- "As we say in Surrey, sod the fuck off you cunting twat."
- ―Nora Gainsborough, to Rosalyn Harris[src]
Nora Gainesborough was a vampire on the HBO original series True Blood. Played by British starring actress Lucy Griffiths, Nora makes her debut on the episode "Turn! Turn! Turn!", at the beginning of the series' fifth season. Made by Godric in the mid 17th Century, Nora was Eric Northman's sister, a former chancellor of the Vampire Authority, and the only surviving member of the original council. Playing a recurring role through the series' fifth and sixth seasons, Nora was a defected member of the Sanguinistas, and met an untimely demise on the episode "In the Evening", in the series' sixth season. She appears once more, in a flashback in the Season 6 episode "Life Matters".
Nora was irreverent, intelligent, intimidating, cool under pressure and a very good liar. Like many siblings, she and her "brother" enjoyed a fiery love/hate relationship. Though she cared for him deeply, and looked up to him, she dedicated her life to a higher purpose. However, she lacked self-discipline and, unlike her maker, seemed to have little regard for human life. Like Godric, Eric and Pam, Nora spoke Swedish. Nora was a devout religious vampire and when she was captured by the Authority and placed in her cell, the only thing she did is pray to Lilith. When Lilith mercilessly destroyed Godric, Nora finally realized that Lilith was evil and cowered in fear of her.
Nora had medium length brown hair, pale skin, blue eyes, and was of average height. She was turned by Godric in 1665 when she became infected while trying to save a great portion of London from the devastating impact of the Black Plague.
Nora was born in Surrey, England in the 1640's of the Stuart Era. In 1665 Eric Northman was in London, doing a favor to king Charles II. He wanted a certain woman at his bed, but she was too stubborn to be with him as he wanted. She was instead helping people infected with the black plague. This is highly contagious so he asks Eric to take her out of the situation and return her to him. Eric leaves for the quarantined part of the city where Nora was helping the ill. He asks for her but the man he meets tells him he is too late. Nora had gotten the black death herself and was dying. Eric goes to see her and tells her that the king has sent him to retrieve her. Nora refuses stating her death would be her own. Impressed, Eric sees she is courageous, not stubborn as the king had said. He promises her that she will live forever and takes Nora to Godric to turn her.
Authority Chancellor, Salome Agrippa, took Nora under her wing and sponsored her Chancellorship. At some stage, Salome brought Nora to the sacred chamber where the blood of Lilith was kept. She had her taste it and cause her to become a religious fanatic devoted to the Sanguinista ideology. Together they secretly led the movement against Guardian Roman Zimojic, whilst pretending to be amongst the most loyal of Chancellors.
Nora plays a ruse on Roman and drives to Bill Compton's house with Hayes. They capture Bill and Eric using silver nets. Hayes places them in the trunk of their car. Nora later explains another car was waiting to ambush theirs and save Bill and Eric. However the explosion (or stunt) they pulled, changed plans. Hayes approaches Bill and Eric and attempts to stake them. Nora saves them by staking Hayes. Eric approaches Nora and passionately kisses her. He explains to Bill that she is his sister.
When they go to ground for the night, Eric and Nora have sex in a shipping container on the dock. They are loud, causing Bill outside to tell them they should be more quiet. New Orleans is only 60 miles away. Finishing, Eric's cell goes off. At first Nora is upset that Eric could have a traceable phone, but he quickly tells her it isn't. He reminds Bill that, "We fight like siblings...but fuck like champions." Nora makes her own phone call to Roman, lying that Eric and Bill have been taken care of.
She tells them the life they knew is over now and that if they return, it would be the end of her. They get new identities from a vampire named Cat Ingerslev. While Nora embraces Eric, the vampires around them are shot and killed by The Authority. ("Turn! Turn! Turn!")
