How does Alan Ball really feel about Bill and Eric?

Despite Alan Ball’s various positive and negative quotes to media sources about Bill and Eric, I think we can figure out how Alan Ball really feels about them by thinking about Sookie’s experience with both characters on the screen.

Imagine Pre-True Blood Alan Ball. He already revels in dark themes pertaining to human nature, hypocrisy, and hidden truths in his other work. One day, he reads the Southern Vampire Mysteries (Sookie Stackhouse Novels) and goes through his own experiences with the characters as he reads it from Sookie’s perspective.  Despite what Sookie may be saying or feeling, Alan Ball develops his own feelings about how he felt getting to know Eric and Bill through the limited lens of Sookie’s point-of-view only; in addition, he recognizes the great potential for the commentary related to human nature, hypocrisy, and hidden truth in the books also brought to the screen. Alan Ball brought his experience with the characters of Eric and Bill in the books to Sookie’s experience on the screen. At the same time, it is clear that Alan Ball’s tendency to commentate on the themes of the darkness in human nature (despite the supernatural status of Bill and Eric), hypocrisy, and lies contribute to his opinion about the characters of Bill and Eric. Simply put, Alan Ball is bringing his own experience with the characters during the books to True Blood (and that is how he wanted us to feel and what he wanted us to experience as an audience).

—————————————————————————–

Alan Ball’s journey with Bill and Eric:

Alan Ball sees Bill as this dark knight (instead of a pure white knight) for Sookie; he is different and he is arousing


and he is conflicted and he has some baggage…


but he will do anything for Sookie.


Too bad  Eric is in the way…That no good bastard!

But  wait….Eric seems to be going the extra mile for Sookie at times…why would the no-good-bastard being doing that?

but wait again…It doesn’t matter that Eric is doing so many good things, he’s still doing evil things too….soooo let’s just slap all good thoughts of that no-good-viking out of our heads, shall we?

after all…Bill does anything for Sookie and he protects her vulnerable butt….

 

besides…Eric only wants Sookie so he can use her…right?

 

But I mean…Bill has all that baggage, remember?

and of course remember that…Eric will save her vulnerable butt tooright?

um….ALOT…actually…

but let us not forget…that Eric is still the no-good bastard that is playing poor Bill and Sookiedanggit!

Yet…Eric does seem to have SOME feelings…and wait…Sookie does seem to be responding to him somehow…uh-oh…

but again…Bill just wants Sookie and Eric is this political animal…she could actually settle down with Bill huh?

but Sookie is fickle about this settling down thing even though she says her heart is still with Bill…And things are heating up with Eric and he is still protecting her vulnerable butt…

although…Eric’s mind is still on the politics and he’s manipulative and vengeful…

but eh…Bill still has that baggage  is probably doing some messed up things himself…

um scratch that…Bill is doing some highly messed up stuff himself, probably more so….because wait…he’s hurting Sookie now too!

Maybe Sookie needs to just stay away from these vampires!

but whatever…Sookie is still drawn to Bill and Eric for some reason…

 

so she’ll need to find the right one of the two….

…so even though Eric can still be that no-good-bastard focusing on his vengeful nature and politics…..

TURNS OUT…Although Bill is interesting for devotion and complex nature as a character, Bill actually represents the hypocrisy Ball  actually despises and the hidden truths that harm people as well as society at large.

 

…SO OUT THE DOOR BILL!

————————————————————————

So I will go out on a limb and say that Alan Ball prefers Sookie to be Eric over Bill because of his hypocrisy and unwillingness to accept who he is, though he perhaps finds Bill the most compelling due to his over-the-top devotion and darkly complex nature. Saying this, I also wouldn’t say that Alan Ball is necessarily Team Eric either (even though he admires Eric’s shrewd nature, openness, loyalty, and bravery )because his head is telling him that Sookie probably shouldn’t be with vampires at all. But he does choose Eric over Bill because of these qualities he loves about Eric and after considering that Sookie is ultimately attached to vampires for life for better-or-worse.  Yet, Alan Ball chooses Eric over Bill and presents his own experience to the audience because Bill represents the hypocrisy and hidden truths that Alan Ball despises; this is obvious not only because of the way they were presented on screen but in comparison to Alan Ball’s other work.

