Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris and the similarities / differences to the HBO TV show True Blood.
Saved from Windows Live Space destruction!
I wrote this (about a year ago) as, looking on YouTube (jones-ing for snippets between episodes), I have noticed a lot of people asking questions about what happens in the book and what’s different from the show, so if you want to know, read on!… If not, then A) don’t read on and B) whad’r’ya doing here?
Now I don’t wanna be getting sued for any sort of copyright infringement here. I am, in fact, a huge Charlaine Harris fan and would not want to detract from her work in any way, or that of the writers of the brilliant HBO show True Blood. This blog is NOT a copy of the book, and aside from a few quotes to support my observations, the rest is my own opinions. In fact I do suggest that if you find my ramblings peak your interest, go ahead and BUY the books – there’s plenty available on Ebay and Amazon or even your local bookstore (yes people can leave their computers and go out in the real world to physical shops, I know, amazing!) or if you’re too frikkin lazy to actually read a book, get the audio books from Audible.com. I know, some people can’t get on with audio books, but I enjoy playing them in the car and they certainly make traffic-jams more interesting – although I must admit I’ve had to wind my windows up sharpish a few times when it gets to the saucy bits! Otherwise you get some real strange looks off people, LOL! This series narrated by Johanna Parker (no relation) is brilliant – she does a great job of capturing Sookie’s personality and even does different voices for all the characters – the blokes as well!
Okay, to correct a few plot lines (otherwise things won’t make sense)…
At the end of book 1 (Dead Until Dark), after the Longshadow incident (in which Eric killed Longshadow, not Bill, and only had to pay a fine to his Maker, not create another Vamp) Bill is worried that Eric is trying to acquire Sookie for himself, to use her for her telepathic ability. So he goes and gets himself involved in Vamp politics and earns himself the position of Area 5 Investigator; therefore Eric will have to defend and protect him and his “possessions”~ Sookie included. He will not be able to take her away from Bill. So Bill is away when Renee tries to kill her and he doesn’t go running out in the sunlight to try to save her either. So there is no Jessica character – she was created for the show.
– Tara and her Mum aren’t even mentioned in the 1st book . The 2nd book (Living Dead In Dallas) refers to Tara as a former school friend of Sookie’s (and she has an older Brother & Sister) that used to be abused by BOTH her parents who were drunks and nasty. It isn’t clear what happened to her parents or if they’re even still alive. She’s apparently made something of herself and owns a clothing boutique called Tara’s Togs that’s on a little strip mall along the road to Shreveport. (Benedict)Eggs Tallie is a former high-school friend of JB duRone (one of Sookie’s ex’s from school), and he and Tara are engaged. I also get the impression that in the book Tara is white, not black, from a comment near the end of the book “We were like big white water lilies in a cold pond, we two.”
– At the start of book 2, Lafayette is found dead by Sookie in the back of Andy Bellefleur’s car, there is no Miss Jeanette and Tara wasn’t there. So there’s no kidnapped Lafayette held prisoner in the basement of Fangtasia and Eric doesn’t get his hair cut (however that scene with him and the hair foils and the “Pam’s gonna kill me” had me in stitches!) – actually in the book there are several references made to his flowing hair. Shame they didn’t keep that part in the show – I think Alexander Skarsgard would look even more awesome with long blonde hair! (YUM!) Anyway….ahem!
– So Eric summons Bill to bring Sookie to Fangtasia (to talk to her about going to Dallas) and they have an argument on the way there in the car. Bill tells Sookie he has bought the strip mall with Tara’s Togs, It also has a restaurant and a hair/nail salon and Bill tells her that he has arranged accounts in his name at all 3 places, so if she wants to go anytime it’s on him. She’s very independent and she gets angry with him as she says “so they know to indulge the boss’s fancy woman!” and that it makes her look like a “kept” woman. Just about then the car breaks down and she gets out and storms off, to walk back to Bon Temps. Bill calls after her to come back but has to run to go get a mechanic, so leaves her and the car.
– She meets up with the Maenad in the woods, who in the book just looks like a crazy, naked woman, not a bull-headed creature. She appears to know who she is and that she’s “Bill’s pet” and then suddenly says she wants her to give Eric a message from her and takes a swipe at Sookie. She dodges, and the Maenad gets her back instead of her face, where she was aiming! The Maenad walks off laughing.
