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The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


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156 replies to this topic

#41 Erik of Hazelfield

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:22 AM

Blomqvist is good at pretty much everything, yes. Salander on the other hand, while bad at some things, is ridiculously good at the stuff she knows. She's a hacker with impossible abilities, she can break into any and every building she wants, she can do some kickass kung-fu, and she has an eidetic memory just to accentuate her inhuman qualities.

I agree that she's not really a Mary Sue, but rather... Well, I don't know if there's a name for this kind of über-skilled hero, but if there is, she's it.

Edited by Erik of Hazelfield, 18 June 2010 - 08:23 AM.


#42 Yagathai

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:37 AM

Blomqvist is a skilled, albeit plodding investigator who gets laid a lot -- though I should point out that he gets laid with age- and setting-appropriate women. He's not out banging cheerleaders or Bond girls. While he is definitely an idealized version of the author, he's not as stunningly unrealistic and improbable as Salander.

Batman has a traumatic past too, don't forget. HIS PARENTS ARE DEAD.

#43 Yagathai

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Posted 18 June 2010 - 08:38 AM

There's a part early in the second book where Lisbeth is described as wearing tight jeans with a hole in the ass so that you could see her blue panties underneath... /rolleyes2.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':rolleyes:' />


I've seen that out in public. It's a part of certain looks. Why did it make you roll your eyes?

#44 mashiara

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 03:39 AM

I just finished the first book and I really don't see what the hype was all about. It wasn't a bad book but it wasn't the literary masterpiece some people claim it is. It was just a standard thriller/crime novel and it wasn't even always interesting.

I got it from the library and if I see the second one I'll probably give it a go, but I don't feel any urgency to do so.

#45 Galactus

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 08:17 PM

I don't think that's a fair description of her at all. She gets beaten and abused a LOT and although you can argue that she had the whole difficult upbringing at what not, she's often presented as the victim, the underdog and most importantly on the Mary Sue aspect: She's not beautiful.

Hence I think people tagging her with the Mary Sue label is doing so at least partly wrongfully, and that in this case, people don't really know what a Mary Sue is. Lisbeth Salander is not described as pretty, invincible, or fantastic. She's described as extremely intelligent, but not beautiful and with a very, very strong, almost debilitating anti social streak.

If you're looking at problems with the books, look at the random kindness from middle aged men towards Salander.

The good bits are where it describes the built in problems in the Swedish system where everyone trusts the authorities and it can be extremely hard to get anywhere, plus ofc that it is written with an inherent feminist pathos (maybe not always executed "correctly" as such, but it's definitely there).

The bad bits are Blomqvist (you should focus on a Gary Stu, not a Mary Sue people) who does nothing important and sleeps around a lot, plus all his weird non-relationships with women, who are unable to resist his magnetic charms (screams Gary Stu to me).


I agree with whomever says it's a normal suspense/criminal novel and it is, with perhaps a couple of extra twists making it more special. Since I don't live in Sweden anymore, I haven't been party to the enormous hype so I basically read it assuming it wasn't anything special. It probably helped me enjoy it more, as I did enjoy it, based on what it is.


Salander is Batman.

The thing is, Batman isn't a Gary Stu (well, usually) in a superhero setting. Becuase the entire point is that it's larger than life.

The thing is that something like the Millennium books are ostensibly set in a more "realistic" world. And stuff that would be considered ordinary in one setting comes across as extreme in this one.

#46 Guest_Raidne_*

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Posted 06 July 2010 - 12:57 PM

I have no idea what I think about this book. I liked a lot of the background things - the way the word "feminist" is used, and how it alien it is to how I hear it used in America, the way Swedes think about society and the obligation of a government to its citizens, the relationship between Blomkvist and Berger. But I think that just means I should read other Swedish authors.

At any rate, the major plot line is a regular thriller. The twist was a little bit cheap. I would say only Lisbeth is the Mary Sue, because she is painted as being just so much more than regular people. She's superhuman. She's 95 lbs, but takes down much bigger men with guile and skill. She's irresistible to all the men who meet her! And then, finally, she's an international woman of mystery who drains the bank account of a global gangster and gets away with it!!! (that was pretty much the end of the road for me).

Blomkvist is lacking in identifiable flaws, sure, but so is Berger. Or really, anyone who isn't an evil bastard. The characters are pretty black or white.

But I still enjoyed reading the book. It was a good page turner and I enjoyed the settings and reading about the characters, except for Blomkvist, who I thought was kind of boring.

#47 Guest_Raidne_*

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 12:55 PM

Okay, so I'm almost done with the second book, and now I just hate the whole thing. God its awful. I can't believe I already bought the third book in hardcover.

#48 pfitz

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 03:19 PM

Weren't they just dubbed into English for the US release?

