Hannibal personality type

Hannibal Lecter Personality Type, Zodiac Sign & Enneagram

Hannibal Lecter

  • Personality type: INTJ
  • Enneagram: 5w4
  • Birth date: January 20, 1933
  • Movie: Silence of the Lambs
  • Zodiac: Aquarius


We explore Hannibal Lecter’s personality type, best personality matches, zodiac sign and Enneagram type. Doctor Hannibal Lecter M.D. is a fictional character from the Hannibal Lecter series. He is a Lithuanian-American serial killer, notorious for consuming his victims, earning him the nickname “Hannibal the Cannibal”. Orphaned at a young age, Lecter moved to the United States of America, becoming a successful psychiatrist. He was eventually caught by Will Graham, who later consulted him for advice on capturing the “Tooth Fairy”. He escaped incarceration whilst assisting Clarice Starling in capturing “Buffalo Bill”. Lecter used wordplay and subtle clues to help Clarice and played a perverse game of “quid pro quo”, sharing what he knew of Buffalo Bill in exchange for details of her childhood. 

Which personality type is Hannibal Lecter?

Hannibal Lecter is an unhealthy INTJ personality type. He is convinced that he is right and is closed-minded to other points of view, no matter how they are presented to him. Carrying a certain arrogance, it’s clear that he thinks he is better than everyone else. Hannibal gets completely caught up in his own visions, to a dangerous extent, and he refuses to consider other future paths.

Hannibal is cold and uncaring. He lacks empathy and kindness, only thinking about his own wellbeing. As an unhealthy INTJ, it’s likely that he struggles to deal with his own emotions and this won’t help matters. Hannibal is tough on people and is dismissive of those who outwardly express their emotions, writing them off as weak and illogical. Plus, he can have passive aggressive tendencies.

What are Hannibal Lecter’s best personality matches?

As an INTJ personality type, Hannibal Lecter’s best matches are ENFP and ENTP. On So Syncd, these personality matches are considered ‘golden pairs’ because they have just the right amount of similarities to understand each other and just the right amount of differences to create that spark. Read our blog post to learn more about INTJ compatibility.

Hannibal Lecter is an Aquarius zodiac sign. Aquarius belongs to the Air element of astrology, along with Gemini and Libra. The symbol of Aquarius is the water bearer, which represents the pure intentions that they bring to the world.

As an Aquarius zodiac sign, Hannibal is a critical thinker with a sharp mind. However, he can get frustrated when people aren’t as quick on their feet or don’t present a logical argument. People of the Aquarius zodiac sign can lack patience when they see someone as unintelligent.

Which Enneagram type is Hannibal Lecter?

Hannibal Lecter is an unhealthy Enneagram Five personality type with a Four wing. Enneagram Fives belong to the head centre, along with Sixes and Sevens, and they naturally make decisions based on analysis. Hannibal seeks to understand before he proceeds. Enneagram Fives value connecting with others on an intellectual level and they like to feel in control.

As an Enneagram Five, Hannibal is in inventive and curious about how things work. However, he focuses his energy on dark topics, such as cannibalism, and becomes obsessed with esoteric ideas. Unhealthy Enneagram Fives are known for having unrealistic visions and isolating themselves which leads them to become detached from the world.

Hannibal Lecter quotes

” I tell you things, you tell me things.”

“Well, Clarice? Have the lambs stopped screaming?”

“I’m having an old friend for dinner.”

MBTI® Of TV's Hannibal Characters

With the recent announcement that NBC's Hannibal might be finding a new home after being canceled, it's the ideal time to delve into the dark and complex psychology of some of the show's characters. In order to do this, we will be using the masterful Myers-Briggs® personality test. After all, it's one of the most fascinating ways of dissecting ourselves as well as our favorite television and film characters.

