True Blood is the HBO television series based upon the books by Charlaine Harris, sometimes known as the Sookie Stackhouse series or The Southern Vampire Mysteries. Although the long-running show met its end in 2014, the show continues to keep its loyal blood-sucking fan-base. The long-awaited finale of the show left many fans elated, disappointed and down-right furious. True Blood started out as a love story and ended as one, if not the most conventional. But in the end, it was about Sookie, not Sookie and significant other.
True Blood was an interesting series to be sure. It was dark, funny and, of course, had a good dose of southern charm. The show brought to life another breed of vampires when the creatures of the night took over pop culture in a decade-long craze. But vampires weren’t all True Blood had to offer. There were faeries, witches, shapeshifters and werewolves, and a lot of supernatural creatures that we never got to explore.
Whilst there are a few changes that need to happen in the face of a literary to film conversion of a story, True Blood strayed quite a lot from the books, especially after the first season. HBO is certainly tight-lipped about some of the decisions they make about the show and their decisions for the characters and the plot. However, if you do a bit of digging behind the show you can find various changes and quick decisions made to show that completely changed the direction of the story.
Here are 10 Last-Minute Changes That Hurt True Blood (And 10 That Saved It).
20 SAVE – NO WERETIGERS
True Blood introduced werewolves in season three, although they had been mentioned before. However, they also expanded the ‘were’ universe, bringing in werepanthers in the same season in the form of a love-interest turned traumatic nightmare for Jason Stackhouse. In the book series, the relationship with werepanther Crystal took a more serious turn with a tragic ending.
Werewolves are always a must when you have a story about vampires, even if not everyone is a fan of werewolves. However, having them there definitely brings about the classic vampires vs. werewolves that everyone wants. However, something that is more annoying than any werewolf for a vampire lover would definitely be a weretiger, so a bullet was definitely dodged in this scenario.
19 SAVE – ENDINGS WITH SAM
The main story was centered around her love-hate relationship with two vampires: Bill Compton and Eric Northman, and she ended up with neither. Whilst some fans disagreed the alternative was the book ending: Sam Merlotte.
After all the sides of Sam and Sookie we’ve seen, how she basically pushed her interested boss aside for the mysterious vampires who gave her peace from her telepathy, it didn’t make sense for her to end up with Sam. The show even covered this in episode eight of season six where Sookie tells Sam she “always thought we’d end up together.” Sam, however, makes it clear that she knew his feelings and “never cared,” always trading up for someone more dangerous.
18 SAVE – LAFAYETTE
Lafayette was one of the greatest joys to grace the screens of HBO. A champion to the LGBTQ+ community and a fabulous, outspoken man with a good heart, he was a favorite of True Blood, making it all seven seasons alive. However, in the book series, Lafayette was eliminated in the early chapters of book two. So why keep this character that was so unimportant in the books? Nelson Ellis.
The actor portrayed Lafayette with so much improvisational flair that the showrunners had no choice but to keep him on, and thank goodness they did because this character shook things up until the very end. A happy ending well-deserved.
17 SAVE – NO LORD OF THE RINGS
True Blood was a show about a telepath and vampire out in the open with no secrecy. Unless you’d read the books you would have no idea that the series would add in an entire fairy kingdom. In the books, however, it’s a whole system that incorporates different types of fairies and fae also include angels, nymphs and demons.
They have an entire kingdom structure and civil war. But bringing in a Lord of the Rings style plot to little Bon Temps would not have translated. The shows only attempt was at the beginning of season four where Sookie entered the Fae Realm only to discover its sinister nature. It is seasons later when the fae are re-visited and it seems the show learned from its mistakes. Instead of bringing in a party-loving carnival with Kesha-listening elders.
16 SAVE – I GIVE YOU JESSICA
Our favorite red-head actually wasn’t born from the books, instead, she was born in the writer’s room. In the show, for the most part, we get vampires who are ancient and, generally, were older when they were turned. Jessica gives the audience a perspective we never would have seen.
A teenager turned vampire discovering her new life and nature all while vampires are out in the open. A century ago it wasn’t like a vampire could have a twitter account. Jessica’s presence also meant that it brought outlier characters who had more human stories, like Hoyt and Jason, into the supernatural world. She was a new lens for the show and represented what Sookie could be if she made the change.
15 SAVE – TARA STEP UP
Tara was a strong-minded, emotional rollercoaster of a character. From her abusive childhood, to her relationship with a maenad, witchcraft, becoming a vampire herself and finally, her passing. She is Sookie’s closest friend and definitely not someone to be messed with.
