‘The Da Vinci Code‘ is the second of the Langdon series, so we get a protagonist whom Brown fans are already familiar with and meet new characters who present a broad spectrum of ideologies that motivate their actions.
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and author of several books on religious symbolism and iconography, is the story’s protagonist. He seems to be an unintended main character in that the action and adventure of the plot find him, rather than him searching for it. In this story, he happens to be in Paris when the curator of the Louvre museum is murdered. The police adamantly summons him to the crime scene to help them decipher clues left by the victim at the scene after misunderstanding one of the clues left behind by Sauniere.
He serves as a historical tour guide for the story. Brown’s extensive research into Church history and the machinations of secret societies is given voice in Langdon’s thorough and detailed explications. So we can say we listened to Brown’s thoughts through Langdon.
He is likeable, capable, and goodhearted. Langdon is trustworthy, and these qualities make Sophie trust him even though he is a completer stranger. His tendency to know everything also creates a vivid inner monologue, which pulls his attention away from the actions happening around him to a surprising degree. There are several times throughout the book inwhich something will remind him of a lecture he’d given, and he’ll fondly reminisce about his clever discourse.
Langdon feels the responsibility to take care of the people around him. In the book, he feels responsible for everything they’ve gotten themselves into and feels the need to make it all right again. After Teabing is revealed as the Teacher, his first thought is how to get Sophie out of the situation, and feeling guilty for taking her to Teabing’s estate in the first place. But he forgets that the adventure began because Sophie decided to step in and take Langdon away from Fache, making them fugitives in the first place.
Langdon is a genuinely good man who tries to do what is right rather than what is easy. He puts the greater good before his desires, which is why despite wanting to experience the scholarly discourse that would arise from the release of the Sans Grail, he still decides that it would be best to leave them hidden because it may destroy the lives of many people who have found ways to cope with life through the teachings of Christianity as it is.
Sophie Neveu, the second protagonist of our story, is the granddaughter of Jaques Sauniere and a very accomplished cryptographer working with the French police. She chose to work as a cryptographer because she has a great passion for solving puzzles owing to her childhood games with her grandfather, which he probably employed to prepare for an event where she has to be presented the truth of her origin without him. So he began preparing her for the events of the book from her childhood.
Sophie is quick-witted, agile, devious when she needs to be, and physically assertive, as when she helps to disable Silas in the chateau. But at the same time, she is caring and compassionate. Despite being unjustly angry at her grandfather, she trusts him enough to help Robert Langdon, a stranger, with the message that her grandfather left her.
She was the one that caused herself and Langdon to become fugitives when she helped him escape from Fache. But neither Sophie nor Langdon would have been successful on this quest without the other. Sophie supplies necessary information about her grandfather’s past as well as cryptology puzzle-cracking skills; Langdon supplies information about symbology and the Grail’s history. Together they achieve yin/yang, chalice/blade, achieving their goal.
Sir Leigh Teabing/ The Teacher
A historian and the antagonist of the novel, Sir Leigh Teabing is a knight, a Royal Historian, an extremely wealthy man, and a good friend of Langdon. He is crippled by polio and is not married. The Holy Grail has been his passion for many years, and the search for the truth leads him to France, where he owns a chateau. Eventually, his need to know turns into an obsession which turns him into a murderer. He creates an alter ego, the Teacher, who carries out his evil plot.
Sir Leigh Teabing is a wise character who brings a lot of intelligence into the story. His knowledge of everything about the Holy Grail is unparalleled, and his ability to pull the strings and play different people with his mind games simultaneously makes him even more impressive. He provides refuge to Robert and Sophie as they escape Bezu Fache, and proves to be a powerful ally as he helps them escape the country in his private jet and provides them with information that proves helpful in their quest. But it was self-serving because helping them meant helping himself get closer to claiming the Holy Grail for himself.
Teabing proved that he is willing to go to any lengths to get what he wants, no matter the collateral damage. In some sense, his desire to expose the truth about the Grail can be seen as a noble sense of duty to the truth. But by the end of the novel, it is clear that he is really out to satisfy his perverse obsession with Mary Magdalene, not to find truth.
Despite being the bad guy, he may be one of, if not the most important characters in the book. It would be right to say that without Teabing, the adventures of The ‘Da Vinci Code’ may have never happened. He brought about the killing of Sauniere, which led to Langdon and Sophie being involved. Without him, Langdon and Sophie would not have found the Grail because he assisted with the religious details and flew them to England to escape their arrests.
Bishop Manuel Aringarosa
Bishop Aringarosa is the worldwide head of the Vatican sect, Opus Dei. He is radical in his thoughts and holds the Church at fault for the decreasing popularity of Christianity. He is loyal to the ideals of Opus Dei and condemns the modern world and its values as sinful and in need of the traditional rigorous Catholic doctrine as preached and practiced by Opus Dei.
