Sunday, July 4, 2010

Discussion Questions: Dead In The Family

Welcome to chat days for Dead in the Family, Book 10 in the Southern Vampires series, by best selling author Charlaine Harris. For the next 2 days we will be discussing various aspects of the book- what we loved, what we hated, the relationships and intimacy, and also any expectations we might have for the characters in this series. Dead in the Family was a stepping stone book for me, but it was also a revelation in many ways and explored previously uncharted territory of the vampire lore.

So leave a comment to one or all of the questions! We love to hear from you!

DQ 1: Division of the United States

I found this discussion between Eric and Sookie interesting for 2 main reasons. First, the entire concept of division was done much the same way as our ancestors probably did things, which shows that maybe the vampires aren't as superior as they would like to think. They factor in the same issues that humans do and sometimes decisions are made based off a political advantage.

Second, the very fact that Eric is having this conversation in the first place indicates that Sookie is important to him and that perhaps he takes their marriage seriously. He is explaining vampire history so that she is armed with knowledge and hopefully that information will help keep her safe. He wants her to understand how vampires think- past and present.

Were you surprised by this serious subject being brought up by Eric? It almost seemed like the roles were reversed for a moment with Sookie thinking about and wanting sex first and talk later. Do you think this shows Eric's level of caring or is this another power ploy?

DQ 2: Eric's maker

Appius Livius Ocella was introduced for the first time as Eric's maker which gives us a glimpse of Eric being vulnerable and scared. His appearance also gave us a deeper understanding of the maker/vampire child relationship. A few interesting tidbits: (1)Eric can be commanded at any time by Ocella and would lack the free will to disobey and (2)Sookie isn't protected by the invitation rule because she has already issued one to Eric and that is then extended towards his maker and (3)Sookie's feelings and thoughts are scrambled by the close proximity of Ocella and Alexei because of the blood bond.

What were your expectations about Eric's maker? Was Sookie justified in being angry with Eric for ignoring her while Ocella and Alexei were in town? Did you expect what happened in the end? Why do you think that vampire families are so screwed up?

DQ 3: Famous Vampires in the Sookieverse

Charlaine Harris doesn't shy away from creating fictional vampires from very famous people. Previous books have shown us the memorable vampire Bubba, a befuddled Elvis that can never be shown to the public for fear that he will lose his cool because he doesn't know that he was once the King of Rock 'n Roll. His lovely voice doesn't go to waste being the vampire...occasionally he does sing.

In DITF we meet the tragic Alexei Romanov, son of Ocella and brother to Eric. Alexei was turned after being tortured and killed by the Bolsheviks. Right from the start it becomes apparent that something isn't quite right with Alexei and it isn't that he possesses the image of a 15 year old boy. He is a mentally flawed vampire that suffers from violent tendencies, causing him to kill.

What do you think about having famous historical figures being introduced into the Sookieverse? What were your impressions of Alexei? What did you think about how Alexei was dealt with?

Please see the next post for more discussion questions!


Jen D. said...

DQ 1: Very surprised. If I'm not mistaken, he's not one to offer up information freely. Up until now I've always thought Eric had a hidden agenda behind his romancing Sookie. I think this move shows he truly cares for Sookie as opposed to his usual 'using her as a pawn' M.O.

DQ 2: I thought his maker would be more ruthless and cunning than he turned out to be. Not that he wasn't scary as hell. It's just I had a different image of him in my mind I guess. I don't think she was justified at all. I think Eric was trying to protect her because he knew if push came to shove he'd have to follow his maker's orders, even if it meant hurting or killing Sookie. I was hoping for the ending but I wasn't expecting it. I think vamp families are screwed up because they're kind of stuck with eachother. Nevermind the fact that a child has to obey his maker. I would imagine it becomes extremely frustrating for the child especially if it's something he or she does not want to do. Another thing I found interesting was how Appius, Alexei, Eric and Sookie could all feel eachother through Eric and Sookie's blood bond. Thanks but, no thanks. That's too many people and emotions in my head for my liking.

DQ 3: I like that Charlaine Harris adds in a famous historical person or two to her stories. I think it makes it interesting. I felt pity for poor Alexei. Having to carry the trauma of his and his family's death for all eternity would make anyone bat sh*t crazy. I think he was a bad candidate to have turned to begin with so I thought the way he was dealt with was appropriate.

iamthehmic said...

Q1.- Think that Eric is taking his marriage to Sookie seriously, he has hinted that there is more to their "marriage" but will explain when SHE is ready to hear it. So with him opening up to her I think that is all part of his growing feelings for Sookie. Sometimes I get frustrated because Sookie seems indecisive when it comes to Eric and I fear thats going to pull them apart. But I want to fully understand as well what it means to be married to a vampire?
Q2- I was expecting to really hate Eric's maker. But I felt sorry for him only because he turned to Eric for help because he couldn't kill Alexei, he knew Eric would. Then it also bothered me in that same way because he just used Eric to do what he couldn't do. As for Sookie being angry, I would have been bothered. He could have called at the least. But it is also Eric's way as well. In the last book he did the same and said that he hoped that Sookies self preservation would keep her busy. Something like that? So Eric also expects her to understand that there are times when he can't be with her every moment as she also expects him to understand the same with her. Did not expect that ending. It would have been great if he had been able to kill the other vamp for them. I think that most of these vampire families are screwed up because they have been around so long and have lost the desire to care all to much about what they do.They live forever so what if a "human" dies or gets hurt. Almost at times they have no conscience. After so many years its hard to surprise them.
Q3- I think that its kind of cool to see historical figures thrown in the books. Bubba threw me off at first. But after the way he was used in the books I came to look forward to having him in books and couldn't wait to see what he was up too. I really enjoyed the Alexei factor. I enjoy the story of the Czar of Russia as it is, so it was kind of exciting to read from a vampire aspect what happend. It was also interesting her think that he may have felt that way having been the only son and sick, so that he was given all that he wanted whenever he wanted. SO why not still as a vampire? I think that Ocella should have killed Alexei himself, he was a coward.