List of The Da Vinci Code characters
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Bishop Aringarosa is the worldwide head of Opus Dei and the patron of the albino monk Silas. Five months before the start of the narrative, he is summoned by the Vatican to a meeting at an astronomical observatory in the Italian Apennines and told, to his great surprise, that in six months the Pope will withdraw his support of Opus Dei. As he believes that Opus Dei is the pulse keeping the Church from disintegrating into what he sees as the corruption of the modern era, he believes his faith demands that he take action to save Opus Dei. Shortly after the meeting with the Vatican officials, he is contacted by a shadowy figure calling himself "The Teacher," who has learned somehow of the secret meeting. The Teacher informs him that he can deliver an artifact to Aringarosa so valuable to the Church that it will give Opus Dei extreme leverage over the Vatican. The artifact is in fact a keystone which provides clues that lead to the legendary Holy Grail. Although the Teacher doesn't provide him with any contact information, Aringarosa is extremely intrigued about this and willingly agrees to cooperate.
The Teacher requests that for a short period Aringarosa and Silas cannot communicate, while Silas does his bidding. Unbeknownst to Aringarosa, the Teacher instructs Silas to kill the four top members of the Priory of Sion, a secret organization pledged to protect the secret of the Grail. On the same night Silas kills Priory leader Jacques Saunière, Aringarosa goes to the Papal Palace of Castel Gandolfo to retrieve bearer bonds worth twenty million euros from the Vatican, as instructed by the Teacher. While leaving, Aringarosa is suddenly afraid that the Teacher would suspect him of running away with the money, as he couldn't be contacted in the hills with no phone signal. Unable to contact the Teacher, he calls the Opus Dei headquarters to ask if he had any messages. To Aringarosa's surprise, the sole message was not from the Teacher, but from a French police captain Bezu Fache. Fache tells Aringarosa that his fellow nun Sister Sandrine Bieil has been murdered and asks him for information. Aringarosa realizes that Silas had killed Sandrine and that the Teacher had deceived him. He tells everything to Fache, and Fache also realizes that he had wrongly accused Robert Langdon for killing Saunière.
While Fache tries to track down Langdon who still thinks Fache is trying to arrest him, Aringarosa takes a flight to Paris to meet Fache and find Silas. However, he is later informed that Langdon and his allies have fled to London with a captured Silas, and so he goes there instead. Meanwhile, after setting up a fake kidnapping scene using Silas, Sir Leigh Teabing (who is actually the Teacher) makes an anonymous call to the police and tells them that Silas is staying at the London Opus Dei Centre. Aringarosa goes there after arriving in London, and sees Silas shooting some policemen. Filled with disbelief, Aringarosa tries to stop Silas but Silas shoots him by mistake. He is then taken to the hospital by Silas and recovers shortly after. Silas, however, dies of a gunshot wound inflicted during his fight with the police. In remorse over the revelations of Silas, Aringarosa asks Fache to distribute the bearer bonds among the families of Silas' victims.
The etymology of the bishop's name is of particular interest. If taken as two Italian words, "aringa" and "ros(s)a," the bishop's surname translates to "red herring." This meaning is highly reflective of his function in the novel, as it is later revealed that Sir Leigh Teabing is the real antagonist in the novel/film, while the bishop has indeed just been a red herring.
In the film, Aringarosa is a member of the Council of Shadows, a secret organization dedicated to the destruction of the Sangreal and its bloodline. His character is more greedy and sinister than is portrayed in the book; he has even tricked Fache into believing Langdon was the murderer. At the end of the movie he is placed under extremely high watch by Fache.
Sister Sandrine Bieil
Sister Sandrine is a nun, who lives at Saint Sulpice. She is killed by Silas. Even though she works and lives in a church, she is a member of the Priory of Sion, assigned to warn them should the false keystone be found beneath the Rose Line, as it meant that one of the four guardians had been interrogated and the Priory was under attack.
