Lisbeth Salander last edited by jazz1987 on 10/16/18 07:07AM View full history


Lisbeth Salander
Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth Salander's childhood was marred by traumatic experiences. As an adult she is still somewhat affected by her past, asocial and introverted and has an especially low tolerance towards abusive people and authority. She also happens to be incredibly intelligent, a world class hacker and skilled investigator. Lizbeth's physical appearance is very distinguishing due to her multiple tattoos, piercings, and abundance of black clothing, accentuated by her short black hair. Lisbeth works for a security investigation firm, Milton Security. Milton Security is run by Dragan Armansky. This is where she first mets investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, who would go on to be one of the few people Lisbeth would trust and consider a friend. Lisbeth is also very close with Holgar Palmgren, her former legal guardian as she as a child had been declared legally incompetent. That relationship would develop into one of the most important in Lisbeth's early life, a source of trust and consistency she could not find anywhere else.

Lizbeth's childhood was troubling, an abusive father who would beat her mother, created a violent streak in Lisbeth as she resented him or anyone else that would try to bully her or her mother. Her fathers occupation, status and position also allowed him to get away with domestic abuse incidents. After one particular severe incident in which her father beat her mother, Lisbeth retaliated in such a violent fashion she was forced into a Children's Psychiatric Hospital. Later on in adulthood Lisbeth has a very limited social circle, allowing very few to get close to her, but some of the people she maintains friendships with include Miriam Wu, Holger Palmgren and fellow hacker Plague.


Lisbeth Salander is the creation of novelist and journalist Stieg Larsson for his book series Millennium. The first book of the trilogy being The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo with was released in 2005. Vertigo will be releasing a graphic novel based on the first book, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to be written by Denise Mina and with art by Leonardo Manco to be released in 2012. Stieg Larsson has cited the idea of an adult Pippi Longstocking as a source for envisioning Lisbeth. Lisbeth is also inspired by a girl that Larsson had witnesses sexually assaulted by three men. Only an observer and not acting the guilt for not aiding her brought much guilt.

Character Evolution

Partially inspired by Pippi Longstocking, Lisbeth Salander was conceived as a very tough and strong female lead, and as lead of a novel series, her characterization is very refined. Her portrayal likewise in the graphic novel for the most part reflects this character development and depiction. In the general sense she is very intelligent and capable, but also displays many antisocial habits and attitudes. The characters journey is chronicled in the present, with flashback devices used to explore her childhood years and trauma. The character would already demonstrate a certain sensitivity to the mistreatment and abuse of woman and children in general before suffering a vicious attack herself. This only serving to fuel the fire the character would demonstrate in subsequent stories. Such subjects as sexual assault, violence and abuse central themes to the characters identity and motivations.

Major Story Arcs

Investigating Blomkvist

Lisbeth Shocked
Lisbeth Shocked

Lisbeth Salander works for Milton Security and is tasked with investigating magazine and political journalist Mikael Blomkvist. Blomkvist an investigative journalist had recently earned notoriety after a very public legal battle with one Hans-Erik Wennerström over allegations raised by Blomkvist towards Wennerström and his business habits. She reports her findings to her superior Dragan Armansky and an agent of Henrik Vanger. After her longtime guardian Holger Palmgren suffers a stroke she is assigned a new guardian, one Nils Bjurman. Lisbeth had interacted with Holger in a friendly warm way so it was a jarring experience for her to now have to deal with Bjurman, a sick misogynistic, manipulative guardian. Besides his rude and underhanded behavior, Bjurman was very strict and denied Lisbeth basic rights typically granted towards her. He would threaten to have her locked up in a mental asylum if she made trouble with him. Lisbeth would met with her mother when she could who lives in a rest home, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Lisbeth would otherwise keep to herself, if not working then keeping to herself or enjoying the company of what few friends she could make, such as off and on lover Miriam Wu.

