The Millennium Trilogy

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The Millennium Trilogy is a series of books by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson. It won several awards but it was not meant to be a trilogy, as Larsson died before the first one was even published [1]. These books were a huge bestseller in their home country, especially because they got international attention. They're crime fiction/psychological thrillers/dark conspiracy stories.

The first book, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo [2] (2005) begins with middle-aged reporter Mikael Blomkvist being framed for libel and sentenced to prison. While waiting to serve his term, he is hired by famous industrialist Henrik Vanger to investigate a forty-year-old cold case: the disappearance and presumed murder of his then sixteen-year-old niece, Harriet. Blomkvist's investigation brings him into contact with Lisbeth Salander, an antisocial but brilliant researcher who was secretly hired to investigate Blomkvist. Salander is borderline-crazy, resistant to authority, and violently opposed to any form of abuse against women. She becomes an unlikely aide to Blomkvist as they zero in on the truth behind Harriet's disappearance.

The second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire (2006), begins with Blomkvist investigating an underground cabal of slave trading and prostitution linked to a mysterious criminal boogeyman known as "Zala". Evidence at a crime scene incriminates Lisbeth, which leads to Blomkvist attempting to track her down and discover the truth.

In the third book, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest [3] (2007), Blomkvist discovers that the traumatic events in Lisbeth's past have been manipulated by a shadowy faction within the Swedish Security Service who will stop at nothing to hide their deeds done decades earlier. With Lisbeth's latest actions, the conspiracy is threatening to burst wide open, and the faction moves to clean up all evidence of their misdeeds.


The (Swedish) Films Of The Books were released starting in 2009 and were huge successes in several European countries; with an all-star cast and a Danish director, Men Who Hate Women became the most viewed Swedish film ever in several countries. (All three films were eventually imported into the United States via DVD and Blu-Ray releases.)

The American adaptation of Dragon Tattoo was released December 21, 2011, directed by David Fincher, written by Steven Zallan, and scored by the team of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The cast includes Rooney Mara as Lisbeth and James Bond as Mikael. Despite the film's somewhat modest box office performance, it has been confirmed that the second instalment will be filmed, with Mara and Craig returning to their roles, although it is not yet clear whether Fincher will return as director. It is also rumoured that the third instalment will be filmed simultaneously with the second, although this has yet to be officially confirmed.


Tropes used in The Millennium Trilogy include:

The Millennium Trilogy as a series contains examples of:[edit | hide | hide all]

  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • The Swedish title wasn't lying--one could almost count the male characters who are not violent sexual deviants on one hand.
    • What are you doing with the other hand?!
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Mikael.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Lisbeth. Mikael, on the subject of her photographic memory, pattern recognition skills, general brilliance and absolute asociality, thinks to himself, "Asperger's syndrome, or something like that. " He then goes on to state that for every trait that Asperger's would explain about Lisbeth, there are symptoms that don't fit at all - while Asperger's has a high memory rate for obsessions, that only applies to obsessions, and high-functioning Aspies tend to tune out a lot of stimulus. And her propensity towards what her boxing partner calls "Terminator Mode"(seemingly total passivity right until an arbitrary point is breached, followed by focused and unrelenting violence), sounds a lot like PTSD - again except the "passive" stage. In a stable environment Lisbeth would have eventually grown up to be... a damned good spy.
  • Anti-Hero: Lisbeth is a Type IV. Mikael is a Type II. While being a compassionate idealist, he doesn't shy away from bending several laws to expose corruption.
  • And That's Terrible: Every few pages, leading the reader to wonder how everyone in Sweden isn't jaded beyond the point of no return.
  • Ass Shove: Lisbeth does this to her social worker when she rapes him, as payback for what he did to her. In the American film, she even kicks the toy up there.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Casting Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander obviously made things a lot easier for the costume department and the writers. Although finding a grown woman with all of Lisbeth's physical traits would be next to impossible, they got lucky in several regards. Noomi, like Lisbeth, is very small-breasted as well as dark-eyed with a naturally pale complexion, and in her late teens had numerous ear and facial piercings that she readily got repierced for the role. However, she's not as short as Lisbeth at 5'5" compared to 4'11.
  • Author Avatar: Intrepid journalist and activist Mikael Blomkvist is a fairly obvious one for author Stieg Larsson, who was an intrepid journalist and activist. He's also a handsome playboy who women constantly fall for. Go figure.
  • Author Existence Failure: Larsson died of a heart attack shortly after submitting the manuscripts for the three novels. Fortunately, the third book at least resolves most major active plot threads fairly well, so readers aren't left with a gigantic, unresolved cliffhanger as the ending. A fourth book was partially written and some of ideas of a fifth and sixth book are recorded. It has been rumored that Larsson planned to write 10 books with these characters. Major plot points left unresolved include the fate of Lisbeth's sister, which was intended to be the subject of the fourth book.
  • Ax Crazy: Lisbeth tossed a Molotov cocktail on her father when she was 12, and her absolute refusal to cooperate with anyone in the mental health profession lead them to classify her as this. When she's also portrayed this way by the media during the manhunt to find her in Played With Fire, she decides to make the most of it and interrogates a john while wearing an all-black outfit and seriously fucked-up face paint, just to mess with him.
  • Berserk Button: Lisbeth only has a few people she really cares about, but attacking one of them presses this. Shooting yourself in the head will usually be less painful than what she'll do to you. And if you abuse a woman or child and Lisbeth finds out about it, she'll do everything in her power to ruin your life. And mentioning the name "Lisbeth Salander" to one particular guy named Zalachenko guarantees a lot of fucked up shit will happen just so he can try and get revenge on her.
  • Bi the Way: Lisbeth has two lovers she treats seriously, and one of them is a woman.
  • Black and Grey Morality: Even the likeable characters come dangerously close to being Well Intentioned Extremists at times, especially Lisbeth. However, the way the good guys are portrayed in the book makes it clear that Larsson sees them more of an example of
  • Black and White Morality: good guys who've been mistreated (or are on the side of those who've been mistreated) taking revenge against their abusers.
