I enjoyed this book. Twice. I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but that just depends on who’s in the tea…!
Here’s the thing, there’s no criminal case as such that the FBI are trying to solve, other than “where is Hannibal?”. It’s more a character piece, for both Clarice and Hannibal. WHY do they both intrigue each other so much that they are arguably attracted to one another, for better and for worse. There’s the scapegoating/politics of the internal workings of the FBI, combined with the influence and bribery of the rich Mason Verger (both situations with roots in reality, sadly).
Between the larger set-pieces – those being the opening shoot out for which Clarice is subsequently reprimanded/scapegoated, the Hannibal/Pazzi altercation, Verger and his man-eating pigs – there is primarily quiet contemplation from each of the main characters about who they are, and why they are doing what they are doing.
There’s also the theme of co-dependency resulting from an abusive relationship – Hannibal/Clarice. They know they are bad for each other, and to each other, but yet they are still drawn together. Yes, one’s an actual serial killer, but I’m referring more to their personal relationship. Being a psychopathic serial killer and a driven FBI agent, respectively, these character types only amplify what can happen in ordinary life through toxic relationships.
Fannibals. We are literally the fragments of a shattered teacup. Once a year, that teacup comes together and reality as we know it stops as we form into a whole being once again.
The first year was “Red Dragon“, the second was “Behold the Red Dragon“, and this third convention was “Red Dragon 3” – on all social media it’s #HannibalCon. For other random pics from the con, see my Instagram feed (and search all sites using the #tag).
The guests this year were phenomenal (they are always great, of course!), we were graced with the presence of Will Graham himself, Hugh Dancy; Writer, Creator, (and Our Lord and Master!) Bryan Fuller; Demore Barnes (Tobias Budge); the amazing comedy duo that is Aaron Abrams (Brian Zeller) and Scott Thompson (Jimmy Price); and the very sweet Ellen Muth (Georgia Madchen).
Our new home for these events is the Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Heathrow, their conference rooms become the guest halls for Q&A sessions, parties, and the autograph and photograph sessions with the guests. It’s a weekend of standing in lines and swapping homemade gifts with other fans (something no other fandom does.. we Fannibals are a unique and creative bunch!). I took a batch of my Visitor Badges from the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, and I loved giving them away to random people.. gives me an excuse to start a conversation anyway!
Although it says not to give the guests gifts during the signings, they still end up with a pile of stuff next to them! So I couldn’t resist offering Bryan one of my IDs.. and he grabbed it with such glee, and put it on his collar… and it was still on his person when he came on stage (finally… he’s a slow signer!). It made me so happy to be appreciated for my silly bits of art.
My loot, photo ops and Flower Crown selfies from the con:
Photos, signatures and Bryan drew me a clock in the Hannibal Cookbook!
Those are REAL Roe Deer antlers! This flower crown took me ages to make, and I’m quite proud of it!
Photo ops with Demore Barnes in my “Sassy Science” Cosplay, and with Bryan & Hugh in my Ravenstag Cosplay.
I took my useful big Canon camera with me, plus a decent zoom lens, so that I could get some good photos of the stars during the Q&As. I also have to use a monopod, as I have a bad hand tremor.. so I hope it didn’t get in anybody’s view too much. But the zoom and the steadying is required to get any half-decent photos from a viewpoint behind the Gold ticket holders and the Stewards! My photos can be found on Flickr here:
Towards the end of Demore’s second Q&A session, he asked the Fannibals why we are all so fervent in our devotion to this particular show. He went around the room and a few people spoke up about what Hannibal means to them. The general consensus was (with my own opinion added here) that Hannibal is basically a show about two loner characters, they’re the odd ones out, they don’t fit into “regular” society, one is a criminal (but that’s incidental) he’s on his own and although has particular “tastes”(!) he is basically looking for a human connection. The other character has social anxiety and is slightly on the autism/aspergers’ spectrum. Both are incredibly smart, and yet have difficulty integrating. But they find each other, and they understand each other, and they accept each other (for all their many faults!). Ultimately, it’s a story about survival and friendship, against all the odds. THAT is something that resonates with a lot of us. I can definitely say for myself, that I have trouble sometimes making those connections with people. Yet this show has given me hope that there are others out there who can understand where I’m coming from. And now, that’s what I live for. Our Fannibal Family! Fannibals are totally inclusive. I have found us to be a safe and supportive group comprising every type of person. Together, we make sense. And as an additional bonus, I’ve re-connected with an old school friend, who I hadn’t seen for years, and now we’re really close again. How lovely is that?!
One of the absolute highlights of the weekend, was the performance by a group of Fannibals of “Hannibal a Fannibal Musical”. A parody/homage of all three seasons of Hannibal. It was an absolute triumph of a show, brilliantly funny, and very cleverly put together. AND performed by a group of people who had only fully met that day! Well done indeed. AND all of the celebrity guests came in to watch it too, and they showed their appreciation with huge laughs, applause, and running up to them after the show to congratulate them all. Bravo! Find out more about the musical by following them on twitter @FannibalMusical.
Until fate and circumstance bring us back to this moment, and the teacup shatters once more…
Red Dragon 4 will take place on 23rd to 25th February 2018 at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow. Grab a ticket while you can from Starfury Conventions.
Here’s a little bit of shameless self promotion, as I’ve submitted my first artwork onto the platform provided by Redbubble, so that you can get the ID badge that I recreated for the Hannibal Conventions – which I make as badges and give out to my fellow fans – and now you can have it on a t-shirt, or mug, or sticker…
You can find me on Redbubble as crownjulesb
Take a look at the various products on which you can get my designs. I’ll also be putting some of my best photography efforts up, and any future artwork.
