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True Blood vs Southern Vampire Mysteries

Updated on August 30, 2017

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.

True Blood

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?

© 2009 missbat

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    • profile image

      PaulRyan 5 years ago

      I haven't read the books, but watch the show. It's great and now I'm thinking I should get into the books.

    • Hypersapien2 profile image

      Hypersapien2 5 years ago from U.S.

      I'm a fan of the books and the series. Nice lens!

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 6 years ago

      Just letting you know that I have featured this page on my new Kindred the Embrace

    • natashaely profile image

      natashaely 6 years ago

      Love the books, the show is totally different, a little more grown up shall I say, the books have a more humorous aproach but like them both differently! :)

    • retta719 profile image

      Loretta 6 years ago from United States

      I'm hoping to pick up book one over the winter holiday break this year, looking forward to finally getting a chance to read this series.

    • Robinharmony profile image

      Robinharmony 7 years ago

      I couldn't post up there, so i'm gong to tell you down here why i like the show better than the books. Now i'vve only read the first three books, so i can't go on after that, but from what i do know, the show goes so much more in depth with everything. the characters, the situations, EVERYTHING. it gives it a much more real quality, the books are good, don't get me wrong, the show just has so much more to it.

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Love the show, but I haven't read the book. I agree with Naturegirl, there's too much of the peripheral characters in the forefront of the show, but it's still entertaining. I'm lensrolling this to my True Blood t-shirts lens.

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 7 years ago

      I am a vampire movie geek! I love them and watch them over and over. The only vampire books I will read are based on true events. Actually all of the books I read have to be that.

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      I read the books first and was very disappointed in the first season of TrueBlood. Or should I say the Jason show. I will not purchase the 2nd season, but I may watch it if the library gets a copy. ;)

    • Wendy L Henderson profile image

      Wendy Henderson 7 years ago from PA

      I never heard of the southern vampire mysteries. I'll have to check it out.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      I am another one that has not read the books or seen the movie but this is an excellent lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I don't know anything about the book or the movie - but while I was reading your intro I realised that you do write excellent intros Miss Bat!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I hven't seen the book nor movie so I can't compare. But it does seem interesting.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Would you believe that I haven't read the book or seen the movie but thanks to you I now know something about it.