I like how the motto of Hannibal went from “Eat the rude” to “SOMEONE PLEASE FUCKING HELP WILL GRAHAM”
radiokunlun replied to your post: ALSO AT SOME POINT VERY SOON we are going to talk…
I AM INTO THIS DISCUSSION.
i can’t stop envisioning hannibal as a shifting, sentient, Serra-built labyrinth who is very careful about who he lets into the center.
And I can’t help wondering if the central question for all observers (Hannibal himself, those around him, and the audience) is what it means to have a center in the case of a structure like you describe. Like: does that fit into the category of “center” anymore? (Does Hannibal “have a center?”) Is it like the balance point— like the exact point on a violin bow’s stick where you can balance it on your finger, which is also (so I was taught) the point you should use to strike the strings for certain aggressive bowing styles? And if so, what kind of a “location” is this?
I feel like the labyrinth concept is really useful, though, because at various points in the show it’s seemed like we’ve found the straight path in terms of “knowing” Hannibal, only to come up against a dead ending again.
OOOOO!! is there a center?? is it even a maze-type labyrinth???? i’ll post here the three types of labyrinths that Umberto Eco describes in his postscript to The Name of the Rose, because I think all three are informative—
Every story of investigation of conjecture tells us something that we have always been close to knowing (pseudo-Heideggerian reference). At this point it is clear why my central story (whodunit?) ramifies into so many, other stories, all stories of other conjectures, all linked with the structure of conjecture as such.
An abstract model of conjecturality is the labyrinth. But there are three kinds of labyrinth. One is the Greek, the labyrinth of Theseus. This kind does not allow anyone to get lost: you go in, arrive at the center, and then from the center you reach the exit. This is why in the center there is the Minotaur; if he were not there the story would have no zest, it would be a mere stroll. Terror is born, if it is born, from the fact that you do not know where you will arrive or what the Minotaur will do. But if you unravel the classical labyrinth, you find a thread in your hand, the thread of Ariadne. The classical labyrinth is the Ariadne’s-thread of itself.
Then there is the mannerist maze: if you unravel it, you find in your hands a kind of tree, a structure with roots, with many blind alleys. There is only one exit, but you can get it wrong. You need an Ariadne’s-thread to keep from getting lost. This labyrinth is a model of the trial-and-error process.
And finally there is the net, or rather, what Deleuze and Guattari call “rhizome.” The rhizome is so constructed that every path connected with every other one. It has no center, no periphery, no exit, because it is potentially infinite. The space of conjecture is a rhizome space. … The world in which William realizes he is living already has a rhizome structure: that is, it can be structured but it is never structured definitively.
i think hannibal is different labyrinths to different people—’i have become all things to all men that i may by all means save some’? for certain definitions of save, anyway.
before i started typing this out, i thought hannibal was going to most closely correspond to the third labyrinth—the one where all paths connect and there is no center; that sense of decenterization. (all my sentient, shifting labyrinths in my artwork are rhizome labyrinths, as is the one i drew for that fanmix. it’s my fave one. i’m biased. i want to build one, made out of glass and/or mirrors, that’s at least a square acre and three stories tall.)
but thinking about it a little more deeply, i’m beginning to think maybe the classical labyrinth is more accurate? the sense of ritual is, i think, important to hannibal; the act of cooking, the upper-class construct of ‘manners’ (as different from etiquette; i would link to a page here, but that page has vanished)—even his psychiatry appointments (arguably?) construct a kind of ritual (and he’s visibly…disturbed…when it’s disrupted; see the Great Pining).
and i like the idea of the center point being the Minotaur itself; and the horror of the labyrinth coming from the uncertainty of what the Minotaur’s reaction will be. which really, really lines up with what has just happened to abigail. hannibal as both labyrinth and Minotaur. (which, hah, ties in nicely—abigail as the ariadne’s-thread that is going to lead Theseus-Will to the center.)
Yes, reading the Eco quote, the traditional labyrinth resonated most with me in terms of Hannibal. The fear comes from not knowing where the heart of the labyrinth is, how you might come into it or when, nor what it truly contains. You’ve heard about the minotaur, but you do not know its face, nor its true nature.
Further, the heart shifts; the Minotaur may stalk you back. The labyrinth - in this non-traditional, subversive deconstruction of the labyrinth - shifts constantly, is made and remade through perception and performance and hunting and being hunted.
As K said, is there a heart? Or is it a tension; a void; a balance struck, a note shivering in high air? Is it an absence of light; a black hole into which things disappear, but we never truly see into? One that roils and roves and underlays the labyrinth itself, moving through and throughout; manifesting only in its impacts and pressures on the labyrinth, through the sudden absences of its victims from the labyrinth.
This is what I believe; we will never see the true heart of Hannibal’s labyrinth; we will only be able to guess at it from the effects it has on the universe, the ways he performs, and very occasionally, by the violence he does upon the universe and in particular, Will Graham, who forms the fabric of our own perception of the show/labyrinth.
i am literally so in love with all the hannibal/labyrinth meta, and i think that the image of the labyrinth maps on so well not only to the character of hannibal (and particularly his ambitions/endgame), but to abigail, will, and the show’s actual plot itself.
i can’t remember the exact quote but i came across the idea in house of leaves that there are two ways to know a labyrinth: from above, like a god, from which point you can see the entire labyrinth, and from within, like a prisoner. and this show is so good at taking the viewer from their typical god-like (or at least partially god-like) outsider’s perspective and subverting that by submerging them in the labyrinth. we see hannibal for what he really is; and yet we don’t see why. we see when abigail is lying and manipulating; but we don’t see where she goes when she climbs the hospital walls. we see how will is utterly seduced by hannibal; and yet we cannot learn from his mistakes and our own knowledge. we too are manipulated and fascinated by somebody who we know we should view as nothing more than a monster.
so we are trapped in the labyrinth, we cannot see over its walls and we cannot see the centre (is there even a centre?) all we can do is blunder on, getting to know certain corridors and passageways but then finding them to be dead ends. and then later on we find another explanation, another corridor. but we were sure that it was a different corridor that ran along here. and we can no longer tell if we’re going mad like will graham or being manipulated by a sentient labyrinth that cannibalizes all who wander within him.