Friday, December 5, 2008

Twilight and True Blood or Twilight and Sookie Books

I thought I would take a little more time to blog about Twilight and Sookie because probably close to 80% of people who visit my blog through a search engine type a version of what I posted as the title of the entry, as you can see: (and this was just the top keywords, not each search. There are even hundres of more keyword searches that ask the same thing)

I had previously written a post about Twilight vs True Blood back in September, prompted by a letter written to TV guide. You can view the entry and the comments Here.

First, let me start by saying that True Blood the TV series can no way compare to the Charlaine Harris Sookie books. The books are way better and the show has quite a bit of differences. So when we do compare, lets stick with books not visual representations.

Second, everyone is free to their opinion, but you can't really make an informed descision either way about which one is better or claim that one copied the other, etc. if you haven't read both book series.

The first thing I want to compare, to clear things up, is that Harris did not copy Meyer:
Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer was published in 2005
Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris was published in 2001.

Harris' books are about a mid-20 year old who has the intersting ability to read minds. She lives in a small town in Luisianna where nothing much happens, until she meets her first vampire. Vampires came out into the public several years ago with the invention of a synthetic blood called "Trublood" (hint the show name). Vampires are fighting for human rights, there are churches who are against them, Sookie can read minds, and she finds some other interesting beings along the way as well. She becomes romantically linked with Bill the vamp, bad things happen, and she ends up agreeing to work for a higher up vampire (Eric, who I love) to help solve different mysteries.

Not sure if it is even worth writing about Twilight, since the people searching for the similarities and differences are probably Twilight fans. I know there are a lot of Twilight fans who have been vampire fiction fans, but there are also a lot of Twilight (or Sookie) fans who are not familiar with vampire fiction or folklore and think that the similarities between the two means one has copied the other.

Here are some common vampire characteristics:
Reading minds
Mind control
"Tricking" people into believing things
Super-human (or inhuman) strength
Super speed
Hyper senses
Sexy and dangerous
and so on.

I have never read a modern-day vampire book that didn't have some similarity to another, which is okay because they are writing about the same subject. Each author adds in their own version of a vampire, but it's still a vampire. Many vamp books have werewolves in them too, that does not mean one copied the other. They say that there are no original stories anymore, this is one of those cases that illustrates the point. Vampire authors may change how blood is taken, vampire abilities, reactions to humans, and other characteristics but it can never be wholly unique or else it wouldn't be a vampire, it would be some other creature.

There are some similarities between Trueblood and Twilight, or Twilight and Vampire Kisses (lots of similarites between those two) but that does not mean they copied each other. They all write about a main female character who falls for a vampire. Of course there are going to be similiarities.

For those of you who are curious about something more specific, feel free to email me or comment me. Since it seems like some many people are curious, I will be starting to reread the Harris books so I can do more in depth reviews of them on my blog.

And I will say it again, Harris did not copy Meyer - look at the facts.


Wicked said...

Harris rocketh so much more than Meyer.
Harris' books are delightful, and witty, and a brilliant quick read.

Meyer is nothing but angsty glorified Fan Fiction of the Vampire genre. (Sorry, but Bella is a Mary Sue- Meyer herself stated that she see's herself as Bella)

And on a last note.. I'm so Team Eric. He's so much cooler than Bill.

Ms. LuluBelle said...

Wicked I agree with you 110%

Bella definitely fits in to the Mary Sue-ism category.

And I'm team Eric all the way! Bill never stood a chance in my book!

Jackie Ballway said...

I'm madly in love with Eric. I've been reading Charlaine Harris since 2004 or so and fell in love by book two. My sister-in-law and her friends didn't start the series until True Blood aired. When I told them book four was my favorite they about had heart-attacks! "But what about Bill! We love Bill!" *shakes head* The experience is so much different when you begin from the real beginning not the sex with a ginormous-breasted woman who's tied to a ceiling fan beginning.

Ms. LuluBelle said...

I'm definitely team Eric all the way. I have a few friends who are Bill lovers as well, even though I don't see how you could choose Bill over Eric.

The books cannot compare to the show.... especially when the show adds bizarr scenes!

Glenn Patrick said...

Hmmmm, I haven't read the Sookie books, because I kinda sorta DON'T READ! Ever. No exceptions... I did, however, buy them as a Christmas gift for my sister... Who does read. A lot.

We're both fans of the TV show, which, it seems - based on most comments here - a lot of yous hate, but I still think is pretty awesome.

And yes, I too prefer Eric (what little we've seen of him on the show) over Bill... But, in my twisted mind, the two of them should just ditch Sookie and hook up with each other!

shelley said...

