Thursday, May 11, 2006

the DaVinci code

This is my first try at a somewhat controversial topic... Briefly I will set aside my usual posts about life in Windsor, my adorable kitty, the pending move to England, random musings about being a teacher, or any of the usual stuff, for something a bit different.

I read this book last week and was completely spellbound by the storyline and the writing. Being a Roman Catholic from birth, I was very curious to see what all of the fuss was about - since the church publicly denounced it and encouraged all Catholics to boycott the book and movie.

No worries: I won't discuss the storyline itself since some of the bloggers reading this post may not have read it or are planning to see the movie.

Anyway, I find it ironic that the church is making such a public fuss about this story. First off, this is a fictional work. Brown uses real objects, places, and relgious groups & customs to enrich his story. He does not claim that the story is true or that it's message is real. The problem is, he is such a talented writer that some people WANT to believe what he's saying is true. The claims made in the book are pretty incredible and lead me to wonder what things would be like if some of them were true. I did not however, believe they were true, nor did I question my religious beliefs because some author (albeit a good one) writes about this possibility.

Second, in the book it is said that the church was seeking to destroy information and hide a secret that could affect it forever. The real world response to this book - boycotting and all of that - actually feeds right into the story. Talk about life imitating art...

Third, the Church has accomplished exactly the opposite of what they meant to do. They have provided more publicity for this novel than there ever would have been otherwise. Everybody knows about this book and the upcoming movie. This is partly due to Brown's legal problems (being accused of plagiarism), but I really think it's mostly a result of the Church's comments. I have not spoken to a single person who has not heard about this story or the drama surrounding it, and most people either want to read the book, have read it already, or are planning to see the movie. I personally picked the book up because I was curious about it.

Perhaps the best method of dealing with this novel would have been to ignore it... There are a lot of interesting parallels between the DaVinci Code and the movie Dogma. When I saw Dogma the first time, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and was able to take many of the comedic jabs at the church in stride. It's fasinating to me that if you look at both of these stories in different ways they come out with different meanings. Wonder what would have happened if the church had demanded that Catholics boycott Dogma? Probably would have meant much better box office payouts...

It always amazes me how many people get so offended by things. Especially something that wasn't really intended to be offensive in the first place. I mean, this is a fictional story about fictional people (well okay some real historical figures too) in a real world setting. I think it's an excellent literary tactic, since it brings people into the story and allows the readers to connect more easily with the plotlines and characters. (Note: Brown is most certainly not even close to being first to use this technique and will definitely not be the last) People are actually going on DaVinci Code tours in Europe. I'm sure I'll be trying to find some of the places mentioned in the book myself when we're exploring our new city (a big part of the story takes place in London).

The reason for this post is due to my travels through and a random blog post that says that it's okay for people to read and enjoy the novel, but that the author hopes Dan Brown will learn the error of his ways and be sorry for writing material like that. Hmmm. I don't recall Dan Brown saying that he has revealed some great truth or proof of a real life conspiracy, or encouraging his readers to go against the church in any way. Maybe I should read this book again to make sure...

The last thing I want to say isn't a direct quote from the story, but in my opinion captures the essence of the true point Brown is trying to make (those of you who have read the story will understand):
Faith is believing in something without needing proof of its existence.

A person who really has faith will not be effected by things written in a novel (or that are dictated by other people).

Anyway - just my opinion. Hope the post didn't offend.


  • At 5:43 PM, Blogger Rob said…

    How dare you talk about this?!?!?! Hee hee! Just kidding. You're bang on about the church accomplishing exactly the opposite of what they were trying to do.

    As for it being "fictional", just keep in mind who the target audience of Hollywood movies are: American people. Now, I'm not saying that Americans are stupid and gullible it's just that...well...okay, maybe I am saying they are stupid and gullible (for the most part)

    On a related note: Another book that is similarto the Code is a book called "Brotherhood of the Rose" by David Morrell. I believe it's actually the first book in a 3 book series. Intrigue and espionage set inside the Catholic Church. I really enjoyed them when I read them.

  • At 7:30 PM, Blogger Beechball * said…

    Hey Mel, I just loved the sarcasm in your post about reading the book again to make sure Brown didn't say to go against the church etc... it's superb! :P This was all very well writen by you and I found it to be very interesting, great job! Oh, and a great book to read (if you haven't already) is called "The Celestine Prophecy". I really like it because it shows a different view point of how things in life are and how people live their lives etc... you should defiantely take a gander :P

    Look forward to reading more posts.. bye for now :)

  • At 7:39 AM, Blogger Laura Coubrough said…

    I couldn't agree with you more. I think it's hilarious that the catholic church publically denounced it. It's not as though there haven't been a million movies before that talk about religious hoaxes or coverups but going after them only gives the davinci code validity to the uninformed and makes every one else really want to see it. Should be a good one... Ron Howard films usually are. We almost never go to the theatre to see a movie... but we'll be at this one.

  • At 10:17 PM, Blogger Melinda said…

    I actually have read the Celestine Prophecy before! (actually about 5 or 6 times) It's a very interesting story and I like the viewpoint it has about coincidences in life.
    There's a follow up story to it as well called the "Tenth Insight" that isn't quite as good as the first one, but still a good read :)

    thanks for the comments and suggestions - i'm always looking for a good story :)

  • At 1:45 AM, Blogger Beechball * said…

    Awesome, well then you know exactly what I was talking about:P I have read it twice, and will try for a third just as soon as Dan's mom gives it back! She said she hated it but I think she's just reading it to slowly. Anywho, besides The DaVinci code, what are some others you would recommend?

  • At 6:13 PM, Blogger Melinda said…

    I've recently read "The Romanov Prophecy" by Steve Berry - an excellent read about Russia's Imperial Family - and how modern Russia wants to have a King again instead of a government. Also - "The Copper Beech" by Maeve Binchy, "Remember Me" from Mary Higgins Clark, "If Tomorrow Comes" from Sidney Sheldon, and pretty much any John Grisham book... I could go on, but this is getting long :)


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