'True Blood' Beginnings: Everything You Need to Know about Eric Northman
'True Blood' Beginnings: Everything You Need to Know about Eric Northman
Bill King
Bill King
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
As the premiere date of True Blood's sixth season draws closer, you may find yourself wondering what the heck else could happen to these characters? It's getting to a 24-esk realm, where you think, seriously, how many bad days can Jack Bauer have? So just to catch you up on all the ridiculousness that has transpired during the first five wonderful seasons, we're recapping the astounding journeys taken by nine main characters in a series called True Blood: Beginnings. We've already done Alcide Hourveaux, Jessica Hamby, Lafayette Reynolds and Tara Thornton. Next up is Eric Northman.

Eric didn't get much play the first season, but he has since emerged as a central character and yet another one of Sookie's love interests as the series progresses. Whether that was the plan all along or based on Alexander Skarsgard's reception remains to be seen. It's been quite a rocky road for him, though the events aren't quite as traumatic when you consider that he and Bill are the only characters we are featuring who have been vampires the whole time. Therefore, they've been dealing with the supernatural all along, and gruesome violence is nothing new to them. Here is Eric's path from 1,000-year-old viking sheriff to Sookie-loving Bilith fighter.

Saucer of Blood, Table 2

Eric and his progeny Pam are the proprietors of vampire bar Fangtasia, and Sookie and Bill pay them a visit while searching for more information about who is behind the murders being pinned on Jason. Sookie senses someone feeding off a human in the bathroom and warns Eric, and they all manage to get out safely just before a police raid. 

Eric then asks Sookie to help him determine which employee is embezzling cash from the business, and bartender Longshadow (the guilty party) attacks her and is staked by Bill. 

Eric says he must be punished for killing a vampire in front of a human and offers to take Sookie as retribution, but Bill refuses and is instead put on trial and forced to create Jessica. 

When she acts out, Eric agrees to take her, but then sends her back to Bill after even he can't control her. Thank you very much and see you next season.

The Abductions of Lafayette and Godric

Eric kidnaps Lafayette because he is dealing V and locks him in Fangtasia's basement, along with Royce. When the latter tries to escape, Eric kills him and feeds, drenching Lafayette in blood. 

Lafayette is shot during his own escape attempt, and Eric and Pam unsuccessfully attempt to turn him into a vampire. Eric eventually agrees to let Lafayette go in exchange for Sookie's help finding his maker, Godric, who has gone missing in Dallas. Still nursing an infection, Lafayette drinks Eric's blood to heal. Later, Pam visits him and orders, via Eric, that he start selling V again.

Eric, Bill and Sookie travel to the Hotel Carmilla, where Eric expresses his fear that if a vampire as old and powerful as Godric can be abducted, then no one is safe. Sookie is to infiltrate the anti-vampire Fellowship of the Sun cult, during which Eric brings in Bill's maker Lorena in an effort to drive him and Sookie apart. It's basically a dick move. 

Eric's half-sister Isabel accuses him of coveting Sookie, but he denies it.
After Godric appears to save Sookie from being raped inside the Fellowship compound, an alarm sounds and Eric rushes to the scene. Godric orders him to save himself and Sookie while avoiding human casualties, but he is cornered by an angry mob led by Steve Newlin and gives himself up in the hopes of saving Sookie and Godric. 

Eric is bound by silver and lying on an alter when Bill and Jason show up and save the day. Eric pardons Jason for his previous V use.
Tricking Sookie into a Drink

Godric confides in Eric that he despises the violent nature of the vampire race and wishes for a world where human and vampires can live together in peace, while Bill demands that he leave Sookie alone. 

But after Luke detonates his suicide bomb, Eric is hurt shielding Sookie from the blast. He convinces her that he cannot heal himself with the silver shrapnel lodged in his body, so Sookie sucks it out and ingests some of his blood at the same time. He can now sense her feelings like Bill does, and she becomes sexually attracted to him despite being in love with Bill. 

