Robert Langdon is the main character in the Robert Langdon series, which consists of Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol and Inferno. In the film adaptations, Langdon is portrayed by Tom Hanks.
At age 7, Langdon fell into a well and was trapped there over night. This left him with a lasting claustrophobia that constantly plagued him in his later years. His father died when he was 12 years old. In prep school, he played water polo and he was a skilled diver.
Langdon became a professor at Harvard, teaching symbology. Even as he got older, he would retain his 'morning ritual' of swimming laps in the college's pool. He published numerous texts on symbols, including The Sacred Feminine which would later win him recognition by Jacques Sauniere and involve him in the events of The Da Vinci Code. This renown as a symbologist caught the attention of CERN which lead him to The Vatican (Angels & Demons). After his father died, Peter Solomon became a father figure to him and when Solomon was kidnapped in Washington D.C., Langdon would become involved in the events of The Lost Symbol. Throughout his adventures, Langdon displayed a brilliant problem-solving mind, and an Eidetic Memory.
The character was created by Dan Brown as a fictional alter ego of himself or "the man he wishes he could be". Brown himself was born June 22, 1964 in Exeter, New Hampshire, and the fictional Langdon is described as having been born on June 22, also in Exeter, and attending the same school as Brown did, Phillips Exeter Academy. Brown named the character after John Langdon, a professor of typography at Drexel University who is known for his creation of ambigrams, typographical designs that can be read in multiple ways; for example, both right side up and upside down. An example of Langdon's ambigrams appeared on the cover of the first edition of Brown’s novel Angels & Demons, and other ambigrams featured throughout that novel were also designed by Langdon. On the acknowledgments page, Brown calls Langdon "one of the most ingenious and gifted artists alive … who rose brilliantly to my impossible challenge and created the ambigrams for this novel". John Langdon also created the logo for the fictional Depository Bank of Zurich, which appears in The Da Vinci Code film.
Robert Langdon (born June 22, 1964 in Exeter, New Hampshire, United States) is described as looking like "Harrison Ford in Harris tweed", with his standard attire being a turtleneck, Harris Tweed jacket, khakis, and collegiate cordovan loafers, which he wears to all events, from lectures to social events. A frequently referred to accessory is his Mickey Mouse watch, a gift from his parents on his ninth birthday. He drives an automatic Saab 900S.
Langdon was a diver at Phillips Exeter Academy in prep school and played water polo at Princeton University where he went for college. He suffers from claustrophobia, the fear of enclosed spaces, as he fell into a well when he was 7 years old. His father died when he was 12, and his new mentor father-figure became Peter Solomon, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.
Known for a brilliant problem-solving mind and his genius, Langdon has an eidetic memory and an understanding of semiotics. As professor at Harvard University, he teaches Religious Iconology and the fictional field of Symbology. Langdon also mentions he was raised a Catholic but that he will never understand God and also said that faith is a gift he has yet to receive.
Angels & DemonsEdit
Robert Langdon is called to CERN headquarters in Switzerland to find out about the religious symbological implications of the death of CERN's finest and best-known physicist, Leonardo Vetra. When he starts to investigate the murder, his obsession for the subject history comes into play. Langdon is later joined in the investigation by Vittoria Vetra (Leonardo's daughter) and they start their journey to the Vatican to unlock the mystery behind the Illuminati, an anti-Catholic secret society which, according to the plot, has deeply infiltrated many global institutions, political, economical and religious. Langdon and Vetra solve the mystery of the Illuminati by following the Path of Illumination and in so doing explain the disappearances of four Cardinals during a papal conclave, the murder of Leonardo Vetra, and the theft of antimatter (a substance that can be used for mass destruction). At the end of the novel Langdon ends up having a relationship with Vittoria Vetra. In the last few sentences of Angels & Demons, Vittoria Vetra asks him if he has ever had a divine experience. When he replies in the negative, Vittoria strips and quips, "You've never been to bed with a yoga master, have you?" Their relationship, however, is only mentioned briefly in The Da Vinci Code, mentioning the fact that Langdon had last seen Vittoria a year previously.
The Da Vinci CodeEdit
In the beginning of 2003's The Da Vinci Code, Robert Langdon is in Paris to give a lecture on his work. Having made an appointment to meet with Jacques Saunière, the curator of the Louvre, he is startled to find the French police at his hotel room door. They inform him that Saunière has been murdered and they would like his immediate assistance at the Louvre to help them solve the crime. Unknown to Langdon, he is in fact the prime suspect in the murder and has been summoned to the scene of the crime so that the police may extract a confession from him. While he is in the Louvre, he meets Sophie Neveu, a young Cryptologist from the DCPJ. When Langdon and Sophie get the chance to talk in private, he finds out that Jacques Saunière is her grandfather. Saunière instructs Sophie to 'Find Robert Langdon', according to the message he left for her in the floor, therefore, Sophie believes he is innocent of her grandfather's murder.
He spends the rest of the novel dodging the police and trying to solve the mystery of a secret ancient society which was led by Leonardo da Vinci himself, the Priory of Sion. At the end of the novel, Langdon uncovers the mystery behind Mary Magdalene and the Holy Grail also called Sang real. He agrees to meet with Sophie at the end of month again at the end.
The Lost SymbolEdit
In The Lost Symbol, Robert Langdon has an adventure in Washington D.C. with the concepts of Freemasonry. Tricked into visiting the nation's capitol, Robert Langdon spends twelve hours racing through the monuments and buildings of the forefathers, searching for the truth in the secret society of the Masons. Behind new doors lies secrets that threaten to change the way people view science and politics, with Robert Langdon acting as the last line of defense.
In The Da Vinci Code, Langdon is said to have written four books:
- The Symbology of Secret Sects
- The Art of the Illuminati: Part 1
- The Lost Language of Ideograms
- Religious Iconology
At that same point in the trilogy, Langdon is preparing the manuscript for his fifth book, to be titled Symbols of the Lost Sacred Feminine. It is later revealed in The Lost Symbol that Symbols of the Lost Sacred Feminine was published and created 'quite a scandal'.