Hannibal and Will

"If I saw you everyday forever, Will, I would remember this time." - Hannibal Lector

Dr. Hannibal Lector and Will Graham have had many incarnations, but the versions that I know and love are from Bryan Fuller's tv adaptation of Thomas Harris' works. Theirs is one of the most complex and twisted relationships I have ever seen portrayed in any medium, and while the two are not healthy for one another in the slightest, they are also perfect for each other. Hannibal was Will's psychiatrist and confidant as he assisted the FBI with difficult cases as a special investigator with an extremely strong sense of empathy. Will was able to put himself into the shoes of a killer and determine their motives in ways that others could not, but it was also detrimental to his mental and emotional health. While Hannibal was brought in to help Will and evaluate his wellness to continue working on cases, he had ulterior motives for doing the exact opposite. Hannibal was actually the serial killer/cannibal that Will was trying to find, and Hannibal worked diligently to not get caught while also amusing himself by playing with Will's brain. Through psychic driving and an undiagnosed case of Encephalitis, Hannibal was able to frame Will for murder and lay the groundwork for the beginnings of their true relationship with each other.

What Hannibal did to Will is by no means justified, but to him it was just a means towards Will discovering his true self. Will confided in Hannibal many times that he enjoyed and fantasized about killing people, and Hannibal saw a kindred spirit. When Will was released from prison, he and Hannibal were on a more level playing field since he now knew what Hannibal was. He continued attending their therapy sessions, as no other psychiatrist would be able to understand Will's thoughts and desires, and the two began a dark courtship that lasted until the end of the series. They both tried to have each other killed on occasions, both by other's hands and their own, but it was all part of the twisted game they were playing with each other. Neither really wanted the other dead, but rather wanted to set the game pieces in motion just to see what would happen. They were completely obsessed with each other, and no one, including themselves, was safe from the pain and destruction their love wrought.

Not every love story has to be full of smiles, hand-holding, hugs, and kisses, and Hannibal and Will are proof of this. They were connected to their very souls, and watching them slay the Great Red Dragon together showed just how perfect they were for each other. Will had worked so hard to fight against the carnal side of him that Hannibal wanted to bring out, and when he finally embraced it, he was able to accept who he was at Hannibal's side. Their final battle was as beautiful as it was horrifying, and having Will take control of their fate in the end with Hannibal gracefully acquiescing was a perfect end to their story. Whether they lived or died doesn't matter, as long as they were together, but I wouldn't object to seeing the Murder Husbands in action if the series were to continue on in the future.


1x01: Aperitif

Will: "I don't find you that interesting."

Hannibal: "You will."

2x07: Yakimono

Will: "I have to deal with you, and my feelings about you. I think it's best if I do that directly."

Hannibal: "First you have to grieve for what is lost, and what is changed."

Will: "I've changed. You changed me."

2x08: Su-zakana

Hannibal: "I need to know if you're going to try to kill me again, Will."

Will: "I don't want to kill you anymore, Dr. Lector. Not now that I finally find you interesting."

2x09: Shiizakana

Hannibal: "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."

2x13: Mizumono

Will: "You were supposed to leave."

Hannibal: "We couldn't leave without you."

[Hannibal guts Will and pulls him into an embrace]

Hannibal: "Time did reverse. The teacup that I shattered did come together. A place was made for Abigail in your world. Do you understand? A place was made for all of us. Together. I wanted to surprise you, and you...you wanted to surprise me. Now that you know me...see me. I gave you a rare gift, but you didn't want it."

Will: "Didn't I?"

Hannibal: "You would deny me my life."

Will: "No, no, not your life, no."

Hannibal: "My freedom, then. You would take that from me. Confine me to a prison cell. Do you believe you could change me, the way I've changed you?"

Will: "I already did."

3x04: Aperitivo

Jack: "You remember when you decided to call Hannibal?"

Will: "I wasn't decided when I called him. I just called him. I deliberated while the phone rang. I decided when I heard his voice."

Jack: "You told him we knew."

Will: "I told him to leave because I wanted him to run."

Jack: "Why?"

Will: "Because...because he was my friend, and because I wanted to run away with him."

3x06: Dolce

Will: "You and I have begun to blur."

Hannibal: "Isn't that how you found me?"

Will: "Every crime of yours feels like one I'm guilty of. Not just Abigail's murder, every murder stretching backward and forward in time."

Hannibal: "Freeing yourself from me and me freeing myself from you, they're the same."

Will: "We're conjoined. Curious whether either of us can survive separation."

3x12: The Number of the Beast is 666

Will: "Is Hannibal in love with me?"

Bedelia: "Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for you and find nourishment in the very sight of you? Yes. But do you ache for him?"

3x13: The Wrath of the Lamb

Hannibal: "See. This is all I ever wanted for you, Will. For both of us."

Will: "It's beautiful." [they embrace]

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Season 1
Season 2
Season 3