I’m gonna vent…

DEA cover

I’m gonna vent a little. If you haven’t read “Dead Ever After” yet and don’t want spoilers, turn away now. I have a whole lot to say and I have a feeling a bunch of people aren’t going to like it.

spoiler-alert

First and foremost, I want to thank Charlaine Harris. She has created characters that, as a fanfiction writer, are so much fun to play with. I wish I had half the imagination she does and she deserves props from even the most critical fan for just imagining the Sookie-verse and bringing it to life.

Second, it’s her world and hers alone to do what she wants with it. Yes, she made Eric an irresistible character – sexy, handsome, sexy, smart, sexy… yeah. All that. Just like she made Jason a man-whore who eventually grows up and Sam the boy-next-door with a little something extra. And she made Sookie who she is. Sookie, while not traditionally educated, knows more than she ever wants to about the world around her. She deserves an honorary doctorate in human nature. After twenty-six years of hearing the worst of people from their own minds, being drawn to the silence of vampires is totally understandable. Bill just happened to be the first. And he was able to manipulate his way into her life and he hurt in ways that only those who had their heart broken by their first love can truly understand.

Then there’s Eric. For the most part, Eric was an enigma that (unlike show Sookie), she wanted to discover. He helped her with things she needed and saved her when she needed saving. She helped him when he needed her and she saved his pale ass a few times as well. They matched each other with vitality and a lust for life. There were a lot of things about Eric that would have made him perfect for our heroine. The things that didn’t… those were doozies. Okay… she would age and didn’t want to be a vampire. He could watch her grow older and eventually die or turn her by force: neither an appealing option for either party. Also, his bastard of a marker essentially sold him in marriage to Oklahoma. He was powerless… not a familiar sensation for the Viking. And then there was that whole amnesia thing where he forgot about his pledges to her for around a year. Knowing and remembering are two very different things and he had to be unhappy about two weeks out of his life were an essential black hole.

Moving on to lover number three… Quinn. I also don’t get the fanfic hate on the tiger for the most part. Yes, he called her “babe” which can get annoying. Yes, he kept his silence when Nevada was planning the coup. BUT, as Felipe and crew were threatening his sister and mother, what the hell else was he supposed to do? I’ll say it loud and proud: my family will always come before a tantalizing piece of ass, no matter how yummy it is. I may not love the guy, but he’s not the dick he’s often written as.

Lover number four – Preston. I honestly don’t know enough about him to have an opinion. Niall is creepy for wanting his great-granddaughter to get laid for Christmas. Nuff said.

And Sam is in the wings… watching and waiting. The wild animal in him had a good time with the maenad and he got down with the psycho Jannalynn, despite the age difference and her bloodthirsty tendencies. He kept the torch burning for Sookie, no matter how she used him or disregarded his affection. He saved her ass multiple times (for an exact count, I’d have to reread and all but the last two books are still packed in storage), usually with very little thanks.

So people are all huffy that Sookie ends up with Sam. You know what, I might have been a little grumpy about that detail when I read the book. But you know what else? Eric was a colossal dick to her also. He only helped her conditionally and expected her to be all lovey-dovey after he publically disrespected her. Yeeeaaahhh… I know a bunch of you are yelling at me: “He didn’t have a choice!” I agree… he didn’t. But you know what… Sookie did. Sookie had the ability to leave the man who expected her to be his mistress in another state, taking her away from her friends and only family, knowing that if his wife were to find out, she’d likely be killed without a second thought. Sorry… but I can’t imagine sex good enough to risk death.

Then there’s sweet Sam. Now, anyone who has read my stories knows that I’m an Eric fan through and through. But this is Charlaine’s world and brava to her for not letting the readers’ love of a fictional character sway her from her original plan for a story. In her world, having Sookie fall for Sam makes perfect sense.

After I read “Deadlocked”, I might have sworn to burn my books if Sookie ended up having puppies with the shifter. I retract that statement. Having Sookie and Sam as a couple in Charlaine Harris’ world makes sense.

It doesn’t mean that we fanfic writers won’t take her ending and twist it to fit our need for Sookie to be with Eric. However, vilifying an author for doing what she feels is right for her characters just isn’t right, I know it’s not an opinion many of my fellow fanfic authors share, but for them I have a question: How would you like your readers to dictate how your characters should act? Would you bend to accommodate them or would you stand by the story in your head and write how you feel. I know I’ve bent to public pressure before and never liked the result. As such, I stand by Mrs. Harris’ decision. Congratulations on closing such a beloved series without caving to popular opinion.

