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What’s in a Name: Sookie Stackhouse

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Character names can make or break a story. A hero needs a strong name and a villain needs something slightly exotic. This is why you don’t see many heroes named Bob. Or villains for that matter. In the Sookieverse, names can tell us a lot about a character, adding nuance to what we see on screen. As something of a name geek myself, I thought it would be fun to spend some of the time until season 4 debuts by examining some character names for deeper meanings.

Sookie Stackhouse

We’ll start with the lead character. Sookie might sound a little silly at first, but it does grow on you. It is a Southern derivative of Susan or Susanna, which in turn is the English form of the Hebrew Shoshana, which means lily (in modern Hebrew it also means rose). A lily, of course, is a flower. The word usually brings to mind a white flower with a strong perfume, but there are many, many kinds of lilies. Day lilies, tiger lilies, Easter lilies… In my part of the country, day lilies will take over a garden if not kept contained. They survive bitter winters and scorching summers. A symbol of femininity and grace, lilies are beautiful, colorful, and hardy. Sound familiar?

Stackhouse is a surname that is traced back to people who lived near a steep rock or hill. I don’t see either near Sookie’s family home, so instead let’s be more figurative in our interpretation of her last name. Stackhouse sounds sturdy and unpretentious. It doesn’t require a flourish like Bellefleur, but neither is it plain old Smith or Jones. Stackhouse is a capable name, one that goes with a family who values hard work and good times with friends and family.

So we have a name that evokes a solid, Southern heritage. It’s a little whimsical, but strong. A little different, but not without context. It’s feminine, but determined. I’d say that sums up our girl, wouldn’t you?

Fan of the Southern Vampire Mysteries since 2001, and co-admin of True-Blood.net since 2008. Team Sookie!

9 Comments

  1. Granna

    February 16, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Hi Mel,

    Thank you for an interesting article. I am also a little bit of a name geek and enjoyed reading this piece. And, for whatever it’s worth, completely agree with you.

    Can’t wait to see who you explain to us next!

    • Mel

      February 17, 2011 at 10:20 am

      I’m so pleased to find other name geeks in the Truebie ranks! I was hoping this wouldn’t be a “vanity” series, meaning something only I was interested in. Be sure to stop by next Wednesday for the next installment. :)

  2. Sammy

    February 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks for posting this!! I’ve never heard the name Sookie before i watched the show/read the books, and I’ve ben researching where it came from-with no success! Now I have an answer!

    I’d be interested to hear about Alcide’s name also!

    Thanks!

  3. Vickiousbabedelicious

    February 17, 2011 at 12:29 am

    SUCH a great idea. i love it.

    also can’t wait for other characters like say tall dark and viking… but hey! i ain’t given away any names!

    I think Pam’s would be reeeeeaally interesting too.
    awesome job guys.

  4. Bethany

    February 17, 2011 at 4:33 am

    I do agree with your interpretation, but would like to also add that her house (as they repeatedly point out in the books) is rather stacked. Each generation has added to it over the past 150+ years. I always figured that it was sort of referring to how the family holds to its long history and firm family values. At least that is my opinion.

    I was wondering about the Sookie part. Thanks so much for the insight. I had never heard anyone use that particular nickname for a Susanna or whatever. It is my life’s mission to learn something new every day of my life, and today it is this. :) Which is especially sweet as I read the books like 2-3 times a week out of boredom until the show starts up again (Ok unil Dead Reckoning comes out in May and then True Blood frenzy in June) Thanks so much for adding something to the experience.

    • Mel

      February 17, 2011 at 10:18 am

      Nice interpretation of “Stackhouse”, Bethany. Especially with the attic coming into play in the books, that makes sense.

  5. Bethany

    February 17, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Personally I think Eric the North Man aka Eric Northman is pretty self explanitory, but I would love to hear more about Sam Merlotte or maybe delve into some of the more obscure characters like Queen Sophie Anne LeClerk (Spelling?) And wasn’t her original name like Sandra or something like that? I owuld love to hear how they came up with Laffayette as a first name. It is a pretty common sir name near where I live, but never heard it as a first name until I read the books/watched it on True Blood.

  6. bayoubaby

    February 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    well being from new orleans we used the name as a sort of you go girl term . everyone i know says sookie sookie nah

  7. bayoubaby

    February 25, 2011 at 12:15 am

    i love the name its very southern