Let’s talk about those sketch books with colored dots in Hannibal’s library - the notes about all his patiens.
Dressing the set… the books alone took days and days. Of course they had to be organized by subject. I spent an entire day with an assistant creating a complex system of colored dots on the spine of 700+ sketch books that I decided Lecter would use for his patient notes… the dots identifying the patients and their conditions. (source)
Noticeable, too, were the black notebooks with color-coded dots on Hannibal’s shelves. “Patti’s idea was that this was Hannibal’s filing system in order to keep his patients’ records confidential. Patti, for the last year, has curated the Stanley Kubrick exhibit that’s currently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The dot filing system was inspired by the Kubrickian card catalog,” Loretta explained. (source)
So what we know:
- Each sketch book has one big dot and zero to four small dots.
- The colors are: green, red, blue and yellow.
- Mathematically you can create: 4* (1 + 4 + 4*4 + 4*4*4 + 4*4*4*4) = 1364 combinations (the math is mine and may be wrong, sorry :)).
- The dot + coloring code identifies a patient AND his or her conditon (well, its also possible, that Hannibal has in his Memory Palace additional information about what each combination means not only the algorithm).
- Will’s sketch book has one big red dot and one small red dot.
- If you look closely at the sketch books behind Hannibal, there are a lot of big red dots but I can see no small ones - Will is unique again.
- The bottom row in the bookcase in fron of which is Hannibal standing has no small dots - probably empty sketchbooks waiting to be filled.
- The most upper row in the bookcase are the sketch books lying, not standing - is it significant? Patient he no longer has? Eaten ones (yes, I vote for eaten ones)?
I didn’t manage to find the additional information about the dots code system, if you know please tell me so I can add it here :).
Upper row of sketchbooks might be significant in case of the condition of a patient. They are either not his patients anymore (deceased, eaten, transferred to different psychiatrists etc.), most probably.
When you think about it, the lying sketchbooks are more troublesome and less accessible. You have to lift the whole stack of books to pull the ones from the bottom. Considering how Hannibal is pragmatic (despite his sense of aesthetics and love for beauty) he would want the sketchbooks to be easily accessible, unless they weren’t useful anymore. And that would be the case of deceased patients, I suppose. Less likely that it is about the transferred ones, because he still might need those sketchbooks (for some reason). And highly unlikely that it is abut the eaten ones, because he would risk the exposure, had anyone linked him to the disappearance of a few of his patients.
I am just wondering… Which sketchbook is Franklin’s…?
Also, when we are considering the number of dots to be linked with the mental state of a patient it gets interesting. It is probably not only about the number of dots. Colours have to be significant for that matter.
If Will have only one dot and his state is probably something like “total psycho”, “I made him kill people *proud Hanni*”, then we would consider one small dot to be an indicator of the most severe condition. But most of the sketchbooks in the upper row have four small dots. If we consider them deceased - and here I vote “suicide”, because otherwise it would be suspicious that this many of Hannibal’s patients died - then why would they have four small dots? If Will have only one and they have four it would mean that their condition was much less serious. Yet, they committed suicide/died. Thus, I would consider the colours rather than the number of dots to be an indicator of the patient’s state.
Maybe the number of dots represents the period of time they spent as Hannibal’s patients? Than would be an explanation…