I'll Be There For You
Sookie Stackhouse, from Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mysteries, might not consider herself rich in most senses of the word. But the one thing she does have in plenty is friends. These friends have done so much for Sookie in so many ways throughout the series, both tangibly and intangibly. They have loved her, taught her, helped her, comforted her, and most importantly, they have saved her in both the literal and figurative sense.
In case you hadn't noticed, we Wenches are great friends outside of our work here, even though we live so far apart. Friendship and loyalty to her friends are also very important to Sookie. And since secondary characters are my specialty, the Wenches asked me to write a little bit about Sookie's friends, both past and present. What kind of friend were and/or are they to Sookie? How has their friendship shaped Sookie's life? How have they helped Sookie in the past? And most importantly, how might they help Sookie in Dead Ever After?
Keep reading after the break!
Warning: Spoilers ahead! This post assumes you have read all the previous Southern Vampire Mystery novels.
Sookie's Friends & Family
Those who are JUST her friends (or family), whether they be human, vampire, or something else.
Tara & JB Du Rone
Tara and JB fill an important role in Sookie's life. They are the people who have been friends with her for the longest period of time. They know her. They know stories from when she was younger. They know about her "disability", and they not only are still friends with her, but they kept other kids in school from being too mean to her. Childhood friends are something special. They are (usually) the people who know you best, just because they have been around during so many trying times in your life. Tara gave Sookie her car and helped search for Jason when he was kidnapped. JB helped Sookie recover from her "car accident". But more importantly, in Sookie's life, they are normal. They have regular problems, like feeding the twins and making house payments. They are the ones who keep Sookie grounded in the non-supe world. They remind her that not everyone has a life as dramatic and scary as hers. How will Tara and JB help out in Dead Ever After? Tara is Sookie's voice of reason, the person Sookie goes to when she needs some perspective on her life and her decisions. Tara will tell it to Sookie straight and help her sort out her feelings. I think Sookie's going to need that in DEA. She's going to have a lot on her plate to sort out.
Barry Bellboy (aka Horowitz)
Ms. Harris has confirmed that we will see Barry again. I have to wonder why. Barry seemed to be pretty much done with Sookie when last we saw him. He didn't understand her decisions and didn't seem to be interested in changing his mind about his vampire employer. But he and Sookie do have a unique bond, since they are both telepaths. He is able to share experiences with Sookie that (almost) no one else can. So I think Sookie will always make time in her life for Barry, just to have someone to commiserate and share with. Also, Barry has saved Sookie's life on two separate occasions: the first time they met, in Dallas, when he alerted the vamps to her kidnapping by the Fellowship, and in Rhodes, when he warned her about the bombing in time to get out of the building. Maybe this explains why we are seeing Barry again. Is Barry going to save Sookie a third time? Or is it Barry's turn to be the one who is saved by a fellow telepath?
Oh Arlene, you weak-minded little bitch. I don't know what to think of you now. You were never a great friend to Sookie — you were actually more of a user than a friend. You asked her to babysit. You switched shifts with her, but only if she cleaned your trailer. Sure, she was able to call you a friend, but did you call her a friend? Or did you just use her giving spirit to get what you needed? I'm not sure you are going to be able to honestly answer that for yourself. But since Sookie was willing to give you another chance, I was too. And then you tried to crucify her! So I'm done with you. But knowing Sookie, she'll try to find some aspect of redemption. I can only imagine what you'll be up to in this book. Are you behind the murder plot? Did some new boyfriend convince you that was a good idea, too? Or have you finally grown some backbone and learned to think for yourself? I guess we'll have to wait and see. But I'd watch my back if I were you. Eric and the vampires, and Alcide and the wolves, will be after you if you hurt her again. And you do NOT want that.
