Dead Until Dark Discussion – Sookie Stackhouse Book #1

**SPOILER ALERT!  IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK PLEASE DO NOT CONTINUE READING THIS POST!**

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Plot Summary: (Provided HERE by Wikipedia)
Sookie Stackhouse is a telepath who lives in a world where vampires have come out to the public and become legal citizens since the Japanese developed a synthetic blood. True Blood makes it possible for vampires to live in the open without the need to hunt humans for sustenance.


Sookie lives with her grandmother Adele Stackhouse and has an older brother Jason. Sookie falls in love with a vampire, a Civil War veteran named Bill Compton. Amazingly, vampires’ minds are ‘silent’ to Sookie, which is heaven for her as human minds are difficult to shut out and bombard her constantly with their thoughts. In his first visit, Sookie saves him from the Rattrays, who are vampire drainers. Bill returns the favor the next day when the Rattrays attack Sookie. In the meantime, there are several murders in Bon Temps, and people believe that Bill is behind the murders because many of the bodies have fang marks. The Bon Temps police suspect Sookie’s brother Jason and arrest him because he has been romantically linked to two of the victims. Sookie wants to help her brother and asks Bill to take her to a vampire bar called Fangtasia in nearby Shreveport. Fangtasia is owned by Eric Northman, a vampire sheriff who is much older and more powerful than Bill. Eric soon discovers that Sookie can be useful and orders Bill to have her use her telepathic ability to determine the identity of the person who has been stealing from his bar. Sookie finds out that Eric’s partner, Long Shadow, a vampire, has been stealing the money and she almost gets killed in the process. Eric saves Sookie’s life by staking Long Shadow when he attacks her. Back in Bon Temps, Sookie finds her grandmother Adele slaughtered in the kitchen. Bill, concerned with Eric’s power over him and Sookie, decides to improve his own position within their vampire hierarchy. He asks Bubba, a dim-witted vampire, to protect Sookie while he is gone. Sookie discovers that her boss, Sam is a shape-shifter when she lets a stray dog sleep beside her and finds a naked Sam in the morning. While Bill is gone, Sookie discovers that the murderer is her brother’s friend Rene Lenier. He almost kills her, but she fights back. Badly injured, Sookie wakes up in the hospital and finds Bill by her side. Bill tells Sookie that he has become his area’s investigator, working under Eric.

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**Below are some questions that we highlighted during our re-read.  Jen and I thought they’d be good starting points for today’s discussion. We want to hear all your thoughts so don’t feel like you have to stick to just these questions. This is a free-for-all so speak  your mind and tell us what you’re thinking.  PLEASE remember that this discussion might involve people who are reading the series for the first time so limit your comments to this book only.  For all the re-readers in the house today we’d love for you to think back to when you first read Dead Until Dark and share your first impressions with us.**

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think Bill asks Sookie “what are you” three times at the beginning of the book?
  2. Were you surprised by Sookie’s grandmothers reaction to Bill?
  3. At the end of Chapter 3 Bill tells Sookie to ‘do him proud’.  What do you think he meant by that?  (Refer to page 95)
  4. Does anyone have any idea why Bill tells Sookie she’s naive or one of God’s fools?  (Refer to page 114)
  5. Do you think Sookie was inside Bill’s mind when she was drinking his blood to boost her abilities?  (Refer to page 197)
  6. Sookie somehow manages to get inside Eric’s mind.  Do you think she was actually reading it or do you think there’s some other explanation for what’s happening? (Refer to page 202)
  7. What were your thoughts on Bubba when he makes his first appearance in the book? (Refer to page 236)
  8. Were you expecting Sam to be a shape-shifter? Did you have any other thoughts as to what  Sam might be prior to him revealing his true form?
  9. What are your thoughts on Sookie’s Reaction to Sam’s reveal? (Refer to page 250)
  10. Now we know Rene was the crazy killer, but throughout the book who did you suspect and why?
  11. What are your thoughts on Eric sending Sookie flowers (page 286) and his “fly by” at the very end of the book (page 292)?
  12. What do you think Bill’s new job, as fifth area investigator, will entail (Refer to page 290)?

What questions did you have while reading Dead Until Dark?

