1. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    The Dan Brown Discussion

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by CharlieVer, Oct 1, 2009.

    I wanted to break this off to a separate thread, because it seems to have hijacked another thread, and I don't want that to happen.

    So much was thrown at him, I have to take it bit by bit.

    These two words would take a long article just to address.
    In order to address it, I have to ask:

    1. What makes us define characters as "flat"?
    2. Are his characters flat?
    3. Does it matter?

    The answer to #3 may be surprising, but I'll take them one at a time. I'm going to try to do this from my own mind, without google references.

    1. "What makes characters flat" isn't as much the question as, "What makes well rounded characters?" Flat characters are characters that aren't well rounded.

    In my view, well rounded characters:

    a.) Seem to have a history, both implicate and explicate.

    They don't seem like they fell from the sky. You get the feeling that they had parents, friends, family, that they had a past, a life's history that made them unique individuals today. They have scars, not just physical but mental. They have habits, customs, a culture in which they lived. This can be explicate (expressed in flashbacks, shown to the reader) or implied (character sees character... "I haven't seen you in forty years, and you're still a cheating bastard!" implying a shared history without stating what it was.)

    b.) Have flaws. (Or, in the case of villains, have redeeming or endearing qualities.) Not just physical flaws, but deeply ingrained psychological flaws, though it's not necessary they be anti-heroes, they can be.

    c.) Experience change. Events prior to and during the story, change them in significant ways.

    2. Are Dan Brown's characters flat?

    I don't think so. Take, for example, the villains of the Da Vinci Code.

    Silas, Leigh Teabing, Bishop Aringarosa, each have a history (a):

    Silas had extensive experiences of isolation, homelessness, and suffering, even before the long experience with the church. Leigh Teabing even has a history with Robert Langdon. Bishop Aringarosa clearly has a well-developed past with the church. They all seem to have deep, complex pasts.

    They all have major character flaws (b), not the least of which is Leigh Teabing's obsession with the "true" Grail. The villains even have endearing qualities... Teabing's odd humor, Aringarosa's determination, Silas's suffering inspires sympathy.

    They all experience change (c), Leigh becoming even more obsessed, more desperate, tension building in each life until the climax.

    3. Does it matter? Surprisingly, I'm going to answer no.

    Compare to other Mystery / Thriller / Crime authors.

    Did Agatha Christie's novels have round characters, or flat? Compared to Dan Brown's characters, hers were cardboard cut-outs. (They were cardboard cut-outs by any measure.) Yet Agatha Christie is considered one of the great mystery writers.

    How about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's? The Sherlock Holmes series contained some of the flattest characters ever conceived.

    Or more modern thriller novels: Any book written by James Patterson.
    His villains are simply evil. There's no depth, no endearing qualities, nothing but evil.

    Any of these, and many other authors, have my deepest respect and have written some enormously entertaining and endearing books... and Dan Brown's characters are much, much rounder than the characters in them.

    (Stephen King, by the way, has much deeper and rounder characters than Dan Brown's, but in my opinion, many of his books are not as good as Dan Brown's.)

    So, my conclusion is a respectful disagreement with the claim that Dan Brown's characters are "flat". With time, I'd like to explore more of the things I like... and don't like... about Dan Brown's books.

    It takes time as there's so much to discuss, and I thought, given the way it hijacks other threads, that the "Dan Brown Discussion" should have its own thread.

    Charlie
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Since (I think) I'm the one yu're quotingabove, I think I should take a stab at answeringyour questions. Those who haven't read the books might not want to read, I may accidentally spoil something for you, but I'll tryto check myself...