Tara in the books was a minor, married character with children who lived a relatively normal life. The show’s creators’ decision to have Tara step up to the main cast and take a more active role in the supernatural world added drama and gave Sookie someone to turn to when she needed it. Tara took an active role in defending herself as a human and showed us a more human side to the Madam of vampirical joy herself, Pam.
14 SAVE – TRAGIC TERRY
Terry Bellefleur’s character in the books was a little role and did not experience the beautiful relationship with Arlene Fowler. As a result, his passing was very different. In the end, it came down to there being too many storylines on the show, so writing Terry off was a decision made right before the start of season six. His importance and struggles in the show meant his passing was a showstopper. After finally having his experiences in war revealed and introducing the Ifrit, his guilt lead Terry to assisted ending, leaving his wife and children alone.
His funeral was a chance for the show to finally out Sookie as a telepath, and led to Arlene being introduced to the vampire world she had been circling for years. Arlene then, ironically, began a romantic relationship with new vampire René Lenier.
13 SAVE – WEREPANTHER JASON
In the books Jason and Crystal had a real relationship, almost got married and he actually was turned in a werepanther. The show decided to take a different angle and instead, Jason was bitten, scratched, tied-up and raped repeatedly by every female member of the meth-addicted supernatural tribe.
It’s hard to say when the writers decided to take the werepanthers in a different direction, as the story seemingly started as a genuine star-crossed romance, but it’s safe to say that keeping that story in would have been too much for the silver screen and keeping Jason basically human (with a bit of fae DNA) was the right decision.
12 SAVE – APPIUS LIVIUS OCELLA WHO?
In television, certain things need to be changed so everything fits together smoothly. One of those was the maker of Viking vampire sheriff Eric Northman. In the show, his maker is the young-faced, repenting vampire Godric. He was a character in the books and was an absolute monster in his younger years, aiming his fangs primarily at children, but his relationship with Eric was a source of solace for the Viking and showed the wisdom of years beyond the blood.
Eric’s original maker was a manipulative Roman named Appius Livius Ocella. Whilst Appius’ presence made Eric seem sympathetic, Godric was a welcome relief to the show and his calm innocence made him scary.
11 SAVE – VAMPIRES, VAMPIRES, VAMPIRES
The books expanded the world of the supernatural to other dimensions, civil wars and a mass variety of were-creatures. True Blood decided to carve out a limited interpretation and focus on the vampire storyline. Whilst a few daring attempts were made, such as a werepanther crack-den, fairyland harvesting, were-wolf pack wars, and the occasional demonic presence, the show always pulled back to its roots.
The show was stronger when it was contained within the world of vampires, the prejudice against the vamps, and their sympathizers. Thankfully the final season pulled all the way back to season one with vampires, prejudice, and Hep V.
10 HURT – QUEEN SOPHIE-ANNe
Despite saying the series went back to its roots, it doesn’t mean it didn’t deviate and rid the audience of a fantastic character. Vampire Queen of Louisia Sophie-Anne was one of the most intriguing characters to ever grace the True Blood series run. Unfortunately, a few details about her life were changed and never mentioned, she only lasted two seasons.
She was a central player in the political struggle between the vampire kingdoms, instead, she’s eliminated by Bill and a few humans that she probably could have gotten away from with how long they waited before firing. One of the best characters written, in a romantic relationship with Sookie’s cousin, the catalyst to Sookie meeting Bill and she did not get her due.
9 HURT – MAENADS PLEASE GO AWAY
When the show introduced Maenads to the party (or, more accurately, orgy) it seemed the show was ready to expand quickly. Instead, the handmaiden of Dionysus was a stand-alone plotline and is never mentioned again. If the show was prepared to bring in the fae, demons and other big-level supernatural creatures that are more fantastical than the everyday vampire, then the maenad could have been a massive breakthrough for the show. Instead, they drew it back to the vampire roots.
Whilst it meant the third season was very strong, it also meant the little forays into the fantasy world were even more out of place and it leaves the audience wondering why they even bothered with Maenads in the first place.
8 HURT – THE TRUE end OF TARA THORNTON
Tara was one of the loved main cast for six seasons and she has been through hell. After finally reconciling with her mother for her neglected childhood she is attacked by a Hep V vampire at the end of season six. At the start of season seven Tara is eliminated off-screen and Sookie, supposed best friend, moves on essentially straight away.
