Bill Compton

SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen all of the series to date or haven’t read the books and don’t want to know what happens in them, please be warned there are spoilers ahead!

Stephen Moyer’s most famous role to date has to be that of William Thomas “Bill” Compton. This section of the site will attempt to chronicle who the character of Bill Compton is and what he is really like. We, of course, focus on the Bill from True Blood instead of the Bill from the books, but in order to include all information available about Bill, and since his very existence is owed to the books, you will see many book references in comparison to the series.

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Below is basic information about Bill:

William Compton (William Erasmus Compton according to Dead Until Dark) is a fictional character from the The Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse series by author Charlaine Harris which in 2008 was brought to life by Stephen Moyer in the HBO series True Blood. Bill is a vampire and is introduced in the first novel in the series, Dead Until Dark, and has appeared in all of the novels since. He has also appeared in every episode to date of the TV show.  He is sometimes referred to as “Vampire Bill” by locals in Bon Temps.

Although it’s been reported by Alan Ball, the creator of True Blood, that it took a long time to find the right Bill, it has been said that the long search was well worth it since Stephen is a perfect Bill Compton. At the time that Stephen auditioned for the role he had just finished up a series called The Starter Wife and had blond hair and a dark tan since his character on the series lived on the beach. So its a testament to Alan Ball’s casting skills that he was able to see Stephen in the role of the dark vampire.

Even though Stephen is British, he was able to to master the American civil war southern slowness and charm of Bill’s character down to a “T” demonstrating his proficient acting skills. Stephen has also been quoted saying that he really likes Bill and prior to filming of True Blood did as much research as he could on the American Civil War. And, he worked very hard to insure that Bill’s voice would represent his time.  Stephen said in an interview that they had decided that Bill should speak very slowly and not use contractions, so you’ll never hear Bill Compton say “don’t” or “won’t”, instead he would say, “do not” or “will not”.

In the book series, Bill was born on April 9, 1840. He lived in Bon Temps, Louisiana, and fought for the South during the Civil War (see our article on the 28th Louisiana Regiment.) He was a married farmer with three children (there is inconsistency in the storyline, with Bill telling Sookie that he had five living children with his wife in Dead Until Dark).  Later in the book series, Bill discovers that he is related to the Bellefleur family in Bon Temps and secretly provides them with funds to aid in the repair of their ancestral home. The Bellefleurs, who do not know he is the source of the income, dislike him, though he briefly assisted Portia Bellefleur during her murder investigation in Living Dead in Dallas.

In the television series, Bill was born in 1835 and his children were born before the Civil War.  He was married with two children.

BILL BECOMES A VAMPIRE

In the books,on November 20, 1868, some years after the war, Bill was made a vampire by the character of Lorena, with whom he had a long and stormy relationship.

In True Blood he was turned by Lorena as he returned from the Civil War, having served under Colonel Henry Gray in Louisiana’s 28th Regiment. He only briefly sees his human wife and old home from a distance before Lorena leads him away permanently. Since Bill was turned against his will, for many years he lived with Lorena, something that is extremely unusual in vampire culture. However, in the 1930’s  he broke with her and went out on his own.

Video: True Blood: Vampire Lorena turns Bill

 

BILL AS VAMPIRE

While we’ve seen hints of Bill’s life as a vampire prior to meeting Sookie in the show, we only know of it from the flashbacks with Lorena. From this, its apparent throughout that he continues to struggle in order to maintain some semblance of his humanity.  Bill’s nature makes it difficult for him to accept his life as a vampire and most of what we see and know about him is regarding his struggle to exist in this dark world.  Since recently vampires have the ability to “mainstream”, now that there is a synthetic bottled blood, Bill is attempting to co-exist with humans by subsisting on the drink.  He also decides to move back to his family home in Bon Temps and thus meets Sookie Stackhouse a waitress at the town’s bar, Merlotte’s.  Sookie and Bill immediately have a bond that is explained later in the series and books.

Video: Bill’s Darker side

 

BILL’S WORK AND POSITION WITHIN VAMPIRE HIERARCHY

In the books:

At the end of the first novel, Dead Until Dark, Bill is concerned about the power of Area Five sheriff Eric over Bill and Sookie. He decides to apply for that area’s investigator position and he gets it. It was revealed that Bill works for queen Sophie-Anne Leclerq and she has sent him to Bon Temps to investigate and seduce Sookie Stackhouse’s telepathic abilities.  In the show, we know that Bill is acquainted with the Queen, but we don’t know how. He is also working directly for Eric.