Nora, Eric and Bill are being dragged out of an armored van by the V-Police. They are brought before Salome. Nora's excuses fall on deaf ears and only earn her a slap in the face from Salome. She is put in a cell next to Bill, Eric and Nigel Beckford. They are all tortured with UV lamps. Nora again attempts to explain why she did what she did but no one believes her. During Bill's interrogation, Dieter hints that Nora is a member of the Sanguinista movement. She is brought before her fellow chancellors alongside Bill & Eric and is accused of treason. Roman especially laments Nora's choice to act against the Authority. She is taken away kicking and screaming. ("Authority Always Wins")
Nora is tortured by Rosalyn regarding her relationship with Bill and Eric. Nora says nothing and Rosalyn threatens to kill them both. Nora then claims that she is a Sanguinista and that mainstreaming with humans is an abomination. Nora asserts that Lilith will rise from the blood and kill all the members of the Authority. Rosalyn is satisfied but sadistically continues torturing Nora. ("Whatever I Am, You Made Me")
Nora is seen fervently praying to Lilith for protection via Dieter Braun's laptop. She is mocked for her fanaticism by Dieter and then tortured with UV lights again.
In her cell Nora is visited by Roman & Salome, and insists that she is prepared to meet the True Death. Salome isn't ready to kill her friend though and pleads with Nora to reveal who turned her against The Authority. Nora remains silent however until Roman threatens to kill Bill and Eric. After Salome swears a bloodoath that Bill and Eric will not be harmed she admits that Alexander Drew is another traitor to the council. ("We’ll Meet Again")
Nora is still in her cell praying to Lilith. After Nigel Beckford tells her about Alexander Drew's death, she says to the camera in her cell that the warriors of Lilith are coming for the Authority. This is immediately punished with UV light by Dieter Braun. While burning, Nora screams that Roman's end will be there soon. ("Let's Boot and Rally")
As Eric visits Nora in her cell, Salome informs her that Russell Edgington will be executed that night. Stunned by this fact, Nora starts saying that "it" is happening and she thanks Lilith. Being asked if she knew where Russell was or if she released him, she only denies and says it's a part of "her" plan. Right after Roman is killed by Russell, Nora makes a gesture towards the sky saying "praise her".("Hopeless")
Bill and Eric realize they were being used to bring Russell to the Authority so he could kill Roman. They're trying to find out why Russell's restraints didn't work saying if silver was injected into him there was no way he could've killed Roman so fast. They also wonder why the iStakes didn't work. Molly who is in charge of the iStakes doesn't know why either and is in the process of trying to find out. They then are called to meet with Salome and Nora. While standing in Salome's room Nora tries to talk to Eric, but feeling betrayed Eric tells her to "shut the fuck up." Suddenly, Russell makes an appearance and tells them he has been reborn. Nora tells Eric she tried to save him because she knew about Russell, but again Eric ignores her and tells her to shut up. Salome admits to digging up Russell because he was the only vampire powerful enough to get rid of Roman. She says they're interested in sharing their power with everyone and want Eric, Nora and Bill to join them. Neither Eric nor Bill are interested. Salome tells them of a ceremony taking place the following night, and gives them the option to attend.
Russell tells those at the ceremony he disavows himself of his previous statements and says he loves Lilith. Nora talks about their feeling vampires have evolved from humans and says that at the ceremony everybody will drink from Lilith's blood. Chancellor Dieter speaks up saying that this is blasphemy. He has been part of the Authority since Roman first started it and he will not go along with any of this. Before the chancellor can finish, Russell decapitates him. After that, Russell apologizes to Lilith and everyone is silent. Bill asks Eric if they're really going along with it and Eric agrees saying they'll go with the flow. Everybody who drank from Lilith wanders around town in a drunk-like state, intimidating humans in what appears to be the French Quarter. During a private karaoke party, Russell appears and everyone freaks out. Suddenly everyone else zooms in and the vampires begin to kill everyone. The vampires look towards the stage and see a drop of blood hit the ground. A nude, blood-drenched woman appears. It is Lilith. The apparition of Lilith walks over to Nora and expels a red mist from her mouth. The mist hits Nora and Nora smiles at Lilith. She then continues to feed from the human. At this point Godric's spirit appears to Eric. Godric tells Eric he knows what he's doing is wrong, but his sister does not. He asks Eric to save her. ("In the Beginning")
The vampires' crazy night comes to an end. They return to the headquarters the majority of them still high and reveling in drinking Lilith's blood. Eric tries to convince Nora that her mind is clouded and mentions seeing Godric. She nonchalantly says "Fuck Godric!" A furious Eric considers killing her, but stops himself. Utterly heartbroken, Eric leaves. Nora says that she thinks Lilith will be able to show Eric the way.
