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Letti
07-04-2008, 12:58 AM
Here I would like to talk about the meaning of the colours in the series.
It's quite clear why White can symbolise the Good but I can't really put my finger on why Red belongs to the dark side. What's the problem with this colour? (for me it's absolutely positive)
I know that DT is not the only book that uses the colours this way still I am interested in what you think about it.
Why does the red colour belong to the dark side?

Jean
07-04-2008, 02:03 AM
blood

communism (the Red revolutionary forces versus the White tsarist forces in Russian revolution - it was quite official name for them, the Red and the White)

the Whore of Babylon

the House of Lancaster (versus the White Rose of the House of York to which my heart belongs)

these are first that came to the bear's mind, I got to think more

also, there are a lot of good things associated with red, of course - in Christian symbolism, too, - and it's my favorite color (not crimson or scarlet, but the coral-brick variety)

Letti
07-04-2008, 02:12 AM
For me red is absolutely positive. (so is blood)

Darkthoughts
07-04-2008, 03:04 AM
Red is used in road signs to signify a warning, it's just become associated with danger...not sure why though.
Plus, traditionally, the devil is thought to be red.

Red is not a calming colour and can even, under certain conditions, incite agressiveness. Thats why you'll find hospitals and similar institutions painted pale greens, blues or white.

I expect actually, that when red occurs naturally in the plant and animal kingdom, it acts as a warning - so we've probably adapted it from there.

mia/susannah
07-04-2008, 03:51 AM
I think for the most part people associate red with danger, aggression, blood. I think it is just natural to use red to represent the crimson king just as it is to use white to represent gan

Letti
07-04-2008, 04:47 AM
And is red a better colour for the evil than black?

mia/susannah
07-04-2008, 04:56 AM
And is red a better colour for the evil than black?

I personally think black would represent evil better. A dark color for the dark side but both red and black are pretty symbolic of evil and the dark side of people or objects. I hope you understand what I am saying. I am putting it pretty badly

Jean
07-04-2008, 05:02 AM
red can be far more aggressive than black. As I see it, black (absence of color, absence of light) leaves more to your imagination - you can fill it with whatever you consider evil or horrible... while red comes with its own content

mia/susannah
07-04-2008, 05:05 AM
Jean, that is true. Both colors do a pretty good representation though, for me anyway

William50
07-04-2008, 06:26 AM
My favorite color is red. I hope that doesn't mean I'm evil!!!!

mia/susannah
07-04-2008, 06:31 AM
My favorite color is red. I hope that doesn't mean I'm evil!!!!

No, of course not. I love the color red myself. I am only talking about it represent the crimson king and other characters or objects

Nerak
07-04-2008, 06:48 AM
insurance industries have done studies and red cars get in to more accidents because the drivers tend to be more aggressive.

I also associate red with anger

William50
07-04-2008, 06:49 AM
The Little Red Riding hood was a happy story right? No evil there.

Wuducynn
07-04-2008, 08:00 AM
And is red a better colour for the evil than black?

I personally think black would represent evil better. A dark color for the dark side but both red and black are pretty symbolic of evil and the dark side of people or objects. I hope you understand what I am saying. I am putting it pretty badly

In the series both red and black symbolize "evil".

William50
07-04-2008, 08:20 AM
I agree that black represents evil better. The Grim Reaper always is in black, and Dracula wears black (as well as most vampires).

mia/susannah
07-04-2008, 08:28 AM
Hince, the man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed

William50
07-04-2008, 08:40 AM
Yeah, I forgot about him. Plus, if you look at some really old drawings of the Devil, it is usually wearing black. It seems that the movie industry has made it red.

William50
07-04-2008, 08:59 AM
I agree, crimson is a fun word to say. It sounds kind of evil also.

Letti
07-04-2008, 12:55 PM
Black might represents evil better but I do love that in Roland's world red has such a special meaning. Somehow this colour can give me chills more easily and it makes me wonder more.

Jean
07-04-2008, 12:58 PM
Black might represents evil better but I do love that in Roland's world red has such a special meaning.
only don't forget the red rose, ok?

jayson
07-04-2008, 01:06 PM
Black might represents evil better but I do love that in Roland's world red has such a special meaning.
only don't forget the red rose, ok?

right on that one Jean. the Rose represents The White, but it is physically Red. It's one of the better representations of the Tower as World Axis between pairs of opposites. :rose:

William50
07-04-2008, 02:33 PM
The rose helps prove that red is not as evil as black.

mia/susannah
07-04-2008, 07:44 PM
Black might represents evil better but I do love that in Roland's world red has such a special meaning.
only don't forget the red rose, ok?

