I know a lot of people are taking issue with this lately, but personally I will always lean towards dark will graham analysis because at its heart, hannibal is a show about self acceptance. while it’s morbid, will’s gradual acceptance of his own violent tendencies is liberating for me to watch. the transition from a man who is vulnerable to influence, to a man who is more “intimate with his instincts”, makes me feel empowered as someone who understands what it feels like to always be underestimated.
yes, will grapples with his own sense of morality. he is righteous, he is empathetic with the weak, and he is trying to be what society perceives as a good person. but his character arc is about coming to terms with his sense of self, and being aware of the darkness inside of him is at the heart of that. when will pulls himself and hannibal from the cliff he leaves behind his last shred of conformity and is reborn as the person he knows he is. so to write about will as someone who is drawn to violence and enjoys violence - even from the start of the show - just makes sense to me.
and to be frank, I don’t think will is a vigilante. does he hunt predators because of his empathy? yes, often he does. but as I’ve written before, his sense of “righteousness” evolves throughout the series. by season 3 he knowingly lets innocent people get hurt. I am allowed to say that will is cruel and manipulative, because he sends chilton to be caught by the dragon and says to bedelia part of him knew what was going to happen. chilton wasn’t a predator, he became the prey. the wrath of the lamb touches everyone, innocent or otherwise.
and yes, will collects strays. he is warm with people he likes. he is trying to be good. yes, he is complex, but I will not excuse him. to me the most enjoyable part about the show is that it allows its characters to go to dark and unpleasant places that they couldn’t go in the real world. and therefore to focus on will’s darkness seems justified to me. I personally believe that even season 1 demonstrates his tendencies for violence and the early signs of his becoming, but that’s just my own opinion.
what I do dislike is this idea that people in the fandom are supposed to be united under one singular headcanon, when the point of analysis is to present your own ideas and take your own meaning from a subject. you can engage with other people’s analysis, that’s the whole point of fandom, and whether you agree or disagree is up to you. but it is not fair or creative to try and conform everyone into a fanon narrative when nbc hannibal is all about ambiguity
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