The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo question

my review of the 'millennium trilogy' or 'the girl who was actually clint eastwood with boobs'
arvan arvan Feb 09, 2014 07:26PM
so, I got invited to read the millenium trilogy by a friend at the same time she was, with the idea being that there are rape depictions and that we’d keep each other company during the triggering parts of the tales, in some fashion or another. for my part, this book club thingy was helpful because it gave me an external excuse to listen to audiobooks on my work commutes, thereby making them far less stressful.

lisbeth salander was hyped up to be some sort of feminist…something or other. I found her to be a cardboard character that was raped and in turn raped. so, I don’t know if she was supposed to be some sort of demonstration of how those who are assaulted become assailants or what. lisbeth salander is basically Clint Eastwood with boobs. she goes around, emotionless and executing violence, breaking laws all in the name of justice and righteousness - or something.

lisbeth gets raped in the first book, and then goes on to rape & torture her rapist and commit statutory rape of a 16 y/o black boy in the caribbean in the second book. she steals billions from a gangster with no thought of whether that money was stolen to begin with. the author gives lisbeth a pass on: stealing already stolen wealth, rape, torture and neo-colonial sex tourism and pedophilia. some ‘feminist action hero’. for the most part, women in these books are either fucking blomkvist or being raped and murdered.

by the final, clumsy end of the trilogy I don’t think that stieg larsson ever knew any women, much less feminists. the women he portrays are caricatures that for the most part have lots of money and either exist in the story to irritate sexists and rapists when lisbeth is not in the scene or to give larsson a reason to talk about breasts.

and omfg, does he go on about breasts! fucking hell. the minute he starts talking about a woman’s body, it’s all over but the crying. he’ll zero in on the breasts like a child molester going after a rubber ducky. I don’t know how or even if I can ever read about tits again. I may need to gargle with bleach or read some anatomy manuals about human tissue, bone & cellular structure just to re-contextualize the word. by the third novel, larsson gave up all pretense of storytelling on his breast infatuations. he just blurts out passages that have nothing to do with the story and talks about breasts.

then there’s mikael blomkvist, the ‘working class’ penis that fucks pretty much any woman that spends two paragraphs with him. they all seem to end up socializing with each other, after fucking him as some sort of ‘band of sisters’. my friend suggests we write fanfic about the women that fuck mikael blomkvist. I’d read it. maybe Millennium magazine could do a special issue on women who fucked the intrepid penis and how they recovered from the vanilla-ness of it all.

seriously, if someone asks me about these books I’ll take a picture of a penis and say: “this is what the books are about”.

blomkvist is supposed to be some sort of middle class moral avenger, attacking the abusers of power for the good of society / democracy / sweden / his penis. the dude’s got more money than anyone I know and it seems that because he doesn’t have an estate or a lear jet, he’s impoverished. this doesn’t need to be an issue in storytelling but a good portion of the first story and the others to some respect, is about class and the abuse of power. but, the author has blomkvist charging after the wealthiest 1% from his position in the wealthiest 2%. which looks a lot like the same class to the bottom 98%. when the very poor are mentioned, they’re often sex workers from eastern europe that are mentioned only because larsson was describing the foul deeds of one of blomkvist’s adversaries and the death / rape / abuse / exploitation of some croatian sex worker was used to do so.

the first book, ‘girl with the dragon tattoo’ was interesting for me. larsson told the tale of these wealthy cardboard characters in the foreground, while in the background another story was told. intrepid penis and clint eastboob were parading through sweden on a billionaire’s credit card, looking for a pattern of murder in a country and history of wealth. the engaging part was how, as larsson described this history, family, country and community, another parallel tale of class differentiation and abuse was being told. it was as if there were two levels of storytelling going on at the same time: foreground with cardboard characters and background with complex, interdependent relationships within which was the class structure that nurtured oppression, elitism, cruelty, colonialism, torture, murder, devaluation and at the level of institutional, systemic and cultural. hints of christianity, colonialism, racism, nazism and the ever present misogyny all flowed past in larsson’s depiction of the world around intrepid penis and clint eastboob. it was notable and enjoyable to me.

I can tell you that for whatever reason, that was absent in the second and third books. I don’t know why, but it became like a combination of clumsy suspense like larsson smoked a bowl of hash, and then tried to write a swedish version of jason bourne and la femme nikita. take any idea that you wrote down while you were smoking a bong, convinced that it was genius only to examine later as instructions for buttoning your shirt own shirt. maybe larsson got to the end of the first novel and couldn’t figure out how to complete lisbeth salander’s alleged character arc, so he took two more books to ramble on before concluding in the final clumsy, comic 100 pages of book three. who knows? and who cares?

the real mystery here is how on earth these books sold 75 million copies. the millennium trilogy would be every bit the hack writing that 50 shades of grey is, if the first book didn’t have the complexity it does.

The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

To the OP,

Here are some capitals.


Familiarize yourself with them, and use them.