You are right, Jean. I am ashamed of myself. I did not think about the red rose. :doh: :blush:

Jean
07-04-2008, 08:48 PM
can hardly see anything to be ashamed of... it's that mind-boggling concept Jayson, Ryan and self, - even if we don't count in several hundred less prominent philosophers, like Hegel, - have been trying to put into various words, and always, I'm afraid, missing something crucial (the essense of the universe is a tricky SoB). http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gifhttp://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/0134-bear.gif

Lee
07-04-2008, 09:51 PM
Maybe the "red" is the go between or the middle man between the White (Gan) and Black. Something/color that connects the two? Could be evil (CK) or salvation(Rose)?? You choose what "red" is to you. But I think the colors just give us a visionary of the "characters"...

William50
07-05-2008, 07:23 AM
So is the color of the rose signifigant at all, or is it just red for no reason?

LadyHitchhiker
07-05-2008, 04:09 PM
Anyone know if there was a reason behind the colors being the crimson and the white? I mean I'm just curious because he could have picked any colors, purple and pink, black and white, etc.,. I didn't remember a reference.

All I can think of is Alice and Wonderland with the red queen and the white queen... :lol:

But any help would be appreciated, and if there's not a quote, maybe someone has an idea why! :D

LadyHitchhiker
07-05-2008, 04:10 PM
I must confess that I just made a thread about this topic. Please ignore my origins of white and red... :lol:

LadyHitchhiker
07-05-2008, 04:12 PM
and as for my saying about the red and white all I can think of is the white and the red queens from alice and wonderland

Wuducynn
07-05-2008, 04:16 PM
*Moves post into this thread then*

Red and black are widely considered to be the colors of "wickedness" in Western society. It seems that King formulated his idea for Los from the song In the Court of the Crimson King used in Insomnia first and worked from there.
I really don't think King spent a lot of time going over things philosophically with the Dark Tower series (and with other of his books) things would come to him at spurts and he worked with it.

Letti
07-05-2008, 09:30 PM
We think alike, dearest Liz. :rose:

LemurJones
07-09-2008, 11:01 AM
I found the color symbolism to be really interesting. I know a little bit about color symbolism in some of the ancient pagan and occult religions and societies, and red and white are two very important (and opposite) colors in some of them. White generally represented masculine power, and scholarly knowledge and lore. (Like things you learn from reading books or math or somesuch.) Red represented feminine power, and knowledge that was gained from personal insight and the natural world. They were BOTH good and necessary, but different from each other.

It was interesting to me, to say the least- it made any scenes with the Crimson King feel like I was watching a drag show or something, for one- and I find it intriguing to apply what I've learned from reading about the colors as symbols in other cultures to the books. I can see the Crimson King as being a representation of the red because (at least when we meet him) he is ruled by emotion instead of rational thought, pursues chaos instead of order, lashes out without planning or thinking ahead, and is this viscerally physical figure. Whereas Roland can be described as an agent of the white because (through a lot of the quest, anyway) he ignores his emotions to follow his plans, he pursues order, and he is the masculine stereotype. (the cowboy, the loner, etc.)

This makes me see the story as not being a war between the "right" side of the white and the "wrong" side of the red, but a struggle to restore balance between the two. If it had been Roland instead of the Crimson King, the universe would have been in just as much mortal peril.

jayson
07-09-2008, 11:05 AM
This makes me see the story as not being a war between the "right" side of the white and the "wrong" side of the red, but a struggle to restore balance between the two.

Interesting observations indeed Lemur :thumbsup:

Darkthoughts
07-09-2008, 11:48 AM
Yes, good post Lemur :cool:

LemurJones
07-09-2008, 11:52 AM
:3 it happens about once every three months.

Letti
07-09-2008, 11:56 AM
:3 it happens about once every three months.

You should come here more often. ;)

LemurJones
07-09-2008, 12:04 PM
Nuh uh, you'd get tired of all the lemur fur I'd be leaving around the place, and of having small creatures hiding under your furniture.

<3

Jean
07-09-2008, 12:05 PM
This makes me see the story as not being a war between the "right" side of the white and the "wrong" side of the red, but a struggle to restore balance between the two.

