Hugh Dancy, the P word & love in Hannibal
Okay, so I’ve had a couple of days to mull this over and I’ve come to a few conclusions that I’ll share here if you’ll bear with me.
First of all, we all know that it’s absolutely canon that Hannibal is in love with Will. Bryan has said so, Mads has said so… dogs on the street have howled it loud and long. So I’m not going to go into that here.
But what about Will? Is he canonically in love with Hannibal? YES! Apart from the fact that it’s demonstrably obvious from at least partway through Season 2 that Will is falling HARD for the great conversationalist with the nice suits and hair and the great kitchen (thank you, Hugh), Bryan AND Hugh are both on record as having said it.
But then why does Hugh keep using the P word to describe Will and Hannibal’s love? Well, based on past interviews I would say that Hugh doesn’t mean platonic as in non-romantic. That would make no sense at all, given the many, many comments that have been made to the contrary. I think that what he, Bryan and Mads are trying to say is that Hannibal and Will’s love - up to the end of Season 3 - is so deep, so true, it’s almost BEYOND sexual. That isn’t to say it will never BECOME sexual and certainly the events at the end of TWotL point towards it evolving in that direction. But sex is incidental to the bond these two share. There almost seems to be the sense that categorising their relationship as sexual would trivialise it. Mads has referred to Hannibal feeling that Will is his ‘soulmate’ - a state that transcends sexuality. And Bryan has used similar language when describing the relationship.
Hugh also seemed to cause a bit of consternation by suggesting that Will isn’t the killer that Hannibal thinks he is. Well, I agree with him. Yes, Hannibal KNOWS and SEES Will - his empathy and his POTENTIAL as a killer. But WIll ISN’T the killer Hannibal is. They are ‘identically different’, not ‘identically identical’. Interestingly, both Mads and Hugh have described Will and Hannibal as ‘two sides of the same coin’ - being different in certain ways, they are essentially still one. And I think it’s perfectly possible for Hannibal to SEE Will and still misinterpret certain facets of his character. When it comes to Will Graham, Hannibal is, as Mads has said, ‘blinded by love’. He sees what he wants to see - just as Will does in Season 1.
For those of you asking about his marriage comment, that was made in reference to Will and Molly. Hugh never imagined them having a full-on wedding - he thinks it would have been a registry office do.
The other thing that unsettled people was the revelation that Will only realises late in Season 3 that Hannibal loves him (and that he loves Hannibal), primarily because Will ‘never thought of Hannibal as being capable of love’ and had put love ‘on a kind of pedestal’ as a ‘more perfect thing’. Will’s ‘Is Hannibal in love with me?’ question to Bedelia leads to the revelation not only that yes, Hannibal IS capable of feeling love, but also that what Will feels for Hannibal is also love. This appalls him - he sees it as ‘dirty and awful’ because of the terrible things that Hannibal has done and the terrible person that he is. Well, seriously, we can’t argue with that, can we? Hannibal, by anyone’s standards, IS a terrible person: his response to Bella’s dying wish is to toss a coin; his reaction to his boy’s betrayal is to cut the throat of their murder daughter. But he’s also terribly charming and he’s played by Mads Mikkelsen, so we love him anyway. Surely Will, though, can be forgiven for not jumping up and down in glee at the realisation that all these complicated feelings he’s had stewing inside him for years boil down to him being TRULY, MADLY, DEEPLY IN LOVE with a cannibalistic serial killer?!
Finally to the question of whether WIll is going to give himself over completely to the Dark Side in Season 4. The answer seems to be not permanently. Or, at least, not completely. Will wouldn’t be WIll, according to Hugh, without his empathy. So ‘Hannibal’s always going to have to fight for him’. Am I the only one who actually finds that really romantic?
Before I end this, I’d just like to say that Hugh came to his Q&A on Saturday after an absolutely exhausting morning of photo shoots and autograph signings. I was stewarding in the room where the photo shoots took place and it was relentless - hour after hour of non-stop standing, posing and smiling. He was PHENOMENAL throughout - cheerful, enthusiastic and generous. And then he had to go and do signing. And THEN he went to do the Q&A and found himself alone with the mic for an hour before Bryan, who was supposed to be doing it with him, finally appeared (because Bryan, bless him, doesn’t know the meaning of the word speed and wanted to give everyone he was signing for equal and significant attention). So, as he himself confessed, he was making a lot of what he said up on the spot. Let’s face it, it’s been years since they finished making the show and I highly doubt he sits rewatching episodes. In fact, I’m fairly certain there are some episodes he’s never even seen! I think, therefore, it’s likely that he filled in some replies with stuff he’s said in the past (eg. the chess metaphor) without thinking ‘oh, hang on, that only really applies to Season 1’, etc. So maybe we shouldn’t be too hung up on the answers he gave at RDC3.
I’ll give the last words to Hugh and Bryan - comments they’ve made over the years which serve to illustrate some of the points I’ve tried to make in this post. Thank you for reading and forgive me for rambling!