Favorite Quotes:

He knows that women like a man who’s good to his family and also kind to the disabled, so hugging me is a double whammy of recommendation.
-Sookie referring to Jason (pg. 5)

“Oh,” I said, hearing the shock in my own voice, hardly knowing what I was saying.  “I can’t hear you.”  “Thank you!” the vampire said, moving his lips exaggeratedly.
-Sookie to Bill (pg. 11)

“You came out here to rescue me.  It was brave,” he said in a voice so seductive it would have shivered DeeAnne right out of her red nylon panties.
-Sookie referring to Bill (pg. 12)

“Well, Mr. Lord of Darkness,” I said furiously…
-Sookie to Bill (pg. 93)

I could not comment on what he chose to do here, though I had a surprisingly vivid mental image of leaving a slap mark on this hussy’s pale, freckled cheek.
-Sookie referring to a fang-banger flirting with Bill (pg. 104)

What were some of your favorite quotes from Dead Until Dark?

Now go on and lets get to discussing; Questions, thoughts, opinions…anything goes!

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39 responses to “Dead Until Dark Discussion – Sookie Stackhouse Book #1

  1. I can’t believe it’s finally here! You did a great job on the post D! Okay so here are my thoughts:
    –I think after tasting her blood after the Rattray beating and then trying to put the vamp stare on her he knew something was up. He just couldn’t figure out what.
    –I remember being pretty surprised at how open Gran was about him being a vamp. It’s one of the things I absolutely loved about her.
    –The ‘do me proud’ one was my question. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what he was referring to. Any ideas?
    –The God’s fool question was mine too. Again…stumped!
    –When I got to this part I think my first thought was that the was high off his blood. I hadn’t considered that she might be getting impressions from his mind.
    –I think the first time around I thought she was reading his facial expression or eyes but, after D brought it up I paid special attention to that paragrah and it seems like she did read his mind. Quite interesting…
    –First thought was, ‘Damn why’d they do him dirty like that.’ Next thought was, ‘Aww he’s a lovable half wit.’ I heart him though!
    –I don’t think I thought he was a shapeshifter the first time I read it. I may thought he was the killer at one point. *shrugs* Sorry Sam…
    –I had forgotten the part about Sam revealing himself. I thought her reaction was a little over the top because I thought she already had an idea he was different. Maybe part of the freak out was due to Bill…
    –I thought the killer was at one point Sam (sorry again Sam) or some random psycho Bon Temps resident. I was floored when it was revealed to be Rene.
    –My knee jerk reaction to Eric’s flowers is he’s being manipulative and trying to stay in Sookie’s good graces.
    –I believe I asssumed it would deal with investigating vampire stuff in his area. You know, keeping an eye on his people so to speak.

    Random observation:
    One of the things that totally caught me by surprised and rocked me was Gran’s death. Damn you Ms. Harris for making me ball my eyes out and making Sookie go through that!

