Study Guide

Gottfried Vanger in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

By Stieg Larsson

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Gottfried Vanger

Gottfried is Harriet and Martin's father and one of the story's chief villains, though he dies almost forty years before the novel begins. As Blomkvist and Salander discover, he murdered women from at least 1949 until his death in 1965. Blomkvist and Salander also learn that Gottfried raped both of his children and that he initiated Martin into the rape/kidnap/murder cycle. What Blomkvist never suspects is that Harriet killed Gottfried. Harriet confesses this to Blomkvist when he finds her in Australia.

Salander sees Gottfried as a man who hates women and who chose to murder and rape. Blomkvist feels that Gottfried was driven insane by his Nazi father, Richard Vanger, who beat him and messed with his head. What do you think?

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