5 Ways TRUE BLOOD is Better as a TV Show Than a Book

True Blood

Even though TRUE BLOOD fans can agree on many things when it comes to our favorite bloodsuckers and their favorite telepath, one of the most polarizing things we disagree about is the Bon Temps of the TV show vs. the Bon Temps of the Charlaine Harris novels.

The battle rages on across all corners of the net with the heated fervor that only a truly loved set of characters can inspire. Here I offer five of the reasons that my heart beats faster every Sunday night, even though the books are all sitting right here, an arm’s reach away (for those of you who haven’t read all of the books yet, note there are SPOILERS ahead):

1. Lafayette Reynolds Lives On

True Blood Lafayette

This may be one of the most commonly brought forth arguments, but there’s a reason: Charlaine Harris based the second novel’s mystery around the brutal death of Lafayette, thereby robbing the rest of the books of one of the most colorful, sympathetic, and quotable characters seen on the TV show. Alan Ball really got this one right when he turned that neon-polished foot at the end of Season One into the foot of the voodoo phony from Tara’s past in Season Two. Lafayette is the Shaggy-and-Scooby character of the show, always knowing it would be much smarter to run, but being forced once again into the heart of trouble. Nelsan Ellis gets all the credit, according to Ball, for making Lafayette impossible to let go. And we haven’t stopped watching him since, Hooker!

2. Godric and Eric

True Blood Godric

In Season Two, the relationship between Eric and Godric did more than just introduce the softer side of Eric: it brought us a completely different kind of vampire in Godric, a serene vamp whose ancient soul poured out of his eyes with every look, a bloodsucker who didn’t need blood and regretted his violent past, and the first vamp to make Eric heel. In Eric’s devotion to his maker, we got to see that he was capable of love, even though he didn’t understand it (as he told Sookie in one of my favorite lines of the entire series). It was a complete departure from the books, in which Eric’s maker does not come around until Book 10 and brings with him chaos and jealousy, the fruits of which are still being written. The TV version of the Godric/Eric story revealed Eric’s deeply buried humanity much more quickly and beautifully than the books.

3. Terry Bellefleur as an Iraq War Vet

True Blood Terri

Todd Lowe’s younger, more relevant incarnation of the books’ severely shell-shocked and easily manipulated Vietnam vet has become the heart of the show, always looking puzzled by the sordid lives of his coworkers, friends, and family. His military background has been milked for laughs when he and most of the town were in a frenzy, storming Merlotte’s to capture Sam for Maryann’s evil ceremony in Season Two, and again this season when Lafayette had Baby Mikie in Hoyt’s house and Terry kept trying to issue military commands that no one could comprehend. His relationship with Arlene and her children has been the most healthy on the show, a much-needed contrast. Plus, I can’t get enough of his smile, that look of surprise every time someone is nice to him. He deserves more of it.

4. Bill with a Backbone

True Blood Bill

In the True Blood novels, Bill fades to the background once Sookie turns her eyes toward Eric, Alcide, and Quinn. His claim to fame becomes a database of vampires, which causes him to travel extensively and stay largely absent from contention in Sookie’s life (except for infrequent stalker-y moments where he haunts her woods and comes around to remind her he still loves her). In the show, Bill has brutally succeeded Sophie-Anne and become King of Louisiana, a role he fills perfectly with his blend of devotion and pragmatism, and which keeps him right next door to Sookie forever. His new suits, new attitude, new power, and new ability to order Eric around even the score between the two vamps vying for Sookie’s affection. I like Bill the King even better than Bill the Romantic Soldier in Love! This Bill is more worthy of the fight for Sookie, and stands a better chance, too.

5. The TV-MA Rating

True Blood

Finally, a thank you to Alan Ball and his casting director for bringing Ryan Kwanten, Alexander Skarsgård, Joe Manganiello, Stephen Moyer, and Anna Paquin to cable! Vampires have been associated with beauty (it’s a component of their danger) since Bram Stoker put pen to paper, and this show pays grand tribute to that tradition. As thorough as the books’ love scenes sometimes are, seeing these heavenly bodies on Sunday nights just adds so much more to crave! Plus, they’re all so compelling, even clothed, that when the scenes turn risqué, we still want to watch their faces, too! Brava, ladies and gents!

Of course, there are many more reasons to love True Blood as a TV show! What are yours? Share them in the comment section below.