Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 915
Saturday, March 8–Thursday, March 17
Salander spends the next three days in bed before researching the psychopathology of sadism. Her research reveals Bjurman is a sick man, much different than the kind of man for which she had been prepared, though her only tears that night were tears of pain. Sadists, she discovers, prefer their victims to come voluntarily to them because they feel they have no choice. Salander is Bjurman’s victim. This observation makes her realize what she must be projecting to other people. Friday she visits a tattoo parlor to get a small tattoo on the thin skin of her ankle. It will hurt, but she will not mind. It will serve as a reminder.
Salander keeps her appointment with Bjurman. He is polite and welcoming; he says, “I suppose it was a bit rough last time.” He says she “looked a little subdued.” He sees something in her eyes that makes him wonder if he should slow down and build some trust, but his handcuffs are already out on the bedside table. Suddenly he realizes she is the one leading the way to the bedroom. He stops, puzzled, as she takes something out of her jacket. She tasers him—75,000 volts under his left armpit.
Blomkvist spends Saturday night alone reading because Cecilia did not call. She did not call because she realizes their relationship has somehow turned into a “ridiculous farce” where he sneaks around and she acts like a “lovesick teenage girl who cannot control herself.” Cecilia likes him too much and is afraid she will get hurt. Her husband abused her almost from the beginning. He once threw a pair of scissors at her; they lodged deep in her shoulder blades and left a gash that required twelve stitches. Her Uncle Henrik picked her up from the hospital and took her to his house.
Harald, her father, has always been crazy; she has done her best to accept the lunacy that ruined her life. The rift between them happened when Harald was seventy-three years old. He and his two children (Cecilia and Birger, a local politician) went hunting. Harald began spewing attacks about Cecilia’s sexual predilections that no man would obviously tolerate. Birger played along with his father, and Cecilia found herself so stunned she could hardly move—until she realized she had a loaded double-barreled shotgun aimed directly at them both. She took the car and left them stranded. She has never had contact again with her father. He “ruined her life when she was just a child.”
Bjurman wakes up sore. He feels paralyzed and disoriented. He is lying naked and spread-eagled, cuffed to the bed with his mouth sealed. Salander is sitting on a chair, patiently waiting. Calmly and unemotionally, she inflicts some of the same torture he made her endure, and then she wheels in a large-screen television. He is confused, but she is clear. Once she has his undivided attention, she makes him watch the video of his brutal rape. She had a camera in her backpack and recorded every moment.
She tells him her conditions for not releasing the tape and ruining his life. He is to write positive reports about her mental health and capacity to care for herself. After a year or two, he is to recommend that she be released from guardianship—and his own letters will be the evidence. He will immediately inform the bank that she is in sole control of her finances, and he will never contact her again. As he nods his agreement, Bjurman thinks he must get the video and crush her. He thinks she is a fool for letting him live—until she mentions the millions he has stashed in an illegal offshore account. Now she has the control, and he knows that she will kill him if he ever touches her again, for there is “not a vestige of bluff in her eyes.” Before she leaves, she tattoos his entire chest and belly with the words “I am a sadistic pig, a pervert, and a rapist” in crude but readable letters. She takes the DVD and a set of his keys with her when she leaves. She is now in control of his life.
Salander asks Armansky if he has a job for her. She has been gone for two months and is not reliable, so he has nothing for her. The announcement that Henrik Vanger is now part owner of Millennium and that Blomkvist is starting his prison term and will be resuming his role as publisher upon his release is big news on all fronts. Salander is intensely interested.
Vanger is interviewed; he says candidly that someone is trying to boycott Millennium into oblivion. Vanger’s message is that he is willing to fight, and for Wennerstrom the battle will be costly. Berger’s statement to the press infers Blomkvist’s innocence and creates anticipation for more to come. The balance of power has shifted. Blomkvist is furious that he can no longer afford to be objective or walk away because his boss is now his partner. He feels they are being used in Vanger’s private vendetta on Wennerstrom, so their financial coverage will no longer be credible.
Salander is intrigued by the Vanger-Blomkvist connection that appeared so soon after Frode asked her to investigate the case. She discovers the Vanger-Wennerstrom connection and senses there are secrets to be discovered—something she likes doing and has the time to do.
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