This came to pass when Silas killed the last guardian, Jacques Saunière, and immediately visited the church in search of the keystone. Sandrine, realizing that Silas was attempting to obtain the secrets of the Priory, secretly attempts to contact the four guardians of the Priory to warn them. However, she is horrified to discover she is unable to contact any of the four and realizes that they must be dead. Silas overhears her trying to contact the Priory and, considering her act a betrayal to the Church and enraged already at being misled by all four guardians, cracks her skull with the false keystone, killing her instantly.
Lieutenant Jérôme Collet is a lieutenant in France's Direction Central Police Judiciaire (DCPJ). He is Captain Bezu Fache's second-in-command. It is he who visits Robert Langdon in the beginning of the story, whom Fache highly suspects is the murderer of Jacques Saunière. Collet secretly slips a GPS transmitter in Langdon's pocket to track him before taking him to the scene of the murder at the Louvre Museum. However, after being informed by Saunière's granddaughter Sophie Neveu, Langdon later realizes all this and flees with Sophie.
After this we discover that Fache doesn't think too highly about Collet and Collet desperately wants to do some good work to impress Fache. Later, the French police track Langdon and Sophie at the Depository Bank of Zurich. André Vernet, president of the bank, attempts to help Langdon and Sophie escape by disguising himself as a truck driver and transporting them in an armored truck. Collet stops the truck and questions Vernet. Although Collet is slightly suspicious of the truck driver wearing an expensive Rolex watch, Vernet manages to deceive Collet and leaves successfully.
Later, Vernet regrets his actions and tries to turn Langdon and Sophie in, but he is defeated and the two escape with the truck. Vernet, knowing that there is a homing beacon on every armored truck, informs the police, and Collet leads the team to Château Villette where Langdon and Sophie are under the homage of Sir Leigh Teabing. He then realizes he had been deceived upon seeing the armored truck. After hearing a gunshot (fired by albino monk Silas) in the château, Collet hesitates whether to take action or wait for Fache to come – he wants to gain glory but also fears of risking his career. Finally, he decides to enter the château, but the people inside have already escaped.
Collet stations at Château Villette for a period of time, and discovers a secret spying base, which Teabing (who is actually The Teacher) used to spy on Jacques Saunière and other members of the Priory of Sion. He also receives a phone call from André Vernet, whom he later recognizes to be the truck driver.
By the end of the investigation, Collet manages to share the spotlight with and to save Fache from embarrassment by crediting him on television for the arrest of Leigh Teabing while also claiming that his misguided intent to arrest Langdon and Sophie was a ruse to draw out the real killer. Watching Collet on the screen with Bishop Aringarosa, Fache remarks: "A good man, that Collet." He then makes a remark indicating that he will be promoted.
In the film, Collet was portrayed by Étienne Chicot.
Bezu Fache is a captain in the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire (DCPJ), the French national criminal-investigation police bureau. Tough, shrewd, and persistent, he is in charge of the investigation of Louvre Museum curator Jacques Saunière's murder in the Louvre. From the message left by the dead curator, he is convinced the murderer is Harvard University professor Robert Langdon, whom he summons to the Louvre in order to extract a confession. He is thwarted in this by Sophie Neveu, who knows Langdon to be innocent and surreptitiously informs Langdon that he is in fact the prime suspect.
He then starts pursuing Langdon doggedly in the belief that letting him get away would be career suicide. However, after contact with Opus Dei leader Bishop Manuel Aringarosa about the murder of Sister Sandrine Bieil, he realizes that it was not Langdon who killed Saunière, but Aringarosa's trusted albino monk Silas, who killed the four top members of the Priory of Sion (including Saunière) under the instruction of a mysterious person called The Teacher.
Fache later visits the hospitalized Bishop Aringarosa, shot by Silas accidentally after arriving in London. He sees Lieutenant Jérôme Collet on television, and is relieved that Collet did not reveal his mistake and hints that Fache purposely framed Langdon and Sophie as a ruse to find out the real killer.
Bezu is not a common personal name in France. The French Wikipedia does, however, mention a singer named André Bézu. There are also several place names containing Bézu, such as a former Cathar château in the Aude départemant called Château du Bézu.
