Anyone who has visited my blog knows that I am terrible at writing a non-spoilery review. This post isn’t so much a review as it is an analysis of some key events in the book. So, if you have not read Deadlocked (and do not wish to be spoiled) you better stop reading now.
Deadlocked (DL) is the 12th installment of the Sookie Stackhouse Novels and the second to last book in the series. As we are so close to the end, I thought I would focus my analysis of DL on the growth of Sookie Stackhouse. She’s come a long way from the Sookie of the early books and, though she still has a way to go, I’ve really enjoyed the ride.
One is the Loneliest Number
When Bill asked Sookie about her plans for the future, way back in the first book, and Sookie told him she planned to “Grow old and die.” I was profoundly sad. It saddened me that this was all she could see for herself. However, it was not difficult to understand why this was all she could see for herself. This was the Sookie who perceived her telepathy as a disability. This was the Sookie who was so desperate for friendship she considered Arlene her best friend. This was the Sookie for which dating was an impossibility and therefore she viewed all the elements of a “normal” life to be out of her reach.
Thus, there were two events in DL that made me smile. The first was the girls night out at the strip club. It was so nice to see Sookie take part in this female bonding ritual. What was equally nice is that Sookie wasn’t an outsider but she was sharing in the “girl talk.” She also did a fabulous job of diffusing a difficult situation when they discovered that Tara’s husband was a stripper.
The second event that made me happy was that Sookie didn’t spend her birthday alone. I loved that a party was thrown for her at Merlotte’s and I loved that when she got home there were three vampires there to wish her a happy birthday even if one of the vampires was Bill.
There is a Charlaine Harris quote which is brought up often within this fandom; Charlaine has said something to the effect that Sookie will not end the series alone. This is often discussed within the context of suitors for Sookie but I personally take a broader view. Though I am Sookie/Eric shipper, I want Sookie to have more than just Eric. I think Sookie’s widening social circle, and improved relationship with her brother, is an example of how she has moved on from the lonely girl that we first met in Dead Until Dark to the woman that won’t be alone.
The Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name
Our favorite telepath is moving up the corporate ladder. Considering how long she has worked there (and how many parking lots attacks she has survived), it is only fitting.
As the most senior employee, Sookie was often counted on to fill in for Sam when he was gone. I remember in one book she couldn’t sleep because she was so worried she would screw something up and Merlotte’s would go out of business. Thus, I was so proud of her take charge attitude in this book. Also, though I love the addition of the employee lockers, I really think she should have opted for several security cameras and a night watchman for that parking lot.
And Now for What Everyone is
Flipping Out Focusing On
The main focus of this fandom is Sookie’s love life and there were some events that I bet leave many in a bit of a lurch. Before I delve into my take on some key events in DL, I’d like to begin with two quotes from earlier books.
“Had it occurred to you,” he said, after we’d rolled out of the city’s center, “that you tend to walk away when things between you and Bill become rocky? Not that I mind, necessarily, since I would be glad for you two to sever your association. But if this is the pattern you follow in your romantic attachments, I want to know now.” Eric to Sookie – Club Dead (Book 3)
“Beyond him I could see the same woman was still sitting at the bar, the one who’d remarked that I was no maiden. She was obviously wondering what I had done to secure the attention of a vampire as ancient and attractive as Eric. I often wondered the same thing.” Dead as a Doornail (Book 5)
Sookie and Eric are going through a rough patch, to put it mildly. However, I believe Charlaine is putting these particular obstacles in their path to highlight the growth of these characters throughout this series.
While I get that angst is not everyone’s cup of tea, I am perplexed that some readers are expecting the final books of the series to involve Sookie and Eric having no struggles and simply teaming up to solve mysteries like some sort of supernatural Dave and Maddie. That is the stuff of short story not novel. The novels, above all else, are about Sookie’s growth and development. I fully expect, and it is bearing out, that Charlaine is going to throw everything but the kitchen sink at Sookie as the series wind down. Times are going to be rocky and this Sookie is not running.
Now, let’s talk about the Cluviel Dor shall we? Or, more specifically, Sookie’s use of the Cluviel Dor. I stayed spoiler free prior to this book and I have successfully avoided most online discussion and analysis because I wanted to give a fresh perspective without fandom reaction influencing it. However, after 3 years in this fandom, I can predict what some reaction may be and I imagine that some discussion goes like this:
“The Cluviel Dor can only be used on someone you love!!! Sookie used it on Sam and NOT Eric. ZOMG that must mean she really loves Sam!!!”
I think this interpretation is really far off the mark and this is NOT due to my love of a certain Viking but what is in the text and what has been built up over the past TWELVE books.
Yes, Sookie loves Sam … as a friend. The Cluviel Dor makes no stipulation on the type of love you feel for the person you use it on, you only must love that person; the love for a friend definitely qualifies.
Now why didn’t Sookie use the Cluviel Dor to get Eric out of his jam with Freyda? Because that wouldn’t really solve what is at the heart of the problem and that is Sookie’s fear that Eric will leave her.
Sookie has come very far but there is still a part of her that is like the Sookie in Book 5 that is not sure what Eric sees in her exactly. This, coupled with the a terrible ending to her first relationship, makes her think that it won’t last. Something will tear Eric away. This is why Appius’ dying utterance that she will never keep Eric cut her to the quick because it touched on her deepest insecurities.
The Cluviel Dor would have been a quick fix. But if she had used it to free Eric from Freyda it would have done nothing to address her insecurities of Eric leaving. That is because she would have used some magic device to prevent Eric from leaving rather than Eric preventing himself from leaving. And what if, down the road, there was some other political situation that threatened to tear Eric away. The Cluviel Dor is one and out and there would be no more quick fixes.
That is why Sookie discarded the notion of using the Cluviel Dor for Eric because it wouldn’t have fixed what is really troubling her about the Freyda situation. Eric is not going to leave Sookie willingly but her insecurities are not allowing her to understand this. Eric is in a situation he is desperate to get out of but one that is not easily fixed. Then he discovers that his girlfriend has an object that can make this problem go away but she is not stepping forward to use it for him.
It is my very strong opinion that Harris has set up this specific situation to address one of the biggest impediments to Sookie and Eric’s longterm future and that is Sookie’s insecurities that she and Eric won’t last; her fear that he will find something better thereby validating those that wonder what he sees in her.
For Sookie to have a believable Dead Ever After this needs to be addressed and sure as hell wouldn’t be addressed if Sookie were to have used the Cluviel Dor to make the Freyda situation go away.
So how exactly are Eric and Sookie going to get out of this?
I can’t predict exactly what is going to happen but it is my very firm belief that come next May, Sookie/Eric shippers are going to see a very satisfying resolution to this.
You can bet a demon’s dick