Antagonists Wiki

I am the Dragon. And you call me insane. You are privy to a great becoming, but you recognize nothing. To me, you are a slug in the sun. You are an ant in the afterbirth. It is your nature to do one thing correctly. Before me, you rightly tremble. But, fear is not what you owe me. YOU OWE ME AWE.
~ Dolarhyde preparing to kill Freddy Lounds

Francis Dolarhyde (alias "The Tooth Fairy" and "The Great Red Dragon") is the main antagonist of the 1981 novel Red Dragon and its film adaptations Manhunter and Red Dragon, as well as the TV series Hannibal.

In Manhunter, he was portrayed by Tom Noonan, who also portrayed Jack the Ripper in Last Action Hero. In Red Dragon, he was portrayed by Ralph Fiennes, who also portrayed Amon Goeth in Schindler's List and Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter film series. In the TV series, he is portrayed by Richard Armitage.

Early life

Dolarhyde was born out of wedlock with a cleft lip and palate, and given up for adoption. He is bullied and abused by the other children at the orphanage before his mother reluctantly takes him in to live with her and her new family, who abuse him, as well. His mother then abandons him again, giving him to her mother, a cruel woman who frequently threatens to castrate him. He begins exhibiting sociopathic behavior as a child, particularly by torturing and killing neighborhood pets; he is sent back to the orphanage after he hangs a cat.

As an adult, he serves in the military before getting a job as a film processing technician, compiling home movies by editing footage from shorter tapes. He also becomes a fan of the cannibalistic serial killer Hannibal Lecter, following his criminal exploits in the pages of the tabloid The National Tattler.

The abuse he suffered as a child warps Dolarhyde's mind, creating an alternate personality he calls "The Great Red Dragon" after the William Blake painting The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed With the Sun. He gets a body-length tattoo of the dragon on his back, and develops the delusion that he can "become" the Dragon by killing entire families every full moon. By the time of the novel, he has murdered two families, the Leeds family in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Jacobis in Atlanta, Georgia.

He is nicknamed "The Tooth Fairy" in the press because of his tendency to bite his victims with a custom-made set of dentures molded after his grandmother's teeth; he despises the nickname, as well as Freddy Lounds, the Tattler columnist who bestowed it upon him.

In Red Dragon

Dolarhyde reads in the Tattler that Will Graham, the FBI profiler who captured Lecter, has come out of retirement to help investigate his murders. He becomes obsessed with Graham, and writes Lecter a "fan letter" asking about him. Lecter, who hates Graham for putting him in a psychiatric hospital for life, writes Dolarhyde a coded message containing Graham's address, but the FBI moves Graham's wife and stepson to a safe location before he can do anything. Graham then tries to draw Dolarhyde out by giving an interview to Lounds in which he says that the "Tooth Fairly" is an impotent homosexual and the product of incest. This angers Dolarhyde into kidnapping Lounds, biting his lips off, and setting him on fire.

Meanwhile, Dolarhyde falls in love with Reba McLane, a blind coworker, and they start a relationship. The Dragon personality wants to kill her, however, so Dolarhyde eats a printing of the Blake painting in an effort to destroy his alter ego. This only makes the Dragon angrier, however, so Dolarhyde kidnaps Reba, intending to kill her and himself to spare her from being "devoured" by the Dragon. He cannot bring himself to kill her, however, so he sets his house on fire and apparently commits suicide.

It is later revealed that Dolarhyde faked his death; he shot the body of one of his victims, and Reba, being blind, was fooled. Dolarhyde follows Graham to his home, breaks in, and tries to kill his stepson in front of Graham. Graham manages to save the boy, however, and he and Dolarhyde get into a struggle in which Dolarhyde stabs him in the face. Graham and his wife Molly manage to subdue him, however, and Molly shoots him dead.