Do you have a question that has been nagging you for a while now about The Dark Tower series? Not quite sure about a fact that has been plaguing you since you last read the whole series? Well, here is the place you can come to for help. I've been proclaimed by some to be THE master of all the Dark Tower series knowledge (excluding Stephen King himself of course!) that one person could possibly hope to glean from all the present novels and stories available. If you have a question and need an answer to it, please feel free to e-mail me and I'll put your question to rest (NOTE: select questions received by e-mail will appear below for others to read and may be edited for clairity). Before submitting a question, please review the Q's & A's below to see if your question might already have been addressed. So let us, in short, palaver...

"Would you kill all your answers so easily gunslinger?"
"Come down", the gunslinger said. "Answers all around."

Questions Last Updated: July 22/2002

Q. I was rereading The Gunslinger, and a few times he mentions someone named Aileen. Who is this? Is it a person who he has not mentioned yet, or thought he would mention and then forgot about? Or maybe is it a misspelling of Alain...!? -- Anthony

A. Nope... no misspelling here. Aileen is one of the girls/women that Roland had some sort of relationship with after he returned from Mejis. Roland remembers her a couple of times in DT1 and DT2... once when he had danced with her at the Feast of Joseph fairtime, and once as she had come through a set of hedges on her way to meet with him romantically in the Central Place of Gilead.

Q. In DT3, it is stated that the Guardian's name was once "Mir", but on the tag on his leg, it says "Shardik". I was wondering what the names of the other 11 Guardians were? -- Vando

A. At this point, King has yet to give names to any other the other Guardians. However, because King used the name "Shardik" for the Bear ("Shardik" was the name of a book by author Richard Adams and involves a giant bear), I like to think that the Hare (or Rabbit) Guardian's name might be the same as one of the characters from the story "Watership Down", also by Adams.

Q. This is just a small simple question that has been driving a small bloody burning charcoaled little hole through the recesses of my mind. What the hell is "Low Men In Yellow Coats" !!!!???? Is there more DT material out there that I am missing out on? Thanks in advanced for the info. -- Verstandt (Rodney)

A. "Low Men in Yellow Coats" (or "LMiYC" for short) is a short story in the novel Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King. This story deals with a very important upcoming character in the future DT books. I won't give anything away by telling the plot or give away any spoilers, but it's a "must read" if you want to be able to keep up with the plot line intricacies of the upcoming DT books.

Q. In DT1-3 it's stated multiple times that Cuthbert was Roland's good friend, but in Wizard and Glass (I forget which page) it says "hadn't Cuthbert died at the end of Alain's and Roland's own smoking guns?" What do you think this implies? Could it be that Cuthbert had betrayed Roland in the end, or to some other extent?

A. Actually, you got that a little mixed up... it was Alain that had died at the end of Roland and Cuthbert's own guns. On page 410 of DT2 (Signet edition), we learn of Alain's demise by the guns of Roland and Cuthbert.

Q. In Wizard and Glass, multiple times the Good Man's sigul is stated as being an "open eye" such as when Walter and Jonas have their palaver. Yet in Hearts In Atlantis, the "open eye" is the sigul of the Crimson King. Now if Marten/Flagg was really the Good Man after all and he was using the eye as his sigul, does this indicate he could be the CK as well as the Ageless Stranger? Or am I missing something completely obvious here?

A. This is a question some other people have asked too. The "open eye" sigul is the Crimson King's sigul... and when Flagg, or Walter, or anyone else uses it, they are in a way showing who they really work for. It's a form of identification... kind of like the swastika for the German Nazi party of WW2. No matter who used/showed it, you knew what it meant and who it signified. This "open eye" sigul of course was a little less known in to the people of Roland's world, but those who did know about it (like Eldred Jonas in DT4), knew not to mess with the bearer of that sigul.

From: Sarajean

Q. Okay, so after having read all of your Questions and Answers section, I have a few comments to make. I always assumed that Allen, Alan, and Alain were the same person, but that since the world had moved on, the spellings would be different over time (since Roland himself said that his own memories were subject to change as the world moved on, so did Talitha, and the other old folks in the wastelands)... my husband agrees with me on this, and I'm interested to know what you think about this. Also, if you pronounce "Alain" in french, it's very close to the english pronunciation of Alan. I don't know...

A. This is still something that is up in the air, so to speak. It could very well be that Alain/Alan/Allen are one in the same character, but until King states that they are, I will assume they are different people. When it comes to listing all the characters for my book "The Dark Tower Encyclopedia" (you've heard of this by now, right?! haha!), I will take the long route and list them as separate people. It couldn't hurt, right? There's too much confusion about this not to list them a separate people. Maybe if I get to interview King in the future, I'll ask him about this. *smile*

Q. Also, I was wondering about Andre Linoge in the Storm Of The's obvious that he is Flagg, (Flagg saying that he was known as Legion in The Stand) and if you "give him what he wants then he'll go away" this true for Roland, as well? We know that Linoge (or Flagg, whatever you want to call him) wants a child to continue on with his reign of terror, but, could this child be the one that Susannah currently carries in her womb?

