black_lodge: (hannibal_killer will)

I saw this gifset of Kutchu’s a while back, which got me seriously thinking about the roles that water plays in Hannibal. The show is filled with water imagery, and it all seems to form this insidious watery web around Will Graham, a network of competing and clashing symbolic meanings, everything from rebirth to annihilation. Together these images form a twofold purpose: water in Hannibal functions as both a motif that underscores Will’s struggle to remain afloat and as a symbol of his instability and ultimate transformation.

As Will descends into madness, scenes such as that in Roti where water is trickling out of the cold chambers at the morgue indicate that the water symbolizes Will’s own mental instability and emotional integrity. Another such scene occurs at the beginning of Roti when Will is experiencing a night terror. He dreams of the façade of a glacier shearing off into the ocean, about water receding from the beach and a tsunami wave crashing in on him, and he experiences a false-wake, only to plunge back into a hallucination of his bed filling with water like a sinking dinghy. When I first watched this scene I thought about it being a dream-state reflection of Will’s actual physical discomfort, i.e. his night-sweats, as the water in the bed seems to be melting out of him. There may be an element of truth in that, but better yet I believe it’s a reflection of the way Will is losing his ability to define who he is, hold his own shape. He's forced to keep taking the shapes of killers, so when he's not being poured into somebody else's mold he's formless, directionless, like water being poured out of a glass. In fact, at the end of the scene Will’s body bursts apart like a water balloon, apparently transforming and melting away. This, along with the running-water scene in the morgue, supports the idea that Will perceives the outlines of his identity to be breaking down, and indeed in a later conversation with Hannibal in that episode he remarks, “I don’t feel like myself. I feel like I’ve been gradually becoming different for a while. I just feel like somebody else.” We know that Will is unable to build 'forts' in his mind to shield himself from the horrors he observes on a day-to-day basis; this is an explicit declaration of his perception of the lost sense of self and integrity of his own form.

Minor scenes like the ones with Will showering or washing his hands work to reinforce water as a leitmotif. You can't have water working constantly as a full-blown metaphor or symbol, because it'll get old and too obvious to the viewer. But you still need to keep reminding the viewer of the general idea, so when Will has his night-terror scene where he’s writhing, almost drowning in a flood of water, the viewer doesn’t think Wait, THAT came out of left field. So Will Graham is woven into this net of water images, from tsunamis in his nightmares and the simple sheen of his own fever-sweat.

As far as the motif goes, there’s not a significant difference between tsunamis and sweat, since they perform the same purpose of keeping the imagery fresh in the viewer’s mind. But the show differentiates between these images symbolically: some water is real, and some water is not real. The moments when Will hallucinates these raging floods and quiet trickles of water are the times he's most unstable. (Or moist and unstable, if you will.) He's experiencing serious breaks from reality that pose the biggest threat to his mental health and well-being. Other times, like the scene in Apertif where he’s dunking his head in a sink full of water in the bathroom inspired by The Shining, combine elements of the real and the unreal, resulting in in a sensation of the unheimlich, the uncanny and uncertain, the border between fantasy and reality. This scene occurs after he has a nightmare about Elise’s dead body lying next to him. Now, we get this great underwater shot of his face as blood blossoms up around his head. Is that something he's actually imagining or is it merely a creepy cinematic trick on the viewer? Probably a combination of both, and certainly the vividness of the blood mirrors the crimson hue of the bathroom walls, but if he's hallucinating (or if it's at least an indication of how he's feeling) then it's safe to say he's feeling like his reality is tainted by the unreal or that the miasma of horror is seeping in. He’s starting to feel the first pinch of desperation, responsibility for the deaths he’s forced to investigate.

On the other hand, there are scenes where no hallucination pollutes the water, and these occur at points when he's feeling on edge but he's still himself. The water becomes a tangible assurance of his innocence. After he contaminates Georgia Madchen’s crime scene in Buffet Froid, we see him washing the blood from his hands in the kitchen. There’s still a taint there – the viewer will notice that he leaves a long streak of blood on his upper forearm. But the viewer knows, and even Will assures everyone that he’s sure he is not responsible for Beth Lebeau’s death.