Godric's Sacrifice

To meet Nan Flanagan's demands over his actions, Godric resigns his position as sheriff and all other offices, much to Eric's dismay. He wants her to fight back against Nan, who is just a bureaucrat. But Godric apologizes for all the harm he has caused in his life and swears to make amends, intending to kill himself on the roof by exposing himself to the sun. 

Eric rushes to stop him, gets punched in the mouth by Bill, then begs Godric to reconsider. Godric, however, tells him that 2,000 years is enough, and that he no longer thinks like a vampire. 

Eric breaks down in bloody tears, saying what Godric is about to do is insanity. He offers to die with him, but Godric commands him to leave the roof. Sookie affectionately touches Eric's hand and vows to stay with Godric until the end, which she does, while he sobs inside.

The Mark of the Wolf

Sookie, distraught over Bill's kidnapping, asks Eric's help in finding him. He's busy banging Yvetta in the basement for six hours, but when Sookie tells him he owes for her what she did with Godric, and about the Nazi brand she and Jessica found on the dead wolf, he agrees. 

He has a flashback to 1945, when he and Godric hunted a pack of wolves whose master was a vampire and who grew strong off vampire blood. On Sookie's porch, he warns her that it's not safe, then senses something and pins her to the wall until she invites him inside. There, they find a wolf, waiting and growling.

Sookie shoots the wolf, but Eric dives in front and takes the bullet so they can interrogate it. As soon as it sniffs Eric's V blood, the werewolf shifts back into a person and begins drinking. Eric can't hold back his rage and kills the man, but not before Sookie overhears him think, "Jackson." They bury the body while Sookie makes plans to go to Mississippi. Eric urges her not to.

Selling V and Saving Lafayette

Eric pays Lafayette a visit to bestow his top salesman with a new Ferrari, but Lafayette wants nothing to do with dealing anymore. Eric tells him to think about it, because he could be a very rich man. Later, he is snapped out of his Sookie sex dream when he feels Lafayette in danger, so he rescues him from a group of hillbillies trying to steal the car and forces them to buy V. 

Pam calls and says the Magister has arrived at Fangtasia and is demanding to know about the V being sold. Even though Eric's order came from Queen Sophie-Anne, he blames it on the missing Bill. The Magister gives Eric two days to locate Bill, or he will kill Pam, so he goes to Jackson to see King Russell Edgington. He asks permission to hunt Bill, who he says is wanted for dealing V, but Russell is aware that Sophie is behind it all, so Eric's plan to frame Bill is shot. 

Still, Russell thinks there is a way he can solve everyone's problems.

A Mission for Revenge

While Talbot is giving Eric a tour of the manor, they come across one of Russell's relics, an ancient viking crown. Eric flashes back to his human days, when his parents were killed by a pack of werewolves that he now realizes was led by Russell. Eric's father's dying word was "vengeance." 

Now focused on his new mission, he refuses to help Sookie after she and Bill are both put under lock and key at the mansion. He helps Russell kidnap Queen Sophie-Anne and her human companion Hadley (who is also Sookie's cousin), then drains Hadley in front of Sophie-Anne to extract more information about Sookie. On the verge of death, Hadley informs everyone that Sookie is a faerie and Eric heals her with his blood. 

They return to Fangtasia, where the Magister is still torturing Pam. Eric informs him that the queen had ordered him to sell V, Russell denounces his loyalty to the Authority and they force the Magister to marry Russell and Sophie-Anne. 

Russell then decapitates the Magister and they return to his estate, where Eric warns him not to trust Sookie and urges him to keep her out of things. Russell questions his loyalty, and Eric denounces Godric and says he has finally found a true leader. 

When Talbot throws a hissy fit over his lack of QT with Russell, Eric steps in offers to keep him company. They play chess by a roaring fire before Talbot tells him to strip. Eric remarks that it's been a long time since he's done a vampire, and then he stakes Talbot mid-bang.
House Arrest and Russell's Rage

Nan confronts Eric and Pam about the Magister's disappearance, he tells his side of the story, and he and Pam are placed under house arrest. Eric tells Pam he won't let her take any blame, and if things go bad for him, he is ready to die and she should become a maker. 

