Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Bill Compton, Protect Me

I told you I’d be blogging about “True Blood” again soon.

Well, in my last TB post I, not surprisingly, talked about the appeal of the vampire archetype. Obviously, vampire-wise, Bill Compton has it going on. He’s a real master of looking out of the tops of his eyes, he’s dangerous but charming, he’s half a beast, half a fine Southern gentleman.

As if that weren’t enough, the show lets him play a second and equally alluring role: the Knight in Shining Armor. A vampire in shining armor? Sure! You’ve seen it before in the pivotal and classic moment when Edward Cullen saves Bella from being crushed between two vehicles. The nifty side benefit of those vampiric powers is that they can be used to save damsels in distress.

And who’s in more distress than True Blood’s Sookie? The townsfolk think she’s crazy, the local young ne’er-do-wells are hot for her, and the neighborhood vampires have her in their sights. She may be brave and tough and spunky, but that doesn’t help when you’re outnumbered or outweighed by a hundred pounds. Or the assailant has supernatural powers.

Ah, but no worries: there’s Bill.

Bill, delightfully, is defined by the values and manners of the Old South (without that nasty racism of course). He is courteous, deferential, and painstakingly polite. And like any well-bred, properly-raised Southern boy, he puts women on a pedestal. They are to be watched over, guarded, protected, fought for even to the death.

No modern guy could behave in such a way—talk about politically incorrect. But due to his temporal displacement, Bill can get away with it with our blessing and admiration. Thank heavens! Because it’s absolutely wonderful and you’re not going to find a man like this anywhere in the 21st Century.

So Bill expresses his love for Sookie in Shining Armor fashion: vigilantly, and with preternatural thoroughness, he watches over her. When a threat appears, he’s on the scene in nearly the speed of light. He intervenes, wielding not anything so prosaic as reason, legal threats, or even a handgun, oh no…he wields his deadly fangs and supernatural strength.

Tell me, what woman doesn’t, somewhere in her soul if not all over it, want a man like this in her corner?

Not only that, but the passion with which Bill defends Sookie is so intense, it’s obviously not simply a matter of duty. It’s very, very personal, a fact reinforced when he employs the words “she’s mine” to fend off other vampires. [And I just love how the plot of this story makes it possible for a man to say of a woman, “she’s mine” and a woman to say “I’m his” and get away with it, with the female audience’s enthusiastic support. Very clever.]

Wow. So intense. The reaction of viewers to this show demonstrates to me that as great as the equality of the sexes is in nearly every respect, when it comes to sex and romance, a whole lot of us crave a trip in the Wayback Machine to the 19th Century. We’d love our own personal Knight in Shining Armor…or better still, a Creature of the Night in Shining Armor like Bill.


Janet said...

Not having seen the series, but having read all the books, I find your comments interesting. I like Bill. He is everything you mention, and what woman wouldn't appreciate such a gentleman?

Having read the series, and knowing the rest of the story about Bill and Sookie (so far), I can't wait for the next book.

I thought it was interesting that the video series was built on the first book alone, with the intention of doing one book a season. This, IMNSHO, is a great idea, because it gives the viewer a chance to get to know the characters and story in a more relaxed way than rushing everything thru in a short time, having to leave a lot out.

BTW: The audio version of the books are awesome, too. The reader does a magnificent job.

Happy viewing!

Diana Laurence said...

Thanks for posting all the helpful info and insights, Janet. I will most definitely be trying out the books as well. Very excited to enjoy Charlaine Harris's work!