Dan Brown witness statement in Da Vinci Code case [3/4]

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Opus Dei

117. In The D Vinci Code I also wanted to include the grey area in religion and did so by including Opus Dei. This grey area was also explored in Angels & Demons. Opus Dei is a very devout Catholic group, which like many fervent religious groups is met with suspicion and mistrust; only some of which is justified. While Opus Dei is a very positive force in the lives of many people, for others, affiliation with Opus Dei has been a profoundly negative experience. Their portrayal in the novel is based on books written about Opus Dei as well as my own personal interviews with current and former members. In both books I wanted to demonstrate that very few things are black and white; all bad or all good.

118. As an extension to the theme of a religious gray area, I also referred to corporal mortification -vthe practice of self flagellation. For most people, the practice sounds abhorrent. Yet, from my years living in Spain I saw that it is a big part of modem Catholicism in Spain. Every year on Easter prominent bankers and lawyers put chains on their legs and march through the streets as their yearly penance. The practice itself is not uncommon.

The Bloodline

119 I reached a stage in my research where I had plenty of material for the next novel– perhaps even too much. Blythe had been a great advocate for the novel focusing even more on the area of the suppression of the sacred feminine -he also lobbied hard for me to find a way to use a theory which concerned e legend of the Holy Grail –the so-called “bloodline theory”. This is a well documented theory which, by this stage in the research process, we had read about in many books. for example, in The History of the Knights Templars” by Charles G. Addison (D.23), the Introduction (written in 1997 by David Hatcher Childress) says that “Different versions of the legend exist with the two mo t prominent stating that the Holy Grail is the cup or chalice used by Christ at the Last Supper or, alternatively, the genetic blood-lineage of Jesus.” The “bloodline theory” is what Hatcher Childress describes as “the genetic blood-lineage of Jesus’

120. Initially, I was reluctant to include the bloodline theory at all, finding it too incredible and inaccessible to readers – I thought it was a step too far. However, it after much discussion arid brainstorming with Blythe, I eventually became convinced that I could introduce the idea successfully. Blythe had suggested introduce it as a part of the Goddess worship theme -the lost sacred feminine being embodied by the Church of Magdalene that never was. The more I read on this topic – both in Blythe’s notes and independently in the books and on the internet – the more plausible I found the storyline.

121. I am positive that Blythe and I read about the bloodline theory in many sources before reading any of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. From looking back at my source, all of which I am sure I looked at while researching The Da Vinci Code, I have found numerous references in other texts and materials to the theory.

122. The theory appears in all of the following books: The History of the Knights Templars, by Charles G. AddjsoniD.23); Templar Revelation, by Picknett & Prince (D.5 ); The Goddess In the Gospels, by Margaret Starbird (0.58); The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, by Margaret Starbird (D. 59); and The Tomb of God, by Andrews & Schellenberger (D.24). It also is noted in my research documents, for example, documents entitled “Holy Grail Info” called “grail%2fjeusbloodline info” (D.330); “Myths and Stories of the Knights Templar” ( .235); and “MASONS” (D.261).

123. In preparing this statement, I have also looked at my Synopsis for The Da Vinci Code (D4) (I refer to this document in more detail in 161 below), which I wrote in January 2001 long before we bought or consulted Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This has helped me to work out what were the main sources for he bloodline point. In the Synopsis, I refer to the fact that Merovingian comes from “MER = sea and VIGNE == vine” (which is referenced The Woman with the Alabaster Jar, page 62). Furthermore, when Langdon is explaining the bloodline theory to Sophie on the Seine, I included a note to readers: “including countless biblical references to Jesus as ‘bridegroom” Mary Magdalene as the bride and the vine bearing his sacred fruit, and dozens of Vatican-banned gospels….” This material is all dealt with comprehensively in Margaret Starbird’s books. The first three chapters of The Woman with the Alabaster Jar are called: The Lost Bride, The Bridegroom, and The Blood Royal and the Vine.