While actress Rutina Wesley seems to have been glad Tara went out fighting, it’s no surprise that it is not the ending the character deserves. At the very least her passing should have been on screen after one hell of a fight, instead of realizing later that she lost sometime off-screen.
7 HURT – THE OTHER ROMEO AND JULIET
Hoyt left the show devastated. His girlfriend was unfaithful to him with his best friend and he lost everything as a result. Honestly, the events were no surprise. Hoyt was in his thirties and quickly moved in with a newly turned teenage vampire.
In later seasons she leaves Hoyt and begins exploring the freedom of being a vampire. She had feelings for Jason although it never became an official relationship and Hoyt left with his memories voluntarily erased. The show decided to bring him back and dating Jason’s future wife, he immediately got involved with Jessica again and got married, not knowing what they were like together or what happened. It feels like a cop-out to the character development and the problems they had before probably aren’t about to disappear just because there’s a ring.
6 HURT – WARLOW, WHY?
There are fairies. There are vampires. Now there’s a hybrid (the second oldest vampire) who wants to marry Sookie. The character is a bit of carbon copy of CW’s original vampire-werewolf hybrid Niklaus Mikaelson and comes after his destined bride so they can snack on each other for all eternity.
Honestly, it’s a viable option for Sookie’s life but Warlow’s impatience, battle with his dark side and Sookie’s family means that Warlow met a tragic ending before he was fully explored and his relationship to Sookie was properly developed. As a result, he comes across as a villain of the week character instead of someone fully fleshed out, created in the stead of book characters.
5 HURT – THERE BE DEVILS
The show did introduce fairies but did not expand on the mythology in the way the book did. Although the Ifrit was a type of demon and Jesus was possessed by one (as part of his witchcraft), they weren’t really explored. Demons and angels were actually part of the fae world.
Supposedly Sookie’s telepathy is actually the result of a devil deal, which was instead traded up as a fae ability instead. The demons and other creatures of the fae world were much closer to Sookie’s storyline and never mentioned. Instead, the show had multiple dead-end sub-plots like the werepanthers and witches. Demons were never covered properly on True Blood, popping up as disappointing random sub-plots.
4 HURT – WERE HERE, WERE THERE
The show did keep some storylines that it could have done without. Including any ‘were’ story. Werepanthers were painfully random in the deep south, and ended up being a season-long plot device to get Jason to drink Jessica’s blood. The werewolves often became painful storylines with the father of Emma (Luna’s daughter) and Debbie Pelt causing trouble.
The best part of that story was Debbie shooting Tara so she could become a vampire and then Sookie shooting her. She then dated Debbie’s ex-fiance for a year, who also passed away. The storylines with the pack felt random in the vampire world and left Alcide left sympathetic than he was likely intended to be.
3 HURT – SKINWALKING BROTHERS
Nothing says ‘healthy family relationship’ like eliminating your parents, robbing your brother, shifting into him and sleeping with his girlfriend. To say Tommy was one of the most annoying characters on True Blood might be an understatement. Whilst we all felt for Sam’s loss, his relationship with Luna, which may as well have been rape, left him as unsympathetic as you can get before he finally exited the show.
Whilst skinwalking was a welcome dark addition to the shapeshifter mythology, it could not have gone to a worse character. However, his attempt to act as Maxine Fortenberry may have been worth the trouble.
2 HURT – I DO BELIEVE IN FAERIES!
Telepathy, that one thing with the chain, a few light shows, and delicious blood, Sookie has quite a few abilities. However the introduction of her other powers happened very quickly and, at times, felt a bit forced. Her first little show of real power not coming out all the other times her life was in danger makes the first light show seemingly random.
After initially discovering her heritage and meeting fairies, it’s ages until her power actually develops. The fae were either grotesque creatures or glittery Tinkerbells. Although they became far more interesting when they had their secret club, it took too long after a too quick reveal.
1 HURT – BILITH LILITH BILITH
Lilith has a long biblical history so it isn’t a surprise the show wanted to explore the potential beginnings of the vampire race, and the dichotomy between the Vampire Church and the Fellowship of the Sun. However, what could have been an incredible villain or intriguing presence on the show merged with Bill.
The vampire god and the little southern vampire went on a rampage and became a horrific perversion of vampirism. It was so ridiculous to be possessed by the ‘vampire god’ that it remained an awkward shadow over the show in Bill writing a book. Lilith would have been far stronger on her own, instead of in the body of Bill.
What do you wish would have been included in True Blood? Let us know in the comments!