Summary: As the car chase continues, Langdon inspects Saunière’s key, definitively identifying it as bearing the seal of the Priory of Sion. He does not, however, know what the key opens. Needing a safe place to determine the key’s function, Sophie drives to the train station Gare Saint-Lazare, where she intends to buy “two tickets on the next train out of Paris.”
Analysis: This chapter again demonstrates Sophie’s skill at quickly formulating and executing a plan. The main object of attention in the chapter, though, is Saunière’s mysterious key. Langdon does not share Sophie’s idea that the key’s cruciform head marks it as Christian; rather, Langdon notes that the fact that the cross’s arms are of equal length indicates it is a visual statement of a peaceful, “natural union of male and female… symbolically consistent with Priory philosophy” (p. 157). Again, although such equal-armed crosses do occur in Christian iconography (for example, the Greek Cross or the Jerusalem Cross), Langdon’s interpretation here advances the novel’s central conflict between the Church and the Priory—between those who have upset the natural balance of male and female in life, and those who have preserved that balance.