Rohit Agarwal ha ha lol
Feb 04, 2015 01:25AM · flag

This review made me laugh, thank you! I really enjoyed the first novel, but by the second and third I felt like I didn't recognize the characters anymore. Lisbeth gets a boob job? Puh-leez. She cared zero about her appearance in book one, what happened? She got rich? Blech. He took a unique and intriguing character and turned her into Clint Eastboob(lol!) I don't understand how these three books even relate to each other, aside from the fact that Blomkvist and Salander are both in them. Book one is a realistic and fascinating murder mystery with slowly intensifying suspense. Then he follows it up with these completely irrational action-adventure-thriller romps in which one character survives everything against incredible odds and the other manages to take down a multi-national crime ring and walk away unscathed. Give me a break.

Richard Hoskins Where did you get the impression that Lisbeth didn't care about her appearance in book one?

As I remember it, she was highly decorated and pierced, an
Aug 08, 2014 05:34PM · flag

I read the first two books, but I never got through the third. It just got way off base and boring. I had to keep track of these other new characters, like the police officers, and it just got too much for me. First book is definetly worth it and a stand alone book, unlike the other two.

Well, um, okay then. I can see what you mean, although I wouldn't have put it quite the same way...

Larsson does have a ... shall we say? ... distinctive view of women. He does that creepy thing that some authors do - invents a character that is quite a lot like himself and then gives that character lots of sex. Women just don't seem to be able to resist this middle aged journalist written by a middle aged journalist.

It didn't raise my hackles as much as it did for you, but then life would be interminably dull if we all had the same reactions to things.

I am again amazed at how different we interpret & see the same things, same work, same words. Out of all the sexual encounters that have been depicted in the trilogy, the only ones that bothered me were the ones that were not consensual i.e. rape. As long as the parties involved have each other's consent, sexual preferences should not bother others so much nor should the prosthetic enhancements.

I have read many other best selling thrillers/crime novels from renowned authors in which those things would have stood out more than the story. But in the first and the second book here, story is quite powerful & interesting that I did not find Lisbeth's or Blomkvist's sexual preferences disgusting or disturbing.

Really people. Have any of you ever lived abroad. I believe it was very fitting, and I really enjoyed it.

I read all 3 books and i do have to say that there was not that amount of breast reference that made me choke, like you.

It seems that you haven´t got the general idea or was distracted by all the sex cenes in it, which i admit that there are a lot, but then again - it´s life, you know? It happens.....

I really like the purtianism in some people - some of you sound like Bill Clinton, when confronted with his infidelity "I never engaged in sexual relations with that woman", only for the general public to find out that he had pretty good fun in the Oval Room, in ways that were a wee bit out of the "Christian " manner. It seems that everything is fair game, so long as no one knows it, so you can keep a "pure" façade.

Lisbeth was a sexual taker, bissexual and free; Bloomkvist was another sexual taker, hetero and free.....and what is that to you? They are kickass characters that i wouldn´t mind to read more about.

Interesting how you capitalized Clint Eastwood but no other name - is that because you're fond of Eastwood but denigrate that which you don't?

As far as Mikael Blomkvist, think Julian Assange.

And as far as breasts go, the only thing I recall the author mentioning was that Lisabeth didn't have much in that department - which was one reason Roony Mara was cast in the role. So I don't see how you could possibly accuse the author of being obsessed with breasts.

Loved Lisbeth. I hope the stupid family finally realizes Larsson's girlfriend is the only one capable
of finishing the last book. I mean, girlfriends read your manuscript, don't they? I assume he also talked to her about what he had in mind. I know he didn't get along with his family.

Betsy (last edited Jul 26, 2014 03:33PM ) Jul 18, 2014 04:22PM   0 votes
Although I don't agree w/ Arvan, his style or comments, he certainly is entitled to his opinion, as are we. I would first like to respond to his ...." the real mystery is how on earth these books sold 75 million copies...." In my opinion, it is because:
1. Readers especially enjoyed the strong characterization of Lisbeth Salander, a very unique female protagonist with a personality, background, skills, attitude, etc. all unique in today's literature; one cannot think of many/any Lisbeth Salanders. She is DIFFERENT
than what we're used to in a female character and for all her faults, maybe even because of them, she is appealing. We root for underdogs, we root for those who have been taken advantage of yet through their smarts and tenaciousness persevere and overcome, which she did slowly, methodically, cleverly. She "sold" these books.
2. Readers seem to enjoy sex; sex sells, not a bad thing. Most of the sex in this trilogy was raw, at times disturbing, yet possibly somewhat arousing because, again, it's different than the norm. Then throw in the revenge part and you have a double whammie!
3. Readers like stories that take them for a ride, not always knowing where they are going or where they will end up. This trilogy certainly captivated readers' thoughts and imaginations. Yes, the plot had holes/flaws, but it kept you reading and definitely wanting more. Many, including myself, would LOVE a 4th + installment of THE GIRL WHO.... So much more that I'd like to know and read about.
I could go on but I hope that I've made my point. When these books first came out, I was in an airport, and THESE were the books so many people were reading, SO popular. I don't think that 75 million people can be so wrong.
I hope that "we" drop this Eastwood/ boob reference and concentrate on the merits/faults of these three outstanding books as I have enjoyed the above comments.

