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Mal'akh

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Goodbye, Professor. Enjoy the Afterlife
~ Mal'akh leaves Professor Robert Langdon to drown


Mal'akh is the main antagonist in the Dan Brown novel The Lost Symbol. His real name is Zachary Solomon. He is the son of industrialist Peter Solomon and seeks to steal a Masonic pyramid which his father owns.


History

Origins

Mal'akh was born as Zachary Solomon in the Solomon estate of New York. He had a luxurious childhood, with every wealth he could have.

When he was eighteen, Zachary was presented with a family choice between wealth and wisdom by his father Peter. Zachary was asked to either choose to protect a family pyramid, owned by Masons, or to inherit his money and use it well. Zachary was too obssessed with his money and he demanded the money instead of a pyramid. He stole his money and ran off, spending it luxuriously on flamboyant, drunken teenage parties.


Fall from grace

However, his first downfall came when he was caught smuggling cocaine into Europe and was arrested.

In prison, he became Inmate 37, and when his father Peter flew in to get him out he heard Peter talking to a guard who said that he could get him out. But it would cost Peter. Peter refused to teach Zachary money was always the answer and refused. Zachary was outraged and arranged with the guard to kill another inmate, dress him in Zachary's clothes, and pretend to Peter that Zachary died because of his decision. So, this was arranged. Zachary promised the guard he could have money and a new home, but he betrayed the guard and killed him.


Rebirth as Mal'akh

Now Zachary escaped to Greece and lived flamboyantly, having sex with many women. He became toned and muscular. He also began to indulge in drugs. He renamed himself Andros, meaning warrior. He became depressed and started researching Masons. He heard about a pyramid said to give the owner power. He remembered his father's pyramid.

So, he disguised himself in a black mask and ski suit and broke into his family home, pretending to have been Zachary's killer, and he threatened his sister Katherine and Peter and ordered the pyramid. But when he said that Katherine would die if the pyramid wasn't given, their grandmother came in, shooting, but Zachary knifed her and ran off. Peter followed him, and Zachary said if he pulled the trigger, he, Zachary, would haunt Peter. Peter still shot Zachary and left him for dead.


Second downfall

Later, Zachary recovered from the fall and he became angered that his once perfect body was ruined by the bullet. He killed a man who picked him up and stole his car. Then he ate and found that the FBI were after him. He escaped and went back to New York.

Zachary found that tattoos were an answer to hiding his injury, and he went to an artist and had his whole body tattooed with Biblical and dark magic symbols. He now was more in love with himself than ever, and he thought of himself as an angel - such that when he perfored dark magic experiments, he prayed to the angel Mal'akh - and named himself Mal'akh after the angel.

Putting his plan into action

Now, he kidnapped Peter Solomon from his apartment under the pretence of a meeting, thanking Peter for his recent induction into the Masons. Zachary took Peter to his mansion and kept him in a flotation tank. Then, he phoned Robert Langdon, a symbologist, and pretended to be Peter's air pilot, and asked him to come to Washington. He said Peter was doing a speech there. It was when he got there Langdon realized Mal'akh had cut off Peter's hand and left it in the Capitol.

Mal'akh kept phoning Robert Langdon over the evening, saying they were short on time, and he broke into Katherine Solomon's lab, killed her assistant Trish, and set fire to the lab, blowing it up and, he hoped, destroying the evidence of her "heretical" research into the Afterlife. Zachary, aka Mal'akh, now confronted Langdon and the CIA when they broke into his house. He killed a CIA agent, kidnapped Katherine, put Robert in a flotation tank, and made Katherine think Robert was drowned. He drugged Katherine by injecting her arm with a needle and taking her blood. He showed her the deformed Peter, who was disguised as him (by making him bald and dressing him in a robe) to confuse Langdon when the sacrifice took place.

Zachary took Peter to a temple in Washington and explained that he was his own son and how come Peter didn't love him, and then ordered Peter to kill him. Zachary lay on the altar and demanded Peter use his fear and anger to kill him. Peter was just about to, but Robert Langdon ran in, and knocked him down, thinking Peter was Mal'akh. Peter had only stabbed the altar and not Zachary. Then, a helicopter from the CIA came on the skylight, smashing it to pieces and causing the blades to fall on Zachary, killing him.

Death and damnation

Before he died, Peter told him that he still loved Zachary despite his evil ways, infuriating Zachary even more, because he wanted Peter to kill him through anger. In the last section, we get a description of death from Zachary's perspective, as he goes into a dark Afterlife, and hears chanting before seeing all the evil souls before him, and being consumed by a dark wave of energy.


Personality

Mal'akh was a complete monster; he was emotionless and sadistic, and honestly believed himself to be possessed by the angel Mal'akh. He revered psychopathic killers, such as Alastair Crowley, who he believed was just "misunderstood." Mal'akh hated the "common people" and he was very aristocratic.

Ironically, Mal'akh seemed to have an inner war going on with both halves of his personality = he wanted to first portray himself as a young rebel, then as a flamboyant bodybuilder, then finally as a businessman. In his disguises, he wore highly sophisticated suits, and liked to pass himself off as a wealthy businessman (which, in many respects, he was) but when at home he liked to strip almost naked and just wear an ancient kilt. He may have some sort of mental illness (maybe insecurity) which built his unidentified nature into himself. Mal'akh was very good at lying, though, and he excelled in torture, showing a complete contempt for "lesser peoples" like his own grandmother and Katherine's assistant Trish.

Mal'akh was very misogynistic, rather similar to the Hassassin, he viewed women as only tools and wanted no relationship with any. Both his first murders involved women and to prove his lack of sexual desire, he removed his genitalia. He followed the old teachings literally, believing gods have no gender.

Although his plans - bombing Katherine's lab, stealing her evidence, framing Langdon, chopping off Peter's hand, evading the CIA - may seem complex, his only real goal was very simple: to be seen as a god. He was rather similar to Lucifer, in that he, Mal'akh, saw himself as a "tragic" villain when in fact he deserved no sympathy at all.


Trivia

  • Mal'akh is one of the darkest of Dan Brown's Langdon villains.
  • Mal'akh is similar to Jafar:
    • They both want to be revered as gods
    • Both gain supernatural powers
    • Both are linked with angelic creatures: Mal'akh with the angel Mal'akh and Jafar with the Genie
  • Mal'akh displays several signs of a mental illness through the novel:
    • First is his sadomasochism: He slices off his own genitalia to denounce his lack of sexuality
    • He never shows any emotions at all
    • He seems to hate women with a passion
    • Mal'akh is extremely narcissistic
    • He views assistants such as Trish as mere slaves and disposable people
    • He wants people to pity him despite his unredeeming features and his wealth

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