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The Girl Who Played With Fire

The Girl Who Played With Fire

by Stieg Larsson

Criminality Theme

There are so many criminals in The Girl Who Played With Fire we can barely keep count. Many of these criminals are those who are supposed to be fighting crime, not engaging in it. We have journalist, judges, lawyers, psychiatrists, members of the Swedish Secret Police, and the regular police force involved in the sex trade and in covering up serious crimes. Outside those institutions we find drug dealers, pimps, murderers, and criminal masterminds all wreaking havoc with sanction from the authorities. And then we have Salander. Between her hacking and the other techniques she uses to fight crime and exact vengeance, she's always on shaky legal ground. Her beloved guardian, Holger Palmgren, thinks, "whatever she [is] up to might be dubious in the eyes of the law but not a crime against God's laws" (8.145). Even Blomkvist seems to admire her willingness to do what she thinks is right, even when it's illegal. What do you think?

Questions About Criminality

  1. Does Salander commit a crime when she sets her father on fire?
  2. The criminals in Fire seem utterly evil. Would it be more or less realistic if they had some good points?
  3. Does Salander commit a crime by having an affair with sixteen-year-old George Bland in Grenada?
  4. The police now know that Salander has way too much money in her bank account. Do you think she'll have to forfeit the billions she stole from corrupt financier Wennerström?
  5. Does Blomkvist commit any criminal acts in the novel?
  6. How do you feel about Salander's hacking?
  7. Do you agree with Palmgren that Salander commits no crimes in God's eyes?
  8. Are the police and other agencies meant to protect the public as rife with criminals in real life as they are in Fire?
  9. Will Zala and Niedermann ever be made to answer for their crimes?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

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