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.
For any Fannibal (that is, fans of Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal TV series), a Flower Crown is essential head wear. For those not in the know, this relates to both the irony of putting flowers on characters who behave very very badly, and to Shakespeare’s Hamlet where Ophelia gives out flowers to all as she is being driven mad, and ultimately to her own demise; surrounded by flowers. Also, apparently, we nicked it from the One Direction fans (oh dear, oh dear!)!
There are strings of flowers you can buy for hair decoration, but if you want to go BIG, your best bet is to make your own. There are some examples on craft sites such as etsy, if you feel it’s too difficult… But I suggest giving it a go, you might surprise yourself!
The Flower Crown in the above photograph is an homage to the “Ravenstag” character in Hannibal. The Ravenstag is a metaphor for the mental state of Will Graham throughout the series. It’s a big black stag, with big antlers, and feathers…
If you don’t want to add the antlers, then you can still follow this tutorial and skip step 3. All of the other instructions are the same for creating a “regular” flower crown, use flower and colour combinations of your own choosing.
To make this crown, you will need:
Hot glue gun
Eye Protection (for dealing with the wire)
Black spray paint (optional, see below)
Wire, 2mm diameter. Enough length to go around your head twice, plus a bit more. Any colour, as it will be mostly covered. Or black or green if you want to leave some visible.
Wire, of smaller gauge to bind around the antlers.
Fake flowers: Roses, white and black (or in my case all white, plus a can of black spray paint!), other smaller white flowers of your preference. Choose those that have some nice leaves also.
Real Deer Antlers… please don’t go poaching for these! I suggest eBay and other stores where you can obtain these from a legitimate source. The ones I had are Roe Deer Antlers, 15 cm (about 6 inches) tall. These were quite large, so I’d actually suggest getting slightly smaller ones that are easier to handle and position on the wire, and they’ll be lighter too.
Ribbon, black or green to wrap the band and both colours for optional tassels.
To make the Flower Crown:
1. Prepare the Flowers
If you need to spray paint some of your white roses black, make sure you have a well protected area in which to apply the paint. Watch your clothing! Take the heads off a select few of the roses, I painted 4, but only ended up using 3 blacks in the finished crown. Use sticky tape to secure them to a board or table cover before giving them a few bursts from the spray can. Take it slow, build up the paint in small bursts from all angles until you are happy, then leave to dry in a well ventilated area. When dry, put the heads back on the stems.
Cut the fake flowers up: Cut each rose at the base of the wire stem, so that you have long-ish lengths to wrap around the crown. Select two or three stems with leaves only and cut these with stems also.
For the smaller flowers, either pull off existing detachable stems of small flower clusters (as mine had) or cut them in the same way as the roses, with small stems to allow for wrapping. Take a few leaves as well if you like the way they look.
2. Shape the Wire Head Band
First, loosely wrap the 2mm wire around your head to get the base size for the crown. Leave a little room, as the crown will become bulky after you’ve added the flowers. Do not cut the wire at this point, when you’ve got the right size, twist the ends together and then begin to wrap a second band of wire around the first, closely to the original circle. When you get back to the join, cut the wire leaving a little to bend the ends over. Use the pliers to bend both the ends of the wire over to ensure the pointy ends are covered.
Always assume that the join in the wire is to be the BACK of the crown.
3. Positioning and Wiring the Antlers.
This is actually the most difficult part, and the antlers will NOT remain stable until you actually start wrapping the flowers around in the following steps. Don’t worry if they fall over all the time (mine certainly did!). We just need to get them in the right position on the band.
Put on eye protection! Place the wire band on your head, and look in a mirror whilst holding the antlers up to find the right position for you – note which is the proper left and right of the antlers, they naturally curve inwards with the points facing outwards. When you’re happy, mark the points on the band with the pliers – make a scratch or dent for each position. Take the wire off your head, and begin to make a cage for the bottom of the antlers with the smaller gauge wire as follows:
The base of the antlers usually have large “knobbly” bits from where it grew out of the deer’s skull. This area is what we surround with the small gauge wire to create a base to attach to the main wire band. Make sure you wear your eye protection – as this gets fiddly and I was very glad to have some goggles to wear myself. Use the pliers to help you pull the wire tight, when wrapping over and under. The image under the descriptions of the steps should help clarify what I mean.
