Sookie Stackhouse is the protagonist of the novel, and the first-person narrator. Everything we experience about the world of Bon Temps comes through Sookie; therefore, the events are colored by her feelings and experiences. Because Sookie is fascinated by vampires, the vampires in the novel are presented as a curiosity rather than a danger until Sookie becomes more familiar with their world. Sookie is a likeable narrator; she is clever, but not a know-it-all. She readily acknowledges that her knowledge comes from books, movies, and her word-a-day calendar. Her telepathy causes her to stand out in a negative way, and so she views it as a burden rather than a gift. She wants to be normal and is proud of her position as a waitress at Merlotte's, but she also longs for adventure and acceptance. When Bill Compton walks into Merlotte's, she senses an opportunity for companionship and acceptance. When she realizes her telepathy does not work on vampires, she senses that a normal relationship might be possible with Bill.

Sookie is also a modern southern woman. While she appreciates Bill’s adherence to the code of the southern gentleman when it makes her feel special, she often bristles against his treating her as the weaker vessel. It is significant that Bill and Sookie’s relationship begins with her saving his life – an indication that while she may get into trouble; she is not the typical damsel in distress. Sookie also asserts her independence by taking action to clear her brother’s name and discover the identity of her Gran’s murderer.

Bill Compton is the first vampire to come to Bon Temps, and is, in many ways, the answer to Sookie's desires. Bill comes from an old Bon Temps family, and even though he attempts to "mainstream" by drinking True Blood instead of human blood, he is, in many ways, a traditionalist. He bridges the divide between the older vampires like Eric Northman, who see humans as pets, at best, and the newer breed of vampires who want to co-exist with humans, seeking the right to vote and even to marry. Bill was "turned" shortly after the Civil War, of which he is a veteran. Even though...

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