Literature: The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries aka: The Southern Vampire Mysteries
The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries, also known as the Southern Vampire Series, are a series of best-selling novels by Charlaine Harris. They take place mostly in and around the town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and are written with a distinctly old school Southern Flavor, including some of the consequences of living in that part of the country.The main character, and the one from whose point of view the stories are told, is Sookie Stackhouse, a very pretty waitress at a popular bar in town, who is also a telepath. Sookie's world is one where, two years before the first book's story begins, the Vampires came forward,introduced themselves to the world at large, and began walking among regular people. Sookie's boyfriend Bill is a vampire, so chosen because she cannot read his mind and thus finds it comforting to be around him. Due to the vampires turning up in Bon Temps, murder soon follows, and Sookie's relationship with Bill and the politics thereof causes her to get mixed up in solving the mysteries.An HBO series called True Blood has been made (very loosely) based on the books.
Books and short stories in the series are as follows:
Dead Until Dark (May 2001)
Living Dead in Dallas (March 2002)
Club Dead (May 2003)
Dead to the World (May 2004)
"Fairy Dust" in Powers of Detection (October 2004)—Introduction of Claudine's brother Claude, and posthumous introduction of their sister Claudette.
"Dancers in the Dark", a novella in Night's Edge (October 2004) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)—Introduction of Sean and Layla, later seen briefly in All Together Dead.
"Dracula Night" in Many Bloody Returns (September 2007)
Dead as a Doornail (May 2005)
"One Word Answer" in Bite (2005)—Introduction of Hadley's death & Mr. Cataliades, Waldo, and Sophie-Anne Leclerq.
Definitely Dead (May 2006)
"Tacky" in My Big, Fat Supernatural Wedding (2006) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)—Introduction of vampires Dahlia and Taffy, and their husbands Todd and Don. (Dahlia is later seen alone in All Together Dead and with Taffy in "Dahila Underground" and "Bacon".)
All Together Dead (May 2007)
"Dahlia Underground" in Crimes by Moonlight (April 2010) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)— Features the vampires Dahlia and Taffy
"Lucky" in Unusual Suspects (December 2008)
From Dead to Worse (May 2008)
"Gift Wrap" in Wolfsbane and Mistletoe (October 2008)
Dead and Gone (May 2009)
"Bacon" in Strange Brew (July 2009) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)
"The Britlingens Go To Hell" in Must Love Hellhounds (September 2009) (a Sookie-universe story without the character of Sookie Stackhouse)—The Britlingens were previously introduced in All Together Dead.
A Touch of Dead (October 2009) (a compilation of some of the Sookie-universe short stories: "Fairy Dust", "One Word Answer", "Dracula Night", "Lucky", and "Giftwrap".)
Dead in the Family (May 2010)
"Two Blondes" in Death's Excellent Vacation (August 2010)
Dead Reckoning (May 2011)
Deadlocked (May 2012)
Dead Ever After (May 2013) - The final book in the main series.
After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse (October 2013) a "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
This series contains examples of:
Accidental Marriage — In book 9 Eric arranges for Sookie to present him with a knife used for weddings in front of the Nevada manager. This in vampire terminology seems to mean that he and Sookie are married. Sookie is not told about what this means ahead of time.
Achilles' Heel/Kryptonite Factor: Every supernatural creature has one. Garlic and sunlight for vampires, naturally. Silver for both weres and vampires. The Fair Folk are of course weak to Cold Iron, but are even more violently allergic to lemon than vampires are to garlic, something Sookie takes advantage of when a fairy tries to kill her. Demons are apparently weak to steel.
Action Girl - Sookie. (How badass is killing someone with a garden tool or breaking someone's knee with a baseball bat just to get them to back off?) Pam. Most vampire women, the demon girls...
All of the Other Reindeer - The rest of Bon Temps, despite being aware that such things as vampires exist, largely disbelieve in Sookie's telepathy, and think she's just weird, crazy, or stupid. Those who do believe think she's a freak and treat her only with civility because it's impolite to do otherwise...or because her talent is useful to them.
