“Cocky Viking to Sacrifical Hero” The Body Language of Eric Northman Part One / Season One

I am putting together a little treat to help us through this second torturous week ahead : – )

This will be a three part series that goes over Eric Northman’s body language Season by Season, Episode by Episode in which he appears:

Who is this cocky viking that started the process of stealing someone's girlfriend with the flick of the wrist?

Season One:

Fangtasia: 1×04 “Escape from Dragon House.”

We know from the first few looks at at Eric that his raw sexuality is what he normally uses to play others and command a room (and is his outward front in public since ), Eric uses his sexuality even in a business setting apparently (I still say this despite the fact that Eric’s business is a bar of course). Eric displays the “open crotch,” and that is often a conscious or unconscious expression of sexuality and male dominance (let us think he is showing off the “gracious plenty”  if you are a book reader).

Placing your hands-palms down on the arms of the chair during a conversation shows authority over the person/group (something we know Eric has and shows). However, instead of keeping a firm grasp on the chair, it is very loose and Eric even seems to be twitching his fingers while talking to Sookie (showing a symbolic loosening of that authoritarian face with in her and he is also showing nervousness, surprisingly ). Obviously, nervousness  around Sookie as well as a loosening of his authority around Sookie is something that he obviously would not be keen to reveal and something that is therefore not obvious to the audience (unless you are paying attention of course). The twitching of fingers can show general arousal as well. Having Pam behind him symbolically shows his willingness to let trusted individuals  “guide him” sometimes despite his authority (besides showing Pam “has his back,” though that would be obvious of any child to their maker in most circumstances).

Fangtasia: 1×07 “Burning House of Love”

Eric presses his fingers together, almost at a folded steeple. Pressing fingers in this manner can symbolize arrogance or deep thought, maybe both. Eric is probably very thoughtful about Sookie, because he insists upon her presence later and is presumably texting Bill about meeting her. Eric also carries a certain amount of arrogance in his bar, obviously.

Fangtasia: 1×08 “The Fourth Man In The Fire”

Putting his hands in his pockets during this situation means one of two things:

1. He is actually not very confident about the situation and his is very anxious about it. Maybe he is actually acting this way because he is anxious that Sookie is around 🙂 Or Eric is really depending on Sookie here! This also goes to show that even season 1 Eric had moments of weakness and helplessness and anxiety (maybe even as a result of Sookie : ). Maybe he was also anxious about having to  possibly deal with the human in question, since on the surface, he thought it was a human suspect.

2. This can indicate dishonesty or withholding information. In this case, it would indicate that Eric brought Sookie here simply to see her again because he already knew who the culprit was. In this case, it would indicate that Eric took extreme measures to see Sookie again, even at this point, which would indicate he is already developing feelings for her that probably went beyond the sexual aspect.

Fangtasia: “Plaisir D’Amour”

Eric keeps a relaxed and wide body posture with Bill (demonstrating his superior presence in the room). He also smiles, so he considers Bill’s presence in front of him and Bill himself quite humorous and not worthy of being taken seriously. Eric also leans back in the chair and leaning back in the chair is also a way of indicating superiority over the other person in question and can also indicate a generally large ego (something we know Eric definitely has but has earned in some ways haha but something Lafayette has as well but hasn’t entirely earned, yet we still love Lafayette and find him endearing in some ways). What makes this interesting is later on in Season 3, Eric makes it clear to Lafayette that he actually downplays his own ego/superiority when he is trying to be a salesman (work with others in a business setting) and does not normally expect the other person to adapt to him under those circumstances. Frankly, Eric thinks so little of Bill that he puts his full ego on display for him. This Eric was also less affected by outside stresses and his full on cocky viking shined through.  As a chess player, Eric knows that Bill’s own ego is so large that it would annoy him to submit to such an outwardly cocky superior (as a result, Eric might get under Bill’s skin enough to get a rise out of him and slip up, either by attacking him in some way or revealing hidden information).

