True Blood, the Sookie Books and The Black Dagger Brotherhood

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True Blood, the Sookie Books and The Black Dagger Brotherhood

Post  Aslinn Dhan on Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:32 pm

True Blood, The Sookie Books and The Black Dagger Brotherhood
A Vampire by any other name ….

Like the Twilight Books, I didn’t care for The Black Dagger Brotherhood at first. But with time and careful reading and I suspect a complete and utter disappointment with Charlaine Harris’ vampire world, I have re-established a contact with these books and I have found a new appreciation for them. So, it would be a normal thing to compare and contrast these stories for the reading and viewing audience.

The world JR Ward creates is a lot different for her vampires than the world of Charlaine Harris and True Blood and even Twilight. What she does is intriguing and steamy and full of military style lingo and fighting and of course, you really can’t have vampires who don’t have sex…and believe me, these vampires have sex….lots of it.

But let me organize this paper in a linear way so we can follow the differences of the books and True Blood. In a way, it is a shame Alan Ball or some other really great mind had not found The Brotherhood first. It has all the sex and romance for the girls and all the sex and fighting for the boys. In fact Barrister has quipped: “When do they find time to fight…they are always in the sack.”

But let’s delve shall we.

The Vampires:

The vampires of The Black Dagger Brotherhood (BDB) are a special species of creature that are in many ways human in that they eat regular food (mostly lamb chops and stews and turkey) and they have a heart beat and they are warm blooded. They sleep in the day and get up at night, though sleep is a relative term. Like vampires of folklore, they must be away from the sun and they have fangs, but this is where the likeness to the lore begins and ends. Otherwise they are not too different from us. They have some physical differences from us in that they have a six chambered heart and they have two livers but they have the same needs physically as we do.

They do drink blood and they need it to truly survive, but they must take the blood of another vampire of the opposite sex. This makes the race totally dependent on one another. They are born essentially human and remain that way until they are 25 years old and then they go through the transition where they have to drink the blood of a vampire of the opposite sex. This transition period can be dangerous and not all survive it.

They do have a pecking order. The vampires of the BDB have classes of people: The Chosen, who are the sequestered virgins who live in a protected plane called The Other Side and they are among the purest of the species. Then you have the first family which is the king of vampire society and their word is absolute, though he does have to follow the Old Laws, which have governed the vampire for centuries. Then you have the Glymera, who are the upper class and they are similar to the noble class. They are wealthy and powerful and they can be a burr in the side of the king.

Then there is the Brotherhood. These vampires were bred of the finest males to the Chosen and they are physically bigger and stronger and fiercer than the average male vampire. They refer to their genders as Male and Female rather than Men and Women which are human designations of the genders.

Then there are the civilians. These are ordinary vampires who live in their world and they work and live and love like all persons in this world.

In the Sookie Books and True Blood, the vampires are more like the traditional vampires. They are night walkers and they survive only on blood, whether it is human blood or synthetic. They procreate the old fashioned way…they turn humans. Drinking from another vampire is more about creating bonds but not about nourishment.

Sub Species of Vampire

Doggen- These are vampire like servants of the upper class. They have little identity other than the service they render to the vampires they work for. They are long lived but not as long as vampires. They can daywalk. I suppose the equivalent of this in the True Blood/Sookie book world are the Renfields Eric explained to Sookie. These creatures are humans who had been totally enthralled by their vampire masters. They are not supernatural and they are not close to being vampire but they may have sense of superiority to fellow humans because of their close contact with their masters.

Sympaths- these creatures, also called sin-eaters, are telepathic and they are psychotic. They have been known to capture vampire females and rape them and get young by them. The half breeds are equally dangerous. This sub species has been largely segregated from the rest of the vampire world and physically they could not pass for human. Largely hermaphroditic, they look like Kabuki performers with their ultra white skin, six fingered hands and red eyes. They can daywalk.

Shadows- these creatures are vampire and appear to be African in origin and they are able to become invisible and they are ferocious and tend to consume their enemies whole and they have a matriarchal system of law. They can daywalk.

In the Sookie Books and True Blood, there has been only one subspecies of vampire and that is the vampire-fae who was Warlow.

Enemies

Humans are not much of a challenge but they can kill vampires if they have a weapon but they better be able to move fast. Vampires can drink human blood but they do not get the nutrition they really need from human blood. Humans cannot be “made” vampire except for rare instances. Vampires can have sex with humans and sometimes get children with them. Half breed children of vampires have a 50-50 chance of becoming a vampire.

The Lessers- these are zombie like creatures who hunt vampires for extinction. They are turned humans who are now dead for all intents and purposes and they no longer eat and they are exclusively male and they are impotent. They can be killed only by driving a piece of metal into their chest. In one of the stories there was a vampire who was made a lesser and he was very disturbed and endowed with great power until he fell out of favor with the creator of the lessers.

