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Lisbeth Salander Is the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I've lived in Flagstaff, AZ, since 2003, where I'm an active member of the Coconino County Sheriff's Search & Rescue team and an avid hiker.

Lisbeth Salander: An Unlikely and Unusual Heroine

She's got multiple tattoos and body piercings, and spiked, jet-black hair she sometimes wears in a mohawk. Rail thin, she has an almost constant scowl on her pale face. She's usually clad punk-style in black leather from head to toe, and will often respond to questions with complete silence and a stare.

Twenty-three-year-old Lisbeth Salander is deeply troubled. She's also brilliant and fascinating, and, despite all the apparent negatives about her dark personality and her somewhat less-than-ethical profession, Lisbeth has an uncanny way of making you care about her and root for her with enthusiasm. Her strength and intelligence and the brief glimpses of her softer, mostly hidden side are riveting.

Sure, there are other significant characters in this story, like the leading man--investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist--and his business partner at Millennium Magazine, his long-time, married lover Erika Berger, but they pale in comparison to Lisbeth.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: A Novel by Stieg Larsson

I actually saw the Swedish film with subtitles before I read the book. Saw all three movies in the trilogy, in fact. So I was already well hooked on the character of Lisbeth Salander before I turned to page one. And that's probably a good thing, or else I may not have made it past the first chapter. If you ask me, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" novel doesn't exactly start out with a bang. Rather, it begins at a slow, dry and sometimes tedious pace (in my most humble opinion, of course).

At some point, however -- and I can't really say where exactly that point was -- I became as hooked on the book as I had been on the film from the get-go. Perhaps it was when Lisbeth finally came into the picture, which happens later in the novel than it does in the movie. But whenever that hook happened in the book, I could no longer put it down.

I'm sure there are readers who loved the book from word one. Besides, all the backstory is necessary, I would say, to understand what happens when the plot really kicks in. And some of what you can learn visually in the movie must, of course, be spelled out in print. Reminds me of my reaction to "Cold Mountain." I had to re-start that book several times before I got through to where it really held my attention, and it eventually became a favorite of mine. Same with "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

From what I've heard, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" wasn't all that popular of a novel when it was first released. Apparently, it was only after the Swedish film of the same name came out that people really took notice, and the book became an international best-seller. Too bad the late author, Stieg Larsson, who died of a heart attack in 2004 not long after handing over the three manuscripts, isn't around to enjoy the huge success his "Millennium Trilogy" has become.

As of Spring 2010, the trilogy has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 countries. Stieg Larrson was the second bestselling author in the world in 2008. (Source: Steig Larrson: The Man Behind Lisbeth Salander)

Have You Read The Book? If you have, what did you think?

After you answer this quick pole, you'll be able to leave your comments about the book at the bottom of the page. Do you recommend it?

The First Book of the "Millennium Trilogy"

Let's see, how to summarize the plot?

Well, basically, you've got a middle-aged journalist whose just been convicted of libel. That's Mikael Blomkvist. Following the conviction, steep fine, and sentencing of three months in jail, Blomkvist is hired by an elderly mogul, Henrik Vanger, head of the powerful and long-running Vanger family business, to investigate the disappearance of his niece, Harriet, forty years earlier from the family compound on Hedeby Island. Vanger believes Harriet was murdered, possibly by someone still living there ... possibly by a family member.

Blomkvist takes the job with much reservation, moves to a small cottage on the island estate, and lays low from Millennium Magazine, which he co-founded with his married lover and best friend, Erika Berger, years earlier. He then digs into the Vanger family's twisted past and narrowly avoids death in the present. He's assisted with the investigation by the young and very sharp computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander, who plays a vital role in connecting Harriet's disappearance to a series of gruesome murders.

There's much more to this story, of course, like the relationship between Mikael and the bisexual, anti-social Lisbeth, Lisbeth's traumatic childhood and her troubling encounters with her unscrupulous legal guardian, not to mention her revenge, but I'll leave that to the book and the movie. If, however, you'd like to know more about this fascinating character, you can read the profile of Lisbeth Salander.

Better yet, read the book!

Watch "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" : The Swedish Film on DVD

I loved this movie! At first, I was hesitant, since reading sub-titles isn't my favorite thing to do when watching films. But I soon found that the reading became easy and didn't distract from the story or the interesting characters. Noomi Rapace's portrayal of Lisbeth is right up there on my list of best performances I've ever seen. She does as much with silence and her eyes as many actors do with a lot of lengthy dialogue, if not more.

A Glimpse of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" - The Swedish film trailer

I saw the American version of this film soon after it was released in theaters, but I highly recommend you see the Swedish adaptation as well, if not before. I think it's really interesting to see the differences.

