True Blood vs Southern Vampire Mysteries
Television vs Literature
The age old fight yet again. When one of your favorite series of books is turned into a television show, sacrifices are made. Plot, characters, and even scenery changes. Ever since HBO introduced its hit series True Blood new fans have flocked to read the Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris. So is the series the equal of the books? Or is it a whole different creature?
Southern Vampire Mystery Series
Or, the Sookie Stackhouse books, if you will
This series of books by bestselling author Charlaine Harris follows the life and adventures of Sookie Stackhouse. Sookie lives in rural Louisiana, in fictional Bon Temps; she works at a bar called Merlotte's as a waitress. Sookie also just happens to a telepath, able to "hear" other peoples' thoughts.
The series contains thirteen titles, with a fourteenth book covering events "post series". The novels follows Sookie as she meets her first vampire, Bill Compton and learns more then she ever bargained for about vampires. In the alternate reality of the books, vampires have "come out of the coffin" and announced their existence to the world. In the series there are also werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, fairies, and other-worldly creatures that Sookie and her friends interact with.
The series has followed several real-world events, such as the devastation of hurricane Katrina that decimated Louisiana in 2005. The rich narrative of the books and the scrapes Sookie gets into kept readers hungry for more.
While the series was popular, as it wore on, fans became increasingly frustrated by the narrative Ms Harris chose for her characters. The fourteenth book, After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, was widely considered a "cash grab" and did nothing but anger many of the readers.
In the end of the series, Sookie chooses to become romantically involved with Sam Merlotte, as Sam's shape shifting abilities gave Sookie a rest from "hearing" her partner's thoughts. They eventually had four children. Eric Northman ended up married to the Queen of Oklahoma, while Bill is basically written out by becoming King of Louisiana.
Southern Vampire Mystery Series
The HBO series based on the books.
Premiering September 7, 2008, on HBO, True Blood is a television drama series that is based upon the Southern Vampire Mystery Series. Featuring Sookie Stackhouse (played by Academy Award-winning actress Anna Paquin) as a telepathic barmaid in fictional Bon Temps, LA. Although the first season follows much of the plot of the first book Dead Until Dark, the creators and writers have added several characters to the plot.
The "revamping" (pardon the pun) of Tara Thornton as Sookie's best friend instead of just a general friend like she is in the books, as well as a character named Lafayette Reynolds (there was a character named Lafayette in the books at one point) have expanded the places the story lines follow. Original characters, such as Sam Merlotte (played by actor Sam Trammell) and Bill Compton (played by actor Stephen Moyer) have been had their stories and personalities tweaked.
True Blood ran for seven seasons and followed several plot points through the first five Southern Vampire Mysteries books but has forged its own identity. The series has introduced several characters that have featured prominently in the books, but either changed their story lines or aspects of the characters. Viewers have also been introduced to werewolves, witches, and faeries, particularly during the third, fourth, and fifth seasons. Season five involved focused on the creation myth of the vampires, while season six found Sookie and her friends trying to battle the reincarnated Bill as well as the governor of Louisiana.
The final season found the survivors living in Bon Temps fighting off infected vampires. The series concluded differently from the novels, with Sookie helping Bill to stake himself and find the true death before (in a flash forward) finding love with an unknown man. Eric and Pam became wealthy once more by selling the cure to Hep V. Jessica and Hoyt married, while Jason married Bridgette, a television-only character, and had three children.
Books vs Television: It's On!
Given the similarities yet differences between the books and television series, do you think someone should view them as separate? Do you think the television series does an injustice to the books? Do you think the books are lame compared to the HBO show?
What's your opinion?
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