EL VAMPIRISMO SEGUN TRUE BLOOD
By Jenna Wortham EmailSeptember 22, 2008 | 4:13:00 PMCategories: Horror, Sci-Fi, Science, Television
Tb14 In HBO’s popular new series True Blood, vampires have officially come out of the coffin. The fanged ones have confirmed their own existence, and are even pushing for equal rights.
The vamps’ emergence raises a slew of questions about the creatures’ powers, strengths and weaknesses in the True Blood universe.
Luckily for viewers, and for the show’s mortal protagonist Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin), answers are being revealed. The third episode of Alan Ball’s series, which was recently picked up for a second season, dove deep into vampire mythology and lore Sunday.
In addition to True Blood’s typical horror fare — vampire brawling and bloodsucking — viewers got clued in to a few things Sunday, including delicacies that tempt the undead palate, drug dealers that sell vampire blood, and the scientific construct behind the show’s night-prowling population.
(Spoiler alert: Minor plot points follow.)
The science of bloodsuckers: What animates the undead? We don’t have the full answer yet, but Sookie’s pale-faced paramour, Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer, pictured), lays out some specifics in Episode 3. Vampires have no brain waves, no heartbeat, no need to breathe and no electrical impulses whatsoever in their bodies. Unfortunately, that’s about as specific as he gets. When Sookie presses him on the issue, asking him how he digests blood, he simply replies: “Magic.”
Viral vulnerabilities: Within the True Blood universe, vampires can be plagued by such traditional banes as sunlight and silver. But they can also get sick: Vampires are susceptible to viral infection by a mutation of hepatitis, known as “Hep D.” It’s harmless to humans, but if transmitted to their night-walking counterparts, can weaken vampires for up to a month, leaving them vulnerable to being captured — and possibly staked. Fearing unscrupulous humans might use this information to their advantage, vampires work to keep word of the virus out of the mainstream media.
Synthetic sustenance: The integration of vampires into human society in True Blood hinges upon one crucial element — the breakthrough development of a synthetic blood substitute created by a team of scientists in Japan. Sold as a beverage called Tru Blood, the discovery is touted both by vampires and by humans who support the vampire rights movement as reason enough to legitimize the status of the undead. However, a comment made in Episode 3 by tattoo-sporting vamp Liam revealed a chilling detail: Tru Blood may not work as well as we’ve been led to believe, and is possibly not a sufficient substitute for human blood.
Underground drug trade: Forget smack and crack. Vampire blood is the latest underground narcotic to hit the streets. Viewers already got a glimpse of the seedy lengths to which some humans will go to capture and drain vampires to use and sell their blood; in Episode 3, audiences gleaned more information about the illicit substance after Sookie’s brother Jason purchased a vial. Here’s a quick rundown of what we know so far:
Generic name: Vampire blood
Street name: “V”
Street value: $600 for a quarter-ounce
Duration of high: Unknown
Dosage: 1-2 drops taken by mouth
Short-term effects: Heightened libido, awareness and senses; delirium
Long-term effects: Heightened aggression; increased chance of addiction (which results in severe withdrawal symptoms and cravings)
Bloody delicacies: Possibly the most gruesome detail unveiled in Sunday’s episode were the delicate intricacies of a vampire’s taste for various types of blood. It was revealed that the only treat more coveted than that of virgin human blood is the blood of babies.
Vampire hierarchies, powers and nests: In Episode 3, viewers got their first titillating glimpse inside a vampire nest: a lawless pleasure den inhabited by multiple vampires and, occasionally, a few subservient humans who provide a steady source of food. According to Bill, vampires who live in nests together tend to exhibit more vicious, cruel behavior than vampires who elect to live alone. Vampires can influence human will using a mind-controlling ability known as “glamoring.” In addition to hypnotizing humans, vampires are also able to lay claim to humans in order to keep other vampires from feeding on them — although vampires are more likely to only obey other bloodsuckers who outrank them in age and seniority.