  • Blind Idiot Translation: The English translation takes huge liberties with the text, and only a few can be explained by Hanlon's Razor.
  • Boom! Headshot!: Averted. Lisbeth is shot in the head, but survives. The doctor's speculate however that if the round had been bigger than a .22, she wouldn't have.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Changed between books and films; it's bad in Dragon Tattoo when Bjurman ties Lisbeth up and rapes her, but Lisbeth freely lets Miriam tie her up gently when they meet in Played With Fire. In the Played With Fire movie, Lisbeth all but states that you would only be into bondage as a top if you were a sadistic pig and a rapist, but at the time she is talking to a rapist, so it all evens out.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: One of the first things we learn about Lisbeth is that she once turned in a client report to Armansky that began with pages and pages of relatively normal stuff before, without changing tone at all, revealing him to be a pedophile. With pictures of him meeting a child prostitute. And an interview with her.
  • Break the Cutie: Happens to both Lisbeth and Mikael a lot.
  • Broken Bird: Bordering on Ax Crazy Sociopathic Hero; Lisbeth is fairly attractive, but to say that she has issues is putting it extremely mildly.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: If Lisbeth ever shows up to the office, it's in full "got dressed in the dark" mode. She ignores her coworkers, breaks into her boss's office, and borrows company equipment whenever she wants. She's an absurdly good PI, though, and the book says explicitly that's the only reason Armansky tolerates her behavior.
  • Buried Alive: Lisbeth just before the climax of the second book.
  • Captain Obvious Aesop:
    • Human trafficking is a problem that needs to be dealt with. Rapists are bad. So are Nazis. Nazi rapists are even worse. Also, bad guys are pedophiles.
    • Subverted by the government conspiracy plot in the third book.
  • Casting Gag: For the American remake, David Fincher cast Daniel Craig as Mikael. The gag doesn't pay off until the third in the trilogy, when Mikael spends the entire novel playing spy games vs. "The Section."
  • Closed Circle: The mystery of Harriet Vanger's death in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo involves one; the night of the Vanger family dinner, the bridge connecting Hedeby Island to the mainland was completely blocked by a spectacular auto accident.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Lisbeth, not that she has much choice at 4'11" and 95 pounds.
  • Media Research Failure: Not applicable to the author himself, but an article published in an Australian magazine labelled Larsson a Neo-Nazi. This is a classic example of Did Not Do the Research, as Larsson was a firm Marxist and was well-known for his work against far-right extremist and racist organisations in Sweden. Which included Neo-Nazis (who, in typical Neo-Nazi fashion, regularly sent him death threats). And of course, one of the series primary protagonists is the (Jewish) Inspector Bublanski.
  • Crap Saccharine World: Sweden is portrayed as this in a subtle but chilling way. A seemingly sweet, nice and ultra-liberal society filled with lots of hidden abuse.
  • Creepy Child: Lisbeth was teased and bullied in school for acting like one.
  • The Danza: In the Swedish movie, Mikael Blomkvist is played by Mikael Nyqvist.
  • Dark Action Girl: Lisbeth is definitely dark, and she's fully capable of the action.
  • Darker and Edgier: Larsson said the character of Lisbeth was his version of a modern-day, grown-up Pippi Longstocking, which accounts for her determination, her anarchist spirit and her red hair (she dyes it black). It also gets Lampshaded in Dragon Tattoo when Armansky, Frode and Lisbeth are discussing Mikael and his nickname of "Kalle Blomkvist" comes up. Lisbeth says she understands why he hates the name and that she would punch anyone who ever referred to her as "Pippi Longstocking", causing Armansky to squirm because he's thought of her that way before.
  • Death Glare: Lisbeth uses this a lot.
  • Determinator: If you attack Lisbeth, she will attack you back. If you knock her down, she'll get back up. If you BURY HER ALIVE, she will dig herself out. It doesn't matter how physically outmatched she is, she literally will not stop trying unless she's too badly beaten to move, and then she'll just come back and even the score after healing up.
  • Defrosting the Ice Queen: Lisbeth is cold and anti-social at the start of the series. She falls for Mikael and begins to open up but freezes again after witnessing him with Erika. However by the end of the third book she eventually opens up and comes to appreciate Mikael and all the others in her life. In the film series she defrosts much slower and is still rather socially challenged at the end.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Lisbeth is a rare sympathetic example.
  • Does Not Know How to Say Thanks: Lisbeth. But she finally figures it out. After the person she's thanking has driven off. She does not learn this in the film series and Armansky calls her out on this. She eventually begrudgingly comes to appreciate others.
  • Doorstopper: All three books are in excess of 500 pages. In paperback, they run over 600.
  • Double Standard:
    • Lisbeth is labelled a prostitute because she's been to a park late at with a man. Later, the media go into a frenzy over her lesbianism. Erika Berger is absolutely terrified of having her sex life exposed. At the same time, Mikael Blomkvist leads a very active sex life with multiple partners without giving it much thought - and no one seems to care.
    • In the books, Mikael's sex life is no big deal. In the films, it is apparently front page material for not only tabloids but rival newspapers.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: According to director David Fincher, Rooney Mara has dived headfirst into her portrayal of Lisbeth, chopping off her long brown hair to a dyed-black pixie cut, bleaching her eyebrows, getting both ears pierced four times, and getting her eyebrow, lip and one nipple pierced as well. Say what you will about her, she doesn't do things in half measures.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Kalle Blomkvist", embarrassing to Mikael because it's really the name of the protagonist in a series of mystery novels for little kids (that by the way was written by the creator of Pippi Longstockings). Lisbeth calls him this whenever she wants to tease him or he's annoying her, and she's the only one he lets do it without getting upset.
  • Ethical Slut: Lisbeth and Mikael both, in slightly different ways. Lisbeth views sex as a way to have fun (she's noted as having been with 50 different people by the beginning of the series), but she also has a strict personal code of morals that pushes her to try and protect innocents. Mikael has similar ethics, but his sexual liaisons tend more toward the serious side; he's just had plenty of them.
  • Everyone Has Lots of Sex: When publishing the first book, Larsson's editor asked him to put more sex scenes to appeal the audience. It shows. By the third volume, he didn't have to do this anymore. Thankfully, the slightly more tasteful film adaptations leave a couple unnecessary ones out.