8 responses to “I’m gonna vent…

  1. Brava, Ali. Couldn’t have said it any better. I would just like to note to those who have been damning this book, almost to the point of calling for public book burnings, to please read it first before continuing their very misinformed criticism. By repeatedly & continuingly judging DEA without having read it does not give another reader an informed opinion. It only spreads further maliciousness about the author, and as you very well state, this is not something any writer of FF should want in return. As a former writer, I couldn’t do this to another. Not only is not my style, but I never write bad reviews, especially to FF writers. I don’t even write them wearing my professional hat! Positive feedback & reinforcement provide more confidence & ambition to a writer than the most negative of reviews. Writers ARE human, and they enjoy having their work validated & rewarded. Every writer on this site with a blog, or FF, or any other FF site knows the difficulty of digging into one’s imagination to produce a story that’s pleasing to themselves even before posting it for the fans.

    Now imagine you’re a contracted author of an entire series with a completely laid-out plot under a deadline.

  2. I really do get what you say and applaud your bravery at putting it out there. BUT, I think what the E/S fans are most upset about is not just the fact that the couple CH ( who had a romance for most of the series) don’t end up together, but that she gives Eric such a cruel ending.
    CH may have intended the series to be mysteries, but the way she wrote the couple and in the readers eyes it was more of a romance. To not have the main couple end up together after 13 books is a cruel twist that’s hard to swallow.
    As a writer I agree about not letting your readers dictate your direction, but CH has got to be crazy to think the fans would accept her settling for a friend.
    Personally I feel like she led us on a merry dance like the Pied Piper, only to throw us in the river rather than give us a happy ending which we were all built up to believe was coming.
    She not only let the fans down, Eric and Sookie too.

  3. Appreciate your point of view. Wish I could feel like you. But I just don’t. Charlaine Harris deserves vast credit for what she had created. Her world is an amazing place and I love it. It was such a masterpiece of alternate reality. The Ferrari of alternate realities really. But then she took that Ferrari and drove it at top speed into a wall. She made us emotionally invested in her characters ( wow what an amazing achievement as well), and made them so real you felt like you knew them. She took them from their original lives, made them do amazing things and experience tragedy and triumph, love and heartbreak. They went on an amazing journey through 12 books. Then she put them right back from where she took them in book 13. Character growth and wisdom = nil (in fact Sookie is a not particularly good or likeable person anymore). Everything we had grown to believe in the previous books; not true in book 13. I could do a list but I think we all know whereof I speak.

    Ms Harris does not live in a bubble. She knew good and well that she was taking her readership on a journey. She should want most people to love her books and give them longevity, something to remember with fondness and awe (J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter anyone?), but she did not. She ruined it all with where she took us. I think her name will live on in infamy in terms of what an author should not do. It’s a darn shame.

    In terms of future publications, Ms Harris just killed her career. I would not want to become emotionally invested in one of her amazing fictional characters ever again for fear of similar disillusionment and disppointment. How sad.

  4. For me, the issues with DEA had almost nothing to do with Sookie & Eric not being together at the end. Having heard interviews the author gave where she said she didn’t understand why the fans like Eric so much and that being bitten by a vampire would be awful it was pretty clear that the romance she built up over many books was doomed. And looking at the male options in Sookie’s life, Sam seemed to be the default choice for her. He’s a likeable character who demonstrated he genuinely cared for her. And since we now know he was the one she planned for her to end up with from book 2 on, I think she owed it to her readers to build a story arc that led us to Sam and made it feel good.
    Sookie comes across, at least for me, as a bigot in this final book. Which is so far from what she was at the start.
    Another thing that bothered me were the inconsistencies. Charlaine Harris created the world and set it’s parameters so the reader should be able to trust that what has been defined is true. So we go from Sookie being able to hear Sam in previous books (and the short story she wrote that takes place after DEA) to now Sookie can only get emotions from him. It’s true that shifters and weres are harder for her to read, but there are many examples through out the series of her doing just that. Harder to read yes, but still she reads them, and it’s enhanced by touch. Which makes intimacy a bit of a challenge. Given her telepathy, a shifter or were seemed to be the only options for Sookie if she wanted to have a family, so Sam does make sense.
    The use of the Cludviel Dor as a magical instrument that effects how Sookie feels about Sam is a huge problem for me. She wrote Sookie hating and mistrusting the blood bond for many books and finally severing it so she could be sure her feelings for Eric were genuine. Yet at the end of DEA she’s okay with the fact that the fairy love charm may be why she feels something more for Sam. This is so out of character that it defies logic.
    I think the way she handled Eric’s fate in this book was incredibly cruel. Bill told Sookie in the previous book that if Eric refused to marry Freyda he would be killed. Not much of a choice there. And his desperate attempts to get out of the contract were addressed in the previous 2 books.
    He had to give up everything in a forced marriage. Not just what he owned, but his children as well. This was a huge thing for him. Remember the conversation he had with Sookie in Fangtastia when he was telling her about his maker? It was clear in what he said that he hated being subservient and forced to do what Appius made him do. And that he would never want that to happen to Sookie.
    I’m sorry if this coming across as argumentative. This is your blog and this subject is one that lovers of this series can passionately disagree about. I think one thing we all agree on is that we love this world and the characters in it that the author created. I think that Charlaiine Harris gave us a wonderful gift. And I am forever thankful for the wonderful writers like you who create new adventures for the characters we have come to love.

