Fiction: “Red Dragon” by Thomas Harris

red dragonHello. My name is Alaina, and I … am a Fannibal. (“Hi, Alaina!”)

You guys, you don’t even know… I wasn’t supposed to get addicted to Hannibal. I just started watching it because of Cleolinda’s recaps, and they were funny, and I was a little intrigued, and I half-watched the pilot and almost didn’t give it a second thought, but then all of a sudden the Internet exploded, and by the time the shit hit the fan I had missed two episodes and had to catch up with, like, three online before I could get to the episodes that were on my OnDemand, and then before I knew it, I was watching ALL OF THEM before BEDTIME, and yelling things like “HOLY SHIT THE BEER IS PEOPLE” and “HANNIBAL RUTHERFORD LECTER, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” and campaigning for Eddie Izzard to win Best Guest Actor/Drama, and rooting for Alana Bloom to take care of Will’s dogs, because he has a lot of dogs, yo, and Alana just wants to take care of him and she thinks Jack broke him but HANNIBAL BROKE HIM because Hannibal framed him for killing Abigail when CLEARLY Hannibal did it, because he’s a MURDERER but also he dresses fantastically and also (to quote Cleolinda) he’s the WORST AT HELPING, and did I mention that DANA SCULLY IS HANNIBAL’S SHRINK, NO, I DIDN’T THINK SO, and before I knew it, during the season finale I was rocking back and forth on the floor in the fetal position because I COULDN’T HANDLE THE AWESOME. It was the BEST EPISODE EVER OF EVERYTHING (except maybe “Bad Blood” — maybe), and I realize this whole paragraph is pretty much a run-on sentence, but HANNIBAL BROKE ME YOU GUYS!! HE BROKE ME LIKE A BREAKABLE THING AND NOW I’M NOT WHOLE

Seriously, the last time a TV show broke me like this was the second episode of this year’s Vampire Diaries when Damon’s sitting in the woods, drinking and muttering to himself, but then the camera pans and we learn that actually, he’s talking to Alaric’s grave because he MISSES HIM and he’s bitching that Ric left him alone with the children, but then the camera pans again and Ric’s Ghost is SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO DAMON and DAMON DOESN’T KNOW YOU GUYS, and finally Damon sadly pours out the rest of his bourbon to Ric BECAUSE THEY WERE DRINKING BUDDIES IN THEIR PAST LIVES and as Damon walks away, Ric whispers, “I MISS YOU TOO BUDDY” and they BROKE ME, YOU GUYS, they just BROKE ME because Damon and Alaric are EPIC BROS. [see the scene here, but skip to 3:00 because, as Damon bitches, the Japanese Lantern thing is pretty stupid.]

EPIC BROS. I think it’s been scientifically proven that I have a ~thing~ for BROS.

And Hannibal and Will are Bros, too! Except that, unlike Damon + Alaric, Hannibal’s way of showing Will that he loves him is by framing him for murder and getting him sent to a psychiatric institute for crazy people. THE SAME CELL HANNIBAL WILL SOON INHABIT BECAUSE DRAMATIC IRONY IS A RICH AND FANTASTIC THING

ANYWAY. As I tend to do when I get obsessed about something, I kind of went overboard and grabbed my copy of Red Dragon, which is the first Hannibal Lecter novel, but which also post-dates the Hannibal TV series by three years, if showrunner Brian Fuller is to be believed. (The TV Show is occurring three years before the events of Red Dragon, so the dramatic irony comes when we, the audience, realizes that sure, right now, Will and Hannibal are the best of friends, but eventually, Hannibal will be on the other side of that psychiatric looking glass. HOW DOES THE FRIENDSHIP FALL APART AND WHO DISCOVERS THAT THE VEAL IS PEOPLE?)

Um, you guys? We may have reached Maximum Obsession. I just created a Tumblr … so I can keep up with Hannibal. PLEASE SEND HELP AND COOKIES.

