Though I was a fan of True Blood before I began reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, I have to admit that I like the Sookie of the book series MUCH better than Alan Ball's portrayal of the character. In Harris's novels, though Sookie does have superhuman powers, she is very likeable and--dare I say--relatable. I live in the South as well, and there is a girl like Sookie in each and everyone of our very small towns. You know, that girl who is beautiful but strange, so everyone else is a little bit afraid/jealous of her? But despite all of the set backs--her telepathic nature, the rude stares, the fact that she could never land an undead boyfriend, Sookie kept her spirits up. And though she did display a little bit of badassitude in the novels--such as when she saved Bill from the Rattrays--she is NOTHING like the character in True Blood. I love Anna Paquin, but she brings a certain bitterness and anger to Sookie that I just don't like. Instead of looking on the bright side, she often bemoans her situation and pushes her problems on everyone else. Am I the only one who sees this?
I have to look at them as two different things entirely. I, too, enjoy the Sookie, from the book more. She thinks, she tries to reason not just act, you can still see inheirited traits from Adele in her pride in her own strength and her 'house pride' and manners. I can enjoy the foul mouthed Sookie with all her quirks but do get a bit tired of some of the discrepancies between the two. The part I miss the most is the true closeness between Sam and Sookie. But, hey they are both entertaining enough to keep my interest.
Totally agree with soozeq54! I just think they're different enough for me to see them as seperate things. I like both for different reasons; with the books, you can read her thoughts and reasonings and her inner struggles, but in the show, it's more veiled, but I think you get more back story in the show and get to see more of the characters you don't see too much in the books. I think that they knew some people weren't going to be happy if they followed the books exactly, and some weren't going to recognize it if it was too different, so they kind of ride the line between the familiar and different. But like I said, I do enjoy both and hope they're going to do the story of Eric losing his memory from the novels!
I agree that TV Sookie and Book Sookie are separate characters, and I do like certain things about each of their personalities. As I said, the Sookie from the book is a lot more positive about her situation, while TV Sookie seems to be more bitter. However, I do like that Sookie from True Blood tends to be a bit more loyal and a lot less conceited. In the novels, Sookie was kind of...well...a ho, for lack of a better word. She constantly entertained the thought of sleeping with every man who crossed her path, and it got a little old. First there was Bill, then Eric, then Bill, then Eric again, then Sam, then Alcide, then this shifter named Quinn in Definitely Dead. It was just one repetitive cycle, and I got so tired of hearing about her sexual urges that I wanted to vomit. Also, it was annoying to keep reading descriptions of how "well-endowed" she was when it came to her breast size, and how tan and supple her skin was. Sookie from True Blood, while a little whiny and bitter, does not come across as being so self-centered. These are the qualities that I like about her character. And Ashley Ryan, I DEFINITELY agree with you about the upcoming fourth season! I hope that the story line of Eric getting amnesia and the witch coven terrozing Bon Temps will be the central theme of the next season. Bill is such old news, and I am really looking forward to Sookie and Eric becoming a couple :)
I treat the show and books as separate entities but I do believe Ball is beginning to butcher the core of Harris work. I think Allan Ball's version of every character is different from Harris and he changed the plots dramatically as well. I always felt that Ball should have chosen one or the other: either change the plots or change the traits. I have little faith in season 4 holding on to the great qualities of the books; he already infused book 5,6,7, and 10 in season 3.
Personally, I do not really care for either. Sookie was a little too naive in the novels, so much so that it made her out to be a slut. It was great how she was always willing to help but while she "thought" she was thinking things through, it seems like she rarely did. She agreed to help Eric any time for a human, who she did not know, life to be spared. She pegged herself as opened-minded, forgiving, and innocent but she would shift out of character too much. She assumed when Amelia said she liked women, she would want her and she judged Lafayette even though she said she did not. She never questioned Bill's affection, even after she found out he was sent there. But she always questioned her feeling for Eric, even though he "loved" her before he had her blood and they were bonded. She was conceited but oblivious.
I do hate show Sookie, I want to punch her in the face; of course I blame the writers/Ball. She starts out as sweet, innocent, and dependable. By season 3, no one can count on her: she missed countless hours of work, stop being a friend to Tara, and ignored Jason. She is a hypocrite: she put down Hugo for being addicted to vampire sex/love and her and Bill are the same way. Her entire relationship with Bill on True Blood is just annoying and bad.
It's hard to comment on Sookie of TV because she's barely in the show. Most of the screen times goes to Tara's lastest reason to complain, Arlene endlessly saying she hates vampires, Sam's trashy family and Hoyt's annoying mother. However, because TV Sookie can do more than read minds and follows her heart instead of her friends' prejudices, I tend to like her more. She also doesn't come out with corny lines like Sookie in the books, meaning I get less of an "a durrrrr" feeling when she speaks.