In the books, Bill is also the creator of a valuable database in which all the vampires in North America are listed along with their significant information. Vampires from other areas of the world, such as Peru, have also provided information for this database. The database itself has been controversial because of potential security issues and is only available for purchase to other vampires. No such ‘database’ is shown in True Blood. Bill does have interests in technology however, since we know that he plays the Wii and has an Ipod and a cell phone, but no computer has yet been seen in his family home.

On True Blood:

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Bill was sent to Bon Temps by Queen Sophie Anne to find out more about Sookie Stackhouse, but he didn’t appear to have any power until he became King of Louisiana after killing Queen Sophie Anne at the end of Season 3.  Then, when abducted by the Vampire Authority in Season 5, he quickly became very important to them when he thought of blowing up the Tru Blood factories.  He then outfoxed Salome and drank Lillith’s blood and became Lillith. He had powers way above any other vampire, but as Bill is known to do, he lost them when he saved all the vampires who were held captive in Vamp Camp by allowing them to drink his blood.  Being drained, he no longer had any power at all.

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BILL’S ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS

Sookie Stackhouse

Bill ancestral home in Bon Temps is separated from the Stackhouse home by the Bon Temps cemetery. After briefly meeting Sookie at her place of work, Merlotte’s bar, Sookie saves Bill from being “drained” by some very seedy locals named the Rattrays, a husband and wife who sell vampire blood for profit.  Bill later saves Sookie by giving her his blood when the Rattrays seek revenge. They subsequently embark on Sookie’s first serious romantic relationship.

In the books, Sookie and Bill’s relationship falls apart when Bill is called back to his maker, Lorena, who entraps him in Mississippi to gain control of a project on which Bill is working for Sophie-Anne. Bill will not give the location of his project nor will he reveal his girlfriend’s name. Lorena then tortures him repeatedly. Bill never gives in. Meanwhile, Sookie aids Bill’s boss, Eric Northman, in attempting to rescue Bill. In the process, Sookie is staked, rescued by Eric, and has to have his blood in order to recover to rescue Bill. Sookie manages to rescue Bill after killing Lorena in self-defense, but their relationship does not recover and is later dealt even further harm by the revelation some months later (prompted by Eric, and Sookie’s visit to Louisiana) that Bill had deliberately sought Sookie out on the orders of Louisiana’s vampire Queen.

Video: Bill and Sookie’s relationship begins

In the show, Bill is kidnapped in the last scene of  Season 2, so we are yet to know what will happen to Bill and Sookie’s relationship.  Bill had just asked Sookie to marry him giving her a ring and plane tickets to Vermont (the only state allowing humans and vampires to marry). Bill has been devoted to Sookie throughout both seasons of True Blood and we anticipate that, like the books, Sookie will attempt to find him in Season 3.

Video: Bill’s love for Sookie and how he asks her to marry him.

 

Through all of the book series, even after Sookie had broken up with Bill, he stayed on the periphery watching her to make sure she was all right. Bill has always said that he loved Sookie and that he would die for her if necessary. Sookie has always known this and mentioned it in Dead and Gone.

In Season 7, Bill and Sookie found each other again and expressed their love for each other only to have Bill die, at his choice by Sookie’s hands in the Bon Temps Cemetery.

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Lorena

In the show, Lorena is introduced, in a flash back scene, as Bill’s maker and sire in Season 1, Episode 5 when Bill is turned.  However, in the book series she isn’t introduced until the third book, Club Dead. They were lovers since Bill became a vampire and they had an intense relationship. They broke up eighty years ago. In this novel, Bill tells Sookie that he had gone to Jackson because Lorena had called him and he was obeying her summons. Bill knew it was dangerous business with Lorena and that he might not make it back. He tells Sookie to wait for him for eight weeks. Lorena ordered Bill to leave Sookie and threatened to kill her. After 3 days, while Bill is being tortured by Lorena, Pam (Eric’s fledgling) tells Sookie that Bill was going to leave her and make financial arrangements for her.

In the show, we see two flashbacks in Season 2 about Bill and Lorena’s relationship, in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In the 1920’s scene we see how they worked together to overpower humans and how evil their life had become. In the scene from the 1930’s we see Bill’s disgust with this world and his break from Lorena. We also get to see Lorena in the present day when she keeps Bill, against his will from helping Sookie when she is kidnapped by the Fellowship of the Sun’s Reverend Newlin and then again when Godric bans her from the state for her mistreatment of humans while in his lair.

In the show, we see two flashbacks in Season 2 about Bill and Lorena’s relationship, in the 1920’s and 1930’s. In the 1920’s scene we see how they worked together to overpower humans and how evil their life had become. In the scene from the 1930’s we see Bill’s disgust with this world and his break from Lorena. We also get to see Lorena in the present day when she keeps Bill, against his will from helping Sookie when she is kidnapped by the Fellowship of the Sun’s Reverend Newlin and then again when Godric bans her from the state for her mistreatment of humans while in his lair.

