Study Guide

The Da Vinci Code Family

By Dan Brown

Family

Sophie suddenly could hear her own heart. My family?

Sophie's parents had died when she was only four. Their car went off a bridge into fast-moving water. Her grandmother and younger brother had also been in the car, and Sophie's entire family had been erased in an instant. She had a box of newspaper clippings to confirm it.

His words had sent an unexpected surge of longing through her bones. My family! In that fleeting instant, Sophie saw images from the dream that had awoken her countless times when she was a little girl: My family is alive! They are coming home! But, as in her dream, the pictures evaporated into oblivion.

Your family is dead, Sophie. They are not coming home. (16.13-15)

Poor girl. Losing your entire family in one foul swoop is something most people never fully recover from. This haunting memory is one that becomes a major motivating factor for Sophie, because she can't quite shake the feeling that there's something she doesn't know about her family's death.

"Grand-père," Sophie said, hugging him. "I'm really sorry about the key."

"I know, sweetie. You're forgiven. I can't possibly stay mad at you. Grandfathers and granddaughters always forgive each other." (23.38-39)

This has a hint of foreshadowing to it, and makes Sophie's estrangement from her grandfather later on even sadder. Grandfathers and granddaughters may always forgive each other, but Sophie didn't get a chance to forgive Saunière until after his death.

The words hung in the huge space, and Sophie felt an odd vibration, as if her bones were reverberating with some new kind of truth. Descendants of Jesus who survived into modern times. Her grandfather's voice again was whispering in her ear. Princess, I must tell you the truth about your family.

A chill raked her flesh.

Royal blood.

She could not imagine.

Princess Sophie. (60.58-62)

Kids often have delusions of grandeur about being secretly royal (Hey, we saw The Princess Diaries—sometimes it comes true.) In this case, though, Sophie isn't too far from the truth.

Sophie wished her grandfather had never mentioned her family this afternoon. He had torn open old wounds that felt as painful now as ever. They are dead, Sophie. They are not coming back. She thought of her mother singing her to sleep at night, of her father giving her rides on his shoulders, and of her grandmother and younger brother smiling at her with their fervent green eyes. All that was stolen. And all she had left was her grandfather.

And now he is gone too. I am alone.
(61.6-7)

Family's always been really important to Sophie, particularly because she'd always felt like she'd been robbed of hers at such a young age. That's what makes her estrangement from her grandfather all the more pertinent, because she must've been really upset about what she saw in order to cut all ties for over ten years. And now that he's dead, that's just one more regret.

"[…] your grandfather gave you this cryptex in hopes you would keep the secret of the Holy Grail alive."

"Yes."

"Understandably, you feel obliged to follow the trail wherever it leads."

Sophie nodded, although she felt a second motivation still burning within her. The truth about my family. Despite Langdon's assurances that the keystone had nothing to do with her past, Sophie still sensed something deeply personal entwined within this mystery, as if this cryptex, forged by her grandfather's own hands, were trying to speak to her and offer some kind of resolution to the emptiness that had haunted her all these years. (69.4-7)

Sophie has powerful feelings of intuition that seem almost silly until we get to the end of the book and realize that she was right to feel this way all along.

"Robert, it explains everything. All the pieces fit. History repeats itself. The Church has a precedent of murder when it comes to silencing the Sangreal. With the End of Days imminent, killing the Grand Master's loved ones sent a very clear message. Be quiet, or you and Sophie are next."

"It was a car accident," Sophie stammered, feeling the childhood pain welling inside her. "An accident!"

"Bedtime stories to protect your innocence," Teabing said. "Consider that only two family members went untouched— the Priory's Grand Master and his lone granddaughter— the perfect pair to provide the Church with control over the brotherhood. I can only imagine the terror the Church wielded over your grandfather these past years, threatening to kill you if he dared release the Sangreal secret, threatening to finish the job they started unless Saunière influenced the Priory to reconsider its ancient vow."
(99.23-25)

Although Teabing was right to assume that the Church could've been behind the death of Sophie's family, in truth he's the only actual threat to Saunière and the Priory's secret.

Sophie felt only incredulity. "How could you possibly believe that we would help you?"

"Because, my dear, you are the reason the Priory failed to release the documents. Your grandfather's love for you prevented him from challenging the Church. His fear of reprisal against his only remaining family crippled him. He never had a chance to explain the truth because you rejected him, tying his hands, making him wait. Now you owe the world the truth. You owe it to the memory of your grandfather."
(99.31-32)

Ouch. Way to hit below the belt, Teabing. Using guilt to try and motivate Sophie to find the Holy Grail isn't such a wise move.

The woman threw her arms around Sophie, the tears flowing faster. "Your grandfather wanted so badly to tell you everything. But things were difficult between you two. He tried so hard. There's so much to explain. So very much to explain." She kissed Sophie's forehead once again, then whispered in her ear. "No more secret, princess. It's time you learn the truth about our family." (104.107)

Finally, Sophie's reunited with her long-lost grandmother, and we're reaching for a box of tissues.

Sophie and her grandmother were seated on the porch stairs in a tearful hug when the young docent dashed across the lawn, his eyes shining with hope and disbelief.

"Sophie?"

Through her tears, Sophie nodded, standing. She did not know the young man's face, but as they embraced, she could feel the power of the blood coursing through is veins…the blood she now understood they shared.

When Langdon walked across the lawn to join them, Sophie could not imagine that only yesterday she had felt so alone in the world. And now, somehow, in this foreign place, in the company of three people she barely knew, she felt at last that she was home. (104.108-111)

So, the whole "power of the blood" thing is a bit much, but this is a huge moment for Sophie. Even after the devastating death of the only family she'd ever known, she can finally find peace with the family she's finally rediscovered.

And so Langdon had remained, standing beside Sophie and listening in mute astonishment while Marie told the story of Sophie's late parents. Incredibly, both had been from Merovingian families— direct descendants of Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ. Sophie's parents and ancestors, for protection, had changed their family names of Plantard and Saint-Clair. Their children represented the most direct surviving royal bloodline and therefore were carefully guarded by the Priory. When Sophie's parents were killed in a car accident whose cause could not be determined, the Priory feared the identity of the royal line had been discovered. (105.8)

So, when Saunière called her princess as a nickname, he meant it pretty literally as well. Sophie had been right to have suspicions about the things her grandfather had been keeping from her.