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  1. #1 by Etain Danu on June 14, 2011 - 4:09 am

    Lets not forget that Bill was exposed for letting those hicks beat Sookie within an inch of her life so he could feed Sookie his blood.On the Queens behest..lol Are Eric and Bill so different. Yes like night and day

    • #2 by Kat on June 14, 2011 - 1:40 pm

      Well ofc, that’s partly why “Bill is out the door!” lol But I think I am going to elaborate on this entry at a later date…>THANK YOU for the comment and being a reader too!

  2. #3 by Freyja M. North on June 14, 2011 - 4:40 am

    Great post Kat and I completely agree! Who shows loyalty, humor, is protective, doesn’t need big words, is the hero behind the curtains? Eric!!
    Who has manipulated Sookie, cheated, lied, hurt her physically and mentally? Bill!! And unlike Eric needs to throw around big words and act all hero around her. But actually the only time he ever saved Sookie was from the Ratrays ;)
    It’s so obvious who is the better vampire and we’ve been shown that slowly over 3 seasons.
    AB is a big tease just like CH, he’s not going to tell us who to like, who is better. He wants us to make our own judgement. He showed us all Eric’s bad sides and good sides. Eric is upfront with his nature and intention, and who is the most popular male character on True Blood and in the books? Eric! That’s not accidental, AB is not sitting in his chair going “damn it, I wanted you to love Bill and hate Eric”. He and his team of writers know exactly what they are doing.

    • #4 by Kat on June 14, 2011 - 3:16 pm

      Im so glad you loved this post (ofc, again, you inspired me to start the blog so your my favorite reader for life lol)……….Yes, it’s clear that Eric is the true hero because he doesn’t need the glory to do what’s right for those he loves, like sookie :) ……….As you know, it’s not hard to choose Eric if you look at how Alan Ball directs stories and you see the contrasting behavior of these two. HAHA, yes I have laughed sometimes at the craziness of the quotes that he and other writers have put out to tease the audience lol……..

  3. #5 by Ethan Ralph on June 14, 2011 - 11:52 am

    Really enjoyed the article…seeing all the pics helps me to recall the emotions and feelings conveyed during the episodes, since I’m not as well versed in True Blood as you are K :). You are making me come around on Eric with pieces like this one. It’s taken awhile though lol…really getting excited for the new season to commence.

    • #6 by Kat on June 14, 2011 - 3:17 pm

      Thank you…..the pics really help carry the emotion throughout I think even when you know the show as well as I do…..Hopefully I have lol and Not one bit more than me ha

  4. #7 by zee on June 14, 2011 - 5:23 pm

    as always Kat great read, i always say the viewer/reader can not LOVE a character unless the writer does to a certain extent,the sloooow build up of erics character was a reflection of ABs feelings towards him,we wouldnt have liked eric as a character if he had been written by alan ball is a BL…. u r so right!

    • #8 by Kat on June 15, 2011 - 12:57 am

      Thank you so much. Alan Ball may have liked other options (like maybe Sookie should even reject vampires altogether) but he loved Eric for Sookie and that clearly shows and he loves Eric for his unflinching devotion to rejecting hypocrisy and being exactly who he is (which is why he clearly loves Lafayette and kept him around as well).

  5. #9 by Patrick on June 14, 2011 - 7:22 pm

    Hey thanks for the request piece!

    Well, I am part of team-Bill as is well known, so naturally I disagree with the ending. I think the reality of the situation is that Sookie is using both Bill and Eric to satisfy desires she can’t find in each of them.

