From 2008 - 2014, Bon Temps was the place where audiences went to immerse themselves in the supernatural. Based on the book series by Charlaine Harris called The Southern Vampire Mysteries, True Blood spent seven seasons following Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic fairy who worked as a waitress at a bar called Merlotte’s in a tiny little Louisiana town.
The HBO series picks up in a world where vampires have just “come out of the coffin.” A synthetic drink known as “Tru Blood” allowed vamps to reveal their existence, which eventually led to the discovery of all kinds of mythical beings. On any given week in Bon Temps, viewers got a peek at a universe filled with otherworldly creatures not only attempting to coexist with each other, but with humans as well.
Vampires, fairies, shapeshifters, werewolves, witches, even Dionysus (the Greek God of wine) made an appearance. The beauty about True Blood was that for all the cool folklore, it went just as deep with its allegories and the characters’ relationships. Enemies became friends, romances blossomed in some unusual places, and getting buried was not always the end of life.
With all that was going on there were plenty of factoids that could’ve been easily overlooked. Are you a superfan who thinks you know everything there is to know? Well, then it’s time to put your memory to the test.
Here are 15 Things You Completely Missed In True Blood.
15 Gran gives a nod to Charlaine Harris
In what was either a fan-friendly wink or perhaps some creatively placed foreshadowing, Sookie’s grandma (better known as Adele Stackhouse or simply just Gran) is seen reading a Charlaine Harris book titled Last Scene Alive.
Sadly, Gran only made it to episode 5. In the show’s first season, Bon Temps’ population is slowly declining as an unknown villain begins taking out the townsfolk who appear to be vampire-friendly. After Sookie gets involved with Bill Compton, a 173-year-old vampire who had recently returned to town, she and her entire family become fair game.
While Gran is pretty awesome in her own right, she was no match for René Lenier (formerly Drew Marshall) whose deep-seated hatred for vampires had turned him into a violent criminal.
Gran would be one of the first big losses the show saw, but certainly not the last.
14 Ever get a feeling of déjà vu?
If True Blood felt familiar to HBO shows of the past, that’s because it was. Showrunner Alan Ball was also the creator of Six Feet Under, which ran from 2001 - 2005.
While the Sookie Stackhouse series was about a waitress who becomes immersed in a strange supernatural world after meeting (and falling in love with) vampire Bill, Six Feet Under, although based a bit more in reality, was also very much centered on the topic of life and the after-life – hence the title.
Ball’s first look into the feelings surrounding one’s own mortality was actually with American Beauty. He then carried that same theme with him into his initial HBO series which centered on a dysfunctional family who ran a funeral home.
Eventually, his dark sense of humor, wild imagination, and knack for cleverly tackling social issues took a different shape in the form True Blood.
13 The title sequence's Easter eggs
Literally, that Emmy-nominated title sequence was everything. The second Jace Everett’s “Bad Things” started to play and the opening credits rolled, it would send chills down every viewer’s spine. The brilliance behind it was that it didn’t put a focus on vampires or the supernatural, it only hinted at it; which might seem strange considering that’s what the show was about.
However, real fans know the series went much deeper than that. If you were paying attention at the beginning, you’d actually see that.
The opening sequence of shots told a taboo story about the imperfections of humanity and the circle of life.
Violence, religion, lust, morality, culture, history; all of it captured at its height. Filming took place in Louisiana, Seattle, and Chicago. For added effect, they even used drops of real blood in the final cut. Yes, true blood.
12 The meaning behind the music
Aside from the popular number in the title sequence, True Blood was extremely smart when it came to when, how, why, and where they placed each piece of music in the way that they did.
Every episode was actually titled after the name of a song which was used in that episode.
Certainly, that made music supervisor Gary Calamar’s job a bit more interesting. On top of that, songs throughout were perfectly placed to tell a story within the actually storyline which usually revealed something about the character.
