- Alternative Character Interpretation:
- Hannibal's motivation and state of mind, especially in the films. While he denies having a Freudian Excuse and claims he happened, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising explain that he did experience the horrible trauma of his sister being murdered and eaten, but passages in Hannibal and the twist in Hannibal Rising imply that he was to an undetermined degree resentful towards her, and the act he witnessed actually inspired him by showing him how deep evil can get. He has a somewhat strange relationship with these understandings, alternating between accepting and rejecting either or both, calmly denying that he resented his sister when Clarice asks him about it near the end of Hannibal and breaks into a huge cry of despair when he is reminded that he ate his sister too in Rising.
- Was Chilton really just being a jerk, or was he just throwing a fit about not being as useful to the FBI in Silence Of The Lambs as he was in Red Dragon.
- Complete Monster: Mason Verger & Vladis Grutas. See those pages for details.
- Fanfic Fuel: In the novel Red Dragon, it is mentioned that two of Lecter's victims survived. One is in a sanitarium and the other is on a respirator. The latter turns out to be Mason Verger but nothing more is known about the former, leaving fans to fill in the gaps.
- Magnificent Bastard: Hannibal Lecter himself, of course.
- Sequelitis: On both the page and the screen, Hannibal is commonly felt to be severely flawed, but not completely lacking in merit, while Hannibal Rising is regarded as being just flat-out terrible. Not really surprising in the case of the latter, as Dino de Laurentis has claimed that he pressured Harris into writing Hannibal Rising in order to sustain the franchise. Harris himself has remained mum on the matter.
- Squick: Oh, lots.
- The Woobie:
- Reba McClane, particularly as played by Emily Watson.
- Crawford as well, in the original novel version of Silence.
- Margot has some woobie-ish tendencies as well.
- Clarice a bit as well, in the first half of Hannibal, after the press has smeared her for the way the way the DC drug bust went, even though she and John were the only people actually doing their job right.
- Averted by Catherine, who defies Gumb at every opportunity, and is depicted less as helpless than simply overpowered. She's almost an Action Girl, and despite using Gumb's beloved poodle as a hostage against him, she quietly whispers to the dog that she'd never hurt it. She even keeps the dog in the end of the movie, taking it with her into the ambulance. (How much of an aversion this is can be contested, though, as she's pretty clearly traumatized for life after all of this.)
- Both in and out of universe, Buffalo Bill's victims, particularly Frederica Bimmel in the film, and the girl who was too flat-chested for Bill to use in the book. Part of Clarice's motivation is her sympathy for the victims.
YMMV / Hannibal Lecter