The Da Vinci Code/Headscratchers

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Headscratchers in The Da Vinci Code include:

  • "Oh noes! Unless I do something, the secret will be lost!" That's Sauniere's thing at the beginning, isn't it? That's why he sets all those clues. Except... his wife knows the secret too, and She Aten't Dead.
    • He didn't know whether she was still alive or not. Better safe than sorry.
    • Of course, according to the long expository bit at Teabing's place, practically everyone who's studied the subject apparently knows the "secret".
    • The wife didn't know where the chalice was kept and given that he had just found out the four others were offed before him without him knowing, its probably best not to assume his wife was still around
  • Oh god, even the title is full of fail. 'Da Vinci' is not Leonardo's surname. 'Da' means 'of', meaning that Leonardo was 'of Vinci' because he was born in Vinci. His full name thus translates to 'Leonardo di ser Piero of Vinci'. So the full title of this book is 'The Of Vinci Code'. Face Palm.
    • Ah, but you forget that everyone knows him as "Leonardo da Vinci". This works almost like a "pen name" given to him by the media, etc, so, in that case, it makes your point moot, as it is used more as a reference to this pen name than to his real moniker.
      • Uh, I forgot no such thing. Yes, everyone knows him by that title, but that does not make it a 'pen name'. We always refer Alexander III of Macedon as 'Alexander the Great' but we don't call that a 'pen name'. Just because popular culture is more familiar with that version of his name does not make 'Da Vinci' a surname and so it's still wrong. This is especially bad in a book that is about history, however loose, and would've taken the quickest google search to figure out. (And besides, if I want to be extra nitpicky, they called him Leonardo Da Vinci even back when he was alive. It's just that we don't know/forgot what 'da' means, which still doesn't make it a 'pen name'.)
      • The the Great Code? Hmm... could be a hit.
        • ...Uh, I don't know, how about The Leonardo Code?
        • That is ambiguous, it COULD refer to one of four mutated reptile ninjas in their adolescent years.
      • Wait, if we "don't know/forgot what 'da' means" then why'd the first guy say it means 'of' at the top? Contradiction much? More importantly, what would you have called the book? I see a nice helping of Complaining About Shows You Don't Like but no suggestions as to make it better...
        • Probably, he meant "We english speaker don't know what "da" means". I'm italian and obviously know, as it's current language. Vinci is a city, and "da" means "from". The name is "Leonardo from Vinci", and the book, in Italy, means "The code from Vinci". Yes, confusing, but to be honest, an horrible number of italians don't know that "da Vinci" is not a surname.
        • The above poster is correct - I meant 'english speaker', sorry for my mistake. As for Complaining About Shows You Don't Like, I've never read the book nor have ever had the urge to, and pointing out an obvious error that anyone with a knowledge of the Renaissance would know is not a personal vendetta. Also, Just Bugs Me is for pointing out errors, not 'suggestions to make it better'.
      • Not everyone is an expert on Leonardo da Vinci, and the common person has probably grown up hearing him being referred to as "da Vinci." TV shows and movies aimed at children refer to him as such. While it's true it's inaccurate, the average person will look at it and know they're talking about Leonard da Vinci. If it were something politically correct like "The Leonardo Code" people would probably be more likely to walk past it.
      • Even if the etymology derives from "from Vinci", who's to say the phrase hasn't evolved into a de facto surname over time? How many widely-used surnames already come from phrases? Nitpickers don't complain if a person surnamed "McDonald" didn't actually have a dad named Donald. You don't stop calling a family "Smith" just because none of them have been blacksmiths for a hundred years. Most surnames originate from phrases, titles, or nicknames whose meanings have become moot, and that's happened to Leonardo's name over time. Or do we need to start calling the director of Scarface "Brian of Palma", just to be consistent with outdated naming conventions?
        • I could buy that, if a you could provide me with an example of someone else having 'Da Vinci' as a surname. But even if they did, the point would be moot - Leonardo has a surname and it is not 'Da Vinci'. Ergo, using his title instead of his surname is incorrect.