Looking back, you’ll find each tune not only heightened the moment, it drove the plot. King Britt’s “New World in My View” (season 2, episode 10) which played when we first see Bill Compton meet the Queen, is one of those standout scenes that proves when done right, TV and music together can pack a powerful punch.
11 Deathstroke, Green Goblin, and the T-1000
While no one lasted too long in Bon Temps - not even the main characters - many of those who made appearances on the show, went on to see longevity in their careers. Some actually came into it already pretty well-known.
Scott Foley, Stephen Root, Robert Patrick (Terminator's T-1000 himself), Christopher Meloni and Evan Rachel Wood, who played the Queen (aka Sophie-Anne Leclerq) all had brief stints on the show.
There were also those who were just getting their first bite at fame. Joe Manganiello (the DCEU's future Deathstroke) and Alexander Skarsgård were two main actors who went on to see great success post-show.
Others such as Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lizzy Caplan, Camilla Luddington, and Aunjanue Ellis followed suit, and after their True Blood appearances, moved on to attain solid celebrity status. Dane Dehaan, The Amazing Spider-Man's Green Goblin, also appeared in the show.
10 Bill and Sookie aren't true love
While some exact things were replicated from the novels, the show’s plot oftentimes strayed from the original design. There were some scenes which included special nods to the fans who had read the books; everything from the description of Sookie’s wardrobe to references in the dialogue. But really, for those who are familiar with both, there were many glaringly obvious discrepancies.
Although Sookie’s story was pretty much the same, there were differences in her fae abilities and (among other things) her relationships with other characters. For instance, Bill isn’t really a main player. In the books, Sookie marries Eric, breaks up with him, and then ends up with Sam.
There is actually a laundry list of variations from the novels, which includes everything from the behavior of certain characters, to the existence of completely new storylines.
9 Jessica didn't exist in the books, but Elvis was a vampire
In the show, it wasn’t just the characters’ actions that were different, in some instances, it was the actual character. There were a few familiar names from the books that never made it onto the show and vice versa. Some were major players in the novels and others were only major players on screen.
Among the ones who didn’t make the on-screen cut: Amelia (the witch), Appius Livius Ocella (who was Eric’s maker, rather than Godric), Diantha (a semi-demon), John Quinn (Sookie’s love interest), JB du Rone (Tara’s husband), and Bubba (a screwed-up vampire who is actually Elvis and lives mainly on cats).
Other characters such as Jessica were not mentioned at all in the book but made for great TV. Characters like Lafayette, Tara, Pam, Calvin, Arlene, Claude, Claudine, and Barry were all written differently for the books and the series respectively.
8 The fate of Lafayette Reynolds
One of the greatest characters to grace the screen on True Blood was played by the late Nelsan Ellis.
The flamboyant short order cook charmed audiences immediately.
In the books, Lafayette Reynolds is taken out early on and his body is discovered by Sookie in the back seat of a car. At the end of season 1, Sookie, Tara and Andy do indeed find a body in the back of Andy’s car. All signs pointed to the end of Lafayette. His disappearance two weeks before, the painted toe nails seen on the body; fans were left to wait almost a whole year to find out what happened.
In Season 2, we learn they had spared Lafayette and took Miss Jeanette (the phony exorcist who conned Tara) in his place. Lafayette, of course, went on to be one of the main reasons people loved the show.
7 Allegories galore
If you were a loyal viewer who took notice of what True Blood was about, you knew it went much deeper than its supernatural surface. In fact, one of most spectacular things about the show was how it actually used fantasy to explore uncomfortable conversations about real-life issues.
Not only did Ball call out the tendency of people to stereotype and discriminate against others by using the human/vampire relationship, but many of the storylines became widely thought of to be an allegory for the gay rights struggle in the United States.
Metaphors extended into all aspects of equal rights, racism, religion, hypocrisy, substance abuse, disease, slavery, bigotry, prejudice, and politics. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find any topic in that show which Alan Ball did not fearlessly tackle.
6 Pilot Suprise and cameo
The very first opening scene not only sucked us in - it actually warned us that nothing was going to be what it seemed. Even though everyone had theories, no one really knew what to expect.
