On True Blood

What a Strange Love

Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Shifters

By Philippa Ballantine

Sam Merlotte. Bill Compton.

The competition for our supernatural affections has never been stronger. Indeed it seems that we’ve broken down into the usual two camps–shapeshifters and vampires–like we are in some sort of primitive tribal ritual where fangs or fur are the only options.

Vampires appear to have a strong lead, with a wealth of history and literature to back them up. Certainly the movies haven’t helped us shake our love affair with vampires–in fact, they are positively enabling it. Vampires are everywhere: casting covetous eyes on teenage girls, writing maudlin diaries about their eternal pain, and even getting themselves assistants like some Hollywood starlet.

The arrival of the vampire-centric series True Blood seems to be just another dish served up cold and sexy for those of the fangbanger persuasion, with such delicious main courses as Bill Compton and Eric Northman.

Maybe we can understand why Sookie Stackhouse is always running across her lawn to leap into bed with brooding vampire Bill Compton. Yet there is always the other side of the coin: the warm embrace of Sam Merlotte, the shapeshifter.

For long enough shapeshifters have been the also-rans, the silver medal to the vampires’ gold. As full as True Blood is packed with vampires working their sexy charm, the show has also brought us something warmer and cuddlier, something that has the call of the wild stamped deeply on it.

Bon Temps resident shifter, Sam Merlotte, is a fine example of why shapeshifters deserve a second look. Unlike your average  …

More from Philippa Ballantine

Stay Updated

on our daily essay, giveaways, and other special deals

Our Books

Subscribe via RSS