Book Talk: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

[Incomplete, but I'd rather post it as is than not. This was written in like...June , I meant to come back and finish explaining whatever I'd started but that never happened]


I did something I haven't done in a while when I read Red Dragon. I started the book just after midnight, read about 40 pages in then went to sleep. My laptop was off, it was just me and the book. I woke up, peed then hunkered on my bed to read for a while. I left my room, scrounged for food, found little then I went back to reading. I tried to take a nap, it was too hot for it to be any good, then I went back to reading. My laptop was off next to me the entire day. I sent out a few tweets, not many, and I kept tabs on my tumblr notifications from my phone but it was me, the silence of the house and the book all day. 

It was a good day. 

Like with my other 'Talks', there will be spoilers, you've been warned as I write and think over a book that has about 7 years on me to the month. Let's do this thing.


I'm on tumblr and I think I've gotten to the point where I hate all fandoms equally. I'm a fan of stuff but I don't prescribe to being in a fandom or any of that shit. I really don't care, but I feel I've moved past not caring to not wanting to see any of it. I'm tired of slashing, I'm tired of people swooning over characters and shipping and stupid macros that aren't quotes but the fan's not rose colored but awkward lust colored interpretation of a scene.

It's happened with the show Hannibal, which is a murder-crime show with gruesome, horrific murders and insane characters. I hit a point with being tired of this fandom and not putting up with it and ignoring it when some fool lamented Hannibal being portrayed as a villain and not an 'anti-hero'.  

If I could reach through the Internet and slap the stupid off someone's face, this is someone I'd do that to. 

Let's take a step back. I grew up knowing the name Hannibal and that is was an insane cannibal because of the 1992 hit movie Silence of the Lambs. I was about to take the time to set this fool straight as I went to research the book and learned it was the second in a series. About a week later I checked out Red Dragon, the first in the series, from my local library. 

I knew little about the world of Hannibal Lecter when I started and thankfully I've only seen the first 3 episodes of the show. My vision of the characters was tainted by the actors but it's not the worst, to be honest.  

So, Saturday morning, I hunker down in my bed, propped up by pillows and I start reading and I'm pretty jazzed by the entire thing from the foreword that Harris wrote where he discussed getting around to writing the one scene with Hannibal in the book. I get going and we're dropped into Will Graham's beginning of the investigation. 

The book takes place ages after when the show does, a virtual lifetime later. That's fine. Will's apprehensive about going back and consulting in these types of serial killer murder cases where there doesn't seem to be anything connecting these two families and why they were killed. With Will Graham, the book tracks his slow descent into his own madness as he gets focused on the victims, the families, the case and he loses the little bit of family that he has so they can be safe. 

The book is third person limited, we go into Will's mind and we go into the mind of the villain, Francis Dolarhyde but it's mostly following Will. It's dramatic irony as the audience knows most of what's going on with Dolarhyde as he loses control, he feels a little Multiple Personality Disassociative Disorder, or maybe Schitzopherenic, especially near the end. So we know from the middle of the book how he chooses his victims and what some of his issues are. His cleft pallet (I think that's what it is) and speech problems. His mother and grandmother issues, his being bullied and how he's found solace in a painting and dubbed himself The Red Dragon after the painting. The Red Dragon beceomes a voice for him to follow and kind of give himself up to. 

Will is focused on the families and what Dolarhyde has done as he brutalized them. After they were killed he would dance around naked and I think have sex with the mother while making the dead family 'watch'. It's all a bit creepy. Will fixates on the wrong aspects of the families as he tried to figure out who Dolarhyde is and why he chose these families. It's the smallest connection between them that lead to the attempted capture of Dolarhyde. He works as a film processing company and both families had their home movies processed there. They lived in different cities and almost superficial similarities. They were both affluent, they both had a few children and pets. These things ring out from the glimpse into Dolarhyde's past, he wasn't just perceived as being ugly, his birthmother remarried a wealthy man and had three beautiful children. Dolarhyde was thrown to the curb and psychologically abused by the grandmother that took him in,