Amelia has always been a bit of a wild card in my book. She's a very talented witch, but she is also very rash and impulsive. She acts before she thinks, sometimes with disastrous results. But she has always been there for Sookie, ever since Jake Purifoy rose for the first time in Hadley's closet and attacked them. She was much more of a friend than Arlene ever was, that's for sure. And more importantly, she was a friend whom Sookie could talk to about the supernatural aspects of her life. That alone is worth its weight in gold to Sookie. But Amelia was also there through a lot of trials and tribulations in Sookie's life: the aftermath of Bill's revelation, Jason's ill-fated marriage to Crystal, the Las Vegas take over... and that's just one book of troubles! Amelia can be a bit of a bully sometimes though, and sort of bullied Sookie into breaking the bond. I know Sookie is glad she did it, and finally came to terms with her real feelings for Eric. But Amelia's bull-in-a-china-shop tactics might not have been the best way to go about convincing her to do it. As for this book, I'm not sure what sort of trouble Amelia is going to get into. I have always been a little suspicious of her, in the back of my mind. She seems to have a knack for forming tenuous friendships with people who are in somewhat powerful positions. I'm starting to think this might be partially by design, or possibly Copley's influence. I am very suspicious of him, and of Amelia's odd blind spot to his ambitions and intentions. So maybe Amelia will be embarking on a scouting mission about the CD for her dad? Or maybe she has some witchy plans for it. Whatever the case, I'm more than a little nervous about her intentions and "solutions" to Sookie's problems.
Jason started the series as more of a hindrance to Sookie than a brother or a friend. Yes, he'd come around and do odd jobs every now and then. But until he became a supe himself, he seemed to be staying firmly out of the supernatural world. Now that he is forever involved, he has behaved slightly more brotherly toward Sookie. They will never be really close, but they seem closer than they were in the earlier books, when he would help her because he's her brother and felt obligated. But now, whether it's just natural maturing or Hotshot's community spirit rubbing off, Jason seems to have become less selfish and more willing to help when his sister needs him. So I hope Jason will take care of Sookie while she deals with these legal troubles, just like she took care of him when he was having his own legal dilemmas. I also hope that Jason marries Michelle and they get to have a couple of kids. Sookie deserves to be called Aunt Sookie by some real nieces and nephews. She has resigned herself to never having her own kids, so I want her to at least be able to live that part of her life vicariously through Jason.
Sometimes I think Sookie would have been better off if she had kept her distance from the fairies. Her torture at the hands of Neave and Lochlan was a definite turning point in her life. In an instant, the old Sookie was gone, never to return. But the same could be said of her not-so-chance meeting with Bill Compton. So I suppose we'll just have to be grateful for the things the fairies have given her. She has "people" to call a family, however distantly related they are. She inherited a fairly large windfall after Claudine's death. This keeps her from worrying about money, and also provides her with the freedom to become more involved with Merlotte's. Now she gets to feel like she has a place in the normal world, not just the supernatural world. This is invaluable to Sookie. She was also given (although indirectly) the ability to save Sam's life when the occasion arose. I think the Fae stories seemed to be pretty much wrapped up in Deadlocked. I think Sookie is better off without them in her life. They seem to bring her little except chaos and pain. So unless Niall or Dermot leaves Faery to help Sookie when she needs her friends and family the most, I hope they stay away. She doesn't need any more trouble than she already has on her plate.
I think it's possible that, other than Sookie and Eric, Pam will be one of the major players in this book. Her presence has grown more and more with each book as she has become a better and better friend to Sookie — whom Pam thinks has evolved from a barely tolerable human to a true friend who deserves to know what's going on in Eric's life. She has been there for Sookie through all the trials and tribulations of life with vampires. She helped Sookie when she was hurt, she told Eric to basically get his shit together, and much more. Now I think it might be time for Pam to truly prove her friendship and loyalty to Sookie. It has been theorized that Pam might be able to solve this whole Oklahoma situation. She could either A) marry Oklahoma herself, thus freeing Eric from the contract or B) with Eric's help, overthrow Felipe's hold on Louisiana, become Queen, and refuse to honor Appius's contract. Of course, Eric's other child might come into play here as well. At the very least, Sookie will need Pam's friendship and awesome fighting skills to overcome this last set of obstacles to (hopefully) gain happiness with Eric.
The men from Sookie's past.
We haven't seen much of Calvin since he married Tanya after Crystal died. But I think Calvin will always have a soft spot for Sookie, and she for him. Calvin wanted Sookie to love him. He wanted to bring in new blood to Hotshot, and since Sookie was not quite human, she was the perfect candidate. Since the courtship thing is off the table, Calvin has remained a good friend to Sookie. He helped her when Tanya was trying to make Sookie's life miserable; that was, of course, partially self-serving. But he has always come through for Sookie when she needed him. I'm not sure what purpose Calvin will serve in DEA, but if Sookie needs help, you can nearly guarantee that Calvin will come out of the woodwork to help.