Video: Bill and Lorena in Chicago, 1926

 

Video: Bill is set free by Lorena, 1935

 

Selah Pumfrey

Selah so far, only exists in the books and she appears following Bill’s broken relationship with Sookie. She is a real estate agent who Bill briefly dates. Bill makes it obvious that he still carries a torch for Sookie and continues to try to be involved in her life.

 

Portia Bellefleur

For a short period in time, Bill had a relationship with Portia Bellefleur. However it was quickly ended by him when he realized that they were related.

 

BILL AS MAKER

In the novels, there is no evidence that Bill ever turned anyone into a vampire, but in True Blood he does. When Sookie is attacked by Fangtasia’s bartender, LongShadow, Bill kills him with a stake. In vampire culture this is a serious crime and requires Bill to go before a Vampire tribunal. As his penance for killing a fellow vampire, Bill is required to turn a human. He resists, but sees that there is no way out.  He is therefore forced to turn a 17 year old girl, named Jessica Hamby and thus a new character in True Blood is born.  So now Bill is in charge of this baby vampire and must teach her the vampire ways.

Bill turns Jessica into a vampire

Bill turns Jessica into a vampire

Bill helps Jessica adjust to life as a vampire

Bill helps Jessica adjust to life as a vampire

Throughout the seasons of True Blood, Bill Compton was transformed into a god like creature, a prophet saving vampire kind and finally someone who just wanted to die. Read more about Bill’s transformations below:

BILL AS BILLITH

In season 5, we saw a much darker side of Bill. He and Eric end up working for “The Authority” to find Russell Edgington. When they do, Russell ends up killing the Authority Leader, Roman and then Salome rules the roost. The authority vampires drink some of “Lillith’s” blood and they all get really high and party in New Orleans. Ever since that night Bill becomes an advocate of the vampire bible and is no longer interested in mainstreaming. He moves up the ladder of the Authority when he suggests that they bomb the Tru Blood factories. Finally, he kills of has killed off all of his competitors until lastly he kills his only rival, Salome when he outsmarts her into drinking blood filled with silver. By this time, Eric and Nora have left the Authority and he, Sookie, and Jason arrive to help those imprisoned (Pam, Tara, Jessica). After freeing everyone, Sookie and Eric look for Bill, and find him about to drink the blood of Lillith. Bill drinks the whole vial and explodes into a blood goo on the floor. He shortly rises from the goo as a new monster with huge Vampire teeth, Billith.

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BILL AS PROPHET

As the sixth season of the show begins, we find Bill as he was at the end of the 5th season. However, after a rampage where he burns down the Authority headquarters, we next see him looking very “normal.” However, when he threatens Eric, Sookie stakes him and surprisingly he simply pulls out the stake from his heart and heals immediately. Bill cannot be killed by staking. The others are frightened of him all except for Jessica who sticks by him.

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BILL’S DEATH

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In the final season of True Blood which ended on August 24, 2014, we saw our favorite vampire of all time, Bill Compton die.

It’s true that Bill did not want to be a vampire and never really embraced his new form except for the few times when he achieved power and when he became a vampire god. After his godlike powers were gone at the end of Season 6 and throughout the final season 7, Bill was a sad vampire longing for his human life.

He continued to regret, throughout all 10 episodes of the final season, his time as vampire and was unhappy with what he had done and become, even though he and Sookie had rekindled their love. He felt so much guilt about what he had done that he begged for death and asked Sookie to help him accomplish it.

For Bill Fans, this death was devastating and while we still think that Bill should not have died, we could recognize Bill’s desire for death. Even so, we weren’t convinced that dying was necessary at all even though the writer’s claimed it was his only way out. Again having found his way back to loving Sookie and she loving him, in our opinion, should have made him happy again.

However, since the writer’s felt that Bill had to die, we could have understood that. But, what we continue to dispute was how the deed was done. Bill deserved a much better death; one that gave him dignity. It would have been much preferred for Bill to end his time as a vampire in a way similar to how the vampire Godric did, but instead Bill was turned to goo on Sookie’s dress; with no follow up scenes showing any mourning by those who loved him.

We all loved the character Terry Bellefleur and mourned his death at the time, but can’t understand why Terry’s death warranted almost a full episode of mourning when Bill, the lead character in the show got so little and such disrespect!

HOW WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER BILL

However, the deed is done, the show is over and this horrible ending is not going to change.

Therefore, all we can do is choose to not accept Bill’s death with any grace here on this web site and instead, think of him as we loved him most, in Season 1, episode 1 when he walked into Merlotte’s.

Watch that moment below:

 

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