To Read or Not to Read [Red Dragon]

Or how I learned to love the bomb. The bombshell that is RA taking a role in NBC’s Hannibal. The following post is less of a review but a personal resource to help you make up your mind on whether you want to read the source novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and/or eventually attempt to watch the TV adaptation of it with RA portraying the evil villain, Francis Dolarhyde aka The Tooth Fairy aka The Red Dragon. I will avoid plot spoilers, although some general plot hints will have to be mentioned in this personal argumentation, and will be indicated. My own conclusion over whether or not I will watch, will conclude the post. As a prelude I’d like to give you a quick insight into my own tolerance levels when it comes to blood, horror and gore so you can gauge whether my impression of Red Dragon will help you determine your own approach.

cover of Red-Dragon

First of all – I am a total sissy. I do not like horror and gore films and generally do not watch them. I can bear to see blood and dead bodies in thrillers and detective series, I can abstract other horrors such as rape and torture to some extent, but my trigger when it comes to Hannibal is the cannibalism. That particular dark corner of human behaviour is something that leaves me *extremely* uneasy. From what I have seen of Hannibal – and I stress: that is *only* gifs and one and a half trailers of season one and two – I did understand that both murder as well as cannibalism are depicted in an extremely aestheticized way, and are styled and signified as “works of art”, possibly overemphasizing  the “fantastic” element of crime so much as to appear ironic or abstract. Yet my mind unfortunately does not make that leap to abstraction, and I fail to overcome my reservations. (I also have major problems with “murder as art” or what I perceive as the general aestheticization and glamourization of murder, but this not an issue that can be clarified by reading the book; it depends solely on the artistic decision of the TV producers.) So, bear in mind that I consider myself a “visual” person, i.e. the power of the visual representation works stronger on me than the power of words. You may need to take this into account when making up your own mind whether or not to read Red Dragon.

The Advantages of Reading

Based on my reactions to Hannibal – and possibly motivated by a few other things:  a general tendency to “give everything a go”, the wish to base my judgment on insights gleaned from research rather than on prejudice, the tempting hints and initial fan arts seen in fan reactions on tumblr, the irrational feeling of being left behind or being less of a fan if I didn’t watch His Royal Arsey- RC-ness’s  current project, and the lure of seeing RA in action in *any* role – I decided for myself that a look at the literary source might have certain advantages: I could familiarize myself with the characters in the series; I could check how much Lecter and cannibalism feature in the book; and I could decide whether I can deal with Dolarhyde as a chaRActer I would like to *see*. In short, I approached the book as a way of numbing myself against the visual material to be expected in the series, and as a tool for anticipating possible triggers when watching the series (and taking precautions, read: knowing when to close my eyes *ggg*). This may not be the case for you if you feel that words hold more power than images!

Violence and Murder in RD

[From now on: SPOILERS AHEAD] So, with extensive description of cannibalism as my worst fear, I launched into the book, staunchly resolved to put it down as soon as there was just the slightest hint of anything that could trigger me. And then I read the whole book in one go, starting last Saturday morning and finishing up in the evening. Because there is *no* cannibalism in Red Dragon. Francis Dolarhyde is not a cannibal. He is a mass murderer, but he does not eat his victims. He bites, but not for eating but for leaving a mark, as a symbolic gesture. Lecter is mentioned in the book, too, but his actions are not discussed. He is somewhat a catalyst for the plot, but not essential.

As to explicit *sexual* violence and murder: There is only one scene in the book – close to the beginning – where the scene of a murder is described (in much less gory detail than I expected) when Will Graham initially takes up the case. This is done to give us our first introduction to (the crimes of) the new villain. There are a few uncomfortable descriptions in there, but none of it threw me off because I had already read about it online in comments and discussions when the news of the new role initially filtered through. There are two further descriptive scenes of violence, neither of them sexually motivated. They are brutal, but I found myself racing through them – not because I was afraid but because I wanted to know what would happen next. I would liken them to scenes like the torture of Porter in Strike Back, or Porter’s eventual demise – harrowing, but not something that we have not been confronted with before.

