"True Death" is a term that refers to the ultimate destruction of a vampire. On the HBO original series True Blood, many characters succumbed to the True Death, including series regulars Bill Compton, Tara Thornton, and Steve Newlin.
The word "true" is used because vampires are technically already dead. Due to the possibility of an end, any creature that can experience the true death is technically not immortal. It is stated several times in the series that vampires are technically not immortal, because, despite their immunity to aging, death always finds them through one means or another in the vastness of eternity.
In vampire politics, only certain vampires have the authority to command the True Death on other vampires. So far we have seen this power from the Magister, Nan Flanagan, and Roman Zimojic. The Chancellors of the Authority are allowed input into whether a vampire should receive the True Death or not, especially with regards to smaller kingdoms and states, however, should an enemy of The Authority be captured, only The Guardian appears to possess the ability to ultimately pronounce a sentence which would result in the True Death for the vampire.
Vampire monarchs also have a certain amount of persuasion over the matter, as seen in Season 4 when Bill Compton persuaded Nan to allow him to execute Eric. In cases involving less important Vampires however, it does not appear that the Monarch must receive any form of permission from the Authority. As seen in the case of the YouTube Vampire; whom Bill Compton was able to execute without even having to bring the case before the Authority.
Known Causes of the True Death
- Meeting the sun - When exposed to sunlight vampires will begin to burn in a manner consistent with their age. Younger Vampires can endure prolonged exposure and still have a good chance to heal. They will however endure a significant amount of pain and their skin will get charred. Older Vampires are much more sensitive to sunlight, as seen with Godric who was completely incinerated within a few seconds of exposure.
- Fire - Vampires can heal from pretty serious burns, but if they are exposed for too long, they will eventually die.
- Exsanguination - When a Vampire is drained completely of their blood.
- Decapitation - Vampires are unable to heal if their head is completely severed, as seen with Jorge Alonso.
- Staking - When a vampire's heart is completely penetrated with a type of wooden object (Wooden bullets & stakes, pencils, etc.) the vampire is completely destroyed, and meets the True Death. There are two ways in which vampires die when exposed to this method. If a vampire is struck quickly and directly through their heart (as with wooden bullets), they will explode on impact like a balloon, spraying blood everywhere. When a vampire is pierced through the heart in a slower method, usually by staking, they dissolve and "implode." The manner of how quickly the vampire dissolves after staking seems to be related to how slowly the stake is inserted into the heart. When a vampire is staked slowly, red cracks will appear on their skin and grow deeper while their eyes turn blue.
- Hepatitis V - When a vampire is infected with Hep V via sexually, ingestion, or injection they will weaken and die within 24-48 hours.
Staking appears to be the preferred method of execution for forms of Vampire Government, namely The Authority. A quick "ceremonial" type of performance is even used of presenting the ancient silver tipped wooden stake to The Guardian, which is used to carry out the execution.
Immortals Who Have Met The True Death
Before season 1
- Lilith - (Met the Sun at the hands of Macklyn Warlow/in retrospection in season 6)
- Don Santiago - (Met the sun while under Antonia's curse/in retrospection in season 4)
- Vampire Priests and Nuns - (Met the sun while under Antonia's curse/in retrospection in season 4)
- Diane Hardwicke - (House fire; Burned by Royce Williams)
- Liam McKnight - (House fire; Burned by Royce Williams)
- Malcolm Beaumarchais - (House fire: Burned by Royce Williams)
- Longshadow - (Staked by Bill Compton)
- Eddie Fournier - (Staked by Amy Burley)
- Stan Baker - (Luke McDonald/Bomb)
- Paolo - (Luke McDonald/Bomb)
- Catherine - (Luke McDonald/Bomb)
- Godric - (Self-inflicted/Met the sun)
- Russell's Guard - (Staked by Bill Compton)
- Lorena Krasiki - (Staked by Sookie Stackhouse)
- Jorge Alonso de San Diego - (Decapitated by Russell Edgington)
- Talbot Angelis - (Staked by Eric Northman)
- Franklin Mott - (Shot by Jason Stackhouse)
