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Thread: Many Different Rolands?

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    Traveler klobbrus is on a distinguished road

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    Default Many Different Rolands?

    Greetings.

    This is something that I was thinking about recently as I posted in the Gunslingers Guns thread. The main discussion of that thread was on the few conflicting descreptions of his guns (sometimes single action, sometimes double, sometimes one ammo, sometimes another).


    *Main spoilers!!!*





    Given that, after the ending of the series with Roland reaching the top of the Tower and being put back at the 'start' of his journey (at least where we join him ). Yet this time he 'remembers pausing to pick up the horn', meaning he now has something that he didn't before while on his journey.

    My theory is this: The telling of the story (through the seven odd books) doesn't tell of just one of his (Rolands) journeys, but several different ones, as he reaches the tower and is sent back, but with a new tool/item/knowledge that he didn't have to allow him to actually complete his quest. Since the 'past' would then have changed, it is reasonable to think that his gear could also change not only from quest to quest, but from book to book. (IE The Gunslinger would be one quest where he reached the tower but was sent back with a new item/upgraded item, the Drawing would be another, etc. etc.)

    This would allow for the gun to be first a single action, and then 'upgraded' to a double action for a small ease on his journey. Same with his finding his companions. Perhaps in one journey he did it all alone, but he wasn't meant to, because his friends (Susannah, Eddie, Jake, Oy, Callahan, etc. etc.) were needed for their own parts (forming Tet Corp (as Roland wouldn't even begin to think of doing that), protecting the Rose, giving birth to Mordred, stopping Blane with illogic, etc. etc.)


    Well, tell me what ya'll think and if needed, I will try and clarify my thought if possible!
    Last edited by Darkthoughts; 08-27-2011 at 03:32 PM.

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    damned and saved Letti will become famous soon enough Letti's Avatar

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    Hi there.
    I am sorry I had to move your thread but I think it does belong here.

    The theory is interesting but for my part Roland is Roland. I mean we had only one Roland in the series in these 7 books. The way his personality was changing and developing during the quest tells and suggests me that in these 7 books Roland was permanent and the same.

    Roland would have understood.

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    妖怪 ola is on a distinguished road ola's Avatar

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    I've been struggling with my own concept of alternate realities for Roland partially because of this: why would the same Roland end up in all these different versions of the timeline? In other words: What about him is more permanent then most other people? (I say "most" because I think that some others like the Crimson King also exist outside of the rules.) Other versions of reality would usually mean different versions of people should exist in each one.

    Currently I agree with Letti that they are all the same Roland. I think he must be special in some way, a keystone, maybe something to do with his heritage in the line of gunslingers/Eld. His strong, archetypal character and the way it slowly changes over the course of the books makes me think that he is also changing (very incrementally) over a huge expanse of time, and somehow learning each time he repeats his quest, even while he forgets specific events.

    This gut feeling is also reinforced by the quotes about "You are the one that never changes," etc at the end of the series.

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    Traveler klobbrus is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by ola View Post
    I've been struggling with my own concept of alternate realities for Roland partially because of this: why would the same Roland end up in all these different versions of the timeline? In other words: What about him is more permanent then most other people? (I say "most" because I think that some others like the Crimson King also exist outside of the rules.) Other versions of reality would usually mean different versions of people should exist in each one.

    Currently I agree with Letti that they are all the same Roland. I think he must be special in some way, a keystone, maybe something to do with his heritage in the line of gunslingers/Eld. His strong, archetypal character and the way it slowly changes over the course of the books makes me think that he is also changing (very incrementally) over a huge expanse of time, and somehow learning each time he repeats his quest, even while he forgets specific events.

    This gut feeling is also reinforced by the quotes about "You are the one that never changes," etc at the end of the series.
    I agree with the above that Roland himself never changes, as he is bacically a being made only to save the Tower...

    I was mainly thinking of the smaller things like details about his quest, like his equipment (as he now has the horn he didn't before). A few more examples:

    Eddie comments on never having seen the grow bag before

    Roland begins to realize( I think ) that he has been travelling for over a thousand years

    Just a thought!

