Eric is playing a game, but does he have the upper hand?

Recent episodes have made it much more evident as to Eric’s intentions toward Sookie. Eric’s interests in Sookie have always been a little murky; does he really want her or is he just torturing Bill?

In the beginning of Season 1, he obviously wants to have control of Sookie for her “gift”. He can see the advantages of having a telepath for business purposes. But he is also curious about Bill’s attachment to the human, and intrigued by her bravery, loyalty, and honesty. Oh yeah, he seems to enjoy her sassiness and spunk, too. (“Well aren’t you sweet,” says Eric. “No, not really,” Sookie replies.)

As the Season progressed, we saw Eric take great pleasure in making Bill “lose his cool” by suggesting he take Sookie off his hands. He loves nothing more than watching an anxious Bill worry about his relationship with Sookie. Though Eric doesn’t seem to have a personal interest in Sookie, by the end of Season 1 it is apparent that a shift has occurred.

In Episode 9 when Bill must leave for the Tribunal, Pam, Eric and Chow standby as Bill says goodbye to Sookie. As they all turn to leave, Eric is the last one to turn away from Sookie. Not even Bill looked back. (Maybe he was contemplating the touching scene he had just witnessed, or maybe it was his way of showing Sookie that he has control of Bill, or maybe he just wants to lick the tears from Sookie’s cheeks, who knows? But I think his lingering look is evidence that he sees Sookie as something more than just a business asset.)

By Episode 12, even his child, Pam, gets exasperated with him when he teases and taunts Bill. She seems to know exactly what is really going on; almost as if she wishes Eric would just take Sookie and be done with it.

Then Season 2 begins and we are slowly shown a totally different side of Eric, a more human side. Yes, he is still the barbaric, ruthless, domineering, and sometimes diabolical Sheriff we all know and love, but by Episode 2 subtle changes begin to appear. As a courtesy, he asks Bill for Sookie’s help in finding Godric. Of course Bill says “NO”. Eric tells him, “If I want her, I’ll simply take her.” It’s not the words he said but the way he said them, in that low husky, sexy voice of his.

In Episode 3, when Sookie is lying on the table after the maenad attack, there is a brief shot of Eric’s face. His emotions at that point appear to be mixed: yearning, sadness, tenderness, regret, almost wistful as he watches Bill tend to Sookie. (That’s my interpretation anyway.) After she wakes up, they have a brief confrontation about Lafayette. Referencing the red shirt she’s wearing, he says “that color suits you very well”. Again, it’s not the words but the way he said them that hint at his attraction to her.

By Episode 4, it becomes very apparent that Eric’s interests in Sookie have really changed. When offering Lafayette his blood to heal his leg, Eric says, “You obviously mean something to Sookie. And what Sookie finds meaningful, I find ….. curious.” (The pause in this declaration is loaded; it’s what he didn’t say that’s intriguing.)

In Dallas, Eric and Bill have a conversation where Bill says it takes a monster to not care about anyone or anything other than himself. Eric replies that he cares about others. Bill in turn says, “You care about Godric. .... This is personal for you. Why?” After dancing around the question, Eric gives him the excuse that Godric is very old and if he can be taken, then none of them are safe.

In Episode 5, at a meeting with the Dallas vamps, Eric loses his patience with their bickering and apparent incompetence. He sends a vase (glass statue?) flying into the wall, smashing it into pieces. It is very unlike Eric to lose control like that, and Bill calls him on it. Eric finally reveals that Godric is his maker, much to Bill’s surprise. After Eric’s flashback of Godric, the look on his face is one of fear and worry for someone he so obviously loves. (Who would have thought he had such emotions in him? Certainly not Bill, who has only seen him as his tormentor.)

Then, in Episode 6, things really start getting good. Eric summons Lorena, Bill’s maker, to distract Bill’s attention away from Sookie. Eric explains to her that Bill has something he wants and is in his way. He tries to make it appear that it’s “strictly business”, but she seems a little skeptical of his motives.

In Episode 7, as Eric and Isabel stand outside the church grounds, Eric is worried about Sookie and the fact they’ve had no contact with her for awhile. Eric questions Isabel about her relationship with her human. (Very uncharacteristic of him, to say the least. Why would he even care? Human’s are beneath him, right? Attachments to humans are unnatural and abnormal in his mind, right?) When Isabel questions him about his “interest” in Sookie, he denies, denies, denies. The look on her face says it all; deny all you want, but you do want her.

Later at the hotel, Eric comes to the belief that Godric may have already been destroyed. He says, “If Godric is gone, nothing will bring back what I have lost,” as a bloody tear flows down his cheek. (Though brief, the scene is truly insightful as to the depth of Eric’s feelings for Godric. His grief is palpable.) When Barry delivers Sookie’s message, Eric is shown sitting in his room, shoulders slumped, and obviously grieving for Godric. Upon hearing the message, he leaves in a flash to get to the church.

