Robert Langdon Series (Books 1-3)

 

Angels and Demons starts with mystery and I’ve already decided I’ll continue to read this series. Although fast paced, I find some of the dialogue contrived when certain characters talk about religion when previously seeming indifferent. Otherwise it’s definitely worth the read.

The Da Vinci Code begins with more murder and continues to draw me into it’s wicked ride. Even though Langdon continues to try my patience; he’s one of those characters I suffer through to get to the prize of the completion of a good story well-told, but may end a bit like a squeaky fart in the wind. I think I’ve had quite enough of Brown’s flighty fantasy of some dumb wanna-be hip, smart, clever well into his middle-ages “Professah”, but I may have to round it off with it’s third act.

The Lost Symbol starts with us being introduced to a nameless thirty-four-year-old initiate of a ritualistic brotherhood. We learn outside this ritual, some of the brothers held powerful positions in the world, but here all being equal. Then we learn wherever this place was, it was a few blocks away from the White House and the building they all had gathered in, was filled with secrets, especially the one the initiate stood in. The master of the brotherhood gives the initiate a question of whether he would keep the secrets told to him, the initiate lying, believing he wouldn’t be found out. He completes the final stage of his oath-taking, realizing if he were ever found to be a betrayer of their oaths, he’d be killed and mutilated. We are then shown a nightmare which awakens Robert Langdon consisting of a terrifying drop in an elevator. Apparently this is a daydream and he’s in a jet almost arriving in Washington, D.C. where he would be meeting his mentor Peter Solomon. When Langdon gets outside he’s met by a woman who directs him to his awaiting car. When he gets in, his driver calls Solomon to confirm Langdon’s being met and meanwhile we learn someone else is gladly readying for Langdon’s arrival.

We are then introduced to someone called Mal’akh who was giving himself a tattoo on his head. It then goes on to describe the history of why people tattooed themselves and why they continue to do so today along with body piercing or surgical modification to feel in control of their bodies. Then we are shown Mal’akh stopping his work when his clock chimes the hour, being told of his height, which I suppose is important, as well as being told he is within distance of seeing the U.S. Capitol. We also learn Mal’akh is the one we follow in the introduction during his acceptance ceremony, discovering he’ll soon possess the most secret item in American history. Mal’akh admires himself, he covered in tattoos other than a spot on his scalp, which would be saved until after his mission, the last person to help him find this secret item having arrived, and Mal’akh excited to get started with his deceptive plan.

Robert is in the car studying his note cards, soon thinking of how sudden his visit to D.C. occurred, he receiving a voice-mail from a man whom was Peter Solomon’s executive assistant, speaking of wanting Langdon to call A.S.A.P. which gave the impression to Langdon of something being amiss for his friend to be having someone call him so early in the morning, dropping everything and returning the phone call. We then are given a back-story to Langdon and Solomon’s friendship which began in college. Once realizing he’d also gotten a fax regarding the same topic, he calls Solomon’s office, and after some trouble getting Solomon on the line due to a conference call, the secretary fills Langdon in as to why he’d been pestered so early in the morning having to do with him replacing another speaker who had fallen ill before the party of the Masons. This somehow surprises Langdon as well as learning the speech for the same night and he would need to meet the private jet at five p.m., being able to return home by midnight (sure, he will).

We first get a description of the Capitol building, then being told who the security guard is inside, a bald man with a sling and facial toner being scanned before being let through, the building being completely empty because of the football game, which the security guard wished he was watching. He scans the bald man thoroughly even though the detector beeps and the bald man gives the excuse of it being a ring which couldn’t be taken off his hand, but discover later it’s a gift for the only man whom can help him obtain what he seeks, he being passed through after, when the security guard doesn’t sense any fear from the man and he seeming up front about everything he asked him.

A museum outside Washington, DC is Katherine Solomon’s destination, we get the rundown of her easily maintained Mediterranean good looks and how she hadn’t married nor desired to, she showing up early for a meeting. We also find out a little bit about her brother and father, as well as her line of study in Noetic Science which she was a front-runner of knowledge on the subject. We learn she’d found out some unsettling news about her brother recently and then prepares to answer a call before she was ready to exit her car. We then go to Mal’akh’s point of view, waiting for the call he’d made to be picked up and when it is, we figure it’s Katherine on the other line, he telling her he had more information on a legend hidden in D.C. which had merit in reality.

Langdon is next seen being plunged into nervousness with how far the driver had to drop him off and with only ten minutes before his lecture was to begin. He makes his way to the Capitol Building wishing he had more time to admire his surroundings, but moving along quickly, he trying to get to the Statuary Hall and giving the fun fact of how the Statue of Freedom was erected to its place by slaves, as well as a couple others. We then get a flashback of Langdon gently guiding a young Harvard student on the terminology and the boy’s ignorance on the subject of Langdon’s expertise, we also discovering with his class how George Washington’s statue of himself lowering a masonic cornerstone to the Capitol Building was laid at a time and date which had significance in astrology, but a sort which was a bit unlike the one we know today. The conversation slowly turns to the Freemasons and then gets into it not being based on or was considered a religion and how women weren’t included in the organization, but had a sister organization of a different name. Langdon continues to smart off to his class on different areas to show how they were boxing themselves into a conformist attitude, we then finally getting back to the point of he arriving at the place of his speech and being surprised by what he sees within.

Katherine Solomon is then shown running through the Smithsonian Museum Support Center where she’s been creating scientific wonders, as her brother hoped she’d do when he’d introduced her to the building’s presence. After a one-sided conversation from the security guard, we learn how much use she’d been making of her secret lab which contained research which had progressed to a point where it no longer seemed like science. We then learn Robert Langdon isn’t among anyone important in the lecture hall, and when he asks a worker about the lecture, the person doesn’t know anything about it, Langdon deciding to call back the receptionist whom had set up his trip, then realizing he’d played him like a fiddle, not being who he said he was and being the one to have orchestrated Langdon’s being there to meet himself and not Peter Solomon.

Langdon now is feeling trapped in the Statuary Hall and claims the man on the other line has kidnapped him, but Mal’akh calmly tells him if he were going to kill him, it would’ve been done in his town car, then offering Langdon an invitation to which Langdon already thinks of saying no to, but then Mal’akh mentions Peter Solomon’s name, successfully getting his attention and keeping him on the phone, going on to mention Langdon having a chance of saving Peter’s mortality. Langdon threatens calling the police which Mal’akh doesn’t care about, knowing they’ll be coming to Langdon soon, then telling him where Solomon was currently, due to not being able to speak with Langdon as proof of his being still alive. Langdon is then told by Mal’akh of the secret he’s pretending not to be privy to which could save Solomon’s life. Mal’akh continues to be cryptic about how Langdon had the key to opening a “portal” and Solomon was the one to tell Mal’akh of Langdon being the one able to do so and how since Langdon seemed stumped as to what he was referring to, the reality would dawn on him soon enough, hanging up and leaving Langdon baffled and then hearing a scream coming from the Rotunda.

When Langdon rushes to see what had happened, he at first believed a small child had screamed over seeing an articulated hand pointing to the ceiling on the ground, but as he got closer realized it wasn’t a “handequin”, but a real hand the owner of which he knew. Katherine is then seen waiting for her brother to show up to their weekly get together, she wondering why he was late when he was characteristically not. We then get a flashback of the time Katherine is shown by her brother the space she would be using to conduct her theoretical experiments. They walk down a long corridor and upon reaching the entrance to the pod, Katherine learns her lab is purely black inside the dome. So when she follows her brother inside, he walks ahead to show her how easy it was to navigate inside.

We are then introduced to Trent Anderson, Capitol police chief who was watching a football game on his mini-screen when he gets a call about a disturbance in the Rotunda and how he’d want to check it out, he going to the main office and seeing the video footage of what had happened, he rushing out to cut off the man who had dropped the hand in the Rotunda. Anderson follows his trail and gets information as to where the man in the sling had gone, but not locating him, we then seeing Mal’akh having disguised himself and contemplated how Langdon would understand his place in this web soon enough.

Langdon then notices two tattoos on the hand both of which he recognized and knew their would be three more, he having an adverse reaction in knowing his friend used to shake his hand with the one he saw on the floor. Langdon also knew this was an invitation to him from a secretively elite group, he attempting to relate to a guard he could help decipher the symbols, but not being given the chance to finish his thought, he getting hauled away from Solomon’s hand. Mal’akh drove his tinted-windowed vehicle and contemplated the last of Peter Solomon’s secrets, it being of Katherine’s “miracles” in her secret lab. He continued to consider his role in her work being uncovered by the world and how this new knowledge would affect the course of mankind’s history if it were to be unveiled and his excitement in playing out his part.

Katherine then goes to her lab, relieved to be through the blacked out walk to it, we then uncovering more about Katherine’s research involving thoughts being able to form physical shape. We then go back to Katherine having an intellectual discussion with her brother when she was starting college and how ancient texts covered the modern physics she brought up. We learn her eagerness to put the ancient texts her brother had introduced her to back into rediscovering certain sciences which would aid modern physics, she then noticing and remembering her conversation with Mal’akh about the legend which could be found and thinking it couldn’t possibly be real.

As the security chief secures the Rotunda, Langdon is desperately trying to speak with him, he still examining the hand on the floor until a call is relayed to him, he being surprised it was from the C.I.A. security office. It turns out to be the director of security and he’s looking to speak with Langdon; Wow. The security chief identifies and hands the phone to Langdon who takes on a curt tone once the director asks for what he knew about a case he was struggling to solve, the director showing up in the room, Langdon unaware, but the security chief of the Rotunda noticing. Langdon is soon surprised by the woman’s presence behind him and she at the end of her patience for a straight answer and stopping Langdon’s back-peddling for excuses to his calling her “sir” over the phone.

We get a further description of Sato’s appearance and Langdon again apologizing for his faux pas regardless of how common it probably was for her. Langdon tries to rectify the situation by offering his only other bit of information about the plane he was sent on, she not regarding it other than to take it unnoticed and telling him to not speak unless spoken to if he couldn’t give the information she asked for, then turning on Anderson for details about what was happening in the Rotunda. After he tells of what they’d found there and Sato not being surprised by it, but deciding she’d be taking over the investigation, Langdon again chimes in with the confirmation of who’s hand it was and it being newly tattooed which did surprise Sato and she taking a closer look after which Langdon discloses the hand’s other fingers would be tattooed as well, he going on to explain what the images would be and Sato wanting to know what it was there for, Langdon telling of what it was called and it being an invitation. Sato then relating to Langdon he knew more of why he was there then he must have realized.

Katherine, meanwhile is checking on her equipment and experiments, we learning there wasn’t a copy of her work anywhere else (we apparently going with her perspective since we learn later this isn’t true), and after which she saw something odd in another area, scaring the jingles off the woman seated, she knowing her by the name of Trish, she being the only other person allowed in the vault. Katherine decides to trust her with discovering what a particular story she’d heard about could mean and giving her a list of words to search for in her special search engine. As Trish goes about writing the program which will harness all the viable search engines already available, we get history of how she and Katherine had met and where she’d worked before signing on with Katherine and her brother. We then see their first meeting and a conversation which ends with the two discussing the theory of an idea being able to accrue more tangential mass the more people think of it. I don’t appreciate getting to know a character whom doesn’t have the opportunity to do much in the story and one which turns out to be only slightly interesting. Damn pawns.

We then rejoin Inoue Sato being told of Langdon’s thoughts of why the hand had been left, she asking what she was supposed to do with the information given, he not knowing and then thinking of how his friend’s hand would point the way, literally or otherwise. Sato continues to sort out why this unknown man would go through so much to get Langdon to Washington whilst Langdon lost his marbles in convincing Sato the man who had done this was insane, she maintaining the man seemed dedicated at the least in getting Langdon to perform the act desired to get to this “portal”. Sato continues her questioning which Langdon’s thoughts shown before answering seem arrogant and snotty, true to his being a knowledge buff which shows no leeway for those seeking truths he had encyclopedic knowledge of already. Langdon then admits the man who had given this strange invitation must have studied closely the Hand of the Mysteries for having set up the invitation in the area given and following the principles involved in the Mysteries “teachings”. Whilst this is going on we get a short view of Trish having set up her spider and being ready to let it loose with the word search she was given, knowing her not being fully informed about why she was being told to search for those words in particular was how the Solomons usually worked.

Meanwhile, Langdon is painfully aware of time passing and knowing he needed to find Solomon before he expired, Sato returning after she’d accepted a phone call and keeping Langdon aware of her need to understand the man whom had set him up, Langdon not agreeing but realizing he didn’t have much choice. Sato asking to have him explain more deeply the ancient mysteries, he not knowing where to start what with his semester long lectures on the subject, but doing pretty well with this almost three page chapter which ends with Sato being told of the apotheosis of Washington which she claimed to not know, but it being above their heads.

First we get the background history of the apotheosis and artist, then we see Director Sato’s confused look upon giving the piece a longer look, Langdon thinking how common this was and then sharing of the specifics of the images. As Sato considered ascending closer to the art on the ceiling, making Langdon’s fear of heights flare, he reminds all, the hand is pointing to a figurative portal. When Sato checks in with her staff by phone, she then lets Langdon realize what he’s told her so far has been corroborated so he must consider what it is he knows which they don’t, Langdon wanting to smart off for not knowing anything, but then voicing and remembering how the next step laid within Solomon’s hand, another tattoo hidden by the position the hand had been placed, he being proved right for being too pussy to actually touch the hand himself, but Sato making the effort with her pen.