- Sophie-Anne Leclerq - (Snipers on the command of Bill Compton/in retrospection)
- YouTube Vampire - (Staked by Bucky under orders from Bill Compton)
- Luis Patiño - (Staked himself while under Antonia's control)
- Beulah Carter - (Met the sun while under Antonia's curse)
- Vampire on cemetery - (Shot by Tara Thornton during Battle of the Bon Temps Graveyard)
- Blackburn - (Staked by Nan Flanagan while under Antonia's control)
- Duprez - (Killed while fighting Bill Compton)
- Kirsch - (Thrown into Marnie's forcefield by Bill Compton while under Antonia's control)
- Three of Nan’s Guards (Decapitated by Eric Northman)
- Nan Flanagan - (Staked by Bill Compton)
- Hayes - (Staked by Nora Gainsborough)
- Cat Ingerslev - (Shot by V-Feds)
- Cat Ingerslev's clan - (Shot by V-Feds)
- Alexander Drew - (Staked by Roman Zimojic)
- Unsavory Vampire - (Shot by a group of Obamas)
- Roman Zimojic - (Staked by Russell Edgington)
- Dieter Braun - (Decapitated by Russell Edgington)
- Mike Spencer - (Staked by Sookie Stackhouse)
- Molly - (Staked via iStake by Bill Compton)
- Elijah Stormer - (Decapitated by Tara Thornton)
- Gondry - (Shot by Jason Stackhouse)
- Lambert - (Shot by Jason Stackhouse)
- AHQ Escort 1 - (Staked by Eric Northman)
- AHQ Escort 2 - (Staked by Eric Northman)
- Unnamed male vampire - (Shot by Alcide Herveaux)
- Business Man Vamp - (Shot by Jackson Herveaux)
- Kibwe Akinjide - (Decapitated by Bill Compton)
- Russell Edgington - (Staked by Eric Northman)
- Rosalyn Harris - (Exploded by Sam Merlotte)
- Chelsea - (Shot by Jason Stackhouse)
- Several dozen soldiers of Vampire Authority - (Destroyed by Jason, Eric, Nora and Tara)
- AHQ Guard 1 - (Staked by Eric Northman or Nora Gainesborough)
- AHQ Guard 2 - (Staked by Eric Northman or Nora Gainesborough)
- Authority Guard Captain - (Staked by Eric Northman or Nora Gainesborough)
- Salome Agrippa - (Staked by Bill Compton)
- Bill Compton - (Ingested Lilith's blood and restored as "Billith")
- Authority Guard 1 - (Decapitated by Bill Compton)
- Unnamed soldier of Vampire Authority - (Shot by Jason Stackhouse)
- Children vampires - (Tortured and killed by the men of the Governor)
- Nora Gainesborough - (Succumbed to Hepatitis V by Dr. Overlark)
- Steve Newlin - (Met the sun by Eric Northman)
- All vampire prisoners in Burrell's camp who drank the Hep V contaminated Tru Blood - (Unwittingly infected with Hepatitis V)
- Macklyn Warlow - (Staked by Jason Stackhouse)
Before season 7
- Tara Thornton - (Destroyed by unknown Infected Vampire)
- Several Infected Vampires - (Destroyed by Bon Temps Residents among others Violet Mazurski and Alcide Herveaux )
- Nizar - (Shot by himself during playing of Russian roulette)
- The Figure - (Met the sun)
- Betty Harris - (Succumbed to Hepatitis V)
- Matt - (Shot by Vince Gibson)
- Group of Infected Vampires - (Destroyed by Jason Stackhouse, Andy Bellefleur, Alcide Herveaux and Sam Merlotte)
- Infected Vampires in Fangtasia - (Destroyed by Bon Temps humans and vampires)
- Unnamed vampire in lawyer's office - (Staked by Bill Compton)
- Amber Mills - (Staked by Eric Northman)
- Violet Mazurski - (Shot by Hoyt Fortenberry)
- Bill Compton - (Staked by Sookie Stackhouse)
- Colin - (He could meet the true death after leaving Pam/mentioned in season 5)
- Authority Gate Guard - (He could survive an annihilation of The Vampire Authority/season 5)
- Nigel Beckford - (He could have survived the annihilation of The Vampire Authority/season 5)
When Sookie finds the jar with the remains of Talbot, she discovers that Russell hopes to resurrect his lover. However, she takes the ruins and destroys them before any attempt at resurrection is shown.We see a real resurrection when Bill drinks the blood of Lilith. He begins to bleed from her eyes and mouth and then seems to be destroyed, leaving a pool of blood behind. He remained in this state only for a few moments before reforming covered in blood.
In the case of Bill rising again from the dead seems to be a disorienting experience because shortly after being reformed by his remains, Bill falls prey to a murderous rampage. He then massacres many of the remaining members of the Authority and destroys the entire complex.
Fairy blood does not save a vampire from True Death but it has several effects that change the usual process of dying. Vampires who have been staked experience True Death at a much slower pace as witnessed when Russell was staked by Eric or when Jason impaled Warlow. Russell even thought he was immune before his skin began to crack inevitably announcing his demise.