The list that we've prepared is certainly one of the more challenging Myers-Briggs® analysis' we've done. That's because all of these characters are incredibly well crafted, detailed, and yet, utterly contradicting. But that's why we're so curious about them. So, without further ado, here are the Myers-Briggs® categories for 10 characters from Hannibal.

10. Dr. Hannibal Lecter - ENFJ

How do you possibly put Dr. Hannibal Lecter into a box? After all, he is basically an enigma to everyone. But, for argument's sake, he'd probably be an ENFJ. This is because he is totally charming, gracious, and warm; that is until you see what's lurking underneath all of that. Still, even when he's doing the worst things imaginable, he still retains a genuine attraction to people, which tends to be a major trait of an ENFJ.

Hannibal, without a doubt, is also an extrovert. He even seems to flaunt his true desires in people's faces, they just need to be intelligent enough to see it. But like other ENFJs, Hannibal isn't particularly good when his harmony is being disturbed as well as when he's not being appreciated. Perhaps this is where "eat the rude" comes from?

RELATED: 'Hannibal': Free-Range Rude

9. Will Graham - INFJ

Will Graham is similar to Dr. Hannibal Lecter in many ways. The main difference between them is the fact that Lecter is an extrovert and Graham is very clearly an introvert. This is why he would be an INFJ.

Graham is clearly an INFJ because he pays incredible attention to the inner worlds of an individual, including all of their ideas, fears, and desires. This is what makes him a good and yet an uncontrollable asset to the FBI. Graham also has a deep concern for those whose mind's he gets into. In a sense, he has a connection with them.

INFJs also have issues when they don't get closure. This is something that drives Graham throughout every season of the show, as he constantly wants to solve the case, as well as figure out Lecter.

8. Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier - ENFJ

It's hard to claim that Bedelia is an extrovert since she plays it pretty cool. But this is because she has a largely empathetic perspective on all people, making her demeanor quite calm. Not to mention, she's also very diplomatic. Like other ENFJs, Bedelia is openly expressive and pretty empathic. This is how she is able to both get into a relationship with Lecter, as well as stay in it even after she finds out who he truly is.

One of the main aspects of an ENFJ is their desire to help others fulfill their potential. And given the fact that Bedelia is a pretty messed-up individual, it makes sense that the way she helps Lecter fulfill his potential is to aide him in his crimes.

RELATED: 'Hannibal': What's the Dealia with Bedelia?


Dr. Alana Bloom - ISFJ

For ISFJs like Dr. Alana Bloom, their most central quality is their sense of personal responsibility for accomplishing what needs to be accomplished. She lives in the here and now. This is probably what makes her good at her job. She can listen, but she's also very practical and realistic in her pursuits. Therefore, she doesn't treat Lecter or Graham with the sense of idealism that they have for one another and the tasks they have to accomplish.

Like other ISFJs, Dr. Bloom is very warm and caring. This attracts others to her, especially since she is these things without being grandiose or loud. She is quietly dependable and loving.

RELATED: Hannibal Showrunner Isn't Giving Up on Season 4

6. Francis Dolarhyde - ISFP

Francis Dolarhyde (aka "The Red Dragon" or "The Toothfairy") was a bit of a sad story. He had many positive qualities that persisted throughout much of his time acting upon his worst instincts. This is one of the reasons why he would be classified as an ISFP. He was quite tolerant and accepting of those who have been handed a challenging hand, such as Reba, the woman he saw during the final season. During much of his time with her, he was harmonious and loyal to her. But in moments where he felt that his efforts were being disrupted or he wasn't being understood, he would lash out in not so nice ways. This also comes from the fact that he had such a hard time expressing himself. The festering of his suppressed emotions eventually got the better of him.

5. Beverly Katz - ISTP

Without a doubt, Beverly Katz is an ISTP. During her time on the show, she was incredibly logical and realistic with people and the situations she was put into. This is why she was exceptionally good at being a crime scene investigator. When she wasn't solving a case, she was quiet and introspective. ISTPs tend to be as such, as well as being clever and exceptionally analytical observers. This is where Katz's confidence came from, but it also meant that she wasn't all that great a parties. Small talk wasn't her thing. She was very task-oriented and didn't like to be challenged. She wouldn't battle those who did, but she certainly didn't like it.