A grief-stricken and enraged Russell vows revenge on Eric, storms onto the set of a news program and rips the anchor's heart out on live TV, creating quite a dilemma for the Authority.

Eric confronts Bill about Sookie being a faerie, wanting to know if her blood lets vampires daywalk, and Bill confirms the effect is only temporary. He tells Sookie not to trust Bill, which she later questions at Fangtasia. He makes out with her (because his biggest regret would be to meet the true death without doing so), then kidnaps her, drags her to the basement and puts her in a neck shackle. 

Bill senses this and rushes to bar, where Eric tells him he has a plan.
Burying the Hatchet (in Concrete)

Eric pays a visit to Russell, explaining he killed Talbot to avenge his family's death 1,000 years earlier. With Russell seconds away from killing him, Eric says he can help Russell in a new ambition -- he can offer the sun. A skeptical Russell demands that Eric prove it, so they both drink from a screaming Sookie and Eric walks outside. 

Though he is secretly smoldering, he hides it until Russell joins him outside. Eric shackles them together with silver handcuffs, intending to meet the sun with him. As they burn, Godric appears and tells Eric to forgive Russell and "end the hate." 

At Russell's badgering, Sookie uses a burst of light to break the handcuffs and another to slam Russell into a wall. She drags Eric inside and gives him blood to heal, and he insists they save Russell because Godric told him to. Instead of killing him, they bury him in concrete at a construction site. 

As the cement pours over Russell, Bill silvers Eric, tosses him into another pit and buries him as well, planning to kill anyone who has ever tasted Sookie to keep her safe.

Revealing the Truth

Pam senses Eric's danger and saves him from being buried alive, and he confronts Bill at Sookie's house. Eric reveals the truth, that Bill was sent by Queen Sophie-Anne to get close to Sookie because of what she is (with that knowledge coming from Hadley), and that he let the Rattrays beat the crap out of her in the pilot so he could save her and form a bond by feeding her his blood. 

Eric says Bill tried to silence him so Sookie would never know the truth. She expels Bill (and Eric) from the house, and when Pam asks if he killed Bill, Eric replies that he gave him a much worse punishment.

Home Buying in Sookie's Absence

Even though Sookie spent only 10 minutes in fairyland, more than a year passed for everyone else. And even though Eric had faith she would return, he still bought her house and added a vampire cubby to sleep in during the daytime. 

Eric has been bickering with Bill, who is the new vampire king of Louisiana, even though they are both assisting Nan in fixing the PR nightmare created when Russell killed the TV anchor. 

Because he owns Sookie's house, Eric believes he owns her and her "sunshine in a pretty blond bottle" fairy blood. She rebukes him, but he urges her to embrace her faeriehood and let go of her feelings that she is merely human. 

Welcome to the Coven

Eric pays a visit to Bill, who tells him that a new witch coven has moved into Bon Temps, and that they are necromancers who brought a dead bird back to life. And if they can control the dead, they can control vampires. He orders Eric to take care of the situation.

Eric makes a surprise appearance at the Moon Goddess Emporium, where he orders the group to disband. When the leader, Marnie, refuses, Eric attacks and bites her. Tara tries to stake him, but he's faster and grabs her. With Marnie now free, she casts a spell causing Eric to lose his memory and run off into the night. 

Falling is Love is so Hard on the Fangs

Sookie finds Eric shirtless and child-like, wandering the streets. He doesn't recognize her and just wonders why she smells so good. She brings him home, hiding from him the fact that he owns the place, and calls Pam for help. 

Eric bites, drains and kills Sookie's faerie godmother, then frolics in the sunlight in a swamp. As the blood wears off, he begins to smolder, but still refuses to come home until Alcide and Sookie force him. He has bad dreams, and Sookie comforts him, stroking his hair while he lays his head in her lap.
When he wakes the next evening, he startles Tara, who comes after him with a fire poker and yells all the atrocious things he has done, none of which he remembers. He is remorseful and says he would never want to do anything to snuff out Sookie's light. He leaves the house, but she asks him to stay, and they kiss. Then Bill barges in and arrests him for treason because he has been infected by Marnie. 

