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Creator / Astrid Lindgren

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"There is very little you can beat into a child, but no limit to what you can hug out of it."
Astrid Lindgren

Astrid Anna Emilia Lindgren (born Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson, 14 November 1907 – 28 January 2002) was a Swedish author of children's books. Her books have been translated into 85 languages, published in more than a hundred countries and sold more than 145 million copies. She has written dozens of books; some of the most famous ones are Pippi Longstocking, Mio, My Mio, Karlsson on the Roof and The Six Bullerby Children (also known as The Children of the Noisy Village). They verge from the relatively mundane (The Six Bullerby Children) to children's detective stories (the Bill Bergson series) to straight-out fantasy (Ronja the Robber's Daughter, The Brothers Lionheart).

A good chunk of her books have been turned into films or TV series (most of the movies are edited from TV footage, though). After the failure of the 1949 film adaptation of Pippi Longstocking left Lindgren dissatisfied due to it altering several elements of her books, combined with the casting of Viveca Serlachius—who was 26 years old at the time—to play the title character, Lindgren decided to personally write the scripts for any further Live Action Adaptations of her works, with few exceptions, and to become more involved in the creative process.

In addition to adapting her works, Lindgren wrote original screenplays and was also a lyricist. She made her screenwriting debut with Rasmus and the Vagabond, which was released in 1955.

She has an asteroid named for her; on learning this, she commented that henceforth they could call her "Asteroid Lindgren". She also narrated readings of many of her books for Swedish television and radio. And after 2016, she became the face of the Swedish 20-crown bill. note 

She was Sweden's very own Dear Grandmother.

Works of hers on the wiki:

Astrid Lindgren's works provide examples of:

  • A Girl And Her Dog: Tjorven of Vi På Saltkråkan ("Seacrow Island") and her huge St. Bernard dog, Båtsmann. While several children in other Lindgren stories have pets (most often dogs) and are very close to them, Tjorven and her dog are absolutely inseparable and their friendship very central to their story.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: A few show up in the various books; most of them tend to be Breakout Characters.
    • Perhaps most straight-up example is Lotta, the Breakout Character of the Children of Troublemaker Street book, who is a real pain in the neck to her older brother and sister more often than she's not, and who completely takes over as the star of the the sequel and subsequent short stories while the older siblings only get a few cameo appearances.
    • Lisabet, the younger sister of Madicken/Mischievous Meg, also has notable traits of an Annoying Younger Sibling, though in this case the sisters are much more a double act and tend to get in trouble together. Not as much of a Breakout Character as Lotta, as Madicken herself remains the viewpoint character, but gets A Day in the Limelight fairly often.
    • Lillebror of the Karlsson on the Roof stories is definitely one in the eyes of his older siblings, though he's also the viewpoint character for the books, and compared to Karlsson he's downright angelic.
  • Arcadia: Several of Astrid Lingren's works, such as The Six Bullerby Children are set in idealistic rural settings.
  • Author Tract: And Author Avatar, at the same time: Pomperipossa in Monismania is about a writer of children's books who lives in a country that, while mostly a fairish place to live, has quirks in the tax system that lead to the marginal tax rate being 102% for Pomperipossa. It was written in reaction to Lindgren finding out that her marginal tax rate was... 102%, as an unintended consequence of the combination of self-employment and a high income. The story led to a fairly intensive debate regarding taxes, and may even have been a decisive factor in the Social Democrats losing the elections to the Riksdag that year, for the first time in 40 years.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Several of her short stories have these; in a few of them one or more of the protagonists either die or are heavily implied to die, but usually life for those who are left behind goes on, and sometimes even gets better:
    • In Most Beloved Sister, seven year old Barbara feels unloved and unwanted at home after the birth of her baby brother, and has magical adventures with her "secret twin sister" Lalla-Lee, who may or may not be imaginary — at the end of the story, Lalla-Lee dies and the magical world is closed off, but Barbara comes to the realization that her parents do still love her, and she gets the puppy she's always wanted.
    • In The Red Bird, orphans Matthew and Anna live a harsh life, but frequently escape to a secret place that, once again, may or may not be imaginary; a paradise where they're taken care of and loved. At the end, they choose to stay in this paradise rather than return to their dreary lives, which pretty heavily implies that they die.
    • My Nightingale is Singing features the recently-orphaned Maria, who throughout the story takes comfort and inspiration from the words of a story she hears — "my linden plays, my nightingale is singing." Though she effectively dies at the end of the story, her spirit lives on as a playing linden tree, which with its music does bring her friends at the poorhouse the beauty and joy she wanted to give them.
  • Bumbling Dad: Melker in Vi På Saltkråkan is... not a clever man. After his wife died, his oldest daughter has effectively been the adult of the family.
  • Canon Illustrations: At least for the Swedish editions. Most of Lindgren's books were illustrated by Ilon Wikland[1], with the notable exception of the Pippi Longstocking books (illustrated by Ingrid Vang Nyman[2]), and Emil in Lönneberga (illustrated by Björn Berg[3]). These illustrators had a great part in defining the look of the characters, and many Swedish readers would find it very hard to imagine them being illustrated by anyone else.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Mio's father was not a scoundrel, he had to go away and rule his realm... and search for his son, whose mother died in childbirth, all over the world for years and years to bring him home as the prince of the Land Far Away.
  • Creator Provincialism: Lindgren lived in Sweden throughout her life and drew inspiration from her surroundings. The Bill Bergson series takes place in Lillköping, which was inspired by her hometown Vimmerby. Pippi Longstocking takes place in a small Swedish village. Today, the Astrid Lindgren's World theme park in Vimmerby, as well as the Villa Villekulla house in Gotland and her own apartment in Stockholm house museums dedicated to her works.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Quite a few characters show this from time to time, though Karlsson-on-the-Roof and Pippi Longstocking are the clearest examples.
  • Daddy's Girl:
    • Pippi Longstocking is very close to her father Ephraim, a pirate captain. Of course, it helps that her mother died when she was baby, so she could only get to know her father. But there still is a very close connection between them.
    • Madicken is the Tomboy older sister, who has developed a growing sense of social justice. So there is no wonder that she has a very special relationship with her socialist father, who happens to also be more lenient than her more uptight mother is.
    • Ronja is very close to her mother Lovis too, but still, it is her relationship with her father Mattis, that is the heart of the story. They do have a big falling out, but they still really love each other and reconcile in the end.
  • Death by Childbirth: The fate of Mio's mother.
  • Downer Ending: The short story The Dragon With The Red Eyes. The baby dragon leaves forever, and the story ends with the first-person narrator crying because she'll never see him again.
  • Face–Heel Turn: According to Word of God, the nice and friendly Mr. Lilyvale from In the Land of Twilight eventually became the jerkish, mischievous Karlsson-on-the-roof.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted. Alcohol is rare in Lindgren's stories, but she doesn't shy away from it or from describing its destructive effects either. For example, the family in Emil of Lönneberga is mostly sober, since the father is a deacon, but the father is clearly drunk after having been bought beer by a neighbour at the fair in Vimmerby, the farmhands drink vodka and brawl at an auction, and Emil's own experiences with his mother's cherry wine dregs take up an entire story arc.
  • The Gay '90s: While not *exactly* the same (most of the stories would take place in the early 20th century) the depiction of rural Sweden in eg. Emil of Lönneberga and Children of the Noisy Village has much in common with this trope.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Not surprisingly, happens with Nicke, the kindest of the villains in Bill Bergson and the Great White Rose Rescue. It looks like it's going to be a case of Redemption Equals Death, as he is shot and wounded by his former boss, but it turns out the gunshot wasn't fatal, and he survives. Indeed, Nicke was initially intended to die, but the child actors (the book originated as a radio drama) got so upset about it that it had to be changed.
  • Imaginary Friend: Lalla-Lee, the protagonist's "secret twin sister" from the short story Most Beloved Sister, is probably one of these. Then again...