Cast your mind back to early October 2016, can you remember what you were doing? Some of us will remember vividly the events that took place. Us being the Fannibals. A voracious group of fans devoted to Bryan Fuller’s exquisite, yet short-lived, TV show Hannibal. This was the second Hannibal Con, and as far as we knew at the time possibly the last (more about that later!). The first was simply called Red Dragon and was so good that I ended up waxing lyrical about it the second I got back… This time it was Behold The Red Dragon! We do have an appetite for the dramatic.
Covering 2 and a half days between Friday 7th October to Sunday 9th October 2016, the celebrity guests were (L to R on header image): Hettienne Park (Beverly Katz), Katharine Isabelle (Margot Verger), Kacey Rohl (Abigail Hobbs), Lara Jean Chorostecki (Freddie Lounds), Vladimir Jon Cubrt (Garret Jacob Hobbs), and Eddie Izzard (Dr Abel Gideon – pictured below).
Each of the guests had one or more Q&A session to an audience of 500+ people (it was a long room!), all of which were entertaining, interesting, funny, heartfelt, loving, and so very appreciative of the fans and our occasionally random and bizarre questions. Throughout the days each of the guests posed for photographs with most (if not all) of the attendees at organised times, and also sat to sign autographs for several hours on both Sat & Sun.
With a Regular ticket I got to do everything I wanted to do, meet all of the guests and chat face to face. Photos are always extra, so you need to budget for that (between £15 and £30 per celebrity guest), and any of the “extra” guests – i.e. those that were announced much closer to the event than originally stated in the advertising also cost extra for both photos and autographs.. but these are very reasonably priced considering the experiences had during the weekend. The main benefit of getting a Gold ticket is to have a “meet and greet” where you have an evening round-table meet up with the guests who circulate around the room, and Golds also get seating in the talks that are the closest to the stage. Which is why I brought my camera with the telephoto lens! I always end up a little further back in the audience than anticipated (which is fine). Still photos (without flash) are allowed during the talks, with flash photographs only allowed for the first couple of minutes. No video is allowed AT ALL. With my big camera, I had to keep assuring the stewards that I was only taking stills. I promise I was!
As for the guests themselves, I cannot praise them enough for their generosity, their excitement to meet everyone, their continued love of Hannibal and us the fans. “Big Daddy Vlad” is a joy, I don’t know where he gets his energy from! Non-stop laughs and anecdotes all weekend. Kacey is a sweetheart, and the other ladies on the show treat her like a younger sister. Katharine is a fantastic woman, and is always happy to talk about the odd, strong, clever, and sometimes gruesome, roles that she has played; both before and during Hannibal! American Mary has become one of my favourite movies since the previous con, and I got Katharine to sign the DVD this time around. Lara Jean (the only Freddie Lounds to survive the Red Dragon!) is a wonderful caring person, she shared many insights in what goes on in creating the character and what she would like to see Freddie get up to in a potential season 4 (if and when we get one!). Hettienne Park is also lovely, her talk was so interesting and enthralling. She shared some very personally stories of her work on Hannibal, and of working with other well-known actors on stage and screen. Eddie Izzard comes across as an extremely intelligent, dedicated and interesting guy. He literally took a day off from working with Dame Judy Dench in order to visit us at the con! In short, they’re all super clever, extra nice, and brilliant at their jobs!
The other thing, which is becoming a little bit of a tradition now (I think only for Hannibal Cons) is that those fans that are artistic in any way, will bring along a batch of cool items to give away and share with the group. I brought with me some home made ID badges for the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane! And I returned with a whole lot of artwork, bracelet jewellery, and items that I will forever cherish.
My best photographs can be found in my Flickr album for the Con, and a select favourites are shown below:
During the course of the Saturday evening was the infamous Cosplay contest, which is always a highlight (but I was so far at the back of the room this time, that I got no good photos!). The range of subject matter (not always Hannibal) and the amount of love and effort that is put into every costume, skit, characterisation, and presentation is enormous. I’m in continual awe for all of you! The recreation of *that* final scene, with an actual Red Dragon… seriously impressive.
We also found out on the Saturday that Behold the Red Dragon was NOT going to be last Hannibal Con, because our illustrious leader – Sean Harry of Starfury Events – has managed to secure HUGH DANCY for February 2017! Cue the scramble for tickets… Yes, I’ll be there (with a regular ticket once again)! There are still a few more regulars available at the time of publishing, so take a look at starfury.co.uk and maybe you can join us too.
So, all that is left to do is save up some more money for photos with the lovely Mr Dancy, and all of the other guests already announced – and more promised soon! I’ll be bringing with me another batch of “Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane” ID badges to give away… try and find me, I plan to wear a “Sassy Science” lab coat this year.
There’s only one thing I wish I had done more at the last cons, and that was to spend longer at the evening parties and get to know my fellow Fannibals better. I know a few of you a little, but it’s just not enough… This time I must persevere through my fatigue and party harder! See you in February… I can’t wait.
Awesome, as always. It’s nice to re-read an old favourite from time to time!
The classic story of the serial killer Buffalo Bill and the FBI student Clarice Starling’s first encounters with Dr Hannibal Lecter. Of course it’s been adapted for the screen, but the book still retains the suspense from start to finish.
If you’ve never read a Hannibal story and you want to jump right in, you can definitely start with this book, even without reading Red Dragon beforehand. The cases are separate crime stories, and Hannibal himself is only a supporting player. Though he makes a huge impression, and jumps practically off the page and into your face! It’s the later books that focus on Hannibal, where you need to have a bit more of a foundation.