Humans are the biggest enemy in the world of True Blood and the Sookie Books. The Fellowship of the Sun and then any other anti-minority groups are a danger to the vampires in the world of the books especially. On the show, the vampires have their problems, including the breakdown of the Authority, the hep-V virus that has zombified the vampires, and the sanguinista movement.

Vampire Society

Origins

The first vampires were made by the Scribe Virgin. She wanted to create a race that would have to depend on one another to survive, so the Maker (God in all his or her forms) allowed her to create her children and then gave her a single act of personal creation. The result was her twin children who were manifestations of not only her magikal gifts, but the aggressive nature of their sire. She is the deity of the vampire world.

The origins of the vampires in the world of True Blood and the Sookie Books seem to be the usual suspects of antiquity: Lilith/ Lamia and Cain in some sort of incarnation.

Religion

Religion has been on the down swing for some time because there has been no king for many centuries to call the celebrations. Their religion centers on the Scribe Virgin and are heavy with various symbols, mainly the apple tree and the owl.

They have sacred writings and they have their own prophecies. For example, Butch became a vampire called Dhestroyer because he can kill lessers in a very special way.

When vampires die they can go to one of two places: The Fade, a place of absolute bliss, and Dhund, a place of punishment. If the Scribe Virgin is the goddess, the Omega is her opposite, and if the vampires are her children, then the Lessers are the “children” of the Omega. The Omega is evil incarnate and makes his “children” by opening up the chest of human man and putting his black blood inside him and then removing the heart and sealing him back up. This makes the lesser come “alive”. Fore-Lessers, the Omega’s lieutenants, have a special relationship with the Omega who forces himself on them. The Omega is fickle and tends to lose interest. When a lesser dies, they go back to the Omega where they are tormented for eternity. There is also the in-between, a little known place where the spirits of vampires who cannot go on are until they simply disappear.

Vampires in True Blood have a religious movement, tied up in the Sanguinista movement and were mostly practiced within the Authority. They have their Vampire Bible which seems to be the basis of the Authority’s philosophy though like all holy books, the book is a matter of interpretation. The vampires of the Sookie books don’t identify with religion all that much unless they happen to still holds with the religious beliefs of their human lives, but many don’t.

Society

Like all societies, there are some groups that think highly of themselves, and the Glymera are the group who are viciously snobby. They demand perfection in their world: mentally, physically and spiritually. They are the wealthiest class and they tend to think themselves even over the king.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood are a society unto themselves. They are the equivalent of the Special Ops military teams in the human world. They live secret lives are necessary to keep them fighting for the protection of the vampire race. They are even secrets to the rest of the vampire world because lessers have a nasty habit of kidnapping civilians and torturing them to get information on the Brotherhood.

Vampires in the Sookie Books and True Blood are ruled by a king or queen of each state and they have sheriffs who keep the laws in each area. Wealthy vampires have more influence than poorer vampires but there does not seem to be a noble class. King or Queenship is based on whether you are strong enough to take and hold a kingdom rather than birthright. As vampires are out in the open in the Sookie Books and True Blood, much of vampire life is pretty much out in the open. The only thing they keep secret from the world of humans in their shadow government of kings and queens and sheriffs. Vampires in general have little or no respect for humans.

Vampire Gifts and Abilities

All the pure blood vampires in BDB can dematerialize. Beth and Butch can’t because they are half breeds. All vampires can do some sort of mind control, what we call glamour. Vishous can create a sort of camouflage called a mhis to cover the area to protect his brothers from exposure to the humans. Some like Vishous can read minds. Rehvenge and Xhex can read minds because they are also sympaths. Most can move things telepathically and control things around them. Some are more gifted to some things, like Vishous and Payne speak the most languages.

Families

Vampires in BDB create families like humans do, they procreate. Vampire males are fiercely territorial and they bond with their mates by emanating a very strong spicy scent that marks their mates telling the world this female is taken. Females go through a period of optimum of fertility called a needing period. This is a painful period which can only be salved with the ejaculate of a male. Vampire females go into this needing period five years after their transitions and every ten years after that. Females are pregnant for around 18 months and they have a high infant and maternal mortality rate. Some couples avoid the needing period all together by drugging the female for the two days the needing period lasts. All males respond to a female in her needing in some way.

Females are the treasures of the vampire world because they can have children and the Glymera do arrange some marriages or otherwise control the dating of the daughters to see to it they mate with a person who is of similar or greater status than they are. They are nearly cloistered and permitted to meet with males only for feedings and certain social events.

Males of course have some social latitude and they are often more sexually experienced than females.