124. I am certain that I read the above books and documents before I looked at Holy Blood, Holy Grail. All of my early research came from other sources, which included those listed above and many related websites and articles. (I describe below how I eventually used Holy Blood, Holy Grail).

Secrets, treasure hunts, symbology. codes

125 As with m earlier books, there is a lot in The Da Vinci Code that is familiar – a murder, a chase through foreign locations, the action taking place all in 24 hours, a code a ticking clock, strong male and female characters, and a love interest. The book also builds on what I saw as the great leaps forward I made in Angels & Demons. Again, it is thriller as academic lecture, there is plenty of hidden formation, symibology, codes and treasure hunts. And even more so than in Angels & Demons, the reader is accelerated through the book – I used short chapters, ideally with some form of cliff-hanger at the end of each one.

126. In the following paragraphs I have highlighted some of the many other things that appear The Da Vinci Code – they are all important, and I think they are all reasons why the book has had the impact that it has. The list, however, is not exhaustive – for that, the book itself should be consulted.

127. In The Da Vinci Code, Sophie Neveu witnesses Sauniere taking part in a Hieros Gamos ritual; an event that is to set the background of her relationship with her grandfather, and also combine the bloodline theory with that of Goddess worship. Starbird’s books in particular view the bloodline theory from a Lost Sacred Feminine perspective. While the history of Hieros Gamos is well documented, I made up the idea that it was practiced by the Priory. The description of the ritual itself was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s film ‘Eyes Wide Shut’.

128. In my synopsis (described below) I tell readers to imagine this movie, which is probably because I had recently written a synopsis for Angels &; Demons that was geared to film producers (in an attempt to sell the movie rights), and conjuring that image seemed an effective way to convey the mystery and scope of what I was imagining. The images of the clothing I describe came from Blythe, who found them on numerous magical or ritualistic websites, quite apart from anything Priory related. The white and black of the male and female costumes were described on these websites. I recall being pleased that this dove-tailed so nicely with the white and black Cryptex I had planned.

129. The first place I look for ideas on symbols is The Dictionary of Symbols, by Chevalier (D.30). This enormous tome is essentially a dictionary that tells us the origins of symbols that we see every day. Looking at my copy I can see that Blythe has written a note in the inside cover saying “pentagram – the key to higher knowledge and opened door to what was secret”. She has also written: chalice, womb, Vulva – MM as vessel”. These are all symbols that appear in The Da Vinci Code. Another symbology text I used a lot in writing The Da Vinci Code is The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects(Q,,60), mentioned above. I feel that one of the most effective ways of putting forward a theory, is demonstrating the symbology substantiated in it. Suggesting the “chalice” of the Holy Grail is Mary Magdalene’s womb is far more convincing if one understands the symbology behind the image of a chalice.

130. Another significant symbol which I wanted to include is the mathematical symbol PH , the Divine Proportion. As with other symbols in The Da Vinci Code, PHI ties nature to religion, the divine feminine and art. It also links directly with the pentagram and hence Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. I know about PHI from my father, from my early studies in art and architecture (although my art teachers called it “The Golden Ratio”), as well as from books such as Huntley’s The Divine Proportion (D.40)

131. While on the subject of symbology, in one of my documents, “DYC -TO ADDI” (1.91) is a passage I contemplated including about the Fleur de Lis: a significant symbol in The Da Vinci Code.

132. As I state above codes are very much a relic from my childhood and have always fascinated me. For the same reasons that I made Vittoria Vetra an entanglement physicist in Angels & Demons and Robert Langdon a symbologist, I made Sophie Neveu a cryptologist. In Angels & Demons I was particularly keen on the idea of using codes, but did not have as much occasion for it – in that book, I made more use of poems and riddles. In The Da Vinci Code, I decided to explore the device further. As a result, codes feature most prominently in The Da Vinci Code and it therefore seemed appropriate to have Sophie as an ‘expert’ or teacher in order to help solve them; just as Vittoria explained the scientific concepts in Angels & Demons. As a plot device, it also linked her to Langdon. In addition, Sophie’s relationship with Sauniere – solving codes and embarking on treasure hunts – is reminiscent of my own with my father. I wanted to portray this relationship in the novel.