    Robert Langdon, Brown's recurring hero, is, in my opinion, as animated as a piece of cardboard. He has a backstory in the most primitive sense - a simple cause-and-effect chain that has apparently led him to where he is now - that Dan Brown formulaically draws on in all three of the books that feature him. The most appalling and obvious is his claustrophobia and his love of swimming, both of which I contend (and Dan Brown confirms....numerous times....in each novel....) stem from the incident in his youth where he was trapped in a well. While I don't contend that forcing a character to face their fear is compelling (and I'm not arging that Brown isn't compelling), shoving your claustrophobic hero into as may tight spaces as possible doesn't seem particularly inventive. Furthermore, nothing changes as a result of these conflicts. He comes no closer to conquering his fear or dealing with his past, it remains static and unchanging throughout, as does Langdom himself. One would imagine that his character might have changed between adventures one and three, but besides a few off-hand references to the earlier episodes in The Lost Symbol, his other adventures are all but ignored and seem to have had no impact on Langdon at all. He speaks the same way, reasons the same way, teaches the same way, relates to people the same way, deals with situations the same way. While the formula is thrilling enough and compelling, the character never (for me) becomes a living, breathing person, but a facsimile of a real person. His chracter is not dynamic but static; he's like a cardboard cut-out.

    The feminine heroines of his novels are equally uninspired and all seem to be variations on a single idea; the beautiful, intelligent woman who 1) is connected intimately to the victim and 2) is capable of solving the riddles Langdom himsef in incapable of (Langdom needs Sophie to guess the password in DVC, Katherine is important (tryingnot to spoil anything) in TLS). Again, theirpasts are constructed in an almost infantile way, with a very simple, obvious chain of events that have led to where they are now. Maybe I've read too much Foucault, but that's not how history works. And again, they don't seem to change much at all. Even when Sophie finds out she's a living relative of Jesus, not a whole helluva lot changes in her character.

    The villains are probably the most interesting ofhis characters, as you note, but in my opinion their constructions, which you consider complex, I still have to sayseem rather basic. All in all, his characters are interesting enough that they can sustain the plot (which, I contend is the focus of his fiction) but they certainly don't enhance it.

    So does it matter? I agree: no. His books work well enough with the characters that they're not problematic. Could they be better? Are they flat? I think absolutely yes. Would making them better improve the book? Possibly, but as I said, the plot is clearly the most important aspect of the novels, and Brown tells a thrilling story. But there's plenty of room for improvement...
     
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  3. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    And yet, he's more complex, deeper, and even more animated than the protagonists of most mystery/thriller/crime/suspense genre, which typically do not have complex protagonists.

    Sherlock Holmes is less deep or complex than Robert Langdon. So is Sam Spade, and although he may be more animated in the sense of punching someone in the jaw, he has far less depth. One of the main points of the character of Robert Langdon is that he's an anti-hero: a hero geek. He doesn't punch people in the jaw like Sam Spade does--he uses his intellect, which I think is refreshing in a genre where another group of not-deep protagonist, David Baldacci's "Camel Club" (who I also love) regularly use fists and firearms to overcome obstacles.

    You speak of the female characters... Sophie Neveu (sp?) is far deeper and more complex than the female leads in almost any book in the genre. Look at the female characters in Dashiell Hammett's books. I find Sophie Neveu to be a compelling character, unlike the women who walk into Sam Spade's office in need of a private detective... yet no one would question that the Maltese Falcon is one of the great classics of the genre.

    If a reader is looking for deep characterization, I personally wouldn't recommend the genre... or, probably any genre, for science fiction, fantasy and the other genres have similar issues with characterization. I'd recommend a mainstream novel.

    Dan Brown's characters are about the most deep one is likely to find in this genre, except perhaps in a Stephen King novel... although Stephen King has his own writing flaws.

    More later... I don't want to spend too much time on this, so I have to answer in drips and drabs...

    Edit add on:

    The main characters in series adventures rarely have fundamental changes from novel to novel because those who enjoy the characters don't want their characters fundamentally altered. There's comfort in knowing your characters, and coming back to them now and then, like old friends.

    The characters can undergo changes within a novel relevant to the novel--Robert Langdon wouldn't have sought to worship at the bones of Mary Magdaline at the beginning of the Da Vinci Code--but the whole point of a series is generally, that the hero comes out fundamentally unscathed, unless you're prepared to end the series, have Harry graduate from Hogwarts or have Moriarty kill Sherlock Holmes.

