Eric Northman is a fictional character in The Southern Vampire Mysteries, a series of ten books written by New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris. He is a vampire, slightly over one thousand years old, and is first introduced in the first novel, Dead Until Dark and appears in all subsequent novels. Since the book series is told from the first person perspective of Sookie Stackhouse, what readers perceive of his character is influenced by what Sookie comprehends. HBO's television series True Blood is based on this book series and the character of Eric Northman is portrayed somewhat differently. Characters of True Blood has detailed description of Eric's character from the TV show.
In the early books, little was revealed about his past. In the ninth book, Dead and Gone Eric revealed details about his human life as a Viking. He was deemed a man at the age of twelve. At sixteen he married Aude, his brother's widow. The couple had six children, but only three were living at the time of his turning, two boys and a girl. Aude and their sixth child died of a fever shortly after the birth when Eric was in his early twenties. In the books, he was ambushed one night by a Roman vampire named Appius Livius Ocella and subsequently turned. In the television series, he was made a vampire by Godric.
In the first novel, Dead Until Dark, Sookie Stackhouse thinks Eric Northman is a "hunk." Sookie describes him as “handsome, in fact, radiant; blond and blue-eyed, tall and broad shouldered. He was wearing boots, jeans, and a vest. Period. Kind of like the guys on the cover of romance books.” He’s approximately six-foot-five. When Sookie sees him naked for the first time in Dead to the World, she thinks, “if there were an international butt competition, Eric would win, hands down – or cheeks up.” .
Eric is portrayed in the books as being somewhat arrogant, but having a true joie de vivre. . He is confident almost to a fault, once reprimanding a werewolf thug in the third book, Club Dead, for threatening Sookie and referring to her as his "future lover" although no potentially romantic relationship between Eric and Sookie yet existed . He can be manipulative to suit his needs. He is not above using deceit though it seems to be a last resort when it comes to Sookie. However, he is typically upfront regarding any action he takes and if he is manipulative he is very frank and open regarding his wishes. Due to his frank nature, Sookie comments to herself how she can always know where she stands with Eric . Indeed, Sookie frequently remarks how conversations with Eric are seldom single layered and how he never says something without reason . He is not sentimental in the least but shows a great deal of concern over Sookie and her happiness and well-being, perhaps making the relationship between Eric and Sookie all the more impressive.
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