Hannibal: Beginning to Bloom
This essay discusses Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal (2013–2015) in relation to the regressive representation of queerness in Thomas Harris’s series of novels. In both texts, Hannibal is a remorseless killer. However, Hannibal and Will’s tortured, queer relationship occupies the emotional and narrative center of Fuller’s series, a luxury not afforded to Buffalo Bill in Demme’s The Silence of the Lambs. Hannibal consistently refuses easy delineations of heroism and villainy, instead embracing its characters’ perverse complexities. Its ambiguity is embodied in its consistent reflection on transformation, or “becoming,” a process observable within the characters, the structure of the series, and in the adaptation itself. Fuller’s adaptation creates room for various permutations of queerness, within a narrative space that has previously marginalized or villainized queer figures.
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