Lisbeth Salander: anti-heroine

Much has been written about Stieg Larsson’s female protagonist, so different and so much more complex than the cookie cutter women we find in so many books.

Lisbeth is cold and unfriendly and acts almost purely for her own self interests. She can be violent and crude. She wouldn’t like us, yet we still feel affection for her. The injustice she has had to face justifies much of her antisocial behaviour in our eyes and we admire the way she makes her own rules. Her loyalty for the few that she allows near is touching, even more so as we appreciate how difficult it is for her trust people and to form normal social relationships.

We want her to win, and at the same time are intimidated by the methods she will take to achieve her goals. Her survival instincts are incredible, and this drive to get what she wants, whether revenge, security or independence, pulls the audience along. We would feel sorry for her, but the tough exterior rejects pity like a shield. Lisbeth does not need our sympathy, indeed her lack of dependence on others is something we may find hard to accept.

So the positive regard we feel collects vaguely around her as there are no recognisable normal methods of ascribing this to her. One thing is certain; Lisbeth Salander is a pretty unforgettable character, and the perfect anti-heroine. What do you think of her?