Here there be spoilers…
He’s a hot topic of conversation these days. The tall, blonde Swede that has captured the hearts… and other things… of men and women throughout the world. Most people claim that this phenomenon is because of his magnetic attraction, but it is apparent to me that it is his role as Eric Northman in True Blood which has bolstered Alexander Skarsgård’s fame and fortune.
When we first met Eric in of the one of the most outrageous and rating-ridden series ever aired, True Blood, he was a quiet, smug Viking, 1, 000 years old and aware of his powers, abusing his sway over women to his own ends, be those sexual or cruel amusement. I remember feeling that the character was somewhat carbon-copied stereotype. Far too one-dimensional and predictable to be a main antagonist, or hero, for that matter. He kept his ruthless demeanour throughout the few episodes he appeared in in the first season, which I found to be a disappointment, but I accepted him faults and all, as one usually requires a bad boy in all vampire stories (it’s a thing, all women love them… insert eye roll here).
However, as is to be expected from the ‘bad boy’ as he has been dubbed in pop culture, Eric followed the typical changes. With season two we saw a depth to him we would never have expected. Now some may attribute it to Sookie. I’d rather not because I’m not exactly Sookie’s biggest fan. She reminds me far too vividly of Anita Blake, but without the guns to back her up. Although, I will admit, she gives us oodles of entertainment in season five when she gets roaringly smashed and imagines Bill, Eric and Alcide barking at each other – priceless. But I digress. Eric quite unexpectedly gains depth we could not have seen coming (at least, this is what the writer’s believe of their audience) with the introduction of his maker, Godric – Yet another vampire I have mass levels of love and adoration for. Another time maybe.
Skarsgård’s portrayal of the bond between Maker and Child was heart-wrenching, and immediately drove Richard and I to rethink our approach to such delicate matters while working on Bought in Blood. His devotion was believable to say the least, but more convincing was his anguish when Godric chose to meet the sun. I must have watched that episode five or six times, but it still brings me to tears.
But wait. His growth as a character does not simply end there! In season three, Eric gives us a glimpse of his short time as a man, a human boy living on his father’s land. He’s not that different to the Eric we know of today, but the coldness is lacking somewhat. Here we are given an entirely new side of Eric, one we wouldn’t really expect as we have come to regard him as playful, if somewhat aggressive from time to time. No one would have guessed his driving force for over 1, 000 years has been revenge. A deep, carving desire to end the vampire that slaughtered his family.
What I find difficult to come to terms with then, is the fact that Eric is so willing, after a millennium of obsession, to side with Russell Edgington in season five. Oh yes, I understand that the chances of his winning against such a man are little to absolutely none, but surely his turn over to Edgington acquaintance was too rapid? Some angst perhaps? A bit of furious furniture smashing? Bring on the table flip guy!
Regardless, Skarsgård does a sterling job in portraying a firmly written character. And succeeds in confusing us as to his true agenda – villain or hero? Only time will tell.