[Warning: This story contains major spoilers from True Blood's final season premiere. Read at your own risk!]
True Blood's seventh and final season started off Sunday with quite the bloodbath as the Hep-V-infected vampires made their way to Bon Temps and attacked the BBQ, slaughtering dozens and taking others captive. Shockingly, among the fallen was Tara Thornton (Rutina Wesley), the consummate survivor... until now. Sookie Stackhouse's (Anna Paquin) best friend-turned-vampire was last seen facing off against a much larger infected bloodsucker before the battle suddenly ended and all that was left was a pile of blood in the lap of Tara's mother Lettie Mae (Adina Porter).
Before you think this is all some sick joke or even a dream, TVGuide.com can confirm that Tara faced the true death — though, with it being the final season, we can only hope that Tara will find her way back to the show in some way, shape or form before the series finale. How does Wesley feel about Tara's demise? Get the scoop:
When and how did you find out that Tara was going to die within the first five minutes of the final season?
Rutina Wesley: I found out over my hiatus that I was going to die, so I had to keep it in the whole time. It was kind of crazy. I was like, "Wow, OK!" But that's what makes it True Blood. We're in our final season. We have to keep it bloody. Somebody's gotta go! I think they wanted to do that to get people right in there. I was OK with it. I'm sad. It's kind of bittersweet because I'm going to miss everybody, but on to bigger and better things. It's been a wild ride so far.
Does it bum you out that Tara had such a depressing run at things? She had terrible taste in men, a horrible relationship with her mother and a serious anger problem. She never really achieved happiness. Did you ever hope for more for her, like getting a happy ending or having a stable relationship?
Wesley: Yeah, I did. I ultimately wanted Tara to end up with Sam (Sam Trammell). That was always my ultimate fantasy for Tara. I think her and Sam would just be perfect together. But I was never really bummed about her journey because I always found it very interesting to see a young woman who has earned defenses and for you to try to figure out why she has those defenses. I enjoyed playing her and trying to figure her out and why she was the way she was. It's been a lot of fun trying to pick her apart.
Talk about Tara's evolution throughout the seasons. How do you think she's changed from the woman we met in Season 1?
Wesley: She's a vampire! [Laughs] She's grown up a lot actually. It was very hard for her when she turned into a vampire. It was hard for her to swallow that, but once she did, she embraced herself and she was happy with that. Especially with Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten), she found a sense of happiness there to a certain degree.
Despite her death, will Tara return?
Wesley: She's dead. I hate to say it, but she's dead. I'm no longer.
What was it like filming your death scene, which was mostly off-screen. Do you wish you had more of a decisive death scene where we actually saw her perish?
Wesley: No. Because I went out fighting. I thought it was really cool that they gave me this big fight. I thought it was awesome. I have no regrets about it or anything. I thought they did a great job with how I went out. You have Adina, who plays my mother, wailing. She's amazing. I love the way that they did it. It was great to see Tara go out fighting.
Tara survived for so long through so much. Where do you think that drive came from inside her?
Wesley: I think it came from having to take care of her mother and having to grow up fast. Because of the abuse from her mother, Tara had to become a fighter. She had to learn how to fight early on. She's just carried that with her throughout her life.
How do you think Tara's death will affect everyone, particularly Pam, who was looking for Eric (Alexander Skarsgard) when she died, and Sookie, who has been her best friend since childhood?
Wesley: They're going to be deeply affected by it. Tara and Sookie and best friends. I think it's going to affect her deeply. She's going to miss her. Even though Tara has gone off and done her own thing, it's still going to hurt like she's died twice. She has. Who dies twice?! [Laughs] It's going to hurt. For Pam, it's going to be interesting to see how it affects her, to see if she shows any emotion at all. I'm curious to see myself actually.
How will Lettie Mae handle it since they had just begun to reconcile?
Wesley: I don't know if it's going to send her over the edge or if she's going to gain some sort of strength and remain stable from it with Reverend Daniels (Gregg Daniel) at her side. It is going to be hard because they did just come back together.
What has Tara taught you?
Wesley: How not to go around cursing people out. [Laughs] She's got such strength. She's taught me that one can go through anything and come out on the other side OK. Because Tara has been through a lot and yet she's OK. I love that because I actually can live by that. You're going to go through some things in life, but you're going to be OK in the end.
Were you surprised that Tara was the first victim of Season 7? Hit the comments!
True Blood airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.