  5. #5
    damned and saved Letti will become famous soon enough Letti's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by klobbrus View Post
    I agree with the above that Roland himself never changes, as he is bacically a being made only to save the Tower...
    Being only to save the Tower?
    I see Roland's character and his life much much richer than that.
    By the way I don't think the Tower needed to be saved at all but that's another question and another topic.

    Roland would have understood.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Letti View Post
    ...The way his personality was changing and developing during the quest tells and suggests me that in these 7 books Roland was permanent and the same.


    he changes and develops

    he is permanent and the same


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    Traveler klobbrus is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by Letti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by klobbrus View Post
    I agree with the above that Roland himself never changes, as he is bacically a being made only to save the Tower...
    Being only to save the Tower?
    I see Roland's character and his life much much richer than that.
    By the way I don't think the Tower needed to be saved at all but that's another question and another topic.
    By which I mean that he is the only one (left) who could save the Tower, as the ones who are trying to destroy it are of the same line ( of Eld)! As long as Roland strives for the tower he is unable to be stopped! ( just my theory anyhow!)

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    damned and saved Letti will become famous soon enough Letti's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Letti View Post
    ...The way his personality was changing and developing during the quest tells and suggests me that in these 7 books Roland was permanent and the same.


    he changes and develops

    he is permanent and the same

    If you grab them out of the text they don't make much sense but if you look at the question and the whole answer they do. I think.

    I don't think there are more Rolands. We saw and met only one Roland. That's why I say he himself is permanent (not his personality), there aren't more from him like from an action figure on the shelf. But he does change and he does develop but it's still the same person.
    I am changing, too but I don't think that every day I die at night and my mind and my memories get savedto a new body and brain and there is a new person in my bed every morning. I am permanent even if I am changing in this world until I go to the Clearing.

    I might not have chosen the best words to describe my thoughts. I'm sorry if it doesn't make any sense.

    Roland would have understood.

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    Traveler klobbrus is on a distinguished road

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    The title of the thread wasn't literal as Roland having ( twin) multiple versions all seeking the Tower but was just a bit o bait to get the old juices flowing!

    I was thinking more of his different journies to reach the Tower ( as I doubt when we meet him in the desert it was his first trip to the Tower!)

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    Yet, you stepped into a pre-existing difference of opinion, and so Letti and ola objected needlessly. I think that the two things you name (different versions and different journeys) are one and the same.

    It's not that I believe that alternates of Roland exist like action figures. It is that if other people have alternates, then I do not believe that they are like that, either.

  11. #11
    Army of the 12 Monkeys pathoftheturtle is a glorious beacon of light pathoftheturtle is a glorious beacon of light pathoftheturtle is a glorious beacon of light pathoftheturtle is a glorious beacon of light pathoftheturtle is a glorious beacon of light pathoftheturtle is a glorious beacon of light pathoftheturtle's Avatar

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    Albert Einstein responded to those who expressed insecurity in the wake of his Theory of Relativity by explaining that he had replaced one set of constants with others.

    The idea of this thread would justify King's errors by setting stream-of-consciousness in place of normal physics. It could settle one of the remaining mysteries of the series, namely the question of exactly why is was that Roland's quest for the Tower depended on SK writing about it.

    The issue of whether klobbrus's interpretation would defeat the concept of true progress is a serious one, but it is not really new. That issue is inherent to the claim that ka is a wheel. With or without this viewpoint, TDT presents a paradox between much logical evidence for that depressing claim and King's suggestion that the power of the horn somehow is transcendent.

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    Traveler klobbrus is on a distinguished road

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    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    Albert Einstein responded to those who expressed insecurity in the wake of his Theory of Relativity by explaining that he had replaced one set of constants with others.

    The idea of this thread would justify King's errors by setting stream-of-consciousness in place of normal physics. It could settle one of the remaining mysteries of the series, namely the question of exactly why is was that Roland's quest for the Tower depended on SK writing about it.

