Bill Compton (portrayed by actor Stephen Moyer) is one of the main characters and protagonists of True Blood. Bill is a vampire, and at the start of the show is revealed to be 173 years old.
While he was still human, Bill was a farmer and lieutenant in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He survived the war, but on his return home, he stopped at a house desperately searching for food and shelter. A woman lived at the home he came across, and she gave him food and drink. Unbeknownst to Bill, the woman, Lorena, was a vampire. She attacked Bill, and turned him into a vampire like herself.
Lorena allowed Bill one last look at his wife and children, before they went away to start a life together. Lorena and Bill were together for decades, and seemed happy together. However, Bill realized that he and Lorena were in fact very different, and that he could no longer be a different person to please her. They went their seperate ways sometime in the 1930's.
Bill returns to Bon Temps, LA before the pilot episode, and in the pilot, he meets waitress Sookie Stackhouse at Merlotte's. Bill is kidnapped by the vampire-blood dealer Rattrays, and Sookie saves Bill's life before they drain all of his blood. Bill later saves Sookie's life when she is attacked by the vengeful Rattrays. Bill helps to heal a badly beaten Sookie by giving her some of his blood, as vampire blood has incredible healing power.
As time goes along, Sookie and Bill fall in love with each other and Sookie eventually loses her virginity to Bill. Despite him being a vampire, and her being a human, Bill feels a strong attraction and devotion to Sookie, and her feelings are mutual, although they at times do have disagreements and arguments like any couple.
At the end of the first season, when Sookie realizes Rene Lenier is the serial killer, and as he tries to murder her, Bill hears her cries for help and emerges into the lethal sunlight. Bill's body begins to burn rapidly and he weakens with each step, but he is determined to save Sookie's life. Sam Merlotte also runs to save Sookie, and Sookie is able to overpower and kill Rene. Her and Sam see Bill in the distance, collapsed and burned beyond recognition. They quickly bury him and remarkably, Bill completely recovers.
In the second season, Bill and Sookie are recruited by Eric Northman to assist him in finding his maker, Godric, who has been kidnapped. It is during this investigation that a rivalry begins between Bill and Eric for Sookie. It is clear that Eric is very interested in Sookie, and when Eric fools Sookie into drinking some of his blood to help heal him after an attack by the Fellowship of the Sun, Bill is angered. He tells Sookie that by drinking Eric's blood, she will begin to feel physically attracted to him. Sookie tells him that even though that may be true, she will still love Bill instead of Eric. Bill also helps to defeat the maenad Maryann, who has taken control on Bon Temps in Season 2. He first goes to see Sophie-Anne Leclerq, the Vampire Queen of Louisiana for information on how to defeat Maryann.
In the last episode of Season 2, Bill proposes to Sookie, and as she slips away to the bathroom to think for a minute, Bill is kidnapped by an unknown figure. It is later revealed to be on the orders of the Vampire King of Mississippi and he plays a key role in Season 3.