Katherine was waiting for Trish’s search results, from her brother to contact her, and for the man whom was the cause of all of this. We then learn of a man, Dr. Christopher Abaddon whom had called her the same afternoon and had earned her trust fairly easily due to their conversation about Peter. She learns the man was her brother’s doctor and she was listed as his emergency contact, Katherine recognizing the doctor’s name, but not being able to place it, stating how long it’d been since she’d last spoken with Peter upon learning he’d missed an appointment and due to she showing no signs of knowing of Peter’s visits, concluding he’d kept his seeing this doctor a secret, which he’d claimed otherwise. Abaddon decides he made a mistake by calling her and she insists she’s going to come see him due to he revealing the time he’d last seen Peter being fairly recent. He reluctantly acquiesces and when she sees Abaddon’s “office”, is uncertain of the kind of doctor he could be. When she exits her car, the man whom emerges from the lavish home is young and refined, as well as all the other perfect qualities of an atypical handsome man. He greets her formally and she wonders of his smooth, possibly make-up covered skin. (An exceptionally obvious meeting with her brother’s captor. When they go inside and he leaves her to finish preparing tea, we learn Katherine is uneasy with the doctor’s home and when Abaddon returns, notes her nervousness and informs her how long he’d been giving Peter therapy.

They speak of minor pleasantries, Katherine wanting to get to the reason for Peter having hired the doctor, whilst remembering the tragedies in Peter’s life which could’ve caused his need for therapy. Abaddon then reveals how he and Peter were both Masons and Abaddon of a high order. He then confides how he didn’t understand why Peter wouldn’t have shared their meetings due to the subject matter involving Katherine’s research. Peter apparently was trying to get a psychologically based opinion for what could occur upon sharing her research publicly, Katherine taken aback by her brother breaking his own rule of sharing no details of her work with anyone during the development. Katherine mentions how she hadn’t any plans to share her work currently, which Abaddon showed curious interest in and then came out with how Peter had a “break” the previous day’s session, which was why he’d scheduled him to come back so soon. Abaddon then decides to share the nature of their session, agreeing to do so only to gain insight, he stating Peter had shared with him the details of their mother’s death and Peter had something the person involved had wanted. Katherine claimed no one could give the man what he had wanted due to his requests making no sense, but Abaddon shares Peter apparently had feigned ignorance and only refused to give in. Abaddon then warns Katherine of the next details he was going to share may be surprising, after discussing his belief of Peter suffering from major delusions involving D.C. and what was hidden there.

We skip back to Langdon surveying Peter’s tattooed hand, he trying to figure what the symbols were, shooting down a suggestion they could be Roman numerals, not certain they were numbers at all. Langdon then supposing it could be runic which leads Sato to pose the question of Peter being a Freemason somehow being a connection. Langdon thinking it was a typical source of possibility and if Sato wanted to know for certain, she should contact a Mason. Langdon then finds her statement of speaking to someone she could trust insulting, stating Mason’s were based on honesty, Sato revealing research which showed differently. Langdon was disliking Sato more, due to the extensive research he’d done over the years about which couldn’t support any deceivery whatsoever. Langdon then has an epiphany as to why he was sought to work this case, which we don’t learn at this point.

Meanwhile Mal’akh hears Peter’s cell go off as he’s driving and sees it’s Katherine, Mal’akh now knowing she knew nothing in regards to Peter’s secrets. Although the valuable knowledge of her research being contained in one place had kept her alive for a bit longer, it helping him contain and ruin her progress so as to keep the world in the dark. He listens to the voicemail Katherine leaves and continues driving to SMSC, knowing a person whom would help him get in to the highly secure building.

We skip back to Langdon’s epiphanal moment for why he was chosen, still not being shared and we only understanding this knowledge made him want to flee. Langdon then flashes back to a meeting with Peter many years ago whilst Langdon was at Cambridge, Peter dropping by to ask a favor. Langdon was happy to oblige and Peter elaborates of the item having been an inheritance and more at ease if it wasn’t in his home or office, producing a packaged box. After Langdon questions and jokes what it was, Peter informs of when the package had been wrapped and would probably be safer if he didn’t know too much about it. We then share a moment with Langdon which shows his denial of the importance of the box he’s being entrusted with, but is reassured of the seriousness and why it would be safer outside the Freemasons reach. Langdon is then given the detail of the item within being a powerful talisman which Langdon didn’t have to believe was true, but to trust Peter and he confiding some powerful people may wish to steal it, so Langdon stores the box in his home and forgets about it, thinking Peter was being eccentric:

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Then we discover the assistant whom called to have him agree to go to D.C. to give the speech, had also mentioned Peter wanting him to bring the packaged box with him, Langdon realizing the error of his ignorance.

Meanwhile Trish’s search had come up fruitful as it continued getting hits, she calling to Katherine to show her the results thus far. When noticing the only entry worthy of checking, Katherine was disappointed to see most of the text blacked out for copyright purposes, so she demands and is desperate to learn whom the author of the text was, Trish needing her to be patient and unnerved by her tone for having “to chase down” the information (…mk). Apparently, Trish can’t uncover the I.P. address necessary to discover the author, trying a different tactic. Her idea didn’t pan out, but was able to determine the text was made by someone in D.C.. Trish, for being such a computer geek sure did give up easily, Katherine coming up with ways to see about getting the information she desired, regardless of whether those ideas didn’t work. Trish then jokes about the only other way to track the I.P. would be to hire a hacker, Katherine going with the idea and asking Trish to hire someone she trusted to decipher the mystery. Katherine then receives a text from Peter, but with the information coming from Abaddon, continuing her plans of acquiring the hacker and in extension, a name, Katherine stating Peter’s first text message is newsworthy for his learning (which seems blatant of it not actually being from him, but Katherine must be a dope or too stressed to notice). We then discover Mal’akh waiting for a call and receiving it within a few moments by Katherine whom shares her getting the text from Peter and is inviting Abaddon to his lab, Mal’akh acting surprised by the invitation and Katherine only wanting to learn the truth. Mal’akh sets up a time of arrival and awaits the moment he would destroy Katherine’s work and herself.

Langdon is trying to cover his odd behavior by making a breakthrough on what looked like a numbered tattoo, talking as he tried to work it out and landing on Roman numerals when the hand is repositioned, which gets a reaction from the Chief, Anderson, whom was looking on, noting the tattoo now indicated a system used in the Capitol Building. As Sato and Anderson spoke amongst themselves, Langdon pondered how they could possibly be familiar with the “SBB” part of the numerals (obviously not considering if it was a system used in the building, why is it still so surprising? No one could possibly have the same level of intelligence as Mr. Langdon, sir.) Sato demands of Anderson to have the area available to her, threatening force if necessary, but he complies and Sato then states of wanting to see the x-ray of Langdon’s bag which was taken upon entry of the building, also deciding to keep the ring from Peter’s severed hand and informing Langdon they would be leaving, Anderson leading the way.

A security specialist was doing several tasks at one time whilst also speaking with Trish on the phone, she trying to appeal to him to check the I.P. address for her, he finally doing so and noting it looked odd and could possibly be military or government-based, and then stating the unmasking may take a little time and would return her call. After which we go back to Langdon, whom is wondering where he’s being led, which already was flaring his claustrophobia. When they began their walk Langdon had noticed how the offices and storage rooms were labelled and once seeing the sign for the SB level decided they must be “getting closer” (Gee, I wonder how he managed such a clever deduction, which turns out to be wrong). Langdon then learns what the SB stood for, and if he thought his claustrophobia was verging on intolerable before, he realized the section before was the cake-walk.

We then see a guard disappointed he had to stop watching his portable TV to do his job of checking Dr. Abaddon before letting him through as a guest to see Katherine, checking his I.D. and slightly paying attention to the limo driver, whom we realize is Mal’akh, he gloating of getting through Peter’s security once more. We then flashback to when Mal’akh had met with Peter and what lengths he’d made to be awarded the 33rd degree in his Freemasonry and not having uncovered any secrets, knowing there were circles within circles and may may not discover. Mal’akh apparently didn’t require the knowledge, believing he’d gotten more from the initiation itself. Then Mal’akh confides he and Peter had met before, but not saying how and tasing Peter, he trying to ask why Mal’akh would do this, guessing money and he scoffing, wanting insight, Peter playing coy, stating ignorance, and Mal’akh revealing the first time they met, tasing him once more before sharing Peter would tell him all which was hidden and why Peter had attempted to kill him years before.

As Langdon is being gripped tightly be his semi-irrational fear, the group going lower into the building’s secure basement, he pondered the role he’d play which included the talisman in his bag and whatever was in room SBB13, we then learning of Langdon’s skepticism regarding the Ancient Mysteries, and learning of this “knowledge” being passed down in the Mystery Schools and eventually being shared with famous scientists within the Royal Society of London, helping these scientists come to their great discoveries. Langdon didn’t believe this was true and is then asked by Sato to decipher the symbols on Peter’s ring. Langdon states of its relation to Peter’s status as a Freemason and he confirming Peter was the highest rank at the moment. Sato then mentions how her people had turned up much information on a pyramid upon certain research regarding the Mason’s, Landon not surprised and a little miffed after explaining why Sato would inquire whether there was any other reason due to how important the one reason mentioned was, but Sato reminded him of a more literal translation which Langdon tries to shut down quickly, knowing for certain it being based in fiction, but she pursuing the subject until he gives an atypical description of how the mythical stories were usually told. Sato then gets a question answered which brought history into myth when speaking of the Freemasons part in knowing of the Ancient Mysteries. Langdon takes his sweet time in mentioning the pyramid Sato had asked and Langdon feeling it necessary to repeat it shouldn’t be taken literally, but an actual pyramid was built to store the Ancient Mysteries and Sato couldn’t help but consider the words of Mal’akh and how Langdon supposedly was the one to unlock the “portal” (pyramid), Langdon brushing off the possibility since he was bound to the idea of its fiction. They were now closer to their destination Langdon seeing the longest corridor he’d ever beheld.

We then go back to Trish who was about to escort Abaddon to the cube and the experience first timers had upon confronting the walk, she flashing back to hers, and then we seeing Katherine obsessing about the file, but getting ready for Abaddon’s arrival. Langdon is learning how the SBB level had been cleared other than room 13 and was designated by the person running the building of whom was called, Architect, we then being told along with Anderson, for whom it was reserved. Anderson also learns Peter must’ve had the primary keys to SBB13, as well as those to the SBB section and would be informed if copies were found. In the meantime, Anderson opens the SBB area and then shares with Langdon what the “S” stood for, the result only being more bad news for Langdon.

The hacker is still attempting to decipher where the I.P. address was coming from, none of his programs working, when he receives a call from the CIA, wondering why he was attempting to access one of their databases. We then following the security guard responsible for letting Mal’akh through, wondering if his job was secure, and then hearing a man knocking on the glass door, he motioning the building was closed when he recognized it was the Architect and rushes to let him in. The security guard offers to help him, Bellamy asking where Anderson was due to hearing of the drama happening. When Bellamy learns of Sato being present and the group being in the lower levels, he requests the security guard escort him to them without informing Anderson of their coming.

Trish made it to the lobby and didn’t expect to see a non-nerd, introducing herself then leading him back to the lab. She noticed through Abaddon’s comment and attitude he’d expected to meet Katherine alone, making Trish wonder if they were dating and letting him know they’d be expecting more visitors, as well as general chit chat, and details of the facility. Trish discusses the security they had which made it impossible to succeed to steal anything and the items being unworthy of interest, anyways. Mal’akh then feigns unabashed interest in the large squid, so Trish accedes to giving him a closer look.

Langdon has slowed his descent due to irrational fear, Sato pushing him periodically to make him move faster. When they do finally reach the door, it isn’t unlocked and the key they had didn’t match, Sato commands Anderson to shoot the lock making it clear if he refused he’d bring more trouble to himself. Sato decides she’ll do the shooting since Anderson hesitated and when they shine the flashlight inside, they don’t see anything until illuminating the back wall and showing parts of a skeleton and other items on a desk, Langdon recognizing what they were there for due to it being a “common” ritual. We then see where Bellamy and the security guard had gone, a floor above where Langdon and group are, they having heard the gunshots and Bellamy releasing the guard to continue alone. The dialogue bothers me when it tries to sound natural only to show a character’s nosiness or arrogance. Brown doesn’t have any redeeming qualities in his characters thus far which makes me despise the people needed to tell the story.

Back to Mal’akh viewing the “Wet Pod” and noting this was one of the oddest experiences he’d witnessed, he being no stranger to unusual environments. The place was filled with specimens and whilst Trish gave random information about certain creatures within the pod, as well as the squid, Mal’akh looked for security cameras. Trish meanwhile, was beginning to feel uncomfortable and thinking she should get them ready to leave, after making a show of letting Mal’akh inside, offering information, and turning on the light to view the squid better. She then makes a show of turning the tank light off when Mal’akh grabs her, yanking off her key card, and demanding her pin number. She tries to hold out, even going so far as to scratch his face, his makeup coming off, not doing any serious damage. After being threatened by Mal’akh dangling her face first over the squid tank, she gives up her code. Mal’akh doesn’t let her up though, Trish blacking out from his grip staying tight around her neck. Now Mal’akh had the key card and password, he didn’t need to harass Katherine for her cooperation.