    Again, I refer you to other series in the genre, or in other genres, for that matter. The characters in Baldacci's Camel Club series don't fundamentally change from novel to novel, nor did Sherlock Holmes or Watsen undergo any fundamental changes from novel to novel.

    I know of no major turning point, say, where Sam Spade swore he would never use a gun again and future novels became the gunless Sam Spade, or where he developed a fear in a novel that pervaded future novels.

    In the Elizabeth Peter's series, Amelia Peabody is the same prudish, lovable woman, and her husband, the same gruff archeologist, from novel to novel, even as their son grows from childhood to manhood.

    Not only doesn't Rolland change in Stephen King's Dark Tower series,
    in the end (SPOILER WARNING) he goes back to the beginning of his quest!

    To give another example--even when Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan character found civilization, he didn't fundamentally change!

    Or, to jump over to comics, Superman is always Superman, Batman is always Batman, and any changes are generally of the gimmick variety (Superman dies, all the Kryptonite on Earth is destroyed, Batman gets a new Robin and Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing, etc.)

    Or, to jump over to movies, what fundamental changes happened to Indiana Jones from Raiders of the Lost Ark to the last installment?

    I can't think of a series in the mystery/suspense/thriller genre where the protagonists fundamentally change from novel to novel, and those changes accumulate in the novels that follow--can you?

    And if you can--does it make that series superior to the Amelia Peabody series, the Sherlock Holmes novels, the Tarzan novels, the various series by Agatha Christie, the Camel Club series, the Dark Tower series or the Robert Langdon novels?

    Charlie
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I guess you're right with regards to other genres..I couldn't argue with you either way, I read pretty literary fic. pretty much exclusively, so I guess maybe I'm used to certain things that Dan Brown doesn't live up to. Still, not many of the writer's I tend to read have 700 page books I could finish in 2 days, so maybe there's something to be said for that...
     
  5. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Well, all I can really say is I enjoy reading his books. They're thrilling, which is what it says on the package, and they're inclusive in the way they draw the reader in and keep them onboard to the journey's end. Easy, entertaining reading. Next?
     
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  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    If all you're looking for is mindless entertainment, then yeah, you probably can't do much better than Dan Brown, but if you're looking for a rewarding readig experience, you can do a lot better...
     
  7. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    In your opinion, which you're entitled to.
     
  8. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The biggest issue I have with Brown is that he claims some of what he writes in his books are fact when they are not. This mostly applies to his treatment of Christianity. Many scholars have pointed out inconsistencies and falsehood in The Da Vinci Code, but he remains adamant that most of what he writes is based on fact.

    As for his prose, it could be better. Some of his sentences need serious rewording. Also, it seems he's trying way to hard to hook readers with the first sentence in each of his novels. These sentences come off as extremely stupid (for lack of a better word).

    Since I haven't read any other thriller novels, I can't say how he compares to others in his genre. But I think he does a pretty good job entertaining his readers.
     
  9. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    It's certainly entertainment, but I don't think it's "mindless." The Brady Bunch, or Gilligan's Island are mindless entertainment. The fact that you're reading and it's an actual book in and of itself puts one's mind into it.

    If it's not your cup of tea, that doesn't mean you should condescend. Better instead, I think, to tell us the books you do like... I'm at this point baffled why you ever read a Dan Brown book in the first place, if all you read is literary novels.

    In some ways, genre fiction (whether Dan Brown, Stephen King, or classics like Agatha Christie, or even sometimes-required school reading like Edgar Allen Poe) is the literary equivalent of "junk food," Stephen King has compared his own books to a McDonald's meal, but even a McDonald's meal has nutritional value. If it gets people reading, I think it's a good thing, and even reading "McDonalds" is a good thing in a society that is increasingly anorexic when it comes to reading.

    As for readers, some like literary novels, some like romances, some like other-worldly fantasy, some like thrillers... and, while one might not like what another likes, they can all engage the mind.