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A Bit About Noomi Rapace: the Swedish Lisbeth Salander

After seeing the three Swedish films in the "Millennium Trilogy," it was difficult for me to imagine anyone but Noomi Rapace playing the part of Lisbeth Salander. I found Noomi's performance riveting.

Noomi's first role was a non-speaking part when she was seven years of age, which gave her the acting bug. At 15, she left home to attend theater school and later landed a television role on a Swedish soap opera. Other stage roles followed as well as an award-winning performance as a troubled teen mom in the 2007 Danish film Daisy Diamond. The role of Lisbeth Salander came along two years later, which she continued to play in the sequels The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. (It's seems to be the widely-held opinion that the second and third films were not as good as the first, story-wise, but Noomi's portrayal of Lisbeth Salander is top-notch throughout.)

Noomi was cast in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, which was her first English-speaking role. She is also slated to be in the next Ridley Scott movie, Prometheus.

Find out more about this talented actress on the official Noomi Rapace website.

An Interview with Noomi Rapace - The Swedish (and original) Lisbeth Salander

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo : The American Film

Released December 21, 2011

In this American adaptation of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," the leading male role of Mikael Blomkvist is played by British actor, Daniel Craig, who starred as the sixth James Bond in the 2006 film, Casino Royale. While his is a recognizable name, the same could not be said for the female starring role of Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara, a native New Yorker sporting a non-American accent in the film.

You'll probably recognize other names, however, such as veteran actor Christopher Plummer as Henrik Vanger and the former Mrs. Sean Penn and Princess Bride star, Robin Wright, as Erika Berger.

This film had big shoes to fill with high expectations. In my opinion, those expectations were met.

Visit the official site of the American version of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" Movie Trailer - Starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara

A Bit About Rooney Mara -- the American Lisbeth Salander

Looking at this photo of Rooney Mara, it's hard to imagine her as Lisbeth Salander, but she really does pull it off. Check out this photo of Rooney as Lisbeth. I read an article not long ago that said Rooney had to lose a significant amount of weight for the part, and she apparently even got some real body piercings to go along with the look. But it wasn't the piercings that scared her, it was having to learn to ride a motorcycle.

Born Patricia Rooney Mara in 1985, Mara made her acting debut in 2005 with a very small part in a horror film that went straight to video, but she's gone on to star in films like the remake of 1984's A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Social Network. (In the latter, she plays the girl who breaks up with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, which inspires him to start the website.)

Rooney has had a number of other television parts and supporting movie roles, but the role of Lisbeth Salander will likely be the one that makes her a star.

Learn and see more of this up and coming actress on the official Rooney Mara website.

An Interview with Rooney Mara

And check this out:

Lisbeth Salander character inspires a fashion collection

The Other Books and Films : Sequels to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

These sequels are, to me, more fitting of the description "thrillers" than "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." I've seen their Swedish film adaptations and, though they aren't considered to be at the same level as the first, I do recommend them to anyone who loves Lisbeth and the team of Salander and Blomkvist.

All Three Swedish Films

© 2011 Deb Kingsbury

What Do You Think of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"?

anonymous on November 17, 2012:

i put your lense in mine, as similar... hope you don't mind?? :-)

Paul from Liverpool, England on November 04, 2012:

@FanfrelucheHubs: I've just seen the US version - good but not great. Too many things rushed to meet an arbitrary length - should have been an hour longer.

Joyce T. Mann from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA on March 08, 2012:

In all honesty, I couldn't get past the first 50 pages or so of the book and have not seen either movie. From what I've heard about Lisbeth, she sounds like quite the talented actress. I'd like to see her in her future roles.

AngryBaker on March 08, 2012:

Read the books (thought the third could use a better edit) and saw the Swedish films, then saw the American. Was skeptical, but both were good. Looking forward to what's next... wondering if the rumored books 4 and 5 will appear...

Terrie_Schultz on March 08, 2012:

I read the book and liked it a lot. Haven't seen the movie yet.

Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on December 11, 2011:

I had no idea they were filming a remake of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" movie. I am always skeptical of US remake of European movies, but sometimes it turn out good. And this version of "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara seems to be pretty good.Looking forward to it.

JoshK47 on December 03, 2011:

Quite excellent information, very nicely put together - blessed by a SquidAngel!

Peggy Hazelwood from Desert Southwest, U.S.A. on December 02, 2011:

I read all three books and have seen the Swedish movies. Can't wait to see the American versions. Loved the books, even though they did eat an inordinately large number of sandwiches, didn't you think? ;o)

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on December 02, 2011:

I want to see the movie! love this awesome page!

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