Plot aside, fans didn’t have a clue which characters would remain let alone if they would even remain to exist in the form you had become accustomed to. This is something every viewer could have figured out would be a theme from the initial five minutes of the series.
The show opens on a couple of teenagers who arrive at a liquor store asking about vampires. It turns out, the person in the store who appears to be a vampire is not, while the less obvious choice actually is.
The lesson here is that you should never judge a book by its cover. Fun fact: The scene also had a Bill Maher cameo.
5 The Supernatural TV connection
If you’re a fan of this genre and wondered specifically what might have drawn you to this show, it could have something to do with the writing.
In the opening credits, a familiar name pops up on-screen, adding some additional excitement for those who were paying attention.
Raelle Tucker wrote 11 episodes of True Blood and produced more than 60 episodes. That name should ring a bell, because Tucker actually worked on Supernatural before she began her stint on True Blood. As a writer she penned eight (awesome) episodes of The CW series and was executive story editor up until 2007, before moving on to work with HBO.
She eventually went on to do Supernatural GenderSWAP (a mini-series) as well as wrote and produced a couple of episodes for Jessica Jones.
4 True Blood goes Meta
One of the really cool parts about True Blood was that the writers and producers often purposely added in nods to the actors’ real lives in scenes.
For example, writer Alex Woo gave some on-screen love to Stephen Moyer with a character who went by the name of Emery; which, if you didn’t know, happens to be the actor’s real last name.
Alexander Skarsgård also received a wink when “AIK” was used as the name of the holding company that buys Sookie’s house. In reality, that’s the name of a Swedish football team. Even one perfectly positioned tabloid which found its way on-screen included a photo of Anna Paquin hugging Stephen Moyer.
Other celebrities who were not on the show were also included in the supernatural world. Both Angelina Jolie and former President George W. Bush can be pictured in the series with references to vampires.
3 The secret meanings behind names
One of the many things True Blood did well was hidden in the way they dropped hints at things without actually pointing out the obvious references.
Even the name of the town itself carried a deeper meaning.
Bon Temps was actually born from the Cajun French expression, "laissez les bon temps rouler," which means, “let the good times roll.”
Remember the werewolf bar "Lou Pine's?" The definition of Lupine actually means pertaining to, relating to or resembling the wolf.
You could even catch clues in the names of the characters. Lilith, in Jewish mythology, is a figure who is seen as a dangerous demon of the night. Luna, not only means Goddess of the moon, but is actually what you call the mate of the werewolf packleader.
Perhaps the biggest “Supernatural” reference had to do with Sam – who had a dog named Dean. Well played, True Blood.
2 Charlaine Harris’ cameos
In true Stan Lee style, author Charlaine Harris actually made a couple of cameo appearances in the show. As the woman who created these characters and made so many people fall in love them it seemed only natural that she should get in on the TV adaptation.
Harris shared a brief moment with Sam as a bar patron at Merlotte’s in the season 2 finale called “Beyond Here Lies Nothin.’”
Years later, the author decided to treat fans once again, in orderly to properly bid adieu to the beloved series. At the end of the show’s finale in season 7, she appears in the episode “Thank You" as the Infomercial Sound Mixer. A keen eye can catch her playing behind the scenes while Eric and Pam are filming an infomercial for New Blood.
1 Did you see the sign?
Once again, in a “blink and you miss it” moment, True Blood left a little Easter egg for viewers that most had to dig deep to notice.
The first five minutes in that opening scene really did give everyone a taste of what was in store. It taught people to expect surprises, not to buy into stereotypes, and to be on the lookout for some cool cameos to come. It also intelligently introduced the subtle message implying that the show would continue leaving its audience subtle messages.
As the two teenagers are driving past the liquor store in the beginning, you’ll see the words “We Have Tru Blood” displayed on the sign outside. Highlighted in red, are the letters R.E.D. It was a sign in every sense of the word.
Is there anything else you think people might have missed about True Blood? Let us know in the comments!