After two months in prison, Blomkvist is released early and immediately heads to Hedeby. Vanger is happy to see him. When Blomkvist stops by Cecilia's, she's not only surprised, but also cold and distant, asking him to leave. He goes home and begins to flip through the photograph album of the day of Harriet's disappearance. At first he finds it useless, but then the glimpse of an idea floats across his mind. Before he can grasp the fleeting thought, Cecilia arrives, confessing she's fallen in love with him. She spends the night. In the morning, the lovers are awakened by the unexpected arrival of Berger, who is equally surprised to find Blomkvist in bed with another woman. Both women do their best to overcome their shock and discomfort, and Blomkvist explains to Cecilia that he won't sleep with Berger as long as he and Cecilia are an item.
After a long winter, spring finally arrives in Hedeby. The new season inspires Blomkvist to do more exploring on the island. He gets the key to Gottfried's abandoned cabin from Martin and goes to check out the place where Martin and Harriet's father lived, and where, after his death, Harriet would spend her weekends and summers alone. The cabin is rustic and sparse, but holds a beautiful view of the bay. Blomkvist finds some old books at the cabin, including several Astrid Lindgren titles. A week or so later, he visits Cecilia and she says she can't see him anymore and that they should just be friends.
In this chapter, the change of seasons serves as a symbol foreshadowing a solution to the mystery of Harriet's disappearance. The arrival of spring coinciding with Blomkvist's early release from prison symbolizes a shift in focus for both Blomkvist and the novel. Prison served as a period of hibernation for Blomkvist in which he was able to remove himself from complications with the Vangers and Millennium and return to his project refreshed. He is able to glimpse a clue in the photograph album as well as explore Gottfried's cabin, both events indicating the reporter is closing in on the mystery even if he doesn't fully understand what he is beginning to see.
Also of note is another allusion to Astrid Lindgren's work. Blomkvist finds three titles in Gottfried's cabin: The Children of Noisy Village, Kalle Blomkvist and Rasmus, and Pippi Longstocking. For the first time, if only by proxy, Blomkvist and Salander are in the same room, their symbolic selves resting on the same shelf. By providing the readers with this Lindgren reference, the author is able not only to further capitalize on his Swedish audience's familiarity with Lindgren and her work, but also to foreshadow that Blomkvist and Salander's paths are about to intersect.