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While Larsson’s books were inspired by Stockholm’s – particularly Södermalm’s -- rich diversity, they are also infused with traditional literature references and socio-political undertones. Larsson pays homage to famous Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and her wildly popular children’s books, and da Siva explained that Lisbeth Salander is meant to represent Lindgren’s famous red-haired character Pippi Longstocking once she reaches her twenties.

Salander is actually red-haired beneath her signature jet black dyed hair, as described by Larsson in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest, and her rebellious nature pulls from Pippi Longstocking’s independence. Da Silva also pointed out that the name on Salander’s door at her house is “V. Kulla”, harking back to the name of Pippi Longstocking’s house, “Villa Villerkulla”. Visitors to Stockholm can find a model version of this fantasy villa at Junibacken, a children’s playground and storybook museum on the island of Djurgården -- which can also be seen from Fiskargatan 9.

As for Mikael Blomkvist, many suspect Larsson’s heroic character was modelled after Lindgren’s Kalle Blomkvist -- who played the lead in Lindgren’s teenage detective series Bill Bergson.

Beyond the geographical split of the author’s good and bad guys, Larsson enthusiasts -- including guide da Silva -- note that his characters are culturally and ethnically diverse to reflect a truer, ever-changing picture of Stockholm, like Armanskij from the Balkans and Bublanski who is Jewish.

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© 2012 Lonely Planet. All rights reserved. The article ‘Stieg Larsson’s Stockholm’ was published in partnership with Lonely Planet.

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