133. I believe another reason I decided to make Sophie a cryptologist is that I recalled how much fun I’d had writing the “cryptologist heroine” (Susan Fletcher) in my first novel Digital Fortress. Back then, there was a naive joy about the writing process (before the frustrations of the publishing business set in), and I think part of me wanted to revisit that by using my new-found plotting skills to reinvent my original character archetype and really put her through her paces. .

134. Poems and anagrams were again two forms of codes or riddles that featured prominently in my childhood. As I have already mentioned, my father used poems in annual Christmas treasure hunts to lead us to our “hidden treasure’. I found among my Da VinciCode research my father’s Christmas Treasure hunt from 1982, Chapter 23 of The Da Vinci Code was directly inspired by one of my childhood treasure hunts.

135. An important code in The Da Vinci Code is the Fibonacci sequence, my knowledge of which came from books such as The Divine Proportion by H. E. Huntley (40), and my father. Not only did I think Fibonacci was an interesting code which fit in comfortably with symbols such as PHI, but it was a plot device used .to introduce Sophie to Langdon. I found among my Da Vinci Code research a document entitled “Leonardo daVinci and the Fibonacc lequence” (0.183), which is a series of specific questions I prepared for Blythe to research on things such as Fibonacci and the Vitruvian Man. PHI, Fibonacci, the Vitruvian Man and Da Vinci all complement each other; they can be linked to so many of the same themes.

136. When I was writing Digital Fortress I researched cryptology and came across Caesar boxes, invented by Julius Caesar. I was also familiar with the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, who created many ingenious machines most of which were never made. At some point I had seen a blueprint of portable safe. It was my idea that Sauniere and Sophie call it a Cryptex. It was used as a dramatic vice to release information slowly. It is essentially a Da Vinci invention with the vinegar and the papyrus. However, it was never made, and I did elaborate a bit on the design. The black and white of the Cryptex were used to symbolize the masculine and feminine theme that runs throughout the novel.

137. The Atbash Cypher is an ancient substitution code based on the Hebrew alphabet. I used it in The Da Vinci Code as the code required to open the Cryptex. The keyword was “Baphomet”, a headstone worshipped by the Templars as a pagan fertility god, traditionally represented as a ram or goat’s head. Application of the Atbash Cypher to the word “Baphomet”, results in the word Sophia – the ancient Greek word for wisdom. I was really amazed by how this code worked, particularly as Baphomet ties in so well with themes of the Templars and sex rites. I acquired information on the Atbash Cypher, Baphomet and Sophia from Templar Revelation and Tomb of God. On page 399 of my copy of Tomb of God(D .24), Blythe has written the notes “Sophia/wisdom, Baphomet/Sophia” and “very cool. Also see TR”. It is dealt with on p.109 Templar Revelation (D.53), which Blythe has also underlined. During the preparation of this statement, I have been told that Holy Blood, Holy Grail also mentions Baphomet in the context of Templar worship – the Templars were accused of worshipping fake gods. However, in Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Baphomet is suggested to be a “bearded male head”.

138. In The Da Vinci Code another device I used to maintain suspense was the mysterious “keystone” that the characters are searching for – a rosewood box, containing the Priory’s greatest secret. “Keystone” is an architectural term used to denote the central stone in an archway, supporting the archway and preventing it from collapsing. Its significance in TheDa Vinci Code was entirely my creation, and has no bearing on the actual meaning of the word. It was my idea to link it with the Priory and the bloodline, and it was also my idea that the Grand Master and his seneschals would keep the Priory secret to the exclusion of all others. I decided that the keystone would be the means of keeping the secret. In The Da Vinci Code it is called a clef de voute, because Sauniere is French. It is far more plausible that the Priory would use the French nomenclature.