Patrick

There is also a US adaptation in the works directed by David Fincher staring Daniel Craig and a a yet uncast actress possibly Natalie Portman, Carey Mullligan, Kristen Stewart or South African Rap singer Yo-Landi Vi$$er (apparently it is spelt that way)

I have to say I enjoyed the books but I came to them with no prior knowledge. I found it quite refreshing and interesting that the background was Swedish journalism rather that of a US Cop, PI or FBI agent

Edited by pfitz, 19 July 2010 - 03:20 PM.


#49 Guest_Raidne_*

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 08:44 AM

By the time I finished the third book I hated it a little less again.

I dislike the fact that they are filming an American version of the movie. Why not just set in America and make it about an American journalist already? It's just ridiculous.

They're not doing that, are they?

#50 Lyanna Stark

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 11:10 AM

Salander is Batman.

The thing is, Batman isn't a Gary Stu (well, usually) in a superhero setting. Becuase the entire point is that it's larger than life.

The thing is that something like the Millennium books are ostensibly set in a more "realistic" world. And stuff that would be considered ordinary in one setting comes across as extreme in this one.



Salander doesn't have any awesome costumes tho. /tongue.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />

I guess I just didn't see her as that much of a super hero since most of the actual hacking is done by other people that she knows, or that her "mates" know. She's just calling in favours, really.


Raidne:

I have no idea what I think about this book. I liked a lot of the background things - the way the word "feminist" is used, and how it alien it is to how I hear it used in America, the way Swedes think about society and the obligation of a government to its citizens, the relationship between Blomkvist and Berger. But I think that just means I should read other Swedish authors.


Not sure what you mean with this? Is this about the slagging off of feminists by characters in the book? It's a pretty obvious theme in Larsson's writing that there are lots of people out there who are "angry" about what they think "feminism" has done to society.

For what it's worth, I think Swedes are pretty equal, but they're also really really phobic about feminism as a word. Blame Aftonbladet, I suppose.

#51 Yagathai

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 11:18 AM

Salander doesn't have any awesome costumes tho. /tongue.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' />


http://neilmc74.file...d_with_fire.jpg

#52 Elrostar

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 12:12 PM

I was given this book a while ago by some friends in Denmark (a Danish translation) but I actually didn't know that it was the same book that everyone has been talking about.
I guess I'll have to give it a serious go.

#53 Guest_Raidne_*

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 12:21 PM

Not sure what you mean with this? Is this about the slagging off of feminists by characters in the book? It's a pretty obvious theme in Larsson's writing that there are lots of people out there who are "angry" about what they think "feminism" has done to society.

For what it's worth, I think Swedes are pretty equal, but they're also really really phobic about feminism as a word. Blame Aftonbladet, I suppose.


Feminism *used* to get that kind of respect in the states. Now it's just an antiquated word that's kind of a joke.

Anyway, for my money, there are "bad" male characters who are disparaging of feminism, and then there are good male characters who are respectful of feminism. Either way, it sure comes up a lot, which isn't really true in, say, Daivd Baldacci novels. The right has done to the word "feminist" what Tina Fey did to Sarah Palin.

But anyway, maybe this is Larsson's thing as an author then, and not representative of Sweden. For instance, if a leftist newspaper were doing a profile on someone, and that someone was a feminist, but didn't spend all of their time writing academic articles on feminism, would they describe her as such, or not?

Here, I think that would only happen if it was a figure from the heyday of feminism, like Gloria Steinam.

#54 K26dp

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 04:38 PM

I read the first one and was absolutely stunned at how poorly written the book was.

Then I realized that the book was essentially a super-hero comic book without pictures, and I relaxed and enjoyed it.

#55 polishgenius

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 06:03 PM

I read the first one and was absolutely stunned at how poorly written the book was.

Then I realized that the book was essentially a super-hero comic book without pictures, and I relaxed and enjoyed it.



Posts like this make Alan Moore sad.

#56 pat5150

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 09:15 PM

There is also a US adaptation in the works directed by David Fincher staring Daniel Craig and a a yet uncast actress possibly Natalie Portman, Carey Mullligan, Kristen Stewart or South African Rap singer Yo-Landi Vi$$er (apparently it is spelt that way)


Saw the three Swedish movies at the video store, so I'll have to decide whether or not I'll be giving them ago.

But there is no way in hell I'm watching the US version. /thumbsdown.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thumbsdown:' />

Patrick

#57 Smiler

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 11:49 PM

Just finished the first one. Was relatively entertained so I'll give the next one a go. I was more entertained by the mystery part of the book and less by the journalist vindication aspect. I guessed correctly from the beginning where the flowers were coming from, but it took me awhile to peg the killer.

Like, I'd groan outloud as Larsson's obvious fantasy version of himself, Bloomqvist, beds another woman or pulls off some giant, improbable journalistic victory - but it didn't really lower my opinion on the readability of the book. Same thing goes for the long descriptions of Salandar's Powerbook or her shopping decisions from Ikea. Read them, rolled my eyes, and then kept going because I just enjoyed the ride overall.


Couldn't have said it better myself.

