I'm about midway through reading Hannibal Rising, and I saw a commercial for the movie. Well, hell, I've always liked the Doc and the book makes me like him even more. But frankly Lady Murasaki (referred to as "the woman in his life" in the trailers) ticks me off.
A little background if I may indulge myself (feel free to skip if you wish to either read the book in full or see the movie before stumbling across any spoilers. And trust me, this post is gonna be loaded with 'em). In short, at the age of ten Hannibal (or Hanny as I call him in our correspondences) had his parents killed in front of him during WWII in Russia. Over that winter Hanny ate, against both his will (and more than likely his ability to comprehend to even the most brilliant 10yo, which he certainly was) he and his captors consumed not just his parents, but almost the entire household staff, an Albanian boy who was hiding out in the barn (talk about your ultimate loser in a game of hide and seek), and Hanny's 3yo sister, Mischa. The future Doc survived only out of sheer luck. Ie, the war in Russia was over.
In other words, it's completely understandable why Hanny doesn't say a damn thing for the next three years. Before I tell you what he said and to whom, that three year gap needs to be filled in.
After the war, the original Lecter homestead was turned into an orphanage. And well, since Hanny is an orphan he stays there for a while. Luckily for a particularly abusive teacher who thinks it would be a good idea to beat the crap out of a mute just to see if he could scream Hanny's Uncle (Count Lecter) shows up to whisk the future Doc off to Paris to live with him and his Japanese wife Lady Murasaki.
Count Lecter and Lady Murasaki are "the good guys" who truly provide a safe haven for the young Hanny. He is both taught and accepted. In this environment, were it to last and the outside world, were it not to interfere with its bitterness and vial hatred for "that which is different" Hannibal would have remained happily mute, screaming out only in his nightmares, while he spent his days painting pictures of beetles on flowers.
But, the world, recently recovered from WWII ain't so nice, especially to its former enemies, classified in one lump as "Japannoisse" (from what I can tell it's a French vulgar for "Nip"). One butcher in particular whose name escapes me at the moment even had the audacity to ask Lady Murasaki if a certain body part was slanted sideways.
Hannibal spoke the first word he said in the three years since he was rescued: "Beast" and went upon the butcher so viciously it took two full grown men to pull him off. A slap on the wrist by Inspector Popil (in the commercials, he's the one giving Hannibal his first, of what would be many, "lie detector" tests) and Hanny was free to go.
But I knew, as I'm sure you do, that even then, the butcher was doomed to be the first of many victims.
Did he deserve it? Ah hell, I dunno, nor do I care. It's fiction after all. But that's not the point of this post either. The important part is this, not only did Lady Murasaki know what happened but she was damned pleased about the whole thing. Ie: "You did this for me?" were her exact words. The impression I got from reading the book was her tone was along the lines of a guy buying a dozen roses for his gal. Or heck, even a house for his bride to be.
In short, Lady Murasaki was neither pissed, nor outraged, nor stunned, nor any of those things even I could picture myself being. In fact, the more she finds out about the particular details of the crime, the more pleased she becomes. And yeah, Hannibal started his elaborate, torture ritual murders at the age of thirteen. Gotta admire those early bloomers.
And here's the point where I just wanna bitch slap Lady Murasaki. Granted, I haven't finished reading the book, but her reaction to Hannibal when what he's doing later as he recalls names and faces of everyone that forced him to eat his family and takes out his vengence on them.
She freaks and tells him to stop.
Ok, so, let me get this straight. It was not only ok, but admirable if he killed for you for what could be considered an eye-for-an-eye (since the butcher is presumed to have caused, if not directly, then indirectly, the death of Count Lecter (he died of a heart attack somewhere along the way of intending to order the butcher to apologize to Lady Murasaki. Whether the Count died on the way there, during a tussle, or on the way back is unclear) and for what could best be called "the ultimate in bad manners." She's fine with that.
But for Hannibal to go after someone for his own honor, she freaks out and spazzes?
Ugh! Talk about nerve.