RELATED: Bryan Fuller Wants Hannibal to Continue as 'Irregular' Miniseries Events

4. Dr. Frederick Chilton - INTP

There's a reason why Dr. Chilton tended to come across as exceedingly arrogant. That's because INTPs tend to fall into that category. Arrogance tends to be triggered for them when others don't pay them the respect they believe they deserve. Chilton especially didn't like when others would underappreciate his psychoanalytical skills. INTPs also don't like repeating themselves; they want to be listened to. But, again, this comes down to receiving the respect that they think they deserve.

But with being an INTP comes a few very positive traits including being ingenious. Call Dr. Chilton what you'd like, but he was a very smart guy. Sure, he wasn't Lecter or Graham intelligent, but he was pretty close.

3. Mason Verger - ENTJ

It's hard to add any real human traits to a character this twisted and downright bad. But, if we had to, Mason Verger would be classified as an ENTJ. This is the same classification as baddies like Darth Vader and Lord Voldemort. This is because all of them are very tough, critical, and have an easy time taking charge of any given situation. But this is something that Mason was taught by his father, a man who he looked up to greatly. Everything in Mason's life was handed to him, and he used that privilege as a weapon. But, like his father, Mason could also think globally. He was ahead of the game in that regard. ENTJs tend to be exceptionally talented at organizational skills, schemes, and strategy.

RELATED: Hannibal Series Finale Review: Tumbling Over the Edge

2. Abigail Hobbs - INFP

Abigail Hobbs went through a very complex character arc on Hannibal. This would make sense since she is an INFP. People who are placed in this category tend to be complicated individuals. They tend to be introspective, creative, and deeply loyal. All of these traits we saw in Abigail.

In particular, Abigail was exceptionally loyal to both Will and Hannibal once her father was taken out. She had a father/daughter relationship with both of these men, even if they weren't the best choices for her. But after her dad manipulated her for years, Abigail wasn't someone to let that happen to her. We saw some pretty sneaky tactics on her part throughout the show, which INFPs tend to be quite good at.

1. Jack Crawford - ESTJ

Jack Crawford fits perfectly into the ESTJ category. This is because his driving force in the show was to analyze the situations around him and bring some sort of order to them. ESTJs usually have a pretty strong desire to do just that. And they have the skills to do so. They're exceptionally self-confident, organized, logical, assertive, and have no problem taking charge. They're natural-born leaders. Crawford needed all of these skills to take down all of the monsters that the show gave us, including, and especially, Dr. Lecter.

But with these ESTJ traits come ones that tend to complicate things; such as Crawford having a hard time when others question him. Like other ESTJs, Crawford was the kind of guy who took himself and his responsibilities seriously and expected others to appreciate that.

NEXT: Mads Mikkelsen Says Hannibal Is Still Looking For A New Home 

Hannibal Lector - biography of the character, diagnosis and personality

Character history

No matter how evil and monstrous the atrocities of maniacs are, these psychopaths have their fans. True, fictional characters who committed crimes on movie screens or on the pages of literary works are popular. You don't need to look far for examples: Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees have long acquired an army of fans. But Hannibal Lecter stands out from the whole galaxy, because he combines, on the one hand, an erudite surgeon, and on the other, a lover of human flesh. nine0005

Creation history

Few people know, but all the movies about Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, etc.) were based on novels by American writer Thomas Harris. Unfortunately, the biography of this literary figure is extremely scarce and contradictory, so it is difficult to judge what is true and what is a lie.

