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Why Margot Verger Was Changed For The TV Show


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Katharine Isabelle played Mason’s tortured sister Margot Verger on the Hannibal TV show, but the character changed drastically from the book.

Katharine Isabelle played Mason’s tortured sister Margot Verger on the Hannibal TV show, but the character changed drastically from the book. Although sometimes thought of as simply a prequel to and then adaptation of events found in the work of author Thomas Harris, creator Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal is instead very much its own creative beast. While the show is based on characters and events from those books, they’re mostly used as a jumping off point for Fuller’s own twisted take.

For example, Hannibal himself is much more complex now, and much less a force of pure psychopathic evil. Sure, he sometimes does the right thing in the books, when it suits him, but he’s usually an unrepentant villain. On TV, Hannibal is still a cannibal serial killer, but he’s also one of the main protagonists, and the audience can’t help but get comfortable with and root for him. Will Graham is also a more complex character, going from a weary investigator into someone floating on the edge of becoming a second Hannibal.

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Related: Hannibal: Every TV Character That Never Appeared in the Movies

One character actually not that different on the Hannibal show is Mason Verger, although he’s possibly even more of a complete monster. After not being included in the Hannibal movie, TV saw the screen debut of Mason’s sister Margot, who’s nearly unrecognizable to readers.

Hannibal: Why Margot Verger Was Changed For The TV Show

Hannibal - Katharine Isabelle as Margot Verger

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In Thomas Harris’ Hannibal book, Margot Verger is sexually abused by her brother Mason from a young age, and actually begins seeing Dr. Lecter as a child. Proving that even evil has standards, Hannibal was disgusted by Mason’s proclivities, and treated Margot well, something that carried over to the show. Margot was aged up from where she’d be in the book timeline, seeing Lecter as an adult, due to Bryan Fuller not wanting to get bogged down in a plot even he found too dark.

Also in the book, Margot is described as being the polar opposite of Katharine Isabelle, a strikingly masculine bodybuilder that actually loses her ability to have children due to steroid abuse. Fuller explained following Margot’s TV debut in Hannibal season 2 that when reading the Hannibal book, he wasn’t sure if Margot was meant to be a lesbian or transgender, and also felt that the plot skirted the line of suggesting that Margot’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity were caused by Mason’s abuse. Being a member of the LGBTQ community, Fuller fully realizes that’s not how sexual orientation or gender identity works, and didn’t want to at all give that impression when writing his version of Margot Verger.

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Updated: November 25, 2020 — 11:30 pm

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