#58 Lyanna Stark

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 04:08 AM

Feminism *used* to get that kind of respect in the states. Now it's just an antiquated word that's kind of a joke.

Anyway, for my money, there are "bad" male characters who are disparaging of feminism, and then there are good male characters who are respectful of feminism. Either way, it sure comes up a lot, which isn't really true in, say, Daivd Baldacci novels. The right has done to the word "feminist" what Tina Fey did to Sarah Palin.

But anyway, maybe this is Larsson's thing as an author then, and not representative of Sweden. For instance, if a leftist newspaper were doing a profile on someone, and that someone was a feminist, but didn't spend all of their time writing academic articles on feminism, would they describe her as such, or not?

Here, I think that would only happen if it was a figure from the heyday of feminism, like Gloria Steinam.



This will be a bit of meandering from the original thread, but with regards to Swedish feminism, there is both a more "mainstream" type that has had a lot of influence over the years, with Nina Bjork perhaps being my favourite among them.

Unfortunately you also have a lot of crazies who have been prominent during the last 15 years. (Check http://en.wikipedia....tiskt_initiativ for some very downplayed, pretty non drama info /tongue.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':P' /> ) Rosenberg especially is a bit of a nutjob, and Schyman even more so. They are the sort of people who burn 100.000 SEK just to make a point. Drama for the sake of drama, and it's drawn a lot of negative press.

As you can tell from the article, there was quite a lot of infighting in FI, which I think was really sad. The idea itself wasn't bad, but it was totally overtaken by the crazies when they went ahead and called Ebba Witt-Brattström a "gender traitor". You don't offend the grandmother of Feminism in your country without causing a stir, especially not in the way it was done.

The media and right-wingers happily started a witch hunt of Rosenberg, trying all sorts of things to defame her. To be honest, she should have realised that she brought it on herself to a degree due to being a bit of a crazie, but I don't think anyone could have expected the pure hatred she had to endure. So there sure are undercurrents of anti-feminism in Swedish society, fuelled by the standard so called "newspapers" and other media outlets.

I think FI and the crazies in it has unfortunately made feminism a negative word for a lot of people who were already inclined to distrust it. Although it's generally viewed far more positively than it used to be, and politicians of all colours are calling themselves feminists nowadays, which is a huge step forward. It also permeates Swedish society in a way it sure doesn't in Britian where I live, although equality is high on the agenda here as well, there is another feeling of it in Sweden as being natural and more generally accepted as an everyday occurrence and not something the politicians are showing down our throats. Stuff like shared parental leave, capped nursery fees, free school meals for everyone, legislation promoting equality and protecting from discrimination in the work place, anti-prostitution legislation etc. are telling signs that Sweden is a society that cares a lot about equality and incorporates a lot of feministic ideas. (It's not perfect mind you, and there are several areas where it fails, but overall the signs are pretty clear.)

It's also pretty evident in Larsson's writing that the people who are angry about feminism and equality are stupid bigots. Some manage to hide it, but mostly it comes out in the open quite easily. I think this is an over-simplification of reality, although I am sure some of these type of people exist, and not only in Sweden.

Edited by Lyanna Stark, 21 July 2010 - 04:34 AM.


#59 Smiler

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 03:16 PM

Slogging through the third one now, just ready to finish it because I don't really care what happens to any of the characters, especially Sander.

Something that really started iritating the piss out of me in the 2nd book was the repetition of fucking coffee drinking. Coffee? You say? I challenge you to find a 3-page gap between a character drinking a cup of coffee. They even stop for a cup of coffee while someone is dying, waiting for rescue. He could have a competition with Jordan:

Jordan: "She tugged her skirt"
Larsson: "He had a cup of coffee and grabbed a sandwich before hopping on the train."

Jordan: "She smoothed her skirt"
Larsson: "He woke up and started the coffee machine"

....and on and on....

#60 Spastic Plastic

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 03:29 PM

I didn't think the second or third books were worth reading at all. The movies based on them were piles of shit with lame acting and so fucking obviously made-for-Swedish-TV. On the other hand, the first movie was absolutely brilliant both as a personal drama and a horror-thriller, much better than most Hollywood movies that came out that year. Maybe it had to do with the fact that its budget was bigger and it had an experienced Danish director behind the wheel. I actually found the movie superior to the book.

Something that really started iritating the piss out of me in the 2nd book was the repetition of fucking coffee drinking. Coffee? You say? I challenge you to find a 3-page gap between a character drinking a cup of coffee. They even stop for a cup of coffee while someone is dying, waiting for rescue. He could have a competition with Jordan:


Many readers have made fun of the coffee obsession.

Stieg Larsson was a huge caffeine addict, and apparently he very rarely ate real food, only sandwiches with lots and lots of coffee. When he was writing this, he probably unconsciously put himself in the place of the characters and thought: "I'd have liked a cup of coffee in this situation."

Edited by Terrorist Fist Jab, 27 August 2010 - 03:30 PM.