the maths aspect in the 2nd book

Hy iv only read the first two, but in the second one, whats the deal with the maths thing? Am i missing an important aspect to it, or it it merely to fill space. Especially when she gets to the house and realises how this man managed to crack the formulae.

Posted by Tammy in colchester , 27 July 2011

By Editor

12 thoughts on “the maths aspect in the 2nd book”
  1. In my opinion it’s there as a sidebar, to illustrate Lisbeth’s brilliant analytical mind.

    Posted by Ted ,

  2. Oh i see, i thought as much, just wanted to make sure i wasnt missing anything. Iv now started on the third, im on chapter 3 and uh oh im a little worried for her.

  3. She solves the riddle but am I right in saying that we never find out the answer?

    Posted by RachelS in Manchester ,

  4. In my opinion, it plays a big part. It parallels what is happening with the books. Stieg Larsson and Fermat both died before finishing their work, but they leave open a puzzle or a desire for all to figure out. But the puzzle in Fermat is already figured out – a cube or higher dimension cannot fit in a two-dimensional margin of a piece of paper. What is it that Larsson was trying to tell us? God’s Revenge? That is for us to figure out…that cocky devil!

    Posted by megan van zelfden in plano, tx ,

  5. Agree with Ted – another of frequent insights into the mental capabilities of one of the two lead characters.

    Posted by Tim in Tucson ,

  6. The point was that Fermat’s Last Theorem was apparently so simple but in reality it took a British mathematician 15 years (?) or so to solve after countless numbers of mathematicians since Fermat had failed.

    Larsson says in book two that he wasn’t surprised that a mathematical solution was so difficult to find and that if only they’d asked a philosopher to resolve the problem it would have been settled much easier!

    What Larsson didn’t say is that as Fermat’s last theorem was solved, new branches of mathematics were devised and links between already established branches of mathematics were revealed that might otherwise have remained hidden.

    Back to the question: Salander had a photographic memory and a brilliantly analytical mind. Fermat’s last theorem was thrown in to the book as an example of how smart she really is but was otherwise not critical to the flow of the story.


    Posted by Duncan Williamson in Halifax, England ,

  7. As I mentioned elsewhere, the bit on mathematics and Fermat’s Last Theorem is the weakest link in the second book. I guess Larsson was trying to demonstrate Salander’s intellectual brilliance, but it’s too utterly outrageous to be even remotely believable. Yep, I know reading fiction is a form of escapism and not to be taken too seriously, but if I’d wanted fantasy, I’d have read Robert Jordan’s ‘The Wheel of Time’ series instead.

    By now, readers should know that Salander has supernatural talents such as a phenomenal IQ and fighting ability (she lands devastating forceful blows even though she stands at 1.5m and weighs about 40kg). In fact, she becomes like a cyborg towards the end… she digs her way out of a grave with a cigarette case and still has enough strength left to deal deadly blows, even though she’s stalking around with a bullet in her brain.

    Part of Salander’s appeal is her underdog status, and that’s why we root for her. But Larsson could have unwittingly done her a disservice by making her almost invincible, which makes readers unable to relate to her in the end.

    Another reason for the Millennium trilogy’s appeal is its realistic setting, with street names and Swedish laws described to a T and that really exist. Heck, even the model names of Ikea furniture and the iBook’s attributes in 2004 are real and not made up. Yet in the midst of all this is Lisbeth Salander, a comic book character the equivalent of Peter Parker alias Spiderman, let loose in New York City.

    Don’t get me wrong — I love the books as well as Salander. But the series naturally has its share of critics, and the points that I’ve made here may be some of the reasons why. Salander’s over-the-top character suits me just fine… and folks who are adamantly skeptical in the way Larsson has developed her should read an authorized autobiography of a real-life historical figure instead if it’s believability and credibilty they are after.

    Posted by Rin in SG ,

  8. I believe there’s more to the mathematics than just to demonstrate Lisbeth’s brilliance. In the beginning of each part, there’s a mathematical equation, and an explanation. There has to be a parallel from the equation to the events in the part. I’m still finishing part 4 of the second book, and will post more after I do some dissection.

    Posted by Mbz1 ,

  9. I was under the impression that the math was to illustrate that the bullet wound did affect her in some way since she forgets the solution but doesn’t feel the urge to solve it anymore. Maybe the wound shifted something else that we were to find out in the next books because, let’s face it, it was a miracle that she came back as new.

    Posted by Iantonia in Ottawa ,

  10. I thought there was going to be more to this later. We were told that the bullet damaged the part of the brain that coped with maths problems. Lantonia above is the only one to mention this. I thought that was why she could no longer work out Fermat’s Last Theorem, even though she had come up with the solution before. I am sure that in future books there would have been more to this if Stieg had not died. I don’t know why but for some reason this part of the story fascinated me and I thought there was something really important here.

    Posted by Jhan in UK ,

  11. I also agree with Latonia in Ottawa. The loss of the answer to the equation will effect her in future novels,that Steig never had a chance to write.

    Posted by Damie S. in Lewisburg, WVa ,

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