  • Fiery Redhead: Lisbeth has red hair but dyes it black.
  • Friends with Benefits: Lisbeth and Miriam Wu. This is also how Mikael and Erika treat their relationship.
  • Fun T-Shirt:
    • Lisbeth is fond of wearing shirts with snarky slogans on them. One proclaims: "Armageddon was yesterday - today we have a serious problem."
    • In the American film version of Tattoo, the shirt she's wearing when Blomkvist confronts her in her apartment and asks for her help says "Fuck you you fucking fucks".
  • Genre Busting: A lot. The first volume, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, is a complex crime mystery. The second book, The Girl Who Played With Fire, is a psychological horror-thriller. The third one, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest, is a political conspiracy thriller. A planned future volume was supposed to venture into science-fiction.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: The sheer amount of women that hop in bed with Blomkvist, not to mention his steady relationship with a married woman that is fine with all parties concerned, must mean he's a perfect gentleman in a world full of woman-hating rapists. That, and he and Lisbeth have perfectly good sex after working together for only a few days, just because she likes him.
  • Government Conspiracy: Alexander Zalachenko, a KGB turncoat, lives in Sweden on the government's dime for his Cold War assistance. He cannot be arrested without an international fiasco, so he's allowed to beat and rape as he pleases. When his daughter nearly kills him, she's shipped off to a madhouse with instructions to make her belong there.
  • Harmful to Minors: Lisbeth grew up watching her mother get constantly beaten by her father. It made an impression, let's put it that way.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Lisbeth, see really enjoys watching people suffer, in the first movie she watching with a smile on her face as Martin burns. However she does these things for to avenge herself or others.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: The Grand Duke Captain Von Mintz hires James Bond and Mark Zuckerburg's ex-girlfriend (well now we know where she gets her hacking skills) to find out who killed his niece.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Mostly averted by Lisbeth and her fellow hackers; for the most part it's extremely accurate. All of the members of Hacker Nation are good with computers, Lisbeth particularly. And not in the "take them out of the box and set them up" way, more in the "give her a high-level PC and a couple days and she'll get you the Pentagon's secret files" way.
  • I Am Not Pretty: Lisbeth is mentioned as being convinced that her extreme skinniness makes her "repulsive".
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Not outlandishly tacky, but Lisbeth doesn't really care about things like "style" or "coordinating". Her selection of clothing is described as "sloppy and rather tasteless."
  • Improbable Weapon User: A golf club, house keys, a shovel, a crate, a tattoo gun...
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Variant; Salander couldn't be called manic by any stretch of the imagination, but a case could be made that she certainly is a middle-aged male writer's fantasy of a punk rocker, especially in that she's attracted to Mikael.
  • Master of Disguise: Lisbeth. It doesn't hurt that she can fake accents and method act.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Just about all the characters, particularly the journalists and police officers (which is probably Truth in Television).
  • Mysterious Past: Lisbeth usually clams up whenever someone asks her about her childhood. Mikael also has things that he won't discuss, in particular some of what really happened while he was working for Henrik Vanger.
  • No Woman's Land: How a lot of Sweden is portrayed, except for the "good guy" characters such as Mikael, Bublanski, Palmgren, etc...
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Deconstructed with Lisbeth. She acts like this around the police or psychiatrists, but only because experience has taught her that they're not going to listen to anything she says, so why bother?
  • Older Than They Look: Again, Lisbeth. At 25, she looks barely fifteen.
  • Online Alias: Lisbeth goes by the hacker name "Wasp," which becomes a plot point as Mikael is able to track her down using it.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Lisbeth, who is described as looking vaguely Asian in the books. In the films, she's played by a Pale Skinned Brunette actress.
  • Pay Evil Unto Evil: Lisbeth's basic modus operandi. The tagline on the teaser posters for the American version of Tattoo is a variant on the trope name.
  • Photographic Memory: One of Lisbeth's talents. She gets upset when anyone calls attention to it, because she thinks it makes her weird.
  • Police Are Useless: Not so much all police; most of them are shown to be conscientious and dedicated to their jobs. But there are several who have prejudices and hang-ups that make them useless at best and dangerous at worst. Officer Faste in Played With Fire and Inspector Paulsson of Hornet's Nest are perhaps the two worst offenders.
  • Police Brutality: Oh, God. This series has one of the most disturbing examples ever put to paper, because it's not physical violence. It was partly this brutality that made the borderline insane Lisbeth the way she is.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Many of the characters have been changed from the books to the films for the sake of brevity. In addition many subplots were cut. For example in the book Lisbeth leaves Mikael because she catches him with Erika and is heartbroken. In the Swedish films Erika and Mikael do not have a physical relationship, instead Lisbeth simply leaves Sweden because she is afraid of falling in love. This happens less in the first American film, which is a few minutes longer (Mikael and Erika's physical relationship has been restored, for example), but still appears occasionally. The Mikael-Erika relationship does appear in the uncut TV version, though.
  • Private Detective: Lisbeth, who's so good that Armansky gives her all the tough assignments and only keeps one other PI on staff to run ordinary background checks and the like. Mikael is forced into the duties of one when investigating Harriet's disappearance.
  • The Rainman: Lisbeth is unapologetically asocial, and if other people think she acts weird, she views this as their problem. The government even classifies her as insane and schizophrenic because she steadfastly refuses to cooperate with any of the tests they give her. They're so wrong it isn't even funny, but she is still introverted to an reclusive level and emotionally detached.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Pretty much all the good guys are of the opinion that rape is worse than murder. Given Larsson's history, this is probably a case of Author On Board.
  • Reason You Suck Speech: Many characters are fond of this. Lisbeth uses on in the first film to defend herself when Mikael questions her about Martin's death. and why he deserved to die. In the second film, Armansky gives one to Lisbeth when she says she didn't know why she never said good bye. "You don't care about anyone, you treat your friends like dirt. It's as simple as that." Which she is unable to disagree with.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Lisbeth has pretty major issues with authority. It bites her in the ass a lot, most often at times when it's least convenient. Mikael even notes in Hornet's Nest that many of her problems are related to this.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: Lisbeth has it to an extent. She hacks into people's computers and, if necessary, reports them to the authorities for their illegal actions (this is her justification). She hacks into everybody's computers and pretty much lives on her computer, so even if she isn't going after someone she'll still be hacking people. Mikael has this attitude.