      • As the original poster of this Bugs Me, I'm sorry, but I just can't understand that just because Leonardo is most well-known as Leonardo Da Vinci that it's perfectly okay to make a big obvious inaccuracy in the very title of a book about history. There's no rule saying that it had to be called 'The Da Vinci Code' instead of something accurate. What the public does or doesn't know about Leonardo is completely irrelevent; it's still a ridiculous error, and since when does pop-culture dictate what is and isn't correct?
        • Since, um, forever ? That's how language evolves. Awesome used to mean what it says literally, "something that prompts awe (reverence, fear) in onlookers". "Terrible" used to mean "something that incites terror". These days, awesome means cool (heh, another example), and terrible means crap. Both meanings have evolved through countless writers and songs (not to mention "the public) progressively twisting the meaning of the original words. It's neither a good thing nor a bad thing, it just is. Beyond that semantical digression, what the public does or doesn't know about Leonardo is absolutely relevant when you want to sell them a book about him in terms they can comprehend. When the average American hears "The Da Vinci Code", they immediately understand it's a book about a secret held by that gay Yuropian who painted the Mona Lisa. That's all that fucking matters, where publishers are concerned.
        • While you are correct that the meaning of words can alter over time thanks to cultural usage, this doesn't apply to this error. The term 'Da Vinci' hasn't changed over time to suddenly become Leonardo's real name; people have made the mistake of assuming that it's his name. And Tv Tropes has multiple tropes all about viewers making incorrect assumptions. By what you're saying, every example on those pages must now retroactively be true because cultural assumptions have changed. But as those tropes demonstrate, people make mistakes all the time, either from ignorance or from expectations, but that does not make them right. And even if most people assume that Da Vinci is Leonardo's surname, that doesn't make it right either. Unless someone figures out a way to legally change a dead man's name.
    • Or maybe it's just because he wanted to capitalize the title for a neater layout?
  • Why does everyone (I'm looking at you, Moral Guardians) take this seriously?! People, The Da Vinci Code is Fiction!
    1. Because the author claimed it was factually based, irritating many people who actually know about this stuff and realise that Dan Brown was actually speaking out of his arse most of the time.
      • Not only that, but the folk who read that schlock and didn't know better believed Dan Brown saying it was all 100% fact. To the point that the historical landmarks mentioned in the book all had to put up signs saying in essence : "don't bother looking for the shit mentionned in the DVC, it's bull. Sorry for ruining your trip.". It's one thing to sell glitter for a living, and another to seriously pretend it's gold.
    2. Because the the novel takes a number of swipes at the Catholic Church (that it basically made up lies about Jesus to bolster its own position, that it slaughtered anyone who opposed it, that it killed over 6 million free-thinking women and called them witches) that are, bluntly speaking, bollocks. (God knows, there's enough real material to take the Catholic Church to task over). The fact that Dan Brown put this is in a book marked 'fiction' is largely irrelevant, if I wrote a book about your mother which accused her of being a drug-dealing terrorist rapist, would it still be alright if I marked it 'fiction'
      • Well, I think you should have free speech and you can write a fiction story that calls me (or, the version of me in the story, not the real me, of course, just as the da Vinci in this story is not the real Leonardo, because it is fiction) a drug dealer even though I am not, but it is the problem when the writer then claims that they got all of the historical details correct, even though they did not.
    3. Just because an author writes a book that's found in the fiction section, does not mean that they intend it to be taken as all made-up. See also Schindler's List, The Last King of Scotland and Arthur & George. Unless you think that Idi Amin, Oskar Schindler and Arthur Conan Doyle are all made-up characters of course.
      • Actually, The Last King of Scotland was very historically inaccurate.
      • But the fact that you can say it was historically inaccurate shows that it is possible to judge a book on this factor and not just shout 'It's just fiction.'
  • The Movie: it just seemed like they made it too easy.
  • Why did Leigh tell Langdon to pray when he found the tomb, if he didn't believe in Christ's divinity?
    • It's been a while since I read that book, but it's probably a figure of speech, as in "start begging for mercy".
    • There are plenty of people who believe in God, and that Jesus was a great religious teacher, but not that he was a God incarnate.
  • Wouldn't Fache get in serious trouble for completely disregarding police procedure, altering evidence, assault, etc.? What's his justification? A priest told me to do it, but he lied. That would get him kicked off the force very quickly, if not worse.