I don't know where to fit Quinn into this. He and Sookie had a very short, very intense romance. And I think that his feelings for her went much deeper than her feelings for him. I think Sookie was half in love with Eric from Dead to the World and onward, but unwilling to admit it to herself. And I think Quinn knew it, at least on some level. He even goes as far as asking her whether she loves Eric. But he did come to her rescue several times before, during, and after their brief romance. And even though they didn't part on the best of terms, I think he would come to her aid if he were able. And, in this instance, he is definitely someone who can aid Sookie and Eric in their troubles. He has a unique viewpoint on and insight into the Nevada vampires and Felipe De Castro, since he is or was basically enslaved to them. Quinn's insight might be just what Eric needs to either convince Felipe to break the contract with Oklahoma or to overthrow Felipe entirely. And, since Sookie is the reason Quinn met his tigress, he owes her a favor.
Do I even have to write anything about Bill? We all know that he luuuuvvvvsss Sookie with all of his undead heart and he would die (probably in some stupid attempt at heroism) for her. But in the meantime, he'll continue to stalk her from the woods and give her shitty advice. I really wish Ms. Harris had stuck to her guns and killed him in the Fae War. He has outlived his usefulness. But who knows, maybe Bill will have some final purpose to serve. Some last bomb to drop on Sookie. Maybe he has to give her one last creepy compliment, or try one more time to break up her and Eric. Yet for all of Bill's many faults, he will help Sookie no matter the problem and no matter the cost to his own safety and well being. As creepy and stalkery as he is, a friend like that is worth having around in trying times. The only problem I foresee would occur if Bill is secretly a party to Oklahoma's plan to marry Eric. If he is involved in that, maybe it will be the last straw for Sookie and she will finally sever ties with him. Or maybe the Wenches will get their wish, and Bill will meet his final death in this final book.
Alcide, my love, you have a lot of explaining to do to some of the fandom. Alcide has done a lot of growing up since we met him, as a young werewolf just trying to help his daddy get out of debt. He has become an orphan, a business owner, and most importantly, Packmaster of the Shreveport pack. These changes have generated a lot of criticism of Alcide, both from the fandom and from Sookie herself. Sookie and Alcide started out as two friends who might someday be more, once they were over their respective heartbreaks. Now they are friends who are hanging on to the friendship by a thread. Sookie doesn't like what Alcide has become. Alcide doesn't realize that the Sookie he thought he could love isn't there anymore. Personally, I approve of the changes in Alcide. He has gone from a follower to a leader. He has grown up. Then again, I have a soft spot for Alcide, so I might be looking at this through rose-colored glasses. I still think Sookie is crazy for not taking him up on her offer to move in with him after her kitchen burned down. But regardless of their feelings for each other, Sookie will help Alcide if he needs it, because that's who she is. And Alcide will help Sookie, because of her Friend of the Pack status and his lingering feelings for her. So if Sookie simply makes the call, the wolves will come running.
I wasn't sure whether to include Sam in the friends & family category or the suitors category. I settled on the suitors after some thought. Yes, Sookie calls Sam her best friend. Yes, Sam acts like her best friend. But I think that, deep down, Sam dates all of these crazy women because he hopes that if he doesn't settle down with someone, Sookie will eventually give up Eric and come to him. No matter what Sam's true feelings for Sookie might be, he has always been there for her when she needed him. Sam tried to save her from the Rattrays, though, I don't know that Sookie ever figured that out. Sam has kept her working, when she needed the money desperately. And he has saved her life, or at least kept her safe, on many, many occasions. And now that they are partners in the bar, their relationship is closer and more complex than ever. Sam will obviously have some fallout of... you know, dying... to deal with in DEA. And of course, the death of his girlfriend. I can't help but wonder whether Sam is doomed. Sort of like Final Destination, he was meant to die, but Sookie changed death's plans. I really hope this isn't the case, because Sookie would be absolutely devastated. But I can't help wonder what else is left in Sam's storyline. We know he'll be there to help Sookie through whatever troubles she has. But will the cost be his life... again?
Well, saucy readers? Did I miss any friend of Sookie's whom you think might be instrumental in her final story? Or do you think any of my observations are way off base? Let me know in the comments!
And, as always, we hope that you enjoy and savor our very last adventure with the one and only Sookie Stackhouse!