Mar 3 2012 3:00pm

Why I’m Team Eric: The Appeal of True Blood’s Eric Northman

Alexander Skarsgard as Eric NorthmanI crack jokes about my affinity for all things Alexander Skarsgard, but I’m going to admit something to you: He’s not the reason I love Eric Northman.

I’d be falling all over myself for the Viking vampire regardless of who portrayed him on the hit HBO show True Blood. Sure, the Swedish actor is a bonus, but from the first time Eric appeared on the page, then on screen, he piqued my interest.

He’s dark and forbidden. Eric is more akin to what we expect from a vampire. Whether you came to meet him through Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels or on True Blood, there was a clear distinction: Eric is not like Bill.

Bill mainstreams. He plays human. Not Eric. Not ever. Eric is manipulative, which means he can work within the human world without losing part of himself. There’s no mistaking his vampiric nature. He doesn’t think of relationships to others, love, friendship, loyalty in the same terms we do. How could he?

Eric and Pam in True BloodEric thinks little of humans, but still is intrigued by Sookie. This isn’t insulting, but insightful. Time moves differently for vampires. If you’ve been alive for more than 1,000 years, the blip of a human lifespan is less noteworthy. It’s hard for him to understand how a connection to someone for such a short time could be life altering. It also adds to our understanding of his relationship with Pam. They’ve been together for a long time, and she understands loyalty the way he does. You’re in or you’re out with Eric, but once he puts you under his protection there is not an end point.

It’s a good thing to be his.

Sookie and Eric in True BloodI often hear others say that Eric doesn’t really love Sookie or that he’s controlling. This is the real beauty to Eric Northman; he loves completely and fully, but in a way that is entirely other. His love is more about protection. He’d do drastic, violent things on Sookie’s behalf. He’ll rip out hearts, kill superiors and generally cut a swath through the supernatural community if it keeps those he loves, especially Sookie, safe.

He also makes decisions he thinks will best protect her, even if he isn’t exactly forthright about it. He may not comprehend why his taking action to care for Sookie – without talking to her first – rankles the petite blonde, but there’s no question his behavior is spurred by sincere emotion.

Eric in True BloodEric doesn’t understand the human female mind so much, but he does know how to play her body. Let’s be honest, a thousand years of practice and all the oral skills that coincide will feeding the sanguine way make Eric a coveted lover. And, really, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention those skills.

With Eric we get fierce protection, dedicated loyalty, ancient love and toe-curling bedroom skills.

I plan on spending the next couple months waiting to find out where his and Sookie’s relationship progresses in the May release of Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse #12) and then seeing him get conniving and ruthless (and probably naked) in season five of True Blood premiering in June.

You in?


While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.) And, yes, she will tweet you pictures of ASkars, if you ask her nicely at @VampBookClub.

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1. Sue CCCP
I read the books long before the TV series, and I agree that Mr Skarsgard is merely gilding the lily that is Eric . . . mmmmm . . . Eric . . . sorry, drifted off and dribbled on the keyboard a little there. I have always found Bill to be somewhat boring and too good to be true, whereas Eric has that edge to him that keeps you on your toes.

I like to think that Bill is the idealized romantic partner we imagine when we are inexperienced teenagers, but Eric is what we want when we become women . . . it is somewhat similar to the difference between Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean: Bill and Orlando are there for the teens, but us grown-up girls will go for Eric and Johnny every time! :D
2. ChelseaMueller
I like to think that Bill is the idealized romantic partner we imagine when we are inexperienced teenagers, but Eric is what we want when we become women . . .
@Sue CCCP - I love this. Totally agree!
3. Jazzma18
Great article! I agree with everything you said. So true!
Sue CCCP, I agree with you, too. You got the difference between Bill and Eric to a tee!
4. Sue CCCP
Thanks! *blush* It's nice to know I make sense some of the time! :D
5. Angi Black
Since Eric first came into my life on the pages of Charlaine Harris' novels I have been 'his'. I love everything you said in this article and yes, it would be remiss to not mention his amazing bedroom prowess. For you TVD fans it's the same reason I adore Damon over Stefan(in print as well as screen), and Lestat over Louis(print only).
A vampire embracing his humanity is great and all, but any man in love will do that. It's the danger, the darkness, and the complete bad-assery of a vampire and how those characters bring it to life that draw you in and keep you coming back for more.
While it's true, Eric looks at humanity as a fleeting blip, he has stopped for Sookie. That in itself is complete devotion and he is willing to go to any length to prove it. Bill has always been, frankly, rather boring to me and he is conivving and self serving to boot!
Why anyone wouldn't be Team Eric is beyond me, and for those who say what about Alcide? Well, did I mention the bedroom skills???
6. ASfandancer
While I wholeheartedly agree that Eric Northman is one of the best characters book or TV show ever, I cannot in any way see any actor other then Alexander Skarsgård bringing him to life so beautifully.
7. Ana Claudia
Loved the article! Great!!! I love Eric in the books and the tv series!!! I adore Alexander, I think his really great as Eric!!!
8. Ana Claudia
Chelsea, I totally agree with you when you say Bill is the idealized romantic partner, and Eric is what we really want when we're more mature. Eric wants Sookie to grow up, I loved his line in season 4 when he says to her that she needs to let fairy Sookie talk more, it shows he's not afraid the woman she's becomming because he can handle her very well...both bedroom and intelectual skills make him the ideal partner for her.
9. maggiemay101
I do love Alexander Skarsgard in True Blood because I find Mr. Bill just a tad too whiny. Eric makes no bones about what he is as you've said. But he's not my favorite vampire, that title goes to Henry Fitzroy (played by Kyle Schmid) who is currently playing another vampire Henry on Being Human on the SyFy channel on Monday nights.
rachel sternberg
10. rae70
love the analogy sue! i totally agree! i have always been team erik! bill is bland.. and while he loves sookie, he isn't "there" for her in every way..
11. ChelseaMueller
@maggiemay101 - Oh, I've loved the addition of Henry on the U.S. version of Being Human. He is straight-up man candy.
12. pm
Go Team Bill! Hey, someone has to stick up for him! No, seriously, your analysis of the draw of Bill vs Eric is the best I've read. None the less, I guess I am still in my romantic phase and I just LIKE Bill. I think for me it is a first love thing. I just believe the one who truly loves Sookie is Bill. And I think, deep down, while Eric is fun, Sookie "knows" Bill is the one who will stay the course, long term.
13. CAHM
I am on the same page - Eric rules and Bill drools!

You rock!
Flora Segura-Buchler
14. fsbuchler
Great Article Chelsea! I am in total agreement; how can there even be a question here? All Eric, All the time!
15. JDanielle
I really liked Eric in the books before I even liked him in True Blood. There is just something about him ;)
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