    For example: As you mentioned, Bill offers her stability and a chance to settle down. However, he has mucho baggage and can be a bit dull. This leads her to Eric, who kinda gives her a more fast-paced, thrill-seeking lifestyle. Sookie really digs this like, but it also tends to show her that she shouldn’t be involved with vampires at all, seeing as this Eric lad isn’t a perfect person by any stretch of the imagination.

    Part of the reason that it is so easy to be anti-Bill is because he was often portrayed as almost a prince charming of source. However, unfortunately, he does have a lot of baggage as has been pointed out. Once this starts to be revealed, it almost makes him look like a hypocrite. You know, a big time hypocrisy. But only almost.

    The bottom line, I feel, is that Sookie is just a very confused bird and tends to play them both off against each other.

    • #10 by Kat on June 15, 2011 - 1:06 am

      Welcome.

      Yes I know……..well if that were the case, Sookie would have gravitated to Eric much sooner than she did. Turns out, Bill isn’t offering anything positive that Eric can’t provide.

      I wasn’t saying that Bill offers her stability or a chance to settle down, I was presenting the thought process I think Ball wanted the audience to have and may have had himself at one point but is not actually true (in fact I think it has shown to be the opposite). I think the only person who has made Sookie think she shouldnt be with vampires is in fact Bill, after he lied to her from the start and almost killed her because he couldn’t control himself. Eric isn’t perfect (though he has a lot to offer Sookie as well) but he can control himself and she can trust him, unlike Bill.

      Bill being presented as a prince charming was used as a ploy to mislead and play the minds of the audience to Bill so that the reveal would be that much more devastating for the audience and Sookie…………and there isn’t any almost about his hypocrisy, it’s pretty much the totality of Bill’s character at this point.

      She was confused because she was so naiive and Bill took advantage of her weaknesses. Now that she is stronger for it and free, she’ll make the decisions she needs to make and be the heroine she should be.

      • #11 by Anonymous on June 15, 2011 - 8:22 am

        Well remember that Eric is also much much older than Bill. To compound matters further, Bill’s maker was a real asshole, whereas with Godric, Eric learned how to become an effective vampire but to retrain some sense of humanity. Let’s also not forget that in his human life, Eric killed people as part of his job. Bill was just some Confederate soldier trying to make his way home. He was, however, seduced by and admittedly ravashing beauty, though it turned out to be one of those, ahem, drag-me-to-hell (almost literally) moments.

        As time goes by, and Bill gains some self control, I believe that he will show to be the one that can protect her the best, and the one that can give her what she needs.

  6. #12 by Anonymous on June 15, 2011 - 2:15 pm

    I was never on team Bill, but I never hated him either. It was more like, well he’s not MY cup of tea, but Sookie sure seems to like him, so I went with it happily enough. What REALLY turned me anti-Bill was the horrifying way he treated his EX. I mean in real life if I found out my boyfriend treated an Ex like that I would be scared as hell! Like Lorena said, there’s no excuse for domestic violence, and Bill is like the poster child of an abusive partner.

    • #13 by Kat on June 15, 2011 - 6:49 pm

      Exactly, Bill is obviously a domestic abuser……and thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to abuse a n ex that is still obsessed and is also annoying (psychotic behavior).

      Lorena’s words were an example of Alan Ball’s tendency to use an unreliable character to be the truth-teller lol

  7. #14 by annatsogyal on June 16, 2011 - 9:56 am

    Bill isn’t presented as just some Confederate soldier on his way home, he was also a plantation owner and that implies slaves. Even if the slaves were freed through the influence of his wife Caroline, the audience is shown that the plantation office is clean and bright compared to the other downstairs rooms.