Other than that the book delves into the past and the psychology of Dolarhyde, and there are no graphic scenes of violence in that but rather psychological abuse. We never see him in action as he is killing someone for his sexual gratification, and the times when he does kill are rather efficiently described, i.e. without too much detail. There is an extended, suspenseful scene that may be triggery because it can be considered as description of torture, but I found myself able to deal with that (see above). In terms of graphic sexuality, again, there is not very much. Most fan fiction is more in-your-face than Red Dragon. Much of it, of course, plays on the fact that your mind will extend the written word and conjure an image, but I don’t think the implied images are that gross. However, with RA as the actor in mind who will bring Dolarhyde to life, I think some of the scenes of Dolarhyde contemplating and preparing for his actions are kind of titillating as there is nudity and implied sexual release. (Titillation probably not intended by Harris)

Dolarhyde as a ChaRActer

However, I thought Dolarhyde was a fascinating character, a classic evil villain, albeit bordering on pastiche. While he is no doubt a misguided monster, he has reasons. (Ahem. Much like us fangirls??? 😉 ) That is what sets him apart from Lecter in my mind, whose own reasons for his cannibalism are unfathomable to me. (But that is due to my personal, intellectual inability to deal with the idea of cannibalism.) I could totally see where Dolarhyde was coming from – at the same time finding it all rather unoriginal, hence pastiche. Hello Siegmund Freud! Nonetheless, I felt something like empathy with Dolarhyde, and felt quite invested in the one possible redemption that was offered. Whether that is because I went at it with the visuals of RA portraying Dolarhyde in mind (which invariably seems to make me sympathetic to the characters portrayed, and possibly allows the physical representation to obscure and cloud my moral judgment), or whether that was intended by the author, is unresolved in my mind. But pastiche or not, there is loads of meat for RA in there to get his teeth in, pun unintended. There are different layers to Dolarhyde, his past, present and future, and the role offers interesting challenges in terms of acting Dolarhyde’s disability and speech characteristics, as well as the character’s physical metamorphosis.

In general, I found this book full of suspense and with a number of interesting twists that I had not anticipated at all. In terms of writing, I had a few niggles with some stylistic choices, the use of tenses being one. But this is not high literature, it is a conventional, psychological thriller – and by what I have seen of Hannibal so far, the cinematographic realization of the material has a unique style of its own. Tenses will not come into that 😉 However, this is not a book I would read again – not because of the contained violence but more because I would not be “entertained” as much again, knowing where things are going.

Conclusion

2015-01-20 11.49.32But reading the book has exactly done what I had hoped it would do for me: I have found that I can deal with the material that my favourite actor is going to work with. I may know how the story goes, but I am aware now where possible scenes of difficulty are – and can watch from behind my hands anticipate them. I have familiarized myself with the character whom RA is going to portray. And I can now understand better why my favourite actor has decided to take this role.

My personal conclusion is that I *would* watch Hannibal 3 (*if* it was shown in my territory). But should the makers of Hannibal adapt the book more liberally than I expect, I am glad that I will have the option to switch off at the touch of a button.

94 thoughts on “To Read or Not to Read [Red Dragon]

  1. Interesting observations Guylty. I am also very visual and therefore am worried about being traumatised by what is on screen. I have read most of Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction but wouldn’t watch the film adaptations because my big trigger is decapitation. I must admit I skimmed those bits in the books too. But maybe as cannibalism is your tipping point and all Dolarhyde does is bite you will be okay.

    For me it has been three steps forward and two back. I have read a couple of reviews that make Hannibal sound watchable but then looked up Dolarhyde on Wikipedia and was back to “OMG – that’s disgusting- how could that be considered entertainment…” Mode.

    Like

    • I have only read the Wikipedia entry now and must say – damn, major SPOILERS. It basically gives the whole storyline away. But it is pretty accurate.
      The whole evaluation of the book (and later the series) is of course completely individual. After my initial reluctance to engage with Hannibal at all, I was almost surprised how little difficulty I had with the book. But that’s totally down to *my* individual triggers and tolerance levels. In that sense one can never say from reading someone else’s account whether it will be ok or not. I am keeping the backdoor open for myself too, when it comes to the series. I’ll give it a go – but with their previous approach to the depictions of the victims, I may fail to watch…

      Like

  2. I read the book a long time ago and pretty much forgotten about it until RA hit the news to play Dolarhyde. It’s back in my cue to read (or reread) in the next bit (I’m reading the last two of a lovely bdsm series I am NOT putting down and then I have a book from a book lovers forum I need to read!) I see Urban being pushed back again. Sigh.