Angsty Surviving Twin: Claude is the last one of his siblings who survives, and develops quite a personality shift; deciding to stay behind on Earth after most fairies decide to go back to their own realm and hangs around with Sookie because she's (almost) the last surviving fairy family member he has left.
Anyone Can Die - No main characters yet, but as the books go on, supporting cast members are dropping like flies...
Arbitrary Skepticism - Vampires exist and are known the world over as such, though they've managed to convince people that it's a medical condition and not supernatural in nature. But even with this knowledge, people don't believe in Sookie's telepathy, or in any of the other supernatural entities roaming the earth.
"...on Debbie Pelt, whom I despised because she had been cruel to Alcide, insulted me grievously, burned a hole in my favorite wrap and—oh—tried to kill me by proxy. Also she had stupid hair."
Asshole Victim: Crystal, although the actual people who had crucified her were not the same people she had wronged.
Badass Normal: Sookie Stackhouse. Though she doesn't have any supernatural abilities beyond the ability to read human thoughts, she believably comes out on top of countless dangerous situations through practicality, resourcefulness, intelligence and a refusal to back down or sit on her hands.
Blessed with Suck - Sookie's mind reading not only gets her embroiled in vampire, werewolf and faerie politics in turn - exposing her to horrific violence - it also prevents her from forming close relationships with humans, since she can literally hear every thought that passes through their head and it's extremely hard for her to even dampen the effect.
Big Fancy House: Belle Rive, the Bellefleur home. It is actually gradually falling apart at the beginning, but Bill finds out that Caroline Bellefleur is a descendent of is, and secretly sends her some money. Caroline has lots of fun restoring Belle Rive to its former glory.
Bi the Way - The revelation of both Sophie-Anne and Pam's bisexuality is very offhand, not to mention Amelia.
Brainless Beauty: JB du Rone, who is at least as attractive as Jason, but is much more dull.
Brother-Sister Incest - You could easily miss it if you weren't paying attention, but Sookie mentions seeing the two fairies who torture her in Dead and Gone having sex. Claudine later reveals that they're brother and sister.
Bullying The Dragon: The Fellowship of the Sun likes torturing and killing vampires. Drainers hunt them too, in order to drain their blood and sell it. The fact that vampires have severe weaknesses to silver, sunlight, and wood-to-the-heart (it need not be a stake; stray splinters can kill one) evens odds a bit, though.
Bury Your Gays - Several examples, unfortunately. Lafayette, Adabelle Yancy, Mel, Hadley Stackhouse (who was probably bisexual, but the trope still stands)...
Cat Fight - Both played straight and averted, as the people who frequently kick the daylights out of Sookie are either supernatural and consider humans beneath them; or are thugs and badguys whom the reader's supposed to dislike anyway. But occasionally Sookie goes up against another female and holds her own just fine.
She just as often goes up against male opponents and holds her own just fine: Charles, Mickey, Murry... and other female characters go up against male characters and win as well.
Celebrity Star - Sookie's bodyguard for times when Bill or Eric can't be present to protect her is a famous figure who was turned into a vampire by a fan...but it went poorly, leaving him a bit diminished in mental capacity. Referring to him by the name he had in life is a big no-no, as it upsets him. He is called Bubba to his face, and Sookie usually refers to him in narrative as The Man from Memphis. Readers would recognize him as Elvis Presley.
In Dead In The Family, there's Alexei Romanov. Who makes Bubba look incredibly sane and normal. And yet is also a giant Woobie, under the circumstances.
Chekhov's Gun - Things Sookie says or sees early in the book end up important later.
One comes in the form of a borrowed gun in Dead To The World. Sookie uses it to kill Debbie.
Combo Platter Powers - Subverted, in that when Sookie gets a powerup from drinking or otherwise ingesting vampire blood, it can last anywhere from hours to weeks. It gives her a weaker version of a vampire's abilities, with none of their weaknesses. And the danger is that it is like taking a drug. Humans tend to feel invincible and act like it; which ends up as a fatal reminder that they are not, in fact, invincible.