    Dan Brown's book actually engaged my mind, and got me interested in reading, including nonfiction reading, that I might not have otherwise have gleaned an interest in.

    (Technically, I think literary novels are also entertainment, though I won't condescend on people who read them to say they're "mindless." It's okay to be entertained. All reading need not be, reading technical manuals, newspapers, history and science in order to extract information. And, to be perfectly honest, I rarely read literary novels because they put me to sleep. That never happens with a Dan Brown book.)

    Charlie
     
  10. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I've read a few of the books critical of the Da Vinci Code, where they err is in their interpretation of what Dan Brown actually claims is fact. That which he claimed was factual, was factual: the descriptions of the art, architecture and manuscripts. Where he weaved fiction was in the interpretations of the art, architecture and manuscripts. Dan Brown has said quite clearly that he disagrees with the interpretations of many of his characters, yet most of the "debunking" books focus primarily on the views of Leigh Teabing, a character in the Da Vinci Code.

    They point to his errors in interpreting the Gnostic Gospels, for example. Well, the claims Leigh Teabing makes about the Gnostic Gospels are not claims Dan Brown makes. Those are the interpretations of his character. The actual descriptions of the Gnostic Gospels themselves were accurate, as stated on his "Fact Page." The quotes were also accurate. It's the interpretations of them, as given by Leigh Teabing, which were inaccurate, yet Dan Brown never says in his Fact Page that his characters all interpret these things correctly.

    (Scholars debate the age of the Gnostic gospels, but some of those gospels, including prominantly, in all probability, the sayings Gospel of Thomas, are nearly as ancient as the canonical gospels, and many of them predate the Council of Nicea.)

    Many of Dan Brown's fans are themselves Christian--and Dan Brown himself claims to be Christian. I'm a Christian. (Albeit a liberal-interpreting Unitarian Universalist Christian.) But I'm also familiar with the Gnostic Gospels, being a reader of various religious writings and having read them even before I ever heard of Dan Brown, and I know that the passages his book quoted from them are real passages, and that they really do suggest a relationship with Mary Magdalene. How one interprets those writings is an individual thing, and I, you, Robert Langdon and Leigh Teabing are all capable minds able to speculate on them... and I think it lends value to the mystery of the fiction.

    Charlie

    PS. My opinion, and I don't care who agrees or disagrees: The book actually sold me on the "Last Supper" painting, that the person to Jesus' right looks like a woman. When I got to that part in the book, I actually ran to the computer, pulled up the "Last Supper," and sure enough, the person to Jesus' right does look like a woman to me.

    Then I remembered, vaguely, when I was a small child, actually seeing it that way, although it was so long ago I had almost forgotten. I remember being in church, and being told by my aunt, pointing to the center of the painting, "That's Jesus," and me asking, "Who's she?" I actually thought it was his mother Mary, and my aunt said, "That's not a she, that's John, those are the twelve apostles." And I thought it was strange that John looked so much like a girl.


    EDIT: Note:

    The rules of this site don't allow me to post URL's or excerpts of copyright-protected material (essentially anything written on another website) so I cannot post it here.

    BUT, I highly suggest that anyone who wonders what Dan Brown TRULY claims is real and fictional in the Da Vinci Code, refer to the Q&A section of the DaVinci Code section of Dan Brown's website. There, he answers questions about what is real and fictional in the Da Vinci Code. What others claim he claims is real, isn't what he actually claims is real.

    There, you will also find another side of the coin on the question of Christianity and the Da Vinci Code: He notes that many Christian leaders have thanked him for his book, and the interest in faith and Christian history and open discussion is has provoked.
     
  11. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Even though he claims that what he wrote on architecture, etc. is true, many experts from those fields have contradicted him. Basically, he claims something is correct and then some expert in that field says otherwise. I prefer to trust the expert rather than Dan Brown. If Brown had clearly stated that a lot of what he wrote is fiction, then perhaps we wouldn't have this problem. But he keeps on insisting that all the events he writes about actually happen when, in fact, they did not. There are also other inconsistencies with things like the Knights Templar. He also mentioned in an interview that 99% of the background of the novel is true.

