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[W]hen one … meets with his other half, the actual half of himself, … the pair are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and one will not be out of the other’s sight, … even for a moment: these are the people who pass their whole lives together, and yet they could not explain what they desire of one another. For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover’s intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment. … [H]uman nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.”  – Aristophane’s Speech in Plato’s,  Symposium

(gifs by @bosswaldcobblepot)


“… let me show you what we could do together Doctor!  I am so eager to please you to be your friend your lover perhaps.  Why not I think we could love each other Doctor.  Don’t you want to have someone that is the one in your life?  That special someone that is always there for you – It is me Doctor!”  – Dolarhyde’s Ledger, Page Two


While I suppose this sentiment was no particular surprised, I was surprised to see it written.  This revelation by Dolarhyde certainly adds a new dimension to Richard Armitage’s beautifully nuanced portrayal of Francis.


A quick and dirty history of the wheel of fortune:

(This is by no means a comprehensive look at the topic.)


While the precursor to the Wheel of Fortune appears in Pre-Christian civilization, the concept that has been popularly perpetuated is that of 6th century Roman philosopher, Boethius in his The Consolation of Philosophy:

“I know how Fortune is ever most friendly and alluring to those whom she strives to deceive, until she overwhelms them with grief beyond bearing, by deserting them when least expected. … Are you trying to stay the force of her turning wheel? Ah! Dull-witted mortal, if Fortune begin to stay still, she is no longer fortune.”

The Carmina Burana

This illustration from the Carmina Burana (c. 1230) gives a visual illustration of the wheel, showing the goddess Fortuna at the center of the wheel and depicts at the outside of the wheel, as the wheel turns clockwise, the rise and fall of a sovereign.

tumblr_inline_nr7c02xf0w1t6dgdb_500 (1)

Several of the poems of the Carmina Burana address the wheel of fortune, most notably for our purposes here:

The wheel of fortune spins:
One man is abased by its descent,
The other is carried aloft;
All too exalted sits the king at the top –
Let him beware ruin!
(No. 16, Fortune plango vulnera)

Fate, as vicious as capricious,
You’re a wheel whirling around:
Evil doings, worthless wooings,
Crumble away to the ground:
Darkly stealing, unrevealing,
Working against me you go;
For your measure of foul pleasure
Bare-backed i bow to your blow
(No. 17, O Fortuna)

The Medieval Wheel of Fortune is typically labelled “I shall reign” (regnabo) at the left, “I reign” (regno) at the top, “I have reigned” (regnavi) at the right and “I am without a kingdom”(sum sine regno) at the bottom.  As the wheel turns clockwise – spun at the pleasure of Fortune – man cycles through the stages of fortune from good to bad to good once again.

Dante’s Inferno

In keeping with Season 3’s theme of Dante’s Inferno, Fortune and her wheel also put in an appearance in Dante’s fourth level of Hell (reserved for the punishment of avarice – both the hoarding and over-spending of wealth). While she authors men’s fate, she remains unaffected by the task, indeed, even “rejoicing in her bliss”:

“Your wisdom cannot withstand her: she foresees, judges, and pursues her reign, as theirs the other gods. her changes know no truce. Necessity compels her to be swift, so fast do men come to their turns. This is she who is much reviled even by those who ought to praise her, but do wrongfully blame her and defame her. But she is blest and does not hear it. Happy with the other primal creatures she turns her sphere and rejoices in her bliss.“
(Inferno, VII.85-96).

The Wheel of Fortune in Contorno

We are first introduced to the image of the wheel in Antipasto while Hannibal and Dimmond are appropriately discussing “what fate befell Dr. Fell.” (35:42)  If we transmute the literal breaking wheel at the Palazzo Capponi to the metaphoric Wheel of Fortune, Hannibal and Dimmond are indeed discussing not only the literal circumstance of Dr. Fell’s demise, but also his fall from the Wheel position “I reign” to the unenviable position “I am without a kingdom” that inevitably accompanies death.  (It must be noted that the breaking wheel itself is a sort of wheel of fortune of a different ilk.)

Bringing the Wheel of Fortune closer to home, the fight scene at the end of Contorno begins with Hannibal at the top of our metaphoric Wheel, the Palazzo Capponi, looking down at Jack who is positioned at the bottom of the Wheel.  There can be no argument that in this moment, Hannibal – having successfully wounded everyone he loves and secured a life of elegance, academia and murder in Florence – reigns and that Jack – having lost everything and everyone he loves – is without a kingdom.

Immediately prior to Jack’s final blow to Hannibal, he spins the Wheel clockwise, (41:11) both acts set into motion the fall that plummets Hannibal from “I reign” to “I am without a kingdom” and the retribution that sets Jack to rights by returning him to an emotional and moral reign.  This exchange of status is symbolized by Jack’s and Hannibal’s diametrically opposed physical location from the beginning of the scene to the end of the fight.

(It is important, I think, to note that Jack is not acting as Fortune in his spinning of the Wheel as he cannot be both the source and the subject of his change in status.  Rather, Jack is giving us a visual demonstration of the capriciousness of Fortune’s Wheel.)


You are doubtless familiar with Carl Orff’s musical interpretation of the Carmina Burana.  for fun, here are links to O Fortuna and Fortune Plango Vulnera quoted above.

Episode 3.12: The Number of the Beast is 666

“Then I [John of Patmos] saw a second beast, coming out of the earth.  It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon.  It exercised all authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed.  And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people.  Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of earth. … The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.  It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark… or the number of its name.

