The family with the dragon tattoo?

Posted on: January 5, 2012

In Tuesday’s (1/3) Los Angeles Times Culture Monster blog, writer David Ng ponders the parallels between the real-life Wagner clan and the fictional Vanger family in Stieg Larsson’s novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and the new film of the same name: “In their role as the ultimate dysfunctional family, the Vangers bear an uncanny resemblance to another powerful Euro clan with dubious ethics—the Wagners of Germany. The similarities amount to more than just a coincidence of last names. … the Vangers are a family defined primarily by infighting and estrangement. Bad blood runs ice cold; siblings and cousins are no longer on speaking terms. To complicate matters, Nazi sympathies run deep in this family, like a defective gene inherited by successive generations. The real-life Wagners—whose most famous member was the 19th century operatic composer Richard Wagner—are no strangers to internal strife, or to Nazi sympathies for that matter. Like the Vangers in ‘Tattoo,’ they preside over an old, musty family business: the Bayreuth Festival, an annual celebration of their uber-patriarch’s operas. In the past, the festival has been besieged by internecine power plays. …. Did Larsson deliberately model the Vangers after the Wagners? It’s difficult to say, but the similarities are rather too abundant to be pegged to chance alone.”

Posted January 5, 2012