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The Da Vinci Code

Dan Brown

Chapters 76–82

Chapters 68–75

Chapters 83–88

Summary: Chapter 76

Langdon has a realization about the “headstone praised by Templars” which appears in the poem. The Knights Templar were accused of devil worship during the time of Pope Clement. The god they purportedly worshipped sometimes appeared as a large stone head, the head of Baphomet. Langdon and Teabing agree that this must be the password for the cryptex.

Summary: Chapter 77

Langdon, Sophie, and Teabing use the Atbash Cipher to decode the word Baphomet. The word they unearth is Sofia, the Greek word for wisdom and a variation of Sophie’s name.

Summary: Chapter 78

When Sophie opens the cryptex, she finds another cryptex wrapped in a piece of vellum with a poem written on it. The poem includes a reference to a knight who is buried in London. Teabing says he knows where they should look.

Summary: Chapter 79

Collet, still at the chateau, is supervising the team that is looking for evidence there. One of the examiners has found a postcard of a cathedral with Teabing’s ideas about how the architecture resembles a vagina, as well as Teabing’s list of speculations as to who has been the head of the Priory over the years.

Summary: Chapter 80

Teabing tells Sophie and Langdon that he plans to bribe officials to let them into England without passports. Langdon is skeptical, but Teabing convinces him that his status as an eccentric old knight will help him get away with it. The pilot says the control tower has asked him to land in a different place and to keep everybody on the plane. Thinking this sounds suspicious, Teabing goes to the front of the plane to try to bribe the pilot.

Summary: Chapter 81

Simon Edwards, the manager of Biggin Hill Airport, watches Teabing’s plane taxi onto the runway. Unexpectedly, the plane heads toward Teabing’s private hangar, which was not part of the plan. Before the police arrive at the hangar, Langdon and Sophie exit the plane and drag Silas into the limousine. When the police arrive and search the cabin, they find nobody.

Summary: Chapter 82

Teabing explains that the knight a Pope interred was a Knight Templar, or one of the knights of the Priory, and that he was interred at the Temple Church in London. If they can find that tomb, they will find a clue about the “missing orb” that was supposed to be buried with this knight. While Teabing discusses directions with Rémy, Sophie and Langdon talk about whether the truth about the Magdalene should be revealed to the world. Langdon says it might be better to let people believe the myths that help them have faith. Sophie isn’t sure she agrees.

Analysis

Brown implies that Langdon’s revelations are now inspired by intuition, not logical thinking. It is while he is being rocked in the plane to the rhythm of iambic pentameter and the imagined sounds of the sex ritual that Langdon comes to a realization about the headstone. It almost sounds as if he is channeling the knowledge necessary to unlock the mystery. In the plane, Langdon relies on a stereotypically female trait—intuitiveness—to decipher a problem.

Teabing refers to Saunière as a “pitiless architect.” Indeed, Saunière left an amazing number of clues to be solved. The question is whether Saunière set up so many steps in order to keep the Grail’s secret, or whether he was being excessive.

Collet’s and the examiner’s total lack of knowledge about the study of the divine feminine makes them uncomfortable with Teabing’s ideas about the shape of the cathedral nave. They are typical of close-minded people who take offense at the unorthodox ideas espoused by Teabing and his fellow religious scholars. Ironically, close-mindedness probably saves Teabing and his fellow fugitives from falling under even more suspicion. Most people consider their ideas simply eccentric and bizarre—not dangerous.

Teabing is convinced that he can operate outside of the law because of his tremendous wealth and status as a knight. So far, he has managed to do exactly as he pleases, escaping tricky situations with bribes and sly moves.

This chapter follows traditional thriller conventions: Sophie and Langdon get off the plane unseen, and the group prepares a sleight of hand to escape an inescapable situation. The narrator first presents the situation from the point of view of Simon Edwards and the police: Teabing exits the plane, and the police search the cabin and find nothing. Bewildered, they let Teabing go. At the end of the chapter, the narrator doubles back and explains how the other three got into the limousine. This method of narrative stretches each puzzle over the length of the chapter, giving us a chance to guess what the solution might be.

Again in this chapter, Brown addresses the importance of knowledge. If faith is based on myths, Langdon suggests, then people with knowledge should leave those myths alone in order to preserve faith. In the context of the rest of the novel, which has suggested that the cover-up of this great secret has caused pain to many people, Langdon’s suggestion seems to ignore the moral implications of keeping this particular secret.

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