Interview with a Sympathizer: Linda


Linda was my very first “Interview with a Sympathizer.” We conducted our interview over a plate of roasted garlic, breads, and oils — and maybe a few pints.

If you’d to be my next “Interview with a Sympathizer,” CLICK HERE to fill out the handy dandy online questionnaire. Have fun with it!

And, thanks to Linda for being my first. You’re like the vamp child I never had!

Rebecca Wilcott: Are you familiar with The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris?

Linda Brennan: I think of them as The Sookie Stackhouse Novels because they’re all told from Sookie’s perspective.

After Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended, I was looking for something to get me over the gap. Two years ago, a friend in British Columbia said she thought I’d like them. Within days, she’d mailed the first few to me. They remind me a bit of the Janet Evanovich Stephanie Plum novels. Each series is light reading, written in the first person, and showcases a main protagonist who kicks ass. (Stephanie’s a lingerie buyer who becomes a private detective.) To date, I’ve read all of the books except for the most recent in the series and the Sookie Stackhouse Short Stories that appeared between books.

RW: Before you started to watch True Blood, what had you heard about it?

LB: Not much. I had a “Holy crap!” moment, though, when I first started reading the books. In hindsight, I realized I’d seen some of the viral marketing done to promote the show, but had no idea what it was linked to at the time. I think it was a full page ad for “Tru Blood” in Entertainment Weekly. I hadn’t watched Six Feet Under, but had seen and enjoyed American Beauty.

RW: Between the novels and the series, which deviations have you noted? Which do you like, and which do you dislike?

LB: Sookie more tortured in the novels. And, possibly because it’s written from her perspective, she thinks the most ridiculous things. The books feel more like a coming-of-age tale. In the television adaptation, it feels a bit like they’re trying to get Anna Paquin out of Rogue’s [X-Men] shadow. The Jason/Amy storyline isn’t in the book, nor anything about his addiction to V-juice. Other obvious deviations include introducing Tara’s character earlier. She doesn’t appear in the books until book three, Club Dead. And, her character never becomes involved with Sam, or has had a lifelong crush on Jason Stackhouse. Eggs appears in the book, but doesn’t develop nearly into his storyline on the show.

Lots more after the jump. Click “Read More” below.

RW: Were you familiar with any of the actors before watching the series?

LB: I was familiar with Anna Paquin as “Rogue” from X-Men, but perhaps knew Michelle Forbes best as “Ensign Ro Laren” from Star Trek, Kalifornia, and as “Admiral Helen Cain” from BSG [Battlestar Galactica].

RW: How do you feel about the casting? Any “Didn’t see that coming, but I like it!” moments? Or, conversely, “No, no, no! Not him/her!”

LB: I think Evan Rachel Wood has been miscast as Queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq. I imagined that character more like an Anaïs Nin, [known for her erotica].

RW: Do you have a favourite character on the show?

LB: Sam, but you want to punch him because he’s so possessive!

RW: Are you squeamish about any of the more graphic elements of the series: blood, sex, or violence?

LB: I’ve had a few “I can’t believe they went there!” moments, but it’s not the blood or sex that get to me, it’s the visceral stuff like the sound of the vamp’s teeth as they puncture skin. There’s the scene when Lafayette is being held in Eric’s dungeon, shortly after Eric has ripped off the other prisoner’s leg. Lafayette is looking for anything to help him escape. He spots the ripped-off leg and remembers that there’s an artificial joint in it. He picks up the leg and thrusts his hand inside the bloody flesh, trying to pull out the joint, so he can use it as a tool. It was the concept of being that desperate and the “squelchy” sound that bothered me.

There’s also the scene where Longshadow attacks Sookie. The bloody mess that ensues when Bill stakes him was a little much. It wasn’t so much that there was blood, but there was a lot of blood. It was like a scene form Carrie. I laughed aloud but I also felt a little sick.

Watching Maryann get off on Tara and Eggs devouring the “Hunter’s Souffle” was more upsetting than the souffle itself. And, that naked guy sitting in Sookie’s sink . . ?

RW: What about the paranormal appeals to you? Have you always been interested in vampires, etc?

LB: I have a special place in my heart for the vampire. They’re misunderstood, loners, and outsiders. They long to fit in, to be normal, but simultaneously relish their evil sides.

RW: Have you ever fantasized about being a vampire, or being turned?

LB: I’ve probably wanted to be one for Hallowe’en one too many times! And, I think the appeal of vampires can be tied somewhat to the BDSM community, where the vampire is the Dominant, and the bitten is the Submissive. As for being turned, you could die at any second, but the chances are better that you won’t. To live an eternity would be lonely. And, endless life means always having to be self-motivated. That kind of liberty can keep you up at night, or you can say, “Fuck it.” Take Godric, for example. His anguish was to witness all this passage of time, yet to see very little accomplished. As mortals, we live with the same eternal questions, but at least we know we’ll die before we get to answer any of them. I also feel for vampires, because the things humans fuel themselves with — in particular, food — are part of a larger connection to community. Something as simple as breaking bread is lost.

RW: Do you believe vampires exist?

LB: Unlikely, although you just don’t know. I think it’s more likely that the vampire is an archetype built on something, maybe drawn from people who were misinterpreted, then turned into monsters, people who on invaded the stability and livelihood of tiny villages by attacking their cattle, etc. The contemporary vampire has struck a chord from a place of loss, the forbidden, and a sexualized sadness.

RW: Do you fall on the side of the American Vampire League, the Fellowship of the Sun, or neither?

LB: They each present an extreme agenda, but I’d have to choose the AVL.

RW: Who else do you know who watches the series?

LB: I have a circle of gay male friends who all watch it together. Progressive women.

RW: Do you have any rituals when you watch the show?

LB: I watch it on the night it airs. My partner doesn’t watch the show, so it becomes my “alone time.” The first episode I ever watched was hosted on Japanese site. I watched Bill and Sookie meet with subtitles.

RW: Do you participate in any online True Blood communities? If so, which ones?

LB: Not personally, but I do follow the Twitter True Blood Players.

RW: Do the immediate people in your life know that you watch True Blood?

LB: I have the True Blood quote widget on my Facebook profile page, so I think it’s pretty obvious!

You can be a Sympathizer, too. GO HERE, fill in the answers, and you could be part of the book, and have your full interview posted here on the site!

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