    Like

  3. I’ve had a feeling that this character is not going to be what everyone is fearing. Richard wouldn’t take the role if there wasn’t layers he could explore and at least some hint of a redemption theme. I’m more excited to see him in the role now, not only for the role itself, but for the discussions it will cause. he’s going to make me want to save him *and* exploit my neck fetish at the same time. he knows exactly what he’s doing…

    Like

    • Yes. I think some of my initial reaction was premature, if not downright prejudiced. I think it is pretty clear that RA *never* takes a role without considering its depths and potential. I doubt he takes his fans’ opinions, wishes and hopes into consideration (sorry to burst your bubble there ;-)) but he seems to have high expectations of himself – which go beyond mere career moves. Or so I like to (wishfully) think 🙂 From that POV, Dolarhyde should be right up his street. Layers of personality, thrown in with some pathological insanity, physical disability and graphic physicality. The fact that it is for a hit network TV show, must be the cherry on the top.
      Like you, I look forward to seeing RA disseminate the character. There is no need for an extensive back-story (because that is already given), but what will he conjure up to slip under Dolarhyde’s skin? And will he let us get a glimpse of his process? I can’t wait!

      Like

      • I don’t think he picks roles with us in mind but he does know how to entice us with whatever he chooses 😉 when so many were initially turned off with this role and talk of how he did let “us” influence him in the early days arose, I thought “good for him that he’s doing what challenges him and not what the masses may prefer”. he’s an actor first and foremost for him, not for us.

        Like

        • Yup, he really *does* entice us. I credit him with getting me to read actual books (as opposed to “stuff” on the internet. I read there all day long, but I so rarely take a book, yeah, that funny thing with the loose pages, in my hands these days…
          Absolutely – he is his own boss, and has no obligations to us. (And fortunately that applies to us as well – no contract that states we *must* see, love and applaud all choices. Hunkydory.)

          Like

  4. Interesting thoughts. Thanks a lot for letting me know about the content of this book. Normally I would have rushed to get a copy of this book as soon as the announcement was out. But strangely I couldn’t get myself to do that. Not certain why is that? As soon as I had heard about Urban Grimshaw I was a proud owner of the paperback. But Red Dragon? Well maybe it is because I saw the first season of Hannibal. Although I think Mads Michaelsen is a very gifted actor – and his looks do not hurt either – the story left me completely cold. The character of Will Graham was extremely annoying for me to watch. Such a whimp. So over all I saw no need to get the DVD of the 2nd season. Which of course is on its way to my house at the very moment. *sigh. Seems I will have to work myself through another season just to be fit to watch the 3rd one as soon as it will be available. As a proper fangirl I will watch it. For the man of course, nothing else. In this special case I cannot even pretend to be interested in the plot. *watching for the plot* simply doesn’t work this time. Well then….

    Like

    • If you have been able to watch season 1 and 2 of Hannibal, I daresay you will be able to deal with RD. Keep in mind that you can visualize Dolarhyde in the shape of RA, so that certainly makes things a bit better. Plus, the character is *almost* redeemable, that makes it easier to ignore the intolerable. Although I have no idea whether Dolarhyde is fanfic-compatible…

      Like

  5. I’m with you, Guylty. The book was OK to read – got through it in a few hours. And Ive been watching the series as well. (Up to episode 8 season 1). I don’t know what Bryan Fuller will do to the existing plot and character, but I’m less worried than I was, that I can handle it. And Zeemuse – I also agree with you that Will Graham is my least favorite character in the series. William Petersen did a much better job in Manhunter. For me, when reading or watching, modern day executions are my deal breakers ,and these days, Nazi concentration camp films. Next up for your Guylty, a try at the series – but there is Cannibalism, though it is plated very beautifully.

    Like

    • I think I will give the catching up with seasons 1 and 2 a miss, Perry. I had a stab (…) at the trailer, and it just isn’t for me. I do understand that I may have to face all the highly aestheticized cadavers in season 3, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. For the moment I actually had some semblance of “fun” imagining RA in the role of Dolarhyde when reading the book.

      Like

    • Presentation is everything when having a fine dining experience. 🙂 Oh, and a superb accompanying sauce. Enjoyed the book years ago, but haven’t caught up with tv series yet. I will be watching and anticipate mouth-watering entertainment, and not from the food.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL – here we go with all the food puns 😉
        I think we will go against the intentions and “enjoy” Dolarhyde despite his despicable actions… Shame on the fangirls? 😉

        Like

        • No shame on fangirls. We are looking forward to a nuanced performance of a violent, but troubled man, a serial killer who happens to look like RA. We can “enjoy” the performance for his subtleties of acting in portraying such a complicated character. Our enjoyment has nothing to do with RA’s personal charms. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂 Do you think anyone will buy it?

