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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES
CHAPTERS 36 - 40
Fache tells Collet to have the train that Sophie and Langdon purchased tickets for searched, although he believes it is only a decoy. Fache also tells Collet that he is alerting Interpol. This surprises Collet because this move is potentially embarrassing for Fache. Fache is flagging both Langdon and Sophie.
Sophie and Langdon ride through “the Garden of Earthly Delights,” a park filled with people ready to serve any desire. Langdon tells Sophie the history of the Priory of Sion. She is startled to learn their purpose is to protect the Holy Grail.
Sophie asks Langdon what the Holy Grail is, if it is not the cup Jesus drank from at the Last Supper. Langdon thinks about the manuscript he has recently given his editor, who was shocked by its content. He editor was also surprised by Langdon’s bibliography, which showed how many other prominent scholars wrote about the true nature of the Holy Grail. Robert is startled from his thoughts as Sophie yells at the driver to put his radio down. She forces him from the car at gun point. A report about Sophie and Langdon crackles on the radio. Sophie tells Langdon to drive out of the garden. Sophie must take the wheel when they get far enough away because Langdon does not know how to drive a car with a standard transmission.
Back in his room, Silas is devastated that he was unsuccessful. He is most worried that he has endangered Aringarosa, who gave him a sense of self-worth.
Langdon thinks about Leonardo da Vinci’s role in the Priory of Sion. Many people speculate about whether or not Da Vinci was transmitting secret messages through his art. As Sophie and Langdon arrive at the address on the key, they learn it is a Swiss bank. The key will unlock a Swiss bank deposit box.
In this section, Langdon thinks about how many other prominent scholars are listed on his bibliography. Interestingly, when Brown lists other books which support the claims made in this book (in chapter 60) none of them are published by a university press. Typically, in academic research only books published by a university press (for example, Harvard University Press) are considered reputable because of the rigorous scrutiny they must undergo by other scholars in the field. It seems unlikely that Robert, a prominent Harvard professor, would publish with anyone except a university press. In mentioning that there are renowned scholars writing about this subject coupled with the later insertion of the titles of other books, Brown seems to lend credibility to the subject that does not necessarily exist.
This novel will frequently return to pagan sexual rituals, which are meant to inspire spirituality and bring humans closer to God. In this section Langdon and Sophie ride through the Garden of Earthy Delights, which portrays a different kind of sex. Instead of seeking divine communion, these people seek to sell themselves to people who seek sex for purely selfish reasons. This is an important contrast. Pagan sexual rites are not meant to be degrading or cavalier; they are meant to occur on a higher level than other human interactions.
In this section, Sophie once again proves herself more capable at a typically “male” activity, driving. Langdon is unable to operate a car with manual transmission. Each time Sophie is better at doing something that men are supposed to know how to do, Brow shows how the rules governing gender roles are changing. People who do not abide by the old rules, such as Langdon and Sophie, will have to battle with those who rigidly cling to the rules, such as Aringarosa and Fache.