Home > Whatever > Review: Where do we draw the line? A note on The millennium Trilogy

Review: Where do we draw the line? A note on The millennium Trilogy

I love The Millennium Trilogy, a series of three fictions – The girl with a dragon tattoo, The girl who played with fire, and The girl who kicked the hornets’ nest. The plot is extremely well-organized albeit complicated, and the writing style is punchy.

Reviewers mostly talked about the feminist angle of it. I tend not to submit to feminist-oriented discussions. I don’t care whether the characters are male or female –  a female jumping off the roof or a male dancing ballet, or the other way around, makes no difference to me. I care that they are appealing and that’s all.

Some reviewers mentioned the underground dynamics of contemporary Swedish society. That is, in fact, quite interesting. Surface: a peaceful country (Sweden has not participated in any war for nearly two centuries, and has no international dispute of any kind) with a small, urban, rich population. Under that surface, there’re human trafficking, illegal immigrants, child pornography, gender discrimination, bureaucratic incompetence, institutional violation, you name it. Stieg Larsson brought his country into the club of troubled societies instead of setting it apart from the rest of the world. Perhaps this is why millions around the globe relate to these books.

I connect with this trilogy on a more personal level. If we live in such a messy society, as a citizen, and a human being, where should we stand? The question is both universal and intimate. The bottom line, I guess, is conscience and morality. There are things we don’t accept as our way of life, but do accept as facts of life. But there are things we should fight against with strong conviction.

But where should we draw the line? Larsson drew his line clearly, but never verbally preached about it. (Atlas shrugged of Ayn Rand, in comparison, sounded like a manual of personal declaration).

There is a relationship between two characters in the book that would certainly raise conventional eyebrows. The two are sex partners, colleagues, and confidants, even though one is married and the other sleeps around when occasion arises. There are illegal activities ranging from stealing money to hacking computer (‘hostile takeover’). There are even daring sexual practices (‘adult game’) and extreme violence (e.g., axing through a skull, nailing feet down the floor). Larsson seemed to be quite alright with all of them. To him, relationship is about consensus among the adults; sexual preference is nobody’s business except the ones directly involved; stealing and hacking are not to be encouraged, but he could live with them; and violence, reactive or proactive, is fine as long as it is about survival.

Larsson saved the fight for extreme cases of perverts – those who inflicted pain upon others using their power. He never hesitated using violence against violence. His intention to cause pain to the abusers, the sadists, the pedophiles, and the armed criminals in the most severe ways was never hidden. He even promoted it in a way, because there was no consequence of such aggressive acts against the bad in his books.

Larsson tolerated almost everything that life could throw around, but had no mercy for those who had no mercy, especially those in power. Somehow, he successfully persuaded his audience, me included, that such stand is the one to take, and the line is in fact clear.

Categories: Whatever
  1. 26/07/2010 at 1:23 pm

    “I love The Millennium Trilogy, a series of three fictions ”

    Me too.. that was best fictions..

  1. 07/12/2010 at 1:34 pm

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