139. Locations are very significant to me when writing. In both Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code, the locations are often as important as the art itself in telling the story and solving the codes. In my Synopsis for The Da Vinci Code, instead having numbered chapters, I used location headings. Locations not only make the read more enjoyable (in my opinion), they add to the credibility of the ideas put forward. They also give the character of Robert Langdon a further opportunity to “teach” readers. Most people are unaware of the pagan origins of the Pantheon, for example, or the existence of demons’ holes in some churches.

140. In The Da Vinci Code, I wanted to pay homage to the Louvre; a work of art itself. In the novel it is the final resting place for the Holy Grail. I spent time researching I. M. Pei, the architect of the famous and controversial Pyramid. I do not actually own any books, about or by Pei, and I recall doing most of the research online at an architectural website (I believe the site was www.greatbuildings.com, which I see is still active today and still offers the I. M. Pei renderings). This enabled me to download CAD renderings of famous buildings, including the Louvre Pyramid. I remember this because I became very frustrated that my inexpensive computer was too weak to fully display these spatial models without crashing. Nonetheless, I could scroll through the rendered frames slowly, and I became very excited about the Internet as a tool for researching the architecture of the buildings that I would be writing about (Notre Dame, the Louvre, Westminster Abbey, etc). In addition, I found among my research a document that refers to various other sources – presumably from the internet, entitled “Pyramid. The Mona Lisa. Louvre Info. Mitterrand” (D. 192).

141. Other sites that feature or are mentioned in the book, for example St. Sulpice, Notre Dame and Westminster Abbey, I either visited myself, researched on the internet or used guide books. One useful research source was Fodor’s Guide to Paris 2001 (D.35), which particularly has information on the Louvre, St. Sulpice, and Notre Dame.

142. A location that kept resurfacing during my research was that of Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, famous for its symbology and links to the Templars. Rosslyn is one of the last locations visited in The Da Vinci Code, where Sophie finds her grandmother and brother, and her history and heritage are revealed. The predominant source for my Rosslyn information was The Hiram Key, a lot of which is devoted to Rosslyn. Looking back at my copy, Blythe has made copious notes inside on Rosslyn. She also compiled two research documents called “Rosslyn Castle Info (plus notes at end on RBS and HK)” (D.181) and “Rosslyn highlights” (D.349), much of which appears to come from The Hiram Key. I also took information from the Rosslyn Chapel website (www.rosslynchapel.org,uk).

143. In The Da Vinci Code, Rosslyn is just another location, whereas in other texts, including Holy Blood, Holy Grail, it is suggested that Rosslyn is the final resting place for the Grail. It seemed more appropriate to me that Mary Magdalene would be returned by the Priory to France. The symbolism of the inverted angle at Louvre – a chalice – appealed to me, so I returned to focus to the Louvre, where the thriller began.

Review of research sources for The Da Vinci Code

144. A lot has happened since I researched this book, and I cannot remember every detail about which sources I used for what aspects of the novel. In general, however, the history and theory in The Da Vinci Code was readily available in texts other than Holy Blood, Holy Grail at the time I wrote the book. Moreover, Blythe and I studied these texts prior to seeing HolyBlood, Holy Grail.

145. I did look at Holy Blood, Holy Grail (D.25) before completing the book (and in the text I refer to it as being “perhaps the best known tome” on the topic of the bloodline theory (The Da Vinci Code, Corgi, page 339-340)). But the fact remains that my sources for the ideas which I am alleged to have copied from Holy Blood, Holy Grail did not include Holy Blood, Holy Grail.