At a meeting of the new vampire hierarchy they decide how to start flexing their muscles. It is suggested they simply start killing mainstreaming vampires, but Bill thinks a better move would be destroying the Tru Blood factories. ("Somebody That I Used to Know")
Salome is leading the chancellors in a prayer in Aramaic over a human male who is tied to a table. They then begin to feed on the man.
Under false pretenses, Eric takes Nora to the main room with the elevator and joins Molly. He drugs Nora. Bill appears shortly thereafter. The elevator opens to reveal Salome and her guards waiting. Eric is arrested and a guard takes an unconscious Nora away.("Everybody Wants to Rule the World")
Bill forces Eric to side with the Authority and, with the help of Nora, he force-feeds Eric a drop of Lilith's blood. Shortly after, Nora and Eric see Godric's spirit manifest. Godric pleads with her to see Lilith for what she really is: a godless-god. Nora initially denies the truth about Lilith and lashes out at Godric for abandoning her. Lilith suddenly manifests behind Godric and seizes him from behind. Nora pleads for Lilith to spare Godric while Eric pleads for Godric to fight back. When he refuses to fight back, Lilith tears off his head. Nora immediately realizes the truth as she and Eric mourn their loss and cower in horror before the blood-soaked Lilith. ("Gone, Gone, Gone")
Nora is in the main chambers of the Authority sanctum reflecting on her visions of Godric and Lilith. Salome walks in and informs her of General Cavanaugh's impending visit but notices that Nora is troubled. Nora expresses her concern over Russell's escape but Salome reassures her.
Later, Nora makes her way to Eric's room. They both look at each other with a mutual understanding. They begin to have sex and while they are having sex Nora begs Eric to forgive her. Eric then tells Nora that he will find a way for them to escape.
During Cavanaugh's visit Nora is with the other Chancellors explaining that the Sanguinistas are now in control. Eric kills Cavanaugh and thus creates an opportunity for him and Nora to leave the Authority sanctum on the basis that they are starting a glamouring campaign. On Bill's orders they are accompanied by two vampire guards.
Nora and Eric are in a car with two guards. Eric stakes the guards and the car comes to a stop. Eric and Nora exit the car and look at each other and Nora tells Eric that the Authority will come for them. Before they fly away, Nora rips off her Lilith pendant necklace and throws it to the ground. ("Sunset")
As Russell Edgington is about to infiltrate the faerie nightclub, Eric Northman and Nora appear just in time to stake him. Nora, just newly defected from the Sanguinistas, is enthralled by the sweet essence of Sookie's blood. Eric forbids Nora to feed from her. She, Eric, and Tara Thornton later seek the aid of both Sookie Stackhouse and vampire-hating Jason Stackhouse to storm the Authority headquarters and destroy the remaining Sanguinistas. As the Vampire Feds storm the meeting-hall, Nora and Eric both destroy them effortlessly. After Jessica Hamby and Pamela Swynford de Beaufort are freed from their cells, Nora goes with them and Jason to the surface while Eric and Sookie confront Bill Compton. ("Save Yourself")
Nora knows who M. Warlow is. She expresses surprise when Jason mentions him, and demands to know what Jason knows.
Pam, Tara, Nora, Jessica and Jason fight their way out of the Authority. Eric and Sookie confiscate an SUV and pick up the group and drive off. When they drive off they see a blood covered Bill fly away from the exploding building.
After hearing Truman Burrell's speech on vampires over the radio, Eric pulls over at an abandoned beach to talk to Nora. Eric demands an explanation from Nora for what he just saw, but she has no answers. When Jason threatens Nora demanding the same information, Eric is on the verge of attacking him. He is stopped by the intervention of Sookie, sticking up for Nora.
When Jessica is summoned by Bill, Sookie drives of with her. Eric and Nora follow soon after. They ambush Bill at his house, only to be easily overpowered. After Sookie fails to stake Bill, they agree to talk to one another about what happened that night. Bill explains that he doesn't know what happened to him. Nobody but Jessica seems to trust him and she orders all of them to leave.
Eric walks Sookie home and signs a document which transfers ownership of the house back to her. She thanks him and rescinds his invitation, sending him out the door. On the porch Nora awaits him, stating she dumped the car in the swamp. She asks if they can use Sookie to find Bill's weakness. Eric replies they will stay away from Sookie from now on.("Who Are You, Really?")