We see Sato inquiring about the room they were in, Langdon stating the title being a “Chamber of Reflection” and its Masonic origins. When Sato responds with what it looked like to her, Langdon essentially says she’s like most of his entry level students (he needing to show his smarts where he can), he explaining what the items on the table meant. Sato then wonders why Peter would make a place like this in the capitol, Langdon considering it would be for other Masons working there. Sato then lights a candle which illumines the back wall where a typical word was written and Langdon reluctant to admit the meaning could indicate the pyramid. When the candle flickered, Anderson checks outside to be certain no one closed the outside door, whilst Langdon and Sato see movement on the back wall which startled Langdon. When Anderson returns he’s also surprised, Langdon touching the wall and discovering it wasn’t what it seemed and behind lay what Sato described as the pyramid for which they were searching.

Sato was now trying to put Langdon in his place for not believing a Masonic pyramid could be found, when he specifies it isn’t what’s described in the legends, the one they had found being an “Unfinished Pyramid” having a completely different meaning. Sato has a closer examination of the pyramid and is disappointed to discover nothing hidden on it. Upon further explanation by Langdon once Sato asks of one whose “worthiness” would show the hidden code, Sato shows a side of the pyramid with what is similarly described, believing it was the purpose of Langdon being there.

Katherine is now wondering what’s holding Trish up and so calls security to see when she’d used her key card, they noting it was the pod with the squid and guessing she must’ve taken her guest on a tour, then inquiring if Peter had arrived, the answer being to the negative, Katherine hanging up and feeling uneasy once more. Langdon was having trouble believing the script he was seeing was real, Sato assuming Langdon could translate it and Langdon not understanding how she came to her conclusion despite he was being there for seemingly this reason, due also to his reputation in his previous adventures being the reason others had contacted him to do the same (he still unable to see the connection there, or not believing its validity; I’m with ya, Langdon). Langdon still corrects Sato in his head when she refers to the characters as icons and then believes he could decipher it, but gives everyone a run around, instead stating how the pyramid was Peter’s private property, Sato uncaring. She then receives a text which makes her step aside with Anderson again, he learning the x-ray had been sent and the object in Langdon’s bag now obvious. Anderson soon loses focus for hearing rustling noises, the two returning to the pod and Sato aggressively laying into Langdon for withholding information. Langdon looked confused and stayed so even after being shown Sato’s cell, not knowing what he was supposed to recognize. Sato finally explains he was seeing the possessions he carried in his bag, Langdon now coming to the realization of the object in the package connected to the Unfinished Pyramid to make it a “True Pyramid”. Now Langdon understood what Peter had meant when he’d referred to the package as a talisman, he not meaning the magical sort. Langdon still had trouble believing the truth of what he carried. He then offered to explain why it seemed he’d withheld information, Sato making it clear he’d have plenty of time to explain when they got to CIA Headquarters and he better having deciphered the inscription since she’d sent a picture to the CIA’s analyst team and after requesting for Anderson’s gun and not getting a fight for once, promptly aiming at Langdon, whilst Anderson took his bag and added the Unfinished Pyramid to his pack, Langdon then noticing a shadow move from outside the room, hit Anderson from behind, disarming Sato, and commanding Langdon to grab his bag and follow him.

As Langdon followed the “elegant African American man”, he noticed the man knew his way around the dark sub-basement and had keys to go where unauthorized personnel couldn’t. Meanwhile Langdon felt his bag was heavy due to the added weight of the pyramid, the strap feeling like it could break (or he only not being able to handle the strain). Langdon then noticed the Masonic ring on his finger making he and Peter brothers and both in a high order. They then reach familiar territory for Langdon, and run into the security guard from earlier, the man giving him more orders to say nothing of their presence and to lock the door behind them, the guard overcome with being trusted with such an important task. When they leave, Bellamy introduces himself and confides his close friendship with Peter. Bellamy then leads Langdon through a long dimly lit tunnel, whilst Mal’akh walked out of the Pod and repeated Trish’s code to himself despite it only being four numbers, he’d gotten confirmation of his plans going accordingly if not how he’d planned.

Langdon was walking when he received a call which we learn is from Mal’akh, he promising Peter had a chance to live if Langdon followed his demands. Langdon then attempts to convince Mal’akh of the invalidity to believe the pyramid he carried was the Masonic Pyramid to no avail, Mal’akh only wanting Langdon to translate the inscription and he agreeing to let Peter go. Langdon still makes a comment (since he can’t help himself) of the inscription not being useful if Mal’akh knew the pyramid wasn’t Masonic, which Mal’akh has a chance to give Langdon a taste of in his own usual tone, Mal’akh knowing this and Langdon obviously not being privy to the knowledge of it holding the location to the mysteries, surprising Langdon to stop walking Bellamy stopping as well, Mal’akh continuing only to share Langdon was the only one able to crack the message, Langdon believing he was smart by saying it wasn’t difficult and anyone could, Mal’akh reminding him only he had the capstone. Mal’akh was enjoying Langdon’s distress and so concludes with sharing he and Langdon would meet at the secret location to make their trade, Langdon declaring he wouldn’t comply since their wasn’t proof of Peter’s survival, Mal’akh states he shouldn’t play this game with him due to the insignificant role Langdon played, Langdon learning through frustrated shouting of Mal’akh uncovering the mysteries to prove their existence. Mal’akh then notes Langdon needing to hurry his progress to decipher since he needed it before the night ended.

We then follow a New York editor whom was concluding his night, but picks up the phone regardless the late hour due to noticing the caller ID. We learn Langdon was calling and requesting assistance. He then asking for Katherine’s number, and receiving it after some light joking from his editor buddy; This chapter did not need to be a chapter. Katherine notices her phone go off thinking it’s Trish to explain her tardiness and being surprised it’s Langdon whom finally has the chance to express the real trouble her brother was in. Katherine at first doesn’t believe him because of the text she received, Langdon putting together it must’ve been Mal’akh whom had sent the text and after being read the message, Langdon’s urgency for she to leave the building was made clear. Katherine then calls the lobby to discover if the guard could see Trish on his monitors. He going through the footage and realizing Trish not having come out of the pod with Mal’akh and the feed being so clear as to notice his sleeves being wet, seeing he was carrying a key card to enter another pod. Katherine was now running in “the void” and talking on her cell phone, she then realizing Mal’akh had already entered the pod and so stops racing for the exit, instructing the guard to send for help for Trish and herself, closes her cell, knowing it was the only source of light and now trying not to breathe loudly. She then smells ethanol and upon getting stronger, she begins to feel a presence a few feet away, she then taking off her shoes and stepping off the carpet, but not soon enough, feeling herself being grabbed, so she slides out of her lab coat and blindly runs, not knowing where the exit is.

The Library of Congress claims to being the largest library in the world and we proceed to get some “fun facts”. Finally we get to the reason for this information being because Langdon and Bellamy were currently walking through the tunnel which connected the library to the Capitol building. When the two reach a door which doesn’t lock, Bellamy’s resolution is dubiously eyed by Langdon. Which I’d enjoy seeing him attempt to think of something better in a relatively empty underground passage; He has a tendency to doubt everyone other than himself which we seem to keep learning should be the other way around. Finally they reach an area which Bellamy claimed would be safe for them to talk, Langdon having tried to get an explanation during their walk and being rebuffed, which may be the reason he couldn’t believe the place they entered would be thought of as such. They go to a table where Langdon puts the pyramid to be examined, Bellamy making sure Langdon knew the cipher being used, we again learning how simple it was for anyone to figure out, and Bellamy questioning if Langdon knew of the reasons for Sato’s interest in the pyramid, Bellamy supposing she could have realized more dangerous possibilities for it.

We then see what’s happened with Katherine, she still fumbling along off-carpet, then deciding to not move anymore since having abandoned her key card with her coat. Her only comfort was knowing the guard was coming and soon after smells Mal’akh coming toward her. As she is considering abandoning her phone, it’s repeated she smells Mal’akh, and resisting the urge to run, but Mal’akh hears her clothes rustle, she fortunately still escaping up until hitting a wall. She tries to stay along the wall until hearing clothes moving and smelling the familiar whiff of ethanol in both directions she chooses. We then get Mal’akh’s perspective which shows how he’d tricked her and the way he’d locked them inside. We also discover Mal’akh’s intention again, but learning Mal’akh is doing so to get revenge on Peter once he’d learned of her demise. Mal’akh then sees Katherine’s cell open, he thinking she’s made a fatal mistake, but upon dashing at the wall, and hurting himself good with her clever surprise, Katherine is now running beside the wall until she hits the exit, meanwhile wondering where the guard was. She then runs next to a spot with no studs on the wall, which she doesn’t recognize and stops. By this point Brown is becoming way too comfortable using car terms to describe how quickly Katherine is running or stopping. Time to broaden your vocabulary, foo! Katherine then hears Mal’akh coming after her and the guard noisily struggles to get the door open, Katherine realizing how trapped she was, but she had also found a helpful mislead which was in every pod and hadn’t needed to be used until now. She opens, and gets through the door as soon as Mal’akh reaches her, she running off and realizing she wouldn’t be able to outrun him, so deciding to try a different idea, which works as she plans, giving her enough time to get to her car and start the engine, but sees Mal’akh coming, whom wasn’t slowing and breaks her side window. As he grips her, he confesses killing her mother and shouldn’t have waited so long to kill her, she realizing who he was and stomping on the gas pedal, succeeding in getting him off her after some time, it not being enough to put him down, but she being able to drive off unhindered.

The security guard is now seeing Sato and Anderson being aided and Sato demanding to know where Langdon and Bellamy had gone, the guard feeling guilty and seeing how serious they were by bringing a special CIA team to go after the men. The guard calls aside Anderson whom doesn’t take his confession well, and when Sato appears to inquire what was happening, Anderson tries to cover what he’d learned, but Sato already knew what happened due to having discovered the video feed. Langdon was currently worried about Katherine since she hadn’t called him to confirm her safety, and Bellamy had called someone whom wasn’t answering but could offer a safe place to stay. Langdon questioning Bellamy’s sanity since he believed the small pyramid was actually the Masonic Pyramid which would lead to wisdom, he stating this to Bellamy as kindly as he could manage. Bellamy responding in a way which makes Langdon feel belittled, which in turn makes him share how he couldn’t believe the mini-pyramid was the one of legend (my, this is repetitious). We then get to a debate as to the specifics of the legend which includes some Christianity support. Langdon finally apologizes for annoying Bellamy, and in return, Bellamy attempts to show the logistics of how Stonemasons usually show their hints to hidden secrets. Langdon then mentions how if something is referred to as a “legend”, it gave the impression of being made up. Bellamy then questions Langdon’s knowledge of ancient history which Langdon takes as being a lecture, so even though Langdon is taking the interpretation of the word legend seriously he still feels Bellamy is “preaching to the choir”, when told of how it could be taken a different way. Langdon understands Bellamy’s point of view after, he then being prompted to begin decoding the inscription. When seeing the finished translation and not understanding it, he considers he may not be enlightened enough.

A CIA analyst is reviewing the same inscription translation and on the phone with Sato, the operative unable to make sense of it and the x-ray which was sent detailing the capstone being made of gold, Sato makes it clear to keep in touch if the writing on the pyramid was decrypted. Sato then clarified to the field agents to exert whatever force necessary to obtain Langdon’s little package and pyramid. Katherine is still high-tailing her way down the street. As she drives she remembers the night Peter had shot Mal’akh, but failed to kill him, we learning a bit more of the circumstances, as well as of Peter’s own family and how his son was connected to Mal’akh. Meanwhile Mal’akh rushes back to see if he could regain access to Katherine’s lab, we learning Katherine knew Mal’akh’s true identity and his address, he believing he’d now be able to complete his mission of possessing the pyramid and murder Katherine before the night ended. Mal’akh goes into the pod and into Katherine’s lab with no issues, he impressed with the lab equipment. Some include Katherine’s experiments scientifically answering philosophical and theological questions which Mal’akh planned on shutting down before enlightenment could be found by the unworthy. Mal’akh may have had general access to the pod, but whilst he had acquired Katherine’s key card, he didn’t have her pin to get to the data room so he could get to the information which he meant to destroy. He had a back up plan though, which involved obtainable chemicals, and we don’t learn whether he succeeds, instead hearing Katherine call 911 from the operator’s side, she describing the attack and where Mal’akh lived, she suspecting this was where he was keeping Peter.

Bellamy was trying to convey how mysterious the pyramid was, Langdon unsurprised what with his fruitless deciphering of code, and not coming closer to discovering meaning. Bellamy suggests the answer may lie with the capstone and they had the unique opportunity to keep the secret safe. Langdon doesn’t quite understand the importance still, and Bellamy makes his point of view clear by speaking of Freemasonry having kept him open to ideas which seemed improbable. Next, a patrolman at the SMSC had been notified of the keypad at pod 5 having been defiled and of the bay door being open. When he goes to investigate, he’s laid out by Mal’akh whom had completed his oily trek to start his fire from, the guard realizing what Mal’akh had done, but giving the impression of learning too late. Katherine sees the blast as she’s driving away from the pay phone, but thinks it could have something to do with a football game. She then hopes the police were sent to the SMSC to help Trish, and upon realizing she didn’t remember Langdon’s number, decides to continue on to their agreed upon meeting place, then seeing a fireball erupt into the air, figuring soon after where it must’ve originated.

