[bear with me my ancient greek is creaky & lapsing]
yes—ἄνθος [anthos], “flower” + λέγειν [legein], “to say/speak” or “to choose/gather/collect/pick together” [complicated verb, heidegger has a field-day with those two senses of it in his lecture “geschichte”] = anthologia, ἀνθολογία, “a flower-gathering/collection”
we’ve seen hannibal at his most derivative [the antler-impaled corpse of cassie boyle, the glasgow smile of dr. sutcliffe] and at his most creative [the “blind”, “mindless and heartless” judge]. this tableau, of a human corpse intertwined with and systemically penetrated by a tree, feels like the latter: the idea of “blooming” isn’t simply hannibal’s burgeoning affair with alana; it’s hannibal himself, growing more daring and ambitious and egotistic.
i think it is a sort of “greatest hits”. the ripper removes organs from bodies which he already considers empty vessels, wasted flesh, and transforms them into things of beauty—exquisite morsels of food. but, beautiful as hannibal’s food appears, the meat is defiled, polluted with murder, it’s taboo, it’s toxic, it breeds corruption.
jack names three flowers specifically; hannibal has three victims he’s presently “poisoning”: will, alana, jack. and the flowers correspond to the way that he poisoned them: “belladonna for the heart” is jack, and his love for bella; the “chain of white oleander for the intestines” is will, and the ear he was forced to ingest; “ragwort for the liver” is alana, and the poisoned wine [ragwort was once used as an aphrodisiac]. all three of these victims have eaten human flesh at hannibal’s table.
this is hannibal’s power: to invade his victim, slice out with precise scalpel-cuts those raw parts which are most vital and human, and fill that void with his own baneful beauty. furthermore, every work of art hannibal creates is a seduction, a token of affection for will; and hannibal’s love is the love that kills.