In the film, Bezu Fache was portrayed by Jean Reno. It has been said that Dan Brown based the description of Fache in the book on Jean Reno. When Langdon meets Fache, Reno introduces himself and pronounces his name as "Bézou Fache;" one would expect Reno, as a Frenchman, to say Bézu. The book consistently omits the accent on the first vowel and spells the second as u rather than ou: it is not clear what Brown intended.
Rémy Legaludec is the butler of Sir Leigh Teabing and lives in Château Villette. During the DCPJ investigation of Teabing's residence, his fingerprints were discovered, and a subsequent background check revealed that he had been expelled from university for trying to obtain free services, later turning to petty theft, and failed to pay a hospital bill for an emergency tracheotomy caused by an anaphylactic shock reaction a severe peanut allergy. Before the ending of the story, he is the only person who knows Teabing's secret identity as The Teacher, the mysterious figure who instructs Bishop Manuel Aringarosa and Silas to do his bidding in order to retrieve a keystone, which enables him to find the legendary Holy Grail.
When Robert Langdon, framed suspect of the murder of Jacques Saunière, and Saunière's granddaughter Sophie Neveu visit Teabing late at night to seek for help, Teabing willingly accepts, and the three escape via Teabing's private jet along with Rémy and Silas (who trespassed into the house and was tied up). At Teabing's orders, Rémy drives them to the Temple Church in London. Teabing, Langdon and Sophie enter, giving an opportunity for Rémy to conduct a fake kidnapping scene, in which he reveals to Silas that he is also working for the Teacher and instructs him to kidnap Teabing and leave by their limousine. However, Rémy panics when Langdon threatens to destroy the keystone and shows his face. Although the kidnapping scene was still successful, Teabing knew he had to get rid of Rémy to prevent himself from being suspected in the future. After calling Silas to go away for some rest, he kills Rémy by putting some peanut powder in his cognac, triggering his peanut allergy.
Besides having his name changed, Remy's story is also slightly altered in the film. In the novel, he told Silas that he was a follower of the Teacher, but in the film he lies to Silas that he himself was the Teacher. Later on, he is not killed by Teabing in the car, but at a wasteland opposite London's Millennium Dome. The film also does not specifically imply that he was killed by peanut powder. While drinking from a flask, he goes into convulsions and dies.
In the extended edition of the film, there is a new scene in which Collet mentions that Remy is allergic to peanuts.
Jacques Saunière Saint-Clair is the curator of the Louvre, head of the secret Priory of Sion and grandfather of Sophie Neveu. He owns a townhouse in Paris and a country house in Normandy, possibly Chateau de Creully, where certain Priory meetings are held in the Spring.
Before being murdered in the museum by Silas, an albino monk tasked by Sir Leigh Teabing, he reveals false information to Silas about the Priory's keystone, which contains information about the true location of the Holy Grail. After being shot in the stomach, Saunière uses the last minutes of his life to arrange a series of clues for his estranged granddaughter, Sophie, to unravel the mystery of his death and preserve the secret kept by the Priory of Sion. Sophie had apparently seen Saunière perform a sex ritual named Hieros Gamos, so she is furious at him. Although his granddaughter's rage makes her never talk to him again, she understands the truth afterwards. Although his part is small in the novel, he is the one that sets the events that follow in motion. In the film, he was portrayed by Jean-Pierre Marielle. He was actually a descendent of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, but due to the Vatican's wrath he was forced to change his surname from Saint-Clair to something without royal implications.
Sophie Neveu Saint-Clair
Sophie Neveu is the granddaughter of Louvre curator Jacques Saunière. She is a French National Police cryptographer, who studied at the Royal Holloway, University of London Information Security Group.