    The issue of whether klobbrus's interpretation would defeat the concept of true progress is a serious one, but it is not really new. That issue is inherent to the claim that ka is a wheel. With or without this viewpoint, TDT presents a paradox between much logical evidence for that depressing claim and King's suggestion that the power of the horn somehow is transcendent.
    Oh wise turtle, you have hit upon a great truth! The above quote is very near the theory I have been wrestling with! And while I don't claim to have originated the theory, I was interested in it, as I too believed it would explain a few 'inconsistencies' in the story (assuming said tale was a linear telling)(and we know what assumptions do!)

    good show! Hope this starts some mind bending palaver!

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    Along the Path of the Beam overhoser is on a distinguished road

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    Note: I'm sorry this post is so long. I hope it makes sense and is interesting.

    Wonderful topic! I was actually thinking about something similar a few days ago while thinking about Callahan's story about multiple Americas. It reminded of the idea of incompossibility: the belief that multiple versions of the same world can exist, just never at the same time. This is an incredibly intriguing concept that I think King is intentionally dealing with. He's a smart and well read man and I'm sure he has encountered the idea, allowing it to influence his thoughts about TDT. I'm about to shift into grad student mode, and this post might get kind of long, so feel free to tune out:

    Leibniz writes about the palace, which is shaped like a pyrmaid and is the summary of all worlds. At the top is the best and true world, the best of all possible worlds. At the base of the pyramid is an endless number of possible worlds. Does this sound like the tower to anyone else?

    Gilles Deleuze then takes Leibniz's palace and claims that when we encounter "singularities," we can fork off into other worlds that are incompossible with this one, based on the choice we make at the singularity. So, for example, a singularity in TDT would be when Roland has the option to drop Jake into the abyss or pull him up. The result would be two different worlds: one in which his quest continues with Jake and one without. They are both possible, but are incompossible with one another.

    So, I see the quest for the Tower a quest to reach the top of Leibniz's Palace, the best of all possible worlds. Throughout the series, there are references to people existing on different "levels" of the tower. In The Gunslinger, Roland thinks of the possibility, Walter mentions being on a level of the tower, Eddie says something about level nineteen, and Roland says he wants to get into the room at the top of the tower.

    Now, for the question of multiple Rolands. Someone mentioned that he may be above or outside time, that there is only one Roland. I think this is true. Deleuze and Leibniz don't allow for this possibility, so they don't mention the dangers of singularities. In their thought, after a singularity, two worlds and two Rolands would exist. But Roland's madness following the singularity of Jake's fall shows that that is not the case for him: he existed in both worlds at the same time. There is only one Roland and he can be divided. But, since Callahan could move between worlds easily (for a part of his life), and in none of those worlds were people puzzled by his presence, there can be multiple Callahans. Callahan is subject to the rules, but Roland is not.

    The question, then, is why is Roland not subject to the rules? He exists solely to search for and enter the Tower....but why? It clearly does not need saving. Or, perhaps by believing in it, Roland is keeping it in existence. Like the world of Fantasia in the Neverending Story.

    This also brings up the question of the horn and it's re-insertion into Roland's life. But that's another topic I'm still thinking about...

    I can continue, but this is already really long. For more, a google search for "deleuze incompossible" will get you plenty. But, for a more intelligible example, one that King was most surely influenced by, would be The Garden of Forking Paths by Jorge Luis Borges. It's a short story. You can read the full text here.

    You can also check out The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, which deals with a similar (but different) theme.

    Or, for fun, a blog post I wrote about the topic and Back to the Future. This blog post spends most if its time dealing with multiple versions of a single character (Biff Tannen) and trying to determine which one is the "real" Biff.

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    I'm of the opinion that part of what makes roland special is his singular nature, his has no twinners/ alternate dimension dopplegangers
    flagg on the other hand is the opposite, there is an INFINITE number of him
    if the worlds gonna end then let's get it over with, i got shit to do

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    I agree that there is only one Roland. He is somehow permanent across many different worlds. And when a singularity is reached (see my earlier post), others, like Flagg, may multiply, but Roland (and perhaps the others in his ka-tet, or in the line of Eld) moves between worlds or at least between versions of worlds.

