Chapter 13 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 731

Thursday, February 20–Friday, March 7

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Salander begins examining her guardian as if he were a client; she spends sixteen hours a day on her research. Nothing in his personal life or in his position as a trustee and guardian shows Nils Bjurman to be anything but an upstanding citizen and lawyer. Now she has no choice—he must “simply disappear from her life.” She reflects that heart attacks do not just happen to fifty-three-year-old men, even if they are disgusting, “but that sort of thing could be arranged.”

Blomkvist’s affair with Cecilia continues on her terms. Outside of her house she acts cool and distant but friendly; in the bedroom she is vibrant and passionate. He feels a bit disloyal asking questions about her, but his job is to investigate. He learns that though Cecilia left her husband long ago, she never divorced because she never wanted to remarry. Vanger says of her “she is one of the good people” in his family.

Salander spends a week planning how to get rid of Bjurman, taking Palmgren’s advice never to act on impulse. Only one condition must be met: she must never be linked to the crime. The authorities will talk to her as one of his clients, of course, but she has only met him four times—and she is legally incompetent. Surely a “mentally handicapped” girl can do no real harm. She considers using a gun, a knife, or a bomb but dismisses all of these ideas.

In the midst of her contemplations, Armansky calls to offer Salander a job; she abruptly refuses and hangs up on him.

Poison, she discovers, though strictly controlled, is easily produced with some basic equipment in a kitchen. Ultimately she abandons all these plans because there is no guarantee she will regain control of her life. She has analyzes the consequences, and it becomes clear to her that Bjurman will have to attack her again in order for her to break free of him. However, if her plan works, she will be free of him—or so she thinks.

Blomkvist has settled into a routine. He has 150 pages of the family history written, up through the 1920s. Now he will have to weigh his words more carefully because he will be writing about people who are still alive. He figures the book will take another three hundred pages and will be finished in September so Vanger can read it, and then he can make revisions before his contract is up at the end of the year. Despite progress on the book, he has made no progress at all on Harriet’s case.

Salander deliberately missed her last appointment with her guardian, and he rescheduled as she had anticipated—as she had hoped—for 8:30 on Friday evening. Unfortunately, the meeting place is Bjurman’s house, not his office. She has to rework and rethink her plan for this unfamiliar territory. The first thirty minutes she is at his building is spent reviewing her plan and finalizing the details before she makes her presence known. Because of that, she is thirty minutes late for her appointment.

Blomkvist meets Cecilia several times a week. She becomes his lover and confidante to discuss Harriet. After spending time with her (he is not allowed to spend the night), he always takes a circuitous route home. Tonight one curtain in the Vanger house shifts as he walks by at 3:00 a.m.

Salander’s plan goes wrong almost from the beginning. Bjurman greets her at the door in his bathrobe and takes her straight to the bedroom. The apartment is what she expected it to be after having inspected the building’s blueprints. She undresses willingly enough and places her knapsack and clothes on a chair near the bed. Then she tries to reason with and placate him, but he gets violent. He chains her to the bed and violates her painfully in a variety of ways. Salander knows she is in deeper water than she expected.

At 4:00 a.m. Salander leaves the apartment. She can barely walk and her face is “swollen from crying.” Her rapist offers to drive her home, but she refuses. He reminds her of the appointment they made for next Saturday night, and he reminds her of all the reasons she must keep silent about their activities. She nods, cowed, and he lets her go.

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