Writer Thomas Harris

In 1981, the master of words presented to the public the novel "Red Dragon", where for the first time a serial killer appeared before the sophisticated public. This book instantly became a bestseller, and filmmakers took up film adaptations, inviting Hollywood stars to the cast. It is noteworthy that, according to Harris, he was inspired by a criminal from the Mexican town of Monterrey, but the writer did not mention the real name of this man, calling him "Dr. Salazar." nine0005

The writer did not name the exact date of the meeting, but said that on that day he went to places of deprivation of liberty to interview an American prisoner accused of killing three people. Dr. Salazar saved the criminal from a wound that he received while trying to escape, so Thomas mistook him for a prison doctor, although not unreasonably, since this man had an excellent medical education and his own office.

Dr. Alfredo Balli Treviño - prototype of Hannibal Lecter

After this incident, a dialogue arose between the doctor and the creator of the novel, in particular, the writer was worried about the question of why that convict went to murder at all, whether childhood psychological trauma influenced this terrible event. This conversation inspired the scene in The Silence of the Lambs where Lecter asks an FBI agent similar questions. Notably, when the writer asked the warden about Salazar's career, the warden astounded Harris with his answer:

“Doctor? Yes, it's a killer! He's a surgeon, so he was able to pack his victim into a tiny box. Salazar will never get out of here - he's a psycho." nine0017

Researchers believe that the real name of this doctor is Alfredo Balli Treviño, who died in 2009-2010.

The image of Hannibal Lecter

The personality of Hannibal Lecter is extremely mysterious. He appears in the book as a ruthless villain who overshadowed the other characters in the work. Readers, on the one hand, enjoy his intelligence, erudition and elegance, and on the other hand, his taste preferences inspire fear and horror in everyone.

In fact, in this man's kitchen you can find not only salads and wine, but also, for example, roasts made from the human brain or lungs. Moreover, this character, who is fond of eating human flesh, chooses his victims according to a certain principle: either ill-mannered rude people get on his dinner table, or people who interfere with Lecter and contradict his interests, since the hero of the work is an egoist to the marrow of his bones. nine0005 Hannibal Lecter

For example, a maniac, without a twinge of conscience, prepared a musician who spoiled the orchestra's playing, and fed the unfortunate one to his own colleagues, since Lecter is a true fan of art. Therefore, it can be said that Hannibal's principle is to "swallow ugliness."

However, Lecter does not see anything wrong with his actions and even agrees to cooperate with the investigation when a maniac is operating in the city, killing entire families. But Hannibal is guided not by virtue, but by other motives: a true player agrees to help the police out of boredom. nine0005

The antagonist also wishes to overcome the Red Dragon, which instills primal fear in people. Thomas showed in this hero both inhuman features and attractive sides: the esthete Lecter seemed to see through people and read their innermost thoughts.

Hannibal Lecter's Kitchen

In terms of appearance, Harris' villain appears to be a short man, but he presents himself in such a way that he looks much taller. In the writer's novels, Lecter suffered from a rare form of polydactyly: his left hand had six fingers (double the middle one). But later, having made many plastic surgeries, he got rid of this disease. The hero's face was decorated with small brown shiny eyes and a mouth with pearly white teeth. Dark hair, growing in a triangle on his forehead, Lecter constantly combed back. nine0005

Fans of novels and films about serial killers have long been no secret that Lecter has a high intellect, which was the result of the development in his mind of a certain Ars Memoriae - "Palace of Memory", which is a mnemonic system.

Hannibal Lecter

Hannibal had a phenomenal memory and read books quickly, but when he decided to find peace of mind, the "palace" played a cruel joke on him, showing him terrifying memories. It is worth saying that this fictional character cannot be attributed to any of all existing diagnoses and psychotypes, but Frederick Chilton described him as a "true sociopath". nine0005

The fact is that during the murder, Lecter does not experience pleasure, and his pulse remains practically unchanged. Hannibal himself considers psychology "baby talk" and explains his essence as "inner evil". However, if we turn to the biography of Hannibal Lecter, it is not surprising why all human qualities disappeared in him.