– Bill comes back and finds Sookie injured and rushes to Eric with her. They call Dr Ludwig, who says that whole speech about the Komodo dragon, just as in the show. But in the book the cure is for the Vamps Eric, Pam, Bill and Chow to almost completely drain her to get the poison out of her system and then she has to have a transfusion of regular human blood, which Eric arranges with a local blood bank. Later when she’s feeling better and has had a shower (and borrowed some of Pam’s underwear and one of Eric’s shirts) they discuss the trip to Dallas. We also learn that Eric has encountered a Maenad before in St Petersburg in Russia in 1876. Bill drives her home and reacts jealously when she mentions Sam and warning him about the Maenad and also about her wearing one of Eric’s shirts!
– The next time she’s at work, Sookie warns Sam about the Maenad in the woods and he doesn’t take her seriously until she tells him she attacked her and she’s got scars on her back as a result. Sam takes a look and then kisses her, rather passionately. Portia Bellefleur comes in the bar later to ask Sookie a favour of helping investigate Lafayette’s death to help clear Andy’s name. She tells her that she heard Lafayette was involved in some kind of orgy-party thing and that might have something to do with his death. Sookie says she’ll look into it for Lafayette’s sake, not to do Andy any favour.
– On arriving in Dallas the scene with the fellowship guy at the airport does happen, but not quite like in the show. He is dressed up like a priest and tries to drag her into a passageway to abduct her. She is rescued by Bill and he runs off. They get to the hotel, she meets Barry and they then meet Isabel and go to meet the Dallas Vamps.
– In the book, Stan is actually the Sherriff of Area 6 (Texas) and is described as “geeky looking” and wearing glasses to complete the look. Stan is worried about Farrell, their nest brother, who has gone missing. He wants Sookie to read the minds of the people that were in their bar The Bat’s Wing, the night Farrell disappeared. She delves into the mind of Belinda, one of the barmaids and finds out that another Vamp, was responsible. Bill does some computer research and finds out that Godric (aka Godfrey nowadays) has gone to work for the Fellowship to try to atone for the evil things he has done during his long life. He is over 1000 years old, was only a teenager when he was turned and had fed on and killed children. He is known as a “renouncer” – disgusted with his own existence and has decided to “meet the sun” to end it all. He is not Eric’s Maker. (We learn about him in Book 4 I think it is.) Although I do like the way they played that in the show, tried to give Eric a softer side and make Sookie a little more open to him.
– It is decided that Sookie and Hugo will infiltrate the Fellowship the next day and try to find out what has happened to Farrell. Sookie & Bill also discuss her attempted abduction at the airport with Stan and she suggests that the house has been bugged. Stan dismisses this, but is horrified when Sookie finds a bug planted under their dining /conference table. Eric has also shown up in Dallas, incognito, as a Vamp from California named Leif. (he uses this guise again in future books)
– Jason joining the Fellowship doesn’t happen in the book, and Bill’s Maker Lorena being called by Eric doesn’t happen (She does show up in book 3 though, so maybe they’ve brought her in now to tie-in with the next season?)
– Otherwise episode 7 is pretty much from the book, but with a few slight differences. The Newlins do kidnap Sookie and Hugo; they get beaten and locked in the basement. The plan is to make Farrell “meet the sun” in a dawn ceremony the next morning along with Godric (who is there voluntarily). Eventually, after Sookie learns that it was Hugo that betrayed them, Gabe beats Hugo and drags him off into another cell with Farrell, hoping Farrell will drain and kill him. He then comes back to rape Sookie, and Godric (who is not locked in a cell) comes to her rescue and kills Gabe, then helps her to try to escape. Sookie does her telepath message thing to Barry the Bellboy whilst hiding in one of the offices as Godric is distracting Sarah Newlin so she can get away. She manages to get out of the church, also aided by a shifter named Luna, and they escape in Luna’s car. Unfortunately the Newlins realise Sookie’s missing and they give chase, resulting in a car accident where Sookie and Luna end up going to the hospital. Sookie is then dropped off back at the hotel (which in the book is called The Silent Shore, not Hotel Carmelo), by Werewolves and Eric is waiting for her outside. Bill had rushed off to the Fellowship Church with some of Stan’s Vamps to try to rescue her when he got Barry’s message, but got there too late – she’d already left. Eric calls Bill and then takes her upstairs to clean her up. Bill comes back, Eric leaves and Bill helps her bathe and then get into bed and tells her about what happened at the Fellowship after she’d gone.