However, in Savoureaux, Will doesn’t receive that assurance the way the audience does. In this scene he drinks water right from the tap and splashes his face to wash away the night-sweat. After he vomits and looks down to find the ear, he's horrified, thinks he's done this awful thing (or at any rate isn't sure of what happened), but the viewer knows he's innocent, in part because we know the water is both symbolically and literally real. He's not hallucinating at this point. He might have lost time, but in this moment he is himself. In fact, he's both nourishing and cleansing himself, which is incredibly potent imagery in itself. The effect is that the scene is shockingly real. It's partly what gives it its visceral impact, because we know for once it's not a hallucination, there's actually a goddamn human ear in his sink, and that makes it feel incredibly out of place alongside his nightmare and hallucinated murders. That out-of-place feeling is a huge narrative clue that Will Graham is innocent. But he's been primed by Hannibal to doubt his sanity completely, to doubt his distinction between real and not-real, so the symbolic effect is lost on him, as it often is for literary characters.

A Brief Discussion of Baptism and Sacrifice in NBC’s Hannibal

I’d like to change tack here with some observations on water as a cleansing symbol. We get a lot of images of Will cleaning himself throughout S1, some of which I’ve already outlined. The source material doesn’t shy away from Biblical imagery, especially in Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal, and Mads Mikkelsen has mentioned in interviews that he plays Hannibal as if he were Satan. I would argue that Will Graham’s cleansing is ritualized, a parallel to the ritual cleansing of the Old Testament and the New Testament sacrament of baptism. The main difference is that in the OT, ritual cleansing had to be performed over and over again according to the law with every transgression; in the NT, baptism was the one cleansing that symbolically wiped away all sin. Will washes himself over and over throughout S1, as if he can wash away the images and associations that cling to him like burs every time he brushes through a crime scene.

On the other side of that coin, animal sacrifices were performed over and over again in the OT to demonstrate the price for every individual sin, whereas in the NT, one sacrifice – the sacrifice of the god-man, the blood of the proverbial Lamb – is enough to pay the debt for all sin. We can liken the death of Abigail Hobbs to this death of the Lamb. Perhaps it’s an oblique parallel, because Abigail is not a spotless sacrifice, but it is her death that opens Will’s eyes to Hannibal’s machinations. Hannibal has been trying to change him throughout the show, trying to transmute him into something he considers real and eternal. If there is one major theme that unites all four books, it’s transformation; just think of the infamous death’s head moth motif in SotL, and the fact that Lepidoptera are classic symbols of metamorphosis. Jame Gumb, Clarice Starling, Frances Dolarhyde, and Hannibal Lecter himself all undergo massive transformations throughout the saga. Additionally, Hannibal the show is very much invested in the transformative effect of both water and blood on Will Graham. Since episode one, Hannibal the Cannibal has been guiding Will through a transformative process via constant exposure to and reexamination of these dozens of deaths. However, such little deaths aren’t enough – they bear a high cost for Will’s sanity, but they’re just a taste of what to come. Hannibal needs a truly efficacious sacrifice, one that will change, elevate Will forever, and this is why Abigail’s death is so much more important than all the others: it’s through Abigail’s death that Will is going to experience ultimate change. The question remains: will that change result in Hannibal’s nefarious endgame, or will it result in Will’s mental, spiritual, and physical emancipation?

I don’t think it’s too bold to say that Will is going to be moving from an Old Testament world of fear and blood sacrifice to a New Testament one of purification and ascension in the next season or so. He’s figuring Hannibal out and assuring himself of his innocence once and for all, which sets him up not only for a redemption arc but a serious ascent to power and glorification. While Hannibal has engineered Abigail’s sacrifice with the intention of transforming Will, ultimately – so long as Fuller and Co. stick loosely to the books – I believe that transformation will be Hannibal’s downfall.

As a parting note: there are a lot of excellent meta on the subject of Schroedinger’s Abigail, so to speak, so I won’t go into detail on my madcap theories here. HOWEVER, we shouldn’t forget: the sacrificial Lamb was raised from the dead. It wouldn’t be blind hope to look for a resurrection in Abigail Hobb’s future.

black_lodge: (tp audrey mask)
I've recently gotten really interested in fanmixes lately! I have difficulty finding new music because I don't listen to the radio anymore and we don't have a decent community station anyway that plays something other than the greatest hits etc. And since I listen to music primarily to cultivate various moods and atmospheres, fanmixes are the perfect solution. As I've gotten back into fic writing, I find myself listening to fanmixes more and more instead of my own collection of music (which is completely new for me, since I am such a creature of habit). Basically, if you haven't checked out 8tracks yet, you should give it a try.

Naturally, the first mix I want to rec isn't even a fanmix, per se, but it works incredibly well for a lot of my ships. It's dark, electronic, melodic, and fantastically sexy.