    Also, some of his French translations are wrong. He confuses some words for others, and this causes misinterpretations on his part.
     
  12. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    1. French translations??? I've read all of his books, and I do not recall any "French translations." What are you talking about?

    2. What "experts," and what did they "contradict" specifically? What "inconsistencies" specifically?

    3. He did say that what he wrote was fiction. He's never insisted that "all the events he wrote about actually happened."

    Charlie
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    1. Sorry I wasn't specific about it. Some of the words for Holy Grail, etc. come from Old French. When you translate these original words, they are slightly different than the one Brown uses. These slight differences also mean slight misinterpretations.

    2. There are various astronomical, architectural, historical and technological inaccuracies. You can find details about this in Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code. It's a good book that separates fact from fiction.

    3. This is taken from an NBC interview:
     
  14. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    1. Dan Brown never claimed his story characters translations of French were historical fact... however, the following is a true statement: sang réal means "royal blood" in Old French.

    2. I've read that book, as well as two others about the Da Vinci Code. I've also read much of the backup research material. I read the Gnostic Gospels even before I heard of Dan Brown, and I also read Holy Blood Holy Grail. I did find flaws in the claims of the characters in the Da Vinci Code (which was, indeed, fiction, and Dan Brown says so himself) but I also found flaws in those works. For example, they all assume the most conservative (latest) dates for the Gnostic gospels, while many scholars disagree with them. They also ignore Dan Brown's actual words in his fact page, debunking things that clearly weren't covered by his fact page and are therefore things he never claimed to be fact. Most of what they debunk really has nothing to do with what he claimed to be fact, but are things he admitted were fiction. I suggest that, rather than simply reading

    3. The Matt Lauer quote was specific to the Lost Symbol, and had nothing to do with the Da Vinci Code. Further, you have to look at what he's actually saying here. What art did Dan Brown write about that was fictional? None--the art all exists. What architecture did he write about that was fictional? None--all the architecture exists. What secret rituals and societies were invented? None--they all exist. Beyond that, no claims are made. If one of his characters says something about a society or a ritual, and what that character said was inaccurate, Dan Brown's statement would still be both truthful and correct. He never claimed his characters were correct in all their interpretations of all of these things--only that they exist... and this quote specifically is in the context of a conversation about the Lost Symbol.

    I suggest that you go to his website, look up the Da Vinci Code, look up the Q & A, and see what he REALLY claims is real, and what he REALLY claims is fictional in the Da Vinci Code.
     
  15. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    1. Actually, royal blood is "sang royal." Sophie would know this since she is a native of France. The "real" in "sang real" comes from Sankgreall, which translates into something like "dish" or "platter."

    2. The thing is that Dan Brown sometimes contradicts himself in interviews. He once said that all that he wrote is correct. Then, in a later interview, he said that most of it is correct. Also, the fact that many experts in history are attacking his claims means something is wrong. Otherwise, there wouldn't be so much of an issue about this. Maybe we should just leave this part of the debate to the experts since I am not an expert in history and I'm assuming that you aren't either (sorry if I'm wrong).

    3. The interview I got the quote from is from 2003 and deals with the Da Vinci Code. Maybe your talking about a different interview. Also, Lauer was asking about "things that actually occurred," which means events. Lets assume for now that all of his claims about art and architecture are correct. We're still talking about events here, and some of the events he claims have happened didn't happen at all. There is no evidence that the Knights Templar found the holy grail. Any claims that people make about this are, at best, mere speculations.

    And on his site, he only talks about art, architecture, etc. He mentions nothing about events. So, all I can go by about this is by what he said in the interview with Lauer.
     
  16. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    Old French, thirdwind, Old French, the Roman dialect spoken around 900-1300 CE. Let me suggest doing some research on the subject. I've read up on it with some quick googling, referencing several sites (unfortunately, this site doesn't allow posting of URLs or quotes from other sites.)



