It’s a story about a gifted goth hacker. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a story that introduced one of the strongest female characters to the world of crime fiction. When a political journalist, Mikael Blomkvist loses a libel lawsuit against a billionaire Swedish industrialist he is pushed to the darkest corner of his career. Blomkvist decides to resign from his editor position and leaves town. Soon a retired industrialist approaches him with a mysterious cold case of murder. A series of murders of young women, occurring within two decades, soon engulfs Mikael. And the aim is to find the granddaughter of the retired businessman, who had been missing for 40 years. He soon meets Lisbeth Salander, an IT prodigy who hacks into Mikael’s computer. He manages to persuades to collaborate with the investigation. What they uncover together would prove to be a case even larger than they imagined.
The story builds around the two characters; Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist as they solve the mystery. Stieg Larsson, as a journalist himself, creates two unforgettable personalities with the protagonist characters. They bear staggeringly different traits. Lisbeth Salander is an arrogant anarchist, when Blomkvist represents a gentlemanly image. And it’s Blomkvist’s character that shows us an image of a good leader that shapes the end result of the story.

Understanding the team

Considering the character and the background of Lisbeth, we can’t expect a normal person to cooperate with her. She is obnoxious and extremely smart, making her untouchable as a person. Yet, Blomkvist identifies her potential as a talented hacker and offers her the chance of becoming his partner. This signals her to let her guard down and be valued and respected for her potential, than judged by her gender or appearance. Blomkvist treats her as his equal. And he values her ideas even though she is half his age and made of many things he didn’t approve of before. This quality of understanding and giving her the due credit that allows him to work with an irreplaceable colleague.

Law and Order

Mikael Blomkvist rose to fame in the early stage of his journalism career with a fierce style of attacking the big capitalists for the political and economic corruption they ensue. He soon becomes the chief editor of a left-wing political magazine called “Millennium”. That’s because of the exceptional talent he shows in investigative journalism. But all this becomes possible only because he is strategic and well organized in his projects. He faces the giants of Swedish economy head-on, taking a risk on his career and even his life. But he works with care and the sure knowledge that he will be untouchable with the right evidence. And as the story unfolds, the amount of research he goes through to be certain of the accurateness of his theories adds more weight to this quality.

Connecting with the person

One of the qualities that make The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so gripping and intense is the cohesion between Mikael and Lisbeth. Although the two are different sky to earth, how Mikael adapts to work as a team with Lisbeth creates a vibrant effect. As a serious work of crime fiction, the story depends on the explanation of how difficult concepts work. As Mikael manages to connect more and more with the unyielding Lisbeth, a domain of information previously inaccessible to him suddenly unlocks. And the story makes more sense as Mikael explains his knowledge of the case to Lisbeth. This coherence appears only because Mikael adapts to become a team player on Lisbeth’s terms.
As a novel dealing with several burning concerns of modern society, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo shows how the world is not as it advertises. Discrimination against women and their plight is the making of Lisbeth’s character, and she fights against it. And it becomes more impactful when her efforts meet the assistance of the other party. Understanding where she comes from and adapting to connect with Lisbeth shows the leadership qualities in Mikael’s character. And these are qualities we can harness as leaders in AIESEC in order to become better and understanding leaders.

Written by

Yasith Dissanayake

Chief Editor

AIESEC in University of Kelaniya

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