In Fangtasia, Pam looks terrified as she holds Tara, who is screaming in pain on the bar. Pam has never seen anything like this before and seems scared for her progeny. As Eric and Nora enter the bar, they question Tara's screaming. Pam says that Tara has been shot and she isn't healing. Eric comes closer and takes a look at what looks like a burning hole in Tara's abdomen. Eric asks what caused it to which Pam replies the police and their new anti vampire weapons. Eric attempts to remove the bullet lodged in Tara's stomach but gets burned just by touching it. He then breaks a bottle and cuts the bullet out. Upon examination he realizes it's a silver bullet with U.V light inside it. Tara heals immediately. Eric wonders where they got this technology when Nora brings up the fact that when in the Authority they were warned about new weapons the government had created since learning of vampire's existence. Nora then realizes how humans are actually fighting back. Pam gets angry asking Nora what she'd expect after everything the Authority did, like destroying the Tru Blood factories since Tru Blood was keeping the peace. They begin to argue when Eric shatters a glass and declares that if the humans want war, they will have war. He asks Nora to review the Book of Lilith again and find out what Bill may be. He leaves without letting anyone know where he was going. While reading the vampire bible, Nora finds a part of the book that may have been mistranslated. Pam points out that Eric doesn't tell Nora everything either apparently since they don't know where he is right now. Nora realizes she needs to leave to further investigate her theory and tells Pam to tell Eric that she will be back. Pam gets another attitude with Nora by telling Nora that Eric told her to fuck off so that's what she is doing. Surprisingly Nora attempts to make peace with Pam by telling her that she is the thing that Eric is most proud of and the only reason she didn't know about her was because Eric didn't want to risk Pam getting killed knowing it. She also added that she did know about Pam and that Eric talked of Pam often and fondly. Pam seems a little bitter still but seems softer towards Nora now.("The Sun")
Niall and Ben are in Sookie's house when they hear a noise outside and Niall runs out thinking it's Warlow. He runs out and catches the vampire but it ends up being Nora who was lurking around because she herself was looking for Warlow. Jason screams and Nora runs away.("You're No Good")
Niall Brigant is outside of the house, confronting Nora. He threatens her with his faerie magic, demanding she tell him what she knows about Macklyn Warlow. Nora explains that Warlow is the progeny of Lilith, the first of all vampires, and that she seeks Warlow's aid in stopping Lilith. Nora states that a new translation of the Book of the Vampyr tells that Warlow was the one who originally destroyed Lilith. She becomes distracted by Niall's smell and becomes threatening towards him, causing him to blast her through the air using his faerie magic. Nora lands on the ground in front of a checkpoint of LAVTF officers enforcing the vampire curfew. They demand that she identify herself as human or vampire and declare they are the LAVTF. Nora is too disoriented to realize she is being confronted by human officers and stumbles towards them with her fangs out. The officers see her fangs and shoot her with anti-vampire guns before apprehending her.("At Last")
Governor Burrell comes into a holding cell with Eric who is caged and his hands bound. They argue back and forth when Dr. Overlark comes in with a tray and on top of the tray sits a bottle of yellow liquid inside. Burrell tells Eric that he will pay for taking his daughter away. Burrell reveals that Steve Newlin's information has become invaluable and since the resident Psychiatrist has a crush on Pam they must punish Eric another way and they cart in Nora who is bound to a gurney. Dr. Overlark then fills a needle with the yellow liquid and explains to both Nora and Eric that they had created a new strain of hepatitis that is fatal to vampires and they coined the new strain Hepatitis V. They inject Nora with the virus strain before leaving Eric alone to watch his sister die. Eric looks at Nora and tells her to be strong and they were going to escape. Eric is watching Nora weakening as the door to their cell opens and Willa and the glamoured guard come in and attack a woman doctor who was watching them. Eric puts on the guard uniform, Nora puts on the doctor coat and they begin to attempt their escape. Eric says they must get Pam before leaving the camp and Willa insists they must get Tara and Jessica as well. As they move through the Vamp Camp, Nora becomes weaker and weaker. As they hit a certain door Eric tells Willa and Nora to wait there for a moment. He goes ahead on his own and finds the part of the camp that is producing the Tru Blood. Eric looks around seeing the Tru Blood being made as well as huge containers full of the yellow liquid he recognized as the fatal strain Hepatitis V. He sees that some of the strain is being put into every bottle of Tru Blood on the line when a doctor sees him and thinking he is a guard tells him that the general population batch was almost ready, and Eric asks if the entire batch is contaminated and the doctor tells him it is and they aim to serve it to all the vampires within the camp. Trying to maintain his composure Eric heads back to where he left Nora and Willa stunned by what he has just found.("Don't You Feel Me")
Eric returns to where he left Nora and Willa and announces to them that they are putting Hepatitis V into all of the batches of Tru Blood being made in the facility at Burrell's Camp, and it was not only being served to the vampires within the prison but some were also to be shipped out for public sale. Seeing he has no time to waste, he tells Willa she must stay at the camp and warn the others to not drink the Tru Blood and he carries Nora out managing to escape on a leaving contaminated Tru Blood Semi.