Bellamy was now desperately trying to make contact with whomever could aid them, Langdon thinking of Peter and Mal’akh’s words to him. Once Bellamy’s unsuccessful call is finished, Langdon wonders where the deciphered message was supposed to lead them, Bellamy sharing he’d heard it would take them to a particular staircase. Bellamy then mentions how he’d not seen it, but the Mason he’d tried to contact did believe in its existence. Bellamy then makes it clear to Langdon he didn’t need to believe the power of what Peter entrusted to him, but should understand he needed to protect it even if Peter was lost for the effort, Langdon being shocked by the suggestion. Bellamy then explains what is supposed to come first in these situations. When Langdon states he didn’t want to leave before meeting up with Katherine, Bellamy puts his priorities in order, they then hearing the bucket set-up to make noise, do so, repeatedly. We then seeing Katherine drive up to the library and see what she does from a homeless man’s point-of-view, she trying to get in, the homeless man having the most eye-rollingly pathetic joke set up as he watches Katherine.

 Katherine sees the doors open, Langdon coming out, and she breaking down. Bellamy then ushers them back to where they’d left the pyramid, Katherine recognizing it, and Bellamy putting it back in Langdon’s bag before guiding them to a cabinet which wasn’t what it seemed. Mal’akh was currently driving toward his home and contemplating the possibility of Katherine calling the cops and how conspicuous he looked, we then getting the back story of Mal’akh in prison for drugs and overhearing a late-night conversation between an administrator and Peter Solomon about his son, giving Mal’akh an idea which he planned with the administrator, and upon execution, we knowing where Mal’akh had become so rich (criss-cross!), also how he’d become the mutant he now was. We then learn how once watching a TV special on Freemasons reminded him of information about the Masonic Pyramid he’d heard from Peter’s son, we then seeing Mal’akh’s memory of the same one we’d seen through Katherine earlier. We view Mal’akh’s escape to the woods, facing off with Peter, and their conversation before Peter takes his shot at Mal’akh.

Simkins, a CIA operative is whom we follow next, he having blasted the library with explosive to finish his mission of acquiring the pyramid and package, he using thermal imaging goggles to trace their targets to the cabinet-not-cabinet, he following them down some stairs to loudly humming machinery, tracing the two men’s heat signatures into another room and seeing their trail, Simkins says some typical phrases of hide-and-seek to himself, finally gaining enough to see Bellamy struggling to continue running away. Simkins then orders for a shot to incapacitate Bellamy, noting no one was ahead of him to chase, Bellamy playing coy as to where Langdon was, and Simkins making it plain he shouldn’t mess around.

Langdon and Katherine were lying head-to-head and Langdon was adamant in keeping his eyes closed so he could ignore the close quarters he was in. We then get a flashback of Bellamy stating what Langdon would need to do to escape since he couldn’t go with them and regretted not being able to share more valuable knowledge due to time constraints. Bellamy has enough time to mention for Langdon to expect a call and what to do when he started the conveyor belt.

Meanwhile security was called before sending police to Mal’akh’s estate, the guard checking the premises. She checks in to confirm no disturbance is noticeable, then sees an odd light from a basement window, she seeing a terrible sight which she would’ve called in if not for being tasered. Bellamy is then shown with a bag over his head and hands bound being led through the library stacks by the agents. He is physically threatened and confides his lie of Langdon’s whereabouts without much prompting. We then get a memory from Bellamy of Peter’s son’s birthday, where he was to receive his inheritance, but also a choice to join the Freemasons and learn of the Ancient Mysteries, his son taking it as a joke and having no interest, but to make it worse, his son seems to be retarded as well, since Peter didn’t deny him his inheritance, but was offering the wisdom of the Masons along with it, the boy only focusing on the fact it would mean he’d have to wait to claim it. When his son leaves to fulfill his soon to be tortured fate, Peter’s eyes, as well as a previous character, fill with pain (making me think all the males are getting teary-eyed and are being saved their manliness to mention it in an acceptable way). Bellamy, upon asking and not liking the answer, decides Peter should take back the capstone and have someone else store it for safety from the expected possibility of Peter’s son blabbing. Some years later is when we see the truth of Bellamy’s foresight, which is also the time Peter takes the capstone to give to Langdon. We then learn Bellamy was the one to offer the hiding place of the pyramid, he now hoping Langdon could handle his given responsibility.

Langdon is now thinking of how Katherine must be feeling at the moment and trying not to think of his closely quartered position. He starts a conversation in order to confess the details of Peter’s hand, but Katherine instead confides of her thoughts on why her mother was killed and the pyramid. She then shares her experience with Mal’akh to give him insight as to how he’d gotten access to the SMSC and her office most likely having been destroyed. Langdon does get his chance to share his side and in her presumably shocked silence, he assures her he’ll decode the pyramid to get Mal’akh where he wanted and Peter’s safety insured. Katherine then lets Langdon know of where they’d reached and having to open his eyes since he had to jump, “just in time” before the ride gave him a second go. Katherine then brings Langdon’s bag to a table to have a look at the pyramid, Langdon relaying Peter’s instructions mirroring Bellamy to keep the package safe. Katherine doesn’t accept this due to how much it had already cost her family and despite Langdon prompting her to stop, she continues to break the seal and undo the twine.

We then see the old man whom Bellamy was attempting to reach sitting in a garden, his caretaker rushing out to locate and deliver Bellamy’s message, of which gets the old man up and wishing to be escorted inside. Switching back to Katherine continuing to open the package, Langdon nervously watching on, we finally getting a description of the capstone case, Katherine discovering how to open it to uncover the capstone, she not believing the inscription saying what it did. Sato meanwhile isn’t liking the lack of locating Langdon or the capstone and Bellamy wasn’t forthcoming which she was going to attempt to change, she then receiving bad news from her analyst whom wasn’t able to crack the pyramid code, but was commanded to continue to try. Sato then learns more from the field agent on the track to Langdon and the status of Bellamy, Sato deciding to go against protocol to interrogate Bellamy privately. We move back to Katherine and Langdon, both surprised by the simple and uninformative inscription. The two could only figure the obvious with the message, and knowing there must be more, Langdon felt like a failure once more.

Mal’akh was now handling the gap in his window and goes inside. As he’s readying to shower, he notes Langdon only had a couple more hours to call him. Langdon, now reminding Katherine of they being tracked and should probably keep moving, also hoping Bellamy hadn’t been caught. Katherine then regains Langdon’s attention for having noticed what looked like a date on the box, Langdon knowing it was a symbol for crediting a person’s work secretly. Langdon shares the credit with Katherine in learning where they need to go next. We return to the old man being led inside by his helper and the assistant being dismissed, he researching the question Bellamy had asked for it seeming meaningless to him, but found it was a signal for help. Katherine is currently absorbing the information of the name she had discovered as she followed Langdon, wondering how the name could be helpful to them. Langdon explains which painting they were looking for, Katherine stopping them from going all the way to the original when the internet was easily accessible, Langdon disappointed (the fool). Katherine discovers the painting and remembers what her brother told her about it. Langdon then playfully urges her to pick out the numbers they were searching for in the painting (since they all of a sudden have time for nonsense), he then stating it would be how they solved the grid of letters.

Bellamy is unaware of the next step of Sato’s plan for him, but did hear parts of conversation which left him a bit nervous about his destination as he’s roughly made to vacate the SUV. As they guide him blindfolded through a building, Bellamy deduces where he was and how they’d gotten in. The guard leaves him and he thinks he’s alone, until hearing breathing, and then a match striking, Sato taking his blindfold off, ready to hear him talk. Katherine was now catching on to Langdon’s reasoning and they continued adding Dürer’s squares, Langdon bringing it back to the task they came to solve. Langdon’s excitement waning and asking once more if she’s certain she wants to go against Peter’s wishes, she making it clear she’d decipher the pyramid regardless, Langdon figuring a new sequence and realizing it’s Latin. As they continue to uncover what the message meant in regards to a location, Langdon receives a call. The old man relays his location through riddle and Langdon catches on, ready to meet him to get more answers.

Next we see Mal’akh’s cleansing ritual where we needed to be made aware of his enormous giblet, this potentially being his last night as a normal life-spanned human. He studied his last patch of untattooed skin on his head and then going to his computer to read an email which confirms his wait would soon be ending. We then learn the CIA agent hadn’t found anything where Bellamy had mentioned Langdon had gone, but this soon changes when he sees the conveyor belt, he reporting this information to the leader and being ordered to go to the Adam’s Building.

Langdon and Katherine were now leaving for their new destination. Katherine the first to notice the hubbub at the previous building, Langdon pulling her along to hurry. They locate a taxi and make more distance from their pursuers. Katherine taking more precautions by not mentioning where they were going and dumping Langdon’s cell, which was rightly done, for the taxi driver had called to snitch on them due to the Dispatcher describing them, Simkins now giving the man instructions.

Sato was now questioning Bellamy on his actions against her and Anderson, as well as helping Langdon, Bellamy soon being told of Sato’s reasons for obtaining the capstone was to cooperate with Mal’akh due to being a danger to the public. Bellamy refuses to help which Sato’s call makes plain may not be a problem. Meanwhile Langdon is wishing the taxi would pick up the pace and Katherine has discovered where the capstone led, it being in the other direction, she changing the taxi’s direction, it being overheard by Simkins and they following. The driver hears where they figure they must go next, desperately offering to drive,but they go off, Simkins soon there and the driver noting where they must be going.

We then return to Mal’akh whom was remembering the time with Peter as he fell and eventually hit the water behind the Solomon family home. After some time being trapped under the ice we are told how he escapes and gives himself time to heal, driving further away and hearing on the radio of the murder of Peter and Katherine’s mother, which confuses him. When he settles in New York to heal, Mal’akh has taken some back steps when it came to being drug-free and staying in shape, but a distraction soon comes in the form of a tattooed clerk, Mal’akh deciding to cover his scars. Once being told by a tattoo artist to study more on the subject, since he didn’t want to choose a tattoo himself, Mal’akh’s taste for reading returns, he going to the library and reading everything on tattoo history. When he’d exhausted those sources, he widened his search for mystical, symbolic books, including Aleister Crowley. Mal’akh is soon sacrificing a crow and saying incantations with the rest of the funny ones of like-minded hobbies. Caused by this, Mal’akh had renewed energy, working out again. Thinking his energy came from his sacrifices, he made traps in the park for all sorts of woodland creatures. This also being when Mal’akh makes his decision of the ignorance of humanity and once reading Paradise Lost, discovers his new name (we schlepping through a few before this point). Mal’akh then thought of what he would become and making a sketch to tattoo on his body.

We move on to George Washington’s Masonic Memorial and Simkins still trailing Katherine and Langdon’s train. Simkins gets his team inside to wait for their arrival. We go to Katherine wondering why the CIA would show so much interest in the mystical (we knowing already). Katherine then notes to Langdon how close they were to arriving. Simkins now had two men ready to have the conductor of the car keep the doors to the train shut, they able to do so and the man letting them enter through manually, locking the door behind them. Next came the easy task of sweeping all the cars until they happen upon Langdon and Katherine, certain they’d be caught, but surprise, they didn’t see them on-board. We then understand how Katherine had misled the taxi driver, she and Langdon now at Washington National Cathedral. They are met at the door by the blind man after discussing some interesting facts about the cathedral including a reference to a statue depicting a character from Star Wars. Bellamy now watching Sato lose her shit on the phone with Simkins, upon hanging up reporting to Bellamy if he knew where Langdon was, he better share, and after being denied, relays how much she knew of what he’d done before helping Langdon, he unable to fathom how she could know, and she revealing how simple it had been, then giving more information on her knowledge of the case which made Bellamy consider she was with a sister organization to the Masons.

Mal’akh was currently in his deceptively large basement going to the largest room at the end, to prepare for his offering. He brought out an extremely old, large, and lost-to-history knife. He begins a ritual which ended with the product of his final tattoo being inked with. We then see the blind man, Galloway lead Langdon and Katherine to his office, where they begin catching Galloway up on information he hadn’t been informed of, Langdon placing both items in front of Galloway upon his request, he then demanding what Langdon expected of him after they had gone against both Peter and Bellamy’s advice. Galloway then shares how they hadn’t fully uncovered the meaning of the pyramid which reveals the location Mal’akh expected. Langdon then questions Galloway’s sanity once he mentions the pyramid could physically transform, but before this Galloway, regarding spot on, Langdon’s ignorance, as well as the terrible situation Katherine had put in motion. We then see Sato showing Bellamy a computer screen, the contents of which making Bellamy regret the part he’d played in the events so far. We not having the details shared.