    I would also like to revisit the theory that started this thread:

    The telling of the story (through the seven odd books) doesn't tell of just one of his (Rolands) journeys, but several different ones, as he reaches the tower and is sent back
    If one thinks (as I do) that every new journey actually takes place in a different version of the same world, here is some food for thought from Wolves of the Calla:

    "On another pillow lay a jawbone, prodding a ghostly, ghastly memory from the back of the boy's mind. Once, in a world where he had died, the gunslinger had found a bone like that" (p. 569).

    To me, this quote clearly indicates that The Gunslinger happened in a different world from Wolves. If it was a different world, it could very well have been a different journey, confirming the theory of the original poster. In my opinion, at least.

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    Traveler klobbrus is on a distinguished road

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    Default Thread title just a gimick!

    Greetings.


    Thanks for all the replies.

    The title of the thread 'many different rolands' is not really the question/topic I meant to discuss. I didn't mean that Roland himself has twin/twims/multiple copies.

    I was thinking more along the lines of slight details about his journey. For instance, knowing *SPOILERS* that he has actually reached the Tower only to be sent back more than once, the 'different Rolands' could be like this:

    Trip 3: he has single action revolvers, one water skin, and his mule didn't die at the bean eaters hut.

    Trip 4: his revolvers were 'upgraded' to always have been double action (for an easier journey)

    Trip 5: he is given another water skin and some meskalin!

    Trip 6: he is given a grow bag (as when he shows it to the gang in WoTC, they hadn't seen it before)


    Etc. etc.

    The main theory was that with each trip he made to the Tower, he was gifted with another item/detail needed for his ultimate redemption/restoration/actually reaching the Tower for the last time.

    This would cause many different versions of Roland, while Roland himself stayed the same.

    Anyway, if it wasn't clear enough, i'll try and make it clearer for ya'll!

    Let me know what you think about it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by overhoser View Post
    ...I see the quest for the Tower a quest to reach the top of Leibniz's Palace, the best of all possible worlds. ...

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    I believe in some small way Roland does change each time around. I don't think he is just gifted with new items, but that he learns from the previous journey and makes different choices, such as taking the time to pick up the horn.
    And that he must keep learning and growing untill he does everything correctly, or untill he realises that the tower may not be worth all he gives up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by velcro_fly View Post
    I believe in some small way Roland does change each time around. I don't think he is just gifted with new items, but that he learns from the previous journey and makes different choices, such as taking the time to pick up the horn.
    And that he must keep learning and growing untill he does everything correctly, or untill he realises that the tower may not be worth all he gives up.
    I completely agree. As he learns more about himself and the world, each time he (re-)encounters a singularity he makes a better choice, moving him into a better world, until he reaches/achieves the best of all possible worlds at the top of the tower. But can that ever be achieved? Probably not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    The issue of whether klobbrus's interpretation would defeat the concept of true progress is a serious one, but it is not really new. That issue is inherent to the claim that ka is a wheel. With or without this viewpoint, TDT presents a paradox between much logical evidence for that depressing claim and King's suggestion that the power of the horn somehow is transcendent.
    Did King ever imply that the horn had power and that it was transcendent? It's just fans assuming he did. He just wrote: "Roland touched the horn again, and its reality was oddly comforting, as if he had never touched it before" This sentence doesn't say in any way that the horn has any kind of power. It just gives ground to this thread's theory that the journey could have been taken in different whens by Roland.
    In that case, could the fact that the world has moved on only apply to Roland since he doesn't remember having been through the journey before because he was on a different when? Maybe throughout the story, he's dragged to different whens where he takes the same journey with different Eddies and Susannah (this doesn't apply to Jake since Jake was turning mad when he had alernate lives to deal with and I don't know if it does to Oy) in the same way he draws them to his world but he's not told he was drawn so he has no way to know. This would mean he feels the time and places aren't right (maybe reaching point B from point A takes a lot more time in world A than in world B) but then the world wouldn't have moved on for anyone else. (I hope this is clear enough)

    Quote Originally Posted by overhoser View Post
    I agree that there is only one Roland. He is somehow permanent across many different worlds. And when a singularity is reached (see my earlier post), others, like Flagg, may multiply, but Roland (and perhaps the others in his ka-tet, or in the line of Eld) moves between worlds or at least between versions of worlds.
    Could that mean that Jack Sawyer is in the line of Eld, or is he just a singularity like we're told in the Talisman?

