Characters / The Millennium Trilogy

The Millennium Trilogy is a novel series written by the late Stieg Larsson, later adapted into separate Swedish and American film series.

Mikael Blomkvist

Played by: Michael Nyqvist (Sweden), Daniel Craig (US)

A Swedish financial reporter who co-owns the magazine Millennium with Erika Berger; together they try to make the magazine an avenging angel against Corrupt Corporate Executives. He got his start by foiling a set of masked bank robbers, and has gained a reputation for excellent research... at least until he's convicted of libel against the corporate magnate Hans-Erik Wennerström just prior to the first novel.

  • Author Avatar: Middle-aged crusading journalist created by... a middle-aged crusading journalist.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Kalle Blomkvist" because it's really the name of the protagonist in a series of children's mystery novels.
  • Ethical Slut: He sleeps around with many women throughout the series, including (but not limited to) Erika, Lisbeth, and Harriet.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Begins Dragon Tattoo as one, especially after Wennerström completely destroys him in that libel suit. He starts to slowly rebuild his reputation after finding Harriet Vagner and ''finally' making something stick to Wennerström.
  • Intrepid Reporter:

Lisbeth Salander

Played by: Noomi Rapace (Sweden), Rooney Mara (US)

A 24-year-old hacker who is extremely distrustful of authority. She goes her own way and doesn't (seem to) care what others think of her. She has a photographic memory, extensive hacking skills and far more capacity for violence than most people expect of a 4-foot-11 flat-chested woman.

  • A-Cup Angst: Lisbeth is a twenty-four-year-old woman with the bustline of a ten-year-old girl. She's not too thrilled with that. In Played With Fire, she solves this problem by getting a boob job.
  • Affluent Ascetic: Earns a fortune from the Vanger case and then increases her money through careful investments but barely spends any of it.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Her psyche is extremely messed-up, to be sure, but there's no canonical diagnosis given: the government's theory of schizophrenia is at best an educated guess—she wouldn't cooperate with psychiatric evaluation—while Mikael at one point theorizes she has Asperger Syndrome. It's also reasonable to assume that at least some of it is PTSD from her abusive childhood.
  • Berserk Button: Lisbeth only has a few people she really cares about, but attacking one of them presses this. And if you abuse a woman or child and Lisbeth finds out about it, she'll do everything in her power to ruin your life.
  • Big Eater: It's mentioned constantly that despite her tiny size, she seems to live solely off of massive amounts of junk food.
  • Creepy Child: Lisbeth was teased and bullied in school for acting like one.
  • Different as Night and Day: She has a twin sister, Camilla, but they never got along and Lisbeth hasn't seen her in years, nor does she want to.
  • Fiery Redhead: Though she dyes it black.
    • In the American film, the shade of her eyebrows implies she is a natural blonde.
      • Not exactly. Her eyebrows were bleached in order to make her look "ugly" and to give a sort of viscerally repellant nature to her appearance.
  • Freudian Excuse: Suffered for years at the hand of an abusive father, before being falsely labelled insane by his government friends for daring to fight back.
  • Goth: Her style and disposition certainly fit the bill.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Has a personality that might seem off-putting, but is overall a good person.
  • Guile Hero: With definite shades of Magnificent Bastard.
  • Harmful to Minors: Lisbeth grew up watching her mother get constantly beaten by her father. It made an impression.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: A variation: Mikael catches on that she hacked his computer because the report she wrote on him contained references to an article that didn't exist anywhere except on his personal system.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Calling her "anti-social" would be putting it mildly, but she is more-or-less a good person underneath it all. She tries her best to keep innocent people from getting caught up in her mess and she feels guilty when an old friend gets maligned in the press on account of being associated with her.
  • Playful Hacker / The Cracker: Somewhere in-between, as she mainly uses her skills to technically break the law in order to investigate, and expose or punish, serious corruption, but occasionally employs the same methods to avenge fairly petty slights. She also stole a few billion SEK from a financial swindler.
  • Tranquil Fury: She never shows her anger, it just simmers inside.
  • Vapor Wear: Most scenes in the movies where she's nude either begins with her taking her clothes off or ending with her putting them on. Never once is she shown to have any undergarments on during any of those scenes. It's especially clear when she's being undressed by her on-again/off-again girlfriend in the second movie.
    • Somewhat justified, in that her breasts are small enough that she doesn't really need a bra.
  • When She Smiles: Exhibit A. You can practically see her heart warm up.

