Thursday, June 4, 2015

In preparation for my favorite TV show..

One of my favorite television shows, Hannibal, starts a new season tonight. I've been waiting excitedly for it ever since the second season ended last year, and in preparation for it, I started to reminisce on all of past events in the show. It's about a criminal profiler named Will Graham who is both gifted and burdened with the ability to empathize to an extreme extent with killers he is trying to catch. In the process of tracking down one killer, he meets psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, who himself is a brilliant and elusive serial killer and who has a tendency to eat his victims. The show is full of lots of animal imagery, from using stags to shrikes to dogs to convey its heavy symbolism.
In my reminiscing, I was reminded of the repeated use of representing Hannibal as a Wendigo. A Wendigo is a half-man, half-beast creature of legend that is known for its insatiable appetite for human flesh. In Algonquian legend, the Wendigo was once a man who commited some sin (usually cannibalism) and was therefore punished for it by becoming a monster. They are almost like werewolves in that they have no control over being changed into a beast (in most legends).
This made me wonder on the representation of these half-man, half-beast creatures in our culture. The most famous would of course be werewolves, but why do we have such a fascination with such beings? Does it say something about ourselves and our society, that we find being transformed into (what many would consider) a monster so intriguing?
I'm not so sure, but for now I'll sit back and enjoy as the image of a Wendigo version of Hannibal Lecter haunts the screen.

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