In the early episodes of Hannibal season 3, I understood that Dr. Lecter believes we can change the taste of meats (humans and animals) while they are still alive by feeding them with refined flavors.

As this theory seems to have been created by Hannibal (or at least evoked only by Hannibal in the TV show), we can deduce that Hannibal has been working on this theory throughout his cannibal's life.

So for Hannibal, perfect flesh can only be his as he spent his whole life eating refined flavor and cooking as he likes to eat (both normal dishes and cannibal dishes), hence the question: is it the last will of Hannibal to eat himself (or some part of his body) as the perfect last meal?

Do the books that inspired the series (and movies) speak of this theory?

  • FWIW, I don't think Hannibal expressed a wish to eat himself in the books.
    – Walt
    Aug 30, 2015 at 20:45
  • 7
    "Dr. Lecter believes we can change the taste of meats by feeding them with refined flavors" -- no, it is pretty much established fact, e.g. "grass-fed beef has a distinctly different flavor from corn-fed cattle". Also, Hannibal eats people he considers to be rude or uncivilized; he feels he stands above them (and sort-of regards them as cattle).
    – BCdotWEB
    Aug 31, 2015 at 7:42
  • I didn't had the 'grass-fed beef' reference, I had more in mind the Kobe beef reference. This kind of theories led me to think that Dr Lecter spent his whole life perfected the taste of his own flesh, as an ultimate last meal.
    – Marc_Alx
    Aug 31, 2015 at 10:26
  • @Marc_Alx: Your inference is not impossible, but it's an inference nonetheless. Even if he has no intention of eating himself (or being eaten by anyone else), that does not in any way preclude Lecter enjoying what he considers good food during his life.
    – Flater
    Nov 16, 2017 at 12:04

2 Answers 2


I think the whole story of feeding "meats" to eventually change their taste does not refer to himself, it is more of a foreshadowing for the following events:

1) (Spoiler of S03-ep01)

Dimmond's death, after feeding him with oysters

2) (Spoiler of the Last episode)

General reference to Dr. Bedelia's (implication of) cannibalism in the end

However, what you suggest in indeed an interesting idea. Hannibal has proven to attack or/and eat people that he appreciates, so he could easily do it to himself in the end, as a grande finale. Also, both in the movies and in the series there is evidence that he will harm himself or suffer, just to send a message or protect someone else, so there is proof that he can overcome his own survival instinct.

So, under extreme circumstances it could end up like that, but it doesn't seem it is something even implied in the series.


It depends if Bryan Fuller tended or tends to follow through and/or meet similar philosophical ends to the source material, which IMO the first three seasons match it's ideas and can be seen as a stepping stone to the rest of it.

The TV series had yet to get into Silience of Lambs characters, such as Clairice Starling due to copyright issues with MGM, which currently is in talks to be renegotiated with potential for a season 4 of Hannibal (maybe it will have to be spin off) much more possible now.

"And so I came to believe, " Dr. Lecter was saying, "that there had to be a place in the world for Mischa, a prime place vacated for her, and I came to think, Clarice, that the best place in the world was yours." -Hannibal pg 535

In the third novel, Hannibal, Thomas Harris takes SOTL characters and turns them on their heads. It's never explained how Hannibal comes to believe in this idea (there are seven missing years of Clarice chasing Hannibal between SOTL and Hannibal), but after saving Clarice, he seeks to manipulate her with the intend of having Clarice be the vessel to house his dead little sister Mischa's conscious in her! Ultimately Harris writes everything in such a way, where dispite Hannibal owes up to not being able to control her, still tries to take credit, but Clarice declares that his body is probably a better place for Mischa, then hers and he (out of character) acepts this proposal.

"Occasionally, on purpose, Dr. Lecter drops a teacup to shatter on the floor. He is satisfied when it does not gather itself together. For many months now, he has not seen Mischa in his dreams.

Someday perhaps the cup will come together. Or somewhere Starling may hear a crossbow string and come to some unwilled awakening, if she indeed even sleeps. We'll withdraw now, while they're dancing on the terrace--..." -Hannibal pg 544

The final scene of the novel has the two dancing on the roofrops in Beunos Ares, with Hannibal seeing less and less of Mischa in his dreams and with Clarice in a state she wants to be in. Thomas Harris ends the novel with the notion of 'Love conquering all' with the two characters in love and "transfromed" from their former selves.

But, because the timeline in the TV series is different, the events of Hannibal Rising novel (the events of his cannibal origins and his immediate family's death) can't be the exact same (But characters from there do already exist in Fuller's retelling). Bryan Fuller had mentioned on a few occations that he wanted to bring Robert Lecter (Hannibal's uncle) into the fold--this is a character that also dies in Hannibal Rising, so I suspect to make-up the differences he would have to in order to still, in some way, be true to the source material, that Robert Lecter might become the villian, instead of five other characters.

With the necromancy aspect from Hannibal novel, especically in relation to maybe making Robert a Count Dracula-like figure, it seems more like Robert may try to take Clarice from Hannibal and Hannibal may be confronted with cannibalistc 'family culture' vs the love of his life--and so I doubt (But that's not to say it's not possible) Fuller would end the series with Hannibal's goal being to eat himself (maybe someone else might try to manipulate him though?), as much as this is suppose to be a post modern Gothic horror romance about humans being seperated from animals because love [spirituall] transforms us...

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .