Summary and Analysis Part 3: Mergers: Chapter 22



After Blomkvist cleans up Tjorven's remains, Salander and Blomkvist eat a grim breakfast, both of them contemplating their next move. Salander leaves for Stockholm after breakfast to get supplies, urging Blomkvist to pick up some fire alarms and extinguishers at some point during the day.

Later that day, Blomkvist visits Pastor Falk, the pastor Harriet tried to speak to on the day of her disappearance, at the nursing home where he lives as he suffers from advanced Alzheimer's. Although much of their conversation is useless, Blomkvist feels he is on to something when Pastor Falk discusses Harriet's interest in obscure religious texts. Blomkvist consults with Hedestad's current pastor, Pastor Margareta Strandh, to better understand Falk's references. Through this discussion, Blomkvist learns Harriet was interested in the Apocrypha, a set of holy texts excluded from the protestant Bible. He borrows a copy of the Apocrypha and heads home to read it.

In the early evening, Blomkvist goes out for his evening run. While resting by an old war fortress, Blomkvist is startled by a shot that causes a rain of concrete from the fortress to fall on his head. Mildly wounded, he quickly dashes for cover as bullets whizz by him. Remembering his old military training, Blomkvist is able to navigate through the woods to find cover and make it back toward his home. As he approaches the other houses on the island, Blomkvist wonders who was shooting at him. Returning home, he discovers that Salander has returned, and she helps dress his wounds. Furious, Blomkvist storms over to Cecilia's house and confronts her about the shooting and about her presence in Harriet's room the day Harriet disappeared. Cecilia denies being involved with either situation. That night, Salander and Blomkvist set up the security devices she acquired from Milton Security: motion sensors, surveillance video, alarm systems, and a night vision lens.


Danger and trust are key themes present in Chapter 22. The danger suggested in Chapter 21 comes to a head in Chapter 22, along with potential clues as to who is after Blomkvist and Salander. Because the person attempting to murder Blomkvist uses a hunting rifle, Blomkvist is able to use this clue to decide which of the Vangers would be capable of such a tactic. Secondly, Blomkvist's near-death experience recalls Cecilia Vanger's memory of hunting in the woods with her brother and father. Like that scene, this one is rife with tension. Contrasting with that scene, however, is the fact that Cecilia chose not to shoot her brother and father, forgoing violence as an option. Cecilia's reserve suggests that she's telling the truth about not being involved in the shooting Blomkvist experienced, despite her growing distaste for his investigation.

The theme of trust is also expressed in Chapter 22. First, trust has been destroyed between Blomkvist and most of the Vanger clan. For instance, as he returns from his run, he questions every sign of Vangers that he sees, wondering which of them was after him. Secondly, when Cecilia denies being in the photo that Blomkvist shows her, his trust in her, who was once a close ally, is also shaken. By denying being present in the picture — and not offering any ideas for who it could be — Cecilia shows that she's not vested in helping Blomkvist with his task and is sticking to her stated desire that he leave town. Finally, despite these rifts in trust, trust grows between Salander and Blomkvist as they fortify themselves against the rest of the Vanger clan.