lizbeth salander – action hero or feminist?


This is the face of my new hero. Unlikely looking what with the bad make up, greasy hair and far too much leather… but still I love Lizbeth Salander, the main protagonist of the trilogy written by Stieg Larsson. We just got through all three movies – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – each one of them as brilliant and gripping as the next. Though my husband did complain third movie in that he just didn’t get why all these people were willing to go to bat for her. The more he watched, the less he liked her. I think it’s probably because he’s not used to 2) women being the heroes and b) women in lead roles not falling head over heels for the leading guy – or least calling to say ‘thank you for saving me’. I loved her attitude from start to finish – only thing I’m still trying to work out is whether she’s a feminist or an action hero…

To think I almost passed up this book because I’m not into crime novels – and it was just so damn thick. But superficially it was the story about Stieg Larsson dying suddenly just before he finished writing the books. Apparently there is one more unpublished but Larsson’s father and brother and long time girlfriend Eva Gabrielsson, are in dispute over it. She holds the unfinished novel, unofficially named God’s Revenge, and wants to complete writing. His family wants the book – what for I don’t know. You see, in Sweden there is no such thing as a common law spouse – not even after 32 years of co-habitation. I’ve also read that Gabrielsson has penned an book about her life after Larsson’s passing called Millenium, Stieg & Moi. Must get my hands on this book. Here’s a review of it by Slate Magazine’s Sasha Watson – makes me want to read it more…

‘By its end, the book is a vengeful battle cry. In one particularly incredible scene, Gabrielsson exorcises her grief and fury by performing a pagan ritual, complete with a torch and a goat’s head on a spike, in which she recites a poem to the Norse gods, cursing all those who crossed Larsson in life and in death. In another, she speaks to a crow she believes has been sent to her by the god Odin and which she thinks may be an embodiment of Larsson himself. She wraps up the book by swearing not only to continue her fight for the legal right to make decisions pertaining to the ways Larsson’s works and name are used and distributed, but to take revenge upon those who have wronged Larsson and herself. The phrase “a woman scorned” came to mind again and again as I read: Gabrielsson’s rage is Dido-like in both its determination and its mythological breadth. Whether this is the mild eccentricity of a grieving woman with a thing for Nordic myths or a sign that she’s going around the bend remains to be seen.’

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