However, the facial differences between the first picture and the second picture are striking. Eric goes from a face full of humor (the smile) regarding Bill, to a face of skepticism (raised/scrunched eyebrows, parted lips, tongue on the back of his teeth). This is interesting because Eric was already definitely questioning Bill’s motives and this evidence backs up Eric’s comments about “the possible edict to protect Sookie,” which he seemed to be questioning Bill about, indirectly of course.

Merlotte’s: 1×09 “Plaisir D’Amour”

Here, Eric displays a little aggression by leaning into this person that he hardly knows and widening his eyes in his face (once again, the cocky viking is the main side of Eric shown). However, Eric was possibly trying to make a point more than anything else. We have seen Eric display this similar face to those he is simply trying to make a point to, but never harm (like Sookie). At the very least, this just shows that Eric and Sookie’s willingness to get into eachother’s faces is very significant, especially if he is known to be obviously aggressive and scary when he is in someone’s face in this manner.

Covering the gential region (“gracious plenty” book readers) with his clasped hands and hanging arms indicates a potentially anxious position (he wants to get out of there, is tired of looking at Bill and Sookie’s love fest) or feels as if he is looking forward to Bill’s potential demise or is nervous about seeing the magister (no matter the circumstances). It could also indicate his subconcious/concious sexual desire for Sookie and is a “barrier” between him and her (his beginning feelings for her and his disgust at witnessing the B/S display of affection before Bill leaves).

Bill’s Trial: 1×10 “I Don’t Wanna Know”

Eric masterfully shows his authority and position in regards to Bill but simultaneously shows his submission to the magister with a slight head tilt.

Not surprisingly, Eric shows a little aggression toward Bill during the trial (staring/narrowed eyes, tight lips). He is opprtunistically trying to get rid of his "rival" through this.

Surprisingly, Eric displays a little concern or shock (wide eyes, slightly titled head) once it is known what Bill's punishment will be.

Of course, once Eric is concerned with playing to others, his cockiness is considerably lower yet he still plays it to those he considers inferior (i.e Bill). Eric’s aggressive face does in fact show that Eric was definitely trying to opportunistically take out his rival then (though I think Eric now realizes keeping Bill around as help sometimes is worth the hassle of having him as a rival as well, whether or not Bill feels the same way). It was surprising to realize that it seemed like Eric had feelings in regards to the nature of Bill’s punishment and was trying to conceal it (another indication that Eric might not have been quite as “heartless” as portrayed on the surface, even at this point in the show).

Fangtasia: 1×11 “To Love Is To Bury”

Eric attempts to sarcastically show Bill that "you need my strength, you are so pathetic" by touching his shoulder from behind and standing above him. He also literally and figuratively "looks down on him."

Eric commands the room with his sexuality again (w. jessica and Bill : ))

Eric does the "aggressive" in-your-face move with the wide eyes when making a point with Bill here with obviously no intention of harming him. Further proof that Eric mostly does this in an attempt to make a point ( while feigning total aggression) by using a little intimidation.

Bill’s House: 1×12 “You’ll Be The Death of Me”

Eric once again finds dealing with Bill humorous (his sly smile) and makes his point once again by showing agression with his fangs.

Season One obviously mostly shows the cocky/arrogant/opportunistic viking (the Eric who is concerned with showing his authority and power above all other things), finds dealing with  others that are beneath him/inferior humorous in all situations,  and uses his sexuality to manipulate others in most situations (male or female) and claim the room.

More importantly and less obviously and surprisingly, it shows an intelligent Eric who is already skeptical of Bill, an Eric that is nervous around Sookie,  and Eric that is nervous/anxious and not in control of an important situation,  an Eric that has to hide feelings about an innocent girl being forcibly turned by an unwilling maker, a vulnerable Eric, and an Eric that can be more bark than bite (using intimidation to make a point rather than following through on the aggression most of the time). All of this sets up the Eric of Seasons 2 and 3 of course…

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  1. #1 by pbt on September 5, 2010 - 5:22 am

    Thanks TTB. What I have said all along. Once the Viking met Sookie and Sookie laid eyes on the Viking it was instantaneous interest on both their parts. Whether they were both willing to admit it (neither would) it’s all there in their body language. Kudos once again.

