Previously on The Da Vinci Code, Sir Leigh Teabing took some pretty outrageous liberties with Church history, apparent even to me with only a high school grounding in Theology. Then he revealed that the Holy Grail was not – in fact – a cup, but was actually a person. It was underwhelming.
Sophie stared at Teabing a long moment and then turned to Langdon. “The Holy Grail is a person?”
Langdon nodded. “A woman, in fact.” From the blank look on Sophie’s face, Langdon could tell they had already lost her. He recalled having a similar reaction the first time he heard the statement. It was not until he understood the symbology behind the Grail that the feminine connection became clear.
Oh dear. Ladybrain gone foom already. It’s just as well Professor Langdon is on hand with his shape-sorter to symbolologise Sophie back to full, Grail-hunting wokeness.
You know, it’s all very well writing books about the sacred feminine, but when your female main character is basically a pleasant smelling sock puppet who needs the boys to explain everything to her, you might want to take a step back and ask yourself if you’re really walking the talk here.
Langdon draws the symbols for male and female on a piece of paper, takes a brief moment to ‘well-actually’ about what they really mean (astrological glyphs, if you cared) and then says they’re not the symbols he’s talking about anyway.
Now, where did I put down that screaming pillow?
Right, yes. So he draws ^ on the paper and says it represents the male and is known as the blade. It’s a rudimentary phallus, apparently. Then he draws a V and introduces this as the chalice, which represents a cup, a vessel and the shape of a woman’s womb. These are supposedly primitive symbols that were used as common currency, even though the vast sweep of archaeological evidence would suggest that that when people wanted to represent the masculine or feminine they just cut to the chase and drew dicks, vulvas and titties on things. And sometimes they just drew dicks, vulvas and titties on things because it was funny.
Not that Robert Langdon would find that funny; he winces when Leigh uses the word penis. I know Dan Brown is trying to make it look like his self-insert fucks, but it’s not really working. There are few things less sexually appealing than people who don’t have a sense of humour about sex.
Anyway, have you got it yet? Of course you have. Yes, the Holy Grail is a symbol for a chalice, who is a woman, who is a…womb? Wow, reductive much?
“The Grail is literally the ancient symbol for womanhood, and the Holy Grail represents the sacred feminine and the goddess, which of course has now been lost, virtually eliminated by the church.”
Except for the still flourishing cult of the Virgin Mother, who is predominantly worshipped by the Catholic Church – you know, those guys – but we’ll sweep her under the rug for now because she doesn’t fit the hamfisted narrative.
“The power of the female and her ability to produce life was once very sacred, but it posed a threat to the predominantly male Church, and so the sacred feminine was demonised and called unclean. It was man, not God, who created the concept of ‘original sin’, whereby man tasted of the apple and caused the downfall of the human race. Woman, once the sacred giver of life, was now the enemy.”
Oh, hey again, Screaming Pillow. We’re getting to be good friends, aren’t we?
Then Leigh weighs in. Yay.
“Sadly Christian philosophy decided to embezzle women’s creative power by making man the Creator. Genesis tells us that Eve was created from Adam’s rib. Woman became an off-shoot of man, and a sinful one at that. Genesis was the beginning of the end for the goddess.”
Yes, that’s all very well Leigh, but Genesis wasn’t Christian. Granted, it became part of Christian philosophy, but it was always the first part of the Pentateuch, or Torah. This is Theology 101, dipshit. There can be no understanding of any part of the Bible as we know it without an extensive understanding of Judaism. And I don’t think Judaism has even been mentioned so far in this book, other than to incorrectly state that there are no female rabbis.
Oh, but they’re not done. Langdon’s up again; this is tag-team mansplaining here.
“The Grail,” Langdon said, “Is symbolic of the lost goddess. When Christianity came along, the old pagan religions did not die easily. Legend of chivalric quests for the lost Grail were…”
…unknown until about the twelfth century. God, shut the fuck up, Bob.
“…in fact stories of forbidden quests to find the lost sacred feminine. Knights who claimed to be ‘searching for the chalice’ were speaking in code…”
…for ‘we’re going out on the piss and the pull’…
“…as a way to protect themselves from a Church that had subjugated women, banished the goddess, burned nonbelievers and forbidden the pagan reverence for the sacred feminine.”
Bob, knights did not search for the Holy Grail outside of story books. Didn’t happen. Sorry to piss on your chips, but even your boys the Templars spent most of their days getting rich off the backs of cash-strapped pilgrims and chivalrously stoving in the skulls of anyone who was a) brown and b) prayed to a different God.
The trouble with attempting to blend historical fact and fiction in this way is that you have to have some level of skill both as a researcher and as a writer, and Dan Brown has neither. It also doesn’t help that he asserts half of this shit as FACT in a snippy note at the beginning of the book. It’s like getting the words I’M A MEMBER OF MENSA tattooed across your forehead: not only does it make you look foolish, but it more or less guarantees that someone is going to put that dubious claim to the test.
And it’s not going to end well.
Sophie asks again if the Holy Grail is a person and says she doesn’t understand – is the Holy Grail an actual person? She’s getting dumber by the paragraph; it’s just sad at this point.
“And not just any person,” Teabing blurted, clambering excitedly to his feet. “A woman who carried with her a secret that, if revealed, it threatened to devastate the very foundation of Christianity!”
Sophie looked overwhelmed. “Is this woman well known in history?”
“Quite.” Teabing collected his crutches and motioned down the hall. “If we adjourn to the study, my friends, it would be my honour to show you Da Vinci’s painting of her.”
Leigh, if you could adjourn your face quite rapidly in the general direction of my clenched fist, it would be my honour to pop you in the nose for talking like a total fucking twat.
The Da Vinci Code, everybody – a book so annoying it will make you want to punch disabled characters.
We abandon our heroes (thankyoujesus) to fuck off to the kitchen for a paragraph, where the butler is standing in front of a television broadcasting Sophie and Langdon’s mugshots. Remember how Fache ‘uses the media to his advantage’ because he’s a law enforcement rock star? Well, this is how. He somehow manages to make sure that all minor characters are always within sight of a television screen and that they’re always watching the Bob and Sophie show.
You have to admit, that’s some pretty clever shit.
…is short but oh so sweet, because it offers a desperately needed break from the two unholy bores currently double-teaming our heroine.
Collet gets an anonymous tip revealing Bob and Sophie’s whereabouts and hurries off to make recompense for his earlier cock-ups by arresting Langdon.
Forty kilometres away, a black Audi pulled off a rural road and parked in the shadows on the edge of a field.
Oh my God. Can it be…?
Silas got out and peered through the rungs of the wrought iron fence that encircled the vast compound before him.
Yeeeees! It’s Silas! Every time he turns up you know something hilariously stupid is going to happen.
True to form, he throws his gun over the bars of the fence before attempting to ascertain whether he can climb it or not. He’s an idiot. I love him so much.
And we’re going to have to stop here, readers, because the incoming chapter fifty-eight is going to require a whole post all to itself. It’s a monster, a behemoth of absolute bullshit, an ill-spun web of lies so poorly put together that if Charlotte had spun such a web she would have been moved to hang herself out of shame, but not before quoting the relevant part of Euripides Hippolytus. Because Charlotte.
So, take a deep breath and come back prepared on Thursday.