  5. I agree that it’s her world, she’s welcome to end it anyway she sees fit. Like you, I also don’t get all the “Quinn hate” that goes around fan fiction. Sure, I’m glad he and Sookie didn’t have a longer relationship. Yes, I found him annoying. But, I also found him to be an interesting character. And I can honestly admit that I felt pretty bad for him when his female tiger mate went and decided that she didn’t want him to continue to be around after she had a little tiger with him.
    I can admit that I am in awe that Charlaine Harris was able to create this entire world simply from her own imagination. And, yes, I’m grateful for the wonderful storyline she dreamt up. What upsets me is that this ending feels so spiteful. I’ve read interviews where CH said that she’s been very upset that there have been readers who have tried to dictate to her how she should write her stories. And, yes, I’m one of those readers who thought “Hmmm, I would’ve been happier if something else had happened.” That’s my right as a reader. However, that doesn’t mean I have the right to write her a letter telling her what to do with HER novels, and that certainly doesn’t give me the right to threaten her if the story doesn’t go the way I want it to. The people who have been doing that are just plain rude and disrespectful. But, CH’s reaction to that I think leaves a little to be desired as well. I realize that I may be wrong, but, it honestly feels like she ended the things the way she did simply so she could say “Ha!, So there!” to all of the readers who tried to tell her what to write. She should write the end however she felt the characters deserved to have it. My problem is that she didn’t do that, instead decided to simply end things in the way opposite of what the readers were asking for simply so she could show them that she doesn’t have to bow to them. Sure, that sentiment is true, but don’t ruin the end of a series just to prove it.

  6. I agree that as the author / creator, these are her characters and she can do with them whatever she likes. However, one thing about all of this, is the simple fact that she has come out before the release of the book, with her excuses (sorry, justifications) at the ready. Why? Is it because she knows that this is a sloppy poor excuse for an ending to a previously amazing series of books?

    For me, it wasn’t WHO Sookie ended up with, but rather the way it has been delivered. The last couple of books have felt rushed and snatched – like she knows she needs to tie up so many threads of story and has grabbed them to tick them off her list.

    As someone who has been totally captivated by the whole Sookieverse in its entirety, I have (like everyone else) overlooked the errors within the books but I just can’t swallow the whole new Sookie that emerges in the last book. I have to admit that I did find myself wanting to slap her hard in Deadlocked, but I still never thought that she would become so bigoted. IF this Sookie was there in the beginning, I wouldn’t have read beyond the first couple of chapter of Dead Until Dark!

  7. I admit I haven’t read it. Hell I didn’t even read deadlocked because I knew after dead reckoning that it was all going down hill. I’m sure they’re both awesome books but after hearing the spoilers for DEA I just couldn’t handle it. Hell maybe I got a little too invested in the sookie and Eric relationship, so sue me. The fans have a right to be pissed, for 10 books she built up their relationship till they had that one perfect moment in dead in the family and then in the last 3 books she throughs that all away just to have sookie settle for Sam. I may not have read the books but I have read reviews, and one of my favs summed it up like this… if CH had written harry potter she would have Harry back under the dursleys stairs, voldemort living across the road, Ron and hermoine dead, and Ginny off married to someone else…

    Also I love your fictions, keep up the awesome work 😀

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