Holger Palmgren

Lisbeth would pay a visit to Palmgren who is still recovering after his stroke. The two enjoy quiet pleasantries, with Holger asking Lisbeth about her work. She informs him of the Blomkvist case, but also informs him that she does not like her new guardian Bjurman. Holger talks about Bjurman not having met the guardian himself but aware of his reputation as a lawyer. He tries to comfort Salander by reminding her she only has two more years under governmental supervision. She talks about her romantic life and the girl she is seeing too. Holger continues to try and make Lisbeth feel better about her new guardian and also trusting people. Lisbeth would arrive to Bjurman's office and be directed in. Bjurman would be tough in his interrogation like questioning of Lisbeth. Bjurman would progress into inappropriateness as he would start touching her physically. Depending on his satisfaction to prevent being institutionalized and also dependent on it to receive her paycheck and thus independence Lisbeth was initially powerless to do much. In an accidental mishap Lisbeth would get knocked over after being tripped by an elderly woman. She would drop her laptop and it would become unrepairable.


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For one such as Lisbeth her laptop computer acted as her lifeline, her main resource for her work, it was basically her livelihood. Lisbeth would attempt desperately to find a way to get the money she would need to replace it. Despite having her own money in savings, she would be dependent on her guardian Bjurman to authorize her ability to withdrawal such an amount. She would have to call him and appeal him to do so, despite how much she detested him, she depended on her laptop for work and independence. Speaking to him by phone Lisbeth would plead to him for what essentially hers anyway. Bjurman would resist and taunt Lisbeth denying her access to her money. Lisbeth would get frustrated and annoyed at Bjurman's attitude. Bjurman would eventually agree to allowing Lisbeth access to her finances under one suspicious condition, that she arrange a time to visit his apartment to arrange the details in person. Rather than visit Bjurman and endure his presence Lisbeth would turn to Plague to see if he could help, but he could not. Miriam could not afford to help either. Armansky would explain that she is paid directly and he can't just give her cash. Lisbeth would have no choice but to rely on Bjurman. Bjurman's invitation would instead be a vile attempt of manipulation that would turn into a horrible sexual assault and rape. He would use his status as Lisbeths guardian to blackmail her into not telling the authorities.


Lisbeth would not wish to work in the days following her horrible ordeal. Armansky would call her to work but she would state she was busy and hang up swiftly. Lisbeth would still bear many bruises and injuries from her assault. She would spend time with her mother and remember back to her youth and when her mother was beat by their father. Lisbeth would make a plan for revenge. She would contact a friend of sorts, a tattoo artist named Lydia and get the word 'Bye' tattooed on her lower left leg.

Powers and Abilities

Lizbeth has no notable special powers. She is intelligent and possesses a photographic memory. Lisbeth knows some basic self defense skills and is an aggressive fighter. She is considered one of the worlds best computer hackers. She is very aggressive when provoked and will often immediately target an attackers weak points to disable them, and as such she has been able to neutralize attacked twice her size.

Other Media


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Lisbeth Salander is portrayed by actress Rooney Mara in the Americanized adaptation of the Millennium book series. It follows the anti social hacker as she has to deal with a new misogynist legal guardian, as well as aid the investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist solve a murder mystery.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

A movie adaptation of the Millennium book series Lisbeth is portrayed by Swedish actress Noomi Rapace.

The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)

Swedish actress Noomi Rapace reprises her role as Lisbeth Salander in this sequel to Girl With The Dragon Tattoo released in 2009.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2009)

The third and final chapter of the movie adaptations of the Millennium book trilogy, Lisbeth Salander is once again represented by actress Noomi Rapace.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2005)

Lisbeth must team up with investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist to solve a murder mystery and a missing persons case. She must also deal with the stroke of her legal guardian, and the challenge of a new crueler guardian.

The Girl Who Played with Fire (2006)

Lisbeth is accused of murder and skeletons in her closet are brought out as she must battle personal demons with the emergence of her father and his twisted games.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (2007)

Lisbeth is arrested and tried in court, accused of murder. Lisbeth must use her inner strength and intelligence as well as an uncommon trust in friends to help reach justice.


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