Meanwhile Galloway questioned Langdon of whether he knew why Peter had chosen him to keep the package, Langdon being able to relay what he’d been told, they then jumping from Peter’s instinct of bad tidings, Katherine’s studies (which further details of are disappointing to me), and the CIA’s interest in “mystical sciences”. Galloway then reconfirms how the pyramid will divulge knowledge in its transformation. Galloway then guides Langdon’s finger to probe the box of the capstone (ha-ha). When he does feel what Galloway was indicating, the “transformation” is to Langdon’s finger tip, showing a simple symbol, which Katherine identifies. After Langdon’s unimpressed yet again, Galloway plays him by pretending to not know the symbol had multiple meanings to different cultures and sciences, Galloway then mentioning Peter’s Masonic ring also having an indentation, Langdon discovering this to be true and Galloway revealing how it also played a part in the symbolon. Langdon, once fitting the ring inside the box flush to the indent, plays with it according to what is mentioned on the ring and we don’t get any information due to the chapter’s end. We are then given Galloway’s perspective in having the satisfaction of schooling a symbologist on his career of study, then Langdon’s perspective on seeing the box react like a puzzle box, changing its form. Langdon soon understanding what its new form represented. The next bit goes into detail behind the meaning and it making me want all the more to read The Name of the Rose. Langdon is struggling to remember a connection which Galloway helps by mentioning the use of pseudonyms, Langdon writing the name down, after which Katherine realizes where this information will next lead them, Galloway interrupting her for hearing others coming and not wanting the knowledge if prompted to share, he urging them to quickly pack up. Bellamy was attempting to contact Langdon, leaving a message stating simply a horrible event has occurred.

Mal’akh had performed a life and sex mutilating surgery on himself and he contemplates the next role Peter would play. He noted how terrible a person Peter was and no one knowing, referring back to having left his son in prison and how his actions had created Mal’akh, he then readying himself to take care of matters of this reality. Katherine and Langdon are now running once more, out of the cathedral, but they soon realize a helicopter is visible above them, they hiding in a tunnel. Their escape route had been barred by the helicopter hovering over it, but Langdon commands Katherine run when he puts together it was landing. Galloway was currently walking to the door, reinvigorated by the connection of the Rosicrucian manifestos he’d read whilst young, we then getting Simkins point-of-view again as he approaches the cathedral with men and gets a smart ass response from Galloway upon asking if he’d seen Langdon.

Then we go to the CIA security analyst, Nola waiting for Sato’s call and receiving one from someone in her department with information about what she was working on due to a program which was supposed to be helpful to the agency and Nola found distracting, but tonight actually would aid her, after listening to the co-worker speak of the hacker being hired and the key-word being searched, she demands the agent come to her with all prevalent information. Nola’s story playing a significant minor role in the long run and only another vehicle for Brown’s spew of mystical “facts”. Langdon and Katherine had made it to Cathedral College, it being across the lawn from the Cathedral where Katherine claimed she could get the supplies needed to transform the pyramid, they locating the kitchen and Katherine making Langdon do the heavy work in setting up. Outside, the helicopter pilot had noticed a thermal mist, reporting to Simkins, Langdon and Katherine awaiting the right temperature to see if the pyramid would change, which it does, showing a three-word location, which Katherine now prompted Langdon to make the phone call Mal’akh was expecting in under ten minutes, Langdon hesitating again, but when calling is surprised by an unknown voice, we learning he was speaking to the partner of the security woman checking Mal’akh’s house and they having found Peter, Katherine declaring they’d come immediately.

Langdon and Katherine see the empty lawn and believe the team must be inside the Cathedral, wrongly as Sato speaks up in response to their out loud thought. Katherine and Langdon blurt the truth, even showing the secret text, Sato then sending for Bellamy whom was outside, Sato giving the two more word lashings for having destroyed her plan of catching Mal’akh. When Bellamy enters, Sato immediately has him send an attached picture to Mal’akh of the capstone, making Langdon aware of the part Bellamy had been playing, as well. We then see Mal’akh receiving the text and wondering why Bellamy had decided to play games with him now, he being the sort whom didn’t play nice. Katherine, Langdon, and Bellamy were now waiting with Sato for a call from Mal’akh so she could continue her goal of catching him, Katherine being denied going to her brother. Galloway is then brought in before Bellamy gets the phone call, Mal’akh acting like he still possessed Peter, and Bellamy insisting he meet him at Franklin Square with Peter for the trade of the address. Mal’akh agrees only upon he coming alone and after hanging up, Sato commands her men briskly, Katherine desperate to get to Peter and convincing Sato of the necessity, Sato dispatching an agent to accompany Katherine and Langdon. Galloway is still seated and gives Langdon a message to pass to Peter which Langdon didn’t understand (surprise), he collecting the pyramid and being whisked away with Katherine.

Sato was setting up her men in Franklin Square, relying on Mal’akh being truthful about the time it would take him to arrive, as everyone got into position, Sato awaiting two phone calls, one from Nola and the other from the agent with Langdon and Katherine, whom were speeding to Mal’akh’s home, Langdon discovering the pyramid and capstone had a new substance all over them, but they’d reached the house and Langdon couldn’t delve further, Katherine rushing in and no one realizing until too late, the people inside weren’t medical crew, Katherine flying through the air. She not knowing what had tripped her up, but seeing Mal’akh going after Langdon after taking down the agent. Mal’akh then held Katherine down as he bound her with wire, to keep her from struggling free. Meanwhile Langdon was recovering from his stun gun attack and when he was able to turn his head, saw the pyramid had transformed again, he now understanding the message Galloway had given him to pass on, and when being able to move more and seeing the state of Katherine, is surprised by finally seeing Mal’akh, he blacking Langdon’s consciousness out. We then see Mal’akh recapping how he’d tricked Bellamy, Langdon, and Katherine, now focusing on the pyramid for a moment until putting it away and dragging Langdon rather than carrying him due to he being toned. (Jeez, eye-roll, much?) During this we get an inside view of Mal’akh’s beliefs being fleshed out and explained in contrast and similarity to Christianity.

Sato was now insisting the Franklin Square address must be real and having Nola recheck for its location. Nola trying a different tactic to search and coming up with an odd description of the building. Langdon revives with a debilitating headache, meanwhile, and not recognizing his surroundings, but discovering he was naked, and when he attempts to sit up and almost knocks himself out, he discovers the room he was in was actually a box, he now dealing with his worst nightmare (I now remembering he swims fine, and he didn’t become afraid of water from his childhood trauma, as well, oddly). When we return to Katherine’s side of what had occurred after Langdon had been forced into unconsciousness, she sees Mal’akh disappear with him plus the corpse, and when she hears footsteps, Brown decides having her “hope against hope”, it isn’t Mal’akh; great, Brown. Mal’akh carries Katherine to a hidden door where she notes of the insulation behind was “apparently not meant to be heard by anyone outside”, so it’s possible, but we we’re supposed to hope against hope they can? As Mal’akh takes her further down into his basement, Katherine smells particular odors and Mal’akh comments of being impressed with her work, he hoping she felt the same of his.

Simkins was currently watching Bellamy not being approached when he receives a call from Sato who was concerned about something unmentioned, Simkins responding by glancing at the buildings whilst in cover by bushes, Sato commanding he’s now to watch the building, and both he and Sato realizing the agent sent with Katherine and Langdon hadn’t called yet. We then see Langdon attempt to calm himself with visualization, but it wasn’t working. Then we return to Katherine whom was slowly choking on her gag, Mal’akh removing it, in the nick of her unconsciousness, he then popping a finger in her mouth for rubbing on his literally bald (the devoid of tattoo area) spot, with her spittle, Katherine noticing Langdon’s belongings on the floor, Mal’akh pointing where Langdon was being stored and how he wouldn’t suffocate, only letting him torture himself. Langdon is then shown hearing a terror-stricken Katherine speaking about him, and then feels the air from the vent in the box, we seeing what Katherine saw about to be pumped inside, this being when Mal’akh confesses what he’d done to Trish and how his near drowning had made it clear to him how he’d become one of the gods. We move back to Langdon as he’s slowly being consumed and feeling he was sure to die.

Katherine was begging and crying, saying they’d cooperate if he stopped the process which would kill Langdon. Mal’akh responding about the way they’d betrayed him by bringing an agent to his home and not revealing all of the address wouldn’t be taken lightly. Katherine continues to promise to comply with anything he wanted and when Mal’akh tests this she immediately clams up, he literally applying pressure and finally she confessing the information he asks, until he mentions the symbols on the bottom of the pyramid and what was at the address, she not knowing. Mal’akh takes care of her ignorance of the former easily, retrieving the pyramid which had a grid of symbols including religious symbols, as well as the zodiac, Katherine admitting to not knowing what it could mean. Mal’akh then goes to Langdon’s box and shifts a panel in the top so he could show Langdon the base of the pyramid, Langdon needing to come up with an answer quick before he wouldn’t be able to speak anymore.

Langdon struggles to make a connection, but the symbols were a-jumble and struggling to also remember what building actually existed in 1850 which could make sense of the address wasn’t forthcoming either. Then, when his ears are covered he has an epiphany, the text was a symbolon, as well and he conveys this to Mal’akh whom won’t release him unless he told him beforehand, which he does, but Mal’akh makes as if he was going to leave Langdon inside anyways to die. Langdon, due to swimming as a pastime, knew not to struggle, which would waste oxygen, instead hoping he would be saved, Katherine being held above him, unable to do anything, but watch. Mal’akh then moves Katherine to a table down the hall, after she witnesses Langdon’s last look of terror, strapping her down. He again has a power driven moment of obtaining saliva from her mouth and onto his head. He leaves and then Katherine notices the extensive amount of drawings on the walls, and next to her was the bone knife, along with some other items which worried her. We then go back to Nola, whom was awaiting the agent to show up and when he does so with the single page searched by the hacker, the shocking piece of information was whom the page belonged, Sato’s boss. Simkins was still waiting for movement at Franklin Square and only seeing Bellamy shivering and pacing, Sato calling, and once they discuss how late Mal’akh was, she decides to call off the operation, learning where the agent whom still hadn’t called had taken Langdon and Katherine, we discovering how uncommon it was for Sato to feel chilled or fear and currently possessed both.

We then go to Mal’akh whom was rushing to his “laptop computer” to prepare for his escape. Langdon, before being submerged had shared the meaning of the text on the pyramid, again pointing to a magic square which would then divulge more information which Mal’akh was currently researching. Mal’akh deciphers enough to know his next destination, we then moving on to Katherine, whom was still bound to the table in the basement, she thinking of Peter’s survival possibilities and her research’s demise. We get a flashback of Katherine showing Peter footage of an experiment which not only was Kevorkian-esque, but made weight measurements specific to a human body before and after death. After this remembrance, she’s brought back to reality upon hearing Mal’akh coming down into the basement and wheeling a drastically changed and gagged Peter into the room. Mal’akh explains Peter was joining him to his final location and was allowing them a farewell. Mal’akh then jabs Katherine with a needle as collateral for Peter’s cooperation, claiming he’d have time to save her after, if everything played out accordingly. Mal’akh leaves with Peter, and Katherine is alone in the dark.

Meanwhile we see Langdon supposedly now a conscious spirit, floating around and such. Sato and Simkins is next seen spotting the CIA vehicle and landing. When he viewed a body through a window, his team gracelessly make an entrance and check the house, discovering nothing. Sato makes for Mal’akh’s office after hearing Simkins report from within, being disappointed to deduce Mal’akh used a laptop and the monitor would have nothing of importance. Katherine heard the CIAs footsteps and tried to calm herself for the blood loss quickening upon attempted noise. Langdon was experiencing nothingness and recent memories of Mal’akh, and then some chanting. Then Sato locates Simkins on hands and knees, viewing some depression tracks in the carpet being oddly traced from the wall, Simkins uncovering the hidden door. Langdon is now receiving an insistent bell toll along with the chanting he seemed to believe he was meant to understand. We then seeing a flashback of Langdon attending a lecture (for once) by a friend (whom else would he bother to willingly listen?) Once we are told it’s Peter, we hear about his lecture and the questions the ripe young minds throw out, blasting information we’ve already gone through, other than mentioning where Langdon had first heard a couple words of the chant before. Peter makes a killing with his speech after having answers to all those opposed and appreciation for those in agreement.

Katherine is saved before impending death, the agent trying to get her to speak of Mal’akh’s whereabouts, she still verging on fainting, but able to convey where he’d gone which wouldn’t be readily understood. During this, Sato is led to the box, she sliding the window open for the sight she was physically repelled by–Robert Langdon (ha-ha). Langdon was hallucinating, apparently where he wondered whether he were staring into God’s face (Yeah, t’would surely make sense). We then learn the true nature of the liquid Langdon had been put in, leaving him alive and essentially well. Sato then goes about the easiest way to revive Langdon without traumatizing him so he could relay what he knew. Langdon’s resurfacing, despite all the attempts to keeping him comfy, were jarring as a bitch, but he regains his faculties quickly enough.

Langdon is then led by Sato to the room Katherine was in, he relieved, but aware of her serious condition, but she awake and in shock by him standing in front of her, she showing all kinds of affection for her disbelief and happiness. After discussing where Mal’akh had gone, Langdon offers his ability to recall the symbols so they could attempt to follow. As Sato looks up what Langdon requested, it gave him enough time to see the pages pasted on the walls, he realizing Mal’akh had been searching for the “Lost Word”, Sato then receiving a call from her techie agent, her news no longer applicable and Sato sharing the bad news of Mal’akh carrying a laptop. Mal’akh is then shown wheeling Peter to a place where he had the code to the gate, it being Freemason related, Peter aware of where in the building Mal’akh was guiding him and looking worried, Mal’akh assuring if he went along willingly, Katherine would live, whilst thinking to himself she was most likely already dead. Langdon is next seen struggling to remember a final letter and upon doing so, immediately knows where they’d gone. We flip back to Mal’akh, now at the room of his initiation, planning on using Peter to decipher the rest of the message on the pyramid to track the riches/lost word. Langdon is also conveying the same to Sato and the knowledge of the word for Mal’akh’s empty spot on his head and the ritual to come for Peter. Sato then is shown the second use of the blonde wig of Mal’akh’s, as well as Simkins getting the required code to the gate from Bellamy, Langdon at first being denied coming, but once learning he was the only other person whom knew how to navigate the innards of the place quietly, the O-K is given by Sato.