    • Karlsson-on-the-roof is, throughout the whole first book, taken by Lillebror's parents to be one as well. It is only in the second installment that they meet him in person an finally accept his existence. In fact, if we read only the first book which culminates with Lillebror's parents giving him the puppy he had long wished for, we can plausibly interpret the final scene where Lillebror talks to his new pet about their upcoming holidays together as a metaphor for his growing out of the "imaginary friends phase". The subsequent novels, however, reset the scene quite decisively and Karlsson once again rules supreme.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Karlsson-on-the-roof. He's selfish, he's vain, he sulks whenever he doesn't get his way, he has no qualms about lying, cheating or stealing. But he never means any real harm, and he does get some real Pet the Dog moments (sometimes literally, as he's shown as being quite kind to dogs).
    • Emil's father. He's an insufferable cheapskate and overly temperamental, but at the end of the day he's really quite soft-hearted. Especially for the era the stories are set in, when a child like Emil would normally not have gotten away from punishment just by locking himself in a shed for a few hours for his father to calm down.
  • Karma Houdini: Thanks to his status as Escapist Character, Karlsson-on-the-roof never suffers the consequences of any of the mischief he gets up to.
  • Kid Detective: Bill Bergson is a pretty realistic version of this. He spends more time pretending to be a great detective than actually doing any detective work, but he does have some impressive analytical skills and knowledge of real detective procedures, which he manages to employ quite effectively when confronted with a real mystery. It's Deconstructed in the second book, where he plays the cool and calculating detective for all its worth while investigating the mystery, even creating an imaginary Watson for himself that he can explain everything to... but when he actually finds evidence that someone has tried to murder his friend Eva-Lotta, he goes completely to pieces. At the end of the book he imagines up the Watson one last time to tell him that he's done trying to be a detective and from now on he's leaving detective work to the police. (In the third book, however, he's back imagining himself as the great detective — though the narrative does point out that these moments are rarer now than they once were.)
  • Kids Are Cruel: Several examples, though there's seldom any real malice behind their cruelty. In Lindgren's view, most of them simply don't know any better (which doesn't excuse their behavior).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the otherwise fairly realistic Bill Bergson and the White Rose Rescue, Bill and Anders at one point half-jokingly philosophize about the possibility of them being fictional characters in a book, and how they can't be sure they aren't, because they wouldn't have been written with the knowledge that they are.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Ronja and Birk (possible subversion, in that they decide to be brother and sister, and call each other that on several occasions, but there are hints that the relationship could grow to be something more in later years. Birk's mother is certainly convinced of that, and none too pleased about it.)
  • Long Runner: Almost entirely averted. Not counting picture books and short stories, none of the book series run for more than three installments. Seacrow Island (which spans one TV series and four feature films) comes the closest.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Several of the stories, especially the short stories, leave it fairly ambiguous whether the fantastic things are actually happening or whether it's all just a product of the child protagonist's imagination.
  • Mundane Afterlife: The Brothers Lionheart has an odd example. Nangijala is "The land of stories and campfires" but is generally pretty normal. Then it turns out that there may be another afterlife after that.
  • Naughty Is Good: Astrid seemed to believe that obedient well-behaved children aren't that interesting to write or read about, and it normally turns out that most of her "naughty" child protagonists aren't that bad after all.
    Emil's mother: Emil's a dear little boy, and we love him just as he is.
    • Pippi Longstocking may break every rule for how a "good child" should act, but she also does great things like stopping two bullies from attacking their victim. It is clear too that Pippi's two best friends Tommy and Annika (who used to be well-behaved children) needed somebody like Pippi to make them come out of their shell.
    • Lotta from the "The children of Trouble-Maker Street" books is much less well-behaved than her sister Maria. But that is also why Lotta became the Breakout Character, while Maria (who was the original protagonist of the series) simply didn't have enough of a personality to be that intestering.
    • When we first get to know Madicken, she's described as a hopeless trouble-maker. But it soon turns out that she mostly feels bad about not being an obedient well-behaved child. She can't help that things will happen, and it becomes clear that she has a heart of gold. By contrast, her younger sister Lisabet seems to really enjoy being a mischievous kid just for the fun of it. But in the end, even she is mostly portrayed in a sympathetic light.
    • In a similar manner, Astrid seemed to do everything she could to describe Emil of Lönneberga as the worst child ever. Or, that is what she would do in the prologues to the books. But as soon as the stories start for real, it is made clear that Emil too has a heart of gold. Oh sure, he might be mischievous and/or rude some times. But it seems like most of his "pranks" are just accidents, and he will do good things like helping misunderstood animals and poor elderly people. Not to mention that he saved his best friend's life by taking him to the doctor through a terrible blizzard. Emil's sister Ida is by contrast a perfect well-behaved child. And it also means that she's not as interesting as he is, and she only gets one A Day in the Limelight — which is the story of how she tries hard to misbehave so she'll get the same punishment as Emil.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • Katla is a big honking lizard, scared of loud noises and breathes fire that will kill or paralyze you.
    • The titular dragon of The Dragon With The Red Eyes is a tiny baby dragon unexpectedly born from a pig. This is never explained, nor is the baby dragon, who is quite mischievous and troublesome, but also cute and lovable in his own way.
  • Promotion to Parent: Malin in Seacrow Island. She's the oldest of the four Melkersson kids (19 when we first meet her) and after their mother died is essentially the only practical family member. While their father, Melker, tries his best and is still the breadwinner and head of the family, he is a total Bumbling Dad, whith a side-order of being a Butt-Monkey, and so Malin simply had to step up and play "mother" to her three younger brothers... and occasionally to her hapless father.
  • Pig Latin: The Bill Bergson books invented Rövarspråket ("The Robber Language"), which has become the Swedish equivalent of Pig Latin and is still in fairly wide use 60 years later.
  • Self-Adaptation: Ever since she disowned the 1949 film adaptation of Pippi Longstocking, Lindgren often adapted her books for both the TV series and films herself.
  • Teasing from Behind the Language Barrier: The three main characters in Bill Bergson employ this with Rövarspråket to mock the boys belonging to the Red Rose.
  • Tortured Monster: The villain of Mio, my Mio has a heart of stone, seemingly literally. He is in constant agony from its chafing in his chest, and begs to be killed at the end.
  • Vague Age: Karlsson. Is he a child or an adult, or simply an ageless creature of fantasy? When asked, he only says that he's "a man in his prime" but doesn't elaborate further.
  • What Could Have Been: In the early 1940s, Astrid Lindgren wrote her first screenplay, When You Fall in Love, but it was never made into a film.