A. This can be a very confusing topic to "type" about (speaking in person is so much easier and avoids misunderstanding), but Andre Linoge is not Flagg. I know, I know... the whole "Legion" thing and what Tom says in The Stand... but remember the concept of "Legion". Many demons to make up the whole. Flagg is one demon... and Linoge is another part. Also Leland Gaunt from Needful Things is another. See where I'm going with this? Many demons that make up the whole... there are more than one, and all have a similarity between them. *wink*

Q. Will Flagg take this baby, seeing as how it might be part human, part demon? Is it possible that he had something to do with the demon in the speaking circle from DT3? Is this why the demon was male (and therefore for Susannah) and not female (for Roland), for the sole purpose of impregnating her?

A. No. Linoge has nothing to do with this... he has already found his heir (a la Storm of the Century). But because book 6 is due to be called Song of Susannah, I'm betting it's in book 6 that she gives birth and dies due to "complications".

From: Croker

Q. Something in one of your responses on the Q+A page of your site prompted this missive, so I'll cut right to the case in point. It's a bit of a long one, but bear with me. You assert that "most people have never even questioned the idea of the Beast not being the CK." I really don't believe that's the case, although I'd be willing to concede that you've discussed the DT series with more people than I have, so are more likely to know what the prevailing opinion of DT fans is. However, what I really want to discuss is the idea that the Crimson King and the Beast are not one in the same. I am of the belief, unlike you, that it hasn't been inferred that the Beast and the CK are the same. For example, the man in black says the following in DT1:

"The Beast," the man in black whispered fearfully, "the keeper of the Tower. The originator of all glammer."

If one is a "keeper", this does not mean one is the supreme authority within a structure. For example, the door-keeper of a castle is not the castle lord, is he? He merely refuses entry to intruders. In terms of vocabulary choice, therefore, King seems to be making the case against the Beast and the Crimson King being the same entity.

A. Ok, the first thing to remember (and this will follow throughout your other arguments as well) is that Walter was probably not in full possession of the facts... heck, he'd never even actually met his master, the Ageless Stranger (do we agree that the Ageless Stranger is indeed Flagg?), so what can we infer from this that will allow us to believe that everything he says is "straight from the bible" (so to speak)? I'm not necessarily saying that Walter was trying to deceive Roland in this aspect, but for Walter to talk about "the Beast" when he himself is even afraid of saying the creatures name... sometimes ideas and facts and get muddled up after having lived a millennia like Walter had! And how did Walter learn of the Beast in the Tower? Well, not through meeting him, that's for sure. Enter, the Ageless Stranger and his influence.

Also, take into fact, that King wrote that part in DT1 some 20-25 years before the name "Crimson King" ever appeared in any of his other stories (like Insomnia and Heart In Atlantis). Some things are probable to change over the years, and I believe this small reference to the Beast may be one of them.

Q. How, then, can the Beast and the Crimson King be the same entity, if Roland and his ka-tet have to face the Beast prior to reaching the tower? I'm well aware of the counter-argument to this, which is to say that only the physical being of the CK is confined; his other manifestation (still referred to as "the Crimson King" in Insomnia) lives in Can-tah Abbalah, the Court of the Crimson King, and as such could be awaiting Roland elsewhere along his journey. However, it's worth noting that in Insomnia, Ralph is forcibly transported to the CK's court. This does not gel with any of Roland's journey so far. Each stage of his journey has been made of his own volition. He chose to go after the man in black, to open the doors on the beach, to follow the beam to Lud, even passing through the thinny that led him to the superflu-ravaged Kansas came as a result of choosing to board Blaine. If the CK and the Beast are one in the same, why has the CK not merely forcibly brought the ka-tet before him? Why wait? Waiting for Roland suggests that the Beast occupies a specific physical place in the universe, which does not agree with the concept of an entity that can summon Ralph Roberts from inside a plane above Derry. In short, the court of the Crimson King seems to be able to appear in different places, across many worlds - the Beast is offering no evidence of similar abilities. For my money, the Beast and the King are not the same being. I understand that you hold to a different view, and what I say is unlikely to change it, but I think it's unfair to visitors to the site to state that it's "kind of a given" that they're the same when it's anything but clear. It's a complex issue, and no mistake!