Mal’akh was now assembling the symbolon and rubbing in how Peter had not figured out how to decipher it, he removing the gag from his mouth when he saw Peter was attempting to speak. Peter pleads for Mal’akh to send help for Katherine, Mal’akh confirming he’d do so once Peter told him where the staircase was, Peter now horrified by Mal’akh’s insistence and knowing there wasn’t one (which later on seems to be untrue), but Mal’akh is now all smiles and contented in knowing he had time to spare, but Katherine didn’t, then showing Peter the deciphered symbols and Peter’s disbelief in it showing what Mal’akh described. Peter decides a different play, he agreeing to show Mal’akh once sending help for Katherine, but Mal’akh was messing with Peter, he showing more of his tattoo and how he only wanted the Lost Word. As Mal’akh organized the other items he’d brought, he relays how Peter must not yet comprehend the trouble he was in.

 Langdon, before leaving with the CIA, gets another cheek kissed by Katherine, since she was staying behind with Bellamy (isn’t Brown so kind to give Langdon the hope of a woman’s affection?), but now Langdon noticed they weren’t going to land anywhere near where Mal’akh had taken Peter, Sato sharing she aimed to go in quietly, Langdon arguing the extent of what she was attempting to prevent. Sato sets up the laptop she had used to show Bellamy, assuming it’s the same recording, of which were from the Masonic initiation rituals. Langdon understood the video had been cut to make the Masons look bad, he becoming more disturbed as he saw the rituals and whom of celebrity and political power he recognized. Brown then shares why the Masons had rituals so themed toward death, the positive to Mal’akh’s negative, and how it was supposed to teach the brothers of an optimistic way of viewing life and why the teachings stayed unchanged. Langdon knew it wouldn’t be accepted well if made public, even whilst pretending to convince himself otherwise, knowing it’s a pipe dream and still making us sit through it. Langdon in obvious agreement as to how serious it was to stop Mal’akh.

Mal’akh was currently still threatening Peter with sending a group email of the video if he didn’t confess the word, this after Peter had viewed the footage. Mal’akh tries to get Peter to decipher the code, Peter showing pure contempt, Mal’akh not minding due to believing the energy from his emotion will help Mal’akh’s ritual. Meanwhile Sato was discussing with Nola game plans to stop the internet in the area which was pretty much impossible, Nola suggesting electro-magnetic pulse, but Sato returning with the pointlessness due to the stone building Mal’akh was in, currently. Sato ends with Nola to stay in touch if she saw any news breaks. Langdon was now being hastily driven to Mal’akh’s location, and Peter was struggling with how he’d last seen Katherine and the progress of the email being sent. Peter decides to confess the truth which Mal’akh senses is genuine and knowing he’d found the Lost Word. Meanwhile a CIA agent believed he had uncovered something useful in Mal’akh’s trash, speaking with Nola. Katherine was feeling better with her infusion of “Ringer’s solution” and now free to worry about Peter, she then wandering around to discover Bellamy upset in the study and confessing he’d discovered the reason for Mal’akh’s hate for the Solomons.

Mal’akh was now inscribing his bald spot with the word and readying for his sacrifice which included cutting Peter from his bonds, Peter asking why Mal’akh would put him though so much, Mal’akh going through the sacrificial motions to gain power. Mal’akh then finally reveals more about the sacrifice he would make and confides whom was truly responsible for Peter’s family’s deaths. We then see the connection of Bellamy’s knowledge of why Mal’akh had chosen to come after Peter and his kin, the reveal not exceptionally surprising if readers are paying attention. Peter is truly in shock by the revelation and Mal’akh, ecstatically reveling in Peter’s pain. We then get the picture of what Bellamy saw as Katherine perused the newspaper articles in the drawer, she getting weak in the knees as she realized how she knew Mal’akh more closely.

Langdon directed Simkins to the back entrance and then Langdon mentions a skylight in the room Mal’akh and Peter were in, Simkins passing it on to Sato who decides to take advantage of this. Peter sensing Mal’akh had no empathy in his eyes and in order to save Katherine from death and his brothers from public ridicule, he had to choose quickly whether he would give Mal’akh what he demanded. Langdon and Simkins were now making their way through the building when Langdon heard a scream, entering the room to see a bald figure about to drive home the knife. We learn how Mal’akh becomes injured by the helicopter and he having a kind of waking coma, Peter informing him the sign he’d written in head head wasn’t the Lost Word, Mal’akh being in denial of this being true, but Peter explaining he wouldn’t have believed the truth, Mal’akh then making the descent into what is supposed to be Hell, presumably.

Katherine is then reunited once more with Peter, she trying to ignore Mal’akh’s body in the room, then meeting Langdon’s gaze as she comforted Peter, which was a rarity. Nola is then shown making a call to Sato after stopping the remote transmission of email being sent to all media, due to the garbage hunt. Nola being congratulated with time to sleep. Langdon looks like shit as he stared at himself in the mirror and being interrupted by Katherine whom was about to check something Peter had informed her of, and Peter asking for Langdon, he going to begin by responding like a smart ass, as usual. Peter then readies to fulfill Masonic prophecy by confessing the Lost Word to Langdon, whom was hard-pressed to believe the Age of Enlightenment would stem from a single word. Peter sets the symbols of the pyramid before Langdon to hear him decipher it, he giving a detailed answer which Peter accepts, but elaborates of knowing the true answer of where the Lost Word was hidden, pulling a Langdon by making him work for the answer (they being meant for each other in this respect). Peter then divulges how he’d had an epiphany of the meaning of the symbols leading to the Lost Word’s location, Langdon reverting to his safe place of incredulity and believing Peter’s traumatic night had turned him “funny”, but Peter explains how Langdon could see the map for himself. When he does understand, he maintains his usual skepticism and Peter confides Langdon has earned the right to see for himself. Simkins is ready to drive them once Sato confirms with Peter he’d be allowed temporary access to where they were going and also had a few choice words for Langdon, which definitely seem founded in this reviewer’s opinion. Peter than has Langdon blindfold himself to protect the location; But, seems pointless once the blindfold is off due to where they go having windows, ah well.

After a pointless trek to the cafeteria where some old statues were placed, Nola is shown by the agent the completed page the hacker was after, it not being classified and came from a CIA message board. Nola and the agent don’t do anything important after this and go back inside. Langdon is quite confused as to where they were headed and Simkins leads Langdon out of the car and takes he and Peter as far as a second door, stating he’d wait there for them, Langdon nervous about all the precautions being taken, as well as the need of a flashlight. Peter stops them a moment as Langdon begins pussing out and suggest to have Langdon keep an open mind and attempt to believe the legend for a moment. Peter taking Langdon through one more sliding door to finally allow Langdon to remove his blindfold and the staircase being shown by flashlight, going far down, Langdon unable to see the landing. Peter, before guiding Langdon on their descent down, leads him to what seemed a small room and suggests he have a look inside, but to prepare himself for what he’d see. It definitely does have the expected effect, Langdon now seeing the Capitol Building from an angle and place he didn’t comprehend he ever would (the only reason for Peter to keep the location secret from Langdon being for another mislead to get him to be more pliable in believing what he saw as unbelievable). He then looking through each window to see the sight of other well-known buildings. Peter than speaking of the cornerstones and how they were buried, Langdon still thinking Peter wasn’t sure of the Lost Word being buried, Peter making it clear he knew it for fact. Peter also confiding of the “Word” not being one and was only called this due to it being the original name used.

Galloway is then shown completely giving away what is meant by the “Word”, and those whom are religious nuts should understand fairly quickly. (Mal’akh would’ve had one helluva time getting the Word in the space he’d left on his noggin). As Langdon and Peter descend, Peter shows some engravings on the walls, which started their religious discussion, which included why the teachers of religion of the past spoke and wrote cryptically. They walked down to the bottom, and now Langdon knew what the Word was, they don’t view it due to it being buried, Langdon instead noticing a circumpunct, and asking a favor of Peter, he agreeing, but only after showing he and Katherine, whom was meeting them there, one more “treasure”.

When Katherine arrives, we learn of her research being safe, and a repeated way of speaking of Langdon, referring to his “deep voice”, Langdon sharing Peter had gone to the hospital, upon his request, Katherine then stating whilst the topics Peter spoke needed intellectual effort for Langdon to accept, Katherine claimed to have more scientific proof. Bellamy is then shown getting a key in preparation of Langdon and Katherine’s arrival to see something only someone with his title could show them. Katherine and Langdon waiting at the designated area for the right time to enter the door which contained the “item”, Katherine admiring the Brumidi’s painting due to the close vantage point whilst Langdon waiting nervously due to being “a chicken”, Katherine’s words. She then discusses what the body/temple from the Bible meaning more than what it said. She moves on to related topics which involved her research, Langdon being thoughtful to the new information. She then making another confession about her research which included the “breakthrough” knowledge of multiple minds thinking the same thought for the desired result, Katherine’s research apparently hinging on this (underwhelmingly, once more).

So, why this last section is the Epilogue and not an ending chapter is a bit confusing since usually when one reads of what happens to characters, it’s in narrative, but most of this book (and Brown’s others) having contained puzzling pointlessness, I’ll continue on. When Langdon awakes, Katherine was gone along with the key, so Langdon gets up and goes upstairs, Katherine claiming she was about to go wake him, she having gone through the door early it seems, regardless of being instructed to wait, it leading outside on to a balcony, she leading him to a particular side (and I now feel the ending may be a disappointment, and…), she then pointing to the Washington Monument where the sunrise began lighting the capstone, Katherine making the connection of no building to be built would be allowed to be taller than the Monument, seemingly for the sight, at the height no one was allowed to traverse, on the balcony. Langdon has an epiphany which ends with my being right about being put through a deflated ending. If not for the in-the-running-for-most-annoying-protagonist, the typical one liners of eye-rolling capacity, the revelations which weren’t mind-blowing if one reads a wide variety of subjects, the fact which this novel apparently needed to hinge and hang lanterns galore on surface knowledge of religion and especially God, — the ride was entertaining in part, but and this is a big fat one, I’m quite content to leave Brown alone from now on, even his previous books weren’t so obviously cliché. Read it for the caper aspect, if it’s a must, otherwise, go see Crichton.

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The Scarlet Letter

From the first paragraph, N. Hawthorne goes straight into a story which requires a knowledge seemingly more accessible in his era. One thing is clear, his style of writing is quite more easily understood since the chapters are quite short which promotes breaks for those who need or like to use “oldster” authors as filler until something more usual in interest happens along. It’s also clear Hawthorne caters to the readers who know the finer subjects of religion, but also gives indication to what to expect when mentioning Hutchinson, which is plunked right before the second chapter.

Law and religion being compared closely as being about the same in importance, Hawthorne is tolerably flowing with his words and does take a specific amount of attention, although I do accede to the detail to describe the interests of the women and men separately and barely remembering, briefly so for the men and ambiguous in specification. It goes on to say the generations of women’s savageness receding as the ladies children’s personalities developed, becoming milder in nature. Whilst there is some usage of Old English, I haven’t the resource of internet at the time of reading, so restrain my semi-curious need for some unexplained vocabulary, even though there are plenty of bullet-point asides.

Then a conversation of some women arguing what a woman marked with the sign of being improper, should be allowed to hide it or whether the woman suffers it regardless of its showing. The women in the prison, are interrupted by the town-crier and takes one woman with a child grasped in her arms,presumably hiding her scarlet shame until he brings her before the townspeople, where she boldly puts the child in one arm, (most likely realizing what the narrator supplies the reader) why hide one shame with a supposedly obvious other? Since the women given the scarlet letter must stitch them by hand, they can make them look however they choose, which could be used as another form of defiance to the task and “humiliation”. In a way, the people make these women take the walk of shame (which many a girl has tried to forget in those college days or so amply portrayed in Sorority Boys; Harland Williams is the bomb, even though he isn’t in the clip I’ve attached). Once she arrives at the pillory before having to go through being unable to put her face down, whether for shame or exhaustion, she is allowed to stand before all on the platform upright and however she chooses to display her emotions. She also is able to imagine herself elsewhere, a talent which under stress, would certainly be handy (whilst I’m wont to assume it, if Hester’s husband is an extreme amount older than she, as I suspect, I’m beginning to understand why she may have been tempted into the arms of another to the point of conception, due to their refusal of a back-up plan of the times). She does come back to reality, she dazed and sobered to the situation she discovers herself.

The main civilians put Hester’s story in order; her husband being overseas, (I know for certain if I had tried to read this book in school I wouldn’t only not have cared for it, but also would have been way too impatient for the long-winded passages. Otherwise, as of now I’m enjoying the story, if not for some of the pre-Modern English terms I mentioned before). Also the main councilman or whatever his title, keeps himself secluded to be more pure of thought and not be hindered by the problems and side notes which affect everyone unless trained otherwise. The group request he get a confession from her. The Reverend then uses the technique still used today: Delusional logic, which only succeeds if one believes in the drivel the Reverend spouts. Everyone accusing her of adultery try to guilt her into giving the man up, which she repeatedly refuses.