  • Self-Insert Fic: Compare Larsson and Blomkvist: both are middle-aged Swedish jornalists and both founded magazines devoted towards investigative reporting (albeit with different emphasis). Blomkvist, although a somewhat flawed character that goes through hell a few times, has a strong wish fulfillment element in him: he constantly gets good looking women with little to no effort and he's a respected journalist who's on top of his profession and has accomplished stuff akin to legends.
  • Sex Is Evil: Could be assumed, considering the high amount of sex scenes that become rape.
  • Shout-Out:
    • All three books have homages to Swedish children's books, especially Astrid Lindgren's Pippi Longstocking and Kalle Blomkvist. The first one also has lots of homages to Agatha Christie, and name-checks Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton.
    • The girl's name in the first book, Harriet Vanger, seems like a Shout-Out to Harriet Vane, of Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Whimsey novels.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad:
    • While the original books have Blomkvist and Salander as equal protagonists, the Swedish movies go out of their way to make Salander the star. Her weaknesses are cut back (most notably her social awkwardness), portraying her as less of a flawed human and more of an invincible force of nature. Blomkvist suffers in that his intelligence and journalistic competence are lowered in order to make Salander more intelligent by comparison.
    • Notably averted with the American films, which in keeping with the books put the two protagonists on a more equal footing.
  • Star-Making Role:
    • Noomi Rapace was mostly a stage actress before being cast in the trilogy, which has brought her international acclaim.
    • The American film seems to be this for Rooney Mara too.
  • The Stoic: Unless it involves someone she cares about, Lisbeth tends to be very matter-of-fact about any given situation.
  • Strange Girl: With the exception of the supernatural, this is Lisbeth through and through.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Do NOT read the back of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.
  • Tranquil Fury: Outside of a harsh glare, Lisbeth rarely gives any indication that she's mad, even when she's contemplating stabbing people.
  • Unfortunate Name: The killer blonde giant is not given a name until late in the second book, at which point it's revealed to be the very unintimidating "Ronald Niedermann."
  • Waif Fu: She's no ninja warrior; as a fighter, Lisbeth is best at avoiding getting hit. When forced to actually fight, she usually gets the upper hand on her attackers because of four things: 1, her size causes her opponents to underestimate her; 2, she's quick; 3, she fights dirty; and 4, she really fights dirty.
  • What Could Have Been: Larsson wrote in his spare time as a way to relax, and only decided to try and get the books published after finishing the final draft of Hornet's Nest; he then promptly dropped dead of a heart attack. His girlfriend Eva Gabrielsson is in possession of Larsson's computer, which has at least three-fourths of a fourth novel and is rumored to have detailed synopses on the fifth and sixth books as well, though what may come of this is anyone's guess.
  • Write What You Know: When he was 15, Larsson witnessed some other boys raping a girl. In real life, he was too scared to try and help her, and not only did she become the inspiration for Lisbeth (it was the girl's name), it's pretty easy to map a correlation between his unresolved guilt and the harsh treatment suffered by rapists in his novels.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo contains examples of:[edit | hide]

  • A-Cup Angst: Lisbeth is a twenty-four year old woman with the bustline of an ten-year old girl. She's not too thrilled with that. In Played With Fire, she solves this problem by getting a boob job.
  • Aborted Arc: The rare case of this happening in a film. In the Swedish version Janne, one of the Millennium editors, takes a payoff to feed info to Wennerström. When Malin discovers it, she and Erika decide to keep him on in order to feed disinformation. Except they never actually do it, and it's not mentioned again until Erika fires him at the end.
  • Abusive Parents: Most of the Vangers qualify, with husbands beating their wives and fathers raping their daughters and sons and training the sons as serial killers.
  • Composer Allusion: A character in the US version is seen wearing a Nine Inch Nails shirt - while Trent Reznor is the co-writer of the score.
  • Alone with the Psycho: In the book, Mikael makes the incredibly stupid mistake of trying to go over to confront Martin Vanger when Mikael starts getting suspicious. Only a Big Damn Heroes moment by Lisbeth gets him out alive. In the movie, Mikael's not as stupid - he is completely unaware of what Martin really is, until the tranquilizer syringe gets jammed into his neck. And Martin was seemingly going to let him go and probably try to pin everything on Harald, had not Mikael made a slip in conversation.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Henrik Vanger feels this way about most of his family. And if they're not actively evil, he sees them as at the least greedy, petty and conniving. In several cases, he's even more right than he suspects, although a couple of them turn out not to be particularly bad people.
  • Asshole Victim: Wennerström. Among his many crimes (most notably, profiting from drug trade and gun running) was forcing a woman whom he got pregnant to have an abortion by half-drowning her until she agreed.
  • Badass Bookworm: Mikael is definitely this.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Lisbeth's rescue of Mikael at the hands of Martin Vanger.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Vanger dynasty. Most of them were either corrupt executives, perverts or Nazis. It's easier to list the Vangers who are not evil: Henrik, Martin, Cecilia, Anita and Harriet. Then in the last chapters of the book, we find out that the most evil of them all was Martin.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Martin and Harriet.
  • Clear My Name: Mikael's reason for taking the Vanger job; Henrik claims he'll give Mikael evidence that proves his innocence if he does.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Wennerström, whose international corporate empire is based on very bad things, like third-world drug cartels.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Happens to Lisbeth toward the end. At least until the Ship Sinking moment.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: The U.S. film's opening credits. So, so much.
  • Different As Night and Day: Mikael and Lisbeth are an odd couple. Also, Lisbeth's twin sister Camilla was a "normal" teenager, pretty much the antithesis of Lisbeth in every way (however, she seems to have taken the side of the father who badly abused her mother). She never actually appears onstage in the existing three books, and Lisbeth makes no effort to trace her. It seems likely that Larsson had in mind a role for her (possibly an unpleasant one) in one of the books he died before writing.