OH GOD OH GOD AND THEN I CLICKED ON A NEW .GIF BECAUSE I WANTED TO SEE WHAT THE TAG SAID AND WHEN I CLICKED THE TAG IT TOOK ME TO A PAGE DEVOTED TO THE COLOMBIAN NECKTIE I THOUGHT I WAS DONE SEEING IT OH MY GOD GIDEON WAS TOUCHING IT OH SHIT OH SHIT WHY THE FUCK DID I GET A TUMBLR

WHY CAN’T I HIT THE BACK BUTTON

(Y’ALL MAY NOT WANT TO LOOK AT THAT LINK)

OKAY. SO. AS I WAS TRYING TO SAY, I read Red Dragon. In Red Dragon, our protagonist Will Graham has retired from his life of crime-solving, and his former boss Jack Crawford asks him to come back to the fold to solve a serial killing before the next one hits. A severely deranged individual (first known as the Tooth Fairy) breaks into a suburban household at night and brutally murders the entire family, and does some unspeakable acts to the mother figure. Will Graham is an empath (though it’s not explicitly stated): he is able to get into the head of the killer, and demonstrate the jumps and ‘logic’ the killer goes through, in an effort to solve the crime.

So Jack Crawford brings Will back. And the point-of-view switches between that of the FBI and the White Hats (OMG HANNIBAL AND SCANDAL CROSSOVER I’D DIE YOU GUYS THAT WOULD LEGIT KILL ME) and also to the Tooth Fairy/Red Dragon, Francis Dolarhyde. We are almost — almost — led to sympathize with Francis, as he did not have the best of childhoods, and that poor adolescence directly affected his messed-up adulthood.

The character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter is almost a footnote in this story. He’s already been captured by Will Graham for the Chesapeake Ripper cases (although it currently escapes me [and I’m not looking it up] if the cases are named as such in Red Dragon), and Will needs, sort of a second opinion on the Tooth Fairy case, and ends up consulting Lecter. Dolarhyde then consults Lecter and Will gets drawn into a labyrinth, but in the end, Lecter only occupies about 15% of the space. So I am very interested to see how Hannibal portrays the Red Dragon cases, and only partly because the TV show has already usurped a good amount of details from the book.

PLEASE DEAR GOD LET THIS SHOW BE RENEWED FOR EVER AND EVER #sixseasonsandamovie (sorry, Community, your love has been misplaced)

Much like the TV show, this book is not for the faint of heart and/or stomach. It is a quick read and a satisfying read; also like the TV show.

The TV show, on the other hand: EVERYONE HAS TO WATCH IT because I’m starting to feel like my love of this show is taking over.

OR MAYBE —

So the other day I visited my parents, and I mentioned that I had this review to write, and Dad asked —

Dad: Wait, you just read Red Dragon?
Me: Yeah, and I’ll probably read Silence of the Lambs next.
Dad: Oh, that reminds me, I brought your Silence of the Lambs posters downstairs. I wasn’t sure if you wanted to keep them.
Me: … … … My what?
Dad: Your posters. For that movie.
Me: What movie?
Dad: Silence of the Lambs.
Me: Whose posters?
Dad: Yours.
Me: Dad, I don’t have Silence of the Lambs posters.
Dad: Yes, you do. You have six of them.
Me: No I don’t.
Dad: Alaina, yes, you do.
Me: Dad, no, I don’t! I may have posters, but I have never bought a Silence of the Lambs poster in my life, let alone six.
Dad: They’re downstairs. You wanna see them?
Me: Sure! Because they’re not mine! They may be for American Beauty, but not Silence of the Lambs.

Thirty seconds later
Me: … … … son of a bitch. How did these get in here?
Dad: I presume that you bought them at college and then forgot about them after moving them back and forth multiple times.
Me: I THINK HANNIBAL LECTER DID THIS.
Dad: Alaina …
Me: HE’S FRAMING ME
Dad: For what?
Me: FOR BECOMING OBSESSED. HE THINKS IT’S RUDE. Dad? I need to go to the doctor, I may have encephalitis, don’t let me eat the salad, the croutons are people!

… okay, maybe the last bit didn’t happen. The me freaking out in front of my father part. Because THERE WERE TOTALLY SIX POSTERS FROM THAT MOVIE AND NO ONE KNOWS WHERE THEY CAME FROM AND I TOTALLY FREAKED OUT ABOUT THAT

OH GOD HE'S SMILING AT ME I'M GOING TO BE MADE INTO A VERY FANCY DINNER

I’M TOTALLY SCARED YOU GUYS

Grade for Red Dragon: 3.5 stars
[Grade for NBC’s Hannibal: OMFG ELEVENTY MILLION STARS]

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