          Like

      • Natürlich. Und um so selektiver, je mehr man selber sich getroffen fühlt. – Wie bei allen Filmen, Büchern, Bildern, Infos und allen anderen Sachen. 😉

        Ich meinte eigentlich mehr, dass ich mir schon die ganze Zeit den Mund fusselig rede, dass Dolarhyde eben kein eindimensionales Monster ist. Schön, dass du meine Ansicht bestätigst.

        Übrigens, dass Fans misguided monsters sind, versteht sich eh von selbst … 😀

        Like

        • Ich glaube, die meisten Damen werden sowieso Dolarhyde geneigt sein *ahem*. Die *Ab*neigung dagegen bezieht sich eher auf Hannibal und das damit verbundene Grauen… Deswegen war ich jedenfalls auch so froh, als Dolly sich “nur” als Lustmörder herausstellte…
          Mein Scott, was schreibe ich hier nur… Bin schon völlig korrumpiert und kompromittiert in meinen Fangirl-Scheuklappen. Als nächstes lass ich mir noch ein Tattoo machen…

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I also rushed to conclusions when I first heard he took the role (although I knew I would watch anyways). I won’t be watching any previous episodes but I am now looking forward to watching RA’s and then I will decide if I want to delve deeper into the show (but to be honest, I doubt). I had decided the other day to read the book and after reading your post it sounds like it is going to be an interesting read and, thankfully, not what I was expecting it was going to be. I am just finishing up reading Urban and The Shed Crew and frankly I am more concerned about that movie than I am about the role of Dolarhyde! Those kids are really young to be doing what they’re doing…I hope none of the young actors were traumitized! I think we’re lucky that RA is taking on such diverse and challenging roles…he is definitely keeping it interesting.

    Like

    • There were a lot of reservations voiced when the news broke, and yes, I was one of the doubters, I guess. And when I announced my “approval” (not that anyone needs that) of the book, there were a good few comments that people felt encouraged to read the book. I am glad if I may have assuaged some worries with my post.
      Re. Urban – I am really looking forward to that one. Like you, I often wonder what it is like, particularly for young actors, to play such difficult roles. I assume that the productions are always required to have professional help on set to explain and possibly psychologically support.
      Yes, I actually really like that RA is taking on such diverse roles, from different genres. Period drama, action movie, fantasy, psycho thriller. Literary adaptations, current affairs-based stuff. I find it quite enriching, really, because he is inadvertantly pushing my boundaries – and widening my horizon can only ever be good. #BenefitsOfFangirling 😉

      Like

    • Do we need a spoiler warning for that? [SPOILER ahead]
      Hm, that was not my impression. To me it seemed he *took the risk* of getting caught because he believed the Red Dragon to be allmighty. He always used gloves and left no fingerprints – but did not care about leaving traces of body fluids (…) behind. Schizophrenic? Or sign of wanting to be caught? Undecided.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hm. Gefundene Körperflüssigkkeiten nützen nur was, wenn es eine entsprechende Probe dazu gibt, und die gibt es nicht.
        Fingerabdrücke dagegen schon.

        Like

        • Fingerabdrücke nützen aber auch nur etwas, wenn man sie in einer Kartei abgleichen kann… Ich fand, das war eine Schwachstelle im Buch, die ich nicht ganz nachvollziehbar fand. Denn die Fingerabdrücke sind nur dann ein Indiz, wenn man einen Verdächtigen hat. Genau wie die Körperflüssigkeiten…
          Haarspalterei. Wat solls…

          Like

  7. Great review, Guylty… I have the audiobook but feel like listening to it at the same time as watching the series would be overload, so RD is on the back burner. I am very glad to hear Dolarhyde is not cannibalistic, and that there is at least a hint of redemptive attributes to the character. No doubt in my mind that RA will plumb those depths very well- it’s his specialty.

    Like

    • Absolutely a speciality – which is why it is so hard to resist the temptation and stay away…
      But yeah, audio-visual-verbal Dolarhyde may be a bit too much… I am glad that there is a bit of a delay between my reading and the release of the series. Not sure if I would otherwise like to immerse myself so soon after reading… I certainly needed a bit of time to digest.