  2. -I found weird that Bill kept asking Sookie “what are you”. I think he had some sense that she was different from other people. Maybe being a telepath makes her smell different since before he used his mind manipulating trick or drinks her blood he asks her.
    -I was also very surprised about Grans openness and excitment to Bill being a vampire. It was also a reason I loved her so much. I found it very funny that when Bill started courting Sookie her Grandma was very happy that Sookie was dating at all and didn’t really care who the person was she was dating even if it was a vampire.
    -When Bill tells Sookie to “do him proud” I figured he meant that he wanted her to dress up really nice and look like a woman Bill would normally be seen with so they wouldn’t look suspicious going to Fantasia.
    -When Bill tells Sookie that maybe she is just one of God’s fools I thought he was meaning people who follow God’s words and are very naive when it comes to sexual situations. Sookie is really hoping that Bill will kiss her again and throughout the book we know that Bill is very good at reading Sookie so maybe he sees what she is thinking. He then goes on to say that he “better be the one who finds out (if she’s one of God’s Fools)” which at the time I thought meant he hoped that she was a virgin and wanted to find out…maybe I’m completely off on my thinking here.
    -I think when Sookie drinks Bill’s blood to make her abilities more powerful that it is such a thrilling experience that she is having an illusion, I’m not sure she is in his head…but on the other hand it does sound more like a vampire chasing after it’s prey, so maybe she got a vision from Bill of a time he was hunting a human.
    -I honestly completely forgot about the part of Sookie reading Eric’s mind. She states that she moved on talking to Eric so he wouldn’t know that she was in his head but I was just very surprised that this was never brought up again throughout the book as an internal conversation Sookie had with herself. I figured this would have worried her in some way since she didn’t think she could read Vampire minds. Of course I also think she had the ability to do this because she had taken in Bill’s blood and her power was boosted and clearer.
    -I was stunned how Harris brought in Bubba being…don’t you dare tell him I said this…Elvis! I mean how unique and perfect at the same time. I love Bubba’s character just being so laid back and of course being THE KING OF ROCK! I hope to see further “sightings” of him in the future!
    -I’m not sure what I was expecting Sam to be. I knew there was something more to him since he could physically block Sookie from being in his brain. I did also expect him to be the killer at one point in time, but I thought it was weird that he would have invited Sookie to have a peek inside his head sometime.
    -I’m not sure what I thought Sookie’s reaction should have been to Sam’s reveal of what he truely was…I just remember thinking it was weird and wanted your guys’ opinion on it!
    -I completely forgot about Eric sending Sookie flowers and his fly by at the end of the book. I honestly think that him sending her flowers was a gesture he felt was correct since he is trying to go mainstream and Sookie is Bill’s woman, you know, humans do that sort of thing. The Fly By just baffles me…I have no clue what that was all about.
    -Bills job, I’m not really sure what I think that is going to consist of…it just sounds like he is going to be busy and maybe be in charge of investigating vampire killings and human killings because of vampires in his area…

  3. Who The Killer Was Question:
    Yeah I figured make another post for this because the last one was long without this.
    While reading the book I went all over the place with who the killer was. I never suspected it was Rene and I always thought it was going to be a guy. I thought Sam a few times because he was blocking Sookie from reading his mind AND he knew all of the women, plus he was not happy that Sookie and Vampire Bill were hitting it off. I then also thought it could be her brother Jason because he seemed to be going to a bad place more and more as more killings were done. I thought maybe he had violent tendencies, especially after he hit Sookie because of his frustrations. I also thought it could have been Terry because he had his vietnam war memories and figured that he had just gone a little more crazy then before. He was always so quite yet you could tell there was something always going through his mind that made him so upset. I was weirded out when Sookie first read Rene’s mind outside of her coworkers apartment when it was just a mesh of blackness and anger but I then shrugged that off as maybe he had a hard life so he was just always having an internal battle with it…any other thoughts???

    • I guess the mix of blackness and anger was probably a huge red flag but, Sookie dismissed it and so did I.

    • I am with you there. I thought Sam a couple of times, but then it just seemed to obvious, you know. Jason, not so much. Don’t know why I never thought, but you do bring up a great point on how he acted sometimes, it would have made sense if he was. Terry was too innocent to me. I felt more sorry for him and he would have seemed the easiest choice to me given his mental state.

      Can’t believe I didn’t catch that about Rene’s mind, good one. That should have been a clue. I mean he truly hated them all to his core if that is what was on his mind *chills*

    • Yeah I thought a few of them did seem to be too obvious but I am one of those people who just used to be too trusting so now I just don’t trust anyone and always think everyone is suspicious….that’s why I thought Terry for a little while.

      If you didn’t do the re-read you wouldn’t remember when Sookie sees into Rene’s mind and sees all the blackness and anger.

      • -True. I didn’t trust any of them either. LOL! I suppose everyone was suspicious.
        -I didn’t do the re-read, but I do remember that scene when Sookie read his mind and saw all the blackness and anger. I thought it was strange, but I brushed it off at the time.

  4. @Jen D – Yes, Grans death completely rocked my world too! I just couldn’t believe that after everything Sookie had already been through her Grandmother had to be murdered as well. Plus she was such a cool, loving, sweet lady who really cared about Sookie and Jason. I also teared up and was in shock for a long time after that happened!

    • That was definitely a sign of things to come in later books!

      • So true. I thought she was dreaming or something at first. What possible reason did Rene have to kill an old lady? I mean I know she was a “sympathizer”. but jeez. Then again you can’t expect to understand a serial killer.