Title: Rome Is Fallen
Author:
Alexiels
Description: // for siblings who are more than siblings; for the silent language of glimpses and simple touches, souls intertwined and flesh clutching; for an all-consuming and self-destructive love, for the hunger burning in the eyes and the collusion in the evening with the very promise of blood; for you and me and rome

Track Listing:
001 - BEDROOM HYMNS - FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE [such selfish prayers; and i can’t get enough]
002 - DARK PARADISE - LANA DEL REY [every time i close my eyes; it’s like a dark paradise; no one compares to you]
003 - COME ON CLOSER - JEM [rhymthmic motion; raw emotion]
004 - PARADISE CIRCUS - MASSIVE ATTACK [love is like a sin my love; for the ones that feel it the most]
005 - LOVE INTERRUPTION - JACK WHITE [i want love; to roll me over slowly; stick a knife inside me and twist it all around]
006 - OFF TO THE RACES - LANA DEL REY [keep me forever; tell me you want me]
007 - SAIL - AWOLNATION [this is how an angel dies; i blame it on my own sick pride]
008 - CRY LITTLE SISTER - AIDEN [unchain me, sister; thou shall not fear; love is with your brother; thou shall not kill]
009 - SISTER - SHE WANTS REVENGE [her every word was in italics; as it would fall from her lips; the walls made of broken promises; he hoped wouldn’t be his]
010 - SOMETHING I CAN NEVER HAVE - NINE INCH NAILS [my favorite dreams of you still wash ashore; scraping through my head ‘til i don’t want to sleep anymore]

blogroll

Jul. 5th, 2013 09:22 pm
black_lodge: (hannibal yellow)
I might be showing my age but I'm sad to see most of fandom moving to Tumblr. I love the Tumblr experience, don't get me wrong; I can tumbl all day if you let me, and its image-based content design encourages some incredible fanart. But I also miss the days when fandom was heavily text-based, when people had long conversations (in full sentences, sans hashtags) about their favorite characters' neuroses and predilections, when fic was gloriously long.

We were spoiled with the Harry Potter fandom, I think.

For the first time in too many years, I'm excited to be part of a fandom. Excited isn't even the right word -- these characters are lodged so deep in my brain that I have difficulty filtering them out in daily conversation, and everything I experience goes through the "idea net," processing situations and sensory details that might work well in potential fic. I remember when I first read the Hannibal books and watched the films and how into it I was back then (I actually wrote some fic, which never got noticed by anyone but my dear friend and beta reader [personal profile] lavinia). The new show is all-consuming. I find myself longing for the weather to change and the cold creeps into my bones so I can use that, too, as fuel for the desolate rural landscapes where these flickering images keep playing out against the pale cave of my skull.

The Hannibal fandom is promising now, and to add to us folks in the older fanbase, the reboot has spawned a new generation that has the potential for monstrous growth. The body of fanworks out there, however, is still quite small, and I'm half-worried that the instant gratification of Tumblr and its focus on receiving content instead of creating it is doing a great harm to the fandom as a whole. This is partly why I've come out of fandom retirement, so to speak, to start writing again.

Having said that, it's still frustrating to see really excellent but badly-tagged (or untagged) fic getting lost in the bowels of Tumblr. So, not to lead a one-woman charge back to more traditional blogging sites, I've rounded up some Dreamwidth links for the old-school users who still love a text-based fandom experience. Thus:


The Hannibal Exchange: Hiatus Edition
Signups end July 12 and gifts are due September 14. Minimum wordcount is 1500. I'll be signing up soon.

The Hannibal Big Bang
I already posted about this, but just as a reminder: the minimum fic length is only 10k and work isn't due until January. You can write 10k words in six-ish months!

The Hannibal Kink Meme
Everybody loves a good kink meme and we could use all the writers we can get! This is also a great resource for ideas for the exchange and the bang.

Hannibal Fics
Very young tiny community but might be a good platform eventually for reccing fic.

Other:
Hannibal Fans
General Hannibal-related news, interviews, and fangirl forums.
black_lodge: (hannibal_professor graham profile)


The minimum wordcount is 10k and final drafts are due January 11. I'm in!

Fic Updates

Jul. 4th, 2013 09:59 am
black_lodge: (hannibal_abby in red)
Posted a couple new Hannibal fics on AO3!

Title: Gun Shy
Length: 12624
Rating: Explicit
Pairing: Will/Abigail
Notes: My Hannibal AU headcanon involves Abigail moving in with Will to piece her life back together, and while Will gets all these confused twisted paternal feelings Abigail is not shopping for a new father. Inevitably their cohabitation leads to her breaking through Will's defenses and seducing the shit out of him. It was inspired in part by Halfhardtorock's fic "The Way We Sleep" which is masterfully done and needs to be properly rec'd here.