      Like

  8. I said NO NO No when I first heard the news.I have now watched Manhunter andRed Dragon,Hannbal season 1 and the last 3 episodes of season 2.I just ordered season 2.Well they were not so gory so I will watch RA as Dolarhyde.The angel wings scene was bad,but if you watch”vikings” on TV that scene is more gory.

    Like

    • Yup – there are many horrors on TV, especially in the name of entertainment. And we all have our different boundaries and triggers. I really don’t mind all those Viking battle casualties all that much. Maybe it is because I expect and anticipate that. In the Hannibal trailer it was the long, lingering shots over the carefully arranged and displayed victims that I couldn’t handle…

      Like

  9. Von wegen “Zahnfee”. Im Deutschen wird das als “Zahnschwuchtel” geführt. Kriegt gleich eine ganz andere Konnotation (ha, jetzt habe ich aber beim Schreiben schwer aufgepasst.)
    Ich habe ja seit einer Weile ein wenig den Krimis und Thrillern abgeschworen ( leichter Überfrass nach 25 Jahren) und fühlte mich beim Lesen wieder so in meine frühen Jahre zurückversetzt. Gute Unterhaltung, aber es fesselt mich nicht mehr so wirklich. Egal. Ich findes es gut, den “Feind” zu kennen und kann mich so jetzt mit Dolly (schön ruhig Igelchen) ganz gut auseinandersetzen. Er wird was draus machen und ich bin doch ziemlich gespannt, ob er nahe an der Vorlage bleibt (bleiben kann) oder irgendwie eine Hochglanz-US-Version darstellen wird. Weil, der Typ ist ja schon eine eher sperrige Type mit durchaus unsexy Attributen. Mal sehen, wieviel Mut die
    Filmemacher aufbringen.

    Like

    • Also ich muss bei Dolly immer an die Parton denken und ich sach dir das ist beunruhigend 😉 Da nenne ich ihn lieber toothie da kommt mir immer so ein alter Knacker mit Zahnlucken im Sinn, finde ich erheiternder 🙂

      Like

    • und wollen wir wetten dass es die Hochglanzversion wird? er ist ja gerade vom Filme gekommen und du siehst ihn ja, hasslicher ist er nicht geworden :-p Ganz im Gegenteil, schon beim H haben sie die Karte der Anziehung gespielt und der Eleganz usw. Der toothie ist zwar kein poshie dafur aber ‘animalischer’? also eine rauhere, unverziehrte Anziehungskraft halt. Das treibt die Zuschauerzahlen hoch.

      Like

      • Absolut. Genauso sehe ich das auch. SPOILER Ok, Hasenscharte und gelegentlich fieses Gebiss. Aber die ganze Bodybuilder-Physikalität soll ja virile Männlichkeit suggerieren. Das lässt sich doch im Fernsehen wunderbar umsetzen – und dürfte einige visuelle Leckerbissen bieten. Sex sells.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh nein, echt? Zahnschwuchtel? Irgendwie aber auch doof übersetzt… Wobei die Konnotation (toll gemacht, Merry!!!) aber ja beabsichtigt ist – das ist im Original durchaus so gewollt, da Fairy = Tunte.
      So ein echter Krimi-Fan war ich noch nie. Hab zwar mit Begeisterung immer mal wieder Autoren entdeckt und dann mit Heißhunger verschlungen (scheiß Wortspiele hier), aber bin grundsätzlich eher so der klassische Romanleser. Dass RA nun den Dolly gibt, finde ich nach Lektüre prima – Horizonterweiterung usw. Und wenn man dann das Buch gelesen hat, kann man wenigstens immer behaupten, dass man abstrahieren will und ausschließlich guckt, um die Umsetzung der Vorlage nachzuverfolgen 😉 Jaja, wir sublimieren. Ich fürchte allerdings, dass wir da an einer Hochglanz-US-Version nicht vorbeikommen. Die Serie ist schließlich genauSO konzipiert. Mut zur Dollarhäßlichkeit brauchen die dafür nicht, denke ich. Allein die Wahl von RA deutet doch daraufhin, dass sie den Charakter allein äußerlich schon wenigstens vage attraktiv gestalten wollen. SPOILER Und mit seiner Bodybuilder-Figur ist Dolarhyde ja auch genau so angelegt. Die Figur hat etwas narzisstisches, das wird sicher ausgeschlachtet (…) bis zum Letzten.
      Ich frage mich u.a. aber auch, ob RA dann sich seines US-Akzentes befleißigen muss. Das empfinde ich dann schon als störend.