    Can we do an analysis of Sookie’s body language around the Viking?

    • #2 by talktrueblood on September 5, 2010 - 5:27 am

      Thanks PBT!
      Twitching fingers! i loved it when I saw it!

      I would gladly do an exclusively Sookie post and talk about her personal thoughts in relation to Eric when i finish my Eric saga : ))

      • #3 by Elalia on September 6, 2010 - 10:23 am

        That was wonderful to read !!! once again u have shown great insight in this body language description.
        (by the way High 5 for the “gracious plenty” reference it was hilarious) Its true that since we don`t see much of Eric in season 1, only his “bad guy” stance in comparison to Bill.. one wouldn`t necessarily take much notice to his body language around Sookie… which subtle and minimal yet curious…
        I also agree with you on the aggressive in your face move Eric does… it shows how good he is at pressuring and influencing someone without having to resort to violence. I enjoyed season 1 very much and I was sure that something much deeper and complex laid under Eric`s demeanor which by now has clearly appeared to all the audience . I wasn`t sure about the taking Bill out of the equation thing at the tribunal, but i guess now that you point it out it makes sense…although i`m more inclined to believe that its more to piss off Bill than anything else ( which is great to watch ).
        Anyway thanks again for a new refreshing post to read this week while we wait for the finale, i was wondering how i would do until sunday (well moday for me…) Thank you thank you !!!!!

      • #4 by talktrueblood on September 6, 2010 - 5:54 pm

        Thank you Elalia:
        I think that Eric was having an internal struggle. His primal part of him wanted Bill gone but his rational mind saw Bill’s potential value.
        They were at odds with eachother.

        I am working on my second post now. I hope to have that out by tuesday and the 3rd post out by Fridaymorning to saturday morning.

  2. #5 by Bobsgran on September 5, 2010 - 12:07 pm

    Terrific TTB. It felt like I opened a surprise gift this morning reading your observations.
    I agree with pbt that it was instantaneous interest for both Eric and Sookie. Bill’s snark about her taking notice of him. Of course he could tell because he has had her blood and she his. Sookie’s quick, slightly nervous denial sealed the deal. Even though you didn’t mention it, because it was sooo obvious, I loved the eye f**k Eric gave Sookie when he asked her to sit with him. Look forward to the next instalment of your saga.

    • #6 by talktrueblood on September 5, 2010 - 5:17 pm

      awh thank you Bobsgran.
      I was hoping to keep some people entertained during the long break till Episode 3×12.
      It was instantaneous and she knew it, that is why she got
      Sookie is snarky enough to simply make a quick comment to those she is not interested in but hit on her, she does not get defensive or go out of her way to assure Bill that she doesn’t want that person:
      Like she said to Pam: “I am not in the mood for your lesbian weirdness.”
      Yet, she simply gets all clingy with Bill and her eyes get wide with Eric ; )
      (she is getting defensive. why? because she likes him and doesn’t want to haha.)
      Well I tried to focus less on the Sookie/Eric thing, atleast for now and mostly focus on Eric alone and what his body language said about him, not necessarily what it said about how he was feeling about Sookie (the nervous and anxiousness around Sookie in 1×04 said a lot about him and his progression as a character as well as the feelings about Sookie).
      I might have to do an Eric and Sookie Body Language post that goes all the way back to Episode 1×04 though!
      A replay flashback of sorts..haha.

  3. #7 by istier on September 5, 2010 - 1:47 pm

    Great post! I am looking forward to your analysis of season 2 and 3 when we see more facets of Eric’s personality.

    • #8 by talktrueblood on September 5, 2010 - 4:05 pm

      Thank you istier!
      I hope I don’t disappoint : )

  4. #9 by xenab on September 5, 2010 - 4:58 pm

    waiting eagerly for season 2 n 3 analysis now!