    I'm sorry, but I'm fairly certain he never said those words. No fiction writer would ever claim that "all" they write is "correct." How can fiction be "correct" anyway? That's like saying paintings or music can be "correct" or "incorrect." It's a non-sequitur, and I think Dan Brown would know that.

    I googled it and found the exact quote in a recent interview about the Lost Symbol. I find it highly unlikely that he said the same words to the same interviewer in 2003, and after the release of his latest novel.

    I'm sorry, but he never made the claims you're claiming he made. His claims, all along, have been very specific about what parts were real and what parts were fictitious. He would never claim that every event in his book actually happened. You wouldn't even have to go into the Knights Templar--if he really claimed what you're claiming he claimed, then he claimed that there's a real person named Robert Langdon who really went on an adventure with a real person named Sophie Nevue. Sorry, he never claimed that the "things" in his book "actually occurred." You are making vague references to unclear, inaccurately quoted quotes, then taking them out of context and extrapolating them into other claims he never made.

    Charlie
     
  17. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I'm kind of in a hurry, so I don't have time right now to discuss all of your points, but I'll get to them later.

    The quote I got was from 2003 and came from an NBC Today interview. It specifically deals with The Da Vinci Code. If you google "dan brown interview nbc today 2003" it should be the first link.

    Here's another quote from an interview in 2003. It's from CNN.
    He claims that the history is true, although historians have refuted his claims many times.

    *sigh* You misinterpreted a lot of what I said. I never said that he claimed Langdon is real. I was talking about the historical events. He claims that 99% of what he wrote is true, yet his claims have been refuted numerous times by credible sources.
     
  18. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    I think the greatness of Dan Brown is best summed up in this beautiful sentence from Angels and Demons: 'His reputation for secrecy was exceeded only by that of his deadliness.'
     
  19. yournamehere
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    That's not true at all. He claims that Galaleo started the illuminati. That's not fact, nor is it an interperetation of the art either. The iluminati didn't appear till several hundred years later--the path of illumination is also fictional.

    Mr. Brown creates an interesting story, but as far as the history involved, he molds it into another form altogether. If one is insulted by this, it would be wise not to take cracks at his technical writing skill. You'll wind up about as far as a crab apple. (<<those things can kill you by the way.) ;)

    peace out,
    -nick
     
  20. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    Of the posts so far, I think this is the one I agree with the most. Personally, I found Angels and Demons a fun read, but it's not something that holds up well to intense critique or deep analysis. Because of my studies I could never buy enough into the Da Vinci Code to enjoy it, and I found the writing wasn't enough to carry the book. I think Dan Brown has a formula that works well for him, and while I don't consider his prose to be very good at all, it's at least a step up from the Twilights and Eragons of the literary world.
     
  21. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    When did Dan Brown claim that Galileo started the Illuminati?

    Charlie
     
  22. Agreen
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    Agreen Faceless Man Contributor

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    If I remember correctly, it comes up in Angels and Demons. BTW Charlie, which Christian gnostic texts have you read? Though I'm more interested in Neo-Platonism, I think Gnosticism is quite interesting.
     
  23. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    It may come up in Angels and Demons--but that doesn't mean Dan Brown claims it's true.

    I've read the entire Naj Hammadi Library, as well as two of the books by Elaine Pagals on the topic of the Gnostic Gospels ("The Gnostic Gospels," and one whose title I don't recall about the relationship between Gospel of Thomas and the canonical book of John.) In addition, I've read a translation and a discussion of the Gospel of Judas, and a translation and discussion of the Gospel of Mary Magdaline, and a few other collections of Gnostic Gospels whose titles I don't recall. One, I do recall, contained some of the Gnostic Gospels discovered prior to Naj Hammadi, such as the Thomas Infancy Gospel.

    As a slightly related aside, I also read Burton Mack's book on the lost Q Gospel. I personally believe that the Q Gospel almost certainly existed, and that besides being tied to Mark, Matthew and Luke, it was almost certainly tied to an early draft of the sayings Gospel of Thomas, but that's another discussion entirely.