She was raised by her grandfather from when she was a little girl, after her parents and brother were killed in a car accident. Her grandfather used to call her "Princesse Sophie" and trained her to solve complicated word puzzles. As a young girl, she accidentally discovered a strange key in her grandfather's room inscribed with the initials "P.S.". Later, as a graduate student, she had arrived early for a spring-break visit to her grandfather's house in Normandy and, silently horrified, she had observed him participating in the Hieros Gamos, a sex ritual—with his own wife, who was believed to be dead. The incident led to her estrangement with her grandfather for ten years until the night of his murder.
Sophie finds out at the end of the book that she is a descendant of the Merovingians, and a living descendant of the historical Jesus. She first starts suspecting this when Sir Leigh Teabing reveals the truth of the Holy Grail, but dismisses the idea when Langdon tells her that neither her surname nor her grandfather's is a Merovingian name. (The surname Neveu is the French word for "nephew.") In fact, as she later finds out, her parents and ancestors had, for protection, changed their family names of Plantard and Saint-Clair. At the end of the book, she agrees to spend a week in Florence with Robert Langdon.
In the film, Sophie is portrayed by French actress Audrey Tautou.
Silas is an albino numerary of the Catholic organization Opus Dei, who practices severe corporal mortification (he is seen using a metal cilice and flogging himself). During the events of the main storyline, he is about forty years old. The film portrays him as younger. The novel depicts him as a monk, although Opus Dei has no monks. Silas's real name is unknown. He had originally lived in Marseille with his parents. However, his father was furious at having an albino for his son, and blamed Silas's mother, repeatedly beating and eventually killing her. Enraged, Silas murdered his father using a butcher's knife and fled. He was only seven years old. He grew up on the streets, eating garbage and waste. Other young runaways excluded him due to his strange appearance. After he pummelled a girl for making fun of his condition, police gave him an ultimatum to either leave Marseille or go to prison. He moved to Toulon, where he continued living on the streets. After getting into a fight with two sailors, he killed one, and was imprisoned in Andorra in the Pyrenees until freed by an earthquake that destroyed the prison walls. He found refuge with a young Spanish priest named Manuel Aringarosa, who gave him the name Silas, after a person in the Bible who was the companion of Paul of Tarsus, imprisoned at Philippi and freed by an earthquake after singing (Acts 16:25-26). Aringarosa eventually became a bishop and the head of Opus Dei.
Before the story's main narrative, Aringarosa puts him in contact with an enigmatic figure called The Teacher and tells him that the mission he will be given is of utmost importance in saving the true Word of God. Under the orders of The Teacher, he murders Jacques Saunière and the other three leaders of the Priory of Sion in order to extract the location of the Priory's clef de voûte or "keystone". However, Silas is reluctant to commit murder, knowing that it is a sin and does so only because he is assured his actions will save the Catholic Church. Shortly after Silas kills Saunière, Harvard professor Robert Langdon is suspected by the French police to be the murderer and goes on the run with the help of Saunière's granddaughter Sophie Neveu.
Silas follows the information given by the Priory leaders to the Church of Saint-Sulpice. However, he discovers that he was duped with false information, and he also kills Sister Sandrine Bieil who had spied on him in the church. The Teacher later tells Silas to go to Château Villette, the residence of Sir Leigh Teabing where Langdon and Sophie have sought refuge, saying that the keystone was there. Silas enters the house and injures Langdon but is subdued by Teabing and Sophie. After being bound and gagged with duct tape, Silas is taken by the three and Teabing's butler Rémy Legaludec to London via Teabing's private jet.
At London, after Teabing, Langdon, and Sophie enter the Temple Church to search for clues to the Grail, Rémy releases Silas and reveals to him that he works for the Teacher. He instructs Silas to get the keystone, kidnap Teabing, and leave by the limousine. Little does Silas know that Teabing is actually the Teacher. Teabing calls Silas from the rear compartment of the limousine and tells him to go to the London Opus Dei Centre for some rest, but at the same time makes an anonymous call to the police and informs them of Silas's whereabouts.
After resting in his room in the Centre for some time, Silas suddenly feels a little uneasy. He looks out the window and sees police cars. Panicking, he attempts to escape, fighting policemen along the way. Almost naked, he runs out from the Centre successfully but is shot by a policeman below the ribs and accidentally shoots Bishop Aringarosa, who had just arrived.