    • #15 by Kat on June 16, 2011 - 11:25 am

      Yes, I think many people neglect to include the fact that Bill was a slave owner in his human life, thank you for pointing it out again. I also think he downplayed the slave ownership when Tara asked him about it……Exactly, that was clearly a place where Bill spent a lot of time and apparently still did when Franklin Mott discovered his files on Sookie there…….Some want to call Eric a killer and in a way he was but he was a soldier, a prince, and a king following his duties as well as Viking culture. I guess I can forgive Bill’s slave ownership in a way since it’s the culture of the time as well and of the South in which he was from, but who knows if he was remorseful and that shows Bill was far from innocent in his human life as well.

      • #16 by IATM on June 16, 2011 - 12:12 pm

        Sookie also downplayed that & i sometimes wonder if that was Grans influence?? i mean Gran was excited to know a real civil war Vet.. so they all at the time ( except for Jason & Tara) accepted Bill as a past slave owner.. i mean that era represented supressing a race of folks, so it comes natural to Bill IMO.. & in that scene when Gran told Jason “she was older & it’s her house”, Bill quickly jumped in & said “well, actually i’m the oldest in this house”.. & Gran simply became submissive as well..

      • #17 by Kat on June 16, 2011 - 9:32 pm

        I think it was a combination of Bill (because she just had his blood and was excited about him) and Gran (because of her obvious respect and love for her). However, I try not to hold that against Bill since I don’t hold Eric’s cultural viking things against him, like the unstoppable urge for revenge………………Well, Bill is a master manipulator and he manipulates everyone else’s best and worst qualities for his own benefit.

  8. #18 by Anonymous on June 16, 2011 - 1:08 pm

    Let’s also not forget that in his human life, Eric killed people as part of his job. Bill was just some Confederate soldier trying to make his way home.

    ***

    I don’t understand this comment. Weren’t they both soldiers, fighting wars? Also, if Sookie knew what we know about Bill, would she still think he was a “prince charming”? I don’t think so… She doesn’t know Bill at all and, yet, she loves him.

    • #19 by IATM on June 16, 2011 - 1:45 pm

      Eric became a King Viking in his era once Russell & his wolves killed his Father.. Eric wasent in war with another country or fellow Viking tribe.. he was searching for his family murder’s ( so i guess it was a personal war since he was looking for Russell a vampire).. Bill was at war with the North simply because President Lincoln freed the slaves & basically the South wanted things to stay the same.. hence all the problems with Jim crow laws after the civil war.. & Bill would have been wittnessed to all the changes in the South ( i mean Lorena seemed content in that Southeren back wood cabin with all her dead bodies).. Maybe that was why Lorena & Bill traveled up North to Chicago ( or Mid West).. which was why when Bill left & went to see Caroline to bury his son 3 years later after the war we didnt see slaves on the plantation anymore.. they most likely fleed anyway..

      however, Viking’s did pillage Village’s in their hayday :-) also the way Eric’s soldier’s respected him & was going to let him die in the Viking way.. Bill ( in his flashback) wanted to kill a fellow soldier who was wounded because his screams were annoying to Bill..

      i mean the Viking’s have their Heaven to reach when they die “Valhalla”.. those that die in combat travel to Valhalla upon death, led by valkyries..

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valhalla

      Godric presented him with eternal life to seek reveange on Russell.. Eric took him up on his offer. :-)

      with Bill since the war was over he was on his way home . he stops at Lorena’s cabin full of death & dead bodies inside & he didnt even smell the decaying bodies.. she turns him because he represents “something she feels she has lost, nobleness”.. Lorena in the DVD was going to be a Nun before her Maker turned her..

      • #20 by Kat on June 16, 2011 - 9:10 pm

        Well I do not blame Bill much for his cultural surroundings (which was slave owning and running a plantation and fighting for the Confederacy if you were at all wealthy in the South); By the same standard, Eric should not be blamed for his duty as a viking king in viking culture. They were both soldiers who were part of their cultural surroundings.

        Good way to point out Bill’s circumstances in the end.