Begin by leaving a 5 cm (2 in) end and then wrap the wire around the base of the antler, just above the “knobbles” 3 or 4 times.
With the end at the side of the antler, wind the wire around the first 4 wraps to hold it’s position, and then holding the antler at the correct mark on the wire head band continue wrapping the wire under the antler, under the headband, and up to the other side of the antler, wind the wire around the first 4 strands again on this side, and go back under the headband to the other side. Do this 2 or 3 times.
Wrap the wire once more around the antler as you did at the beginning, and then again wrap around and under the wire, this time 90 degrees from the wraps made in step 2 AND between the two strands of the main headband. You’ll need to cut the wire before threading through the two strands and leave enough length to wrap 2 or 3 more times.
Bring both ends together, twist together and hide the end underneath the antler.
To tighten the structure a little make sure it is in the correct position on the head band and with a new piece of small gauge wire, underneath the antler wind it over and under each of the wire strands and the headband around in a circle. Use the pliers to pull this as tight as possible, creating tension between our wire “cage” and the headband. It still won’t be very stable, but this will change once we add more bulk to the rest of the crown.
Repeat steps 1 to 5 for the other antler.
4. Add the Flowers to the Crown
Starting from the front centre, choose your first rose, and thread it in between the two strands of the headband, bend the wire to position the bloom in the right place. Wrap the stem of the rose around the head band (not between the strands) and then when you get to the end of the stem, poke it between the strands to lock it in place. You can choose either direction to wrap the FIRST flower, but from then on, always wrap the flower stems on the right to the right, and left to the left. Continue to add a few large flowers at the front and on either side of the antlers, then swap to the smaller flowers. You can wrap flowers all the way around if you like, my crown here has no flowers at the very back.
Always insert the flower between the strands of the headband first, then wrap the stem around the outside of the headband, over/around any previous stems already added, and around the underneath of the antlers, and then insert the very end between the strands of the headband.
Bend the flowers to get them to all point in the correct directions, and adjust as necessary. After adding the flower blooms, do the same with any leaves strands that you prepared earlier. Fill in any obvious gaps, and if the antlers are still a little loose fill in space around them with the leaves.
Check for any stems which are too long and may leave pointy ends which will be uncomfortable, trim these off if required. Finish off by using the hot glue gun around all of the ends of the stems, along the inside of the headband, and where any parts of the flowers look like they may fall apart. Leave until the glue is set.
5. Ribbon Wrap of Head Band and Optional Tassels
With a long length of ribbon, if possible use a single piece, begin at the back of the head band, begin to wrap around the wire and stems, leaving the blooms and leaves visible. Wrap the ribbon over itself leaving no gaps if possible and wrap tightly around all the ends of the stems, pulling them closer together and making the head band more comfortable to wear. As you reach the base of each antler, go around it once or twice in a figure eight, to ensure it is completely covered and blends in with the rest of the head band, continue to wrap tightly all the way around until you reach the start (at the back). Cut the ribbon and fix the ends in place with hot glue.
Optional Tassels: Simply cut lengths of ribbon and tie them at the very back of the headband. I like to add a couple of tassels to ensure the ends of the ribbon wrapped around the head band stay in place.
6. Put the Flower Crown on and practice not knocking things over or scraping the walls with your antlers around the house!
The wire headband should be nice and malleable, so that when you put it on, you can adjust its’ shape to comfortably fit your head. The bigger the antlers, the heavier the crown, so you’ll need to practice wearing it!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and trying this tutorial. I’d love to see what you come up with, please leave comments and send me pictures! If I get a few responses, I’ll put them up on a subsequent post for you all to see!
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.