Previously on The Da Vinci Code, Sophie was subjected to another long and awful mansplanation about Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail, Dan Brown revealed the vast mirrored surface of his enormous brazen testicles when he disparagingly referred to the book he cribbed from in order to write this one, and Bob started talking about hidden symbols in Disney movies in a way that usually means a bong has been passed around the room more than once.
Oh, and Teabag is still in this book. Fuck my life.
Normally I would say turning up on people’s doorsteps without telling them you’re wanted for murder is kind of rude, but sod it – this is Teabag we’re talking about and I wish him every misfortune in the world for putting me through the droning hell of chapter fifty-eight.
Teabag is not amused to find his guests are fugitives.
“…I’m astonished you would put me at risk by coming here and asking me to ramble about the Grail so you could hide out in my home.”
To be fair, I’m astonished too. Given the choice between being framed for murder or having to sit around listening to this mendacious old windbag for even twenty minutes, I’ll take the former, thank you very much.
Teabag is about to chuck them out, but then Sophie plays her trump card and says they have information about the keystone.
Meanwhile, my braindead boo Silas is lurking in the shrubbery outside the window watching this exchange.
Staying in the shadows, he inched closer to the glass, eager to hear what was being said. He would give them five minutes. If they did not reveal where they had placed the keystone, Silas would have to enter and persuade them by force.
Yes, because you’re such a terrific interrogator, aren’t you, Silas? You’re going to smack them delicately on the heads with a wrought iron votive holder and then you’re going to gaze down at them in puzzlement as to why they’ve suddenly stopped talking, like a baffled Lennie weeping over the broken neck of yet another rabbit. And then you’re going to tuck them up in bed and hope people think they died quietly in their sleep after their skulls mysteriously collapsed in on themselves.
God, Silas is great.
Back inside the room, Sophie reveals that Sauniere was the Grand Master of the Priory of Sion, which is apparently news to Teabag.
“…Even if your grandfather were the Priory Grand Master and created the keystone himself, he would never tell you how to find it. The keystone reveals the pathway to the brotherhood’s ultimate treasure. Granddaughter or not, you are not eligible to receive such knowledge.”
Worst. Feminist. Society. Ever.
Langdon explains that Sauniere had limited options when passing on the secret, as he was dying at the time and then it all comes out that all four senechaux were knocked off in the same night.
Teabing was pale. “But someone capable of such an attack…of discovering so much about the brotherhood…” He paused, radiating a new fear. “It could only be one force. This kind of infiltration could only have come from the Priory’s oldest enemy.”
Langdon glanced up. “The Church.”
“Who else? Rome has been seeking the Grail for centuries.”
Because this book is ridiculous, Bob and Sophie then pipe up to say it makes no sense as to why the Catholic Church would attempt to destroy a secret that supposedly threatens its very existence, so Teabag has to do some more speechifying to hammer home the point.
“Yes, the clergy in Rome are blessed with potent faith, and because of this, their beliefs can weather any storm, including documents that contradict everything they hold dear. But what about the rest of the world? What about those who are not blessed with absolute certainty? What about those who look at the cruelty in the world and say, where is God today? Those who look at Church scandals and ask, who are these men who claim to speak the truth about Christ and yet lie to cover up the sexual abuse of children by their own priests?” Teabing paused. “What happens to those people, Robert, if persuasive scientific evidence comes out that the Church’s version of the Christ story is inaccurate…”
I think those people probably won’t care, seeing as they sound kind of preoccupied with the rather more real and pressing problem of priests fucking kids.
“I’ll tell you what happens if the documents get out,” Teabing said. “The Vatican faces a crisis of faith unprecedented in its two-millenium history.”
Pfft, yeah. The Reformation. What was that shit all about, anyway?
Teabag is terrible at history.
This is all very, very stupid, but it’s somehow about to get stupider.
Apparently there is some tacit agreement between the Church and the Priory which says the Church does not attack the Priory, and the Priory keeps the Sangreal documents hidden.
