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Thread: Questions Concerning the End ***MAJOR SPOILERS***

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    Traveler NickP will become famous soon enough

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    Default Questions Concerning the End ***MAJOR SPOILERS***

    Hello all. I finished the series a few hours ago after starting it about 18 months ago (what an ending!!), and I have about a million thoughts and questions. Several of them came to mind immediately. MAJOR SPOILERS are ahead, so read on at your own risk if you haven't finished the series.

    1. Very near the end, when Roland tells Patrick Danville to draw the Crimson King, Patrick says it will be difficult because, "He darkles, he tincts." Roland seems to slightly recall this phrase from earlier on, but doesn't have the time to consider it. I can't remember it at all, so when was it first said, and what does it mean?

    2. After Oy's death, Roland remembers seeing an image of the scene of his death when looking into Maerlyn's Grapefruit, part of the Wizard's Rainbow. I somewhat remember this, but would like to read it again to refresh my memory. I thought it was in Wizard and Glass, but couldn't find it. Which book was it in and where?

    3. So at the very end we basically learn that the story repeats itself. Are there any signs of this throughout the series?

    4. Do you think it's possible that instead of the entire story repeating itself, the seven books were all just Roland's dream, and the real quest is about to begin at the very end? I really hope this isn't the case.

    5. What are your thoughts on the ending? I can't say I like what happened (the repitition of everything is more than a little depressing to think about), but at the same time I thought it was a very entertaining and unique way to wrap it up. I thought it was very well done by Stephen King.

    6. Do you think that Roland will meet all of the same people and have the same ka-tet (Susannah, Eddie, Jake, Callahan, Oy) when he repeats the journey? Or will he meet different people, or have no ka-tet at all? I really hope not. That would mean he would forget everyone in the ka-tet, which is extremely sad when you consider how much they meant to him. So basically, how similar or different to the previous journey will the quest be this time around?

    7. Do you think Robert Browning's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" poem is the story of Roland's final journey, when he reaches the Tower and finally earns his salvation? The very end of the final book shows that Roland must go through his journey again, and then the text of Browning's poem is inserted into the book. So is that basically the outline of the next, and final, version of the quest? In the poem, Roland blows his horn as he reaches the Tower, and Roland does have the Horn of Eld with him at the start of the next version of the journey.

    8. Is it possible that this whole story is a sort of purgatory for Roland? Maybe he has already died, and each time he goes through this quest it cleanses his sins and teaches him to be a better man. He clearly becomes much more emotional and attached to his ka-mates throughout the series. Maybe when he finally completes his journey and has cleansed his sins, he'll find the "Clearing at the end of the path" when he walks through the door at the top of the Dark Tower. Maybe his real life was similar to this journey, but he was forced to complete it again and again until he was ready to enter the clearing. Or maybe his real life was something completely different, and all of this was just his own afterlife.
    (PS, This doesn't necessarily reflect my religious views. Just a theory).

    Thanks for your help!

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    Word Slinger Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent has much to be proud of Bev Vincent's Avatar

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    SPOILERS, of course

    1) In the golgotha scene at the end of The Gunslinger. The words don't really have a specific meaning. Robin Furth, in her Concordance, defines the phrase to mean that he lives backwards in time or can live simultaneously in all times.

    2) Wizard and Glass, section 5 of CHAPTER X: BENEATH THE DEMON MOON (II)

    3) It sort of repeats itself, but there are signs that things may be different. Some people describe it as a loop, but I prefer to think of it as a spiral, like the spiral staircase inside the tower. Each time he repeats his journey, he's a little better.

    Yes, there are signs of this in the series, most notably at the beginning of The Gunslinger (revised edition). You could argue that the regular sense of deja-vu that the ka-tet experiences or the fact that Eddie can ride a horse, even though he's never done so before are hints in this direction, too.

    4) No.

    5) I have an essay about this at the end of The Dark Tower Companion. I can't think of any other way he might have ended it

    6) I'm open to the possibility that ka might provide a different ka-tet to the improved version of Roland seen in the final pages of the series. Ka provides the tools he needs to succeed. He has to meet Jake, though, because his salvation is inextricably dependent upon the choices he makes beneath the mountain while he's pursuing the Man in Black.

    7) The next version of the quest is not the final one. It's just the next iteration of a very long series in which Roland incrementally improves himself. The Browning poem is a clue for Roland but not a rigorous template for his journey. The Horn of Eld at the beginning of his next journey is an avatar of Roland's improvement. This version of Roland took the time to look away from the Tower long enough to see important things going on around him. He stopped long enough to pick up the horn.