    • Yeah that’s true but I still can’t get the show out of my head and I thought he did it just because Sookie was supposed to be home. Of course Sookie did keep saying that throughout the book and I think that does make sense….

      • I still like to believe that she was killed by accident and that the actual person he was looking for was Sookie.

      • Me too, that’s what I like to think but maybe he was waiting for Sookie and then when it wasn’t he decided to kill Gran because she allowed Sookie to see Bill instead of having objections to their relationship. We all know Rene was f’in crazy. Plus he was sick enough to rape his own sister after he killed her. I would have killed Rene myself if I was there instead of letting him live! 😛

  5. D: From your viewpoint the ‘do me proud’ line makes sense. It didn’t cross my mind that he was referring to the visit to Fangtasia.

    Your God’s fool explanation made sense too. Kind of like he was throwing all sorts of clues at her and because she’s naive she was missing all them, right? Hmm…I hadn’t he was referring to her ‘wholesomeness’. Interesting point.

    You make a valid point about her powers being heightened from drinking Bill’s blood and it possibly being a reason for why she can ‘hear’ Eric. I hadn’t thought of that. Although I think Sookie does mention to Bill the fact that Eric can use people close to her to get to her. I think the convo took place when they were sitting on her front porch.

    What was up with Sam’s invite to search his head only to block her out of it? Typical man….

    Hmmm….I still think Eric’s being a manipulative bastard. What? He’s not my favorite.

    What were some of your favorite quotes D?

    • Quote wise I have no clue! I need to remember to write them down or mark them somehow next time! 😦

      I was so annoyed with Sam inviting Sookie in and then blocking her out…I mean make up your damn mind!

      Eric, I’m not really sure what to think of him. I think he’s a bit crappy thinking that he is going to manipulate Sookie by hurting her family and friends to make her do what he wants. The fly by really stumps me, maybe it was just to check on Sookie and see that she was still alive since he needs her help.

      I do remember the one conversation Sookie and Bill have but I didn’t think she said that she was in his head…I thought she just told him that she knew Eric would be like that because she could read his face or body laungage or something.

      • He was probably just checking in on his investment so to speak. Unless he actually had the hots for her at first sight and couldn’t resist taking a peek to make sure she pulled through. Or maybe she imagined the whole thing because of whatever medication they had her on?

      • That’s a good point but then you must ask, why would she imagine Eric flying by the moon looking at her?? Just weird! LOL.

      • Touche my dear.

  6. Good morning!

    I’m sorry to say that I didn’t finish my reread of Dead Until Dark yesterday and only got through the first fifty pages or so. *sheepish* But I wanted to stop by for a minute now and maybe come back later so I’ll only be sharing my thoughts for the first few questions right now 🙂

    2. I was and I wasn’t. I expected her to be wary of vamps because she’s an old lady and all. But, it had been a few years since the vamps came out and she did belong to a club who was interested in the “Glorious Dead.” Bon Temps hadn’t seen a vamp yet when Bill showed up so maybe she didn’t have a reference?

    See y’all later 🙂

    • I wanted to let you know that I really liked your comment about the first discussion question, but we really want these to be spoiler free and this is only to discuss the first book without giving anything away for the other books. I am very happy that you stopped by and I will keep my eyes peeled for more comments from you!

      I never really thought about her not having any other references to vampires. I guess I just assumed since so many people knew about them already and her grandmother was a person that loved gossip so I figured she would have heard all about it. Of course she did raise Sookie and Jason so I can see how she was just more open to odd things since Sookie’s gift so maybe she was just interested in getting to see one up close and personal…

      • *sheepish* Oops! That’s what I get for not reading everything before I open my mouth. I’ll try to be better behaved next time 🙂

      • Haha, no problem at all Jen! I can’t wait until our discussion on book 10 because it’s ganna be a free for all! You can talk about all of the books and all of our thoughts. The good thing is that as the discussions go on we can talk about the book the discussion is about and the tie-ins from the books previous to it. So as we go on we will continue to grow our discussion to reveal all the crazy things going on in all the books. 😀

    • Thanks for stopping by Jen! Really happy you could drop by and kick it with us Sookie fangirls. =)

  7. Hey ladies! Made it, yippee!

    1) Bill asks what she is because he knows she isn’t human. He can smell it. He knew Sam was the dog just by his scent.