Misha, Hannibal Lecter's sister

The criminal was born in Lithuania, his childhood was spent in a wealthy aristocratic family. The father came from the family of the commander Hannibal Grim, who fought in the Battle of Grunwald, which was considered one of the largest battles of Medieval Europe. At 19In the year 39, a girl, Misha, was born in the Lecters' house. In the future, brother and sister had a warm and trusting relationship.

When Lecter was eight years old, his family had to leave the estate and move to a small house in the forest, because the Nazi threat loomed over the country. Then the boy lost his family: his parents and servants died as a result of a German bombardment - it was an operation to neutralize Soviet tanks.

It so happened that the house where Lecter and Misha stayed was found by Lithuanian scammers-marauders. The criminals took the brother and sister prisoner: the future cannibal managed to escape, but the little girl was killed and eaten. These events became a serious psychological trauma for Hannibal, later he will say that then he lost faith in God and justice. After wandering and an orphanage, the main character was adopted by his uncle Robert. nine0005 Hannibal Lecter as a child

The new family tried to raise the alienated boy properly, his uncle and aunt even instilled in him a love for culture and painting. When a thirteen-year-old boy violently attacked a butcher (Paul Maumun) who insulted his relative, Robert and Mrs. Murasaki decided to take their ward to a psychiatrist.

Hannibal's uncle died of a heart attack after arguing with the victim, so Lecter became furious. He killed Paul, beheaded him, and cooked him the way a fish cook did. Lecter tasted the victim's severed cheeks, which was the first act of cannibalism. This scene is described in the book Hannibal Rising, which came out in 2006. nine0005


The first person to transform into a mysterious maniac was Scotsman Brian Denis Cox, who played the madman in Manhunter (1986). The actor shared the set with such movie stars as William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen, Stephen Lang and other cinematographers.

Brian Cox as Hannibal Lecter

Despite the brilliant performance of Cox, the iconic Hannibal Lecter was brought to life by the famous actor Anthony Hopkins, who debuted with this role in The Silence of the Lambs (1990). Few people know that the role of the killer could go to Gene Hackman, Robert Duvall and Jeremy Irons.

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter

Hopkins approached his work with care. In one of the episodes, he looked directly into the camera, arguing that the audience might have the impression that Hannibal Lecter "knows everything." Anthony spotted this unblinking gaze in documentaries about the serial killer Charles Manson.

Gaspard Ulliel as Hannibal Lecter

The actor also tried to give his character an original voice, which he borrowed from Truman Capote and Katharine Hepburn. In addition, his manner of speech was influenced by the HAL 9 computer. 000", which appeared in the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" directed by Stanley Kubrick. Despite the fact that in The Silence of the Lambs Hopkins appeared in front of television viewers for only 16 minutes, he was awarded the prestigious Oscar award. Anthony played Hannibal in the films Hannibal (2001) and Red Dragon (2002).

Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter

In 2007, French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who appeared in the film Hannibal Rising, took over. In the American television thriller Hannibal (2013-2015), the role of an intelligent criminal went to actor Mads Mikkelsen, who was remembered by fans for his charisma and extravagant phrases. In 2014, Mads replenished his piggy bank with the Saturn Award, which he received for his role in the series. nine0005