They don’t make the proceeding any easier, regardless of refusal, letting it go on whilst the Reverend goes on to sermonize the hell fire coming. Eventually she is led back to the prison. She is visited by the doctor when she and her baby stays agitated. It is revealed this being her husband, whom she never loved. He tries to uncover who’s baby-daddy it is, to no avail. No one knows the physician is her husband and he bids her not to confess so he doesn’t have to put up with the fame of having a faithless wife. He threatens her lovers identity, which he doesn’t know but claims to be able to learn if need be, so she shouldn’t test his lack of any information or else he’ll out her, the man reiterating his oath of identifying the culprit, in a roundabout way.

Hester serves her time and is released, no worse than for her feelings of exposure. She expands on her talent for needlework (what with embroidering the letter and making a living from it and also baby cloaks and such). She clothed her baby girl in finer clothing and had only the scarlet letter as her one intricate adornment of dress, everything else is bland. She also made clothes for the poor. Even though Hester tries to stay strong, some of the town-children have reactions which seem to disturb her if not give her a pang of exposure, and children being how they are, partly oblivious to what words they are saying, let alone the meanings, make Hester also cringe. The torture of going out and people seeing the symbol and the looks of judgement wear on Hester (where the wearing of the letter becomes more difficult as time goes by). Even when noticing other women who possibly shared her brand, she becomes paranoid of sinning again with the possible kinsman-ship, perhaps in distinguishing someone like herself, but in the end makes her feel the same loneliness.

Hester seems to be annoyed by this “gift” of knowing who shares a brand (Hawthorne injects a “legend” where the scarlet letter, at one time was actually made of internal fire, but the fire burns Hester’s chest, metaphorical-like). More information of Pearl then follows, the infant daughter. Hester always dressed Pearl finely, and upon delving closer, learns she makes them herself with the best materials and lets her imagination take over the projects. Hester struggles with the apprehension of what Pearl may start showing in her personality traits and if they’ll be pure or not due to her “evil” way of arrival to this world. Pearl did start having a mischievous smile – or what seemed like to Hester. During tantrums the child would give her the impression of a sprite — a non-human which to assure herself otherwise, would hug and kiss the little girl to prove her physical being; Hester was bewildered by her daughter’s behavior. When Hester would cry, the child would be silent with clenched fists with a look of discontent.

Due to Hester and the town showing Pearl and herself, by their actions, she is an outsider, she begins to feel isolated and when Hester takes Pearl for walks and the children surround Pearl, she reacts with survival mode, which consists of shouted words which could sound witch-curse-like and puts Hester on edge. At the same time, she appreciates the passion showing in her daughter and how she felt the same before the sin she committed, but since then, has softened with her motherhood: (eye-roll). Pearl only smiles when her mother prays how she had her at all, not understanding. Pearl does notice the scarlet letter and seems to be periodically attracted to it. Hester notices this and asks Pearl where she came from, now time has passed and Pearl is a little girl. Pearl replies she doesn’t know and Hester must explain it to her. Hester says she came from the Heavenly Father, but Pearl notices she didn’t sound sure, so denies it and pokes the letter. Her mother reports she herself is and so Pearl is as well, but this doesn’t satisfy the girl, and the question remains unanswered for her.

Hester visits the governors house to give him a gift of embroidered gloves and to discuss whether her child will be taken from her. If the child is evil, to put her away and if she’s able to conform, to put her in the proper hands to learn the ways of society. Due to Hester not being important she isn’t judged by a group delegation, but the governor who deals with all leftover or between-the-crack cases, it is told. A detailed description of the house is given and Pearl is in awe of the property. When a slave for the passage to America- serf opens the door, Hester is told the Governor was indisposed with some guests and Hester makes it plain she’ll wait inside and the serf believes she’s an important lady due to her airs and lets her in, as requested. She waits in a common room and sees a “coffee-table” book lying on a cushion, Chronicles of England (which I learn was a source for Shakespeare; I’m much more intrigued with the possibility of the true story-teller, the Earl of Oxford, whom I now must try and research after seeing “Anonymous”, which is enlightening and would have been interesting seeing in school rather than Shakespeare in Love, which was a waste of a parent’s signature).

The governor has gaudy furniture and a portrait with a disapproving look. A suit of armor is also described in some detail which is so it can be learned the Governor had actually worn it at war, (but definitely not for a noble cause). So Gov. Bellingham, isn’t only a soldier, but transformed into a statesman and ruler, as well. Pearl, who like a hyperactive magpie is drawn to the armor, sees the reflection of her mother’s scarlet letter in it. Hester also sees Pearl’s impish smile reflected in the armor making her think again Pearl could be transforming into a devilish thing or possessed, of course. Hester diverts little Pearl’s attention by getting her to look at the garden which she claimed had more beautiful flowers than the ones they’d seen in the woods. Details of what’s in the garden are shared, and also information of a white settler who was the first in the Boston area to join the Indians after the Puritans arrived “whom he disliked” (I found the information interesting, it being of the few people who didn’t automatically discriminate). Pearl begins crying for a rose when Hester spies the Governor with other men, then screams out of defiance when being told to hush and then does become silent out of curiosity.

Governor Bellingham gets a short description and then a conversation is heard of what fruits would flourish in his garden. Bellingham was considered a nicer visage through his private life more so than in his professional. He had two other guests as well, one of which was Bellingham’s physician and friend. When Bellingham opens the window, Pearl is looking through, he notices her, but not Hester and starts to wonder aloud how Pearl got there. Mr. Wilson asks Pearl who she is, what she is, and why she’s there, seeming to be the recurring theme for the little girl and Pearl answers honestly as usual. He then notices Hester and mentions to Bellingham of this. They speak of Hester disparagingly and start their conversation with Hester when they see her. Bellingham asks Hester how she thinks she can care for Pearl. Hester planned on teaching Pearl what the letter meant and Bellingham informs her about the letter and her shame would be the reason to take Pearl from her, in response. Hester declares to them the letter has taught her and continues to do so and Pearl could become the wiser for it. Bellingham requests the minister to examine Pearl and see if she’s being taught in a Christian-ly way. Pearl isn’t interested in being questioned, so doesn’t answer how she should, as a three year old might, using her imagination and surroundings to influence her answer.

Roger speaks to the minister and Hester sees him in a more ghoulish light to how she used to know him more familiarly. The minister acts shocked by Pearl’s response and believes he’s made his case. Hester sees this as a threat, of course and brings Pearl closer to herself. She expresses to them the importance of her daughter to her and threatens she will die before Pearl is taken from her. The minister tries to seem like Pearl would be better off elsewhere to be cared for more attentively then she can provide. She tries to get Dimmesdale to speak for her side, which he is thrown into a nervous state due to her near madness and got a proper slap of reality to what he had been portrayed as before. He does confirm her arguments and the governor makes him explain. He confirms her words and makes the argument the child could help save Hester’s soul and to leave them as “God intended”. The other men agree Dimmesdale argued well in her favor. Pearl, somehow understanding Dimmesdale’s goodness goes to him and shows him a sign of affection, which surprises Hester since Pearl rarely showed gentleness of any kind. Pearl’s show lasted but the one moment and when Dimmesdale puts his hand on her head and kisses her brow, Pearl giggles and runs off, which again brings talk of whether she’s touched by witchcraft due to seemingly hardly touch the floor in her scampering. They then try to decide whether it’d be “better” or easier to let Providence and prayer make it clear what to do about the situation. Pearl and Hester leave after the decision. Governor Bellingham’s sister asks if Hester will be joining her and others in the forest, which it is ascertained later of she being accused and executed for witchcraft, not so surprisingly in this case. Hester declines happily, since she has Pearl to look after, otherwise she would have joined her to damn her soul if the opposite events had occurred, confirming Hester’s and Dimmesdale’s argument of Pearl saving her mother from more sin.

The next chapter starts with questions of why Hester’s husband would ever come back to her. It is then identified he had changed his name to a man already introduced. It goes on to detail how he’s in the medical profession and the rarity of someone in the same line appearing in the area, so is well-received. He also had knowledge of American native medicines due to his capture and used his knowledge in his profession, as well. Dimmesdale is then perceived to possibly being severely ill due to his paleness and pain in the chest (like Gandhi he had a penchant to fast, repeatedly, though of course it not being what ends up getting Gandhi). Roger Chillingworth spoke of other physician’s and those who studied the occult as if he knew them and held them in scholarly regard.

Meanwhile Dimmesdale grew paler and thinner each week, but insisted he was fine. His superiors finally convince him to see the physician, since he was getting no better and seemed to not care whether he lived, even though he admitted to rather dying than having to be examined if it be God’s will; how magnanimous. Chillingworth grew interested in the younger man’s character and they began to spend more time with one another, mutual interests and such. Due to his chest pains, they began to take walks and talk whilst Chillingworth gathered herbs for his medicine. Dimmesdale found interest in Chillingworth’s expanse of knowledge due to his limited one and appreciated his range of facts. Also since Dimmesdale refused matrimony and was celibate he appreciated more the companionship of Chillingworth. It seemed they both resided in a widow’s house, which was quite accommodating and lived like friendly roommate’s. Chillingworth’s acumen in the “black arts” made people wonder more of his history, which even Hawthorne admits to not knowing everything about; how helpfully useless. Besides, people began noticing changes in Chillingworth whilst he was in town and especially when he started rooming with Dimmesdale. First he seemed calm and collected, then he started to take on aspects considered evil and ugly and grew more apparent the more often they saw him. Everyone began believing Dimmesdale was being haunted by Satan or a demon through Chillingworth. It didn’t bode well for Dimmesdale and it was too early to ascertain if he’d overcome his evil “spectre-possessed” friend.

The next chapter begins with a characterization of Roger Chillingworth who’s exterior was calm, not necessarily warm, but law-abiding. He believed he was starting an “investigation” which was unbiased as to the standpoint a judge gives. Although as he progressed, he began having an obsessive interest which didn’t let go of him since. He sought material from the clergyman and was unable to uncover anything. Sometimes he had an unholy light aflame his eyes and he remained feeling encouraged. He desired to learn even more about Dimmesdale and whilst searching for a plant, Chillingworth wondered if the man buried underneath it must have done something terrible which he hadn’t confessed and Dimmesdale, being the optimist posed perhaps he wanted to and not had the chance before death. The pastor soon smartly brought to his attention this all being theoretical and of Chillingworth’s imagination. Dimmesdale maintained most men get great solace from confessing, whether near death or not and as they sustained those lines of conversation, Hester and Pearl pass by as Pearl was frolicking on a grave and Hester tries to get her to respect the grounds which puts Chillingworth back on the subject of debating the child’s ability to comprehend right from wrong. Pearl hears them and throws one of the burrs she was using to cover Hester at them.

Hester notices them after, and Pearl laughs and shouts to her mother to run away from Chillingworth or he’ll catch her, but he wouldn’t be able to catch Pearl herself. Chillingworth goes on to mention how the possibility of the sickness of Dimmesdale might be to do with his soul and would he disclose it to him if it were, Dimmesdale refusing since he is only a doctor and said only the Holy “Physician” can be in charge of whether he lives or dies, exiting hastily. Chillingworth proceeds to talk to himself supporting his thoughts of pressing the issue on Dimmesdale and thinking it good he responded with such fierceness. Dimmesdale stayed in a state of agitation for awhile and when he calmed, he apologizes to Chillingworth and hopes he still wants to aid him in his health issues. Chillingworth presses on in acting suspiciously, but not directly in a noticeable way to Dimmesdale, and whilst he is having a deeper than normal nap, Chillingworth walks in with purpose and no pretense of caution, checks Dimmesdale and acts joyfully, being construed as more gleeful than Satan when he takes a soul, but with an extra attribute of wonder.

Roger Chillingworth became a main player in Dimmesdale’s “interior world”, making it quite easy to prey and play on his emotions as he saw fit. Chillingworth was able to pull this off in such a way as to be undetected by Dimmesdale, other than presuming it’s cause to his illness, and because he continued his chummy ways with Chillingworth, he was able to perfect his negative reinforcements on Dimmesdale. During this time Dimmesdale became popular in his practice. He became a holy visage by his followers and meanwhile Dimmesdale believed himself cursed and believing whether grass would grow on his grave because of it, whilst his flock wanting to be buried as near to him as possible because of his perceived holiness. His popularity was paining him to the point of wanting to confess to them he’s “a pollution and a lie”. He had wanted to go through with saying something along those lines and had even gone through with a similar speech to be more revered than before.

Then a darker side to Dimmesdale is shown, (similar to the one in The Da Vinci Code), using the scourge upon himself because of his guilt, which wasn’t a part of the faith he was bred into. He also fasted as a penance rather than a purification of his soul as well as beginning to hallucinate visions of evil and angelic qualities for staying up with no rest. He began seeing visions of family and dead friends, then eventually of Hester and Pearl. On one of these sleepless nights he gets a different thought than usual and dressing in his best public worshiping attire leaves his home. The minister walks to the scaffold where Hester was sentenced. He then began wondering about the reason for being drawn to the same spot. He became aware of his agony and couldn’t suppress a shriek of pain, sounding like a host of devils playing with the sound of the scream.