Bill requests that Eric meet the true death but eventually lets him go as he gets word that Marnie plans to cast a spell that will force all vampires out into the sun. Eric and Sookie reunite in the woods and make sweet, sweet lovin.

The Night Time is the Right Time

Bill brings over some silver chains to keep Eric undead, and Sookie keeps him company throughout the experience. He asks her to remove the chains, because he wants her last memory of him to be something better. Also, he believes Marnie/Antonia's spell might be strong enough that the silver won't matter. She reminds him that the last time he was silvered, he had sacrificed himself in an effort to save her. But he doesn't want his memories back. He is happy with what he's become and doesn't need to remember those times. 

After they survive the day, Sookie takes off the chains, but Eric doesn't heal. She gives him her blood, and then he offers his so they can be one. She drinks and they get it on again.
Eric and Sookie take a break from their sexathon to inform Bill they will fight for him. The witches and vampires face off in the graveyard, with Eric making the first kill. As the violence escalates, Marnie/Antonia puts another spell on Eric and brings him back to the Moon Goddess Emporium. 

She then brings him and her most loyal follower Roy to the "Festival of Tolerance," where she uses him to lure three vampires into a trap. She takes control of them as well, and orders all four to kill Bill. Eric and Bill fight until Sookie shoots them with her light beam, which restores Eric's memory. Still, he claims the "new" Eric is here to stay.
Sookie tells Eric that she is in love with Bill, and that's how she was able to stop their fight. But he says she gave himself to her completely, and he professes his love to her. Bill and Eric decide to take out Marnie/Antonia once and for all, and they tell Sookie to stay the hell out of it.

F**king Sookie

Eric, Bill, Pam and Jessica arrive at the Moon Goddess Emporium to find Jason outside by himself. They are ready to attack when Jason explains that Sookie is inside, prompting Bill and Eric to mutter "f**king Sookie" in unison. But he's all like, hey, that's my sis! Plus there's a force field around the place anyway! While they're plotting to break through it, Marnie sends some vamps outside to kill them, and a battle ensues. 

Marnie says she will let Sookie go if Bill and Eric kill themselves, and they both agree. But then Pam fires a rocket into the force field to stop them, and Eric berates her for possibly, potentially, almost nearly harming a hair on Sookie's precious head. 

After Marnie casts a spell that draws the vampires into the force field, Sookie and Jesus team up to separate Marnie and Antonia, and the whole scheme falls to pieces. Eric orders Pam to leave before he kills her, and then he and Bill rush inside to kill everyone else. 

Sookie stops them, saying most of the people were held against their will, but Roy gets in between the vampires and Marnie. Eric rips out his heart and sucks on it like a straw, and Bill shoots Marnie in the head. 

Afterwards, Eric glamours several people in the area under Bill's order. Sookie can do little but stare at them both.

The Spirit World to the Rescue

Marnie's spirit possesses Lafayette, silvers Bill and Eric, ties them to a wooden post and sets them on fire. Sookie, Holly and Tara cast a spell that brings the spirits from a nearby graveyard up from the dead, and Gran and Antonia convince Marnie to stop the violence and join them in the peace of the afterlife.
Back at Bill's, Nan Flanagan arrives with three guards and tells Bill and Eric that she has quit the American Vampire League and the Vampire Authority, that there is a bounty on their heads and that they join her in a mutiny against the Authority. They respond my massacring her and the guards. 

Respect My Authority!

The Authority arrives before Bill and Eric can even finish cleaning up Nan, and they are both ensnared in silver nets. 

While being transported in the trunk of a car driven by vampires Hayes and Nora, they puncture the gas tank with an umbrella and explode the vehicle. Nora stakes Hayes, and it is revealed that she is Eric's sister. So naturally, they passionately kiss.
It turns out Authority head Roman had Nan followed, so Nora took the opportunity to rescue Eric before he could be captured. No one at the Authority is aware of their connection, and Nora calls Roman to tell him Bill and Eric are dead. Then they bang it out in a shipping container, while third-wheel Bill mulls around outside, and Eric gets a call from Alcide to inform him that Russell Edgington is now free. 

