Charlaine Harris is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet in the publishing world, and I feel terrible for her right now.
Aside from the death threats, threats of self-harm, and scathing one-star reviews she’s receiving from fans who are upset either that the series is ending at all, or that its romance thread doesn’t play out the way they wanted it to, there’s this bit at the end of the Wall Street Journal’s article on the last book:
Ms. Harris’s editor, Ginjer Buchanan, got choked up while discussing the end of the franchise. “We would like it to have gone on forever,” she said. “I don’t think anything is going to be as popular as Sookie.”
What a godawful thing to say to an author! Nothing else you do will ever be this good. We’d rather have you do the same thing forever than grow as an artist and try new things.
I gave up on the series several books ago; her creative fatigue has been apparent for some time now, and I actually enjoyed her non-vampire mysteries more than the Sookie books. So I went over to Goodreads to find out the cause of all the readers’ ire. And… am I nuts? The romantic endgame was obvious to me from the second book onward (precisely where Harris says, in this article, she figured out where to end the series). It was not pulled out of her ass, as a few reviews so charmingly accused. The groundwork was neatly laid, and very clearly foreshadowed in the sixth book. I suspect readers got so wrapped up in their preferred ships that they overlooked all the big flashing signs that pointed elsewhere.
(Or maybe I’m just good at predicting Harris’s moves? I figured out how the romance and the missing-sister plots were going to play out at the end of the first book in the Harper series, and it turned out almost exactly as I’d guessed.)
At any rate, authors are not readers’ dancing monkeys. Or, as Neil Gaiman put it in another context, Charlaine Harris is not your bitch. Nor is she her editors’ bitch, and I’m glad she’s moving on to other projects. I look forward to reading them.