Study Guide

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Justice and Judgment

By Stieg Larsson

Justice and Judgment

In The Girl Who Played With Fire, Salander is judged by the media and much of the Stockholm police force as a murderous psychopath who deserves to be locked away for life, and in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest Salander arrested and put on trial. In the first two novels of the trilogy, Salander was dead-set against using the official justice system, as it had always mistreated her in the past. She evaded arrest and decided to seek revenge (outside of the law) against those who mistreated her. Here, we continue to see Salander use her avenger tactics. But, we also see Salander do things we'd never expect. Like get a lawyer and talk to cops. Blomkvist convinces Salander to take a risk and try using the law and the court system, and it ends up working out. Though that doesn't mean that Salander has transformed into a law-abiding citizen. Rather, it seems that the law is now simply another tool in Salander's avenger toolbox.

Questions About Justice and Judgment

  1. What would Salander have done if she didn't get justice through the courts? Why does she decide to use the legal justice system?
  2. What is the role of technology in furthering justice? What about the role of investigative journalism?
  3. Niedermann is a vicious killer, but also a victim of his father, Alexander Zalachenko. Why does Salander's victimization push her to help others and Niedermann's to hurt others? What would justice for Niedermann look like?
  4. Do you think Salander does the right thing by letting the legal justice system take care of Teleborian and Niedermann?
  5. Based on the Millennium trilogy, how do you think Larsson views the Swedish legal system? How does it compare to the legal system in your country?

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