Then he escapes from the camp with Nora. Eric arrives at the Compton house with Nora growing weaker in his arms. He admits he doesn't know what Bill is, but if he is god then he must save his dying sister. They take her to Jessica's room and lay her on the bed. Eric suggests that Bill feed her his blood but Nora refuses stating she won't drink another drop of Lilith's blood because of the damage it had done in the Authority. Bill cannot blame her but Eric demands it. Bill in the end states he will not go against her dying wishes. Eric tells Bill to leave him alone with his sister and Bill does as he is asked. Eric is sitting beside Nora and he is praying for Godric to come and save Nora like he had before. Nora recalls that although Godric did make her, it was really Eric who saw something in her and saved her. She tells him that he can find comfort in the rest of their family, and she is happy for the life he gave her. Nora starts to losing her senses and Eric fears it is her time. He hops to the bed and holds her in his arms. Bill walks in the room to see Eric crying for her not to go, but she dissolves into a pool of burning blood in his arms.("In the Evening").
Powers and Abilities
Nora had the common powers and weaknesses of a vampire such as superhuman strength, speed and healing. She had a natural affinity for glamouring. Due to her age, she was much stronger and faster than younger vampires such as Jessica and Tara but far weaker than her superiors such as Nan Flanagan and Eric Northman. She possessed the rare ability to fly like her brother Eric. Her weaknesses included a stake to the heart, silver and fire, and the Hep V virus, sunlight would have slowly killed a vampire of her age.
With the deaths of her fellow Authority members (Salome and Nan) Nora was the 2nd oldest surviving female vampire on the show beyond Isabel Beaumont, until her death in "In the Evening". Nora also showed herself to be a fast and stealthy fighter when she was undead.
After drinking Bill's blood, Nora gained ability to daywalking. However, she never used this ability because she met the true death.
Nora died in late 2009, after about 345 years as a vampire, due to being injected with the fatal Hep V virus.
Behind the Scenes
- Nora may have appeared in the Season 3 episode "Everything Is Broken". The only female member of the Authority is seen during Eric's interrogation. After Eric expresses his desire for revenge against Russell Edgington she leans over to her colleague and whispers something in his ear. The fact that Eric is subsequently cleared of all charges and given permission to execute Russell may be related to this.(Everything Is Broken) Also Bill mentions that Eric has 'friends in high places' he may have been referring to Nora. In "And When I Die" Nan tries to enlist both Bill and Eric by telling them there are factions within the AVL against the Authority too, saying then to Eric that he knows what she is talking about. She may have been talking about Nora here as well.
- There have been several lapses in continuity in regards to Nora. In season 5, Eric mentions that he has loved her "for nearly 600 years". However, in season 6, it is revealed that Nora was turned in 1665, making her significantly younger at approximately 350 years old. In addition, Eric suggests that Godric turned Nora because she was a political genius", but during a flashback to the time of her turning, it is revealed that Eric found Nora, and had no knowledge of her political savvy before taking her to Godric to be turned.
|Season five appearances|
|"Turn! Turn! Turn!"||"Authority Always Wins"||"Whatever I Am, You Made Me"||"We’ll Meet Again"|
|"Let's Boot and Rally"||"Hopeless"||"In the Beginning"||"Somebody That I Used to Know"|
|"Everybody Wants to Rule the World"||"Gone, Gone, Gone"||"Sunset"||"Save Yourself"|
|Season six appearances|
|"Who Are You, Really?"||"The Sun"||"You're No Good"||"At Last"|
|"F**k the Pain Away"||"Don't You Feel Me"||"In the Evening"||"Dead Meat"|