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Free Study Guide for The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: BookNotes

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This novel journeys through Paris, London, and just south of Edinburgh, Scotland. The plot also makes reference to New York City and areas of Spain. The plot occurs in the present day.


Major Characters

Robert Langdon
Robert is one of the novel’s two protagonists. He is a professor of symbology at Harvard University. He finds himself entangled in a murder-mystery plot while on a visit to France.

Sophie Neveu
Sophie is the novel’s other protagonist. She works for the Department of Cryptology in Paris. She is the granddaughter of the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion. Sophie embarks on a journey not only to find the Holy Grail but also the truth about her family.

Sir Lee Teabing
Teabing is a former British Royal Historian who studies the history of Christianity. He is an eccentric old man who has been crippled by polio. He has spent his entire life searching for the Grail.

Minor Characters

Jacques Saunière
Saunière is the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion. He is also a prominent Parisian and renowned Louvre curator. The novel begins with Saunière’s murder investigation and revolves around uncovering clues he left about the location of the Holy Grail for Sophie and Langdon. Saunière raised Sophie after her parents died in a car accident when she was a child. Saunière and his wife, Marie, decided to separate the family after the accident because they believed it was orchestrated by enemies of the brotherhood.

Lieutenant Jérôme Collet
Collet is Fache’s subordinate. He wavers between thinking Fache is a genius to suspecting Fache is making mistakes. Collet heads the investigation at Teabing’s estate.

Silas is an albino monk whom the Teacher uses to carry out the murders. Silas is somewhat of a brute. He is not particularly intelligent and he is very strong. He was abused as a child and ended up in prison after murdering a sailor. Bishop Aringarosa saved Silas from starvation after he escaped prison during an earthquake. Silas is an avid member of Opus Dei and partakes in corporeal mortification (self-inflicted punishment).

The Teacher
The Teacher is the mastermind who was able to infiltrate The Priory. He tricks Bishop Aringarosa, Silas, and Rémy into performing his “dirty work.” He pretends to be French and communicates with Aringarosa and Silas only through cell phone. His real identity is Sir Lee Teabing.

Bezu Fache
Fache is the police captain. Collet tells Langdon that Fache is known as “the bull”; however, it should also be noted that “fache” means anger in French. Whenever an author picks a name for a character that has an alternate meaning, the reader should consider its implications. In this case “fache” seems to be a direct characterization of Fache. He frequently yells at the other characters and is certainly stern. Fache successfully solves this crime but decides he will probably retire when it is through.

Bishop Manuel Aringarosa
Aringarosa saved Silas many years ago when he was a simple Spanish priest. When we meet Aringarosa, he is a powerful bishop in the United States who is in charge of Opus Dei. The Teacher enlists the services of Silas through Aringarosa and pretends to want twenty-million euro for the Grail. It is possible that there is some symbolism in Aringarosa’s name. Aringarosa represents the Catholic clergy in this novel, those whom Teabing views as traitors of the Grail because they want to keep it from the public. In Aringarosa’s name are the words “ring” and “rosa,” or “rose”; thus Aringarosa, as clergy, wants to create a ring around the rose. As we learn in the novel, the rose represents Mary Magdalene or the Grail. Aringarosa represents the camp that wants to obscure the Grail from the world forever.

Sister Sandrine Bieil
Sister Sandrine lives at the Church of Saint-Sulpice. She was contacted by the brotherhood years ago and given a list of numbers to call if anyone every came to dig up the rose line in the Church because that meant the Grail was in danger. When Silas learns he has been tricked and witnesses Sister Sandrine using the phone, he murders her in a fit of rage.

André Vernet
Vernet is a personal friend of Jacques Saunière and the president of the Swiss Bank in Paris. Initially, he assists Sophie and Langdon in escaping from the bank. However, when he learns that three other men besides Saunière were killed that evening he tries to reclaim the wooden box which he believes Sophie and Langdon stole from her grandfather’s account.

Rémy Legaludec
Rémy is Teabing’s manservant. Teabing has promised him a large sum of money for helping him uncover the Grail. However, when Rémy disobeys his orders, Teabing kills Rémy by taking advantage of his peanut allergy.

Marie Chauvel
Marie is Sophie’s grandmother and Saunière’s widow. She has lived in Scotland with Sophie’s brother ever since the car accident. Sophie is reunited with her in the plot’s resolution.

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