The Da Vinci Code
is a 2003 thriller written by Dan Brown
. It sold 80 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the bestselling novels in history. It also caused a huge controversy because of its statements about early Christianity, and was sharply criticized for historical inaccuracy. In 2006, a film adaptation
The story begins with a museum curator getting killed, setting a historian framed for the murder and his newfound lady co-investigator on a puzzle quest
for the Holy Grail.
Contains examples of:
- Adaptational Villainy: Bishop Aringarosa gets this in The Movie. In the book, he's just the leader of Opus Dei (which is presented as nothing more than an unusually conservative Catholic prelate) who gets roped into helping The Teacher find the tomb out of desperation to keep his order from being abolished. In The Movie, he leads a secretive "shadow council" within the Church that actively wants to destroy the tomb to prevent evidence of Jesus' bloodline from reaching the public, and he manipulates Fache (who's an Opus Dei member in the movie) into hunting down Langdon despite his innocence.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Subverted. It turns out to be the work of a lone nutjob with an agenda. All the power players seemingly acting in concert against our heroes turn out to be unassociated individuals merely acting on poor information.
- Ancient Order Of Protectors: The Priory of Sion guards the Holy Grail.
- Ancient Tradition: The Priory of Sion.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Sort of; Adventurer Symbologist (a
made up discredited discipline) in this case
- Author Catchphrase: "My friends..."
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Leonardo was part of a ancient group that knew the secret of Jesus
- Bilingual Bonus: Aringarosa is Italian for "Red Herring", indicating he isn't the Big Bad.
- Book Ends: The story begins and ends with a dead body in the Louvre. The first time it's Jacques Saunière's body. The second time it's the corpse of Mary Magdalene, whose tomb was hidden under the Louvre by the Priory of Sion.
- Chekhov's Gun: Using planks as parachutes.
- Claustrophobia: Langdon. He is on every book.
- Conflict Ball: It's not immediately clear just what the antagonists are fighting over. The Evil Albino and Aringarosa want to keep the secret of Mary Magdalene a secret. The Priory—has kept their knowledge of Mary Magdalene secret for centuries.
- Dan Browned: Helped inspire the trope.
- Driving Stick: Langdon's inability to do this briefly delays a getaway.
- Eureka Moment: Saturated with them, the final one is unseen but heavily implied.
- Evil Albino: Silas. As inaccurate as the portrayal of albinism is, the use of the trope is arguably justified. Silas' father was an alcoholic thug who abused his son because of his freakish appearance, forcing Silas to run away from home as a teenager and turn to crime to survive. He's not an evil hitman because of his albinism, but it's understandable that his treatment might lead to some unsavory career choices.
- Fantastic Catholicism
- Fleur de Lis
- Follow the Leader: Created an explosion of Ancient Conspiracy quests *cough* National Treasure *cough* and books about the Holy Grail. Also, this was was inspired by a "nonfiction" book which is about a conspiracy theory similar to the one Langdon runs into.
- Hollywood Law: Dan Brown seems to be under the impression that all it takes to extradite a British national from their own country is for a foreign law enforcement agent to make a call to a local police officer. Also he seems to think that said local police will simply detain the suspects until the foreign police arrive to make the arrests themselves.
- Inspector Javert: Bezu Fache
- Knight Templar: The original Knights Templar figure heavily in the Ancient Conspiracy Alternate History of the book. Ironically, practically all the antagonists of the book also follow this trope, being extremely moral Anti-Villains, Well Intentioned Extremists, or just badly misinformed. This is most evident in the Teacher, Sir Leigh Teabing, a Knight of the British Empire who also sees himself as furthering the good works of the original Knights Templar.
- Linked List Clue Methodology: The cryptex; a moderately clever way to protect a secret message - basically a combination lock with a vial of vinegar to destroy the encased papyrus should one attempt to open it without the password(s).
- Never a Self-Made Woman: A very good example of it, at that.
- Non Nazi Swastika: In the film, Langdon is making a conference. He shows part of an image of a swastika, everyone thinks about nazis, then Langdon shows the complete image, with a clearly buddhist context.
- Parallel Porn Titles: The Da Vinci Load. Currently on the second installment.
- The Da Vinci Co-Ed is another one.
- Plot Powered Stamina: Robert Langdon never sleeps or visits the bathroom in the book, until the end
- Poirot Speak: Dan Brown's foreign language dialogue is almost unmatched in how ham-handed and unrealistic it is. Almost every bit of dialogue by a French person (and the first part of the book is set in Paris) features one or two words of French in otherwise flawless English, and it's almost always a simple, common word. In real life, people speaking a language that is foreign to them would probably lapse into their native tongue for the unfamiliar or unknown words, not "mister" and "captain".
- Primal Scene: Sophie's falling out with her grandfather is over this; when she was younger she caught him in the middle of a sex ritual.
- Red Herring: As in all Dan Brown books, but literally in this case:"Aringarosa" is Italian for...you guessed it.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Remy Legaludec. If it weren't for that allergy, he could have gotten away with it all.
- Self-Destructing Security: The cryptex protects its contents with a combination lock. Attempting to force the cryptex open will break the vial of vinegar inside, which would dissolve the papyrus along with its message before it could be read. As a result, only the right password will grant access to the message.
- Shout Out: Dan Brown names a main character, Leigh Teabing, anagrams of the names of the author of that "nonfiction" grail book.
- Trend Covers: Many, many historical/religious/conspiracy thriller novels got similar covers after this one's success.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Silas, again. Also Leigh Teabing.