    • #21 by Kat on June 16, 2011 - 9:02 pm

      She loves Bill because he was the first guy she could be with and not know what he was thinking (irony ofc) and he was also the first guy who thought her mind reading was cool and “useful”….not a freaky inconvenience. In her eyes, he was the first being who accepted her and made her feel alive (outside the trappings of her Merlotte’s existence in Bon Temps).

  9. #22 by Casey Scout on June 16, 2011 - 1:13 pm

    Let’s also not forget that in his human life, Eric killed people as part of his job. Bill was just some Confederate soldier trying to make his way home.

    ***
    Weren’t they both soldiers, fighting wars? I dont’ see how killing is anymore Eric’s job than Bill’s. And “prince charming?” If Sookie knew what we know, would she still feel the same about Bill? I don’t think so. In fact, Sookie doesn’t know Bill at all and I think we’ll see even more of that this season.

    • #23 by Casey Scout on June 16, 2011 - 3:43 pm

      Godric offered Eric something other than final death and Eric accepted the deal for whatever reason, but we don’t know what Bill would have chosen if he’d been offered the same deal because apparently he wasn’t. Bill could have chosen to kill himself (like he threatened to do to get Lorena to release him) but he didn’t so I guess he has chosen to be “undead” rather than dead-dead just like Eric.

      • #24 by Kat on June 16, 2011 - 9:18 pm

        Well honeslty, Godric fooled Eric into thinking he was basically getting eternal life on earth by accompanying the “god of death,” which is interesting. But it’s not like Eric knew exactly what he was getting into…he was fooled into his decision…it’s not like Godric explained to him that he was becoming and vampire and what that meant, etc.
        Sure he wasn’t murdered and he was close to death (if you think about it, so was Bill because he was starving to death when he showed up on Lorena’s door and only intended to give her a short thank you for it).

        I always mention that it’s not like Godric couldn’t have just healed Eric and kept a close eye on him without turning him….soo…..

        I agree. If Bill hates himself so much…why not meet the true death just like Godric (who clearly ended up hating himself).

    • #25 by Kat on June 16, 2011 - 9:12 pm

      She now knows that she knows nothing about Bill LOOOOL.

      Agreed.

      But as I said up there…I do not blame Eric or Bill for their jobs and the cultural surrounding of their human lives.

  10. #26 by Anonymous on June 17, 2011 - 6:23 pm

    Just some food for thought, they say you can judge a leader by how he is loved by the men in their command. Remember how caring and close Erik and his men were? Now, think back to Bill’s memory, IN HIS OWN words, his men BEGGED him to help a poor young injured soldier, and Bill didn’t want to. Just saying Erik inspired loyalty, Bill was that asshat who wasn’t willing to risk his own life for his men.

    • #27 by Kat on June 18, 2011 - 8:34 pm

      I have always pointed that out though a lot of times I totally negate both of their lives as soldiers. If you think about it, that’s what inspired Godric to be his maker…..

  11. #28 by Anonymous on June 21, 2011 - 5:38 pm

    IDK, i think Eric gave up his chance to go to Viking Heaven to seek reveange on Russell for killing his family.. i mean that whole flashback his men set up his passage way for death to enter Valhalla.. then Godric offered him to “follow death” or “walk with death” for the reveange theme ( after killing all his men & his men fought for their King like they were suppose to do, so the idea is that they died as a Viking & in war & therefore made it to Valhalla in their own right) & of course this is different from the books.. this is differ, then Bill who represents “Christianity” ( out side of the pagen religion) & his values.. Bill was fighting a war caused by man not supernatural begins.. also Bill was fighting a war based on his region of the country he represents.. ( it’s always deeper to me since i studied Sociology & the entire story is about predjudice & social issues no matter if it’s books or show)..

    • #29 by iatm33 on June 21, 2011 - 5:59 pm

      I agree with what you said..

    • #30 by Kat on June 21, 2011 - 6:00 pm

      I had no illusions that Eric was still going to Valhalla….BUT if Godric could find peace and even believes Russell could, this shows that Eric will probably find peace after death as well.