He genuinely believes that Opus Dei is what is keeping the Church from disintegrating into what he sees as the corruption of the modern era and believes that he is supposed to take some kind of action to save his faith. Shortly after, he is contacted by the teacher who sells a means for him to save the Opus Dei, and he jumps at the opportunity, unknowingly becoming a pawn in a game that has no benefits for him.
Despite his greed, Aringarosa is not inherently bad. He is compassionate enough to rescue a young Silas from the brink of death and teach him the Opus Dei way of life—thus earning an incredibly loyal companion. After Silas died, he asked Fache to distribute the proceeds of the bearer bonds among the families of Silas’ victims. He is self-conscious enough to know where to draw the line and ends up helping to save the day, even if he is going to be implicated. Realizing that he was duped, he decides to come clean to Fache in time to absolve Langdon and Sophie and help capture the elusive Teacher.
Silas is an albino monk in Opus Dei turned hitman for The Teacher. He is a religious and stern practitioner of the ways of Opus Dei and performs self-loathing, as well as binding a metal cilice around his thigh. He is a core fanatic and believes all things are justified if you’re fighting for God, which is enough justification for him to commit murder.
Silas has a knack for violence owing to a rough life before meeting the bishop. After watching his father murder his mother, he ended up murdering his father and living the hard life of a street orphan. Meeting Bishop Aringarosa was his first experience of kindness, so he swore to follow faithfully in the footsteps and would do anything for the bishop, including murder.
He is the curator at the Louvre, Sophie’s grandfather, and the current grandmaster of the Priory of Sion. His death is the final spark that lights the events of the book.
Sauniere is shown to be smart, creative, and calculating. He rightly predicted that in the event that he isn’t present to tell Sophie the truth about her family, she has to be able to do some of the work herself, which is why he started training her in breaking codes and solving puzzles.
He is a man who upholds both family and duty and is willing to make sacrifices for either. He was willing to sacrifice being together with the rest of his family by separating Sophie from her grandmother and brother to keep both parties safe. He was also willing to sacrifice the remainder of his life force after he was shot to carry out his duty and pass on the secret, rather than trying to find a way to call for help or stay alive till it arrived.
Bezu Fache is the captain of the French Judicial Police and the official in charge of Sauniere’s murder investigation. Popularly nicknamed “The Bull”, he is arrogant, persistent, strong-willed, religious and very enthusiastic about the application of technology to the policing system.
His investigative methods could be said to be inefficient because he already concluded that Langdon was guilty without taking the other clues left by Sauniere into consideration. According to Collet, Fache was in a tight place with the Board of Ministers and the media, so arresting a high-profile American would silence his critics and secure him a good pension. So at first, Fache was more interested in what Langdon’s arrest could do for his career.
Despite his unorthodox ways of doing things, Fache does not let his ego get in the way of justice. He is bold enough to publicly admit that he was wrong for accusing Langdon of Sauniere’s murder, and took the necessary steps to make amends and apprehend the Teacher.
Leigh Teabing’s manservant and participant in the plot to recover the Grail. He’s the one who monitored the high-tech bugs through which they eavesdropped on the members of the priori. He’s also the only one who knows the Teacher’s true identity.
Despite Remy’s claims to be a follower of the Teacher, he was purely involved in the plot for the one-third of the twenty million euros in Vatican bonds promised to him by the Teacher.
Collet is a lieutenant in the Paris police force. He is a good subordinate to Fache, and even though he doesn’t always agree with his superior, he respects his methods and typically is loyal to the mission.
Vernet is the president of the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurch that held the deposit box which contained the cryptex. He helped Langdon escape when the police arrive so as not to bring bad press to his bank.
He is a loyal friend to Sauniere, which makes him betray Langdon and Sophie when they get out of the bank. But after finding out that the duo is truly innocent of killing his friend, he comes clean to Fache to help clear the situation.
Sister Sandrine Bieil
Sister Sandrine’s a nun at the Church of Saint-Sulpice who’s tragically murdered by Silas. She was secretly in the Priory of Sion, and her unique position of watching over the false keystone was what led to her unfortunate death.
Sophie’s grandmother and Saunière’s wife. She is the overseer of the Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland.
Sophie’s long-lost little brother who, like Sophie, was separated from his remaining family to keep him safe. He’s lived at Rosslyn his whole life, raised by Sophie’s grandmother, Marie Chauvel.
Who is the true protagonist in ‘The Da Vinci Code’?
The book does have two protagonists, Langdon and Sophie. But despite the story being about Sophie, the major protagonist would have to be Langdon. The line is thin, though, so you could say Dan Brown put into play his ‘Mona Lisa’ theory into the characters, with Langdon and Sophie being the blade and chalice that come together to become one.
Which character best represents Dan Brown’s views?
It would be Langdon. In the book, Langdon says he is more interested in the academic discourse the grail would generate and not the fall of Christianity. In the same way, Brown has said that he did not write the book to cause hate of the church but rather to enable people to have more discussions about the history of their religion.
Who is the most important character in ‘The Da Vinci Code’?
That would be Sir Leigh Teabing/ The Teacher. Without his obsession with the grail and greed, the events of the story would not have played out.