After carrying Aringarosa to the St Mary's Hospital, he vows to kill the Teacher, but Aringarosa pleads with him, saying that if he has learned anything from his teachings, he must know that "Forgiveness is God's greatest gift."
In his last moments, Silas goes out to Kensington Gardens alone and prays to God for mercy and forgiveness. Closing his eyes, he says a final prayer before dying.
In the film, the adult Silas was portrayed by Paul Bettany, and the young Silas by Hugh Mitchell. Silas' story in the film is similar to that in the novel, except for a few minor aspects. Instead of murdering his father for killing his mother, Silas stabs his father on the shoulder for attacking her. After this, his wounded and terrified father screams to him that "you are a ghost" ("Eres un fantasma...!!!"), referring to his albinism. His age during these events is set in Silas's late teens, instead of the age of seven as it happened in the book. He is also portrayed to have killed two assailants who were attacking Aringarosa. Also, in the novel Silas knows that Remy is the Teacher's minion, but in the film he is tricked into believing that Remy is the Teacher. His death is also slightly different. After realizing he had just shot Aringarosa, Silas collapses in anguish and remorse. He then raises his gun and is shot down by the police, his last words being "Soy un fantasma..." ("I am a ghost..."). Also, in the novel, Silas' nationality is French: he tells Aringarosa that he does not speak Spanish. In the film, Silas is Spanish (presumably Basque) and speaks several lines of Spanish.
Sir Leigh Teabing/The Teacher
Sir Leigh Teabing, KBE, a.k.a. the Teacher (Rector) is the primary antagonist of The Da Vinci Code.
Teabing is a British Royal Historian, a Knight of the Realm, Grail scholar, and friend of Harvard professor Robert Langdon. He is said to have been a descendant of the first Duke of Lancaster, from whom he inherited his huge wealth. He lives outside Paris in a château called Château Villette with his faithful butler Rémy Legaludec. He travels in a Hawker 731 private jet called Elizabeth, which "cost a Queen's ransom" and enables Teabing to circumvent inconvenient laws.
Two authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, a book that influenced The Da Vinci Code, were named Richard Leigh and Michael Baigent. Richard Leigh's surname and an anagram of Michael Baigent's surname form Leigh Teabing's name.
At some unrevealed point during his life, Teabing had suffered from polio. Although he lives in France, he regularly travels to Great Britain to receive treatment because of a distrust of French doctors. Teabing wears metal braces and uses crutches. At one point, he uses his crutches as a weapon to knock Silas down. Leigh's handicap is an allusion to the Fisher King, who figures in Arthurian legend as the latest in a line charged with keeping the Holy Grail.
When the millennium comes and goes without the Priory of Sion (the only ones, besides Teabing, who know the truth about the Holy Grail) revealing the truth as they should, Teabing blames the Catholic Church as the ones behind it. And so, he schemes to find the documents revealing the truth, and show them to the world, thus ruining the Church. However, in order to do this, he needs the help of the Priory and its nemesis, Opus Dei.
As the Teacher, Teabing contacts Opus Dei leader Bishop Manuel Aringarosa, who has just received notice from the Vatican that it will withdraw its support of Opus Dei. The Teacher tells Aringarosa that Opus Dei can gain the Vatican's support again if they are able to possess the legendary Holy Grail. Filled with enthusiasm, Aringarosa listens to everything the Teacher says, even permitting his trusted albino monk Silas to do the Teacher's bidding. The Teacher requests that for a short period Aringarosa and Silas cease communication with each other, until Silas has finished his mission. Without the knowledge of Aringarosa, the Teacher instructs Silas to kill the four top members (three seneschaux and the grand marshal) of the Priory of Sion, and at the same time gain the whereabouts of the secret keystone which leads to the Grail. (The keystone turns out to be a cryptex, a portable vault that can only be opened by a password.) Teabing gains all this information by a secret spying base in his château.
