I was issued explicit instructions …
by Fiona Crawford - July 23rd, 2012
I was issued explicit instructions by my friend Carly that if Charlaine Harris released any more Sookie Stackhouse books, she didn’t want to know. Not because Carly hadn’t enjoyed them, but precisely because she had.
I’d loaned her the first book as part of my regular book-loaning efforts. She thought it was a standalone title until she got to the end. Then I loaned her the next two.
She’d thought it was a trilogy and that she’s regain some semblance of a normal sleeping pattern and social life once she finished those. Then I loaned her the next, well, I don’t even know how many.
When she returned the towering pile of Sookie books, she was (I think—this is me entirely projecting here) exhausted, exhilarated, sad to see them go, unsure what might replace the reading hole, but slightly relieved that she’d made it to the end. At least, to the end as far as how many books had been published were concerned.
Suffice to say, it may have been mightily irresponsible of me to alert her to the fact that Harris is on the continent right now talking about her books and specifically talking about how her 13th and final Sookie Stackhouse book will be released in 2013.
I consider it a public service—‘Look, as of next year you’ll have officially reached the end!’ Carly’s radio silence tells me she took it more as a ‘Dammit, not only do I know there’s more, but I have to wait some 12 months to get my reading paws on the more.’
Me? I’ve been filling the void and passing the time (not to mention trying to resurrect or re-inspire some of my lost dragons enthusiasm) by getting up to date with Season 5 of True Blood, the HBO seasons based upon Harris’ books.
I’m having a love-hate relationship with the season, given its divergence from the books. I realised it’s only based on them and is, through small-screen translation and at the hands of masterful storyteller Alan Ball (AKA he of the American Beauty plastic bag genius), entitled to some creative licence. It’s just that I feel that the areas that he’s embellished or entirely made up are the ones that are the weakest—they feel ‘tacked on’ and I really wish he’d let them go.
Case in point: Lafayette and Tara. The former was a bit-part character who ended up dead in a car early on in the books, never to be seen or heard from again. The latter is a sweeter, peripheral character not directly involved in the storylines.
At Ball’s hands, the former is not only not dead, he’s being haunted and totally, wearyingly freaked out by weird evil spirity things. The latter is—spoiler alert—dead but is angry, bitter, and commanding fairly central but so-what-inducing storylines. Neither is really working for me (but if you think they’re fine, feel free to let me know).
Niggles aside, Season 5 is more of the same wit meets cynicism in the form of simple carbohydrate porn encased in a glossy HBO series—it’s excellent, it’s addictive, it gives you a quick high followed by a crash that leaves you feeling slightly lost and more than a bit dirty. Oh, and it’s peppered with one-liners that have me smiling wryly in an envy along the lines of ‘I wish I’d thought of that’:
Sookie: This isn’t going to work if you don’t try.
Pam: I am wearing a Walmart sweatsuit for y’all. If that isn’t a demonstration of team spirit, I don’t know what is.
Club worker: Why are you all dirty?
Pam: I was in the ground. What’s your excuse?
Sam: Easy now. She just lost her son.
[Character whose name I can’t remember]: She just ate her son.
[Member of the vampire alliance currently torturing Eric and Bill]: It’s wonderful to be a vampire, is it not?
Eric: Generally yes. Right now, not so much.
Sookie: Bye. I’m just going to stay here and quietly slip into a coma.
Speaking of crashes and comas, I’m off to bed. Happy reading/viewing/sleeping.