    8) It's a sort of hell on earth, in my opinion--or a purgatory on earth. Hell is repetition, King has been known to say. My belief (not shared by everyone!) is that Roland's redemption comes when he decides to not enter the Tower--to not have the hubris to assume that he can know God. When he completes his ka-given mission, dispatches the Crimson King, hails the Tower and then turns away.

    If you'd really like to get into some of this stuff in greater depth, might I recommend my first book, The Road to the Dark Tower?

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    Traveler NickP will become famous soon enough

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    Thanks for the help with finding the passages and all of the insight! I've heard of the book before, so maybe I'll check it out.

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    Fundraiser Emeritus Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickP View Post
    Thanks for the help with finding the passages and all of the insight! I've heard of the book before, so maybe I'll check it out.
    TDT.Org aims to please!!! Awesome response, Bev!!!

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    Along the Path of the Beam twice is on a distinguished road twice's Avatar

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    I only have "answers" to a few of the questions. There not really answers but what I keyed in on when looking back.

    3. The sign of the story repeating itself that I see when looking back is the song Hey Jude playing Tull, and being a prominent part of the early part of the story

    6. I think that Roland will meet all of the same people. The story ends with " The Man in Black fled across the desert and The Gunsliger followed." Well as we know The Man in Black was dead at the end of The Gunslinger (so we're led to believe) and was later killed by Mordred, and he returned.

    When Roland reaches the top of the tower and gets to the door marked "Roland" He is missing his father's guns, and the Tower tells him "Yet it will be yours again" from this i took that all things will be restored, including his fingers, and his gunna, and his Ka-Tet.

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    Traveler tufagon is on a distinguished road tufagon's Avatar

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    Yes I know Stephen warned me it would end like this.

    Yes I know He gave me the choice to stop before Ďwe' entered the tower.

    I have no complaints about the tower itself and though I know a tale has to end and the good ones leave you astonished with an open end.

    And, yes, I get the circle of KA .

    But I have some questions my mind canít let go (is it that I donít want the tale to end?)

    1 Is Rolandís reincarnation just from the way station ,or, is this just a device to take us back to The Gunslinger (We end as we began) whereas Roland was reborn as a child and lived his whole life anew?

    2 If he reborn at the way station why are deeds from there more in need of redemption then those of his youth?

    3 Lastly, are Rolands deeds so dark that he uniquely has to revisit his pain and correct his mistakes? Surly Detta, Eddie, Jake and even Oi have their fallen natures to redeem? (yet get the happy ish ever after)

    Sorry if these questions have been answered before.

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    Fundraiser Emeritus Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958 has a reputation beyond repute Merlin1958's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by tufagon View Post
    Yes I know Stephen warned me it would end like this.

    Yes I know He gave me the choice to stop before ‘we' entered the tower.

    I have no complaints about the tower itself and though I know a tale has to end and the good ones leave you astonished with an open end.

    And, yes, I get the circle of KA .

    But I have some questions my mind can’t let go (is it that I don’t want the tale to end?)

    1 Is Roland’s reincarnation just from the way station ,or, is this just a device to take us back to The Gunslinger (We end as we began) whereas Roland was reborn as a child and lived his whole life anew?

    2 If he reborn at the way station why are deeds from there more in need of redemption then those of his youth?

    3 Lastly, are Rolands deeds so dark that he uniquely has to revisit his pain and correct his mistakes? Surly Detta, Eddie, Jake and even Oi have their fallen natures to redeem? (yet get the happy ish ever after)

    Sorry if these questions have been answered before.
    Have a look around. There are some threads with extensive discussion regarding your questions that also offer some neat theories. The actual thread names escape me right now, but you'll find them I am sure.

  8. #8
    John F. Kennedy Random321321 is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bev Vincent View Post

    3) It sort of repeats itself, but there are signs that things may be different. Some people describe it as a loop, but I prefer to think of it as a spiral, like the spiral staircase inside the tower. Each time he repeats his journey, he's a little better.

    Yes, there are signs of this in the series, most notably at the beginning of The Gunslinger (revised edition). You could argue that the regular sense of deja-vu that the ka-tet experiences or the fact that Eddie can ride a horse, even though he's never done so before are hints in this direction, too.
    AKA, major retcons. One of many reasons I don't recommend the revised Gunslinger before reading the rest of the series, it's kind of a give away. I don't really recommend it after either as it comes across as forced with references to "later" books, and more professional, polished, boring language.

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    Gunslinger Apprentice chucknbuck will become famous soon enough chucknbuck's Avatar

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    Regarding your #4, I have been wondering if this some sort of purgatory (or hell?) for Roland.