“However, a part of the Priory history has always included a plan to unveil the secret. With the arrival of a specific date in history, the brotherhood plans to break the silence and carry out its ultimate triumph by unveiling the Sangreal documents to the world and shouting the true story of Jesus Christ from the mountaintops.”
See? I told you it was going to get stupider.
According to Teabag they are currently leaving the Age of Pisces – the age of the fish, also a symbol of Christ – and entering the Age of Aquarius, which means you are now earwormed with that song from Hair. Sorry about that. And this will cause a huge ideological shift, so the Priory are going to pop out of the woodwork, announce Jesus was married with children and the world is going to change radically on account of this revelation.
For some reason. That or people will just shrug and carry on believing exactly what they want to believe in the way that people have done since time immemorial.
“And believe me, if the Church finds the Holy Grail, they will destroy it. The documents and the relics of the blessed Mary Magdalene as well.”
Hang the fuck on there, Teabag. The Church had the relics of Mary Magdalene, insofar as it could be said to have had the relics of any early church saint. Relics – usually bones, blood, body parts or entire corpses – were a rip roaring trade in the medieval church, to the point where there were so many pieces of the True Cross rattling around Europe that you could have nailed them together and made enough crosses to crucify Spartacus and his rebels all over again. There were so many Holy Prepuces around that Jesus must have had around twelve to twenty dicks, and so many skulls that a brief headcount of the apostles would reveal that most of them had more heads than some of those beasties our boy St. John hallucinated after he’d got into the weird mushrooms on the isle of Patmos.
The Magdalene was no exception. Her relics washed up in Provence and Constantinople, and they may very well have been the usual unsaintly mix of animal bones, duck blood and other unprepossessing dead things, but they were not – as this book keeps insisting – secret relics that nobody knew about because the Church had gone all First Rule of Fight Club about Mary Magdalene.
[Teabing’s] eyes grew heavy. “Then, my dear, with the Sangreal documents gone, all evidence will be lost. The Church will have won their age-old war to rewrite history. The past will be erased forever.”
And nobody will give a shit. I’m okay with that.
But Sophie’s not, because she’s in this fucking book and exists only to further the increasingly wobbly and pointless plot. So she takes pity on Leigh and comes straight out and tells him that they have the keystone. And that it’s over there. Under the couch.
Meanwhile Silas is still lurking without.
The Teacher’s words were fresh in his mind. Enter Chateau Villette. Take the keystone. Hurt no one.
Yeah, guess who the Teacher is? It’s someone who knows the keystone is at Chateau Villette – probably because he’s looked under the couch – and he knows Silas needs instructions not to hurt someone, because Silas is…well, he’s Silas.
Feeling like a panther stalking his prey, Silas crept to the glass doors. Finding them unlocked, he slipped inside and closed the doors silently behind him. He could hear muffled voices from another room. Silas pulled the pistol from his pocket, turned off the safety and inched down the hallway.
Silas is in the house. I’m getting popcorn.
…offers a desperately needed breather from the bullshit-strewn company of Sir Lie Teabag, and transports us outside the Chateau where Collet and his men are preparing an ambush. It probably says a lot about my choice of formative reading material that the whole scene reminds me of those bits in Tom Sharpe novels where the police are about to burst in on some unholy shitstorm involving bulldogs on LSD and mad naked women wielding elephant guns.
I miss Tom Sharpe. Start with Riotous Assembly, if you’re curious, a novel so scathingly critical of the apartheid regime that it got the author deported from South Africa. I think that was round about the time he realised he’d struck a nerve.
Anyway, back to awful books…
Collet gets a call from Fache telling him to hold off on capturing Langdon, which Collet thinks is all about Fache hogging the glory for himself. But we know it’s not, because we’ve spent enough time in the company of this terrible book to know that subtlety is not Dan Brown’s style and he’s been winking loudly at the audience about how Bezu Fache is in cahoots with Bling.
The cops find Silas’s car, because of course they do. Not to mention the rest.
There, shrouded in the greenery, was an armoured truck. A truck identical to the one Collet had permitted to leave the Depository Bank of Zurich earlier tonight. He prayed this was some kind of bizarre coincidence, but he knew it could not be.