A. Ah, but you are confusing Roland's own choice versus ka. All of the "choices" Roland has made so far could simply be his destiny... and if so, he'd have no real choice in the matter... to follow Walter, to open the doors on the beach, to kill Jack Mort, to kill and save Jake Chambers, to board Blaine the Mono. I don't really think he did any of these things "of his own volition". This is ka, pure and simple. It's his destiny to do these things. Roland will have to face the Crimson King where ever the CK wants to face him... or where ever the CK must face Roland... in the Can-tah Abbalah or at the Tower, although I do believe it will obviously be in the Tower. When the last book is going to be actually called The Dark Tower, one must infer that the final battle should take place there! *smile*

Q. In one of the DT books, Eddie says that he saw the movie The Shining, which leads me to believe that Eddie also knows who Stephen King is, as we know him, author extraordinaire. If this is true, then wouldn't it be theoretically possible for Eddie to have knowledge of King's novel The Gunslinger before he was drawn into Roland's world? -- PARADoxymoronOX

A. One thing to remember... "there are other worlds that these". *smile*

This could help me in answering your question. In my opinion, Eddie could live in a world where there is a Stephen King, only this Stephen King wouldn't have written the DT books (even I find it hard to believe that a person might, just by chance, find out that a best-selling author is writing about the events of his life unknowingly). Or, if there wasn't a Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick came up with the idea for The Shining all by himself (and if you've seen the movie, that ain't hard to imagine!). Anything is possible in a universe that has millions upon billions of different worlds that are sometimes close mirror images of others... with just slight changes in them.

Wow, even I have to admit... that was a pretty good and simple explanation, eh? *wink*

From: Blake

Q. I've read through both The Eyes of the Dragon and The Dark Tower series two or three times, and, with assistance of your Questions and Answers section, I've had a few questions appear in my mind. Thomas and Dennis chase Flagg and eventually catch him. However, what happens? What becomes of Dennis and Thomas? How does in play a part in the DT series?

A. Well, as I look through my copy of The Eyes of the Dragon, is says that they did manage to find him, and confront him. However, we have yet to run into this story line in any of King's other novels. This leaves us to believe one of two things; a) they caught him, confronted him, and he escaped again or killed them (I say he escaped or killed them because we know by the story-line thus far, Flagg is still on the lose, so poor Dennis and Thomas must have failed), or b) the event of their confrontation has yet to happen, and so if that is the case, we will most likely read about it in the future DT books.

Q. What is "the White"?

A. "The White" is the force/power behind the "Purpose" as read about in Insomnia. It's kind of like how the Crimson King could be the force/power behind the "Random", so the force/power that opposes the Crimson King is called "the White". Other than that, not much more is known about it, other than the fact the it is a "good" power... the power which was said to be the backbone of King Arthur Eld and his gunslinger descendants.

Q. I understand that the Crimson King and the Beast are the same being, but what is he? What role does he play in the Tower and is he performing it like he is supposed to? I appreciate you taking time to read my questions. Your site is beyond anything I had hoped to encounter on the web. Thank you!

A. You'll have to read Black House to learn all about the Crimson King... and believe me, if you do read it, you won't be sorry! It really answers a lot of questions that you may have about him. I don't want to tell you before you get the chance to read it for yourself. *wink*

Q. In the The Wastelands, Jake's when was, I believe, in 1977 and that year Eddie and Henry were seen playing together in the basketball court by Jake before he enters Roland's world -- with Henry being 18-19 years old at the time. However, in the The Drawing of the Three, Henry, the older brother of Eddie, had been wounded in Vietnam and had come back with a "monkey" on his back -- thus explaining the drug addiction that would consume his and Eddie's lives. Now, if he was 18-19 years old in 1977, without any problems whatsoever (no limp, drug abuse problem shown etc.) My conclusion is that he couldn't be in Vietnam then. The last year drafted people were sent to Vietnam was 1972, and even then it had been significantly reduced, with 90% serving their tour of duty in Europe and the United States. On top of that, if Henry was 18-19 in 1977, he would be 14 in 1972. Thus there would be no way for him to be a Vietnam Veteran. So what is up with the inconsistency? --NixonArrogance

A. Hehe!! This has been asked many times over the years! I guess I should try and get around to explaining it on my website, huh? I've always thought that this would be a particularly interesting tidbit to add exclusively in my book The Dark Tower Compendium (see the section Dark Tower Encyclopedia on my website for more info). I thought that by adding everything I know on my website would not lead to any interesting additions to the book. However, I guess I should reconsider this, huh? *wink*

In answer to your question, I would have to say that either it was a chronological error made on King's part, or that in the world of Eddie and Jake (I'm guessing that we are to assume that both Eddie and Jake are from the same world of New York) is different that "our" world. Mostly the same world, but with very slight differences (i.e. Viet Nam ended later in Jake/Eddie's world then it did in our world). I believe that in DT5: Wolves of the Calla, we will learn that there are indeed many different New York’s in different worlds. Father Callahan will show us this.

From: Hal

Q. I've just finished reading Hearts In Atlantis. I'm a little unclear as to where exactly Ted Brautigan fits in. Is this explored more thoroughly in Black House or one of the other minor arcana?