~*~*~


He’s not sure what he’s doing wrong with Abigail. He isn’t sure what he felt from her. For her he wants to be all gentleness and paternal concern and that anxiety he supposed was common to all new fathers, but the way she looks at him, sidelong, sighing, and the way she comes forward and then dances back over and over again – he just doesn’t know. He will never replace her parents, but he doesn’t know what she wants him to be instead, or whether she does, in fact, want him to be anything.

Read on AO3.
~*~*~

Title: Scent
Length: 2118
Rating: Explicit
Pairing: Will/Abigail
Notes: She doesn't need to tell Hannibal what happened in the cool dark of Will's little house, because he can smell it on her the moment she walks into his foyer.

~*~*~


She knows Hannibal can smell it on her. She's become sensitive to his sensitivity, always notices the way he buries his nose in the bowl of a wine glass as if the primary pleasure of drinking is actually smelling. She notices the way, too, that his face goes still and his eyes glazy when he meets someone new, as if behind his placid mask he's cataloging every note of their scent for future reference. She tries hard not to notice the way his nostrils flare around her on the days she's menstruating. She knows that intimate smell herself, the humid iron tang.

Read on AO3.

Fic updates

May. 1st, 2013 07:47 am
black_lodge: (tp damn fine coffee)
Last night I started transferring some fic from my old LJ archive to AO3. Fandoms include Watchmen, Hannibal (the books), Pirates of the Caribbean (be still my teenage heart), Pan's Labyrinth, and of course Prometheus. The transfer project is not yet done; I still have some Hellsing stuff to switch over, and I'm debating whether or not to transfer my Harry Potter stuff.

The thing is that my HP fic is very much associated with a different username and I'd kind of like to let it go. I have dreams of one day being able to finish it but at this point my life is far too busy and complicated to work on a novel-length fic that I started when I was fourteen. My writing has changed a lot (it's been almost ten years since I started it) and I find it really hard to work on something I am not one hundred percent proud of anymore.

In any case: currently I have a couple of fics in the works -- one-shots for Twin Peaks and Noelle Stevenson's most amazing webcomic Nimona, which I recommend to anyone who likes fun and gorgeous art and more fun.
black_lodge: (hannibal yellow)
Title: Scratch
Fandom: Hannibal (TV)
Author: Gul
Pairing: Hannibal Lecter/Abigail Hobbs
Rating: M
Source: AO3
Summary: They'll keep each other's secrets, but their promise will be sealed in blood: the scratch on her neck; the scratches down his back.
Link: Here.

Incredibly well-written, an absolutely luscious read. Gul's writes masterfully, and apart from a few very small typos here and there (not so many as to be distracting), the text is professionally done. Furthermore, not only is her prose lush and surprising, but her pacing is perfect, going from tidal flow to staccato surge in a matter of earth-shaking moments. "Lecter was changing her already just from his touch, redirecting blood, rerouting neurons, while she became malleable in his hands. Like dough. Like meat." Goddamn, now that is how you punctuate a sentence. Honestly, this is so good I didn't ever want to get to the end of it. You only read a story like this for the first time once, because you will remember every word.
black_lodge: (Default)
Not only am I a connoisseur of fine fic, but I am also a fan of life hacks, so I'd like to take a moment to elaborate on my current favorite gadget and accompanying programs. I got a Kindle Keyboard for my birthday last semester, which I wanted for the enormous amount of internet-based reading I have to do. (God save me from PDFs of badly-scanned Frakturschrift.) Since then, however, I have discovered that it is a far superior device for reading fic on the go. I've sort of fallen out of the habit of reading fic, though I was obsessive about it when I was younger (er, much younger). The thing is, the glare from the screen really gets to me after a while and a laptop, though my lifeline, is pretty cumbersome. I want to curl up in bed with a good story and I spend 70% of my time on the computer as it is.

With the Kindle, which is extremely affordable by the way, I don't get any glare, and the operating system is simple and the whole device feels super low-tech, which is nice if you're a neo-luddite like me. I like being able to underline and make marginal notes with the weird little keyboard, but I like to have minimal access to the internet when I'm reading, because I'm a notorious procrastinator multi-tasker.

