Sam Merlotte

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Sam Merlotte
True Blood character
Trrue blood sam merlotte.jpg
Sam Trammell as Sam Merlotte in True Blood.
First appearance Novel:
Dead Until Dark
Television:
"Strange Love"
Created by Charlaine Harris
Portrayed by Sam Trammell
Information
Species Shape shifter
Gender Male
Occupation Business owner
Bartender
Significant other(s) Callisto (maenad)
Nationality American

Sam Merlotte is a fictional character from the The Southern Vampire Mysteries/Sookie Stackhouse Series by author Charlaine Harris.

Sam lives in the fictional town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, and is the owner of a bar named Merlotte's. Sam has strawberry blond hair with blue eyes. He is both a close friend of and the employer of mind-reading barmaid Sookie Stackhouse. Sam is a shape shifter. His biological mother was a shifter as well as his brother. He is a true shape-shifter in that he can take the form of any animal; although his preferred shape is that of a collie, he can change into any animal he has seen. On nights when the moon is full, Sam - like all shapeshifters - feels a strong urge to change; the rest of the time he can do it at will. In the eighth book during the were war, instead of turning into a collie as usual, Sam unexpectedly changes to a lion to protect Sookie. It is said that the enemy werewolves were even frightened to challenge him due to his now great strength, though he is eventually challenged by the enemy pack leader, who initially jumps on his back but proves to be no real challenge as he defeats her with little effort and then goes on to kill more werewolves brutally, as Sookie watches now under Claudine's protection.

Sam has expressed his interest in Sookie and has kissed her on more than one occasion, but the two have never actually dated. He remains her good friend and supporter. He is protective of Sookie and is both jealous and concerned when Sookie involves herself first with the vampire Bill Compton and then Bill's employer Eric Northman. Under the guise of platonic friendship, he often advises Sookie to get away from the vampires while she still can. Despite this, Sam is dragged into the drama that surrounds Sookie and other supernatural creatures on an irregular basis.

Sam also engages in a sexual relationship with Maryann, a maenad, whose visit to Sookie's hometown causes much chaos.

When Sookie unexpectedly discovers that Sam is a shape-shifter, she is hurt that he did not see fit to confide in her because she has always been open with him about her own condition. With time, their friendship recovers.

Background in the novels[edit]

In the book series, it is revealed that both of Sam's parents were shape-shifters. His father is dead. Both Sam and his mother have kept their true nature secret from his human stepfather, brother, and sister. Because only the first-born of a were couple inherits the ability to change, his younger siblings are just regular humans.

Sam drifted from town to town before deciding to settle in Bon Temps and buy the bar. Since the Weres and shifters publicly revealed themselves, Sam has mentioned that he is a U.S. Army veteran, as was his father. Sam has generally avoided long relationships, but has dated other Werewolves and shifters. Although he was always attracted to Sookie, he did not reveal it to her until after she began dating Bill Compton. They each tend to be more than a little suspicious of the other's choices in romantic partners.

Television portrayal[edit]

In the HBO series True Blood, based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries, Sam is portrayed by actor Sam Trammell. In the first season, Sam engages in a brief sexual relationship with Tara Thornton. Sam is also revealed, in the second season, to have had a sexual encounter with the maenad Maryann while he was still an adolescent. Maryann comes to Bon Temps looking for the now adult Sam, convinced that he is the sacrificial victim she needs to bring forth her god. In the season's conclusion, Sam and Bill concoct a scheme to trick Maryann into making herself vulnerable, and succeeds in killing her by shifting into a white bull, which is the symbol for Maryann's god, with her defences down, Sam in bull form uses his horn to impale her and then transforms back to his human self to rip out her heart.

Sam was adopted as a child by the Merlottes, who then abandoned him when his abilities manifested at the age of 15. At the beginning of Season 3 Bill and Sam have a short seductive gay scene which is revealed to be a dream sequence, this is a consequence of ingesting vampire blood. Afterwards, Sam travels to Arkansas to find his biological family, the Mickens. He discovers that his biological mother and younger brother are also shape-shifters, and that his father is hiding a secret. Soon after Sam meets his biological parents he learns of his brother Tommy is being forced into dog fighting due to him being a shifter for money. Sam eventually saves Tommy from his corrupt parents and takes him to live with him and then the troubles soon start. At the close of Season 3, Tommy reveals he cannot read. He is fired from his Merlotte's job by a drunk Sam. Tommy steals Sam's money and tries to run, but is shot and wounded by Sam.

In Season 4 Sam has joined a group of fellow shifters and started a romance with Luna, one its members. Sam tolerates Tommy until Tommy uses his newfound skin-walker powers to imitate Sam to fire Sookie from the bar and sleep with Luna. Sam and Tommy reconcile moments before Tommy's death.