Study Guide

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Friendship

By Stieg Larsson


He had found a roll of duct tape and had used it to close the wounds. The medics remarked that this, in their experience, was a brand new form of bandage. (1.74)

Nothing says friendship like duct tape to the wounds. Though Salander has actively been pushing Blomkvist away, he knows how to be a good friend and works to save Salander from the wounds inflicted by her dad and brother.

Suddenly [Salander] remembered having seen Kalle F***ing Blomkvist. (3.88)

This is Salander's pet name for Blomkvist. Wonder what he would think of it? Do you think that this is an affectionate pet name or not?

[Armansky:] "I'm her friend. Although, as you know, that's not necessarily the same thing as saying she's my friend." (5.16)

Salander and her boss have a rocky friendship. Neither entirely approves of the other, and neither knows what to do with their attraction to each other. In this novel their friendship becomes stronger and better defined. Still, it's clear that Salander doesn't yet know how to be a friend.

[…] she knew [Blomkvist] had broken completely with people because they had done something he regarded as beyond the pale. And he was inflexible. The break was forever. (9.79)

This is Blomkvist's sister's observation of him. It helps us understand how much he cares about Salander, who he sticks to like glue to the end.

"Mikael, don't say a word. We've been friends a long time. Nothing can destroy that. You're my best friend and this feels exactly like the time you disappeared to Hedested two years ago only vice versa. I feel stressed out and unhappy." (13.232)

How would you classify Blomkvist and Berger's relationship? Are they "best friends," as Berger says here? There relationship, whatever it is, certainly seems rock-solid, though, and they care for and support each other.

I'm not going to try to convince you one way or the other. You have to decide for yourself. You can turn the trial to your advantage or you can let them convict you. But if you want to win, you're going to have to fight. (15.6)

This is an extract from Blomkvist's email to Salander. He persuades her to use official channels to get justice and revenge. A true friend, he refuses to abandon her and continues to give her solid advice despite the fact that they're not able to see each other face to face (and Salander would probably refuse to see him even if she were allowed visitors).

"I'm not going to compete with you. I'm better than you are at what I do. And you are better than I am at what you do." (18.302)

Blomkvist and Figuerola are making friends and becoming lovers at the same time. Here, Blomkvist is explaining that he isn't threatened by her major strengths and skills.

"I promise to keep my distance until, you know…well, maybe." (28.103)

Poor Berger – she wants to do what's best for Blomkvist and encourages him to be with Figuerola. But she's also drawn to him like a magnet and doesn't want to lose him. Can their friendship mixed with romance really work out in the long-run? Will it get in the way with Blomkvist's relationship with Figuerola?

"You won't become a slave just because you have a lawyer. OK, that's enough for the time being. Out you get. I'm dead tired and I want to go home and sleep." (29.171)

Giannini and Salander could be described as friends. They have some rocky communications, but it's likely either would do about anything for the other.

"Lisbeth, you're a very special person," Mimmi said. "I'd still like to be your friend." (29.232)

It's not clear whether Salander get romantic in Paris or not, but that's beside the point. The important thing is that Salander actually reaches out to her friend, and her friend reaches back. Lots of people have been good to Salander in the last two books, and she's finally learning how to be a friend back.

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