Just as they are about to get their new fake identities (Marcelus Clark and Ike Applebaum), the Authority gets the drop on them and brings them in. 

Silver and Cold

Bill, Eric and Nora are tortured with a silver-infused liquid that is injected into their bodies while they are interrogated about their beliefs, particularly the Sanguinista movement, whether they believe vampires were created by the god Lilith and if they follow a literal interpretation of the sacred text. None of them rats out the others, and they are to be staked for their actions at the Moon Goddess Emporium and the Festival of Tolerance. 

Mainstreaming is the only path to survival, Roman says. In response, Bill offers their lives for Russell Edgington's, dropping the ball that he is alive and free when everyone else thought he was dead. 

A Change of Plans

With this potential catastrophe on his hands (Russell is the poster boy for the Sanguinista movement), Roman sends Bill and Eric off to track down Russell. But first, he has Molly put iStake vests on both of them, which can be triggered with her smartphone app. It will also go off if they try to remove the indestructible devices.

Eric is brought to Salome's bedroom, where she reveals that she knows Nora is his sister. She disrobes and tells him she wants to be "friends." Later, Eric tries to brag about bagging Salome, but Bill got to her first and advises Eric not to gloat about sloppy seconds. 

Freeing Pam

Bill and Eric, trying to figure out who could have freed Russell, first go to Fangtasia to see if Pam had anything to do with it. Eric finds out that he is a grandfather, then interrogates Pam, who swears her loyalty. 

Bill speculates that if Nora is a Sanguinista and is behind this, then Russell would be very useful to her. But Eric insists he would have known of any plans she had. 

Before taking the next step, Eric has a touching moment with Pam, in which he frees her from their bond in order to keep her safe. No matter what happens, he will be facing treason charges and doesn't want her around at the end. She wants to fight beside him, but he assures a sobbing Pam that she must be around to carry on his legacy.
Tracking Russell

With no other leads to follow, Bill and Eric have no choice but to enlist Sookie's help. They find her drunk and about to have sex with Alcide, but she instead throws up on his shoes before Bill and Eric crash the party. 

Sookie reads the mind of Doug, a construction employee who was glamoured after Russell was freed. She uncovers that someone with an Authority pendant dug Russell up, and she uses Doug's suppressed memories to guide them to where he was taken. 

In the back of Alcide's truck, Bill and Eric bicker about whether or not Nora had anything to do with Russell's release and if she is truly a traitor. They bare fangs and are about to rumble when Molly calls to tell them their iStakes are set to go off at dawn. 

They find a fully-healed Russell in an abandoned asylum, and he asks what took them so long? A wolf-vampire battle ensues, with Bill and Eric killing two werewolves while Sookie holds a charging Russell at bay with her faerie light. As they debate whether to kill Russell or bring him to Roman, an Authority strike team arrives and rounds everyone up. 

Eric glamours Alcide, tossing in that he'll now be repulsed by Sookie, for good measure, while Bill works on an un-glamourable Sookie. Eric, Bill and Russell are all brought back to the Authority compound.

Russell Takes Control

Roman has the iStakes removed, and he toasts Bill and Eric's proven loyalty with rare 18th century Austrian hemophiliac blood (Yum!). Salome dismays Eric with news that Nora is an admitted Sanguinista, and he demands to talk to her. She is too busy praying to notice him, and she seems ecstatic at the news that Russell is about to executed, saying it's all part of Lilith's plan. 

Eric rushes back to the execution, where Russell's iStake fails and he kills Roman. It turns out it was all orchestrated by Salome, who dug up Russell because he was the only vampire strong enough to defeat Roman. 

Bill and Eric are called to meet with Salome and the newly-freed Nora, and they are invited to a ceremony in which they will all drink Lilith's blood. Neither is interested, but they decide to go with the flow, for now. 

The vampires wander around town in an intoxicated state, intimidating humans. They descend on a private karaoke party/wedding rehearsal, with Russell freaking out the crowd before the vampires attack everyone and drain them. 

