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The Da Vinci Code | Chapters 36–45 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 36

The police have located Sophie's car, but Fache is smart enough to see it's a decoy—that they are somewhere else. Fache sends police to find the two fugitives.

Chapter 37

The taxi drives Sophie and Langdon through a wooded Paris park. Langdon expands on the history of the Priory of Sion and the Knights Templar. These groups knew the truth about the Grail. This knowledge threatened the Church, which gave the Templars power and wealth as a bribe to keep their discovery hidden. In 1307 the Church had most of the Templars killed. However, their secret—the Sangreal (Grail)—remained hidden in a place known only to the survivors of the massacre.

Chapter 38

Langdon continues to explain the Sangreal and its connection to the sacred feminine. The Priory had depicted these concepts using obscure symbols such as the chalice and the pentacle. Langdon explains that the Grail is a collection of documents contained within the Sangreal, but he does not elaborate. Langdon mentions Sir Leigh Teabing, a British Royal Historian, and his extensive knowledge of the Grail.

Chapter 39

Silas is in his room at Opus Dei in London. He is distraught at having killed the nun at Saint-Sulpice. He hopes his mentor, Bishop Aringarosa, will protect him within Opus Dei. He hears his deceased father's words telling him he is a disaster and a ghost.

Chapter 40

Sophie drives, looking for the address written on the key. Langdon wonders what awaits them there. He ponders the meaning of the symbols in da Vinci's paintings. Sophie says that the gold key must lead to the site of the Grail, but Langdon is unsure. Most experts believe the Grail is in England. As they reach their destination, they are confused to see that it is a branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich.

Chapter 41

Bishop Aringarosa arrives at the Pope's summer palace. He is led up to the library where a group of Vatican officials greet him coldly. They have a vast sum of money for him in the form of Vatican bearer bonds. There is a hint that the money (the bearer bonds) is somehow related to the Grail because after being given the bonds, Aringarosa says he will be going straight to Paris. Paris is where Da Vinci's Mona Lisa hangs in the Louvre and where Saunière worked (and was murdered). As the reader will learn later in the novel, it is also believed to be the location of important clues leading to the site of the Grail.

Chapter 42

The Depository Bank of Zurich contains highly secure safe-deposit boxes people use anonymously. The gold key allows the car to pass through several checkpoints. Once inside the bank, a man asks how he may help them. Seeing the gold key, he shows Sophie and Langdon to an elevator that takes them down to a room where they wait for Saunière's safe-deposit box. Sophie and Langdon are dismayed to learn that accessing the box involves not only using the gold key but also a 10-digit account number, which they don't have. Meanwhile, the police have put the fugitives' faces on the TV news. The bank is aware the pair is wanted by the police.

Chapter 43

André Vernet, president of the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich, is worried about having fugitives in his bank. He wants, above all, to avoid having his business associated with scandal or crime. Vernet knew Saunière, but he still wants Sophie and Langdon out of his bank before the police show up. He agrees to stall the police by insisting they get a search warrant.

Chapter 44

Langdon recalls the numbers Saunière had scrawled on the floor near his body. Sophie and Langdon rearrange the 10 digits. They enter the number in the bank computer keypad. It works. They hear the box being conveyed to them from deep inside the vault. When the box arrives, they open it and find a rosewood box inside. They open the box and are surprised by what they see.

Chapter 45

Vernet notes that the police have blocked the street where the bank is located. He wonders how he will get the fugitives away without the police noticing. He decides to lock Sophie and Langdon in the back of a security van, and then bluffs his way past the police. Meanwhile, Langdon cradles the precious rosewood box in the back of the van.

Analysis

The Church spread fantastic lies about the Templars to discredit them. On a Friday the 13th in 1307, the Church had almost all of the Templars murdered. Those who survived formed the Priory of Sion. The Priory held onto the secret that continues to threaten the Church. So the conspiracy to spread lies in order to retain power continues to this day.

When Aringarosa visits the Vatican and is given a fortune in Vatican bearer bonds, the Church reveals itself to possibly be funding an Opus Dei conspiracy to find the Grail. However, it also suggests that the Teacher is using the bonds as insurance against Church interference in his search for the Grail. Two lies and two attempts at gaining power seem to be at play here. The Church may think it is paying Aringarosa to find the Grail. In fact the Teacher is using Aringarosa to con the Church into subsidizing his own Grail search. Aringarosa thinks admiringly of the Teacher's cleverness in leading the search for the Grail.

The symbol of blood as a link to spiritual truth arises when Langdon tells Sophie about the Grail. The Grail is really a collection of documents that contain truths that would likely destroy the power of the Church. He refers to these documents as the Sangreal, another name for the Holy Grail. Sophie realizes that sang is the French word for "blood." This scene is the first time in the novel that spiritual truth is linked to the Grail, which is then linked to blood.

Langdon explains the true nature of the Grail. It is not the cup from which Jesus drank at the Last Supper. This interpretation arose from an incorrect use of the word chalice for the Grail. Langdon explains that the chalice is a sacred symbol of the divine feminine.

Langdon speculates on the Grail's being located in England. He then realizes that Leonardo da Vinci certainly knew where the Grail was. The artist had hinted at what he knew in his paintings. Art contains secrets hidden in plain sight.

At the depository bank, the Priory key has the practical purpose (in addition to its spiritual one) of opening the safe-deposit box. Sophie and Langdon must also solve another puzzle, rearranging numbers Saunière had written to complete a 10-digit password. Solving this puzzle gives the pair a new set of vital clues, which ties into the theme of puzzles again.

Inside Saunière's safe-deposit box is a rosewood box with an inlaid wooden rose on the top. Again the rose appears as symbol of the sacred feminine. This symbol tells Sophie and Langdon that the box contains vital information about finding the Grail.

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