True Blood was full of charismatic opportunists and ever-shifting alliances, but no single character personified that slippery appeal more than Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård). An immortal viking who survived centuries only to end up running a vampire bar in Louisiana, Eric knew what it took to survive. While many vampires, werewolves, and whatever else met their ends before the series (which you can stream on HBO Now) concluded, Eric managed to avoid a staking and create a synthetic blood empire to boot. Sure, things may not have worked out with Sookie (Anna Paquin), but it’s safe to say that Northman ended up on top.
While there’s an awful lot of murder, crime, and borderline incest in the mix, the ambition that Eric embodied is certainly worth emulating. While you may not want to trample as many people on your way to the top (because honestly, who has that much time to clean vampire viscera out of the carpet?), you can still learn a thing or two about getting what you want.
“Who would you rather trust? A vampire or a politician?”
When you’re looking to get what you want, it’s always better to present yourself as the most appealing option. When facing off against human politicians who were constantly seeking to keep the vampires “in the coffin,” Eric always brought the charm (and the fangs if that didn’t work) and attempted to work a little magic. While you don’t have the supernatural ability to glamor those you want to influence, you can still dazzle them.
Saying “please” never hurts, even when it’s merely a formality. Eric could easily take what he wanted, but real success requires a bit more finesse than that. Jumping onto the roof of a car may seem a bit extreme, but it’s certainly a more moderate option than ripping a car off the road without a care in the world. When you wield any sort of power, it’s best to know when to exercise it and when to rein it in.
“Please, I’m a thousand years older than you. Put your baby fangs away before you piss me off.”
Part of Eric’s appeal was the confidence that he exuded with every glance. A pushover never inspired anyone, so on your quest to the top, you have to present a strong front and a fierce stare. According to Eric, weakness is for lesser beings.
“You know I love you more when you’re cold and heartless.”
In order to accomplish what you want, you will often have to seek the help of others to reach your goals. Eric’s partnership with Pam was one of the strongest relationships on the show, with their mutual respect being the foundation of their success. Understanding what people want is usually a pretty important element of success. While Eric certainly isn’t above a little emotional manipulation, think of it more as helping those who can help you.
“I enjoy a good head-ripping as much as any vampire, but in this case, it might be wise to consider the value of the heads in question.”
They say that patience is the better part of valor, and sometimes a steady hand is essential to getting what you want. While Bill (Stephen Moyer) was more likely to go into danger with a half-cocked plan and guns blazing, Eric knew a bit more about the importance of waiting for the opportune moments. He did have a millennia of experience, after all.
“I texted you three times… Why didn’t you reply?”
You’re never going to be the king if you don’t demand answers. If you’re going to be your best, most successful self, you’ve got to expect that from others too, even if it’s just in responding to text messages in a timely fashion. You know that you can’t waste any time getting what you want, so you’re not going to sit by the phone waiting for that call. You have much better things to do.
“You surprise me. That’s rare in a breather.” — Eric
“You disgust me.” — Sookie
“Perhaps I’ll grow on you.” — Eric
“I’d prefer cancer.” — Sookie
Persistence is also the key to success in many instances. While Eric learned quickly that no means no with Sookie (a good lesson to learn when dealing with people), he never gave up on his quest to survive and thrive in a constantly changing world. Going from a Viking to a club owner to a contributing member of a vampire/human society is no easy task, but if he can get that much blood out of his hair, he could pretty much accomplish anything.