In Episodes 8, we finally see interaction between Godric and Eric, maker and child. Eric worries about the well-being of Godric and Godric insures him that he is fine. He orders Eric to save the “human” and to not spill any blood. Eric starts to argue but Godric cuts him off. (Sookie watches the entire exchange. She’s still stunned from Gabe’s attempted rape and seems frightened by the presence of Eric and Godric, but she also realizes that Eric truly has feelings for the other vampire.)

As Eric and Sookie make their way through the church, Sookie wants to know why Bill didn’t come with him (she is watching him very closely, seems to be thinking over his moment with Godric). Eric explains that Bill would kill everyone to save her and she says “Why aren’t you?” He says he’s following Godric’s order to get her out and that’s all. She says Eric has a lot of love for Godric. (She’s very observant considering the circumstances.) He tells her not to use words that he doesn’t understand.

Then, thinking he might have to hurt the guards, she tries to keep him from leaving her side. Eric turns to her, leans very close and says in a soothing voice, “Trust me”. (Sookie obviously doesn’t have much choice, but she seems to be calmed by his words and his nearness.) When they are surrounded in the sanctuary, they share a brief, but intense, moment looking into each other's eyes when they realize there is no escape. Eric doesn’t even put up a fight and tells Sookie he’ll be fine as he steps forward in surrender.

As he lies chained to the altar, Eric bargains his “life” in exchange for the freedom of Godric and Sookie. Bill arrives and knocks the guards away from Sookie, but she leaves the circle of his arms to free Eric from the chains. (The fact that Eric included her in his offer to Newlin and that she leaves the safety of Bill’s arms to free Eric is very telling, in my opinion. Though their time together in the church was short, it was tense, intense, and emotionally charged.) When the chaos is over, Eric approaches Sookie and asks “Are you sure you’re okay?” He is obviously sincere in his concern for her, but Bill takes umbrage and gets in Eric’s face and tells him to go with his maker. (I might add that even though Bill butts in, Eric never loses eye contact with Sookie during this exchange.)

Back at Godric’s nest, Eric tries to charm Sookie and explain that he regrets putting her in danger. He also tells her that the bond between a vampire and his maker is stronger than she can imagine. (At this point, Sookie believes that Eric is the one who kept Bill from coming to her rescue. She doesn’t totally buy his story but is aware that something unspoken is going on between Bill and Eric during this conversation. The undertone of Eric’s words implies some sort of threat and Bill recognizes this but says nothing to Sookie.)

Shortly thereafter, Bill makes a HUGE mistake by telling Eric there is nothing he can do to win Sookie, that he is powerless in that regard, and that he should just give up. (I believe this confrontation is one reason the whole “tricking Sookie to drink my blood” thing occurred. If Bill would have let things go, I don’t think Eric would have resorted to the deception because he enjoys this game he is playing with Bill. He would have been content to let things play out. Again, just my opinion.)

Then Eric has an eye opening discussion with Godric that Eric seems to take to heart, particularly because it’s the opposite of what he was taught to believe. Briefly, Godric believes there’s no danger treating humans as equals and that the Fellowship arose because the vampires never did so; that vampires haven’t grown with the world, only gotten more brutal; that killing humans doesn’t prove anything. (I believe this conversation is the second reason the blood drinking scheme came to fruition. This conversation and the reappearance of feelings long forgotten, have him seeing Sookie in another light, a potential friend and lover, not as just a human to be used and discarded.)

All of these things occurred prior to Sookie drinking Eric’s blood, in Episode 9. So to say that the shift in their relationship is solely due to the blood is simply not true, at least on Eric’s part. For that matter, Sookie’s treatment of Eric actually softened after she saw the interactions between Eric and Godric.

Yes, she does get very angry and upset with Eric after he tricks her. She also discovers how his blood affects her in a sexual way, at least in her dreams. But she’s not ready to give up on Bill. So Eric may think that he has the upper hand in this game that he’s playing, but I think he’s in for a rude awakening.

Sookie is her own woman, she makes her own decisions, she’ll do things she doesn’t want to do but on her own terms (as both Bill and Eric have discovered). She wants to control her own life, not be someone’s puppet.

With the loss of Godric, Eric is going to be vulnerable though he won’t admit it. And those human emotions that he’s been experiencing, (love, grief, pain, depression, caring, need, etc.) have been buried in Eric for quite some time. He’s over 1000 years old and as a vampire has never had a need for them.

Godric’s disappearance was the catalyst for these feelings to reappear. Now that Eric has experienced these feelings again, he is going need someone to fill the void now that Godric has “met the sun”. That someone is going to be Sookie, but she isn’t going to be as easy to “win” as he thinks. I also think that Eric, in his determination to get Sookie, will do something totally unexpected by everyone, including himself. By something, I mean fall in love.

(Note: I found the video below on youtube. It goes perfectly with this article. No copyright infringement intended. The video was created by thisismeheather. She did a great job!)