“It seems obvious,” the agent said, “That this truck is is how Langdon and Neveu got away from the bank.”
Obvious to everyone but Keystone Collet here. Everyone in this book is an incompetent mess. It’s great.
Speaking of people being bad at their jobs, Bish Bling’s narcoleptic travelogue continues, and you might be happy to learn he is on a plane somewhere above the Tyrrhenian Sea. And he’s about to spew. This is due to a combination of motion sickness and having just spoken to his contact in Paris, a conversation that sadly didn’t make it into the book because said conversation was probably extremely funny.
“He did what?”
“Well, I can’t be entirely sure, but we’ve got two teenage hookers who saw him enter St. Sulpice, and a dead nun who’s been tucked up in her bed with half her head missing like your boy recently read In Cold Blood or something. Oh, and his fucking DNA is all over the Louvre, St. Sulpice and just about everything else you can mention, due to his habit of wearing a barbed wire kink garter and copiously bleeding all over the place.”
Alone in the small cabin, Aringarosa twisted his gold ring on his finger and tried to ease his overwhelming sense of fear and desperation. Everything in Paris has gone terribly wrong.
Dude, you hired Silas.
Closing his eyes, Aringarosa said a prayer that Bezu Fache would have the means to fix it.
There it is. Wink no more, Dan. We are gasping (mostly to conceal our yawns) at your heavily telegraphed twist.
…promises to be a nightmare, as we are transported into the unconvincingly tweedy head of Teabag. Sophie hands him the box with the keystone and tells him to open it, but this is Teabag we’re talking about, and he can’t do anything without wallowing in a spot of Tennyson flavoured Grail fuckery.
He ran a palm across the wooden lid, feeling the texture of the inlaid flower. “The Rose,” he whispered. The Rose is Magdalene is the Holy Grail. The Rose is the compass that guides the way.
Jesus, Teabag, stop fondling that thing like it’s a well-greased dong and get on with it already.
He opens the box, and Sophie explains the cryptex to him because we haven’t discussed that a million times already.
Although he had no idea how to open the cylinder, Teabing had questioned whether his life’s quest would ever be rewarded. Now those doubts were gone forever. He could hear those ancient words…the foundation of the Grail legend: You do not find the Grail, the Grail finds you.
In Soviet Russia…no, I’m sorry. I don’t even have the energy for ancient jokes. I swear, every new Teabag scene beats me down further with a kind of sour, exhausted hate. Please tell me he dies. He’s the worst character in this thing.
Anyway, Bob’s pottering around somewhere in the chateau, thinking about Sophie’s box.
Something Teabing had just said was now running through Langdon’s mind. The key to the Grail is hidden beneath the sign of the Rose. Langdon held the wooden box up to the light and examined the inlaid symbol of the Rose. Although his familiarity with art did not include woodworking…
…says the man who clocked an oak door at twenty paces just a handful of chapters ago. Don’t be modest in this case, Bob. While you should probably downplay your symbololology skills on the grounds that they’re terrible, I think you actually have a very bright future ahead of you as a wood recogniser. Professor Robert Langdon – Head of Wood Recognition Studies. Put that on a plaque on your door. I’ll leave the choice of wood up to you.
Although Bob knows nothing about woodworking (a likely story, you woodslut) he figures out that the inlaid rose on the top of the box can easily be popped loose with a paperclip.
Speechless, Langdon stared at the bare spot on the lid where the Rose had been. There, engraved in the wood, written in an immaculate hand, were four lines of text in a language he had never seen.
Oh good. Another annoying clue. I was just about to groan at this, but then something marvelous happened.
A sudden movement behind him caught his attention. Out of nowhere, a crushing blow to the head knocked Langdon to his knees.
As he fell he, thought for a moment he saw a pale ghost hovering over him, clutching a gun. Then everything went black.
Silas! He’s come to join the party in true Silas style – lurking, being mistaken for a ghost and beating people over the head in time for the end of chapter cliffhanger. Good times, people. Good times.