What ‘Hannibal’s Will Graham & Peeta Mellark Have In Common, Because "Real Or Not Real" Is Not A Game

Strange things happen to your mind when you binge watch shows. Recently, I caught up with NBC's Hannibal and came to a surprising conclusion about one of the characters. Will Graham on Hannibal is basically Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games series. I'm serious. Will Graham's whole life has been one "real or not real" ever since he met Hannibal Lecter. He has been manipulated and brainwashed by the doctor just as Peeta was brainwashed and manipulated by President Snow and the Capitol — only with like, magical venom instead of flashing lights.

Don't get me wrong, I know these are very different characters. Peeta, bless his little heart, is nowhere near as intelligent as Graham. I'm not saying Peeta is dumb, I actually think he is quite bright and in a lot of ways has a similar type of intelligence as Graham — they both understand how people work. Still, Peeta's not joining the Panem version of the FBI unless they're hiring in the Public Relations department. On the other hand, I shudder to think of what would happen to Will Graham's psyche if he ever entered the Hunger Games.

I'm also pretty sure that Hannibal Lecter is trying to be both the Katniss and the President Snow to Will's Peeta, in that he's brainwashing and "helping" him. That's a problem.

Recently, Will Graham was manipulated into killing (or so he thought) Abigail Hobbs. That incident, and Bedelia's scene about Hannibal manipulating people into killing their loved ones reminded me so much of the moment in Mockingjay when Peeta attacked Katniss. Hannibal and The Hunger Games may be completely different genres set in completely different universes, but they've had a similar effect on these two main characters.

Both characters have big hearts and a lot of empathy, which is not only captivating but important to see in male characters from a feminist perspective. They've both had to team up with people they didn't trust to protect the ones they care about. Both characters completely lose their grip on reality and yet both characters are needed, despite their mental condition, to take down the enemy. The worry I feel for Will is very similar to the worry I felt for Peeta, particularly in Mockingjay Part 1, and I think that comparison is warranted on those grounds.

In a perfect alternate universe (calling all fanfic writers) the two characters would sit down with some hot tea and talk about how they've survived brutal killers and brainwashing, and manipulation. You know why else I think these two sad puppy dogsare similar/would make good buddies? Peeta Mellark specializes in carbs, not meat. He makes bread. There are no people in baked goods — right?

Image: Brooke Palmer/NBC; Giphy; frostingpeetaswounds/Tumblr