146. When I did finally look at a copy of Holy Blood, Holy Grail I was surprised by what I read on the cover. This surprise found its way into the pages of The Da Vinci Code. Characters in my novels often speak for me, or reflect my experiences (for example, I have mentioned Sophie and her childhood treasure hunts). In Da Vinci Code, Sophie first sees a book called Holy Blood, Holy Grail in Sir Leigh Teabing’s study -she notes that the cover is emblazoned with the words: INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER. Sophie is puzzled and comments, “An international bestseller? I’ve never heard of it.” (Corgi, page 340). Sophie’s words echo my own personal surprise when I finally saw the cover of Holy Blood, Holy Grail and realized it was an international bestseller. I’d never heard of it until I’d seen it mentioned in some of our other research books.

147. I chose to include the title of Holy Blood, Holy Grail in this chapter (along with three other non-fiction books – The Templar Revelation (D.53), The Woman with the Alabaster Jar (D. 59), and The Goddess in the Gospels (D.58) in the hope that any readers who became curious about the some of the ideas in my book, a fictional thriller, would know where to turn to find jump-off points for additional reading material and more details. Maybe it’s because I have been a teacher, but I have always enjoyed suggesting books to people, especially on esoteric topics. Offering the reader a glance at someone else’s bookshelf seemed like an entertaining way to offer other reading material. I did the exact same thing in Angels & Demons, in which I described a bookshelf bearing three books (The God Particle (D.47), The Tao of Physics, and God: the Evidence (D.37). In that case, my hope was that readers who wanted to know more about the subject matter of that book would know where to look for additional reading material.

148. Holy Blood, Holy Grail maybe a well known source, but it is not one I consulted until the storyline of my book was very well developed. I found most of the relevant ideas in my Templar and Masonic books (such as The History of the Knights Templar (D.23), The Knights Templar and their Myth, Born in Blood (D.55), and The Hiram Key (D.44)); The Templar Revelation; Margaret Starbird’s books – Woman with the Alabaster Jar (D.59) and Goddess in the Gospels {D.S8).

149. I also looked at Donna Read’s programs, Women & Spirituality, and my books on codes and symbols (Dictionary of Symbology, by Chevalier (0.30), Codes, Ciphers and other Cryptic and Clandestine Communication, by Wrixon (0.61), The Divine Proportion, by Huntiey (0.40), Dictionary of Symbols, by Liungman (D.48), The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects, by Walker D.60).and for some basic information about gargoyles, Fodor’s Guide to Paris, 2001 (D.36)). I also looked at The Malleus Maleficarum, by Kramer and Sprenger (D.45), The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels (D.51) (I had already read one of her books –The Origins of Satan (D.52), while researching Angels & Demons), and The Tomb of God, by Andrews & Schellenberger (D.24). To a lesser extent I relied on and got ideas from other books and materials, such as Joseph Campbell’s book Transformations of Myth Through Time (D.29), and a TV show I saw of him being interviewed called “Power of Myth”; and Rule by Secrecy, by Marrs .(D.50) (this last book I read late in the writing of the novel).

150. Also, I made full use of the internet and what it offers. In the research and writing of The Da Vinci Code I looked at numerous online sources. I find the internet a great source of factual information, if used carefully. For example, if I needed to find a restaurant in Zurich for a particular scene, I would be able to find out the address and even what’s on the menu by conducting as search online. This all adds detail to the descriptive parts of a novel that makes it all the more credible or realistic to the reader. I try to get these details right (even though do not always achieve this).

151. I often use the internet to give me a sense of whether or not an idea has potential. For example, if I hear a fact that sounds interesting and yet suspect, I will run a narrow search for that information and determine the credibility of people who have written about it. Invariably a narrow search will pull up specific passages from online excerpts of other books (promotional excerpts, commentary, reviews, Amazon, articles, etc.).

152. Large portions of the supporting research for The Da Vinci Code was performed online because of the ease of searching large numbers of documents or specific data and references. For example, with respect to information on I. M. Pei, while I do not actually own any books about or by M. Pei, I was able to find the relevant information online on architectural websites, online excerpts of books about Pei and other websites.