  • Dude in Distress: Mikael Blomquist is captured by the mass murderer, locked in an underground torture room, chained, stripped naked, humiliated and explicitly threatened with rape, when Salander breaks in to save him, chase and destroy the villain. A precise gender mirror image of the classic Disressed Damsel tropes.
  • Downer Ending: Lisbeth realizes she's fallen in love with Mikael, and decides to tell him. She buys him a Christmas present, and on the way to give it to him, sees him on the way to his apartment with his part-time lover Erika. She then walks away and tosses the present in a dumpster, berating herself for being so foolish as to fall in love.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • All over the American film version. The main cast is comprised of Brits, Americans, a Canadian, a Dutch man, a Croatian, and one lone Swede.
    • Subverted as the Croatian (Goran Visnjic) is actually playing a Croatian (by birth anyway), Dragan Armansky
  • Guile Heroes: Lisbeth is good at getting ridiculous amounts of info and getting the drop on people. Mikael is good at organizing and has his own respected media outlet to put her info in. When they team up to expose Wennerström, the combination proves unbeatable.
  • Hackette: Lisbeth.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Blomkvist becomes this due to retribution from Wennestrom.
  • Hidden Villain: The serial killer Martin Vanger.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Not a classic example in that there's no wailing or screaming, but in the film Lisbeth is very audibly enjoying herself the first time she and Mikael have sex.
  • In-Joke: In the American version of the film, all the characters say Lisbeth's name with English pronunciation, "Liz-bith" or "Liz-beth". But toward the end of the movie when Martin learns her name, he says it with Swedish pronunciation as "Leez-bit," which makes sense seeing as Martin is played by Stellan Skarsgård, the only actual Swede to have a major role in the movie.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Mikael and Lisbeth, who have an Intergenerational Friendship with benefits.
  • Karmic Death: Gottfried Vanger, drowned by Harriet, the girl he'd been raping for several years. Martin gets this in the movie, when Lisbeth walks away and leaves him to burn. This ties into his comment about how all his victims thought he would spare them, only to have their hopes brutally crushed. In short, he's denied the same mercy he denied his victims
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Lisbeth's treatment of Bjurman is so harsh that it borders on Moral Event Horizon. But it was so precise and ingenious that it could qualify as a Crowning Moment of Awesome : rather than killing the man, Lisbeth opted to make Bjurman suffer the exact same abuse he put her through, up to every little detail, including the rape and the blackmail, just to make him realize how it felt. However, leaving Bjurman alive left him free to make new plans against her,which might have ended very badly.
  • May-December Romance: Mikael and Lisbeth's short-lived relationship.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Investigating disappearance of one rich heiress -> Family of serial killers
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: One of the more subtle tropes invoked in this series. Blomkvist is hired to investigate the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, the scion of a wealthy Swedish family. However, Martin Vanger has raped and murdered literally dozens of women, mostly foreign-born, and Martin himself mentions that no one has made any note of their disappearance. Larsson never explicitly compares the two cases, but the media critique is pretty implicit regardless.
  • Modesty Bedsheet: Lisbeth pulls this one twice; first when Mikael shows up at her apartment, and again when she decides to sleep with him.
  • Nazi Nobleman: Three of Henrik Vanger's older brothers are this - Richard volunteered for the Nazis in the war and got killed, Harald is a demented old racist living in a huge mansion full of Nazi regalia, and Greger was connected with a politically ineffectual Nazi group. In addition, Richard's son Gottfried was a washed-up former Hitler Jugend member who repeatedly raped his children.
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: Classic subversion; when Lisbeth wanders out of the bedroom, Mikael is cooking.
  • Not What It Looks Like: In the novel, the previously-friendly owner of the Hedeby cafe becomes noticeably cool to Mikael after Lisbeth comes to town, and he realizes it's because it looks like a 40ish guy is shacking up with a teenager. The movie takes it even farther, with a muckraking reporter for the local newspaper trying to stir up controversy by focusing on the same thing.
  • Oh Crap: Lisbeth's reaction after seeing Mikael, who knows that she hacked his computer, at her house. However, Mikael isn't looking for any kind of payback, but for her help instead.
  • Parental Incest: Gottfried to Martin and Harriet.
  • Playing Against Type: Peter Haber, cast as monstrous serial killer and rapist Martin Vanger, is known mainly for two roles. One being a By-The-Book Cop named Martin Beck in twenty-something movies. The other, a role practically everybody born in Sweden during the 80's and early 90's identify him with, is the sweet bumbling Papa Rudolph in the immensly popular "Sune" series. To put it in terms for a more international audience, it's basically like seeing Fred Rogers playing a Complete Monster serial killer. And doing it superbly!
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • The Film of the Book hits most of the high notes, but simplifies a few matters for the sake of streamlining the plot. Henrik's offer to give Mikael evidence about Wennerström and his buying a stake in Millennium are left out, as is Mikael's daughter being the one who figures out the "Leviticus" references, and Anita is killed off instead of being Harriet's helper. Some events in the timeline are shifted around as well, and the various Millennium employees have maybe five minutes total screen time.
    • The David Fincher adaptation is a much stronger example of this, retaining much more of the novel's depth and detail while running only six minutes longer than the Swedish film. Notably included in this version but cut from the previous one are the bulk of the Wennerstrom subplot, Blomqvist's daughter, the original Vangar family configuration, and a fair amount of screen time for Erika Berger.
  • Product Placement:
    • The movie is filled with this for Swedish companies, including an almost gratuitous promoting of SVT, the public service channel. There's a rather perverse Values Dissonance to it since Larsson was a noted communist and it's highly unlikely he'd have approved. There's also a bit of a Take That to SVT in the book, when Mikael buys a small TV with a rabbit-ear antenna (to pick up the broadcast channel SVT) for his stay in Hedeby. His neighbors invite him over to their house if he ever wants to watch anything on real TV.
    • The American version features the characters' MacBooks quite prominently--though really it would feature whichever brand of computer they used prominently given the nature of the story. Mcdonalds is also plainly visible.
      • All versions, including the novels, are very specific about Macs.
