Chapter 7 Summary

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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 536

Friday, January 3

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Erika Berger watches as Mikael Blomkvist packs his suitcases and prepares to leave. She is incredulous that he is running away; he reminds her he will only be three hours away and will only be gone for one year—including the jail time he has to serve. Christer Malm listens to their exchange uncomfortably; it is the first time he has ever heard them disagree so vehemently. He sees a gulf opening between them and wonders if it is the beginning of the end for Millennium.

They ask his opinion about Blomkvist’s virtually abandoning the magazine. Malm is the third partner, but he knows the two of them are the real owners and it does not matter what he thinks. He feels as if this is more of a divorce than an argument and does not speak. Blomkvist says he needs a break after the stresses of the fall, and he believes his absence may divert Wennerstrom’s attention from Millennium and its advertisers. Finally, he sees this as his only chance to get Wennerstrom because no one else is willing to speak out against the powerful financier. Blomkvist reminds Berger that he is not actually leaving Millennium; he is just giving that appearance. Berger will be free to make whatever deals and compromises she must make with Wennerstrom during this virtual “cease-fire.”

Berger is furious. She is not upset about the story or the court case because she knows the story was accurate. She is not angry because she will look like a “harmless bimbo” rather than an equal partner. She is furious because the battle with Wennerstrom will continue but now she will have to fight him alone. Blomkvist is wrong; she is certain Wennerstrom will continue to target the magazine whether he is involved or not. Furthermore, the other member of the staff, Janne Dahlman, has not seemed particularly loyal but appeared to take great satisfaction during the proceedings against Blomkvist all fall.

Finally Malm speaks. He knows he is easily replaceable and not an equal third partner, but they asked for his opinion. He says they all owe Blomkvist time to recuperate if he needs it, and he agrees with Berger’s assessment of Dahlman. If there is sufficient cause, he is willing to fire him. It might be bad, but there is no choice. Malm will drive Blomkvist to the train station and will help keep things going at Millennium until he returns. Quietly, Berger says she is afraid Blomkvist will never come back.

Armansky calls Salander at 1:30 in the afternoon and wakes her up. He tells her Frode called and they are to drop the investigation of Mikael Blomkvist. She is unhappy about the news because she has already spent three days on the case. Her boss assures her he will bill Frode ten thousand kroner, and she can either set the information aside or shred it. He will have a new job for her next week. Salander puts the file away but is bothered. She is still intrigued by Blomkvist’s odd behavior in the courtroom and thinks it is an “interesting challenge.” People always have secrets, and it makes her uneasy to abort this assignment.

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