Did Not Die That Way: Sookie and Jason were raised by their grandmother after both parents died during a flood. After discovering that their Gran actually had an affair with a fairy that resulted in their father's birth, it is revealed that a clan of water fairies were responsible for the deaths because their fairy ancestors had been at war for quite some time.
Disappeared Dad - Both Bill and Eric had children who they had to abandon after being turned into vampires. Bill eventually discovers some descendants who he helps out financially, though.
Doing in the Scientist - In the first book, the vampires are presented as having some sort of basis in real biochemistry who are ultimately human, with the logical gaps and the incompleteness of the explanations of their abilities covered by the protagonist-narrator's own lack of scientific training. The belief that this is so, and that the truBlood is a synthetic that works by science, remains the predominant belief system for the world at large. As the series progresses, it is made increasingly obvious that this is not the case, though the only people that are in on the magic thing are the supernaturals themselves (including Sookie) and a fundamentalist cult bent on exterminating vampires for their inevitably murderous and evil natures.
Domino Revelation - Vampires exist so why not shifters, were-creatures, fairies, ghosts, and other odd entities.
Elvis Lives - A fan who happened to be a vampire was working in the morgue when they brought him in and, well...
Evil Feels Good - Sookie frets about not being a good Christian when she reflects on how little she cares about some of the dark things she's had to do since getting involved with the supernaturals.
The Fair Folk - Claudine and Claude are both fairies in the supernatural sense. Claudine is, in fact, Sookie's Fairy Godmother. And Sookie's cousin. Fairies seem to be some sort of "base" for other creatures. Claudine mentions that fairies can become demons, angels, brownies, and other things - Claudine herself is sort of apprenticing to become an angel.
Fantastic Racism - Vampires consider themselves the best, other supernaturals beneath them, and humans the bottom of the barrel; despite having been human once themselves, some vampires are offended if a human dares speak to them in the manner of an equal. Werewolves and ShapeShifters have friction between them, and have been known to comment on how tacky it is if one sleeps with the other. The shifters also have a justified wariness of humans, who they believe will treat them more like animals than people. The faerie are split decision. Some like humans just fine and find them fun; others find them disgusting.
Fetish - There's an entire subculture of people who dig the idea of sleeping with or getting bitten by vampires. Plus, vampires can put the woogie on most humans (Telepaths like Sookie are immune) to get what they want from them. The "Fangbangers" all dress in black and spend time indoors to look like vampires, or attractive to them.
Fingore: When Crystal cheats on Jason, shifter rules dictate she must be punished for breaking her marriage vows. Calvin, who vouches for her, takes her place. As Jason is the wronged party, he is the one supposed to administer punishment, but Sookie (the one who vouched for Jason) is pressured into taking his place as well. Sookie smashes Calvin's hand with a brick.
Gambit Roulette - Sookie invokes this trope to shoot down Alcide's suggestion that the plot of Dead to the World might be a plan by Eric to get into Sookie's pants. Alcide is suitably chastened.
Glamour: Vampires have the ability to hypnotize people. Sookie is immune to this because she's a telepath. It might also be because she's part fairy which is where her telepathic powers come from. Fairies are also ethereally beautiful, and can hold people's rapturous attention simply by being in the room. When both Claudine and Claude enter Merlotte's, everyone stops to stare at the gorgeous siblings. Sookie herself seems enthralled by Niall, her fairy great-great-grandfather, and says that he's the most beautiful creature she's seen.
Half-Human Hybrid - Sookie, her brother Jason and their cousin Hadley are one eighth faerie by way of an affair their grandmother had with a half human/half faerie hybrid. It is implied that the faerie blood flowing through their veins is why Sookie, Jason, and Hadley seem so attractive to supernatural creatures. The fact that both Sookie and Hunter (Hadley's son) are telepathic is due to Mr. Cataliades, what with being friends with their fairy granddaddy, giving his gift of telepathy to all Fintan's ancestors with the essential "spark"
Healing Factor: Vampires and shifters are quick healers. Vampires heal even faster if they've had the blood of family. Sookie takes advantage of the healing properties of vampire blood several times, and would probably have died without it.