“This calls for wisdom.  Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast… That number is 666.”  (New International Version)

William Blake The Number of the Beast is 666

The Number of the Beast is 666 by William Blake


Richard Armitage as The Great Red Dragon

In both pictures above, the Dragon displays his glory for the Beast from the Sea.  in the Blake painting, however, the Beast from the Earth joins them in the guise of a sheep-like creature – a lamb but not a lamb – the proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

As frequently as Will is referred to as a lamb throughout the series, the appearance of the second Beast cannot be dismissed.  There is a dichotomy to Will:  He is kind and he is a killer.  He is dedicated to justice and he’s willing to bend the rules.  Hell, for the second half of Season 2, he’s so dichotomous that even he doesn’t know where his sympathies and loyalties lie.  Will is at once the Christ-figure of the Lamb and the minion of evil, a lamb-beast.

When you boil it all down, you have a lamb with a temper and a beastie that looks nonthreatening.  There really is no better description of the dual aspects of Will.

Anyway… things don’t end so well for this merry band of baddies:  The Dragon gets bound in chains for a thousand years and the Beasts get thrown alive into a fiery lake of burning sulfur.  But at least the beasts go together, I suppose.  To keep one another company in hell.

See: Part 1, The Woman and The Dragon & Part 3, The Beast Out of the Sea

3.8: The Great Red Dragon
3.9: … and the Woman Clothed with the Sun
3.10: … and the Woman Clothed in Sun

“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. … Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.  Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to earth. …


The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun by William Blake


Richard Armitage as The Great Red Dragon

“Then war broke out in heaven.  Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.  But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven.  The great dragon was hurled down – that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray.  He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. …

“When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman… The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent’s reach.” (New International Version)


The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun by William Blake


Rutina Wesley as Reba McClane

See: Part 2, The Beast Out of the Earth & Part 3, The Beast Out of the Sea

3.11: … and the Beast from the Sea

“And I [John of Patmos] stood on the shore of the sea.  And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.  It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.  The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion.  The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. … People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast.” (New International Version)


If Francis is the Dragon, Hannibal is the Beast from the Sea.  How is it possible, though, for Francis to give power to Hannibal?  Ostensibly, Hannibal is the more powerful of the two.  However, three years have passed since Hannibal has been a menace, a danger, a powerful Beast.  Francis doesn’t so much give his power to Hannibal as he provides Hannibal the opportunity to resurrect his own power.  Through Francis the old gang reunites, will returns to Hannibal, Hannibal becomes involved in FBI investigations again, returns Hannibal to the tabloid spotlight, provides him with an opportunity for mischief, etc.

Further evidence of this power by proxy is that Francis is only truly able to become the dragon when he is influencee, supported and protected by Hannibal.  it is in the shadow of Hannibal’s power that Francis is able to flourish.

See: Part 1, The Woman and The Dragon & Part 2, The Beast Out of the Earth

Episode 11(ish): The Number of the Beast is 666

“The seals are being opened…” – Hannibal

Revelations 5 tells of a scroll with seven seals that only the Lamb (Christ) is worthy of opening.  In Revelations 6, a new aspect of the Judgment/Apocalypse is revealed with every broken seal.  The chaos of the Judgment is not actually set into motion by the act of breaking the seals; rather, Revelations 6 serves as a dumbshow of sorts, introducing the cast of characters and each of their roles in the forthcoming chaos.

The First Seal: 1st Horseman – Anti-Christ & Conqueror

“I [John of Patmos] watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. … I looked, and there before me was a white horse!  Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.” (x)(x)

The Second Seal: 2nd Horseman – War, Slaughter & Bloodshed

“… the Lamb opened the second seal…  Then another horse came out, a fiery red one.  Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other.  To him was given a large sword.” (x)

The Third Seal: 3rd Horseman – Famine

“…the Lamb opened the third seal… and there before me was a black horse!  Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand.  Then I heard what sounded like a voice… saying, “Two pounds of wheat for a day’s wages, and six pounds of barley for a day’s wages and do not damage the oil and the wine!” (x)(x)

The Fourth Seal: 4th Horseman – Pestilence & Death

“…the Lamb opened the fourth seal… I looked, and there before me was a pale horse!  Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him.  They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” (x)(x)


Death on a Pale Horse by William Blake

The Fifth Seal: Souls of the Martyrs

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.  They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”  Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.” (x)(x)

The Sixth Seal: Cosmic Signs

“I watched as he opened the sixth seal.  There was a great earthquake.  The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth… The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.” (x)(x)


from Episode 3.08: The Wrath of the Lamb

“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains They called to the mountains and the rocks,

‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!  For the great day of his wrath has come, and who can withstand it?’” (x)

The Seventh Seal: Silence

“When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.”

Then the machinations of the seals and the chaos of Judgment begin.


The Last Judgment by William Blake

(Biblical source)


Dolarhyde’s cleft palate, though repaired, has left him with a lisp.  Specifically, a lateral lisp – one in which air escapes from the sides of the mouth when making sibilant sounds.  In order for a person to produce sibilant sounds:

“…air must flow over the tongue and strike the front teeth … if teeth are missing or misaligned … then the air flow may escape before striking the front teeth.  Many children with repaired cleft palate have restricted (or collapsed) upper dental arches.” (x)

An exercise to make one aware of the direction of air flow while annunciating sibilant sounds is to hold a finger in front of one’s mouth to help consciously redirect the air.  As seen above, Dolarhyde uses this exercise by directing “sixty-six” at his index finger.

Not lost is the juxtaposition of Dolarhyde’s ability to control and perfect his physique through exercise while remaining unable to master his speech through the same.  And while he is able to assert his physical strength through the Tooth Fairy murders, he feels forced to communicate through images – moving, still, on film, on canvas, in mirrors and on flesh.  Because the sibilant sounds are incurable, so does the man assume himself to be.