A drop of blood hits the ground and manifests into a nude, blood-drenched woman who identifies herself as Lilith. Godric appears to Eric, telling him that he knows what they are doing is wrong, but Nora does not, and so must save her.

Losing Bill

A sobered-up Eric asks Bill what the heck they are doing with all this crazy vampire druggy stuff, and Bill replies that he saw Lilith and feels a newfound sense of being born again into a new way of life. 

Eric turns his attention to Nora, mentioning Godric and his message. She responds with negative things about their maker, and Eric is about to kill her before stopping himself.  She prays that Lilith will be able to show Eric the way. 

The new vampire hierarchy decides to start flexing their muscle, and it is proposed that they simply begin killing mainstreamed vampires. But Bill suggests they destroy the Tru Blood factories, forcing vampires to feed off humans. Eric is shocked and asks Bill what's up with the awesomely evil plot, to which he replies the he's "evolving." 

Eric hatches his own plan with Molly for them to escape, making one last ditch effort to include Bill and then drugging Nora. Bill appears to join them and uses Salome's blood to call the elevator, but guards are waiting for them inside. 

Eric calls Bill a traitor, and he counters that he is doing this for Eric, who has "been chosen by Lilith." Molly, giving the choice to join the Sanguinista or be executed, meets the true death.
Bill and Nora force Eric to drink Lilith's blood again, and Nora joins him for the mutual trip. They have a vision of Godric, who warns them against following Lilith, saying they have evolved past savagery. Then the blood-soaked Lilith appears, and Eric implores Godric to fight while Nora begs Lilith to show mercy. She tears Godric's throat open, and he tells his progeny it is not him, but they who must fight Lilith.
Escape from the Authority

Eric claims he has seen the light after watching Lilith kill his maker, so he joins the cause. He kneels before Russell and apologizes, welcoming a new era of cooperation, and Russell reluctantly offers his hand for a kiss. 

Secretly, he tells Nora he will get the both of them out of there, as the vision has actually changed Nora's beliefs and not Eric's. When a U.S. Army general visits and threatens an all-out human-vampire war over what the vampires have been up to, Eric breaks his neck. 

He and Nora convince everyone that quick glamouring work will contain the situation, and Salome orders them to go and report back quickly. As they are driven away from the compound, Eric stakes their guards.

The End of Russell Edgington

Eric and Nora surprise Russell and Steve Newlin as they try to infiltrate the faerie nightclub where Sookie is partying. Russell is being kept back by blasts of faerie light, but having drained the elder, he feels the light has no effect on him. Eric takes advantage of the situation and stakes Russell just before he reaches the entrance, satisfying a long-held lust for revenge. 

Enter Bilith

Eric, Tara and Nora convince Sookie to help them save Bill, saying she's the only one who can get through to him. The group, including Jason, arrives at the Authority, killing everyone they come across. They liberate Pam and Jessica, and Eric and Sookie go after Bill. 

They find him having just killed Salome and about to drink the full vial of Lilith's blood. They watch as he downs the vial, begins to bleed from the eyes and mouth and melts down to a puddle.

Eric comforts Sookie as she breaks down, but then Bill rises from the pool, drenched in blood and bearing longer fangs. Eric yells at Sookie to run, and they flee back to the elevator, where Nora, Jessica, Tara, Pam and Jason are all waiting. The elevator rises and the door opens, with the group ready to fight their way out of the compound as Bilith chases them from behind.

What's Next for Eric

Now that the stage is set for a war between humans and vampires, Eric is stuck somewhere in the middle. He is not a member of the extreme faction aligned with Bilith, but he's also not a complete human sympathizer or mainstreamer. But with a standing order to close all vampire-related businesses, he's going to have to pick a side. He'll probably do whatever Sookie wants him to. 

What do you hope to see out of Eric in season 6? Do you think he should be the one with Sookie? Or do you prefer Bill or Alcide? What do you think is in store for our viking sheriff?

Check back for our next profile: Jason Stackhouse, Sam Merlotte and Bill Compton.

True Blood season 6 premieres June 16 at 9pm on HBO.

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(Images courtesy of HBO)