    • For the nerdier types, the actual placement of Macs in the Fincher film is rather strange. The exact timeline of the film isn't clear, but it's either a present-day OS (Tiger, circa 2005) running on computers from the future (the unibody Mac Book Pros from 2008, which came with Leopard), or computers of today running an OS from several years before they came out.
  • Rape and Revenge: Lisbeth's advocate Nils Bjurman lures her to his apartment, where he sodomizes her with a sex toy, rapes and tortures her, then orders her to come back a week later. She does so, but stunguns, ties up and sodomizes him, then tattoos "I am a sadistic pig, a pervert, and a rapist" on his chest and stomach. She also tells him that she recorded his assault of her, and that he will be doing exactly what she says from now on, or he'll be going to jail for a very long time.
  • Rape as Drama: Happens to both Harriet Vanger and Lisbeth.
  • The Reveal: Anita Cochran, CEO of a large Australian conglomerate is actually Harriet Vanger under an assumed identity.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: When Lisbeth rescues Mikael from Martin.
  • Scars Are Forever:
    • Mikael doubts that the scar he got on his neck while being almost hanged by Martin will ever fade, and it's mentioned as still being visible during Hornet's Nest almost two years later.
    • Variant when Lisbeth gets a tattoo band where a ligature bruise from her rape is still visible as a "reminder."
  • Secretly Wealthy: Lisbeth manipulates Wennerström's holdings as his empire crumbles, and ends up stealing several billion kronor (several hundred million dollars). The authorities know that someone did it, but only Mikael realizes who it was.
  • Serial Killer: Martin Vanger, who was far more terrifying in the movie.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Used to great effect in the American film, with Martin playing 'Orinoco Flow' by Enya as he prepares to torture, rape and kill Mikael.
  • Stepford Smiler: Martin Vanger
  • Tangled Family Tree: The Vangers. Lampshaded in the American film when Henrik is explaining to Blomqvist where each member of the family is and their relationship with each other. Blomqvist has a little trouble keeping up.
  • Title Drop: For the Swedish title, near the end of the book.
  • Toplessness From the Back: Lisbeth shows this off in the film versions, complete with a dragon tattoo that covers most of her back. Albeit, in the American version the first time we see it is distinctly un-sexy, being during a shower scene immediately after she returns home from being raped by Bjurman.
  • Torture Cellar: One of the most frightening examples ever, used by Martin. It even has a TV corner, flowers in vases, and a cozy kitchen (with a vivisection table).
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The second trailer for the US film is a loose summary of the entire story with the exception of the two really big plot twists (Martin and Harriet).
  • Translation Convention: Played oddly in the English film with visible text, which will be in English when it's relevant (e-mails, newspapers, the tattoo that Lisbeth draws on Bjurman) but in Swedish when it's not.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Wennerström and Martin Vanger.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Employed to rather distressing effect after Bjurman forces Lisbeth to give him oral sex for money.

The Girl Who Played With Fire contains examples of:[edit | hide]

  • All Bikers Are Hells Angels: Justified in this case, as these bikers are trying to actually join the Hells Angels.
  • An Axe to Grind: Lisbeth buries an axe in her father's head.
  • As Himself: Former WBC International Welterweight and Inter-Continental Welterweight champion Paolo Roberto, both in the novel and the film.
  • Asshole Victim: Bjurman, who sexually assaulted Lisbeth twice,
  • Badass: Paolo Roberto, who witnesses a kidnapping, tails the kidnappers, and then rescues the victim. And almost gets beaten to death for his trouble.
  • Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: Faste is a Lawful Stupid version.
  • Big Bad: Alexander Zalachenko, former top-level Soviet intelligence operative that defected to Sweden when he got in trouble with his bosses.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: Zalachenko's henchman Ronald Niedermann.
  • Break the Cutie: Teleborian tried to do this to Lisbeth while she was under his care in the psychiatric hospital.
  • The Brute: Niedermann is well over six feet tall and in the neighborhood of three hundred pounds, most of it pure muscle. (Picture Brock Lesnar with a German accent) And he can't feel pain. And is also Lisbeth's half-brother.
  • Buried Alive: This happens to Lisbeth Salander, after she was shot in the fucking head. She digs her way out with a cigarette case and then shoves an axe through the face of the man who put her there.
  • Call Back: When communicating with Lisbeth on his hacked computer, Mikael calls her "Sally".
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Niedermann's paranoid hallucinations.
    • Also the cigarette case.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: A very mild version for Lisbeth at the beginning of the book, which must be taken in context to how she normally acts. She appears to mature and consider how her behaviour (such as abandoning Palmgren and not contacting Miriam) made her appear selfish. The old Salander swings back into play the moment she finds out about Zala. Some readers find this a bad thing, as they think it changes Lisbeth from being a strong female character to a male appeaser.
  • Did Not Do the Research: A mild case with Paolo Roberto. During his fight with Niedermann, in the novel Roberto treats the fight like a boxing match, and is taken off guard when Neidermann throws a kick. In real life Roberto was a kickboxer and Taekwondo practitioner before his boxing career. Playing himself in the film, Roberto throws a number of kicks.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: When Lisbeth goes shopping for an apartment (with enough money to afford anything), her appearance causes a real estate agent to condescendingly dismiss her out of hand and pretty much shove her out of his office. She retaliates by hacking into his computer, finding a bunch of undeclared income, and reporting him to the tax authorities.
  • Disability Superpower: Niedermann has congenital analgesia, a genetic disorder that means he can't feel pain. In the book, Roberto only manages to momentarily stun him by hitting him in the back of the head with a two-by-four; after Miriam kicked him in the groin.
  • Downer Ending: Lisbeth has been shot three times and is near death, while still being the main suspect in three murders.
  • The Dragon: Niedermann for Zalachenko.
  • Fair Cop: SIS Inspector Monica Figuerola, who except for having short hair is the stereotypical Swedish blonde, albeit with a badge and a gun.
  • Fan Service: The only full sex scene in The Film of the Book (leaving out a rape and a Mikael / Erika morning after bit) is an extended sequence of Lisbeth and Miriam.