      Like

      • Vage attraktiv finde ich sehr treffend. Hängt vielleicht auch von der Ausleuchtung ab 🙂
        Quatsch, kann dir folgen.
        Das mit dem Akzent wäre fies. Allein schon, weil er -ACHTUNG SCHPOILER- doch dieses leichte logopädische Defissssit hat 😀 Wäre schön, wenn er sich dem in seiner eigenen Mundart widmen könnte.
        Und dann muss er ja wohl auch wieder Muckis aufbauen um die Rolle auszufüllen (boah, heute flutscht es aber wieder). Das wird ein Muskelfest 🙂

        Like

        • Höhö, Ausleuchtung? Ich hoffe, wir kriegen da kristallklare Bilder ohne jegliche Schatten an den entscheidenden Stellen… (hä? hatte ich neulich prüde was von “will gar nicht alles sehen” geheult???) Im Ernst – vermutlich wohl aber nicht, allein schon dank der Szenenanweisungen, wenn das alles in der ollen Bude von Dollys Oma spielt… Schatten galore!
          Also, ich hätte ja angesichts der logopädischen Herausforderungen gesagt, dass es das für RA leichter macht, mit einem aufgesetzten US-Akzent fertig zu werden. Alle Unzulänglichkeiten könnten als gewollt erklärt werden.
          SPOILER Jou, ansonsten wohl Muskelpaket. Ich bin darüber hinaus sehr auf die Tattoos gespannt, und auch auf die beiden Gebisse und die Hasenscharte. Und noch viel mehr gespannt bin ich auf die vokale Umsetzung des Red Dragon – dafür, wiederum, ist RA doch prädestiniert. Ich hoffe, die werden die Dragon-Stimme nicht outsourcen, sondern RA da selbst Stimme anlegen lassen.

          Like

  10. Wow, you could be talking about me when you describe your TV viewing and tolerance toward certain visual triggers Guylty. I watched Silence of the lambs once many years ago and I can still remember certain parts of it, that sort of thing is not for me, murder mystery I can deal with, gore I can’t ;o) Still, I decided that I will want to watch RA as Dolarhyde so I read Wikipedia then started the book. I’m halfway through now and find it quite ok and feel that I should be prepared enough to watch the TV program. By the time it reaches Aus’ I will probably have seen the screen caps and read the fan descriptions and reviews anyway so won’t be too surprised by anything. Thanks for your analysis xx.

    Like

    • Glad to hear I am not alone, Austoz! And yes, I am also counting on gifs, caps and fan vids to give me advance warning. And who knows, maybe the whole discussion and contemplation of the visual challenge well in advance of seeing the finished product will result in a more distant viewing experience?

      Like

  11. I’m waiting for the shrine (surely someone has already said this). I think I decided for the first episodes for the same reason that you decided for the book — I picked the medium I find less likely to offend — we’ll see what happens. I appreciate that so many of us who’ve been initially skeptical we’d appreciate this role are making steps toward seeing if we can go there.

    Like

    • Yup, I have already been threatened with shrine expectations. Initially I couldn’t see even the remotest possibility of making Dolarhyde a drool object. I cannot imagine that he will become a “best loved chaRActer”. But hey, who knows how they characterize him in the series… whether they will play down his evilness or increase it…
      Pushing the boundaries, yes. Mr A as the catalyst for change. I certainly give him credit for that (although my motives for attempting to watch may be rather less cerebral than that *coughs*)

