Many fans were surprised as Bill returned from his “Billith” power trip to fall for Sookie once more. In fact, this was building all season as he protected the town as one of the last good vamps, then succumbed to illness. Sookie begs Niall for help then commits to protect Bill for the rest of his life, and they find romance once more.
In the books, Sookie makes a great gesture, not for Bill but for Sam. In the books, he’s young and attractive, and Sookie suddenly realizes after spending so long dating Bill and Eric, Sam, the boy next door, is her true love. Alcide has this plot on the show, offering her normality in a world of chaos (In the books, Alcide finds a mate and gets her pregnant in Sam’s place.) Book-Sookie’s final choice came down to Sam and Eric. She finally decided she couldn’t trust the vampire, and Eric accepted power and position…along with a vow to stay away from her. His show ending has a similar feel to his book ending, with his choosing wealth and success, Pam forever by his side.
Book-Bill and Sookie hadn’t had a romantic moment in many volumes. He was generally mentioned in connection with his vampire database, making him sound geekier and geekier. By the late books, he was never a possibility, though he lived on forever. Each book had a mystery, often a murder. The show emphasized big mythology over mystery. True Blood is far more salacious with Violet’s torture-porn, Lilith and her demon women, the vampire prison camp with constant enforced sex. There’s also the heavy gay rights themes. This season got an especially big push as Jessica’s wedding was not sanctioned by the state but beloved in the eyes of God for being filled with love. Hep V and Bill’s slow decline from it parallels AIDS or other incurable STDs.
The Twilight heroine chooses the angst-filled vampire, not the boy next door. Buffy is torn between the similar (in fact nearly identical) Angel and Spike. In the final episode, she chooses neither—she proclaims that she’s not ready for “forever.” Bill says he’s doing it because basically she can’t think for herself and choose to find a normal guy while he’s around, and, disturbingly, she agrees. Sookie reads Bill’s mind (a weak plot point) realizes they’re true loves, knows there’s a cure…and kills him. Admittedly, that was a surprise. One shouldn’t regress to their first love from many years before but should move on, many stories say (though Jessica takes her own first love back and recreates their love in a quick fix, even without his memories). Both stories end with many happy families and a next generation, though there are certainly differences. In the Sookie Stackhouse books, Tara remained human and married a human friend and had kids with him. Jason became a werepanther back when they captured him, and he intermarried with them. There’s no Jessica, Lafayette dies in season one. Many other characters live and die irrespective of their fate in the other series. Sookie ends up with a loving, (reasonably) normal guy. But in this case, it’s unclear why it had to be a stranger, not Alcide.
Valerie Estelle Frankel is the author of Bloodsuckers on the Bayou: The Myths, Symbols, and Tales Behind HBO’s True Blood