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By far the largest concern of True Blood fans heading into Season 7 was the reveal of Eric Northman's true fate. Last we saw him, Eric was frying in the sun atop a snowy mountain with almost no means of escape (although, I supposed he could have buried himself under the snow). It seemed that Eric was surely dead, but as Sunday's True Blood proved once and for all: he's most definitely alive.

Of course, we were worried about his whereabouts when Episode 2's opening sequence proved to be one of Jason's sexy fever dreams, because while we got a steamy glimpse at Mr. Northman, none of it was real. However, but the time the credits rolled on our second foray into the drama of Bon Temps, Eric had been spotted by his progeny Pam, albeit with an apparently nasty case of Hep-V. We've got him back for Season 7, but it doesn't appear that he's here to stay.

As we know, Hep-V is extremely fatal to vampires who've ingested the virus and as it turns out, there is a completely inexplicable Hep-V epidemic sweeping the globe. Because he's such a freewheeling vamp, Eric seems to have contracted the disease, and considering it generally takes about two days to kill someone, he hasn't got much time. The series may just let him survive the most unlikely of mountaintop scenarios only to die just like his pro-incest sister Nora.

Of course, there are a few reasons to believe that Eric will pull a Houdini and get out of his fate:

The Season's Big Bad Is Hep V

And we all know the series will have to vanquish its villain in spectacular fashion by season's end (just ask Chris Meloni). How do you vanquish a virus? Find a cure... specifically so that the world is not deprived of a certain tall, blonde vampire.

True Blood Loves to Stretch Time

Did you know that the first season took place over just two weeks and that by the time we hit Season 7, True Blood's characters have only progressed as far as 2011? Don't tell me these writers aren't able to squeeze a good deal of mileage out of two Bon Temps days, if True Death really is Eric's fate.

Eric's Getting a Romantic Interest

And its pretty hard to play paramour when you're a boiling, bubbling pile of red goop.

Alexander Skarsgard is a Series Regular

So even if Eric the vampire dies, we'll still get some A. Skars courtesy of ghosts, or something, right?

Image: HBO