Interesting observations indeed Lemur :thumbsup:
hear, hear!


:3 it happens about once every three months.
gr gr gr
wish Lemur would make it once every three weeks, at the rarest. Once every three days would be optimum, but only because once three hours might exhaust little Lemur

LemurJones
07-09-2008, 12:12 PM
Lemurs can try to come around more to say relevant things >.>

<.<

LadyHitchhiker
07-09-2008, 02:45 PM
We enjoy relevant and irrelevant lemurs *huggles*

The Lady of Shadows
07-13-2008, 03:20 PM
insurance industries have done studies and red cars get in to more accidents because the drivers tend to be more aggressive.

I also associate red with anger

red cars get more tickets as well.



Nuh uh, you'd get tired of all the lemur fur I'd be leaving around the place, and of having small creatures hiding under your furniture.

<3

how could anyone get tired of our precious lemur. i always look under the lemurcouch in the castle to see if you're hiding there. you never are though. :(

Ruthful
07-13-2008, 03:43 PM
Plus, traditionally, the devil is thought to be red.


What about all of those Renaissance era paintings where he's blue? Isn't the deepest circle of Hell supposedly a pit of ice?

The Lady of Shadows
07-13-2008, 06:56 PM
Plus, traditionally, the devil is thought to be red.


What about all of those Renaissance era paintings where he's blue? Isn't the deepest circle of Hell supposedly a pit of ice?

yes, according to dante it is.

pathoftheturtle
07-25-2008, 10:26 AM
and as for my saying about the red and white all I can think of is the white and the red queens from alice and wonderlandYes, Through the Looking Glass uses chess pieces for characters. If we researched the origins of color choices for that game, that might shed some more light on this topic.

(Also, I think it'd be safe to say that Lewis Carroll's Red King influenced Stephen King's. May even have inspired him: The Red King from Alice famously symbolises the world as a dream; she was warned that she and all she knew would vanish if the Red King woke up... kind of like what the CK wants to do by destroying the Tower.)

Anyroad, I do believe that fire and ice are the key symbols behind traditional contrasts of red and white. In some cultures, white is negative. Norse myth speaks of the damned freezing in Hel. Today, that's more often thought of as burning, a concept that may well have spread along with the Western religions from the people of the Middle East. However, for some, what red fire represents is life.

I agree that there is some paradox in all of this, but I don't think that King really intended the fact of various interpretations of the colors to imply a serious theme in DT.
...This makes me see the story as not being a war between the "right" side of the white and the "wrong" side of the red, but a struggle to restore balance between the two. If it had been Roland instead of the Crimson King, the universe would have been in just as much mortal peril.I don't really see it that way, LJ, but you do make a very interesting argument. (Nice to see you, BTW! :D It's been a long time since we've talked.)

For me red is absolutely positive. (so is blood)Sure, but the negative originates in the SIGHT of blood. That definitely is a big reason why the color is associated with violence and death. King first described a contrast between natural death and Death as a supernatural horror in Pet Semetary. I think that black would better stand for the former; it seems to imply oblivion and/or the unknown more than it does outright malevolence. Distinguishing evil death was greatly expanded upon in Insomnia, and I think it's clear that that novel's concepts of Purpose and Random directly correspond to TDT's White and Red. "The Red" is an aggressive chaos.


would it have invoked the same image if he had been the "green" king? Interestingly, there IS a Green King in the novels. RF. That phrase was used in the latter part of Wizard and Glass remember? ;) In fact, that image was pretty creepy, too, somehow.

CRinVA
07-25-2008, 11:30 AM
For me red is absolutely positive. (so is blood)


Blood is positive as long as it flows through your veins - it's when it flows out of your veins when it represents BAD!!!!

Another bad symble of Red - The book "The Scarlet Letter" comes to mind.

And in the US it has been statistically proven that if you drive a Red car you are more apt to get a speeding ticket, as Red cars stick out like a sore thumb.

Gee that makes me think more - when you have an infection your skin gets puffy and red - not a good sign, if there is no Keflex to be found! :-)

DOn't get me wrong I do like Red. My dream car is a 1968 Chevy Camaro convertible that is Candy Apple Red! Google Image it and you will see my dream car.

Also good - Apples and Watermelon and Tomatoes - see red can be good and it can be bad -

Another bad - Red Fire Ants! Damn they can bit the hell out of you.