I started off reading Twilight and I am a huge fan. Reading Twilight, however, lead to me watch TrueBlood. Watching TrueBlood left me questioning if one was based off the other which lead me to research and discover the Sookie Stackhouse series. I have read the first 4 books in the past 4 days and I am totally in love. I can't say which I prefer because although they are both extremely similar (as the author of this blog says, a vampire book IS a vampire book no matter what the story line) they are both completely different. The biggest draw to twilight is Edward. He is attractive, loving, generous and 100% dedicated to Bella. There is no question of whether she should be with someone else bc they are meant for each other. You fall in love with Edward and his family and can completely understand why Bella does the same. The best thing about the Sookie novels is Sookie. Bill is not the main story point or the reason all of the readers are drawn in. Sookie is unique and endearing. She initially becomes involved due to her fascination with vampires. But that does not mean that she must be with Bill. She is so open-minded and caring that she meets many other vamps and creatures and we never know where her story will end up.

My point is this... although there are many similarities, which initially got me interested in Sookies stories, their differences are what make both stories great. Although they are both about vampires and love they are totally unique and different. I love them both for different reasons and I encourage any readers that have read one but not the other to read both series and see for yourself. Instead of comparing differences and/or similarities enjoy them for what they are.

p.s. I am not an avid Vampire reader and these are the first that I have read so my decision is not based on my love for vampire stories... there are both well written and endearing.

p.p.s. I am SOOOO team Eric. Is there any question??

Zahir al Daoud said...

Quite frankly, I enjoy them both for what they each are.

Twilight is fun. I don't agree that Bella is a Mary Sue, because she is what she must be to fit into the plot. More, she lacks many of the classic traits of a Mary Sue, including superlative ability at virtually everything (i.e. Honor Harrington). While the plot is not complex, these books are about the characters and their relationships first and foremost. Since I like the characters, I like the books.

The Sookie Stackhouse mysteries are something else altogether, and I'm complaining about any of it. While Harris frankly is a better author with more realistic (ish) stories, that doesn't take away from the genuine qualities of Myers' books.

ReRe said...

i just picked up the first sookie book today and just finished it. as i was reading, i had to stop several times and text the similarities to Twilight to my friend, who, like me is a huge Twilight fan.
I have to say that though i love twilight, the similarities (shapeshifter, love triangle, hearing thoughts) it has with Dead Until Dark kind of make me rethink my like for stephenie meyer. edward and bella came to her in a dream my arse!

Anonymous said...

hi, just start watching true blood recently... i finished reading the twilight saga books as well.. for me both are really similar so i researched which was published first.. thanks to your blog i now know which had the idea first.. even if they are similar, true blood is more on the mature side and has more action in it while twilight is more on a woman's fantasy side.. both are good though but i was apreciate true blood more even if i read the twilight saga first.. and sookie is more independent than bella...

Anonymous said...

I read Twilight first, and loved them. However, after reading the first two Dead after Dark books (and currently starting the 3rd) I have grown quite fond of Sookie. She is much more likable a character then Bella. She's tough and independent and witty. Bella was more of a lost puppy, clumsy and broken. Harris uses a much more extensive vocabulary, and the reading is much more involved, which is a good thing for more mature readers. Twilight was a nice, simple read, which is nice sometimes as well. I started the first Dead After Dark book comparing the two, but by the end the stories were so different there was no need to keep up trying to compare. I love both Twilight and Dead After Dark. I'm completely hooked. While Twilight appealed to the "first love hormonal senses" (you remember the first love feeling: 'I'd die if I don't have you in my life'), Dead After Dark has a kind of a raw, edgy, deeper, mature feel to it.

Just Passing By said...

The similarity I found interesting was that in both books/movies/tv, the male vamp cannot read the mind of the female human love interest.

Is that new to the "Vamp Mythos"? Its the first I have read. Everything else is pretty standard "vamp stuff".

Comparing the two... apples & oranges; two diff't intended audiences, IMO.

RambleOn said...

This is a topic I've run over time and time again at my blog...

I have to say that while True Blood has the more mature feel going in some regards (ie..the sex....) Twilight def brings the intensity. Reading Twilight first, the Southern Vamp series was like going from a Joyce Carol Oates to a Nora Roberts, if either were to write about their vampire boyfriends =) I have much love for both, but have to agree with Wicked...I'm team Eric. Way cooler than all.

Lindsay said...

Oh yeah, this definitely seems to be the hot topic of the year... and I am definitely Team Eric all the way. And True Blood Bill is even more annoying than book Bill I think.

To be honest, I really wouldn't mind the Twilight books if Bella wasn't such a weak, desperate, and co-dependant girl.

