Blomkvist returns to Stockholm in time to join Salander at her mother's funeral. Afterward, Salander and Blomkvist head back to Hedestad to get her motorbike and their other belongings. Blomkvist tells Salander what he learned from Harriet. Salander declares Harriet a bitch, because she left and let her brother carry on with his evil ways for 40 years. Blomkvist drops Salander at the cabin to go meet with Vanger, asking her to be there when he gets back.
Blomkvist arrives at the hospital to see an improving Vanger. He informs Vanger and Frode that Harriet is still alive and that she's here, in Hedestad, if they want to see her. Although shocked, Vanger very much wants to see Harriet, and Blomkvist goes to fetch her. Blomkvist allows Harriet and Vanger to share some private time, as he returns to the cabin to find that Salander has left.
Salander stops not far outside of Hedestad and tries to understand her feelings. She's very angry with many people, but she realizes that Blomkvist isn't one of them — actually, and surprisingly, she enjoys being with him. She turns her bike around and heads back to Hedestad.
Upon Salander's return, she and Blomkvist discuss their relationship. Blomkvist says that he'd like to have her as a friend and goes on to say that it's important that they respect and trust each other. Salander doesn't understand why sex can't be part of that equation, and they end up in bed together. The next morning Frode stops by to discuss a few matters with Blomkvist. First, he brings a letter from Vanger begging Blomkvist to omit Martin and Gottfried's crimes in his history of the Vanger family in order to protect Harriet from public scrutiny. Blomkvist feels that this omission would be against his morality as a journalist, but finally acquiesces when Salander suggests that the Vanger Corporation compensate the families of the women Martin killed and donate to women's crisis centers.
Frode's second piece of unpleasant news is that the dirt Vanger had on Wennerstrom is 30 years old and thus, unusable. Blomkvist storms out of the cabin after Frode leaves. Salander remains behind, unsure whether she should give him space or go comfort him. Finally, Salander follows him and finds him on the other end of the island.
Later that evening, Salander insists Blomkvist tell her the full story about what went wrong with the Wennerstrom affair. Blomkvist tells her about his old college friend, who provided the initial information. Then, as Blomkvist and Berger got deeper into the story, both of them received threats before finding a source close to Wennerstrom who leaked them information and resources. However, it turned out in court that that source and his materials were all faked by Wennerstrom to ruin what was solid in Blomkvist's friend's original story. After Blomkvist finishes his tale, Salander tells him she followed up on Wennerstrom even after Armansky took her off the case and that she has his entire hard drive on her computer.
In this chapter, issues of trust emerge that shape Blomkvist as an individual and in his relationship to Salander. First, Blomkvist is clearly torn up by his decision not to print anything about Martin and Gottfried; he feels that he is betraying his lifelong career of exposing truths. Salander and Frode, however, are able to see that no good would come of exposing hidden truths in this case. Blomkvist, who is driven by a strong sense of right and wrong, doesn't like being forced into this murky territory.
Blomkvist's reluctance stands in contrast to Salander, who seems comfortable in this blurred area, knowing that right and wrong are rarely as clear as one would like them to be. She and Blomkvist grow closer in this chapter as they begin to discuss their relationship for the first time. Blomkvist insists they trust and respect each other, and Salander's actions show that she does trust and respect Blomkvist. Not only does she try to comfort him when he's upset, but she also provides him with Wennerstrom's files, all of which she obtained illegally. Salander has saved Blomkvist's actual life, and through this gift, she invigorates his professional life as well.