      Like

  12. It’s funny how we are debating the ‘comparative advantages’ of the various serial killers 😉 Digesting victims is a big nono while biting is not so bad… cough 🙂 ew!
    Thank you for the great book review, i think i will attempt it. My problem is the first thing i read about toothie was the wiki page and that was really really bad as instant images of potential victims sprung to mind and i haven’t been able to ban them. So i started with the worse bit, what he does. It’s hard to be sympathetic under the circumstances and i have to say i don’t want to or am very reluctant.
    But tolerance levels are strange, i find it almost bearable to think dead victims even if these horrid things have been done to them i.e. i could potentially deal with it from a forensic perspective but i could never be able to watch/read/listen to these things being done as i listen/watch. I couldn’t bear that level of horror it would freak me out completely and whatever his crazy motivations or broken mind i couldn’t be able to get past it. I’m hoping the book doesn’t describe any of it as it happens because i think i’d have to stop there.
    I do find the physiological background intriguing and important and potentially interesting to explore. Unlike other people i have to say i find the police consultant, Will endearing and brave. I don’t think he’s a whimp at all, exposing himself to the horrors of the mind as he does continuously. Imagine a normal person having this ability and deciding to use it for a good cause, a normal person continuously exploring sick minds off killers, it’s a wonder he’s half normal still. It’s that what made me stop watching the series and which still constitutes a big problem for me, it makes the abnormal, the deviant appear normal, or even more than that, glamorous, interesting and valid exploration and the normal which is subject to all kinds of crazy plots and breaks or falters looks well wimpy in comparison. But i like cops and detectives and such, fighters for the good if you will much more if they are flawed, scared and still carry on than if they are presented as superhumans. I literally couldn’t stand what H was doing to Will and how the abuse was presented as almost interesting scientific exploration. I can’t begin to imagine how scary it must be for a normal person to feel their mind slip away from them, which is what happens to him.
    It’s why i am having difficulties going back to it and watching it, i know i won’t watch anything else that RA isn’t in, for sure. Not yet decided on the RA eps.

    But from your description of the book i think it’s not a horror story of watching a murderer kill again and again but rather more focused on his psychology, what makes him tick, presumably all the police trying to understand the same motivations in order to try and stop him. That kind of premise i do find interesting. I will give it a try and we’ll go from there. I should have probably suspected the more complex premise give he’s accepted the role, there had to be more in it than scaring people 😉
    I wonder, since it is a new story arc if they will continue in the exact same vein as before.. wish i knew .. because if i fall into the trap and start watching with RA this kind of thing is well enough scripted to leave you hanging at the end of each ep so that you will be going back. I.e. i know once i start i know it will be hard to stop until the end of the season.
    I am sure other things will come to mind once i’ve read it 🙂 thank for the prod as i would have shelved it as un-digestible otherwise.

    Like

    • Ugh, Hari, I think you are right – there is no “hierarchy of evil”. A killer is a killer. But yeah, I suppose this was more about the personal boundaries than the moral dimensions of the two serial killers’ motivations.
      I am so glad that I did not think to look up Dolarhyde on Wiki before I read the book. I must say – Spoiler City!!! There’s basically no need to read the book anymore once you have read Wiki. I also do not entirely agree with how he is described there, but well, personal interpretation, I suppose.
      Getting to the bottom of the psychology of the killers is what really drives the books, I think. I did not find the book sensationalist, or employing a shock tactic in order to ensnare readers. (To me the TV series seems much more guilty of that – sex, gore and violence sell, see above.) SPOILER As for Will Graham – he didn’t really come across as a wimp for me. He seemed healthily hesitant about the job, at times genuinely scared, and who wouldn’t be, dealing with serial killers. Never mind the worries about his own sanity. I suppose that is why psycho thrillers are so fascinating. Graham seems human, generally normal, but endowed with this abnormal capacity for empathy. He definitely is the character we are meant to identify with.
      Yup, I wonder how they will continue with the show. So far, it seems to have been very much focussed on the display of the victims. Update me: Is Lecter still at large at the end of season 2? If so, that has implications for RD (won’t go into it for spoiling).

      Liked by 1 person

      • hm i agree, more incentive for me to read the book.. if only the day had 48h! i can’t touch it just in case as i’m down to 5h sleep again and i need to keep check. On H yes apparently at the end of S2 SPOILERS!!!! there was some dinner and a man came out of a horse spitting gore or something of that ilk (stay away!) and H ran off with his own psychiatrist played by Gillian Anderson. Until the new storyline with toothie in 308 H plus Anderson character are in Italy running from the police and frolicking happily if i understood correctly. Eventually police catch up and stick him in prison where i think 308 then starts, mind you a few years later and Will will then have a wife. Which means for people like me who don’t want to go back to the lot i can stick it out, wait for time to pass in the series and maybe get back at 308 🙂 You could do the same for the above reason i think.