Hey Lady! said...

I know, 7 months late to the party...
Had to weigh in though. The biggest issue I have with the similarities of Harris' and Meyer's books is that Meyer claims she had never read a vampire story before? Really? So all that stuff just occurred to you also? Never mind that a lot of it's been around as long as Dracula?

I'm a fan of both series of books, but I have to say Sookie is a more relatable character. Bella kind of seems like a moody b**ch. And as much as I like Edward, he's a bit stalkerish and I'd feel sort of smothered personally. At least Eric, Alcide, Quinn, sort of Bill, let Sookie do what she wants and live her own life!

RambleOn said...

I feel like Edward is a teenage boy in love....Stalkerish? Perhaps a bit. We don't see that so much in Bill. Bill also had a wife, kids, other women. We know Edward has been 17 for a VERY long time. Personally, as much fun as I had at 17, I would hate to be stuck at that age for 100 years. I think Edward and Bella represent that classic "first love" or what you expected your first love to be like. That borderline obsession. Bill and Sookie's relationship is what most of us get-They have their real issues, etc. which obviously makes Sookie easier to relate to. If we all had vamp bfs =)

Anonymous said...

I have just started watching True Blood and I love it! I haven't read the books yet, but still I enjoy the series. I plan on reading the books soon.

A vampire book (or movie/ tv show) may be a vampire book, but I still cannot get past the similarities of the 2.

First, the reading minds thing. Even if in Twilight, Edward is the one reading minds and in True Blood, it is Sookie, the similarities doesn't stop there.

Of course, the vampire - mortal relationship is obvious. But having a werefolf/ shapeshifter in the story? Or even the word, (although I don't know if it is also in the S. Stackhouse books), imprinting is used on both!

While imprint as Sam Merlotte explained it is different from the imprinting that happens in the Twilight series, aren't there too many similarities in both to think that it was just coincidence or passing it off as just another vampire story?

And is it really just a coincidence that the love triangle stars a mortal, a vampire and a shapeshifter?

And besides, would you really think (this may be a personal attack already) that a small-town, Mormon housewife could ever imagine a story concept of vampires, shapeshifters, imprinting and all that?

I thought I liked the Twilight Series, but now with True Blood, it's making me think twice of its originality. Especially now that S. Meyer is actually getting sued by somebody else who wrote a novel called The Nocturne. Apparently the concept of a wedding and a sex-on-the-beach plot was copied as well as a word-for-word passage.

Makes you wonder where she really got all her ideas for Twilight.

I like the complexity of True Blood which also started me thinking that if it was copied, it was a good strategy for S. Meyer to simplify the story and target the younger/ high school audience which is easier to inject with a vampire love story concept.

So I still say Stephenie Meyer is a hack!

Paul said...

I haven't read this thread, so I'm probably not adding anything meaningful, but it seems clear to me that Twilight is a gigantic rip-off of the Harris books. Twilight is to Sookie Stackhouse what disco is to funk; a watered-down, dumbed-down mainstream version that only succeeds because it's standing on the shoulders of genius.

Emma said...

I see you saying neither has copied the other: I disagree. I think Twilight has certain features which are copied from True Blood, such as The girl loving the vampire but also sort of loving her good friend; the good friend being a shapeshifter who uses the phrase "imprint", as do the shapeshifters (werewolves) in Twilight; not being able to read the partner's mind but reading everyone else's.
There may be common things among vampire stories but these seem a little too specific to not be copied from True Blood. I enjoyed the Twilight books, but when I saw True Blood and some of the similarities I was slightly annoyed. True Blood has a lot more depth however and not so many namby pamby endings where everything turns out alright for everyone but the bad guy. I have to say, I liked your revies and agreed with a lot of your points, but I honestly think Meyer has at least influenced her writing vastly by True Blood.

Anonymous said...

I am a fan of both series when you look it without reading it there are similarities but the story lines are completely different and thier development is different. As was said before these series are aimed at two completely differnt age gorups. The Tweens that are reading Twilight def shouldn't be reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Looking at Twlight Bella is thinking with her heart and not her head (which many of us have done at 17). She could have found the love of her life at 17 I met mine at 18 it happens, but in the Sookie Stackouse sereies she is thinking with her head more. I love the Twilight series because it is about your first love and those emotions that we all have felt (I neeed to surivie my life would be nothing without you). I started to read to the novels after I began watching the show and it is a enjoyable and keeps my interest. But I will be there opening night to see Eclipse no can be as charasmatic as Edward Cullen. By the way as of yet I am team bill but we'll see.
Ps what's the big deal if the authors don't care why should we?