  5. #11 by Hime on September 5, 2010 - 8:16 pm

    Wonderful job TTB! 😉
    Let me say that I got immediately mesmerized by Eric’s attitude in s1. He was cocky BUT calm and he didn’t show too much aggressivity, the only way he used to intimidate people was to get in their face and look firmly in their eyes, but without showing his fangs (unlike Bill who always growls to people whe he wants to scary them).
    S1 shows an Eric who’s completely confident about himself, his power and his attactiveness. Eric is appealing, fascinating and all his gestures have something erotic in them.
    No need to say how much I love Alex’s portrayal. He found the perfect balance between humour and cockyness, sexyness and danger. His Eric reminds me of a big, powerful lion who moves slowly but in complete control of the surroundings. He dominates the scene without growling and gnarling but simply with his cold, relaxed presence. He can be scary with a single look of his eyes.
    I also find very funny that Eric is often with his hands in his pockets at Sookie’s presence. I liked how you explained that it could hide Eric’s anxiety to be in close proximity of this little human girl who confuses him and makes him feel unconfortable and weird. 🙂
    Also, loved how you described Eric’s attitude during the trial. I noticed his widened eyes when Jessica is kicked out of the car: he seems shocked and also a bit horrified and you can see that he’s not going to enjoy what he’s witnessing. He felt sorry for Jessica. This is NOT out of character: quite the opposite. Eric has a great respect for the dynamics between Maker and Child, for him this relathionship is sacred.
    He knows that Godric chose him because he wanted him; he himself chose Pam because he wanted her as his companion; he knows that Jessica is going to have an unwilling Maker and she will experiment the despair of being an unwanted child and you can see by the look in his eyes that he’s hurting for her.
    On last thing, when I see Eric’s behaviour during the trial I don’t see him as he’s trying to get rid of his rival. I see his attitude more protective than menacing towards Bill. Like when Bill is getting cocky with the Magister and Eric looks at him whispering “Bill”. It’s almost as he’s trying to stop Bill from putting himself in more shit than he already his.
    I look forward for your next piece!

    • #12 by talktrueblood on September 5, 2010 - 9:00 pm

      I love how he is doing the “striptease” with Bill and Jessica around while he is trying to make a point.
      Alex gets all sides of Eric, even in season one. He actually was telling people Eric “isn’t actually a
      total villian” even after/during season one.
      Oooo i love the lion metaphor.

      The hands in the pockets is a definite sign of anxiety or withholding feelings or information!
      I am glad you liked that point!

      I think it’s interesting that even Eric was having reservations about the Jessica punishment at that point.
      I don’t know the circumstances of Pam’s turning on TB but I am sure that Eric was a very willing maker
      at the very least (something Bill obviously was not) and I think he chose someone that would enjoy being a
      vampire because Pam seems really into being one. I think Eric also chose someone that was much better at
      controlling emotions than him (he thought Godric liked this, taught him this) but still had the same capacity
      for deep loyalty.

      I think Eric was trying to get rid of his rival in a way but did have an internal struggle about it.
      I think that Eric did half way realize Bill would be good as an asset despite being his rival but I think
      part of him wanted him gone (his id-
      taking from AP’s psychological descriptions) though his rational superego saw Bill’s value.
      It was an internal struggle.

  6. #13 by Freyja on September 5, 2010 - 11:19 pm

    This is great TTB 🙂
    Eric in season 1 was the cocky sexy sherriff, the business man. For many he looked cold and menacing, but that was/is his cover. Loved your take on the hands in the pocket 🙂 He did the same thing on the porch in 02.03, when Sookie berated him for teasing her about her engagement, I believe it was a nervous tick 😉
    Hime said it all really! Eric was like a lion, powerful, relaxed and you never knew when he was ready to pounch.
    About the trial… I think Eric didn’t like how this turning was done. I noticed that look right away when I watched the episode. It was some random girl snatched from her life. Not normal for his bloodline. Godric turned Eric while having watched him in battle for a long time, he gave Eric a choice to die from his wounds or become a vampire. I think that in season 2 commentary that it was Pam that wanted Eric to turn her, they had a sexual relationship before the turning. Eric might not have liked such a turning as Jessica had, it gave no choice to the maker nor the ‘victim’. For him a maker/child relationship matters the most.
    I think Eric suspected Bill’s intention for Sookie already in season 1, the way he talked about an edict.