    Charlie

    EDIT:

    I want to point out something (I'm imagining a response like, "Oh, so you believe Elaine Pagels..." which may or may not be inferred from what I wrote above.)

    I read all that I read with a critical mind. While I recognize that there are those whose scholarship is different than mine, and often more extensive than mine, I also recognize that they are all human beings and all fallible. This includes the fiction and nonfiction writers I read, Dan Brown, the several books I read avowing to debunk Dan Brown, and really, every word I read written by anyone. I take it in, and I draw my conclusions. I don't think I've read an author I completely agree with, but also, very few authors from whose works I did not find some value.

    I read all books with an open mind for discovery and also, a critical mind to realize that the author probably made errors. I'm often frustrated when I'm reading this author or that author and someone thinks, because I'm reading the person, that I must agree with them on all things... and I recommend that everyone read everything keeping their intellect with them. I often find myself debunking the claims of authors, even as I'm reading them, and even with authors that I, myself like and agree with on other things!
     
  24. yournamehere
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    yournamehere Member

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    And finally, the secret to life, the universe and everything is in fact 42. I too learned this from television.

    peace,
    -nick
     
  25. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    My mistake, then. When I googled it (using a different word search I don't recall) the one that I found was the later one.

    I still maintain that, in context, he's only claiming that the art, documents and architecture exists, not that every claim made by the characters is true.

    Note, the question asked whether it was based on real events, real things, not if the events in his story were real events, and his reply was very specific to art, architecture, etc.

    The phrase "based on" has a very specific meaning--and that meaning isn't, "true in every sense of the word."

    You're taking what he's saying too literally, especially when he has elsewhere been very clear what's real and what's not, and here, did not make any specific claims about something untrue being actually true. The history he's referring to is true--the interpretations of the history are fictional. The architecture is real. The art is real. The secret rituals are real. He didn't specifically say that anything unreal was actually real.

    If we take the 99% claim literally, then Langdon must be real, because more than 1% of the Da Vinci Code dealt with Robert Langdon.

    I don't know of any specific historical event that Dan Brown specifically claimed was real, that wasn't. Every quote you've provided had Dan Brown talking in generalities... "All of it, 99% of it, based on historical things... the art is real, the architecture is real..." These are generalities that can't be applied to anything specific to say, "See, he says that X is real, and I can prove that X isn't real."

    "The history" reference in the interview is so vague, so non-specific, that you can't just take that statement and apply it to every historical reference in his book and say that he's claiming that they're all completely perfect in their accuracy. I would take it to mean, the history is all true history, but the details as presented by his flawed characters could not possibly be expected to be spot-on, and sometimes would certainly be entirely fictionalized.

    Let's say I wrote a story about someone who goes to Mount Vernon, and my character has hallucinations about George Washington being Napolean's brother, and I have the guy going from room to room talking about Washington being Napolean's brother, and I describe the rooms and the artwork in the rooms through my character's eyes. My book is entirely, 100% based on reality. That's true. What's not true is that George Washington was Napolean's brother. That was what my deluded character claimed. I'm not lying, however, when I make the vague statement that my book is based on the truth. That's not the same as me claiming that George Washington is Napolean's brother.

    You can't take vague statements like the quotes you've provided, and apply them to specific things that they may or may not apply to.

    And, frankly, I don't know where one person gets the "credible" prize and another gets the "not credible" prize. I've examined several of these books, and found ways in which they were flawed... not the least of which being, they're trying to discredit the man by claiming he said things are real that he never said were real. There are certain claims, for example, made by Leigh Teabing about the Gnostic Gospels, that these books spend chapter after chapter debunking, that you will never, ever, ever find a single quote by Dan Brown saying, "Yes, Leigh Teabing was absolutely correct in that statement," but you will find many statements by Dan Brown pointing out that his characters do not always have the correct interpretation of the data. To me, the very fact that they're using these things against him is demonstrative of someone trying to tear another man down in any way they can, and does not bode well for their credibility.

    Charlie
     

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