Erika Berger

Played by: Lena Endre (Sweden), Robin Wright (US)

Editor and primary shareholder of Millennium. She and Blomkvist have worked together both professionally and personally for twenty years.
  • Da Editor: In the good way. She supports Blomkvist in everything he does. We can see her nastier side when she starts working at SMP. Not surprising, considering the people she needs to work with.
  • Double Standard: My Girl Is a Slut: Is Mikael's part-time lover. She reveals frustration that she, who is Happily Married and has permission from her husband to dally with Blomkvist, is still judged for her "infidelity" while he gets pats on the back.

Henrik Vanger

Played by: Sven-Bertil Taube (Sweden), Christopher Plummer (US)

The former CEO of Vanger Industries, who hires Blomkvist to write a sort of authorized biography of his family. Of course, that's just the pretext: he actually wants Mikael to look into the forty-year-old cold case of his favorite grandniece Harriet's disappearance on 24 September 1966—36 years ago when the novel starts in 2002.
  • Cool Old Guy: One of the only members of the family who isn’t a prick.
  • Rich Idiot with No Day Job: Subverted; he’s rich but he does do his best to help Mikael, and when he was younger he basically was the company.

Martin Vanger

Played by: Peter Haber (Sweden), Stellan Skarsgård (US)

The current CEO of Vanger Industries, he has little time to chat with Mikael because he's busy trying to keep the company afloat. As you can see from the spoilers, there's more to him than meets the eye.
  • Karmic Death: In the movie, when Lisbeth leaves him to die, essentially denying him the mercy he denied all his victims.
  • Legacy Character: took over his father's Biblically-themed murders after his father died.
  • The Nondescript: Seems bland at first sight, if friendly enough.

Gottfried Vanger

Henrik's nephew, and father to Harriet and Martin. He drowned when Harriet was 15.
  • Abusive Parents: Had one in his Nazi father. Carried the tradition on to his own children. Martin turned out okay, Harriet not as much (what with the "dead" and all), though a lot of people expected the opposite to be true.

Harriet Vanger

Played by: Ewa Fröling (Sweden), Joely Richardson (US)

The subject of Mikael's search, and (by sheer coincidence) his babysitter when he was about two and she thirteen or so. Every year she would give Uncle Henrik pressed flowers in a picture frame for his birthday; ever since she was killed, someone else—presumably the killer—has done the same. Relatives suspect that Henrik's curiosity over her fate is not entirely healthy.

Peter Teleborian

  • Laser-Guided Karma: Is taken down because he ultimately winds up believing his own lies about Lisbeth. As a result he underestimates her intelligence, leading to her exposing him as a pedophile.
  • Smug Snake: His downfall comes as a result of overestimating his own competence and underestimating Lisbeth's intelligence.


A gang lord specializing in drugs and smuggling in underage Russian girls into Sweden for sex slavery. Of course, he also has other relevance: Under his full name, "Alexander Zalachenko," he's also Lisbeth's father.

  • Berserk Button: Mentioning the name "Lisbeth Salander" to him guarantees a lot of fucked up shit will happen just so he can try and get revenge on her.
    • Likewise, mentioning "Zala" to her will put her Spider-Sense on high alert.
  • The Determinator: Must be In the Blood. He survives being set on fire and carves out a criminal empire, and after the second book when Lisbeth and he are put in hospital, in spite of his crippling injuries he still manages to drag himself out of bed to try and kill her.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Is killed by his handlers after trying to double-cross them one time too many.
  • Not So Different: Not stated, but both Lisbeth and Zala are emotionally detached, stoical, far more concerned with their own rights than those of others, and can and do go to extreme lengths to get revenge. They are both highly intelligent, pretty prejudiced in some ways (though Lisbeth is prejudiced against misogynists and sadists), and no matter what hell you put them through you'll probably succeed in doing nothing but pissing them off. They also both get through bad days by fantasising about torturing and killing the other. Like father, like daughter.