      That’s very true and I appreciate your sociological perspective. I think both of them were victims of their culture and their circumstances, however. It has shaped them as humans and vampires, for better or worse.

      • #31 by IATM on June 21, 2011 - 6:12 pm

        But Godric could have fed his blood to the men or Eric.. But he wanted Eric as a child / just as Lorena wanted Bill as a child..

        so here we have different era’s with similar circumstances but yet very different..

        IMO, i think Eric’s last words to his Father ( who was King) ” i will revenage you” or whatever he said became a prioritory for Eric on TB..

        vs. Bill who was wandering the woods & hopelessly came across a Vampire in a little shack with dead bodies & even though his silly as$ was dying from starvation anyway Lorena turned him from meeting his Christian “God” if he would have simply died in war for his South or died on his way home..

        This is why i have a serious problem with the way AB portrayed Eric on TB..

        Bill as a character is portrayed to sappy to me ( for a better word to not offend Bill lovers)..

  12. #32 by Anonymous on June 21, 2011 - 6:51 pm

    Erik did agree to avenge his father, but it was his FATHER’S request. You can’t really hold it against Erik for honouring his father’s dying wish, can you? My point being that really even that violence was motivated by love.

    • #33 by IATM on June 21, 2011 - 8:16 pm

      oh i dont hold it aginst Eric for following his father’s request .. nor do i hold it agianst Bill for following the South request of the war..

      like i said above different circumstances & yet very alike/ similar.. it depends on how you look at pagen religion vs. Christianity . i too am a Sociology Major from College.. & basically the dramics & drama torwards both is not that different except for 1 concept.. & that is religion..

      under Eric’s concept of religion he would rather seek revenge for his family death/ murder.. & under Bill’s concept of religion he would have perfered to die under his religion ( no matter if he was on death bed from starving vs. Lorena killing him as HE looks at death)..

      in no matter am i a Bill Fan.. but the way AB portrayed the Bill on TB to Sookie has nothing to do with her molestation / upbrining/ family dynamyics..

      Sookie is a totaly different concept IMO..

  13. #34 by therecalcitrant on June 28, 2011 - 10:24 pm

    Finally! Someone who shares my kind of thinking! Oh thank you!

    • #35 by Kat on June 28, 2011 - 11:09 pm

      WELCOME and I am glad to share them!

  14. #36 by kyla Skretting on July 25, 2011 - 11:59 am

    I love this article you wrote so thanks so much for that, I am a huge Eric and Sookie fan so of course I want this to be true, From what i understand though Alan Ball is actually a fan of Bill and Sookie, he has said this many times but I am hoping he has changed his mind, he tends to go off trail from the books alot I dont know we will have to see, I really hope you are right

    • #37 by Kat on July 25, 2011 - 3:37 pm

      Well I think he actually has love for all the pairings…the entire story…. and so does Charlaine Harris. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t think that things should go in that direction for Eric and Sookie…that in the end Eric is what she needs and she is what Eric needs and the rest need something else.

  15. #38 by Sasa Zoric Bajaz on January 13, 2012 - 8:19 pm

    First of all I didnt read books and my comments are based only on TV show.
    I like to think more about wider picture,Bill betrayal at begging is really bad but he was on mission.
    He didnt know her and was doing what he was ordered to do.Later when he gets to know her and love he in fact betray his mission and his queen and risking true death.
    He risks his own life at cemetery to save her and by that he risk his own existence.
    In season two he and Sam saves her (it was his plan).
    When he is abducted in season 3. he dont tell a king what he knows about Sookie and again risk his life if king finds out the truth.After Eric sells out Sookie to king he kills vampire and attack king,he dont care for himself.If that is not true love I dont know what is.
    At this point he is probably thinking how to say a truth but he cant,because he would lose her meanwhile Eric use this to separate them.

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