The Southern Vampire Mysteries (informally known as The Sookie Stackhouse Novels / Chronicles and retronymed the TRUE BLOOD Series upon their reprinting) is a series of books written by The New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris, first published in 2001. In The Southern Vampire Mysteries series, Harris has developed a detailed mythology. Her series describes an alternate history which assumes that the supernatural is real and that vampires, shapeshifters, maenads, werewolves and other supernatural beings have only been public knowledge for a couple of years. Its history has otherwise unfolded so identically to that of the real world that the series contains occasional references to popular culture.
The series is narrated in first person perspective by Sookie Stackhouse. She is a barmaid and telepath in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana. The first book in the series, Dead Until Dark, won the Anthony Award for Best Paperback Mystery in 2001. The series spans across 13 novels, 18 short stories, a coda (After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse) and companion novel (The Sookie Stackhouse Companion).
The series Midnight, Texas, also penned by Charlaine Harris, is set in the same universe as The Southern Vampire Mysteries and features cameos with some side characters seen in the SVM universe, such as John Quinn, the weretiger.
The Southern Vampire Mysteries UniverseEdit
Vampires are blood-drinking former humans, risen from the dead to prey on the living, with a variety of diverse powers and abilities, individually and within society. In the Sookie Stackhouse universe, the American vampires have divided the land into kingdoms, each state representing a monarchy controlled by a single lead vampire known as the King or Queen of the state. Each kingdom is then divided into areas (formerly known as fiefdoms) controlled by a sheriff who owes allegiances to the leader of the state.
The vampires announced on network television that they were actually present among humans (also known as the Great Revelation), an announcement that followed the Japanese development of synthetic blood that is able to maintain a vampire's life without needing to feed on human blood. In the mythology of the series, many nations refused to accept vampires as equal citizens, such as Bosnia, Argentina and many Islamic nations. The United States, Mexico, Canada, Japan and some Scandinavian countries adopted a more tolerant attitude. Though many vampires try to live among humans, they remain very secretive about their organization and government.
Vampires are pale and cold, extremely strong and fast, and have keen senses of hearing, smell and vision. They have the ability to remain completely still, expressionless and silent. Vampires can control the minds of humans, and a few can even fly. If a vampire and a human share blood with each other, it will form a blood bond, linking the pair's psyches. Their fangs come out when they are sexually aroused, excited, when they see blood or when they need to fight. A vampire is compelled to obey his or her maker (the vampire responsible for his or her transformation). Vampires are ageless and can survive and recover from most forms of physical injury, but will die if staked, exposed to sunlight or decapitated. Silver is also highly toxic to them.
Weres and ShapeshiftersEdit
Weres and shapeshifters can assume both human and animal forms. A variety of different types of weres and shapeshifters exist in The Southern Vampire Mysteries, including werewolves, werepanthers and weretigers. In this universe, a were child (who will transform at the full moon) can be conceived when the parents are a shifter and a werewolf, but only pure couples (both Weres or both shifters) conceive children that can change at will. Shapeshifting conditions manifest in puberty. Shapeshifters can assume the form of any animal, but most often change to the same animal every time, some creature they have a special affinity for. On the other hand, wereanimals are those who can change to only one type of animal and they call themselves by that animal: weredog or werebat. Within the shapeshifting and weres community, the term "Were" is only reserved for the wolves. The Weres consider themselves superior within the shapeshifters, but they all cooperate with each other. Most of the two-natured beings organize themselves into packs; each pack is led by a packmaster.
Unlike vampires that have announced their existence to the world, the two-natured beings still maintain their secrecy. In this series mythology, the shifters decide to publicize their existence in the ninth book, Dead and Gone.
In The Southern Vampire Mysteries, humans are portrayed to have different reactions to vampires being in the public. There are the "Fangbangers," who are vampire lovers that are addicted to vampires and who enjoy having sex with them. Furthermore, demand for vampire blood has been growing in the black market, as the blood is a very addictive drug. Drainers are known to be the humans who attack vampires in order to drain their blood, though it is a hazardous job. Drainers travel in teams, singling out vampires by a variety of methods and careful planned ambush. They bind vampires with silver chains and drain their blood into vials. Depending on the age of the blood (the time since it had been removed from its owner) and the age of the vampire from whom the blood has been removed, and the individual chemistry of the drug user, it could be worth quite a lot. In this universe, the effects of vampire blood in humans are a feeling of power, increased strength, acute vision and hearing, and most importantly, enhanced physical appearance. The results are notoriously unpredictable and vary per person lasting from weeks to months. Some people go mad when the blood hits their systems (sometimes homicidally mad). Vampires hate Drainers and they hate the users of the drained blood.
A vial of blood could cost from $200 to $400 depending on the age of the vampire. Other humans have not accepted vampires as creatures of God, and organizations such as The Fellowship of the Sun are against vampires and their existence.
In the Southern Vampire Mysteries Universe, fairies are portrayed as beautiful, with pointed ears, and glossy, thin skin. In this universe, fairies are extremely attractive to humans as well as vampires. Vampires have a hard time resisting fairies because of their smell and taste. The first fairy, Claudine Crane, is introduced in Dead to the World and Sookie sees the reaction between vampires and fairies. She explains that “it was like watching cats that’d suddenly spotted something skittering along a baseboards.” Vampires say that fairies are hard to catch and they look at them the way a “chocoholic would look at chocolates.”
Fairies are allergic to lemons and iron. They normally inhabit the fey world, but there are portals and doorways between there and the human world. Sookie's great-grandfather Niall Brigant, is a fairy prince, and Claudine and Claude are Niall’s grandchildren. In later books, Claudine admits to Sookie that Claudine is her fairy godmother. She was assigned this role in an effort to move on to the next level, which is angelhood.
Witches and WiccansEdit
In the Sookie Stackhouse Universe, a witch practices magic rituals, drawing from a power that most people never tap into. A Wiccan, on the other hand, follows a religion, a pagan religion that follows the ways of the Mother. Practitioners can be both wiccan and a witch, or more one or the other. Witches and Wiccans first appear in the fourth book, Dead to the World. Sookie’s colleague and fellow barmaid of Merlotte’s, Holly Cleary, is a Wiccan practitioner, but not a witch. In later books, Sookie learns more about witchcraft and befriends Amelia Broadway, a true witch in New Orleans.