– As dawn approaches and Bill has gone to his coffin for the day, Sookie wakes and gets a taxi to go back to the Fellowship Church – she’s looking for Godric as she knows he’s going to go thru with his suicide. She finds him and they have a brief conversation about her feeling obliged to be there because of what he did for her, and she cries at the thought of him dying “”That’s nice,” Godfrey said. His voice was already remote. “Someone to cry for me at the end. I had hardly expected that.” He stepped back to a safe distance…. And then the sun rose.”
– The next night, they go back to Stan’s house. There’s a welcome home party for Farrell and they discuss what had happened at the Fellowship. Suddenly Sookie gets a telepathic image of the house being under siege and as she yells to everyone to “hit the floor” bullets and stakes come flying thru the windows. Most of the Vamps had moved at Vamp speed and were not hurt, but most of the humans were killed. Sookie winds up with Eric lay on top of her and when he gets up he’s got a silver bullet in his shoulder. He asks her to suck it out before it heals inside the wound, which she does. This turns Eric on as she’s got blood on her mouth and he kisses her. She pulls away and tells him to go look for Bill.
– Bill comes back after chasing off the attackers and has fed on and killed one of them. Sookie is appalled at this and the fact that he hadn’t even stayed to see if she was okay. She just walks out of the house and gets in their rental car, and goes to the airport, where she catches a flight back to Shreveport, calling Jason to ask him to come meet her.
– On arriving back in Bon Temps she sets to work trying to find out about Lafayette’s death. Bill has come back, she finds out, as her suitcase appears on her doorstep one morning. Inside it is a pair of earrings from Bill, but as she’s mad at him she goes over to his house and puts them in his mailbox. He hasn’t contacted her and it’s been over 3 weeks. She then hears from Jason that he has been seen out with Portia Bellefleur in Monroe. Andy Bellefleur comes up to Sookie one night in the bar (he’s drunk) and snarls at her to “take him back, so he’ll leave my sister alone”.
– She goes to the local Friday night football match and sees Tara and Eggs there with JB duRone and during the game they’re talking about JB’s girlfriend, a doctor – Sookie introduced them. JB hugs her and gives her a kiss, just as Bill (who happens to be sat with Portia further in front of them) turns around. This makes Bill jealous. He’s waiting for her at her house later that night when she arrives home after dropping off JB and going for gas, and they have a lusty reunion. Afterwards Bill explains to her about what happened in Dallas from his point of view with the “it’s in my nature, I am Vampire” line and Sookie re-evaluates her thoughts about it and him and although they have had the conversation several times before she finally understands. They talk about Portia and what Bill had been doing going around with her, and decide that she was trying to give people the impression that she was sleeping with Bill (which she wasn’t) so that she might get invited to the “sex club” that had been going on – the same one Lafayette had bragged that he had apparently been to before he died. They also talk about the Eric/bullet in the shoulder/Sookie sucking it out incident in Dallas and Bill tells her that Eric had had a pocket knife on him all the time, so he could have removed it himself. He had deceived her into drinking his blood and that even though she had spat most of it out, it only took a few drops of Eric’s blood, as he was so old, for him to know her feelings. Bill isn’t happy about it, but Sookie assures him it wouldn’t do Eric any good.
– They decide to play things low-key about their getting back together (for Portia’s benefit) but as it turns out, it’s actually Sookie that gets invited to the Sex Club first, by Mike Spencer the Coroner. Bill has had to go out of town and as she wants to go, if only to try and find out about Lafayette, but doesn’t want to go alone, she calls Eric and asks him to come with her. There’s a hilarious phone conversation when she asks Eric to go with her but he has to “play it gay”! Eric agrees to take her to this orgy and the next night turns up at her house to pick her up wearing a bright pink tank top and pink spandex pants! ( I would’ve paid good money to see THAT on the show!) He decides that he will pretend he is Bi, not Gay. They go to the party, where Sookie is surprised to find Tara & Eggs, amongst other locals and Sookie finds it repulsive.
– She gets some mental images off some of the other people and pieces together what happened to Lafayette – he was murdered by the men at their last orgy because they beat him, and he threatened to tell the police what they had done to him and about what had been going on there. She is sickened and asks Eric to take her outside, so Eric makes the excuse that she is shy, carrying her out over his shoulder, and they pretend they are doing something on the bonnet of his car while they have a discussion. He also tries to persuade her to let him get in her pants, but she’s having none of it, which is fortunate as Bill arrives at that moment.