    • #14 by talktrueblood on September 6, 2010 - 3:54 am

      Thanks Freyja!
      His cover will extends into the first part of season 2 but continues to show signs of unraveling when Sookie shows up in episode 3×02.
      Haha. I was going to bring up the hands in the pocket in that scene…

      I agree on Eric’s feelings about the turning obviously.
      I had not heard that particular commentary about pam or had not remembered. I will look again.
      I also wonder if they are going to place more emphasis on Eric possibly wanting to turn Sookie on TB like they foreshadowed in the season 2×09 dream.

  7. #15 by Sarah on September 6, 2010 - 10:22 am

    At the moment I am sitting in an Italien internet cafe thus my comment will be a short one. I only have to thank you for so much Viking go(o)dness!You made my day When I am back home on friday I will comment it more en detail.

    • #16 by talktrueblood on September 6, 2010 - 5:40 pm

      Thank you Sarah. I should atleast have my second installment up by then and by working on having my third one up by then or early saturday! : )

  8. #17 by sunnynala on September 6, 2010 - 1:51 pm

    Hi TTB! I always enjoy your posts on body language, but this one is superb! Thank you!

    This one:

    2. This can indicate dishonesty or withholding information. In this case, it would indicate that Eric brought Sookie here simply to see her again because he already knew who the culprit was. In this case, it would indicate that Eric took extreme measures to see Sookie again, even at this point, which would indicate he is already developing feelings for her that probably went beyond the sexual aspect.

    I think he WAS withholding information. I think he brought her there to test her abilities. No way he didn’t already know LS was the thief. He would have glamoured Ginger and found the ‘gap’ in her memory, suggesting a vamp had glamoured her and that could only mean LS. He set the whole thing up knowing the outcome already. If you notice Bill in this scene he’s almost rolling his eyes. It’s obvious even to him that this is a set-up to test Sookie.

    • #18 by talktrueblood on September 6, 2010 - 5:49 pm

      I am so glad you really liked this one Sunny.

      I was wondering to see who would be taking option one or option two in that sceanario : )

      I am glad to see someone that took the second sceanario into perspective. I agree wholeheartedly that you could very well be correct.
      Also, if you take Bill’s body language into account (as you pointed out), it makes that sceanario even more plausible!

  9. #19 by anna on September 6, 2010 - 7:26 pm

    It was worth going away for a few days just to find such awesomeness when I got back!
    I really love your body language posts and I’m looking forward to the next one. You’ve inspired me to watch S1 again, thank you.

    • #20 by talktrueblood on September 6, 2010 - 10:11 pm

      Thank you Anna!
      Im going to have both installments out before the Saturday/Sunday finale weekend so we can enjoy them and discuss before the anticipated finale!

  10. #21 by Eric is hot on September 7, 2010 - 9:43 am

    I can’t wait for the next post. You are so right about Eric. I am going to have rewatch season one at the end of this eason.

  11. #23 by Ella on September 8, 2010 - 1:39 am

    Eye-opening as usual. I can’t wait for the next installment.

    • #24 by talktrueblood on September 8, 2010 - 3:38 am

      Thank you! the next installment is here! haha

  12. #25 by BellaKarma on October 5, 2010 - 6:31 am

    Oh, I love this analyze so much! And I’m so glad that you brought up the look on Eric’s face during Jessica’s turning.

    • #26 by talktrueblood on October 5, 2010 - 2:09 pm

      Oh yes, it was one of the many hints that even season one Eric had feelings below the surface.

      Thank you for reading and commenting BellaKarma!
      Please come by anytime. I do my best to respond as soon as I can.

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