The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Cover

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Stieg Larsson

An international publishing sensation presenting one of the most intriguing characters of contemporary literature.

I’ve had many enemies over the years. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s never engage in a fight you’re sure to lose. On the other hand, never let anyone who has insulted you get away with it.

The first book in the Millennium trilogy, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the highest selling translated books of all time. It follows Mikael Blomkvist, a renowned investigative journalist who, after publishing an exposé on a billionaire industrialist and losing a liability case against him, steps down from his position as publisher of the magazine Millenium. While, Lisbeth Salander, a hacker, is hired to dig up information on Mikael.

Mikael is hired by Henrik Vanger, a former CEO of a big family corporation, to try and find his niece, Henrietta, who disappeared forty years before and everyone believes to be dead, covering up the investigation with the pretence of writing Henrik’s memoir. The investigation proves to be full of twists and turns and Mikael decides to ask Lisbeth for help the very same hacker who uncovered some of his most hidden secrets.

During the investigation the two reside on the island where the whole Vanger family lives, and a friendship starts to develop between the two. However, they soon discover that the truth is much darker than they initially thought.

Who do you consider to be the novel’s protagonist, Mikael or Lisbeth? Why?

What point was Larsson trying to make with the themes running through this novel? How do issues such as men’s brutality to women, journalistic integrity, and more general notions of trust tie in with each other throughout the book?

The original Swedish title is Men Who Hate Women. What differing images does this evoke to the English edition’s title?

It’s argued that Lisbeth is one of the greatest female heroines ever written by a man. Would you agree? Why, or why not?

The dynamic between Lisbeth and Mikael is quite unique. How do you explain it? What does their interaction mean for either of the characters?


After a lot of research, Mikael and Lisbeth realise that Henrietta was investigating the unsolved deaths of a number of girls before she disappeared. It transpires that those deaths were connected and that the murderer was none other than Henrietta’s father, who was later joined in his crimes by his son, Martin. The two have sexually abused and killed a number of women over the years.

It also turns out that Henrietta didn’t die, but only fled the country, running away from her father and brother. She’s been living in Australia under her cousin’s name.

Back in Stockholm, with help from both Henrik and Lisbeth, Mikael finally manages to write the exposé that he was accused for previously, this time with real and valid information.

Stieg Larson hasn’t lived to see any of his books being published in Sweden and wasn’t able to witness the global success that they had. He died at the age of fifty of a heart attack.

The series is being continued by a different author, David Lagercrantz. Many fans have been excited by having the series continued and the opportunity to read more about Mikael and Lisbeth, while others have argued that this isn’t how the author would have wanted the series to continue.

In July 2010, Larsson’s series made him the first author to sell a million eBooks through Amazon.

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