Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 789
Friday, December 20–Saturday, December 21
Shortly after 5:00, Mikael Blomkvist finally shows up at the Millennium office. Erika Berger had been worried; now she is glad to see him. Janne Dahlman, the managing editor, has already left. That is just as well because Janne is competent at his job but sees only the negative in every situation. Christer Malm—part owner as well as art director and designer of the magazine—is off on a trip with his boyfriend. Berger has been feeling “disquiet” and senses things are about to explode.
In the weeks before the trial, Blomkvist had been walking around as if under a cloud of doom; his dejection after the trial is even worse. Berger reminds him they both know what happened and they are both to blame; they simply have to “ride out the storm.” He is adamant that he must step down as publisher of Millennium so the magazine can maintain some credibility. Wennerstrom knows that Blomkvist knows the truth (though he lost the case); because of this, Blomkvist believes nothing will deter the financier from destroying the publication. Berger suggests they print “everything they know,” but her partner insists they can prove nothing and must wait. He plans to take some time off—including his time in prison—and then make a new plan. For now, the two of them plan to spend the night together.
It is two o’clock in the morning. Berger is asleep; Blomkvist is awake but relaxed. They have always had this effect on one another. Their twenty-year relationship, though awkward for others, is comfortable and companionable for them even though it is not a permanent, share-a-home-and-mortgage kind of relationship. Sometimes they are together every day; at other times, weeks and even months go by when they are not together. It is a relationship that has caused pain and broken promises for others. His marriage collapsed because he was unable to stay away from Erika Berger. His wife knew of his feelings but hoped they would diminish after marriage and a daughter; Berger married Greger Beckman, and each of them intended to be faithful. Within weeks of starting Millennium, though, the passionate relationship began again. His infidelity caused his wife to leave him. Beckman, though, seems to accept the relationship and is content to share his wife with the other man. Blomkvist does not think very highly of the Beckman, but he is thankful that he and Berger can be together. At 4:00 he is still awake and gets up to examine the court document once again. Now he wonders if that meeting with Robert Lindberg was simply an old classmate telling him a work of fiction while drinking in the privacy of his boat cabin or whether he actually wanted the story to be told.
Blomkvist can never be sure. It may be that Lindberg wanted to embarrass Wennerstrom and took advantage of a journalist who believed what he said but could never name his source. If it was an accident, it was an unlikely one, for his former classmate could have no idea how much contempt Blomkvist holds for people like Wennerstrom. He is certain that every bank director and high-profile executive is a “cretin.” He feels equal contempt for managing directors who are not honest and “slum lords” who take unconscionable advantage of their tenants. He sees it as his job to zealously scrutinize every financial leader and company board in the same way political reporters pursue the smallest missteps of political figures.
This is not a popular position in the journalism world, and being a social critic has made him a “prickly guest on TV sofas” as he is asked to comment on every financial leader who is caught taking undue advantage. Berger is an effective managing editor because she is fair-minded but not afraid of confrontation. Blomkvist does the fieldwork and she makes all the necessary decisions to package and market the story. Millennium only came to be because she came from old money and had the financial connections to gain investors. She could have been a successful television manager, but she chose print instead. It is not a lucrative business, but they consistently break even and have garnered a reputation as a “frank and reliable” publication.
Now he reads the press release they wrote. It is already up on the news websites. Berger will be taking over sole publishing duties so Blomkvist can take some much-needed time off to recover from the rigors of his trial. Advertisers are already backing away from their commitments or refusing to consider Millennium for their advertising needs. Berger is not happy they had to do this, but Blomkvist knows this is the time for them to retreat—for now.
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