Interesting facts

  • Hannibal Lecter's date of birth is January 20, 1933.
  • There is an assumption that serial killer Albert Fish was the prototype of Hannibal Lecter. But this man mainly hunted for small children, which the antagonist from the cycle of novels by Thomas Harris did not do.
Serial killer Albert Fish
  • There are many examples in history when soldiers ate people in difficult times. However, not everyone was led by hunger, for example, in 1763, during the uprising of the North American Indians, one of the American soldiers was eaten by local cannibals during the ritual. Such tribes, who dine with their brothers, exist in our day. Therefore, scary tales circulate among tourists, and the directors took these motifs for their favorite horror films. nine0066
  • Attentive cinephiles will notice that on the poster for the film The Silence of the Lambs, a skull is depicted on the body of a butterfly, which consists of naked girls.
Poster for the film "The Silence of the Lambs"
  • Sometimes journalists do desperate things for the sake of material. William Seabrook, a New York Times reporter, provided such an example. An American borrowed a piece of a healthy person's body from an acquaintance of a medical student and prepared it for his research. In the article, William wrote that the roasted meat tasted like young veal without specific characteristics. nine0066
  • If Seabrook (according to his article) had a gastronomic pleasure, then the four Asians had a hard time: they ate their compatriot, and this caused a severe reaction in their body. The criminals were taken to the hospital, where the doctor found a human finger on an x-ray of the abdominal cavity of one of the patients. The doctor immediately called the police.

The person behind the monster. Exclusive interview with creator Hannibal Lecter

Thomas Harris, author of The Silence of the Lambs, has not given extensive press interviews since the mid-1970s. Forbes Life publishes an exclusive translation of his talk from The New York Times - about fans, the secrets of craftsmanship, the influence of Japanese novels on Hannibal's dialogues and the rhythm of work

Miami. Thomas Harris, the creator of one of the most terrifying literary monsters, perhaps has one of the darkest creative imaginations among modern writers. His infamous serial killer Hannibal Lecter eats his victims' organs, cooking them exquisitely, and he once ate a man alive, serving pieces of his brain with truffles and capers. nine0005

Finished reading here

So it's a little scary when Harris insists he's not making things up. which passes by a small island called Bird Key, where the climactic scene of his new novel Kari Mora unfolds. Everything has already happened. There is nothing to create. You don't need to invent anything in this world."

Harris is 78 years old, and he repeats this thought, or a variation of it, almost every time I ask him about the origin of a scene or character, and it occurs to me that his answer is the most terrible thing that can be expected. It's not that Harris has a terrifying imagination, but that he is an astute observer and chronicler of society and its darkest impulses. nine0005

For nearly 45 years, Harris has terrified readers with his macabre novels, which have sold over 50 million copies, and created one of the most memorable fictional villains of all time - along with Darth Vader and Dracula. However, quite a bit is known about Harris or his creative process. He doesn't sign books or perform. He has not given full-length interviews since the mid-1970s, as he prefers to let his work speak for itself.

For decades, his silence only fueled the public's admiration for his illusory identity behind the monster. Perhaps the most surprising thing about Kari More, his first book in 13 years, is that Harris is willing to talk about it at all. nine0005

"You're trying to reinvent yourself," he says.

"Kari Mora" symbolizes a significant deviation for Harris. For the first time since his 1975 debut Black Sunday, he has written a novel that does not feature Hannibal Lecter. This is the first time Harris has written extensively about Miami, his home, for the past 30 years, allowing him to explore the plight of immigrants and refugees, a topic that has weighed heavily on him.

The protagonist of Kari Mora's novel is a Colombian refugee who works as caretaker of a Miami Beach mansion that once belonged to drug lord Pablo Escobar. Kari lives in constant fear that immigration might revoke the temporary citizenship that protects her, and she will be caught by two rival criminal gangs who are vying with each other for treasure rumored to be buried under the mansion. nine0005

“The image of Hannibal still crosses my mind and I sometimes wonder what he's up to. But I wanted to talk about Miami, and the local people, and the local opposition, and the aspirations that I see in the new people coming here,” says Harris. “You understand, such a longing for another life.”

Harris and I met on a clear, sultry morning in the parking lot of Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, the Bay of Biscay animal care center that features prominently in his new novel. Kari works there as a volunteer, taking care of injured birds. nine0005

Harris, a nature lover, has been visiting the center regularly for 20 years. He brought orphaned squirrels and an injured ibis there, and he went to a wildlife restoration workshop, learning how to intubate poor animals while practicing on a dead opossum. “Everyone else has birds,” he says.

