You probably are already aware of this if you are in the True Blood/SVM fandom, but in case you are not, a German fan got ahold of Dead Ever After and has posted the end as far as who Sookie ends up. Details of the spoilers are here. My feelings about it below the Read More.
So, first question to address is, do we think this is a true spoiler? The ladies at Eric & Sookie Lovers are vouching for the person who revealed the ending as legitimate. There is also the fact that Charlaine Harris had already announced that there would be no press tour for the book because she was expecting unhappy fans, as well as this comment today from Charlaine herself:
By now some of you know that a reader in Germany obtained a copy of DEAD EVER AFTER and decided to post the ending online. While this is unfortunate, I wanted to say this to all of you: Even if you *personally* are unhappy with the ending, please don’t spoil it for other readers. DEAD EVER AFTER goes on sale on May 7th; after that date, you are more that welcome to come here and tell me how much you like – or don’t like – the choices I’ve made for Sookie. But from one Sookie fan to another, I’m asking you all to please not spoil the book for other readers. Thank you so much for your continued support.
So, IMO, that confirms that the spoiler as posted is most likely valid and that was the direction CH did want to take the story. I have a teeny, tiny splinter of hope that is is wrong but I’m honestly not counting on it.
I will admit that I am personally VERY disappointed, not only because that is not the ending I was hoping for, but because I personally didn’t see the narrative I had read up through Deadlocked as supporting that ending adequately. I know that CH does not write romance but mysteries, so I knew it was a real possibility, but it still feels like she didn’t need to spend so many books building up the idea that Sookie had truly fallen in love with Eric and vice versa and then have it end so badly. At least, it sounds like it ends badly to me. I have read enough details to know that while I may eventually read the book when I’ve let go over the personal investment in the storyline, I’m definitely not paying the current cost of either a hardcover or a digital version upfront only to be hurt that way. I enjoyed the character of Sookie, but I’d rather her see her alone than settling for Sam, even if it is more “realistic.”
All of that said, I should be clear that while I read all the books and enjoyed the books up until this point, I have never been someone that viewed the books as my preferred version of the Eric and Sookie story. While there was some overlap between the first season of True Blood and the SVM books, it has been my opinion that book Sookie and show Sookie are two different characters, as are book Eric and show Eric. While I initially liked book Eric better than show Eric because he was more relaxed and humorous, show Eric has taken his place in my heart since the end of season 2. While I know most people seem not to have liked the relationships between Eric and Sookie between seasons 3 and 5, I actually loved season 3 and 4 Eric and Sookie, at least up until Sookie said she still loved Bill.
One reason I loved the show’s take on the amnesia storyline is that it was much more emotionally engaging for me than the CH version. In CH’s version, it seemed to me that it was all about Sookie’s chance to have hot sex with Eric but not anything much deeper than that. In contrast, True Blood made a point of making it all about the love that developed between the two. While the sex was hot, the essence of it was clearly about the two of them making love, right down to the cheesy Narnia scene. Not always gracefully handled, I admit, but still more emotional resonant for me as a romantic. And for Eric to openly admit that when he got his memories back he still loved Sookie? Amazing and deep for me, compared to what happened between book Sookie and book Eric in the immediate aftermath of his staying at her house.
I also feel that it was a positive sign for the ship long term that of all the choices the writers would make to break season 4 Eric and Sookie up — which I was convinced they would do because we were not close enough to the final season yet — to make it something that does not demonize Eric was the best possible outcome. They could easily have made Eric do something unforgivable once he had his memory back which would have excused Sookie’s decision, but they did not go there. (And I personally feel that the situation with Nora was NOT a deal breaker, since Eric and Sookie had clearly split up by then and it sounds perfectly reasonable to me that someone would have “consolation sex” with someone else after being dumped. I didn’t like it and still found it incredibly painful to see on screen, but I can understand and forgive it. I suspect that Sookie will eventually feel the same when she learns about it. And I am convinced she will, probably just as she’s beginning to want to get close to Eric again. This is traditional soap opera formula, and True Blood seems to me to be following that model more than any other genre.)
In a similar vein, I know a lot of people have complained for many years that the show did not follow the books closely enough, but that does not particularly bother me at this point. They actually have made it more possible, IMO, for Eric and Sookie to be together long term. Sookie’s fae heritage is more powerful in the show, essentially making her more supernatural than human. Since the fae age at a different rate, I suspect we will eventually learn something along the lines that if Sookie fully embraces her fae powers and somehow ingests more light, she will live longer than a normal human, thus taking care of the problem of her human life span and Eric’s immortality without actually turning her, which CH made clear was not going to be resolved by Sookie being made immortal in any way. That they have left the door open for it on the show is encouraging.
It is clear even from season 5 that Eric still loves Sookie very much, despite trying to revert to who he was before he met her because of his pain over the breakup. Similarly, Sookie still obviously cares about Eric, despite her decision “not to decide” between Eric and Bill. But if Bill is no longer an option (and I still think that is a real possibility because of Billith) then I think that clears the way for Sookie to want to be with Eric again. That said, I predict that when she decides to do that, there will still be angst because she is not going to be happy when she finds out he slept with Nora. I expect that to be a temporary bump in the road, however, since I feel it was excusable on Eric’s part.
In more practical terms, I am curious to see what happens if many people cancel their orders for Dead Ever After once they know the ending CH wrote, something I suspect is already happening. I’m assuming that the True Blood showrunners will be interested in the fan reaction to that particular ending, and if they have common sense — and I am unusual in that I have not given up on that prospect like many other viewers– they will know that what most fans want is for Sookie to end up with Eric. This is where the fact that the show and books have diverged so completely are now to the Sooric-lovers’ advantage — True Blood can do whatever the heck they want as far as Sookie’s romantic relationships. It can — and I’m convinced WILL — have a different ending than the books did, and I think they can learn from the debacle of the books’ endings about what fans want to see.
Finally, as disappointed as I am in the book series’ apparent ending, I am personally still taking a lot of pleasure in the show and in particular in the Eric and Sookie relationship, which I do not see as over yet. I’ll keep posting show spoilers and writing Eric and Sookie fanfic that, although originating in show canon, is absolutely intended to give my favorite vampire and his fairy telepath a happy ending that I want to see. There are also many, many excellent fanfic writers out there who understand and share our love of Eric and Sookie — and share their stories for free. Embrace it, and let those stories be the ones you choose to read.
And although I’m sure many people will think I’m being overly optimistic about the outcome of the show — as I clearly was with the books — I’m not going to give it up until the last episode puts a nail in it. YMMV, but I am sending out my love to all my fellow Sooric shippers who are feeling the pain today. I’m with you and sorry that we’re all feeling the disappointment.