Oh Bill, oh Bill, oh Bill, Oh Bill, I’m begging for you please be a better character (Sung in the style of Jolene, of course). Throughout the run of True Blood, many characters have arcs that turn them from protagonist, to an antagonist, back to protagonist, and vice versa. Though there is one character who starts as a protagonist, but we will find out, came to Bon Temps with antagonistic goals, and continues to just be a terrible person (vamp). That character is none other than William Erasmus Compton (Stephen Moyer). Bill Compton was a resident of Bon Temps, Louisiana back before the Civil War. Now he returns for reasons that are seemingly unknown…to us. Before we get started it should be stated that Stephen Moyer does an excellent job at portraying such a villainous character and making us feel bad for Bill at certain points, and then turning on a dime when it is needed.
Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) has her very first run-in with Bill Compton in Season 1 Episode 1 “Strange Love” when he is basically run out of Merlotte’s. As Bill leaves the bar Mack and Denise Rattray (James Parks and Karina Logue) try and kidnap him with silver chains in order to take and sell his blood for profit. Sookie follows them outside and, unbeknownst to her, uses some of her faerie powers to basically beat the hell out of the Rattrays. Bill is thankful for Sookie, and she is surprised she cannot read his mind. This seems fairly innocuous…right?
In Season 1 Episode 2 “The First Taste,” Bill’s mission in Bon Temps moves ahead quicker than he probably realized when the Rattrays come back to Merlotte’s and near fatally beat Sookie. Bill uses this to give Sookie his blood so that she can heal, simultaneously giving him the power to be able to know where she is. His insidious nature is somewhat foreshadowed but never really known until towards the end of the series. We find out that Queen of Louisiana Sophie-Anne Leclerq (Evan Rachel Wood) sent Bill back to Bon Temps with the goal of finding Sookie and getting her just so that she could feel the sunlight on her skin. Sookie, obviously, has no clue of this plan and is rightfully pissed off when this adds to the litany of terrible things she finds out Bill has done to her.
Questionable theory here: Part of me wonders whether or not Bill glamoured the Rattrays to come and attack Sookie. They did threaten her when she beat them up, but it would make sense that it would be the easiest way for Bill to get Sookie to drink his blood. Anyways…
Bill continues time and time again to break Sookie’s heart, but it’s not really until Season 5 where Bill goes over the edge. Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård) and Bill get help from Nora Gainesborough (Lucy Griffiths) to get out of dodge, but soon get captured by The Authority. Eventually, The Authority members change from mainstreaming, the idea of being one with humans, to the Sanguinista movement, which is taking the vampire bible literally and thinking they have complete domination over humans. This leads to the real downfall of Bill.
The Authority decides to take drops of Lilith’s (Jessica Clark), also referred to as The Progenitor, and basically end up getting super high from it. They cavort through the streets of New Orleans like a bunch of kids who just smoked weed for the first time. Shortly after this, the members start having visions of Lilith, Bill being one of them. When the new Authority leader Salome Agrippa (Valentina Cervi) also has visions she entrusts in Bill this information. He completely plays her by telling her that he saw Lilith and she told him that Salome rightfully deserves to be the mouthpiece for her. Bill ends up killing Salome and drinks all of Lilith’s blood. And this is when we get the horribly named, Billith. OH and before all this? He has the idea to blow up the True Blood factories so vampires have no choice but to feed off of humans, thus forcing mainstreamers to be Sanguinists.
Bill can now walk in the daylight, survive staking, and have no effect from silver. This just gives him an even bigger head than he already had. Bill even goes so far as to tell Sookie if she steps foot back on his property he will kill her. He constantly puts her in harm’s way and has the gall to tell her that he will kill her because of choices he has personally made.
Bill knows how much Sookie still loves him, knowing that she gave her virginity to him and was her first boyfriend, but does he truly care? When he contracts Hep V, Sookie does everything she can to try and save his life, for herself, but also for Jessica Hamby (Deborah Ann Woll). But Bill does not care…or does he? Is he just manipulating Sookie so that if/when he dies she feels to blame, or so that she cannot get over him and never truly fall in love again? The worst thing is when Bill preys on Sookie’s crisis of faith (crisis of faerie?). Sookie thinks all of these things are happening to her because of her powers, so Bill basically tells her to use up her powers on him to kill him. This would mean that whenever she thinks about the loss of her powers, she would think of him. All he wants is her to miss him.
The worst thing that Bill does? He desperately tries to talk Sookie into ending his life! (I know I just stated that, but it is the worst.) She, thankfully, decides just to stake him instead of using up her powers. He constantly traumatizes her to get the outcome that he wants, and this is just what he does to Sookie! He completely ruined Jessica’s life and couldn’t care less about it. He nearly kills Jessica when he calls her after consuming Lilith’s blood and couldn’t care less about it. He puts everyone in his life in harm’s way, to do what he wants when he wants. Thank god (or Lilith) that he finally died…I just wish it was many seasons earlier.
Bill Compton constantly puts his friends in danger, manipulates the girl he loves, and causes the death of hundreds of thousands of humans because of it. Thousands of vamps contract Hep V directly because of his actions when he pitches the idea of blowing up the True Blood factories. He kills Governor Burrell (Arliss Howard), which fuels the hatred of good vampires around Louisiana, and the world. Bill Compton is an antagonist through and through, and, truly, the biggest antagonist in True Blood. Bill Compton sucks.