it shows a lack of regard for her safety. If Bill's love were genuine wouldn't he WANT her to be safe, even if it meant Eric were the one doing the protecting?
Eric is the better man in general and the better option for Sookie.
Eric Northman Kicks Bill Compton's Vampire Boot-ay Right?