Analysis: What's Up With the Ending?
The Broader Ending
We are pleased to report that the ending is happy. We're talking happy like a Shakespearean comedy happy. Shakespeare's gender-bending Twelfth Night comes to mind. That play begins in chaos and confusion, with the social order seriously out of whack. It has lots of secrets, intrigue, and splashes of vengeance. It ends with the social order restored, and there are lots of unions and reunions. Sounds a lot like the structure of Hornet's Nest, doesn't it? At the end of the book, most of the bad guys are exposed and captured; the truth is out; and Salander is free, rich, and has friends and lovers. But in neither the play nor the book are things this simple.
While Salander is getting back together with her friends, Blomkvist and Figuerola are falling in love and Berger is reuniting with Millennium, Teleborian and Niedermann are probably plotting revenge. If Larsson had lived long enough to write the other seven or so Blomkvist-Salander novels he envisioned, these creeps might come back to do more evil. As it stands, they are locked in jail for all eternity, unless somebody takes over where Larsson left off and writes them out!
The Very End: Blomkvist and Bagels
Blomkvist: I assumed you would not have had breakfast yet, so I brought some filled bagels with me. (Dragon Tattoo, 18.5)
Blomkvist: I've brought some bagels […]. And some espresso. (Hornet's Nest, Epilogue.251)
Such symmetry! The long awaited reunion of Blomkvist and Salander echoes their first meeting, back in the first book. The end of Hornet's Nest is also the reverse of the ending of the first book. In that book, Salander and Blomkvist are lovers, until Salander thinks she's in love with Blomkvist. But, at the end of the book when she plans to proclaim her love to him, she sees him with Berger and decides to ban him from her life. Hornet's Nest ends with the revival of their relationship. We love the adorably simple final line: "She opened the door wide and let him into her life again" (Epilogue.261).