I Just Want to Be Normal - Sookie laments her lack of normal life because of her telepathy. She then laments the fact that her life without the supernatural in it would go back to being what passes for normal for her, while her life with the supernatural in it exposes her to horrific violence. And normal for her was pretty lousy, as she can't have a normal relationship since she's a telepath, and everyone she knows thinks she's a freak.
Irish Names: Claudine mentions that having an Irish name was the norm for older fairies, including herself and Claude. They apparently changed theirs.
Claudine: It seemed stupid to me. Why shouldn't we please ourselves? No one can spell those names or pronounce them correctly. My former name sounds like a cat throwing up a fur ball.
Jerk Ass - Both Sookie's brother Jason, and Crystal.
Several of the town residents are Jerk Asses to Sookie specifically.
Claude, though he can turn on the charm when he really wants to.
Land Poor: Sookie, who inherits their grandmothers' land and house but struggles initially to pay the taxes on them.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: A witch, in a failed takeover bid for Fangtasia, curses Eric to lose all memory of who he is. When the curse is lifted, he has no memory of what he did during the curse.
Law of Conservation of Normality - Sookie may help the vampire population of Louisiana whenever needed, but when they don't need her, she's got to go to work and pay her bills and worry about money like everybody else.
Love Dodecahedron - Sookie is a very desirable woman, and after having vampire blood literally glows. That, plus her telepathy makes her politically desirable for the vampires, but she is the object of romantic affection to Eric, Alcide and Sam besides Bill, at least. Complicated further after she dumps Bill after he cheats on her, she sleeps with a mind-wiped Eric, and gains a new boyfriend in Quinn the weretiger.
... Who she dumps when she figures out he loves his family more. She's with Eric again... for now.
Part of her desirability towards vampires is explained when it is revealed that she is part faerie, and faerie blood is highly addictive for vampires.
The dodecahedron is finally resolved in : Eric dissolves his relationship with Sookie due to not only the events of Dead Ever After and Deadlocked, but he was promised to another vampire by his maker. Sam and Sookie finally get a Relationship Upgrade. After Dead reveals that Bill and Sookie become Amicable Exes, and Alcide marries a werelynx.
Love Hurts: Sookie is frequently frustrated and upset by Bill's thoughtlessness and lack of consideration. Part of this comes from his vampire nature subsuming his humanity. Part of this comes from the fact that he's been dead since the Civil War and is not quite up to date on how a modern woman prefers to be treated.
And part of it comes from finding out that Bill was ordered back to Bon Temps specifically to seduce Sookie so that the Queen could use her telepathy....
Magic Kiss: Dermot is unhinged because of a spell that Niall put on him. Sookie mentions that a kiss can break spells, so she and Claude try it out on Dermot, the two of them kissing him at the same time. And it works!
Sookie was forced to do it to Bill's vampire sire, Lorena, for whom he unceremoniously dumped Sookie. But it was self defense.
Debbie Pelt tried that on Sookie. Her fate was the same as Lorena's.
Crystal's other boyfriend tried it on Sookie's brother Jason. Subverted in that Felton did not want Jason dead (and he had plenty of time to kill him), he wanted Jason to be turned into a werepanther. His reasoning was that bitten werepanthers are looked at as inferior breeding partners in comparison to pure werepanthers or ordinary humans. Jason being tainted would destroy his chances of being a rival for Crystal's affections. Strangely enough, he could have saved himself a lot of effort and kept his life if he had just ended it when he abducted Jason.
No Body Left Behind: Played straight for vampires, who disintegrate. Fairies turn into, well, fairy dust. Inverted for demons, however - their bodies do not decompose, nothing alive will eat them, and they have to be burned.
No Sell: Regarding Sookie, both ways: she is immune to vampire glamor, and vampires are immune to her telepathy. Until she gets a temporary power boost from an infusion of vampire blood, that is.
Not With Them For The Money - The Bellefleur family are well-off and have a famous, beautiful mansion. Andy Bellefleur's wife, Halleigh would rather they just lived in a small house together.
Special mention is merited by the Fae, who are mostly Disney-style fairies without any particular reference to coherent Irish legend and additionally get the Bella Swan "smells like dinner to supernaturals" power.
