Article on Examiner.com by Amanda Bell
The year 2008 saw the book-to-screen translation of two human/vampire love stories: True Blood and Twilight.
True Blood, a television show, which is (like Twilight) based off of a book series – the entire first season of the HBO show was based upon a single volume of the series called Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 1) by Charlaine Harris – has also developed a rather devoted fan-base.
Sookie Stackhouse is a young, intelligent, and extra-sensory perception wielding southern lady. Much like Bella Swan in Twilight, Sookie has rejected the advances of men she has known (that is, until she meets her charming, romantic, vampiric counterpart).
The most obvious difference, at the out-set, between the two stories and the worlds that Bella and Sookie live in is the fact that, in Sookie’s world, vampires are commonly known to exist, and they are openly trying to assimilate into human society (for the most part, at least). The clever name of the television series, in fact, comes from the title of the bottled blood that vampires (are supposed to) live off of. In Twilight, by sharp contrast, the world is mostly unaware of the existence of vampires, and the vampires that do exist (save for the Cullens and the Denali clan) are mostly nomadic and do not try to resist their thirst.
Sookie (played by Oscar-winner Anna Paquin) is eager to become affiliated with vampires, and when she meets Bill, she, like Bella Swan, is totally enamored with him. Unlike Bella, Sookie can let Bill bite her without necessarily becoming a vampire as the procedure for “the change” is quite different between these two stories.
Bill (played by British Stephen Moyer) is a bit like Edward Cullen (played by also-British actor Robert Pattinson) in that he is frustrated with his circumstances as a vampire and wants to be different from some of the less human-friendly others of his kind.
Also, there is another similarity. In True Blood, as in The Twilight Saga: New Moon, there are also shape-shifting (werewolves, arguably) humans such as Sam (played by Sam Trammell) and Twilight’s Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).
Perhaps most obviously, one similarity between these two series (book and TV/film) is the fact that the protagonist is a woman, who carries a voice and virtue that her audience can identify with. Her relationships with vampires in the stories is trying, at times, but for the most part one which she wants and finds love and comfort within. At the risk of being overly succinct, they are both a case of “girl is special, then girl meets attractive, kind, generous, and gentleman-like vampire, and girl’s life is never the same.”
As for the actors, Anna Paquin delivers in True Blood. She is able to present the southern sweet belle charm at the out-set so well, but also maintain that consistent edge that Sookie Stackhouse has. In other words, she is sweet, but she has a low tolerance for bull all the same. Kristen Stewart, similarly, presents us with a Bella Swan which we can recognize from the book series – inward, thoughtful and intelligent, learned, and constantly in awe of her leading man. Stephen Moyer effectively presents the inner struggle that his character has as well as the consuming desire to protect Sookie in True Blood. One could literally feel his pain as he lay in wait (because, in True Blood, vampires cannot come out in the sun, and, in the south, cloud coverage is not helpful) to come to Sookie’s rescue. Robert Pattinson’s performance of Edward Cullen runs through a similar vein – the viewer can identify with the washes of strife that come across his face, but are taken by his cavalier and courtesy throughout the story.
All in all, these two series boast a host of similarities, but there are also some defining differences. From the setting to the characters to the plot-line itself, True Blood and the Twilight series are two tales that nearly mirror one another in some instances and run dynamic opposites in others.