What’s in a Name: Sookie Stackhouse
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.
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?