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

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CHAPTERS 71 - 75


Langdon, Teabing and Sophie turn their attention to the script on the wooden box. Langdon and Teabing cannot place the language and believe it must be ancient. Sophie asks to see the box, and must persuade Teabing to give her a chance to look at it. Sophie immediately identifies the language. It is English, written in reverse. The script is a clue to the password needed to open the cryptex. They learn they need an ancient word of wisdom, which must be converted with the Atbash cipher.

Fache bullies the airfield traffic controller into telling him where Teabing’s jet is headed. Fache contacts the Kent local police. When Langdon and Sophie are alone, he decides to tell her why he thinks Saunière contacted him. He asks Sophie if she witnessed her grandfather participate in a sex rite, causing her to end their relationship. Sophie explains what she witnessed in intricate detail. Langdon tells her this rite is called Hieros Gamos and it is ancient spiritual act. He describes how the Church perceived man’s ability to communicate with God through sexual union as a threat to its power and thus demonized it.

Aringarosa has received an update from Fache and must change the course of his flight. Aringarosa bribes the pilot by giving him his ring.


Teabing displays a character flaw in this section, which further illustrates how women are frequently treated as inferiors. Teabing is reluctant to share the box with Sophie because he believes she cannot decipher the language used by Saunière. Teabing’s behavior is misogynistic; however, it is also condescending because he does not think Sophie, who is not as educated as he and Langdon, can possibly understand this language. Yet Sophie shows that sometimes common sense is more useful. She is able to decipher the script because she realizes it is merely English written backwards.

When Fache bullies the air traffic controller he shows how power is potentially corrupting because it can be used to break the rules. Teabing will use his power, which he has because he is rich, to do the same thing.

CHAPTERS 76 - 80


Langdon solves part of the riddle. The Templar headstone, referenced on the wooden box, is a literal stone head--a pagan stone head. Baphomet was a pagan fertility god that Pope Clement claimed was the devil. Using the Atbash Cipher, they discover the password is sofya, or Sophia. Because the riddle says the word is ancient, they decide the password must be SOFIA--the ancient Greek word for wisdom. Sophie successfully opens the cryptex, revealing only another cryptex inside with another clue rolled around it. The clue begins: “IN LONDON LIES A KNIGHT A POPE INTERRED.” Teabing does not know what knight the riddle means; however, he knows where they should look.

At Teabing’s home, Collet uncovers a variety of strange information such as a list of prominent Parisians dating back to the twelfth century. Vernet calls, looking for Fache. When Collet speaks to him, he recognizes his voice, realizing he was the man driving the armored car. Collet calls Interpol, believing that Vernet is involved in the evening’s events. Collet demands every shred of evidence they can find at the bank and about Vernet.

As they prepare to land in England, Sophie tries to convince Teabing that they have committed a serious offence is transporting a hostage. Sophie believes the French police will find them at the airport. Teabing believes he is above the law. The pilot tells Teabing that the tower has radioed and asked that they are having a problem and want the pilot to bring the jet right to the terminal instead of Teabing’s hangar. The occupants of the plane realize there are about to be confronted by the British police. Teabing goes to the pilot to have a “sales meeting,” in order to get the pilot to perform an irregular move.


In this section we learn more about Sophie’s name, which means “wisdom.” This meaning is consistent with Sophie’s character thus far, as she repeatedly demonstrates deft intuition. In fact, once again in this section Sophie makes an accurate prediction based on her intuition: the police will be there to meet them when they land.

Teabing wields his power when he has a “sales meeting” with the pilot.

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