The vampires in True Blood and the Sookie books can create their own sorts of families by making nests. Since they do not physically procreate, they create their families through the sharing of blood and a house. Vampires associate the most pleasure from feeding and sex simultaneously and they are very libidinous.

The TB and SVM books discuss the blood bond in some shape, though Sookie had more of a connection with Eric in the books than she even had with Bill. Still, if a human drinks enough of the blood of a vampire, they are linked and the more often they drink the blood, they can become bonded.

Love in all its various styles

The BDB is not an island where there are all straight families who have 2.5 children and the house and the dog. In fact they do have gay couples and some redefinition of gender roles going on in their world. Open homosexuality is not approved of in the Glymera, but in the rest of the world, gay couples are more or less accepted. This does not preclude the need to feed from feeding from the opposite sex; it merely means they must make arrangements to feed. There are also females who fight and are not bound by traditional notions of what is feminine.

In the Sookie Books and True Blood, there are gay vampires. And no one cares much…

Rabble Rousers

There are those groups who are willing to shake up the structure. The Band of Bastards are the ones who are the thorn in the side of the king of the vampires and may be the biggest stool pigeons for the Glymera (at least as far as they are concerned). They are another warrior group who are rogue and they don’t play well with others. Their biggest fault is their outdated mindset.

In the Sookie Books and True Blood, the Sanguinista movement was the rabble rouser movement, as they were actually backward thinking and sought to make themselves the masters not only over their fellow vampires but humans as well.

Characters wanted

So it is hard to compare the vampires in True Blood and the Sookie Books with the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. They are simply apples and oranges. The saving grace of the Black Dagger Brotherhood is they are always themselves, warts and all, and they do not hate themselves for what they are so there is no real angst there. Love seems to be the thing that saves most of them from their character faults and they become richer, stronger characters for the love they have found. But each personality of the Black Dagger Brotherhood is unique and well defined. So let me introduce you.

Wrath- He is the last of the pure bred vampires that is he has not a drop of human blood in him. He is the King and he is married to the half breed daughter of his best friend and fellow brother Darius. Her name is Beth and she could have gone either way, she could have transitioned or she could have stayed human. I like to think that if there is an equivalent to Wrath in TB and the SVM it is Eric because they are both keen fighters and they are heavy handed and fairly decisive…no negotiations.

Rhage- He is my second fave brother. I like him because he is funny as well as good looking and he is more patient than most of the other brothers. He has a wonderful wife in Mary and she loves him and everything about him, including his inner Godzilla.

Zsadist- Zsadist is my favorite. He has been through hell and made it out the other side. He is not unique in that he has had a tough pre brotherhood life, but he has had the longest road to recover. He is hardnosed and hard headed but I love him. He was a blood and sex slave to an evil mistress. He is married to Bella and they have a daughter Nalla. In some ways, I see both Eric and Bill as Zsadist. Bill more so because he was under the control of his maker Lorena for so long and this was considered a perversion, even to other vampires. Eric is like him some ways because he is closed off and when I read about Zsadist not liking to be touched, I thought about the scene in season two when Bill grabbed Eric by the arm and Eric looked at him and said: “I don’t like being touched.” Eric does the touching and you don’t touch him unless he invites you to. But, at the same time, you could say to some degree Eric was very much the creature of his maker who made him as not only his fellow warrior but his intimate companion.

Phury- Phury is Zsadist twin. Zsadist had been kidnapped at birth and sold as a slave and Phury spent most of his vampire existence looking for him. To strengthen him for his task, he took a vow of celibacy. That made him a real basket case as he tried to keep that vow even a hundred years after he found his brother. He was also addicted to drugs, firstly a potent sort of tobacco called the Red Smoke with marijuana like properties and had is highly addictive. He does flirt with harder human narcotics, namely heroin, but he does not get far into it. He also abused alcohol and many of the vampires do handle stress with either brutality or the drink. Eventually, Phury needed to be put out of his misery and thankfully, Cormia came along and straightened his ass up. Phury’s angst about being the hero and making everything right reminded me of Bill on some levels, especially the last couple of seasons while Bill was dealing with his religious fervor and zealotry.

Butch- We met Butch in the very first book and he is one of the rare occasions where humans can be turned to vampire. He is Red Sox fan and he is very south Boston and he is one hell of a guy with a candid sense of humour and a blunt manner I personally enjoy. He is married to Marissa who was married to Wrath once.

Vishous- He is one strange dude. He is the only begotten son of the Scribe Virgin. Because of that, he can read minds, see the future and he has a hand that would do serious damage if he didn’t keep it in a lead lined glove. His dad was the Bloodletter, a cruel son of a bitch who tried to castrate Vishous when his extra abilities were discovered. Thankfully he was not completely castrated. He has a taste for dominance and is not too picky about gender but found the love of his life with the human surgeon who literally held his heart in the palm of her hand, Jane. However, he once thought he was in love with Butch, his bestie… Vishous might have something in common with Eric in True Blood what with his carousel and his power shagging ways.