A. He doesn't really play a role in Black House, but he is mentioned. He might show up in one of the DT books later on, but it still isn't a sure thing (but I'd bet he will). His role was basically to show that there are people called Breakers, and what they can do and are used for. Black House delves very deeply into this... a must read for sure.

Q. At the end of The Eyes of the Dragon, Dennis and Thomas leave Delain to track down and confront Flagg. In The Drawing of the Three, Roland remembers the arrival of Dennis and Thomas in Gilead shortly before its destruction. Does this mean that Dennis and Thomas failed in their quest? And if Gilead is destroyed, does this mean Delain is destroyed too?

A. Dennis and Thomas are probably still on their quest, having followed Flagg through different worlds, and are still on his trail. I'd bet again that we might hear more about them in a later DT book... or it might even be that we'll learn about their adventures through another "narrating" source. We'll have to wait and see. And as for Delain, that too is an unknown. But I'll bet (again!) that Delain is long gone. After all, after Roland's palaver with Walter at the end of DT1, possibly over 500 years had passed. Hmmm.... who knows?! *smile*

Q. Ok this is probably a long shot... but do you think there is any connection between the Turtle who guards the Beam in the DT series and the Turtle from IT who creates the universe?

A. Ah... I've had this question posed to me before. I don't think that there is any relation to the two Turtles, other than a physical resemblance. Remember, the Guardian Turtle was made by the Great Old Ones of Roland's world (not the creators of the world, just merely the previous inhabitants of it), and the mythos of the Turtle read about in IT is the actual creature. The Guardian Turtle was probably created in the image of the legendary Turtle (from IT) as a kind of homage. For example, the Guardian Bear "Shardik" was created by the Great Old Ones as a homage to the same creature in a book written in our world by Richard Adams called "Shardik" (that book is real, by the way).

Q. Now, in the Nitpicker's Guide when talking about "The Little Sisters of Eluria", your first comment is partially about a reference to Flagg as the leader of "a cult thriving in the ruins of a crumbling city". You claim this is a mistake, but could it be that the character being referred to here is Randall Flagg, from King's The Stand? --Ryan

A. Regardless which Flagg was being referred to, the leader of this "cult" was the Tick-Tock Man. The reader should assume that this reference is coming from DT3, and not some other novel that by most respects, some new readers would not identify as being DT related (i.e. The Stand). This reference is only a brief summary of what has happened before "The Little Sisters of Eluria" was published, and is not to be read as though it was an insight into character developments.

Q. While re-reading Insomnia (Signet edition) on page 395 in a conversation between Ralph, Lois, Clotho, and Lachesis on the topic of the afterlife, Lois asks to where Clotho and Lachesis send their "victims" after their cord has been cut. Cloth begins "To Everywhere", Lachesis finishing "To other worlds than these". If I am not mistaken, that is the same famous quote that Jake Chambers utters when Roland allows him to fall off the bridge to his assumed death. My question is: was this just a coincidence, a sentence used twice in two books with no connection, or is that to say that they are some how connected? Also, should I interpret this literally, to believe that there are in fact many other worlds within that of the Dark Tower? If so, how does one access those? Maybe these worlds are those mentioned in The Eyes of the Dragon when we learn of Flagg's past? By now I am just rambling on and I am just asking to know if you agree with these ideas, and to give me some insight on your ideas. --Michael

A. Oh, absolutely! "To other worlds than these" is just not a catch-phrase... they meant it literally. If I've understood the mythos of the Dark Tower series correctly, when a person dies, they end up in another world... another world connected to the same hub (that which is the Dark Tower itself) that they originally came from. However, this doesn't mean that they will be the same person that they were (i.e. Jake Chamber's experiences) when they died. They might end up "re-born" or possibly become "another" person (kind of like re-incarnation). But if you are a "special" person (like Jake was) you'll get to continue your life again from another starting point.

Over the past months after re-reading this question and my answer, I've come to also believe that the simple idea of a person dying and going to another world, kind of sounds a bit too "quick" of an explanation. I think we'd all have to look at this "idea" and try and think around it a little. I don't mean to say that when a person dies (any person), they automatically wake up in a new world and experience the disorientation that Jake experienced in DT1. I believe that it's more or less the life-force (or in Roland's tongue, a person's khef) is dispersed throughout all the other worlds... to create more life in other worlds.

There are many different worlds connected to the Dark Tower... so many in fact that to try and count them would literally be futile (it would be like trying to count all the blades of grass on the grounds of a public park!). But they can be accessed by a few special people... Cort, Roland's old teacher, said that the Manni cult knew of doors to other worlds (we'll read more about these in DT5: Wolves of the Calla), and then there are the magical ways to access these... like Roland does in DT2 and DT3, and perhaps through the thinnies we've read about.