I find two programs indispensable for use with the Kindle. The first you should have whether or not you choose to read fic on the device: Send to Kindle. It's the coolest, easiest-to-use program I can imagine, and it integrates amazingly into your workspace. With Send to Kindle, you can open up a folder and find a document -- PDF, .rtf, .doc, .txt, .mobi, whatever -- right click, select "send to Kindle," and -- you guessed it -- it sends it to your Kindle. It's that easy! And you can input a title and author but the program is pretty decent at figuring out that information on its own.

The other program, which is just as cool, is called FanFictionDownloader. With FFD you start by simply inputting the link to a fic. Actually, you don't even have to paste -- just copy the URL in your browser, toggle to FFD, and it automatically inserts the link from your clipboard. That's a nice feature. Once you finish geeking out about that, you select which chapters you want to download, select the output form (.rtf, .mobi, html, whatever), and hit "download," whereupon it grabs the fic and all its accompanying info for you and packages it up and sticks a nice ribbon on top. You can even set it up so it automatically includes the author, title, fandom, etc in the document title.

(It should be noted that FFD supports a number of archives: FFN, Mugglenet, AFF, FictionPress, Ficwad, and, of course, AO3, among others.)

Even if you don't have a Kindle, you could benefit from this program. Got a favorite 200k fic that you want to be able to access offline? Use FanFictionDownloader! No more copy/pasting tons of text one chapter at a time. RELIEF AT LAST.
black_lodge: (tp cherry stem)
Title: Transformative Pain
Length: 2400
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Nothing would please me more than a Prometheus sequel where über-competent Elizabeth and her sociopathic head-in-a-bag go gallivanting about the galaxy, looking for her makers. That being said, this is not that story, but instead a character sketch of the two and their twisted, effervescent relationship.

~*~*~


In the light of the navigational display, which splits the air with razor-sharp beams of emerald and painful white, the command room doesn't look quite as tomblike. But the gleaming black ribs of the walls arching above their heads look weirdly organic, almost as if in the next moment they will flex with the indrawn breath of a vast and ancient beast stirring from hibernation.

Read on AO3.
black_lodge: (tp audrey mask)
Title: Blue Velvet to Moon River
Author: Gabihime
Pairing: Audrey/Coop
Rating: M?
Source: Yuletide
Note: Written for prozacpark in the Yuletide 2005 Challenge
Summary: He couldn't say exactly when it was when he crossed the soft line in the earth, in his life.
Link: Here.

This is one of those exquisitely written pieces that's going in a folder on my hard drive.... I'd read it just for the prose style if there wasn't anything else to recommend it. But there is, man - they're in character, their voices are perfect, the atmosphere has that Lynchean dream/nightmare vibe, which, combined with the miasma of want and guilt, is irresistible. In my experience, this ship has a lot of difficult hurdles to get past to maintain character, especially with Coop, but Gabihime manages it. Boy does she ever.
black_lodge: (tp audrey chevron)
Title: Untying
Author: Astolat
Pairing: Audrey/Coop
Rating: M
Source: AO3
Summary: Audrey wrote him brief notes all that next year. Today I went to the waterfall pool. It's really too early to swim but I went in anyway. There was no one else around, and I couldn't hear myself breathe or think, the water was so loud. I had to get out too soon because I was cold. Are you ever lonely?
Link: Here.

I haven't been successful in finding much really excellent Twin Peaks fic out there. The fandom's pretty small, and I think there are many more fanartists than fic authors around -- I'll have to post links to a few of my favorite cross-stitch pieces at some point. But this was a really good piece, a suggestion of closure that might fit.

Possible spoilers behind the cut: Read more... )
black_lodge: (tp audrey shoes)
Doing a rewatch of Twin Peaks. Wanting to surround myself with this show, just immerse myself in it completely. There's a redness to its palate that shadows even the mist-draped blues and greens of the mountainous, wooded Pacific northwest. I want to wrap myself in chevrons. I want to take my coffee black. (I never take my coffee black.) I wish I could forget everything so I could watch it for the first time again.

Trying to get back into fandom after a too-long hiatus. Reinventing myself somewhat (?) in the ether. I seem to recall it being easier than this - I had much more confidence when I was a child.

I'm a fan of genius, filmic poetry, rich colors that hide many secrets. I'm an academic. I'm not a fan of blogging. I need to write more. I consume too much. I want to dip my toes in someone else's world!

My fandoms are legion: dystopian literature, post-apocalyptia, thin white dukes, alienation, the eyes behind the mask, nostalgia for other people's pasts, strangers' souls. (I'll show you mine if you show me yours.)

More to come...?
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