Henrik and Bjorn

For discussion of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel Människohamn
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gattoparde59
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Henrik and Bjorn

Post by gattoparde59 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 12:58 am

***SPOILERS MAYBE****

Just some thoughts about these two that I have been meaning to post for a while.

i noticed that Henrik and Bjorn are:

1) Outsiders
2) Disaffected adolescents (with a hilarious love of the Smiths)
3) The victims of bullying
4) Choose to turn their backs on human society and go to a "better place" (sorry I can't remember exact words they use)
5) Devoted to each other
6) Scary critters devoted to revenge

It occurred to me that Henrik and Bjorn are very much like Oskar and Eli, even if they are older characters. If they are like Eli and Oskar, what does this say about the author's attitude towards these characters and what they represent in terms of his own life? My feeling is that he has developed an ironic detachment to the feelings of Henrick and Bjorn. He sympathizes with what they are feeling, but at the same time he finds them vaguely ridiculous and even a little repellent. Does the way they are portrayed in Harbour reflect the idea that Johnajvide has moved on from the particular phase of his life we see in Let the Right One In and is now looking back as a mature person?

I'll break open the story and tell you what is there. Then, like the others that have fallen out onto the sand, I will finish with it, and the wind will take it away.

Nisa

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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by Nightrider » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:41 pm

Does the way they are portrayed in Harbour reflect the idea that Johnajvide has moved on from the particular phase of his life we see in Let the Right One In and is now looking back as a mature person?
I think so. Since LTROI is Lindquist's first major published work and Harbour clearly shows growth as a writer, I don't see any reason why the portrayal of certain characters couldn't indicate maturity of the author. Especially since I beleive that H & B are obvious references to Lindquist's own personality as is many others in the cast of Harbour. From Anders to Henrik, from Simon to Bjorn, they are all parts of JAL.
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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by danielma » Tue Sep 06, 2011 10:39 pm

Interesting, and a theory I could somewhat subscribe too...it comes close to something I thought about Henrik and Bjorn

The main difference between Eli & Oskar and Henrik & Bjorn would be their social status. Oskar & Eli really were almost social outcasts by default, where as I always felt Henrik & Bjorn were social outcasts by design. In no ways did I find Henrik & Bjorn's torment as bad as anything that Oskar was put through (although they did have it rough, not to take away from them)...if anything, the major instance of bullying for Henrik and Bjorn started with them crossing the line, they may have been ridiculed at times but they seemed almost welcomed around the group, it was until the incident with Elin really (from memory).

The difference with them however is that I always felt Henrik & Bjorn were really in that outcast status by their own choice of design. For the most part the description we get of them in the teenage years is really within Ander's own memories. Granted its hard to tell how much of those memories are now filtered through a matured Anders and how much is what he felt as a teenager, but it seemed to me even as a teenager he looked upon them with a form empathy but also (as you mentioned) some repellent.

You raise an interesting point Gattorpade. When I was a teenager, the group I hung around was made up of "outcasts" in some ways...it was a collective group of "Goths", "geeks", "nerds" (or as I liked to call it, the island of mis-fit toys)...I have to admit, that there were times where even I looked at certain people in my group as a teenager and thought many of the same things that Anders felt towards Henrik & Bjorn.

I don't know if its necessarily a matured Anders looking back at his time or if it was his thoughts at the time period (this ties back to the somewhat unreliable narrator that Anders kind of is throughout most of the book)...but in some senses I think your right, maybe it is JAL looking back at those memories with a new matured perspective...
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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by shaggles » Wed Nov 23, 2011 10:00 pm

I had a hard time reconciling their violence with their avid vegetarianism. maybe that's not such a problem though since they were doing it to ape Morrissey rather than having any strong personal belief.

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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by lombano » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:45 pm

danielma wrote: The main difference between Eli & Oskar and Henrik & Bjorn would be their social status. Oskar & Eli really were almost social outcasts by default, where as I always felt Henrik & Bjorn were social outcasts by design. In no ways did I find Henrik & Bjorn's torment as bad as anything that Oskar was put through (although they did have it rough, not to take away from them)...
Agreed. They don't have it nearly as bad, and unlike E&O they turn vicious in response. They voluntarily decide to serve evil.
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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by cr33d1sh » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:11 am

Burn down the disco!!!

I love these two characters. I like the trivia in the book, there are quotation of the songs "panic" "How soon is now" "please, please, please (let me got what i Want) e many others.

Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
IT SAYS NOTHING TO ME ABOUT MY LIFE!!

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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by gattoparde59 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:27 am

cr33d1sh wrote:Burn down the disco!!!

I love these two characters. I like the trivia in the book, there are quotation of the songs "panic" "How soon is now" "please, please, please (let me got what i Want) e many others.

Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
IT SAYS NOTHING TO ME ABOUT MY LIFE!!
This is a good video for visualizing Henrik and Bjorn. Watch for the street signs!
Two more thoughts on Henrik and Bjorn:

The way they never seem to grow up. The way they cling to that damned moped, their one moment of glory and prestige in island society. Anders remarks that they look exactly the same as they did when they disappeared. Life has moved on, but not Henrik and Bjorn. This idea gives some hope to Anders. Maybe he can pick up his life and resume it after living like a drunken zombie for the last three years?

Since I posted this, i read Handling the Undead and Little Star. In Handling the Undead Flora is the adolescent outcast given to "self-destructive" behavior. She does have a mentor in her grandmother who helps her with the causes of her "otherness." I don't recall if Flora had any particular taste in music, but she is a bit of an internet troll. In Little Star, the themes associated with Henrik and Bjorn come roaring back, not so much with Theres (who is more of a zombie than anything else) but with Teresa.

I'll break open the story and tell you what is there. Then, like the others that have fallen out onto the sand, I will finish with it, and the wind will take it away.

Nisa

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Tigermamma
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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by Tigermamma » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:49 am

[quote="gattoparde59"][quote="cr33d1sh"]Burn down the disco!!!

I love these two characters. I like the trivia in the book, there are quotation of the songs "panic" "How soon is now" "please, please, please (let me got what i Want) e many others.

I enjoyed that to, since it's been near ten years since I listened to the Smiths :) I read it in norvegian, and that made it extra funny, reading the quotes in norvegian... :lol:


I don't recall if Flora had any particular taste in music, but she is a bit of an internet troll.

She listens to Marilyn Manson on her walkman through the entire story :)

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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by Tigermamma » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:58 am

if anything, the major instance of bullying for Henrik and Bjorn started with them crossing the line, they may have been ridiculed at times but they seemed almost welcomed around the group, it was until the incident with Elin really (from memory).

I am reading the book for the second time now, and the incident with Elin never happened. She tells Anders when she is staying with him after her house burns down, that the operations she is taking, is a kind of punishment. "Maybe I was just evil" :twisted:

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Re: Henrik and Bjorn

Post by gattoparde59 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 2:32 am

Hello Tigermamma. :) Glad to see you here.

You seem to be Norwegian? If so, that would make at least 4 members from Norway posting on We the Infected.

I'll break open the story and tell you what is there. Then, like the others that have fallen out onto the sand, I will finish with it, and the wind will take it away.

Nisa

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