153. In addition I was helped in my research not only by Blythe but by Stan Planton, a librarian based at the University of Ohio. Stan had access to an incredible amount of online material and did “key-word searches” for me via his access to Lexis-Nexis. He sent me literally hundreds of texts from newspapers, journals, magazines, and other articles (including many European sources). In the preparation of this statement, I contacted Stan and spoke to him by telephone. He told me that he recalls doing keyword searches for — (in his words) “Merovingian”, “Magdalene”, “Priory of Sion”, “Templar”‘, “Grail”, “Opus Dei” “bloodline of Christ” and many more. I asked him if he had copies of our correspondence. He looked for them but said that he had sent these emails to me more than three years ago and that they had been long since deleted. It is possible that some of the documents I have made available in the litigation include research papers that Stan found. I have searched my own computer files for electronic copies of Stan’s research, but have found no such records. I believe that those records were stored on my old computer, which was damaged following a serious flood in about March 2004 when I also lost many of my documents and other materials. Two emails of the type of research that Stan said he completed for me are attached as Exhibit DB1.

154. In the late stages of writing The Da Vinci Code, Blythe and I started to use email more frequently to share ideas with each other. The reason for this is that more of our research was taking place on the Internet, and email became the most efficient way of sharing information. For Blythe, sending me cut-and-paste text or a clickable link to a large website was easier than printing out dozens of pages in hardcopy. This was especially true for websites that had lots of photographs (photos were very helpful in writing my descriptive passages, but they printed poorly and ate up expensive printer toner; I preferred to see them online). For some topics, Blythe pulled together many points and typed up a research document, usually covering the research that I had asked her to do on a particular topic. This new tool of email now meant that those research notes appeared in all kinds of different forms – her own extracts, clips from the internet, scans from source books, and website resource files. Sometimes I got a paper copy of those notes, usually an emailed copy, and sometimes both.

155. I don’t like reading things on screen – my eye, sight is pretty good, but I find it tiring to look at the screen when reading. So, if I am at a point where I want to introduce a nugget of information on a work of art, or of a tube station, or of an airfield n Kent, I usually print out the page from the Internet, or from Blythe’s notes and move away from my desk and computer, sit down and read the material. I may highlight points with a pen, or I may move back to the screen to insert some bullet points. Sometimes I can become rather frustrated when presented with too much information. If Blythe’s research is voluminous, I will sometimes read Blythe’s note and ask her to produce something more concise and focused so that I have the very essence of the points.

156. I add Blythe’s research to my own, and then I attempt to distil and make palatable to the reader the raw subject matter. I estimate that I weed out the vast proportion of the research, and present only what I regard as the most interesting bits for the reader. This painstaking process of researching and writing a novel has been described by me as a lot like making maple sugar candy. You have to tap hundreds of trees …boil vats and vats of raw sap… evaporate the water …and keep boiling until you’ve distilled a tiny nugget that encapsulates the essence. Of course, this requires liberal use of the delete key.

157. In many ways, editing yourself is the most important part of being a novelist – carving away superfluous text until your story stands crystal clear before your reader. For every page in each of my novels, I probably wrote ten that ended up in the trash. All of this work leads to the production of a manuscript, revised drafts, and then finally the finished novel. My tendency toward heavy editing (“trimming the fat” as I called it) fuelled the ongoing push-and-pull between Blythe and me. Blythe constantly urged me to add more facts and more history. I was always slashing out long descriptive passages in an effort to keep the pace moving. I remember Blythe once gave me an enormous set of architectural / historical notes for a short flashback I was writing about Notre Dame Cathedral. When I had finished the section, she was frustrated by how little of work actually made the final cut. In these situations, I always remind Blythe I was trying to write a fast-moving page-turner.

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Mar. 14, 2006

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