  • A Friend in Need: Mikael invokes this hard when Lisbeth is named the primary suspect in three murders. After she gives her word that she didn't do it, he devotes all of Millennium's resources to helping clear her name. Of course, she did save him from a very nasty death, so he owed her something...
  • Government Conspiracy: It turns out that Lisbeth's entire crappy teen and adult life was engineered by a couple of Corrupt Bureaucrats and some Secret Police to make sure she kept quiet about their deal with Zalachenko. It works for a surprisingly long time, until Bjurman, trying to get free of Lisbeth's control, contacts his old buddy Zalachenko, which leads to Lisbeth's being framed for Bjurman, Dag and Mia's murders. Then she finds out about Bjurman's involvement in the Conspiracy and gets angry. Then Lisbeth finds out that Miriam Wu, one of the few people she truly cares for, is being savaged in the press, and was kidnapped and almost killed by Niedermann. Then she attacks.
  • Handicapped Badass: Niedermann.
  • Hidden Villain: The reclusive mob boss, Alexander Zalachenko.
  • Inspector Javert: Jan Bublanski.
  • It Got Worse: Every time you think it can't, somehow it does, throughout the book.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Lisbeth does it to a john, involving a stungun and a noose around his neck. Pretty much on the edge of the Moral Event Horizon.
  • Jerkass: Oi, where to begin? First, there's Officer Faste, who believes Lisbeth's nuts and refuses to accept any possibility of her innocence, because he's got issues with lesbians and thinks she is one. Then, Milton Security employee Hedstrom, who despises her for threatening to expose him for defrauding a client. Nils Bjurman, who sexually assaulted and threatened her, Dr. Teleborian, who had the 12 year-old Lisbeth tied up in the mental hospital whenever she defied him, and so this will stay a relatively short list, Prosecutor Ekström, who plays up the media frenzy surrounding her just because he likes being in the spotlight. Oh, and Lisbeth
  • Karmic Death: Nils Bjurman, who is killed by Niedermann, the man he thought was going to help him.
  • The Mafiya: Zalachenko is the boss of an Estonian crime ring who specialize in trafficking underage prostitutes.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Zalachenko behind Niedermann.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Triple homicide -> International sex trafficking conspiracy, a high-ranking Soviet defector, decades long cover-up.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Again, in The Film of the Book most of the important plot points are covered, while leaving out several minor subplots. There's no mention of Mikael and Harriet's relationship or Erika's job offer from SMP, Lisbeth's attempted kidnapping by Lundin and Niemenen is gone, most of the police's scut work in investigating Dag, Mia and Bjurman's murders isn't shown, a lot of foreshadowing about the depth of the Zalachenko conspiracy is left out and the ending is arbitrarily changed from a creepy nighttime sequence to happening in the full light of day.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: Averted with the murders of Bjurman, Dag and Mia, all of whom are shot in the head with a Colt 1911 .45 pistol. When he finds Dag's body, Mikael realizes he's standing in brain. Played more or less straight at the end; Lisbeth is shot in the head, but by a .22, with the bullet lodging in her brain.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Niedermann's bizarrely high pitched voice, cherubic face and utter disinterest in sex hint towards him having never actually reached puberty. He also has crippling hallucinations which grow more powerful when he is alone or under stress.
  • Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: Paolo Roberto, real-life WBC boxing champion, versus a giant mob enforcer whose disease renders him unable to feel pain. Makes for one hell of a match.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Officer Bublanski, the cop in charge of Lisbeth's case. He's aware that there are things which don't add up, and when he's presented with the truth, he works to help clear her name.
  • The Reveal: Zalachenko is Lisbeth's father.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Miriam is rescued, Lisbeth basically says "fuck it" and heads off to finish things with Zalachenko once and for all. Lampshaded as well, when Mikael realizes that Miriam's ordeal was "one provocation too many."
  • Russian Guy Suffers Most: But he totally deserved it.
  • Sanity Slippage: Niedermann.
  • Rule of Threes: Lisbeth zaps three men with her trusty stungun but the third man is immune to its effects despite being hit in the groin.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections: This is the bulk of Zalachenko's attitude when Lisbeth confronts him. Really, it's what his entire speech boils down to.
  • Show Within a Show: There is an excerpt of Blomkvist's book The Knights Templar.
  • Superpower Lottery: Won by Niedermann - he not only feels no pain, he has a gene which gives him an insanely muscular frame which keeps him from killing himself by accident. The first condition should have killed him in his twenties, the second is so rare only a handful of subjects have been identified. The two together essentially make him The Terminator.
  • Things That Go Bump in the Night: Ironically, Niedermann can fight until he literally is too injured to move (and since he's Made of Iron, that virtually never happens) but he's got some major psychological issues and sees shadow creatures and demons whenever he's alone.
  • Wham! Line: "Zalachenko is her father." It's not quite the same, but for those who don't see it coming, this line has an impact comparable to a certain revelation in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The Worf Effect: Niedermann beating the living shit out of real life boxer Paolo Roberto has shades of this. But there are a couple reasons.
  • You Fail Biology Forever: Niedermann's muscular frame is justified, as is his insensitivity to pain. Problem is, when Lisbeth shocks him with a stungun, the electricity through his muscles should have immobilized him regardless of whether he felt it or not.

The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest contains examples of:[edit | hide]

  • Asshole Victim: Zalachenko.
  • Bad Cop, Incompetent Cop: Inspector Paulsson, again, the Lawful Stupid version.
  • Better as Friends: By the end of the book, Lisbeth realizes that she no longer loves Mikael, but decides they should continue their friendship.
  • Break the Haughty: Teleborian's last testimony ought to qualify.
  • Call Back: Lisbeth contacts Erika to tell her something, and when Erika demands that Lisbeth verify who she is, Lisbeth says that she knows how Mikael got the scar on his neck in Dragon Tattoo.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: A roughly analogous situation, as the internal unit responsible for investigating constitutional violations are the good guys, and the CIA-esque "Section" are evil.
  • Crazy Prepared: The Säpo branch called The Section for Special Analysis, which has access to government files and resources, extremely talented operatives, and a total willingness to use any means necessary to protect their own asses.
