This essay argues that Stieg Larsson's hugely successful Millennium series
is constructed around a Gothic core. This core relies on a structure in
which the Gothic terror inflicted by the villains draws forth an anarchic
response from the heroine that reflects its cause. The ensuing battle
spotlights issues dealing with familial and social authority as well as their
justification. The analysis is steered by the ideas Slavoj iek has presented
about the contemporary socio-cultural situation in the West. Given that
most of his examples come from popular culture, his essays foreground
moments of Gothic terror in cultural products and political situations.
Thus they read like analyses of Gothic cultural circumstances. This
perspective fits Larsson's handling of Gothic elements, for they serve the
purpose of focusing on snags and hitches in symbolic structures that cover
up perverted libidinal energies.