Summary: Marie tells Sophie that both of her parents were of Merovingian background—descendants of Mary Magdalene and Jesus. She and her brother, therefore, are direct carriers of the secret royal bloodline, and were fiercely protected by the Priory of Sion—even to the point of being separated from each other and raised apart following the car crash that claimed their parents’ lives. Sophie’s grandparents never determined whether the crash was truly an accident—they had been planning to be in the car, but changed their minds at the last moment—but knew they must protect the siblings, even though that plan would necessitate a painful separation. Marie reads her late husband’s final message and is amused at how obvious, to her, Saunière’s message is. She does not, however, tell Langdon the final resting place of the Sangreal—it was once in Rosslyn’s subterranean vault but is there no longer and, in fact, Marie states that the millennium passed without a revelation of the Grail because the Priory had determined never to reveal its truth—only that it is not at Rosslyn. She trusts that Langdon will be able to solve the final puzzle on his own—and that when he does, he may be trusted to keep the secret, as well. Since Sophie plans to remain in Scotland to continue the reunion with her family while Langdon plans to return to Paris, they bid a fond farewell to each other—though not before planning to rendezvous in Florence in the near future.
Analysis: This penultimate chapter continues the rapid falling action of the novel, revealing the truth about Sophie’s family and tying up several loose ends (for example, Marie hints, with her reference to “certain ceremonies to which the brotherhood always stays faithful” [p. 477], that one of the few times she was able to see her husband during their years apart was the Heiros Gamos ceremony that Sophie inadvertently witnessed). Thematically, the chapter is a fitting resolution to the novel’s concern with unity: male and female siblings, united by blood but separated from an early age, are at last brought together to create a healed and whole family. The chapter also serves as a meta-textual commentary on the book as a whole. Because, as Marie says, “the mystery and wonderment [of the Grail] serve[s] our souls, not the Grail itself,” stories such as Dan Brown’s are always appropriate and to be embraced—not shunned and banned—because they inspire humanity toward greater wholeness and fulfillment: “We are starting to sense the dangers of our history… and of our destructive paths” (p. 479). Dan Brown, like Robert Langdon, emerges as a “modern troubadour” (p. 479), singing the holistic song of the Magdalene, of the Grail, of the sacred feminine for a broken world always in need of hearing it.