    If one thinks (as I do) that every new journey actually takes place in a different version of the same world, here is some food for thought from Wolves of the Calla:

    "On another pillow lay a jawbone, prodding a ghostly, ghastly memory from the back of the boy's mind. Once, in a world where he had died, the gunslinger had found a bone like that" (p. 569).

    To me, this quote clearly indicates that The Gunslinger happened in a different world from Wolves. If it was a different world, it could very well have been a different journey, confirming the theory of the original poster. In my opinion, at least.
    We do know it happened in a different world for Jake but is it a different world for Roland?

    Quote Originally Posted by klobbrus View Post
    I was thinking more along the lines of slight details about his journey. For instance, knowing *SPOILERS* that he has actually reached the Tower only to be sent back more than once, the 'different Rolands' could be like this:

    Trip 6: he is given a grow bag (as when he shows it to the gang in WoTC, they hadn't seen it before)
    It's not because they hadn't seen it before that he didn't have it. He has a purse or some kind of bag in which he could have put it. We know Roland is secretive and pragmatical so that could just be him not showing it to the others because there was no point in doing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by <<-- me, right here and now
    Quote Originally Posted by stone, rose, unfound door View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    The issue of whether klobbrus's interpretation would defeat the concept of true progress is a serious one, but it is not really new. That issue is inherent to the claim that ka is a wheel. With or without this viewpoint, TDT presents a paradox between much logical evidence for that depressing claim and King's suggestion that the power of the horn somehow is transcendent.
    Did King ever imply that the horn had power and that it was transcendent? ...
    "...I hope the reader will see that by discovering the Horn of Eld, the gunslinger may finally be on the way to his own resolution. Possibly even to redemption. ..."
    ~ Stephen King,
    DT VII, Author's Note
    The depressing thing to me about the idea that ka is a wheel is that it may imply that nothing ever has any real resolution. That all manner of things just go round and round, forever. Am I wrong that discovering the horn represents something which transcends that?
    Quote Originally Posted by stone, rose, unfound door View Post
    ...could the fact that the world has moved on only apply to Roland since he doesn't remember having been through the journey before because he was on a different when? Maybe throughout the story, he's dragged to different whens where he takes the same journey with different Eddies and Susannah (this doesn't apply to Jake since Jake was turning mad when he had alernate lives to deal with and I don't know if it does to Oy) in the same way he draws them to his world but he's not told he was drawn so he has no way to know. This would mean he feels the time and places aren't right (maybe reaching point B from point A takes a lot more time in world A than in world B) but then the world wouldn't have moved on for anyone else. (I hope this is clear enough) ...
    Uh... yeah... um... couldn't be clearer. *whistles*

    lol, I'm definitely going to try to think more about some of these things, l8r.

    Quote Originally Posted by stone, rose, unfound door View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by klobbrus View Post
    I was thinking more along the lines of slight details about his journey. For instance, knowing *SPOILERS* that he has actually reached the Tower only to be sent back more than once, the 'different Rolands' could be like this:

    Trip 6: he is given a grow bag (as when he shows it to the gang in WoTC, they hadn't seen it before)
    It's not because they hadn't seen it before that he didn't have it. ...
    I really don't think that that was klobbrus's reason for saying that.

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    The depressing thing to me about the idea that ka is a wheel is that it may imply that nothing ever has any real resolution. That all manner of things just go round and round, forever. Am I wrong that discovering the horn represents something which transcends that?
    I don't think you're wrong on that at all. The horn is definitely meant to imply hope of some sort....there is never any firm resolution, but a wheel picks up new dirt every time it goes around...the horn is perhaps some better dirt. Something to make the ride smoother. the quote posted from the author's note indicates Roland's own resolution, not some grand resolution.