  • Did Not Do the Research
    • Monica Figuerola is described as an ex-gymnast who barely missed making the Olympic team in the seventies. However, Sweden hasn't fielded a women's gymnastics team since 1964. Also, she is described as being taller than Mikael and usually ex-gymnasts are very very short. These are due to numerous errors in the English translation. The Swedish original says that she almost made the Swedish Olympic track and field team when she was 17. Which still is pretty unrealistic, but barely plausible.
    • Lisbeth contacts Erika via the instant messaging program ICQ. At one point she tells her to “turn on the Internet”.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The snarking, punning inhabitants of Hacker Nation, the online community that comprises most of the people Lisbeth considers friends.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The notoriously private Lisbeth has to reveal every detail of her personal life just to have a chance to do so.
  • Epic Fail: The Section launch an ambitious and well-thought out plan to silence Zalachenko, steal the evidence that proves Lisbeth's story, get her locked up in a mental institution for life, and murder Mikael after destroying his credibility by planting drugs and money in his apartment. And in the end, they all end up arrested on a laundry list of charges because they didn't realize that Mikael and his allies were even more Crazy Prepared than them.
  • Gambit Pileup: Pretty much the bulk of the third volume, as all of The Section's actions and manipulations of the Zalachenko affair going back twenty-some years are revealed. Invoked in the other books to a lesser extent, but it's in this one that Larsson really went all out.
  • Hidden Villain: The heads of The Section, Evert Gullberg and Fredrik Clinton.
  • Hot Amazon: Monica Figuerola. When Monica asks Mikael if he is displeased by a woman of her build, Mikael replies that her well-toned body makes her sexier.
  • Karmic Death: Alexander Zalachenko, who tries to bully his way out of trouble one time too many. And Neidermann, killed by the members of Svavelsjö MC that he betrayed.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Remember how Zalachenko is this to Niedermann? Turns out that Fredrik Clinton is this to Zalachenko. Taking it even further: although Clinton is the main orchestrator behind Hornet's Nest's events, he is loyally following orders set about by his old boss, Evert Gullberg, who starts things off by putting a bullet in Zalachenko and then himself, leaving Clinton to take over.
  • Morally-Ambiguous Doctorate: Teleborian, who, while undeniably talented (he had at one point helped talk a spy out of suicide and into becoming a double agent), also made horrendously irresponsible conclusions about Lisbeth's mental state based on the fact that she refused to acknowledge his authority over her. He was also drafted by The Section to oversee her care because they knew his view fitted with theirs.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: The reason of why all of Monica's relationships failed. Averted once she hooks up with Mikael, who rather likes her athletic physique.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Once more, most of the important plot points are intact, with only a few minor subplots cut for the sake of time or clarity. Erika's never left Millennium (and has no stalker), Trinity and the rest of Hacker Nation are reduced to just Plague, and Wadensjöö's battle with Clinton for control of The Section is missing. However, there are a couple of head-scratching moment differences. Christer Malm inexplicably loses his nerve as it pertains to Millennium's work, Niedermann is reduced to just a Giant Mook that shows up every half-hour or so to hurt or kill people (even at one point attemping to attack Lisbeth while she's at the hospital), much of Annika's amazing legal work is gone, and the ending changes Lisbeth and Mikael's renewed friendship into an awkward "Um...okay...bye." deal.
  • Precision F-Strike: Just before Gullberg shoots Zalachenko, he says "You motherfucker."
  • Prosecutor's Fallacy: Prosecuter Ekström is guilty of this to an appalling degree, both from his disbelief that anyone in the government could have done what Lisbeth and Blomkvist accuse them of, and from being fed incorrect information by The Section because they're trying to use him to cover the whole thing up.
  • The Reveal: Ekström and Teleborian categorically deny that Bjurman ever mistreated Salander, with Teleborian going so far as to say its just a fantasy. Then Gianinni plays the DVD Salander made of Bjurman's raping, sodomizing and torturing her. This does not go over well with them.
  • Running Gag: Lisbeth has a habit of referring to Mikael as "Kalle Blomkvist" because she knows he hates it. So when he smuggles her Palm into her hospital room, he sets up the password as "Pippi", to her amusement.
  • Secret Police: The Section, which Blomkvist terms the "Zalachenko club" inside Säpo (the Swedish equivalent to the American CIA or British MI-6). Säpo is a known government entitity, subject to rules and oversight, but "The Section" is a seperate autonomous division that is outside of and above Säpo control. They were the ones who helped Zalachenko and screwed Lisbeth's life up to keep him safe.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Gullbert uses it in his efforts to keep the Section secret.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Niederman becomes this, as his complete and utter lack of common sense and self-control is what leads to his well deserved Karmic Death.
    • In the third book, The police in general. Blomkvist walks up to them and gives them his weapon, telling them that a big damn fight occurred and Lisbeth got shot in the head. They cuff him and stuff him in the back of a police car before they call the ambulance. He then tells them where Niedermann, an extremely dangerous super-strong, pain-immune sociopath is restrained... and they send two fat drunk handlers to pick him up. He kills both of them by twisting their heads around to face their backs. Blomkvist repeatedly calls the arresting officer an imbecile and all the stupid pig can do is take it. Then uncuff him and let him call some people with functional brains.
  • The Unfettered: Lisbeth by the end of the book, legally a regular adult for the first time in her life. Really unfettered due to the several hundred million bucks she stole.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Teleborian suffers this after Gianinni rips his testimony to shreds. At the start he's rather smug, but when Gianinni not only refuses to blindly heed him but actively discredits him, Teleborian looses his cool and starts stammering. By the time the police drag him away in Court for possessing child porn, he can't even speak.
  • You Are Not Alone: Mikael puts a lot of effort into getting Lisbeth to realize this, and he finally succeeds. On the last page of the last book.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Evert Gullberg does this to Zalachenko, and then even on himself, as stated above.
  1. Larsson's girlfriend found parts of two more books on his computer after his death, and it is rumored that he planned as many as ten books with these characters.
  2. Swedish title- Men Who Hate Women
  3. Swedish title: The Air Castle That Was Blown Up; the Scandinavian idiom "air castle" is roughly akin to the English idiom "pipe dream".