    2) I wasn’t that surprised because it seems like the older people seemed ok with the vampires. I think it is more to do with history. I mean, technically, you can say Bill is a senior citizen LOL

    3) I remember that. I think it was because he just made her his human. I think it was more like her representing him well in front of other vampires and not be a fangbanger like others 🙂

    4) This is definitely because of the sexual tension that ensues when Bill didn’t kiss her. Jen is right. I also think because he shared his blood with her, he can read her better. I think he picked up on things about the whole Eric situation. I actually believe she was a virgin as well. She said she never did it because she can hear people’s thoughts and all.

    5) I think it definitely had to do with his blood. When she had his blood, everything was heightened and I think that gave her the ability to really reach into his head.

    6) Again, I think this still has to do with the blood.

    7) LOL! I was sitting there saying, “No, that cannot be who I think it is.” But I liked him, as odd as it is. Didn’t like the fact that he was more of a zombie than a vampire, being so dense and all. But he plays a little bigger part further down in the series which is surprising.

    8) I had a feeling he was something, but a shapeshifter, no. But I was still just as surprised.

    9) I didn’t like her reaction really. Throwing up? That is the last thing I would have done especially given the fact that Sam was naked LOL. But seriously, surprised would have worked, but I don’t know what is so sickening about being a shapeshifter.

    10) Unfortunately, I read the books after the show, so I already knew LOL! But if I didn’t already know who it was, I would have said JB du Rone. That he was playing dumb and using his looks against all those women.

    11) Eric was infatuated with Sookie from the beginning. I know it is a gesture humans do, but let’s face it, Eric is not necessarily the kind of guy that does things from his heart, at least not without motive involved.

    12) I think it is him being more like a cop for vampires LOL! Like any vampire related crimes that happen, it is his job to look into them and sort them out. If Eric is the sheriff of the fifth-area, then Bill most definitely works under his rule.

    • -You know that is true about just declaring Sookie “his human”. He did tell the vampires who were visiting that she was his and if they had moved on to Fangtasia and told Eric then of course everyone would be out to see this new human of Bill’s.
      -I’m glad to see that you were also a fan of Bubba, I love him! LOL…not in a sexual way just in a I think he’s really cool even when he is a bit dumb.
      -I didn’t like Sookie’s reaction but I guess the throwing up thing could have just been her being so overwhelmed with everything else that has gone on and now she is finding out about another species that exists when you’ve only heard fairy tales and horror stories about them.
      -I totally suspected JB too! I forgot about that, I thought he just pretended to be dumb to throw people off and think that he was innocent when he really wasn’t…guess he really just is a little empty in the head.

      • -That was my first thought indeed. Whenever we meet anyone else’s “human” they are more like cattle or something. Just there to be fed on, I think he didn’t want Sookie to be like that.
        -Bubba was fun and cool. Really made me smile.
        -Glad to know I am not the only one. I understand what you mean, but if you know vampires exist and you are a telepath, who are you to overreact. I am just saying, I would have accepted passing out to that.
        -LOL! JB was my first choice for sure. I thought, he is playing that entire town for a fool. I laughed when he wasn’t because of that same reason. He really is empty headed LOL

  8. What about the book compared to the show? They really followed this one well. I am happy they changed the ending on the show though, I love Lafayette, would have been pissed if they killed him off on the show.

    • I was thinking about starting this conversation but didn’t know how people would like it. I think the show was ok at following the book. I thought it was weird having Tara in the show when she wasn’t even in the book. I agree with the Lafayette situation. I hated the end of the show. Sookie kicked Rene’s ass all by her self, not with Sam and not with Bill and in the show Sam is there and Bill wakes up in the middle of the day and starts walking toward Sookie while burning…really? I know that Harris does not have a problem with the side stories that occur in the show but some of them annoy me WHEN I compare them to the book. Oh and Jason’s whole being addicted to V-Blood and stealing the vamp…IDK some of the story lines in the show just made me really mad. LOL. Maybe I think about this stuff too much!