Governor Bellingham and his sister both were seen from their respective windows, but seemed the only ones visibly disturbed by his cry, to his surprise, thinking more notice would be had. Reverend Mr. Wilson passed him after being with a recently departed Governor and Dimmesdale imagined he had spoken to him, but soon realized otherwise as the reverend continued on his way. Dimmesdale began to imagine what the town’s reaction would be if he were found still standing there by morning. His reaction to his imaginings made him laugh hysterically and in response, a laugh sounding like Pearl’s echoed in return, which after noticing Hester, surprised her by being addressed by Dimmesdale and responded she had been at the same deathbed as the reverend for measurements of a robe. Dimmesdale requests them to stand with him on the scaffold. Hester acquiesces and when he holds both their hands, feels revitalized and rejuvenated by them.

Pearl then asks if he will be there with them the next day and Dimmesdale, being reminded of his dislike to public exposure declines, but “one other day” he would. Pearl persists in questioning when and he responds, on “judgement day”. He being a teacher, saw no reason in masking his truth. Pearl laughed as usual in response, anyways and then gave him one of her elf-ish smiles and was pointing to Roger Chillingworth, but didn’t notice due to staring off elsewhere. Chillingworth meanwhile wasn’t hiding his look of malevolence quite well, which Dimmesdale noticed in the light of a meteor passing and seemed to stay as an after-image of the light. He asked Hester who it was, feeling hate and getting the shivers from him. Pearl answers she knew, but only spoke childish gibberish in his ear when given opportunity for her say, then laughs. Dimmesdale asks if she’s mocking him and in reply, Pearl reiterates how he wouldn’t stand with them the next day at noon. Chillingworth, after standing there for so long, states how men of study should be careful of overwork essentially and whether he’d like for him to lead Dimmesdale home. He is told by Chillingworth the reason he was there was because of the Governor, as well and accepts his offer.

On the Sabbath, when Dimmesdale had to do his sermon, a sexton brought his left glove to him, spotting it on the scaffold to Dimmesdale’s surprise, since thinking of the memory as a dream, which the sexton presumed his glove got there by Satan’s hand. Then he asked if he saw the letter “A” in the sky, assuming it meant “Angel” since the Governor was surely one now and Dimmesdale declined in hearing any such thing. Hester meanwhile, was shocked by Dimmesdale’s appearance and mental faculties being drastically changed for the worst. She seemed shaken, but willing to help him since he had been there for her in her greatest hour of need.

A jump forward in time happens, Pearl now seven and Hester having become well known and regarded for her embroidery and made her living as a freelancer to support herself and Pearl. Since Hester is such a force to be reckoned with people begin to refer to her badge, sharing all her services to the community to strangers and would hold back the reason for her wearing the badge due to the many years having passed. The badge had the same effect as a nun’s habit has on thieves: nuns walked safely in the streets. There were even myths of how the badge protected one from an Indian’s arrow. The effect of the badge on Hester was an odd and strong one. She lost her “light and graceful” countenance, which could have made it difficult on friends to accept, if she had any; she had lost her beauty as well. Perhaps partly to do with her repetitive attire and to her lack in demonstrative manners. She covered her hair so often, no one knew if it had been cut off or not. Hester didn’t seem to have a chance at love again because of these physical changes.

The fact Pearl still had some odd behavioral moments sometimes made her question whether it were good or otherwise of her being born at all, but this question preoccupied Hester with all of womanhood. She noticed on the night of Dimmesdale’s vigil she had obtained “a new theme of reflection”. She realized his marked depression, which he had stopped fighting. She also noticed he had crossed the threshold to mania. He had an unnoticed “enemy” whom was with him, dressed as a confidant and aide who took the chance to play with his delicate nature. Hester wondered if she was partly responsible for the minister being thrust into his current predicament of so much negativity, but knew she could do nothing more than accept Chillingworth’s mindful deception. She decided to try and make up for this mistake as much as she could. She was no longer overcome with lack of ability to resist his person as she was on her trial. Chillingworth had since lowered himself below her level because of his selfish revenge. Hester decided to meet him and do what she could to release his grip on Dimmesdale which wasn’t far in the future. On one of her walks with Pearl she sees him searching for herbs for medicinal purposes.

Hester suggests to Pearl to go and play on the shore whilst she approaches Chillingworth. Hester tries to start the conversation, but he takes it over to discuss whether Hester’s badge might be removed and how he was trying to get it done immediately, whilst Hester’s response is indifferent. She was busy noticing the drastic changes in Chillingworth’s countenance and how he lost the look of studious intelligence, all for his enjoyment of “torturing” Dimmesdale. Chillingworth defends her position of not being able to help Dimmesdale those years past and Hester admits he would have been better off dead than being spared by Chillingworth so as not to be jailed outright. Hester asks him whether Dimmesdale hasn’t suffered enough by his hand and his reply expresses he hasn’t only not reached it, but has added to the debt since. Hester tries to convince him he’s wreaked enough havoc and they’re all in the same boat.

Chillingworth contrives satisfaction in Hester’s dark view. He sees Hester’s goodness being wasted and beginning to tire of their conversation, admits to some’s fates happen to walk a darker path than others and goes back to herb-gathering. As Hester watches him walk away and go about his business, she notices his ugliness and age as did all others who saw him, wishing they hadn’t and wondering why the ground he tread didn’t turn dark from his evil, also whether the herbs he collected didn’t sprout as poisonous or being used for terrible reasons. Hester then began realizing how much she hated him, for ever having felt affection and wanting to make him happy (I can relate). She began feeling he’d manipulated her and confirmed her hatred by resolving what he had done to her was much worse than vice versa. Hester calls Pearl back, she amusing herself making ships and playing with the shore-side sea creatures. She then makes an outfit for herself with seaweed and accouterments from the shore to pretend to be a mermaid, plus an A, which she’d become so familiar with.

When Pearl hears Hester call, she runs to her and shows the letter she made for herself, to which Hester asks if she truly knew the meaning, which Pearl takes literally, knowing her alphabet. Pearl then continues, after her mother enquires again, how much she knows about it, she replying Hester could ask the old man she’d been talking to and if it’s in relation to why the minister puts his hand over his heart. Hester debates now if Pearl is old enough to be unload upon some of the truth to her pained reasons for the letter. In the end, she decides against it, also not knowing of the minister’s reasons either and some questions children mustn’t ask. Pearl’s curiosity wanes, but not for long, keeping a steady vigil, asking periodically. Finally tiring of her insistence Hester demands she stop with the intention of putting her in the closet with seriousness she hadn’t felt before (ha-ha).

Hester decides to let Dimmesdale know of Chillingworth’s deception, but wanted to wait for the proper outdoor setting, the reason being described therein. When Hester decides the time has come, she takes Pearl with her, since there’s no one to watch her in her absence. Meanwhile Pearl is chasing the sun which keeps dipping away and to incorporate her curiosity in not knowing the scarlet letter’s meaning still, makes a jape, relating Hester to hang back so she can go catch it because she doesn’t have a letter on her chest and is still a child; precocious little scamp. When they reach the start of the woods to wait, Pearl requests a story which she overheard a woman talking about during a death sitting Hester attended, which brought a “Black man” being the cause of the scarlet letter, to which Hester agrees to confess and admits to being correct. When she hears the approach of Dimmesdale, she sends Pearl away to play near the brook and gathers nature items similarly to her sea-side romp. Dimmesdale is looking more pathetic and feeble with his cane.

Hester gets his attention, to his surprise and they at first question their state of living and then, before getting to the real point, are exceptionally formal and make polite small talk. When they do both realize they are still both struggling to discover peace, Dimmesdale fantasizes about how he wouldn’t be wrenched with guilt were he an Atheist. Hester thinks he would at least sense solace in those who looked up to him, but no, he still found their loyalty making him as miserable as before. She tries to reassure him of the good he’s doing and shouldn’t feel guilty, then finally broached the real reason for her interruption of his solitude. He reacts with great surprise and she confesses her relationship to Chillingworth. He doesn’t take the news well and after a mini-dramatic moment, he reluctantly forgives her. Then asks her how he should go about separating himself from Chillingworth, since he couldn’t bear to continue to live with him now with this knowledge. Hester advises he should definitely move out and suggests he move far from his grasp, but Dimmesdale is too tired and close to death to consider it seriously. She goes on to try and get him to at least consider the possibilities going so far as to mention changing his name, but he couldn’t see it being a valid option, especially being alone, to which Hester says doesn’t have to be. Then she confides more (but the reader not being indulged).

Dimmesdale is now visibly happy and shocked by her forward suggestion, but relieved, most likely since he wouldn’t have dared ask her in kind. He began to feel better with the prospect Hester proposed, and also was happy to share the acquaintance of Pearl. Hester calls her back, she having been properly amusing herself in the forest, though most found it to be dark and depressing, she found the best parts, Native American-esque, having the ability and knowledge of doing so naturally. Then from Pearl’s point of view, back-story of what she encountered and the products of nature she adorned herself with before being called back to meet the minister is given, which is why she approaches slowly.

Then their secret is shared (Hawthorne, you tricky Old English-y word-player, you). Pearl is still taking time to approach her mother and Dimmesdale, eventually pointing at Hester which I deduced was because of her no longer wearing the letter, which she threw away earlier. Hester started feeling estranged between her daughter and herself and continues to try to get Pearl to come more quickly. She finally understands, gets the letter, Pearl acknowledges and listens to Hester when she puts it back on and they approach Dimmesdale, with a little resistance from Pearl. He tries to show affection toward her, too forward for Pearl and proving she wouldn’t be as welcoming to Dimmesdale as Hester thought. She retreats, they talk a little more and all eventually leave, the brook adding another “sad tale” to its babble. Dimmesdale was also pleased to know the ship which would carry them away wouldn’t depart until after his sermon, relieving him of the idea his reputation would be affected by his absence. He is surprised by a visit from Chillingworth who outwardly seems friendly and concerned about his health, but inwardly believes he may have found out about his being his nemesis. Chillingworth offers his medicines to him again which Dimmesdale declines and on his leaving, throws out his old sermon due to the inspiration of a new one.

Hester has brought Pearl to the market-place for the procession of the Election Sermon. When Chillingworth appears and speaks with a ship-master, Hester is amongst the crowd, but has a bubble of space around her caused by the letter’s stigma, which helps when the ship-master comes to speak with her (Society: What a fun concept to be ruled by, eh?). In this case it helps them protect their conversation from being overheard in such close proximity to others. The realization of how much of a right bastard Chillingworth is, becoming clear (makes me wish he would drop dead right there, the smug, stalking, old coot).

Next, Dimmesdale is marching among the rest of the statesmen, but with an air which belies how he’d been feeling all this time, like when one who is ill has a moment of being reinvigorated. After Pearl sees Dimmesdale pass, she asks Hester if it was the same man who had kissed her in the woods. Hester notifies her it wasn’t the time to talk of those matters. Pearl persists with if she had approached him would he have acted the same as in the woods and Hester told her he probably would have told her it wasn’t the time or place, which was the same for her topic of conversation, then Mrs. Hibbons comes up to them. After their short aside, Hester stands by the scaffold to catch Dimmesdale’s sermon. Pearl, meanwhile had grown bored and flitted about the market-place, soon making her way to the ship-master and other mariners, where he gave Pearl the gold chain about his hat and asked her to give her mother a message, which she did (what I grasped of it was, since she couldn’t get Dimmesdale away from Chillingworth, she should thenceforth be thinking only of herself and Pearl).

After Dimmesdale’s speech, he’d lost the exuberance he’d acquired and now seemed even closer to death so much, a “clerical brethren” offered his support as he made his way back from the church. He didn’t accept the old man’s help and walked on towards the scaffold, Hester with Pearl. Bellingham overviews the moment, was going to offer his help as well, but was repelled away by the look on Dimmesdale’s face. Meanwhile Dimmesdale calls Hester and Pearl to him and as she comes forward, Pearl is already wrapping her arms about his legs and Chillingworth steps forward to repel them, knowing and being jealous of the implications. Dimmesdale decides to go up on the scaffold, Hester supports him and Pearl holds his hand, as Chillingworth tails them. He finally announces to the townspeople, in front of all the clergymen what has burdened him and after which seems to be about to die.

Then it’s left open as to whether Chillingworth had afflicted himself with his own scarlet letter upon his breast or if there was any mark on him at all and if there was, if he could have caused it through his potions. It goes on to suppose Hester had taken Pearl away from America and upon Chillingworth’s death had bequeathed Pearl with a hefty part of his estate and later on, Pearl had gone on to marry and stayed close to her mother, even though Hester decided to return and live in New England, to counsel the women who came to her after being judged similarly and how she learned to live beyond it. Strange story, mostly worth the effort; I’ll be looking into other Hawthorne works.

Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe

I was extremely disappointed with this book. I was expecting much more than what actually ended up happening. I was told there would be pirates in this book!  Yes, it may sound childish, but I was in a pirate’s adventures phase and looking for some good classics, but what I got was an instantaneous moment of pirates where not much was described or occurred. After, there were only about two moments on that “cursed island” which was pleasing and the rest filler about religion and how Crusoe finally found the time to become even more of a prude than his somewhat carefree way of life before his shipwreck. 

The cover I used for this review fairly sums up the story as well. Crusoe lords over Friday like a newly appointed slave-driver (which, in a way he was). It makes me laugh, and then wistful of the hours spent. I feel my time may have been wasted on this book a bit; And now I know this story is considered one of his best, I can safely sweep Mr. Daniel Defoe under the rug with all the other mundane authors.