After Silas shoots Jacques Saunière, Grand Master of the Priory and curator of the Louvre Museum, Saunière leaves a trail of secret codes before he dies, leading the French police to suspect that Robert Langdon was the murderer. With the assistance of Saunière's granddaughter Sophie Neveu, Langdon escapes from the police and takes refuge at Teabing's, but not before retrieving the keystone Saunière left for Sophie at the Depository Bank of Zürich. At the same time, Teabing (as the Teacher) secretly contacts Silas to go to Château Villette to snatch away the keystone. However, after discovering that the keystone has to be unlocked with secret combinations, Teabing realizes that he also needs the help of Langdon and Sophie. With the help of Sophie, he subdues the intruding Silas. At the same time, the French police, who have successfully tracked down Langdon and Sophie, surround the château. The three of them, together with Rémy and the tied up Silas, fly to London via Teabing's private jet.
After they arrive at London, Teabing takes Langdon and Sophie to the Temple Church, in which he says that clues to the Grail might be hidden. However, this is only an opportunity for Rémy to conduct a fake kidnapping scene, in which he reveals to Silas that he is also working for the Teacher and instructs him to kidnap Teabing and leave by their limousine. However, Rémy panics when Langdon threatens to destroy the keystone and shows his face. Although the kidnapping scene was still successful, Teabing now knows that he has to get rid of Rémy.
At this point, Silas still doesn't know that Teabing is the Teacher. Teabing makes a phone call to Silas and Rémy from the limousine's rear compartment and tells Silas to take some rest at the London Opus Dei Centre. After making an anonymous call to the police telling Silas's whereabouts, he kills Rémy by putting some peanut powder in his cognac, as Rémy is highly allergic to peanuts.
He then heads off to Westminster Abbey, where the keystone's riddle leads to. Langdon and Sophie arrive shortly after Teabing, and there he reveals to them his identity as the Teacher. Langdon and Sophie are both stunned, and Teabing threatens to kill them if they don't join him. To show his sincerity, he hands over the keystone (the cryptex) to Langdon, but later Langdon throws the keystone up in midair. Teabing tries to catch it, but it slips out of his hands and crashes on the ground. Just when Teabing thinks the secret of the Grail is lost forever, Langdon reveals that he had already guessed the password needed to open the cryptex and retrieved the final clue inside. Before Teabing can know what the clue is, the police arrive and arrest him.
In the film, he was portrayed by Ian McKellen.
André Vernet, played in the film by Jürgen Prochnow, is president of the Paris branch of the Depository Bank of Zurich. He is informed of Sophie Neveu and Robert Langdon being wanted by the Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire by a security guard who recognized them from a television news report he had been watching before they had entered the bank. When Neveu and Langdon arrive Vernet met with them, his only plan in mind to get rid of them before the police arrive. They inform him that Jacques Saunière, a longtime account holder at the bank, has died and that Neveu now possesses the depository key, a Gold Key, to the account but did not know the account number. He is incapable of helping with the account information and leaves Neveu and Langdon alone to buy time from the police. Neveu and Langdon access the bank account with the key and figure out the account number after examining one of Saunière's clues he left behind, and retrieved a rosewood box from Saunière's safety deposit. When Vernet returns he is shocked to learn Neveu and Langdon figured out the account number. In the book, he is motivated to help them escape undetected for a primary reason: he does not want the bank to get bad publicity since Saunière was a close friend of his. In the movie, this is changed to say that the account had an "escape clause", which meant that he had to protect the account holders. Acting as a bank driver, he bluffs his way past the police in one of the bank's trucks with Langdon and Neveu concealed in the cargo-hold. He later attempts to take the rosewood box from Saunière's account at gunpoint after he hears on the radio that Langdon is wanted for the murder of three others, the three other high-ranking members of the Priory of Sion, the sénéchaux. His attempt is thwarted by Langdon, who steals the truck and escapes with Neveu to the nearby château of his friend, Sir Leigh Teabing.