Summary and Analysis
Part 4: Hostile Takeover: Chapter 26
After his arrival in Melbourne, Blomkvist tracks down Harriet, who has taken over her dead husband's sheep farm. Harriet is shocked to hear someone say her real name, but recovers quickly and sits down with Blomkvist to listen to the story of how he came to find her.
Following their catch-up session, Blomkvist tells Harriet that his only intention is to tell Henrik her whereabouts, and that he won't leak the information to anyone else. This promise spurs Harriet to fill in the missing piece of her story: Gottfried didn't drown, she killed him. Gottfried had been sexually assaulting her for a year and one night, as he drunkenly tried to grab hold of her, she was able to push him into the water and hold him down. Unfortunately, Martin saw her. So, Martin was able not only to take up where their father left off, but also to hold the murder of their father against her. Martin was sent to boarding school shortly after Gottfried's death and didn't come back to Hedestad until the day of the Children's Parade. His return spurred Harriet to plan her escape. Anita lent Harriet her passport and money to get her started on her new life.
Harriet's story draws more parallels between her and Salander, and underscores the power of truth and trust. Furthermore, Harriet's current life is set in opposition to the life of her father and brother. This chapter reveals that Harriet, like Salander, had to resort to violence to save herself from her rapist. Unlike Salander's situation, however, that violent act was not enough to free Harriet, who then came under the power of her brother. Thus, once again, trust emerges as the key to survival. Harriet's final escape is only made possible by her trust in Anita. By trusting Blomkvist, Harriet is able to finally disclose the full truth behind her disappearance and is relieved of the weight of deception.
Finally, as a sheep-rancher, Harriet has a far healthier relationship with animals than did either her father or brother. Harriet understands what it means to sacrifice an animal and how to use it in a humane and thoughtful way. For instance, Harriet and her crew are shooting sheep when Blomkvist finds them, not to instill fear or to twist a biblical passage, but to prevent the rest of the herd from becoming infected with a life-threatening disease. Her slaughter of the sheep stands in contrast to the mutilation of Tjorven, who was dismembered and used as a warning. Furthermore, by raising sheep, Harriet is providing food and clothing for countless people, thereby nurturing life rather than destroying it.