When we arrived, he greeted the director and staff and asked about the animals he saw during his last visit. “There was a possum sleeping here last time I was here,” he says, before asking about the little owlets he saw sitting on the locker. “I felt like I was being watched, and really,” he says of the owls. nine0005

Although Harris has been involved with the center since 1999, until recently no one knew who he was, Christopher Boykin, the center's executive director, tells me.

“One day I asked him what he did and he said he was a writer, and I said, “Have I heard of you?” Boykin says. “We had no idea. He is such a kind, gentle man."

"Fame is more troublesome than anything else"

The fact that Harris, a psychopathic and serial killer charmer, has a weakness for sick animals may seem ridiculous to those who know him only from his work, but this is not surprise anyone who met him. nine0005

Harris loves privacy, but he's not a recluse like JD Salinger or Thomas Pynchon. When he's not writing, he draws, cooks gourmet meals, and dine with friends. He often sits in the front yard of his Miami Beach mansion, where he watches ibises, opossums, iguanas, and the occasional dolphin or manatee. During the summer, he and his partner Pace Barnes go to their home in Sag Harbor.

"He hoots," says David Rivers, a retired Miami-Dade Police Department homicide sergeant who has known Harris for decades and helped him research for his novels. “If you didn't know who he was, you'd think he was just an old man from Mississippi. He doesn't impress himself or anyone else." nine0005

Despite his distaste for interviews, Harris is a suave and impeccably mannered host. He meets me as a bookish introvert, quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald, Horace, Socrates, Pablo Neruda, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams during our conversation. After a tour of Seabird Station, he took me to Books & Books in Coral Gables and then to the studio of Luis Pardini, a local artist he is friends with and whose painting appears in Kari More.

But in public, Harris is vigilant, bordering on caution. He sometimes uses his cell phone screen as a reflective surface to keep an eye on what's behind him. During lunch, Harris kept looking over his shoulder. At some point, a fan recognized him and asked to be photographed, and he was kindly forced to do so, until the woman shouted: “Tell everyone - Clarice!” After that, the people sitting next to us fell silent and began to eavesdrop. nine0005

Harris is very fond of fan photos, but he tries to avoid such intrusion. Fame, he says, "causes more trouble than anything else. "

“I always thought stories already existed. You just have to find them.”

Harris usually starts work around 8:30 in the morning. He writes until 2 or 3, then he has dinner and takes a nap. Sometimes he completes a single paragraph. When he gets stuck in a particularly difficult place, he starts writing by hand.

Harris describes the work of a writer as almost a passive process, something happening to him rather than him doing something. His novels start with a scene playing in his head, then he tries to figure out what was before and what will be after. He talks about his characters as if they exist in the world, leading parallel lives independent of his books.

Operation can be painfully slow. Decades have passed between some of his novels.

“Sometimes you really have to shove and grunt and sweat,” says Harris. Some days you come into your office and you're the only one who shows up, none of the characters show up and you sit there alone feeling like an idiot. And on other days everyone comes to work. You must come to the office every day. If an idea comes, you long to be there to grab it.” nine0005

He quotes a line from Gustave Flaubert: "Human speech is like a cracked cauldron, and we tap out bear dances on it when we would like to touch the stars with our music."

Harris grew up in a small community in Mississippi where his family owned cotton, soybean and wheat farms near the Coldwater River. “My companions when I was a little kid were mostly turkeys,” he says.

He studied English at Baylor University and worked as a reporter in Waco, Texas. The distribution of the magazine took him to northern Mexico, where he met a prison doctor who would later inspire Hannibal Lecter. nine0005

In 1968, he got a job with the Associated Press in New York, covering robberies, murders, and riots. While he was there, he and two other reporters plotted for Black Sunday, a novel about a terrorist plan to attack the Super Bowl. (They split the advance and Harris wrote the novel.)