Sookie's parents were killed when she was small. Murdered, we find out in Dead and Gone.
Power Incontinence - None of the telepaths in the series can turn it off, though Sookie has gotten better at shielding.
The Power of Blood: Vampires derive sustenance from blood, of course. However, vampire blood is magical in and of itself, bestowing enhanced healing and strength to humans. Some can get addicted to the rush of power, and sometimes die when they forget they aren't invincible. Drainers make a living off of kidnapping vampires and "milking" their blood to sell on the black market. Another power blood has is linking a vampire and a human who have shared each other's blood. Sookie's telepathic ability gets a major boost from sharing blood with Eric; normally unable to read the minds of vampires, she is able to in All Together Dead when she consumes enough of Eric's blood. She wisely keeps this to herself, fearing being enslaved or killed if any vampires find out.
Punk in the Trunk: Sookie has nowhere else to put Bill in after she rescues him, so she stows him in the trunk. Unfortunately, Debbie Pelt pushes her in after him.
Race for Your Love: Averted. Sookie takes off, angry, after Bill does something thoughtless. Bill does not rush after her.
Real Life Writes the Plot - Considering the series is set mainly in Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina had a massive effect on later volumes' politics.
Rule of Three: Discussed and ultimately averted; when Bill mentions that he and Sookie have already shared blood three times, and this affects how other vampires see her, Sookie asks if there was something significant about the number three. There isn't.
Attempted Rape - if a vampire is deprived of blood to the point of starvation, he will leap on the first victim he encounters. If the victim is also his preferred sexual partner type, the vampire will seek to have sex with the victim whether the victim is willing or not.
Near-Rape Experience - Bill actually started with Sookie but she managed to get through to him, and he stopped. Sookie tries to rationalize this, and not to think about it, by turns. This happens to Sookie once before and after, by a human and a vampire. She has the presence of mind to rescind Mickey's invitation just before he could force himself on her.
Rape as Backstory: Sookie was molested by an uncle when she was little. When she tells Bill this, said uncle turns up dead the next day.
Dead and Gone opens with an absolutely hilarious parody of "What Not To Wear"
Sookie gives Eric the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to watch when he's staying over at her house in Dead to the World.
Dead in the Family has everyone at the bar sing the theme song to True Blood.
Silver Has Mystic Powers: It harms werewolves and vampires, as per tradition. While a silver net isn't very useful for capturing vampires, silver chains are very efficient at restraining them, and they are used as torture by both humans and other vampires.
Supernaturally Delicious and Nutritious: Fairies are like magical crack to vampires. This is the reason why Sookie, much to her displeasure, is more attractive to vampires than other humans, as she's part fairy. It's also a convenient excuse for why Eric was so enamored with her when he lost her memory, offering to relinquish his power and wealth simply to be with Sookie, but even he doesn't believe it completely.
Take That - Rice again. Several vamps (especially those local to New Orleans) express animosity towards Rice for making people expect a certain image of vampires (and contempt for those who consciously try to play to that image)
Vampire Invitation: Vampires can't get into private homes without being invited. Sookie rescinded both Bill and Eric's invitations when she didn't want them around that night, and they had to walk away backwards through the door, which amused Sookie greatly. Naturally, there are ways around it, like either having an agent not weak to sunlight accost them during the day, or more directly, simply burning the house down. Sookie wonders whether it was true for fairies as well, but finds out it isn't when Niall freely enters her house. Amelia does place a ward around the house preventing fairies from entering, but Niall is also exempt because he has been welcomed in before.
Vampires Are Sex Gods - For vampires, sex and feeding are intertwined. Humans find sex with vampires far more enjoyable than normal, and can get addicted to it.
The books actually say that some vampires have tried other things, like all-night dry cleaners' or grocery stores, but that they never took off like the vampire bars did.
Weirdness Magnet: Sookie is generally blamed for all the supernatural things popping up in Bon Temps by some of its citizens. Of course, it doesn't help when you're the favorite person of Vampire, Werewolf, and Fairy royalty.