On True Blood

Pure Blood

From Transylvania to Bon Temps
By Joseph McCabe

Life–or rather, death–can be lonely for a vampire. An endless existence spent lurking in the shadows, seducing hapless humans, feeding off of throbbing jugulars . . . It doesn’t allow much room to socialize, at least not in the conventional sense. No wonder, then, that in the world of True Blood so much import is placed on a vampire’s relationship with their maker, on observance of their lineage. This is the only way these creatures of the night may find some semblance of community, as they attempt to fill the emptiness of their undead lives, replacing the family and friends they once knew with whatever companion providence allows.

Lineage is also important to vampire fiction. Nearly all tales of the undead, across all types of media, must contend with their maker, the story from which the modern vampire was born into pop culture–Bram Stoker’s Dracula. First published in 1897, Dracula continues to shape our perception of vampires and their storytelling potential, having yielded books and movies as disparate as I Am Legend, Salem’s Lot, The Lost Boys, Twilight, and True Blood.

It’s especially worthwhile to consider that last title, since doing so reveals intriguing parallels and contrasts between the England of Bram Stoker and his eponymous Transylvanian Count Dracula, and the twenty-first-century America of Alan Ball, Charlaine Harris, and True Blood’s main vampire, Bill Compton. Despite their many differences, each  …

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