Life lessons from Dr. Lecter

I’m left heartbroken by the fact that the  TV show ‘Hannibal’ has ended. (And what a gorgeous ending it was! Sheer perfection. )

‘Hannibal’ is oddly life- affirming for a show about a manipulative psychiatrist who’s also a cannibalistic serial killer. Hannibal Lecter is like the old Greek gods; our human standards of right and wrong just don’t apply to him. But  there are some things we can all learn from him.

To thine own self be true.  Dr. Lecter always encourages his patients to follow their natural instincts and embrace their uniqueness. Unfortunately, many of them turn out to be murderers, but that’s not the point.

Empathy is a superpower.  Will Graham uses this power to catch criminals, while Dr. Lecter uses it to connect with (and later control) people. I think the best way to cultivate empathy is by reading lots of fiction.

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Always be courteous. The show’s tagline is ‘Eat the rude’. Dr. Lecter only ever eats discourteous people because he considers them to be pigs. Can we all mind our manners as a tribute to him, please?

Don’t be a victim of your circumstances. I think we all have the power to make choices and create our own life. Dr. Lecter says this when someone tries to psychoanalyse him-

“Nothing happened to me. I happened.”

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Live as if you were to die tomorrow. No one does this better than Dr. Lecter. He loves his job, but always finds time  to pursue his hobbies, like going to the opera, sketching, and cooking delicacies out of human meat.

“I’ve always found the idea of death comforting. The thought that my life could end at any moment frees me to fully appreciate the beauty, and art, and horror of everything this world has to offer.”

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Love is understanding and acceptance.  ‘Hannibal’ is actually the most beautiful and tragic love story ever shown on TV. The entire show is about Hannibal revealing his true self to Will Graham, craving the friendship of someone who can understand the way he thinks.

Hannibal thinks of himself as a superior being, but he thinks that Will has the potential to be more than an ordinary mortal too.

“No one can be fully aware of another human being unless we love them. By that love, we see potential in our beloved. Through that love, we allow our beloved to see their potential. Expressing that love, our beloved’s potential comes true.”

I could feel his pain and heartbreak when Will betrayed him in the season 2 finale. He said something that anyone who’s extremely introverted ( like me) will immediately identify with-

“I let you know me… see me. I gave you a rare gift, but you didn’t want it.”

 

 

I end this post with these lovely lines that Hannibal says to Will, when he realizes that he cannot change him beyond a certain point-

“With all my knowledge and intuition I could never entirely predict you. I can feed the caterpillar, I can whisper through the chrysalis, but what hatches follows its own nature and is beyond me.”

No wonder the ending of season 3 choked me up.

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It should have gone that way.

I’ve been one of those “delusional” Harmony shippers ever since I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  Here’s why-

  • There is a guy I’ve known since childhood who constantly tests my patience and drives me up the wall. We can’t spend an hour together without having an explosive argument, though we have occasional bouts of affection for each other. So like R/Hr, right?  The boy in question is my younger brother. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that siblings constantly annoy each other.
  • If I wanted to show sexual tension between R/Hr, I’d have written their arguments as playful and teasing, not as vicious shouting matches that end with Hermione bursting into tears. Just to make my point clear, THIS is sexual tension (between Scarlett and Rhett in Gone With the Wind)-

“Eavesdroppers —” she began furiously.

“Eavesdroppers often hear highly entertaining and instructive things,” he grinned. “From a long experience in eavesdropping, I—”

“Sir,” she said, “you are no gentleman!”

“An apt observation,” he answered airily. “And, you, Miss, are no lady.” He seemed to find her very amusing, for he laughed softly again. “No one can remain a lady after saying and doing what I have just overheard. However, ladies have seldom held any charms for me. I know what they are thinking, but they never have the courage or lack of breeding to say what they think. And that, in time, becomes a bore. But you, my dear Miss O’Hara, are a girl of rare spirit, very admirable spirit, and I take off my hat to you. I fail to understand what charms the elegant Mr. Wilkes can hold for a girl of your tempestuous nature. He should thank God on bended knee for a girl with your — how did he put it? —‘passion for living,’ but being a poor-spirited wretch —”

“You aren’t fit to wipe his boots!” she shouted in rage.

“And you were going to hate him all your life!” He sank down on the sofa and she heard him laughing.

Compared to that, and similar scenes in other books, the R/ Hr fights are like childish sibling rivalry.

  • They say that R/Hr would be a good couple because “these uptight girls, they like them funny.” Ok, so Ron does make her laugh occasionally, when he’s not busy being spiteful and making her cry. But Ron’s not the only character with a sense of humour.  At least Fred and George make people laugh consistently. And I don’t know how to break this to you, but Harry Potter is the the wittiest and sassiest guy in the series. No one without a sense of humour can survive their childhood surrounded by the Dursleys, Snape, Malfoy and so on.
  • On the other hand, H/Hr are not even remotely like siblings. They  always support, admire and respect each other. They don’t lash out at each other vindictively when they have disagreements. With the kind of relationship they share, they will always have the first place in each other’s affections, so it’s stupid to pair them with anyone else.

Hermione turned and beamed at Harry; her eyes, too, were full of tears.
‘…then I declare you bonded for life.’ 

Unfortunately-

  • I’ve never bought into the “opposites attract” theory. I always find that I like people who are like me. I prefer what Emily Bronte wrote in Wuthering Heights-

He is more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.

  • Ron has always been so jealous and insecure about his brother’s achievements and Harry’s fame. So I don’t understand how someone with an inferiority complex like his can be a good partner for an overachiever like Hermione.  Harry takes pride in Hermione’s abilities and never tries to belittle her.

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  • The H/G relationship is the most preposterous literary romance I’ve ever come across. Ginny was just a shy girl who hero- worshiped Harry, who never took much notice of her. Then, in the fifth book, Ginny suddenly morphed into a kind of “Cool Girl” (famously described in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl). Then in HBP, Harry  suddenly developed a massive crush on Ginny out of nowhere and they got together. I think that Hermione is the only girl who really knows and understands Harry. Even if H/Hr were biological siblings, Luna would be better for Harry than Ginny.
  • My idea of love is best described by these lines from Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, which could have been written for H/Hr-

“This good fellowship – camaraderie – usually occurring through the similarity of pursuits is unfortunately seldom super-added to love between the sexes… Where, however, happy circumstances permit its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death – that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, besides which the passion usually called by the name is as evanescent as steam.”