Harris wrote his second novel, Red Dragon, which introduced us to Hannibal while nursing his ailing father in Mississippi. Stephen King compared the book to The Godfather and later called Hannibal "the greatest fictional monster of all time". Director Michael Mann adapted the story into a feature film. nine0005

Harris described the unnerving feeling of his charismatic villain. He once wrote that he was "uncomfortable in the presence of Dr. Lecter, I'm not sure the doctor can't see me."

But since then, Harris could not escape his creation.

Hannibal has become an unexpected pop culture phenomenon since Harris' 1988 novel The Silence of the Lambs, about an FBI intern named Clarice Sterling who visits Hannibal in prison and seeks his advice in her search for a serial killer. nine0005

The novel sold a million copies, and in 1991 it was made into a film starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, which won five Oscars.

Harris didn't watch it for many years. He was disappointed with Manhunter, the 1986 adaptation of Red Dragon, and "had problems with the movies". And then one night, two years after The Silence of the Lambs won an Oscar, Harris turned on the TV to check the weather and switched to cable. nine0005

“The dialogue was very familiar,” he says. So I sat down and started watching. And it was a great movie."

With the success of the film, Hannibal Lecter has become a lucrative piece of intellectual property. Harris wrote two more novels, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising.

"Hannibal Lecter is like Coca-Cola or Kleenex or some other amazing brand," says Ben Sevier, Harris' editor. “It became more than just a fictional character created by Tom.” nine0005

But as the franchise grew, fans began to tire of the cannibal. Hannibal Rising was a commercial and major disappointment. Producer Dino De Laurentiis, who adapted Hannibal Rising, told Entertainment Weekly that Harris was not interested in a prequel and only agreed after De Laurentiis told Harris that he owned the rights to the character and that he would create someone else. if Harris says no.

Harris does not entirely dispute this, but presents it as a sincere conviction of De Laurentiis, who died in 2010. “He had the rights to the sequel and the character, and he could do whatever he wanted,” says Harris. “He was very passionate about the film and it was contagious, I guess.” nine0005

Readers' enthusiasm, however, began to dissipate. In 2006, Harris' publisher first ordered 1.5 million copies of Hannibal Rising to be printed, but only about 300,000 hardcover copies of the novel were sold, according to NPD BookScan. Some critics viewed the book as a crude attempt to squeeze more material out of a fading franchise and noted that Harris's once-plastic dialogue felt tight and influential. (Harris says this is because he wrote altered dialogues between Hannibal and his aunt, Lady Murasaki, in the poetic style of the Heian period, as an homage to the 11th century Japanese novel The Tale of Genji. Some readers, apparently didn't get the hint.)

The television adaptation of Hannibal developed a cult following but was canceled by NBC after three seasons. (Harris says he hasn't seen her, but plans to have a drink and watch when he has time.)

Even Harris' literary agent, Morton Janklow, noticed signs of fan apathy.

“The audience was fed up,” Janklow says. - He ran out of character. As my grandmother used to say, "Too much is too much."

Harris doesn't rule out writing more books about Hannibal, but says it would be a relief to distance himself from him. “I made room for something else,” says Harris. nine0005

Over the years, journalists and biographers have put forward various theories as to why Harris stopped speaking publicly about his work.

One widespread myth is that curious reporters kept trying to figure out where his twisted ideas came from, and Harris became angry at the conclusion that he harbored psychopathic tendencies.

"This assumption is not entirely correct," he says. He stopped giving interviews because he didn't like them and didn't need them. “I'm lucky that my books have found readers without my participation in the promotion, and I prefer this method,” he says. nine0005

People sometimes ask him how he comes up with such creepy stories. When I asked him what his answer was, Harris stared at me as if the answer was obvious.

“I answer that I am not imagining anything. Look around you, he says. “After all, everything has already happened.”

Harris then gives me a forced smile and purses his lips, as if politely letting me know that that's all he wanted to say about it.

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