OK I better stop typing as I keep thinking of more Red references! :-)

:onfire: :onfire: :onfire: :onfire: :onfire: :onfire: :onfire: :onfire: :onfire: :onfire:

LadyHitchhiker
07-27-2008, 09:02 AM
White swans... white doves...

red ... firetrucks?

LadyHitchhiker
07-27-2008, 09:04 AM
red stop signs?

Letti
07-27-2008, 09:15 AM
I know that in many cases blood can mean something really bad. When we get shot.. and with our blood life leaves our body, too but it's not the fault of blood.. okay before you think me absolutely crazy all I wanted to write is that maybe blood is so positive to me because it's one of the favourite words of my forever favourite poet and since I know it (since I read a report wher he had said it to the reporter) blood became something so beautiful in my mind even if I know it can mean death as well.
I hope you don't mind me writing down these feelings in fact this thread is about these colours.

pathoftheturtle
07-28-2008, 09:25 AM
I understand that totally, Letti, and personally do not mind a bit to hear more on your feelings. I was just speculating on the origins of mainstream ideas on it.

...I know a little bit about color symbolism in some of the ancient pagan and occult religions and societies... Red represented feminine power, and knowledge that was gained from personal insight and the natural world. ...good and necessary, but different from (White)... Sure. Truthfully, blood flow is not always BAD, either. It is bloodshed that's problematic. (Well, that, plus the fact that it is blood rushing to our heads is really why we "see red" when mad or hopped up on aggression.) Both seen nature, I guess, but I bet the focus on these factors did stem from ancient male preoccupations.

The Lady of Shadows
07-28-2008, 02:44 PM
but historically, bloodshed wasn't considered a bad idea was it? i mean, doctors would bleed people for certain illnesses. and leeches (eeeeewww) are used even today for certain things because of their delicacy and their draining ability. i know it's gross but it is true.

razz
07-28-2008, 02:58 PM
also for the anticoagulants in their saliva

pathoftheturtle
07-30-2008, 01:27 PM
That's not exactly what I was referring to, either. I meant "bloodshed" in the sense of violence. My point is that I believe that King makes quite valid use of red as a symbol of evil, even though it certainly does not always have to stand for that. It does make sense to use it as a symbol of the female, on one level, and I think that it is fine if people like the color for different reasons, and that that doesn't mean that anything is wrong with them. Some conflicts do arise from prejudice and misunderstanding, and need to be solved by balance and compromise. However, let's not start apologizing for the mad thing that chose to take that symbol and that unleashed the Red Death. Rage and hatred, unprovoked slaughter, and tyranny are what King means by The Red, and I don't believe he means to say that we need to learn to tolerate the self-styled god behind them.

UnderTheKillingMoon
08-01-2008, 08:02 PM
red is the color or anger (hence the saying "seeing red"), the color or warning/danger and the color of the KING!!

crimson red, i think, should've embraced the covers of Insomnia. something about that shade gives me the willies. Esp. the Eye of the King. creepy.

William50
08-01-2008, 09:22 PM
red is the color or anger (hence the saying "seeing red"), the color or warning/danger and the color of the KING!!

crimson red, i think, should've embraced the covers of Insomnia. something about that shade gives me the willies. Esp. the Eye of the King. creepy.

I agree that crimson red is creepy, but I love the cover of Insomnia that I have. Check this out.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419KZ10P29L.jpg

UnderTheKillingMoon
08-01-2008, 09:39 PM
red is the color or anger (hence the saying "seeing red"), the color or warning/danger and the color of the KING!!

crimson red, i think, should've embraced the covers of Insomnia. something about that shade gives me the willies. Esp. the Eye of the King. creepy.

I agree that crimson red is creepy, but I love the cover of Insomnia that I have. Check this out.
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419KZ10P29L.jpg

yes! thats great. i'm finishing the last dark tower book as of tommorrow, insomnia is my next stop. something about the red/white and white/red hardcovers really strikes me as interested, i must say.

Bluenose
08-02-2008, 10:57 AM
werent the colours on old chess sets red and white, rather than black and white? Or did I imagine that.

Crimson is also a much more vivid description than just black, evils always black. Crimson...shivers the skin a little more. Plus, King is a fan of mid seventies prog rock! (King Crimson...)

Jean
08-02-2008, 11:07 AM
werent the colours on old chess sets red and white, rather than black and white? Or did I imagine that.
No, you didn't, and they were. Very good call. http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k291/mishemplushem/Facilitation/bear_thumb.gif