        Like

        • Ah ok – that’s just what I wanted to know. Because if Lecter has been caught, that has implications. I.e. the previous focus on his artfully arranged cadavers will either be gone = happy viewing for the squeamish, or it will be replaced with overemphasized display of Dolarhyde’s crime scenes = 😦 If the whole gore and shock factor is a big part of the show’s success, they’d be silly to give it up. So maybe we will have to expect a different emphasis in the TV series as opposed to the book.
          But yeah, I am taking no risk here. I will wait until whichever episode Dolarhyde turns up. And in the mean time I can research where the F I am going to access it, anyway. Not on Irish TV!!!

          Liked by 1 person

    • I like Will Graham, too, Hari, at least as he’s interpreted by Hugh Dancy. He’s easy on the eyes, to be sure, but I love the fragility and instability he struggles with. As you said, it’s the protagonists who are flawed who are the most interesting. Will is lost, and I want him to find his way again.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I haven’t read the Harris book, rather I saw the 2002 film version with Ralph Fiennes in the title role. I’m not sure how loose the adaptation was, but I find that I’m not generally triggered by the visual as much as the sound effect of certain acts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very good point, Obscura. A friend of mine actually conducted a scientific study about the influence of music on the perception of visuals, and apparently it is much easier to ignore or deal with horror detail if the soundtrack does not add to the fear or shock…

      Like

  14. Hi Guylty, Your observations are more relevant, especially since I haven’t read the Red Dragon novel in decades. My thoughts on the tv series and films differ from what I think about the books, but I fully admit I have enjoyed it all.

    If you want to see any of the series or when the third season airs and are seriously confident of your anti-virus set up on your computer, you might consider couchtuner[dot]edu. You can see everything that has already aired, (along with a lot of other shows) like those first six episodes of Strike Back. Not that I am trying to influence you to watch the first two seasons. However, the cookies, virus threats and crap really clog up your hard-drive. If you don’t have a handle on how to wipe them off so your computer doesn’t slow down and crash, I’d play it safe and find another way.

    Thank you for your insights 😀 Mimi

    Like

  15. Thank you, Guylty 🙂 but thank you! I’m the biggest sissy on the whole world. IMO, most TV shows seems idiotic or plain boring ( pssst..I think I have senile ADHD 😉 ) though I will be watching this one for Richie. *sigh* I hate myself!

    Like

    • Aw, don’t! You have a *particular* reason, but in the end it may also mean that you are willing to push boundaries, or to explore your curiosity, or to simply learn more. I prefer to see all these activities as something positive. If I decide not to watch the series, I will prefer to call it “learning to assert my boundaries” and not “being a sissy” 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for this Guylty, it was interesting to read your thoughts before I started my own preparation for Hannibal S3. I’ve finished this book, and got through it easier than I thought I would, although I had to give to give up reading at night – Francis Dolarhyde is a truly disturbing character. However, I can see how he is a character capable of eliciting sympathy, especially in RA’s hands – he must be absolutely relishing this role, it’s perfect for him, as much as I’m worried that I may end up not being able to watch him! Hannibal is not on free to air here in Australia, so I would be waiting for the DVD release anyway, but I’m glad I will have the option of fast forwarding through the icky bits.
    As for the book, I wouldn’t be reading it again. It was easy enough to read, but I didn’t like the writer’s style, and the switching between tenses is a particular annoyance for me.

    Like

    • Phew – I am glad that my encouragement to read the book has not traumatized you, and that you “enjoyed” reading about the character. I fully agree with you – the book certainly makes you see what is attractive about playing this character, and therefore why RA chose to accept the role and is now so excited to play it. I have absolutely no doubt that he will portray him with many layers, and his subtle acting tools will make this a truly interesting performance to watch.
      Like you, I have to wait for the DVD, too. I am impatient, yet also glad because the expected rush of gifs and photo sets – while being spoilers – will probably make it easier to watch the finished thing as a whole.
      And yup – not reading the book again. Not even the parts with Dolarhyde in it. I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t even truly repulsed. But it is just not a book for multiple reading. (I really do not share RA’s own enthusiastic pronouncement in one of the China interviews that the book is “amazing” – the plot and psychology is very well done, but the writing seemed rather pedestrian to me. The inconsistencies with the tenses really annoyed me, especially as I could not see whether that was a deliberate stylistic choice or mere bad editing… Glad you agree with me on that.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: 2015 Armitage Weekly Round-up – tumblr edition #22 | Guylty Pleasure

Let me know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s