Tohrment- He is the family guy of the Brotherhood. He was the most content and the happiest of the vampires until his pregnant wife was murdered. He went away for a while and came back a starved and bitter and angry shell of himself I personally thought the brothers should have put down, but in the end, like all the brothers, he was redeemed by love he found in Autumn. It would be easy for me to say that Tohrment would be similar to Bill. I think the only true example of this was in True Blood when was remembering his human family and how much he loved him and how he was dragged away from them and when Bill was talking to Portia and he is explaining he could never love her, that love requires a young heart. This was sort of like when Tohrment was trying to understand his dawning affection for Autumn.

Payne- Though she is not a brother, she is a fighter. She is the twin sister of Vishous and she is very beautiful and feminine and all that but she is as aggressive as a brother and she can hold her own. She has some the same abilities as Vishous but she can heal with her light. She is married to a possible non-transitioned half breed called Manuel Manello who is a surgeon. She keeps him perpetually young with her light. Pam has a lot in common with the two female fighters of the group but fashion speaking she probably has a bit more in common with Marissa, who was a member of the Glymera and she was a fashion plate. At least they could talk shoes.

Rehvenge- He is not a brother but he is big enough to be one. He is a half breed Sympath who keeps his more destructive tendencies at bay with dopamine. He was the main drug dealer and pimp of the area until his identity was blown. Though by law vampires are supposed to turn in Sympaths to be sent to a colony, the brotherhood has decided to ignore Rehv’s situation and have actually brought him to live with the brothers. He is a strong fighter and he later becomes the Sympath King. He is married to Elhena, who is a nurse. He is also the love slave to his half sister, the full blooded Sympath bitch who is blackmailing him for rubies and sex where she does some pretty freaky shit to him. In this he reminds me in a way of Bill, especially in True Blood, where we see scenes of Bill with Lorena in the past and the whole hate sex he had with her in Mississippi when he was the prisoner of Russell Edgington.

John Matthew/ Darius Reincarnated- John Matthew was originally brought into the world all alone in a bus station toilet and was taken to an orphanage. When the BDB Darius, the father of Beth, died, he seeks intercession with the Scribe Virgin and she sends Darius back into time to be reborn in the body of the boy born in the bus station toilet. This convoluted explanation explains also how the Omega makes Lash his son. John is completely unaware of his bloodline and the trouble he might be in until he meets Mary and Bella and Bella recognizes him as one of her own, a pretransitional vampire. John was raped as a pretrans and he carries this secret for a long time until Lash found out and threatened to tell everyone.

Lash- He is a real asshole, but that is not entirely his fault considering his dad was the ultimate evil. Lash hates John Matthew from the get go and soon pulls Qhuinn and Blay into his little “I hate you” list. He captures and rapes Xhex for about a month. He reminds me of Mickey in one of the SVM books.

Qhuinn- Qhuinn is the younger son of a Glymera family who is the outcast because he is a chimera, a person with two eyes of differing colours. Anything that is less than perfect is worthless in the eyes of the Glymera. Quinn is a sex pot, a male slut who likes to have anonymous sex and is not too choosy about what gender the person is and who happens to be around to witness the sex but eventually sees himself mating a woman. His bestie is Blaylock, Blay, and though he is too stupid and afraid and has little or no confidence in himself, Qhuinn is in love with him. He has no equivalent really in the SVM/TB world at the time of this writing.

Blay- Blaylock is a gentlemale of worth who is from a wealthy Glymera born family though they don’t have much to do with those people. He is smart and brave and a good fighter but he is also gay and while that is not a bad thing, it a tough thing for him because of who he is in love with, and that is Qhuinn. Though Jesus was not a vampire, I felt that Blay and Jesus had something in common because they were both in love with a player.

Xhex- Xhex is a tough half vampire, half Sympath, like Rehvenge who has her own past and scars to deal with.  She is a trained assassin and she loves Rehvenge because it is for her Rehvenge is paying the blackmail ransom to the Sympath princess.  In many ways she has a lot in common with Pam, especially the loyalty thing to Rehvenge.

Trez- Trez is a Shadow and really committed to Rehvenge. He also loves Xhex and the only person he loves more than those two is he brother iAm.

iAm- iAm is a Shadow and is Trez’ brother and he is also betrothed to the s’Hisbe princess whom he has no interest in. To protect him, Trez finagles a deal with Wrath to go and fight for the Brotherhood for sanctuary in the King’s house.

So there you go, another pretty good series for you to dive into.

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Aslinn Dhan
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