Q. Hey Antman, your site is really good, and I love reading it. My question is this: what is the best order to read all of the books in? Including all the books with even slight DT references in them. I have read quite a few, but I want to go back and read them all in "order". What do you think that would be? --Mike

A. My suggestion is to read everything (that includes all of King's novels) in it's publication order. King reveals everything that needs to be revealed and in the proper order with each new book that comes out. King wrote these books and created the story line as he went along... although the basic premise for the whole Dark Tower series was in his mind from the start. So if you want to follow the story as it was created in King's mind, just read all the books in the order in which they were published (the best bet would obviously be to start with The Gunslinger, and work your way up from there). That's the only way to do it in my humble opinion... this way, you don't miss out on anything important that you should know, and no plot-lines will be spoiled for you because you are not reading anything that might give away prior events in other books. However, it might be cool to read the short story "The Little Sisters of Eluria" before The Gunslinger. You don't have to, but King says in the introduction to this short story that the reader doesn't need to have read the first DT book to understand "Little Sisters". I would have liked to be able to do that myself, but to do so, I'd have to manage to go back in time and stop myself from ever reading The Gunslinger (like that would ever happen! hahaha!).

Q. At a point in DT2, it is written of Roland "...he would never forget seeing Flagg change a man who had irritated him into a howling dog." However, this passage flies in the face of what we learn of the "rules of magic" in The Eyes of the Dragon. On pages 76 of the Signet edition, King writes: "Shape changing and invisibility, however, are impossible...or so close to it that you might as well use the word."

And on page 77: "He (Flagg) had once known a great Anduan magician who believed he had mastered the trick of changing his shape, but after six months of meditation and nearly a week of incantations in a series of agonizing body postures, he uttered the last awesome spell and succeeded only in making his nose nearly nine feet long and driving himself insane. And there had been fingernails growing out of his nose. Flagg remembered with a grim little smile. Great magician or not, the man had been a fool."

However, in King's mind, I'm sure there might be an explanation for this (I hope!). I find it unlikely that shape changing was a trick Flagg picked up in the time between The Eyes of the Dragon and his appearance in The Drawing of the Three. From the descriptions offered in The Eyes of the Dragon, Flagg has been around for hundreds, perhaps even thousands of years. I suppose it is likely that Roland's world is not exactly "when" and "where" of Delain -- and therefore perhaps the laws governing magic are different. Or maybe it's just a rare lapse in King's attention?

A. Well, that might be true, however, I believe that almost anything is possible in the worlds that surround the Dark Tower. I think that it was possible for Flagg to learn more things over time, including shape changing. I mean, look at what Walter did in Wizard and Glass when we meet him in Hambry. He was able to use magic/glammer to make Jonas and Reynolds think they saw someone else when first meeting him. I think that shape changing could be a form of illusion... like being dim/invisible. Flagg said in The Eyes of the Dragon that being invisible was impossible, but being dim was close enough to do the trick. I believe that shape changing could also be done in the same manner... and if you know how to do it properly, it might be done. The "great Anduan magician" (as you've pointed out) didn't succeed in changing his shape into what he wanted, but he did succeed in doing something... it might obviously not have been what he wanted, but he did change something! *wink*

As well, I believe that Roland's when and where are the same as Delain's. In "The Little Sisters of Eluria", Delain is talked about in some detail.

Q. This is more of a publication question. In my copy of The Drawing of the Three, it skips from page 368 to page 385. Then following the afterword, it starts again at page 385 and has two identical illustrations on page 400 (both of them). Have you ever heard of anything like this? --Andy

A. Funny... you know, I just finished answering this same question someone asked me last week about this problem. Hmmm... I guess there were more problems with that printing than I had guessed!

Now I'm assuming you mean the first edition of DT2 that Plume printed, and not the re-released editions after DT4 came out, right? In any case, unfortunately, this is not a "rare" or collectible edition you have. You do have an interesting copy of the book, but it's not a rare collectible, unless of course you find it valuable in addition to your collection. Due to the print run of this edition being somewhere in the millions of copies, it's plausible that some errors are bound to happen and some slip by the cracks. If you're looking at this from a collectors stand point, this error copy makes it only JUST slightly more valuable than the edition's street value... which is not much more than the cover price.

However, if you had a Grant edition hardcover The Drawing of the Three with a printing error, that would be worth a nice little bundle of cash, let me tell you! *smile*

Q. Here's a question for ya... in DT2, when Eddie is getting ready to make the deal at Balazar's, the plan is for him to go through the door to get the dope. After Andolini gets killed, Eddie and Roland go back into the bathroom with "exactly as much of the devil-powder as you promised the man Balazar, no more and no less." After the shootout, there should still be some of the dope left on the beach when they get back, but it is never mentioned, and Eddie is left to go through withdrawals. Also, what does Eddie do with the dope he does bring through just before the shootout? That is also never mentioned.