– He and Eric are having a sort of a stand-off, and the people in the house, who have been looking out the window to see what was happening with her and Eric, come outside to see what’s going on with Bill having arrived. Andy Bellefleur walks out of the woods as well. He’s really drunk and, waving a gun, orders Sookie to come over and stand with him and read everyone’s minds. He says he knows that one of them killed Lafayette and set him up and he wants to know who. Then Sam turns up in his dog form, followed by the maenad, who introduces herself as Callisto. She tells them that she loves drunken-ness and lust and the madness that comes with both. She approaches Andy Bellefleur and asks him what his problem is, so he tells her. She says to him would he like her to find out who was responsible for the “tribute” that was left for her at Merlotte’s bar and puts Andy and Eggs (as he had nothing to do with the murder) into a kind of trance. Tara has crawled away to hide under a table.
– She then proceeds to “get into the heads” of the others, which causes a kind of madness that makes the others go insane and Sookie can’t protect herself mentally from the madness rolling off of them too. Bill and Eric have to pin her between them and cover her ears and mouth to stop her from screaming out while the others die. It’s not clear HOW they died, just that there’s a horrible “wet” sound and Callisto is suddenly drenched in their blood. I guess they exploded or something? Tara and Eggs, who had nothing to do with Lafayette’s murder, and Andy Bellefleur, are the only ones that are spared (Apart from Sookie, Bill and Eric) and afterwards she tells Sookie that she has never seen anyone so close to death, affected by the madness of others, and that intrigues her!
– She says her farewell to Sam and says she will miss their romping thru the woods together, then just walks off into the forest, leaving Bill and Eric to clean up her mess, Andy and Eggs in a trance and Tara and Sookie in emotional pieces. They decide to make it look like a house fire killed them all and set about staging the “accident.” They discover physical evidence of Lafayette’s murder in the trunk of one of the cars, along with Lafayette’s wallet, so decide that there is enough evidence for the police to clear Andy. Meanwhile Portia has turned up looking for Andy, and Sam has returned to his human form, and although he’s stark naked helps Bill and Eric and then gets Tara and Eggs into Tara’s car. He borrows Egg’s trousers and agrees to drive them home, but not before Eric glamour’s Tara so she won’t remember what happened – Eggs was out of it and wouldn’t have remembered anyway. Portia gets a dazed Andy into her car and Sookie tells her to go straight home and tell their grandmother to say they were there all evening if anyone asks!
– Bill and Sookie go home to her house and Eric leaves to drive back to Shreveport as dawn is approaching. Bill takes a shower and then crawls into a “hidey-hole” he has built in Sookie’s spare-room closet. Sookie falls asleep, to be woken by Bill, what she thinks is a while later, but it’s actually the next evening. They make love and afterwards Sookie decides they need to get the paper from the porch steps to see of there’s any news about the “house fire”
– Bill goes out to get it and returns carrying the newspaper and what appears to be one of old Mrs Bellefleur’s famous chocolate cakes. Sookie plays back her answering machine and there’s a message off Mrs Bellefleur, saying that she wanted to do something nice for Sookie as Portia has told her she did Andy a real big favour in helping them discover what happened to Lafayette. Sookie happens to mention that old Mrs Bellefleur is actually called Caroline Holliday Bellefleur and Bill goes very pale (even for him!) and quietly asks Sookie to go to his house and get the old family bible. She does this and they read thru the family tree written inside the front cover, to discover that old Mrs Bellefleur is actually Bill’s daughter’s grand-daughter! Therefore Andy and Portia are his great-great-great-grandchildren!!
– Bill says that Sookie made him do the right thing without knowing why, or of the consequences, that she makes him act more human, and that he almost forgets sometimes what that was like as he’s been a Vampire for so much longer than he was a human. They have a conversation about the Bellefleur family and Sookie tells him how poor they are now, but too proud to admit it or sell the house. She finally asks Bill why he has always hated the Bellefleur family name so much. He tells her that the young man that was wounded during the war, that his friend Tolliver Humphries died trying to save (remember the meeting of the Descendants of the Glorious Dead in Season one- where Bill spoke to the townsfolk about his experiences of the war, the night Sookie’s Gran was killed) –was called Jebediah Bellefleur. So that young man’s behaviour was all he knew of the family.
– The book ends with Sookie thinking to herself that sitting here on Bills lap in the kitchen, with the smell of the coffee and the chocolate cake, she is having a warm “human” moment with her Vampire, But that maybe she shouldn’t call it that – as earlier, when they had been making love in the dark, she had seen his skin glowing in it’s “other-worldly way” in the dark, as it always did – and she’d noticed hers had too!