For those who liked the Lisbeth Salander character, WHAT things, specifically, drew you to her?

I did not see no reference to boobs at all, because Lisbeth really not not have any. I feel that he was describing her physical atrributes, like most authors do so that you can picture them in your mind while reading the novel. I really did not see no difference in all the sex than with a lot of American authors do. Stuart Woods, Michael Connolly, even Lee Child's character Jack Reacher(I am not slamming any authors, in fact, I like the Jack Reacher series). So what is the difference?

deleted member Feb 10, 2014 08:07AM   0 votes
Wow... Well, ok if that's what you got from the series! Lol

deleted member Feb 11, 2014 01:07AM   0 votes
lisbeth...boobs??? Can't compute

Not overly impressed with Arvan's comments. It seems rather immature to only be able to focus on the sexual themes of the book. The comments labeling Lisbeth as a rapist because of what she did to Bjurman is pathetic, if anything the sadist deserved far worse. The idea that Lisbeth is 'clint eastwood with boobs' is infantile, she is more a socialy awkard girl who refused to be just a victim.

I wouldn't consider Larsson's works feminist really, it came across as social commentary showing some of the injustices, particularly against women. The fact that Larsson explores sexuality through Lisbeth, Blomkvist and others didn't bother me, I think he covered it with tact. There were parts of the books i didn't like, but that could be said for almost any creation.

Linton (last edited Jul 14, 2014 05:13PM ) Jul 14, 2014 05:12PM   0 votes
"lisbeth salander is basically Clint Eastwood with boobs." Lisbeth Salander is a character in a novel and Clint Eastwood is an actor who has played many roles. How can one compare them? Unless that one lives somewhere in the Twilight Zone.

Since reading the trilogy I have been unable to find anything else that has managed to captivate my interest, quite in the way Larsson did with these books...they were unique to say the least and thoroughly enjoyable.

Yes his writing contained much graphic sexual content that would personally not suit everyone, but then I'm not easily offended by content of this nature if it suits the character(s) and plot which it did, now I could go on to elaborate that we all know a 'middle aged man' who isn't all that and still manages to bed more women more frequently than I get my roots touched up, but what would be the point! Not everyone's 'norm' is normal, all cultures are different.

The one thing I did want from these books but never got was a 'proper happy ending' I use this term loosely as all the characters are not without issues and the plot is extreme. I had hoped that Blomkvist and Lisbeth would be united in their own version of normality, but alas this was not to be, which for me felt like the plot had ended, but not the story.

After reading the books I did purchase the films (original Swedish, with dubbed over English) when they became available and they were also very good, brought the characters to life and did the books far more justice than the Daniel Craig version. Not often I enjoy a film after reading the book, but these were very well done, low budget but very fitting for the story, worth a look if you haven't seen them.

I did find Larsson's writing style is perhaps more suited to men than women but this did not detract from the enjoyment and in that respect I would welcome a fourth book, especially if it tied up the loose story ends.

Judith (last edited Apr 13, 2014 02:47PM ) Apr 13, 2014 02:45PM   0 votes
I really don't see Clint Eastwood with boobs here....and Blomkvist was as complicated in his own way as Lisbeth. It appears that most people commenting are trying to rewrite the book to suit what they want. The sex was graphic but I think we would be shocked? if we knew what today's society's sexual preferences/deviances were really like or maybe we'd find that people have reverted to puritanical mores...just my opinion. I bet there's more kinky sex going on than most would care to admit, real life is not romance novels.

I, personally, enjoyed the stories and I just wanted to keep reading.

Yeah I agree sex was thrown around wildly in this series without abandon. Blomkvist does fuck everyone, and his ex-wife has three ways with her current husband. Who does these kinds of things besides porn stars? Is Larsson trying to say liberals are preoccupied with sex? Or that they're free and he's praising them for their inhibitions. It just kind of makes Blomkvist look bad.

i'm not sure the books were any different to a western thriller. some of the relationships were a little more casual but a large chunk of american and british thrillers have male leads who can bed anything (Dirk Pitt is the worst for this).

Lisbeth was a nice change of pace for 2 books, she was certainly better crafted than most female characters in popular fiction at the time. The first book was fun as the mystery was a proper mystery. Book 2, with it's albino hit men who can't feel pain, all seemed a little James Bond to me

harmless fun and it did kick start the scandanavian crime fad so thanks to Steig we have Jo Nesbo and the rest on the bookshelves now

Susie (last edited Apr 14, 2014 04:59PM ) Feb 17, 2014 04:35PM   -1 votes
I didn't like Blomkvists confusion or misunderstanding that sex wasn't just a physical release. He seemed to me to be a sexual taker and as an adult should have learned that at least some people view sex as part of establishing a relationship, not just as a casual pastime. I also didn't get the feeling that he really cared for anyone besides himself. Lisbeth was such a complex character and Blomkvist was so flat.

BTW A kronor is worth only 15% of what a dollar is worth, about .06 cents. Blomkvist isn't rich.

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