Another question relating to Eddie's addiction, is in DT3, when the ka-tet is taken in and fed by Aunt Talitha, they are given "graf," a strong alcoholic cider. Eddie drinks of his only moderately. I would expect Eddie, an addict who was forcefully cut off from his drug, to take any opportunity to get intoxicated, yet there was no indication of a desire for Eddie to get drunk. These have been bugging me for awhile, thanks for any help! --Matt

A. Here is a section quoted from "The Nitpicker's Guide" on my website. This should probably help answer your first question:

DT II (Pg 115) - The question has been circulating around over the years of "what happened to the cocaine that Eddie was carrying and why didn't he use it when he wanted a fix"? Well, here we read that Roland had hid the bags of "devil-dust" or cocaine into "a cleft between two rocks and covered them with handfuls of sparse saw-grass" to keep them out of harms way from the lobstrosities on the beach, while he was by himself and Eddie on the other side of the door. Both Roland and Eddie seemed later to have forgotten about the cocaine and although Eddie could have asked Roland about it, cocaine was not the drug Eddie could use to fulfill his "need"... it was heroin that Eddie "needed".

Secondly, getting drunk and getting high are two completely different things. Addictive, yes, but still different enough not to be able to compare the two together... at least in terms of Eddie's addiction. Also, at this point, Eddie is now a gunslinger... one who has turned his back on his old life and has started a new one with his new friends... and wife. To try and get hammered by downing a few pints of graf to feed a dead addiction would only leave Eddie with two things... a couple of pissed off friends and one hell of a hang-over the next morning! *wink*

From: Felipeinside

Q. Does The Talisman have anything to do with the Dark Tower series?

A. Personally, back a few year ago, I didn't think so. There were remote inferences throughout the book that some people thought were related to the DT series, but at the time The Talisman was written, the DT series was just one book; The Gunslinger. If it did relate to the DT series, it's only because King decided to make it that way later on in his writing career by molding the following DT stories in some kind of form with The Talisman. However, King and Straub have molded Black House (the sequel to The Talisman) around the DT series, so I suppose if you can relate a sequel to the DT series, the prequel must join it as well.

Q. Can one read Black House without reading The Talisman, or is it totally necessary?

A. I've heard some people say that you do have to read The Talisman before, but some others say that you don't have to. Personally, just to be safe, I'd read The Talisman first. It's not one of my favourites by far, but it obviously does give you insight into the Black House story.

Q. In your own opinion (if you have read it), how many points does The Talisman deserve (from 1 to 10)?

A. Not a lot of points, that's for sure. Personally, I didn't really like it. Maybe 4 or 5 points out of 10. I felt it was just too drawn out and uninteresting in a lot of parts. The whole Sunlight Gardener character and his corrections facility could have been wiped out of the story in my opinion. And just one of them! *smile*

Q. Roland and all of his other friends/students were trained in becoming gunslingers in Gilead. Is Gilead the only place in Roland's where and when that one could train to become a gunslinger? Are there other baronies as great as that of Gilead? Another thing: is the man who teaches the ways of the gunslinger (Cort, for Roland) the only teacher. There is also Vannay, but where does he come in? Plus how did Cort become a teacher? I know his father was (he broke Jonas's leg in DT4). Is Cort even a real gunslinger??? --Michael

A. As far as we know, yes. I can't image that there are a lot of places in Roland's world where such an undertaking could actually take place. It takes all of a young boy's life to train, and only few make it to the end... so I would think that it would be only justified that the training take place where it all started.

Vannay was a teacher as most of us know of one... a "classroom" teacher. He taught all the young trainees the ways of the world... everything else that Cort couldn't teach the boys was left to Vannay ("Abel" to his friends... hehe!). Anything that didn't have to do with fighting, killing or hunting, was Vannay's area. Heck, Vannay even taught them hypnosis!!!

And as for Cort... how did he become a teacher? I think that was a "job" that was passed down from father to son, for as long as there were gunslingers. However, I'm of the opinion that these teachers were not actually gunslingers themselves. It would be more along the lines of the men who teach King's (for example, in our England) the proper etiquette for royalty and train them to be good hunters, marksmen, governors, etc. They are noblemen, but not royalty.

Q. My question concerns book 2, The Drawing of the Three. Why didn't Detta tie up Roland while he was through the door in Jack Mort's body? --maxkazar

A. She probably believed that Roland could do no harm to her while he was "away". She also had his guns, so if she thought he was going to try and make a move... BLAM! Another probability was that there wasn't enough rope to tie up two people with. Maybe she also thought that Roland was one sick looking "mahfah" and that he couldn't hurt her even if he tried. *wink*

From: Tom

Q. Great site! I've seen the issue of geography addressed at your site and at other sites. I'm still not convinced King made an error with the whole "Western Ocean" thing. We know that since Roland's world has "moved on", time is wacky and that timepieces don't work correctly (i.e. Jake's watch). Why can't geography be wacky as well?

A. You'd have a point there Tom, however, the geography doesn't remain "wacky" all the way through the book (the geography issue is mainly just in DT2). There are points when the east/west problem is correctly written about. If it was a constant "error", I'd believe like you do... that it was made on purpose. However, the evidence is in the book. Just look through The Nitpicker's Guide to The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three and read about the parts I'm talking about. This should explain it all and you'll see what I mean.

