Strangely enough, despite its popularity, my first encounter with the Millenium trilogy was in a small bookstore off the edge of a beach in Prince Edward Island. The cover art drew me in immediately and, after reading the back of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I picked up all three books in the series. I spent that week-long vacation reading and found a hero that would stick with me the rest of my life. From the first sentence Lisbeth Salandar is introduced, she is described as being out of place. Working at a security company in the personal investigations division, her boss describes her as having a unique gift for finding any dirt the individual had hiding. We get her physical description in the same section.
“Armansky’s star researcher was a pale, anorexic young woman who had hair as short as a fuse, and a pierced nose and eyebrows. She had a wasp tattoo about an inch long on her neck, a tattooed loop around the biceps of her left arm and another around her left ankle. On those occasions when she had been wearing a tank top, Armansky also saw that she had a dragon tattoo on her left shoulder blade.” (Larsson, p.51)
She is the exact opposite of the standard hero in novels. She is dark, edgy, and had nothing to prove to the world. Anti-social, she makes it a point to never rely on anyone else for help. The reader soon learns that she is an extremely proficient hacker and uses her skills throughout the series to get information that no one else can. Throughout the books, she helps and saves the other characters directly and indirectly. She is very slow to accept friends but, once she trusts a person, she is fiercely loyal. Also, reading about a central character who wasn’t straight was very affirming to me. The lack of gay characters in popular novels can have the effect of alienating young readers who aren’t sure of their sexuality. The fact that Lisbeth was bisexual gave me the feeling that there were other people like me out there. Including gay characters in fiction can also have an effect on how accepting people are of difference.
The Millenium trilogy has a lot of dark themes, one of which being the systemic violence against women in society. Lisbeth faces and survives some terrible events. She confronts impossible odds to right a wrong as old as she is and help her friends survive. I learned many things from Lisbeth, the most important being to never give up; even when it seems like the whole world is against you.
After graduating from Carleton University with a B.A in Political Science, Ashton Heaps found himself without direction. With a passion for writing, the Professional Writing program has allowed him to explore the different careers that he could pursue. With an interest in fantasy fiction and communications, he is excited to hit the ground running and discover what he can do.