True Blood’s “Faerie” and “Goblinland”
Wow. Where do I start? What is Faerie… and what the hell is Goblinland? Why is it that the Fae are so attractive to vampires when they are clearly horrendous, nasty things that look like boogeymen? There are a couple of things I don’t get about the creative decision to, instead of making Faeries beautiful, a la the Southern Vampire Mystery series, they decided that Faerie should be a cursed, spartan land that resembles the bug planets from the Starship Troopers movie.
For one, vampires are supposed to be especially attracted faeries’ blood; vampires are pretty visually oriented. It’s one of their more human qualities, as demonstrated by their preference for lavish surroundings and luxury, and obviously they choose their mates for beauty as well. You know, like humans. As in… vampires are shallow. They don’t strike me as a species weak enough to fall in love with some snaggletooth goblin just because their blood tastes better. Secondly, if faeries are so goddamn hideous, explain Sookie and Jason being free of any tumor/hump/ugly defect. And don’t tell me it’s an evolution thing; that kind of ugly is hereditary. It’d take a long time to breed out facial features like the ones on ‘Queen Mab’.
Why, why, why? Oh well. We can deal. Right? I mean… as long as the quality of effects… Well, that really makes me think of the fight between Sookie and the Faerie in the second half of the opening scenes, when they shifted over to ‘Goblinland’ … it was incredibly reminiscent of any one of a dozen fights from Star Trek. The world that Sookie and the vampires occupy is gritty, realistic, and overall, human; that’s why we like the show so much. We can sympathize and identify with the surroundings, the characters, and their social setting as well. But the Faerie sequences might be harder to get interested in, because they’re not as real to us as Bon Temps, –a matte painting, while rendered nicely, is a poor substitute for the tangibility we expect from True Blood’s set.
The True Blood universe has always been a place we could easily imagine ourselves living in; the addition of faeries to the series has brought in some really heavy barriers to the empathy. And Alan Ball might have foreseen that, when he began creating the show’s fourth season, and attempted to counteract it by making the faeries a lot more superficial and villainous, while turning Faerie into less of Lisa Frank illustration, and more into a wasteland. The problem is, he may have overdone it, just a tad. The fluffy bright fairy crap is a little too rich for us, and too sharp a contrast to accept when you plunk it down in the middle of a gritty realistic vampire universe… but so is the extreme at the other end of the spectrum.
The Faerie/Goblinland setting is explained in more detail, but they don’t really address the “why” so much as the “how” in the article. Don’t get me wrong, the creative process is interesting, but not as interesting as it would be to hear Alan address the questions himself. All told, we’re really just going to have to wait and see. It might get better as things progress; when the series started, the actors were a bit shaky, but now they practically -are- their characters. So we might get accustomed to the new season and even to the new world of Faerie over time as well.