Towerpedia:Reaptide Festival

The Reaptide Festival is a fictional event in author Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Marking the end of the harvest season when Demon Moon is full, the Reaptide Festival signifies the year’s true end.

The festival goes back to the time of Arthur Eld, when Maerlyn persuaded the town of Brockest to forsake Gan and the gods of Mid-World and instead worship the gods of the Great Old Ones, known as can-char.

Maerlyn suggested that the citizens of Brockest burn a member of their ranks as a sacrifice to the can-char, in order to bring good fortune to their town. After years of hard times, the citizens of Brockest are desperate enough to take Maerlyn’s suggestion to heart, and follow through with the sacrifice. They tie a member of their citizenry to the remains of a ghostwood tree (referred to as a Charyou Tree because of its connection to the ancient gods of death) and light a bonfire underneath the unlucky person.

To the townspeople’s surprise, the next spring brings the first green in the before-barren fields, and the birth of two new babies in Brockest. Word spreads to neighboring towns, and before long, the belief in Charyou Tree becomes widespread. Reap bonfires become commonplace as sacrifices are made to insure good fortune in the coming year.

Arthur Eld made an attempt to stop this barbaric practice by issuing a ban on the human sacrifice associated with Reap, but it was mostly ineffectual. He soon realized a different sort of compromise would have to be reached, and decreed that only one sacrifice would be made in All-World per year, to be determined by a lottery.

At one point, Eld’s barren wife, Queen Rowena, plotted with a witch from Garland to conceive a child of her own and get revenge on Eld’s mistress, Emmanuelle Deschain, who had already borne the Eld a son.

Due to the witch’s influence and manipulation of the Outer Dark, Emmanuelle’s name was chosen to be the one burned on the charyou fire, and Rowena became pregnant with an Eld heir. Eventually it was discovered Rowena’s child was a were-spider, and the people of All-World realized the true nature of the can-char. The next year, human sacrifice was replaced with the burning of “stuffy-guys”, human-shaped bundles of straw.

Currently, Reap festivals generally include the election of a Reap Boy and Reap Girl, the proliferation of Reap charms, a fair-like atmosphere of games and contests, riddling competitions, and dancing.

Original artwork by susie



Flamini, Anthony. The Dark Tower: Gunslinger's Guidebook. Marvel Publishing, Inc., 2007.

Furth, Robin. Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance. Scribner, 2006. ISBN 0743297342

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