Summary and Analysis Part 1: Incentive: Chapter 3



Blomkvist arrives at the Millennium offices after his trial to meet with Erika Berger, who is editor-in-chief of the magazine and also Blomkvist's long-time, off-and-on-again lover. During their meeting, Blomkvist insists that he step down as the magazine's publisher and take some time to sort out his feelings as well as figure out his next move. Although Berger doesn't want Blomkvist's departure to look like she fired him, she reluctantly agrees that his parting probably would be the best move for the magazine right now.

Berger spends the night with Blomkvist and, while she sleeps, he contemplates their history together. They met in journalism school and despite both of them marrying other people, they were unable to stay away from each other. Their love affair caused Blomkvist's wife to leave him whereas Berger's husband accepts sharing his wife with another man, something for which Blomkvist is very thankful.

Despite her presence, however, Blomkvist continues to be unable to sleep and his thoughts shift to his current circumstances. He wonders about Lindberg's role in everything: Did Lindberg really want the story made public or not? Blomkvist considers the idea that Lindberg set him up, then dismisses the thought because Lindberg couldn't have planned their meeting on the island of Arholma. At this point, Blomkvist contemplates his own journalistic philosophy and how he is driven by an inner sense of right and wrong, not by politics. The intrepid reporter is happy Berger shares his vision; he knows that without her, there would be no Millennium.


Albeit brief, Chapter 3 adds depth to Blomkvist's character, establishes his relationship with Berger, and through these revelations expands on the theme of trust. Most of the chapter is Blomkvist's thoughts, revealing insight into Blomkvist's deep attachments to both Berger and Millennium. Clearly, he takes both relationships very seriously. While watching Berger sleep, Blomkvist acknowledges that although their relationship has caused him personal problems, she will always be in his life. Blomkvist is comfortable sharing his hopes with Erika Berger. Blomkvist also takes his role as a journalist quite seriously. He vows to expose Wennerstrom for what he is, not out of vengeance, but from the hope that by revealing corporate corruption, he may also help bring such a breach of trust to an end.

While most of Chapter 3 is told from Blomkvist's perspective, Berger's dialogue and interaction shows how Blomkvist and Berger work together as a team. Berger is clearly upset by the trial verdict and by the few options she, Blomkvist, and Millennium have at their disposal. When reviewing the press release she and Blomkvist draft on Blomkvist's departure, she's displeased by the inevitable interpretation that she is getting rid of Blomkvist, rather than standing by him. Her desire to remain loyal to Blomkvist reveals that their relationship is as important to her as it is to him. However, because she also shares Blomkvist's professional ideals, Berger realizes that she must at least "look" disloyal to him in order for them to keep Millennium afloat and afford themselves a chance to someday publish an article that Wennerstrom can't refute in court.

Finally, the characterization of Berger and Blomkvist as partners both personally and professionally expands the theme of trust. In this chapter, the relationship shared by Berger and Blomkvist is one of unconditional trust between best friends. Coupled with this trust in each other is a trust in the work they're doing. They know that Wennerstrom is guilty, and while they may accept the court verdict for the moment, they have no intention of backing down from their cause. Their struggle to decide how to publicly handle the verdict reveals that their trust in each other is essential to their ability to move forward in the face of uncertainty. For example, while Berger is uncertain that Blomkvist should leave as publisher, she trusts his judgment of the situation. This expression of trust despite the unknowns will continue to be an issue for Berger and Blomkvist as they try to keep Millennium solvent.