Still Loving 'DaVinci Code' Stories But So Very Tired of Childless Female Sidekicks
While I have admittedly enjoyed author Dan Brown’s best-selling series of stories about Robert Langdon's searches for religious icons that started with The Da Vinci Code in 2003, his use of sidekick women who can’t have children is getting tiresome. Sidekick women are the norm in action adventure novels, especially those novels whose primary audience is male. Such characters aren’t necessarily bad, as they are sometimes quite accomplished and intriguing. However, as women authors continue to be encouraged to enter this genre, such as the fantastic adventure writer Rebecca Cantrell, predictable women sidekicks may one day be a thing of the past.
For now, it’s the prominent use of childless women as sidekicks that is starting to bring down Dan brown’s otherwise good stories.
In Dan Brown's Inferno (2013), it is an approximate 60-year-old world-renowned female physician with a top position in the World Health Organization (WHO) who was childless, apparently by choice. Multiple times throughout the book she expresses regret over her decision to not have children. This is just too formulaic and frankly, beneath Dan Brown’s imagination.
Thankfully, the movie version didn’t delve too far into the physician’s background. If anything, the move minimized the physician’s role in the story.
Now we move on to Dan Brown’s 2017 book, Origin. Personally, I liked this novel better than Inferno, but in this instance, the “childless woman with regrets” storyline has got to stop. The Origin sickkick is a 39-year-old super gorgeous, yet very accomplished woman, who manages a world-renowned museum. This time, she is childless, but not by choice. An unnamed “illness” suffered while she was younger made her “barren,” a term that the character uses to label herself.
Yes. Dan Brown used the highly inappropriate and derogatory term, “barren”, to describe a brilliant, world-famous, magnificent female character. Unbelievable, and unacceptable.
To Mr. Brown’s credit, in Origin he does illustrate the use of women as being only child-bearers in today’s society when that character becomes engaged to a male member of a royal family. The royal's sole mission is to carry on the monarchy’s bloodline and a “barren” woman obviously cannot fulfill this duty.
Beyond the use of childless women who couldn’t fulfill their “dream” of having children, but who are otherwise exceptional without being mothers, I find it downright bizarre that the series’ protagonist is a single, older, unmarried, white male who has no children and shows no interest in being a father himself.
Why does Dan Brown not apply the same instincts for parenthood to that protagonist, Robert Langdon, that he applies to the sidekick women Furthermore, Robert Langdon never seems bothered by his lack of offspring. Due to this discrepancy, it is achingly obvious that these formulaic background stories for amazing female fictional characters has really just got to stop.
Perhaps Tom Hanks, who plays Robert Langdon in the theatrical versions of the Da Vinci Code series, could put an end to all of this and make sure that this plot line that appears in the books does not make it into the next movie.
And, by the way, I did happen to see Tom Hanks in character as Robert Langdon in Rome back in 2008 while he was filming Angels and Demons outside the Parthenon. Kind of cool, and it's one reason why I keep reading Dan Brown’s novels, despite negative depictions of successful women without children.
Guest Post by Dr. Stacy Pitt, an avid reader and animal lover living in Dallas, Texas.
(Image Credit: Sony Pictures)