Q. My second point is that, although the focus everyone has on the wacky geography thing is the whole "traveling north along the coast of the Western Sea" thing, has anyone ever paid attention to Roland's direction in Book 1, when he is pursuing the Man in Black? Several times it is stated that Roland chased the man in black due south. The first example is on page 15 (Signet edition) when Roland stops to make camp and "looks patiently south, towards the mountains", hoping to see the man in black's campfire. The next example is when Roland is about to enter Tull and sees wagons traveling in both directions. The ones that are coming up on him from behind, from the north, are almost empty while the ones that are coming towards him from the south, are always full. Finally, and I believe this is around page 57 or so, the most concrete evidence. Roland asks Allie if she has any maps of the area south of Tull. He asks her what is south of Tull and she just replies "the desert". Then Roland goes to see Kennerly and asks him what is south of the desert and Kennerly tells him "mountains" and "some say a great green ocean full of monsters". So from this, I infer that Roland approaches the mountains, and subsequently the great Western Sea from the north, and that the coastline he reaches is the northern coast of the Western Sea. Of course it does say after his palaver with the man in black, that the ocean is an easy five miles west of the meeting place. Is King screwed up or is the geography in All-World screwed up?

A. As Roland has stated a few times in the books, the distances between places are ever expanding in his world. A distance that once took only months to travel, now take years! From the time when Roland first set off on his journey to catch the man in black, to the time that he actually does catch him, 12 years have past. And he was not walking all the time... he was also riding either a horse or a mule at most times. To make such a journey, even in our world, you could travel the entire circumference earth more than once. So yes, the geography is a bit "wacky" in that sense. But also you talked about Roland travelling south across the desert and then going back north up the beach. How could he not have traveled over familiar ground, you ask? Well, there was the ride through the mountains on the pump-car. What direction Roland and Jake travelled during this time can only be guessed at... and the distance they covered only a guess as well. But my bet is that it was a heck of a lot longer than we may think!

Q. One more quick geography point. Roland and his ka-tet have been traveling southeast along the path of the beam, no? In the DT5 prologue "Calla Bryn Sturgis", Father Callahan tells the residents of Calla that "Not six days' ride northeast of us and bound southwest along the Path of the Beam, come three gunslingers and one 'prentice." Mistake or more evidence of screwy geography?

A. I believe it was another mistake... one I intend on not letting Mr. King pass up without me telling him about it. Plus, we have to remember, this is not a final draft of the story... editors will be looking at it and checking for mistakes... I hope! *smile*

Q. If I remember correctly from Wizard and Glass, Maerlyn's grapefruit was one of 13. The 13 represented each of the Guardians of the Beams and the Dark Tower itself. You think it's possible that the Talisman was the representation of the Dark Tower in Maerlyn's Rainbow? --Rob

A. There were 13 orbs in Maerlyn's Rainbow, but they didn't represent the Guardians of the Beam... just the portals themselves. However, I don't believe that that Talisman was part of it. It's been a little while since I last read The Talisman, but I believe that the natures between the Talisman and the wizard's orbs (the "Rainbow") were entirely different. I'm sorry that I can't provide page numbers or occurrences in The Talisman to back up my point (like I said, it's been a while since I last read it), however, there are some people who do believe it is, and there are some that do not. I think that even if you were to compare the physical aspects of the Talisman from the book, you'll notice that it doesn't quite match up with the parts of the Rainbow. The natures of the orbs of the Rainbow are quite different... they don't have any protective or "authoritative" power... they just show parts of the past, present and future. They were made to show things, not protect things.

From: a Constant Visitor

Q. Firstly, seeing as King has announced that Dark House, (or Random House), will tie into the Dark Tower series, can we assume that the original also tied into the series? I did ask you this before, and you said no, I was wondering if you had perhaps had a change of mind?

A. Actually, the book is called Black House. As for The Talisman being tied in with the DT series... as I've always claimed, The Talisman was not part of the DT "collective" and was a separate story. The only reason why that's changed is because of Black House... but originally, as in King's own words, The Talisman was not even written at a time when the DT series was even an idea in his mind. King only continued the DT series in '87 when a call for it was expressed by his readers. And The Talisman was written in '83... well before thoughts of Roland's continued journey to the Tower even came to King's thoughts.

Q. Also, I was wondering, do you think Eddie's, Susannah’s and Jake's world's are all the same as our own, or is their world merely another world which is next door to our own? What I mean is that if Eddie & Co. where not drawn from their world, would they have grown up in a world where there was a writer called Stephen King. It kind of just came to me, and you get to wondering if they do truly come from our world (a fiction parallel to our own world, of course *smile*) or just a world which is very similar?