      • I like the fact that we have side stories, it adds more in mu opinion. I thought Tara being there was weird, but she barely has anything in the books. But I love her on the show, she brings a lot of fire to it. Jason has plenty of problems and we don’t get to see much of him in the book until later on. So I like that he has his own story on the show. They are definitely going in the right direction as the book. Why did you hate the end of the show though? I understand where you are coming from, but I like knowing all my characters and the show does that for me. I have heard people say they prefer the show because there are just more characters to know.

      • Haha, now don’t get me wrong. I love the show but I really do have to pretend that it’s not even based on the books. LOL. I’m weird like that. When I compare them it gets me frustrated but as stand alones I’m ok with it. I just like how in the book Sookie takes care of herself for once at the end by beating up Rene without the help of anyone. That is why I like the book ending much better than the show. I do agree that it’s nice to have more back story behind Jason but I guess the whole him being addicted to V-Blood just really rubbed me the wrong way, not sure why. LOL. I do like Tara’s attitude on the show, she cracks me up! I also liked getting to know Gran a lot more on the show that was nice. Plus it’s nice to see what the show producers thought the characters should look like. I think they got Bill’s attitude perfect!

  9. I get what you mean. But I honestly can’t say I get frustrated. Being someone who has read the entire series, it is nice to watch the show and still be surprised. I think I would have been pissed if they followed the books letter for letter. But I agree with you about the end though. I would have liked it if Sookie did the work herself like in the book. But still, Sookie sticks up for her own on both the show and in the book. That is so true though, they really stuck with the looks perfectly. Bill was perfect and Eric, wow! They did a great job indeed 🙂

    • Haha, yes Eric is very yummy in the show! I’ve seen the first two seasons of True Blood but haven’t been able to watch Season 3 yet. 😦 Hopefully I’ll be able to watch it before the 4th season starts up. I like the show as it’s own and I like the books as their own I just try to stop comparing them because I enjoy them both. LOL.

  10. I have another thought that just got to me during the first book and now thinking about the show as well…am I the only one that felt like Sookie had some very awkward moments? Like moments where she said or reacted a certain way that just didn’t make sense? I know we discussed earlier about her reaction to Sam revealing that he is a shapeshifter and how she didn’t react the way we would have expected. Now of course I will say that I’ve never gone through being a telepath, meeting vampires, having a close friend turn into a dog infront of me, had anyone close to me be murdered, or really lots of things she goes through. So I can’t honestly say I’d react any differently but I still found myself thinking “Really, she just said that?” or “What?!?!?! Why would she react or do that?” Didn’t know if I was alone in this….

    • I sort of agree here. You think that she would be all up in the air or something. But I do respect her for keeping her cool, mostly, throughout the show. That is part of the reason I love her so much. But you aren’t the only one that has talked about her reactions though. Really good topic hon LOL

    • I do like the way that she keeps her cool through different situations, that’s a respectable aspect to have in her. I do also enjoy her bluntness at times when she is just fed up and can’t take being happy go luck all the time for everyone else. I’m glad she can put her foot down sometimes.

      • Agreed. When she is pissed, everyone pays. I love those moments. She ends up having a mouth like Tara, it cracks me up sometimes. I like that she is not a pushover. She doesn’t have super strength or super speed, but she goes up against the meanest and baddest. She is really a terrific heroine in my opinion.

  11. Okay I have to jump in on this book vs. tv show debate. I agree with Deanna on this one. As stand alones each is good in their own right but, when compared it’s inevitable that the show will be lacking. That said I love that they’ve kept Lafayette and I love the additions of new characters like Jessica. Unlike you guys I’m not a fan of Tara. She drives me insane!

    • LOL. I do like Tara sometimes but there are others that she drives me nuts. I love how up front she is but sometimes she takes things to the extreme. I also like the new characters. Is season one where Bill goes to be disiplined for killing another vampire or was that season 2? I absolutely hated that they had Bill kill whats his face instead of Eric and then go into the whole side story of Bill having to change the girl into a vampire…I really wasn’t a fan of that part at all.

  12. I think that was the end of season 1. Yeah that was kind of weak but, I love Jessica so I’ll let it slide.

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