    Jake shows up in Roland's world in DT1 after being killed in his world. How does this make sense? Are they both in purgatory together? Did Roland fail a test by letting him fall?

    I also struggle with the fact that things from other stories (light sabers, snitches, wizard of oz junk) show up in Roland's world. I guess the Crimson King and/or his minions could pull these things from the ka-tet's minds and make them reality, but I didn't feel it was explained.

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    Traveler elgaz is on a distinguished road

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    I've just recently finished the entire series after a good few months reading. Your question #8 is something I've been thinking about and considering since I finished it.

    In a lot of books (and films, etc) ............................ endings are often open to interpretation by the reader. And writers often encourage that. Take Inception, with it's spinning Totem at the end - is Leonardo DiCaprio in the real world, or a dream? It's never made conclusively clear and Christopher Nolan has often encouraged viewers to follow their own interpretation.

    Your theory about Roland being in a kind of Purgatory/Limbo rings true to me, and was my first theory after finishing the book. There are a number of reasons I believe this theory fits:

    1) Stephen King has stated that repetition is a hell of sorts
    2) Repetition is, by definition, a limbo of sorts. Static, with no change or progression. Though in the case of the Dark Tower, we know that these repetitive cycles do allow some tiny changes.
    3) Throughout the series, there are a number of suggestions of Roland (and others) having an almost prophetic knowledge - at times - of things to come. I believe this is due to the endless cycle they find themselves in rather than any supernatural sixth sense. Everything Roland is experiencing, he has likely experienced before.
    4) Roland's quest affects multiple worlds, millions of beings, and has far-reaching consequences beyond the realms of our ability to even comprehend. I find it hard to believe this is all happening for real over, and over, and over, and over again - just so Roland can learn a lesson of sorts. As amazing as he is, why is he so important that the Dark Tower forces this endless cycle of death and near total destruction on the Universe?
    5) The very fact that Roland survives insurmountable odds to make it to the tower. He would never die in his own purgatory.
    6) Purgatory exists outside of time and space. Hence why time behaves so oddly throughout Roland's adventures. The passing of time is never quite consistent.

    I believe Roland of Gilead was a real man, a real gunslinger. But at some point in his life - be it before his long quest to seek out the tower, or some point during it - he died. I have a hunch it may have been when he saw down to palaver with the Man in Black and woke to find hundreds of years had passed.

    I believe that within this Dark Tower fictional universe that Stephen King created, the characters do progress to an afterlife when they die. And like many religions across the world believe, I think there is a joyous and peaceful afterlife for those who are good and an eternal suffering afterlife for those who are bad.

    I believe that those who straddle the fine line between good/bad don't go to either, at least not straight away. They go to a Purgatory where cycle-after-cycle-after-cycle passes and they either end up proving themselves and thus are allowed to move on, or end up stuck there eternally. Roland is at heart a good and honest man who will help those in need and who stands up for what he believes to be true. However he has also taken countless lives, and has chosen his obsession with the Dark Tower over the life of others - leading to such things as him letting Jake fall to his death after their trek through the caverns.

    I believe the Tower exists not only in the real world, but in the afterlife. It is what controls all life and the passing of all life. It exists everywhere, everywhen. And it is the Tower which pushes Roland into endless cycles of his quest, wiping his memories each time but leaving subtle hints both within his mind and outside of it, so that he may consciously make better choices - not because he feels guilt or wants to avoid the cycle again - but because he understands it's the right thing to do.

    Because this is not the real universe and is a personal Purgatory for Roland, we could argue that it all takes place within his mind. The stakes are real to him, but not to anyone back in the real world. I believe the characters he encounters (and specifically those who oppose him) are representations of different facets of his own mind. They exist to make him question himself, and to drive his actions. The Crimson King is the sum total of these, personified; his evil vs Roland's good; his madness vs Roland's concise and calculated thinking; his red eyes vs Roland's piercing blue; his hundreds and thousands of minions vs Roland's small ka-tet; and so on. And where they are forever linked, despite their differences, is in their ability to lets others be expendable when it comes to their own pursuit of the Tower. This is ultimately where the good and bad parts of Roland's nature reconcile.

    And eventually Roland will choose his his friends and his Ka-Tet over any personal obsession with his search for the Dark Tower, and the Tower will release him into an eternal tranquillity in the afterlife.

  11. #11
    Along the Path of the Beam SpyGuy will become famous soon enough SpyGuy's Avatar

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    Elgaz, that is a very well written and thought-out statement. Thank you for a great insight into Roland's journey to the Tower.

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