Lisbeth Salander

Wondering if anyone has read the Lisbeth Salander books (trilogy) by the Swedish author Stieg Larsson. Or seen the movies. I found them powerful, provocative, and moving, despite the violence and sexual parts that were hard to read. Any thoughts?

(The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the Girl who Played with Fire, the Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest).

I have read the 1st book, The Girl w/ the Dragon Tatoo. I have pity for Lisbeth Salander but other then that the characters are void of any sense of virtue or morality; not even a desire for personal virtue. Neither marriage nor friendship was honored. I have been told the other 2 books are better. The author’s data re: sexual violence/abuse in Sweden is suspect. Reminds me of the ‘data’ put out some years ago re: violence against women during the Super Bowl. It was repeated often but was finally exposed as not true/made up.

I agree with the 2nd poster. I have read only the 1st book and the violence, sex, incest, rape, and violent sex was disgusting and pornographic.

I thought it was unrealistic that every woman the protagonist met (can’t remember his name, the journalist) immediately wanted to have sex with him, including two women, Lisbeth and the sister of the murderer, who had been victims of sexual assault and/or incest. He of course was happy to have sex with all of them. Then there was his regular partner who was married to someone else. No mention of STD’s pregnancy, etc. AND, he was divorced and a very lousy father (essentially nonexistent) to his teenage daughter, even when he knew she might be getting involved with a religious cult.

I also think the character of Lisbeth herself was inconsistent. She is presented as socially awkward to the point of being a ward of the state and given a menial job until she is “discovered” by her employer. Then suddenly she can get revenge on her assailant, engage in a relationship with the journalist, and then perform all those costume changes and play those roles at the end of the book to get her financial revenge.

Can you tell I didn’t like this book? I won’t be reading the others, even if they have less sex and violence.

And yes, there were some good points. It certainly read well as a good story and mystery and kept the reader’s interest. I found all the financial intrigue educational and interesting. I like the way the solution to the mystery of the missing girl was managed.

Rereading my post today and I apologize to the OP for sounding so harsh and negative about books that you liked.

This may be a topic for a different thread, but I wonder how much immorality and graphic sex/violence should be tolerated for that sake of the good parts of a book. Because I do agree that there were some very good parts of that book.

I found them excellent but I like ‘Nordic Crime’ as a genre.

The thing is that you really don’t understand what it’s all about until you read ‘Fire’ and ‘Hornet’s Nest’. Dragon Tattoo stands on its own as a book, of course, but Lisbeth is a mystery until you’ve read the lot.

No worries! I appreciate your input. I liked them…but I recognize that much of the book was hard to read, scandalous, etc. I lament that…I wish the author could have presented his story without the graphic (and in my mind objectionable and uncalled for) sexual scenes.

I agree with you…how much should such be tolerated?

A great question, one I struggled with as I read the books and watched the first two movies.

Sincerely appreciate your input.

I agree (I think, unless I misunderstand you)…the first book stands by itself, but if you read books 2 or 3 you have to read both (and really, all three) to understand.

Thanks MJE…I agree with you in that I am sympathetic toward the character of Lisbeth. I don’t think I agree with you that all other characters are void of any sense of virtue of morality.

can you share specifics?

Yes, Lisbeth’s past and what drives her are only revealed in the later two books. You can read ‘Tattoo’ without knowing all that, of course.


I’ve heard a rumor there was a fourth book. Interesting to see what comes of that.

And it’s crime fiction, which has always been dominated by the imperfect battling with the dastardly (think of classics like Holmes and Marlowe), after all.

I m currently reading the second book. I find Lisbeth Salander to be an amazing character. I dont have to agree with everything she does, but I think she is one of the most, compelling, important characters of recent time.

I agree with the other poster though that one of my only objections to the books was how unrealistic (IMO) it was to have every female of the book fall into bed with Mikael Blomkvist.

Mikael, the journalist, beds any female willing, regardless of her vulnerability or marital status. Heck, he offers up his own family, wife & child, for his tom-cat ways. What makes him particularly offensive is his repeated referrals to his ‘ethics’ as a pro journalist; as tho he stands apart from the crowd. The same could go for his married girl friend, the magazine editor.Her husband is left to his own desperations or blind self-abuse? I am trying to remember any of the characters who have a hint of an awareness of honor. uh? I need help, little memory, & getting worse daily w/ age. I am interested in ‘spoilers’ from those who have read the other 2. you can email me.

I find Lisbeth Salander to be an amazing character. I dont have to agree with everything she does, but I think she is one of the most, compelling, important characters of recent time.

What do you mean by “important”? I agree that she is amazing and compelling.

First let me stress that I dont necessarily agree with the character’s thoughts and actions. However when I said she was important I suppose what I was thinking of was how much of an unlikely heroine she is, yet she is still the center of the book and a relatively well known person in fiction. She is female, four foot eleven and has some kind of undiagnosed mental condition (I suspect Aspergers but then again Iam only half way into the second book so I dont know her whole history yet) yet in many instances by using her wits and intelligence she manages to get herself out of tricky or dangerous situations (albeit in un -Christian ways but still).

At one point she even rescues the main male character. All these things are obviously inspiring to me. Especially due to the fact that the author is a man. He writes her well and realistically IMO. I feel through Lisbeth Salander he gives a sort of voice to unlikely female heroines who do not fit the mould of what most people consider to be the feminine ideal.

I feel even if the author was Catholic and wrote Salander so that she would make more Christian choices at times it would still not change the core of her character.

All laced with a lot of childhood abuse - including by the State - and a soupçon of genetics, as we discover.

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