I liked Sookie in the first book, but came to find her annoying when she carried on more that Bill first pursued her on orders rather than that he dumped her for his maker and then raped her in book 3. The rape is never mentioned, but she sure carries on that Bill was ordered to date her. It's not a Sookie thing per see, but the author really made it seem like Bill never gave a crap about Sookie, making the first book which I loved a lie, then trots Bill out for Sookie to bash him while having him whine that he really did fall for her. Book Sookie never progresses in maturity or intelligence, she's like a child who can't change its mindset.
At least the one on TV seems to be moving from dim witted early 20 something waitress to at least expressing a desire to better her life when she and Bill discuss starting over. Yeah she misses work, the show would be really boring if it was endless scenes of Sookie waiting tables, but Sookie in the books isn't at work all that much either. TV Sookie demands money from the vamps for her work and that pays way better than being a waitress. Good for her!
Not to spoil anything, but the author let slip a truth about Sookie's future which really has me down on book Sookie and hoping that TV Sookie's writer creates a better one.
I liked TV Sookie better the first two seasons. She and Bill both had strength of character, which is what drew my interest. Then season 3 on, I felt it was like contrivance after contrivance to get her over to Eric for season 4. I didn't find the redefinition believable in either book or movie (the whole being sent back by the Queen to enlist her powers and waiting for her to be on the brink of death before saving her - I mean it's awful convenient that Bill knew as much as the author and that the Rats wouldn't accidentally kick her neck the wrong way and snap it or something). It feels like Sookie actually regressed in major ways in both show and book after briefly growing through season 2/living dead in dallas.
So here's what we know about TV Sookie season 3 on (in stark contrast to her earlier character). She constantly gets herself into trouble and demands her boyfriend magically know that she is and get her out or else her affections start waning. Also, she comes off as annoying and stereotype "dumb blond southerner", where she seems charming and intelligent in the first two seasons. Perhaps part of the problem is that they did not divert enough from the books. The draining thing felt just thrown in for the sake of shattering her relationship with Bill. In the books it's because the author lacked creativity with making Bill enjoyable/grow as a character and was more interested in moving on to Eric. On TV, it's because they half-follow the books even when they obviously shouldn't. TV Bill & Sookie were a much stronger couple and season 3 they just reverted to their book characters and became polar opposites of their tv personas.
Getting back to what we know about Sookie, we know that in Season 1/2 she's an intelligent, charming woman who goes for the guy who cares for her and apparently will do pretty much anything to save her. Season 3 on, she starts thinking about Eric, the guy who tortured her friend and repeatedly put her in positions to be either killed or raped for the sake of finding out who stole his money, or finding his maker, or recovering his lost crown. And then he buys out her house from under her so that he can own her. But wait! He conveniently loses his memory so that even though he's a total a-hole, he suddenly has a soul again. I don't care if she did suck silver from his chest once before, still doesn't seem believable.
I also felt that season 1 or 2 sookie would have been smart enough to hop in the front seat of that truck on Tara's lap or something, rather than sitting in back with an obviously starved vampire (or at least restrain him with silver). Also her dialog with debbie etc.. It's like they had her drop about 50 IQ points between season 2 and 3 in addition to reverting to the far less likable book characters (all of them). I also felt she would have been smarter about how she did things and that the plot would've shown her to use her brain more, but really the only instance of her being wiser from experience after telling Eric "I'll never do anything for you again." after he tricks her is when he specifically mentions it, rather than permeating her experience with people in general. The rest of the show, she just comes off as clueless which is a disappointment considering the direction things could have gone after season 2 if they'd gotten some real writers to build off those two seasons and ignore the rest of the rubbish from the books.
Really it felt like they built very strong characters the first 2 seasons for Bill & Sookie, and Eric the manipulative antagonist who pretty much uses everyone. Above and beyond the books I would say. The menaed/Sam/Tara/FotS plotlines were pretty useless, but that's ok because I skipped them after the first play-through anyway. Then it seems like they ran out of steam because the books turned to mud after that and all the plotlines the show writers came up with on their own were terrible (the shapeshifter family, werewolves, menaed, Fots, Tara's mom, etc..). Really, the premise of the show changed in season 3. First two seasons, it was about vampires coming out and integrating into society. Then it just turned into a generic tv action/drama/soap with lots of creatures that feels generic and uninspired.
Specifically, I found the premise that Sookie was just looking for a normal guy and that Bill was just trying to fit back in with human society a lot more interesting than all the vampire-politics. Vampire ragnarok, where they all seem to get killed off (in addition to practically every other supernatural they encounter) and everyone gets severely physically abused, is the complete opposite of the original premise that made the first seasons and first couple books interesting.