    I'm sorry that thought wasn't really fully formed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by <<-- me, right here and now
    Quote Originally Posted by stone, rose, unfound door View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by pathoftheturtle View Post
    The issue of whether klobbrus's interpretation would defeat the concept of true progress is a serious one, but it is not really new. That issue is inherent to the claim that ka is a wheel. With or without this viewpoint, TDT presents a paradox between much logical evidence for that depressing claim and King's suggestion that the power of the horn somehow is transcendent.
    Did King ever imply that the horn had power and that it was transcendent? ...
    "...I hope the reader will see that by discovering the Horn of Eld, the gunslinger may finally be on the way to his own resolution. Possibly even to redemption. ..."
    ~ Stephen King,
    DT VII, Author's Note
    The depressing thing to me about the idea that ka is a wheel is that it may imply that nothing ever has any real resolution. That all manner of things just go round and round, forever. Am I wrong that discovering the horn represents something which transcends that?
    Quote Originally Posted by stone, rose, unfound door View Post
    ...could the fact that the world has moved on only apply to Roland since he doesn't remember having been through the journey before because he was on a different when? Maybe throughout the story, he's dragged to different whens where he takes the same journey with different Eddies and Susannah (this doesn't apply to Jake since Jake was turning mad when he had alernate lives to deal with and I don't know if it does to Oy) in the same way he draws them to his world but he's not told he was drawn so he has no way to know. This would mean he feels the time and places aren't right (maybe reaching point B from point A takes a lot more time in world A than in world B) but then the world wouldn't have moved on for anyone else. (I hope this is clear enough) ...
    Uh... yeah... um... couldn't be clearer. *whistles*

    lol, I'm definitely going to try to think more about some of these things, l8r.

    Quote Originally Posted by stone, rose, unfound door View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by klobbrus View Post
    I was thinking more along the lines of slight details about his journey. For instance, knowing *SPOILERS* that he has actually reached the Tower only to be sent back more than once, the 'different Rolands' could be like this:

    Trip 6: he is given a grow bag (as when he shows it to the gang in WoTC, they hadn't seen it before)
    It's not because they hadn't seen it before that he didn't have it. ...
    I really don't think that that was klobbrus's reason for saying that.
    I understand what klobbrus implies but I feel a lot of people jump to conclusions and I just wanted to point out the fact that even though we might want to see the grow bag as proof of that theory, it may not be even remotely close to proving it. I find klobbrus's theory very entertaining, though.

    About the horn : King said Roland may be on his way to redemption. Does that mean the horn really is trandescendent? It may be powerful and trandescendent or it may not. I'm not saying you're wrong because you very well may be right but the thing is we can't know it for certain.
    I wish we all (including me) had more evidence to prove our theories.
    I just knew I wasn't clear enough when typing this. I need to find a way to explain it so people understand me!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by stone, rose, unfound door View Post
    ...King said Roland may be on his way to redemption. Does that mean the horn really is trandescendent? ...
    I never said it did. I said that TDT "presents a paradox." I know it is not definite.
    Quote Originally Posted by overhoser View Post
    ...the quote posted from the author's note indicates Roland's own resolution, not some grand resolution.
    Can any human find peace if peace is against the human condition?

    At the last minute, King may have been trying to dodge grand universal statements, but I don't think that there was really any way for him to get out of that with all that he had set up in developing the series. His conclusion must have implications. He's written enough horror that I would not be too surprised if we conclude that those are mainly negative, but I am not one who believes that anything has meaning in a meaningless universe. To my mind, philosophy is definitely related to daily life.

  25. #25
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    I don't see the horn of Eld as a gift -- I see it as evidence. Evidence that the Roland we see now is an improved version. Roland 2.0 (or 19.0, if you like). His previous self was so focused on the Tower that he couldn't take his eyes from the quest long enough to pick up this value item. Roland 19.0 is better. Less flawed. Not perfect. Not guaranteed to break free from the upward spiral of his existence (not a loop; he starts the journey slightly elevated from his previous position) on this particular journey but he will some day.

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