A. I would say yes... they do live in "our" world... of course, a fictional "our" world, but a world with Stephen King... of course because of The Shining movie, King was the author of the story, so he's in their world... but of course, NOT the author of a DT book! *cue "The Twilight Zone" music here*

From: Josh

Q. My sister pointed me to your website, which is just great. She had been my contact on any questions relating to the Dark Tower series, but she drew a blank on this one: After reading the prologue to DT5, there is a mention to an object that Callahan has in the church under the floor. My sister clued me into the fact that Callahan is from Salem's Lot, a book I read eons ago but cannot remember. But she did not know what the thing in the floor was. Any ideas?

A. Actually, yes I do! Remember the pink Wizard's Glass in Wizard and Glass? The one Rhea of the Coos looked in and was spellbound by? Well, I think we might see another of the glass orbs... probably the Green or Orange orbs. This is gonna be so cool to read more about it when the book comes out! *smile*

Q. Also, seems like every King novel or short story is getting made into a motion picture or TV movie. Hear anything about DT going Hollywood?

A. Nope... the DT series will never be made into a movie... or at least not if King has anything to say about it! hehe! He said so in an interview some time ago and said that he would never sell the rights to the books anyways, so, no chance really. *whew!*

Q. Hey Antman, first off, Great site. I love the DT and SK and your site is an awesome reference. My sister and I were just talking about The Drawing of the Three. She has a question that I think would be worthy of your time! Here goes! When Roland is in Jack Mort, he leaves Detta and Eddie on the beach. Detta has tied Eddie up and he is bitten a few times by the lobstrocities. Why doesn't Eddie suffer the same infection that hampers Roland? And if there is an obvious answer here that we are missing, please forgive us! We are on vacation together and we dont always think straight! -- Raejean Fluty

A. Excellent question! You know, I never thought of that before, but I think I have the answer to this one. The reason Eddie didn't become infected was because he wasn't "bitten" by the lobstrosities... he was just "pinched" or clawed (for lack of a better word which escapes me at the momment) by their claws. The vemon that came from the creatures was secreeted within their mouths/beaks... which unfortunately was where Roland's fingers (but not toes) ended up when he was attacked.

Q. I really enjoy your Dark Tower site, and it may be the best of it's kind. I'm also looking forward to your Dark Tower Encyclopedia. I haven't seen any recent updates on your website about it, so I was curious if it would be released any time soon, or if the upcoming Talisman sequel's bearing on the Dark Tower world will delay publication. Keep up the great site! -- Richard

A. Thank you! I'm glad to hear that you really enjoyed my website! Thanks for the wonderful comments... hearing from fans like yourself makes all the effort worth while. :)

As for my book, it IS going to be published, but I don't see it happening soon though. Maybe by the beginning of next year. I've been going back to school for the past 10 months now, and all I get time for is studying... and more stydying and more studying! haha! (or is that "boo hoo"?) :)

If anything, it's the delay on DT5 that's giving me extra time to delay publishing my own book... business sence dictates that if I want to draw more attention to my book, I should use the public knowledge of the date of DT5 to my advantage... if a date for DT5 is set for June 2002 (hypothetically of course!), then I should look at getting MY book published just BEFORE DT5... like 2-4 months before. The hype of the DT5 book will have most fans looking for ANYTHING related to the DT series so that they can "bone-up" on knowledge that they might think would help them understand the story more... and I hope to do just that. :)

So, if you really want to know when my book is/will be coming out, just keep your ears and eyes peeled (EW!) for the publishing date for DT5, and figure 3-5 months earlier. Thank for asking!

Q. Hello there, first of all let me commend you on your superb site, it is truly something to be proud of. I was hoping that you would be able to help me answer this question that has plagued me ever since reading the DT IV. In the flashback sequence of the Dark Tower Book Four, there is a scene in which Roland's father is saying good-bye to the three boys while Cuthbert's and Alain's fathers (I believe their names were Robert Allgood and Christopher Johns) stand sentry. Are these men (Cuthbert's and Alain's fathers) also gunslingers? Is this a tradition passed down from father to son? Thanks for your time and for the great site. -- Vassago36

A. Thank you very much! It's always nice to hear comments like that about my work. Much appreciated! And in answer to your question... yes. They were both gunslingers, an honor passed down from father to son for centuries from the time of the first gunslinger, King Arthur Eld... of course tho, only the worthy sons of gunslingers can become gunslingers themselves, hence the test of man-hood like the one that Roland himself descibed in The Gunslinger.

Q. Question #1 - Is Mid World some sort of a future Earth? That would explain the WWII plane in book 3 and the shed with the pump in it in book 1. Or did these things just get there through a thinny or something like one. Question #2 - The rose in the vacant lot. It seems to be implied that the rose is some sort of a manifestation of the tower itself in our reality (the thirteen roses surrounding it, also in Eddie's dreams the tower is surrounded by a field of roses) in the afterward of book 4 King says that the rose is in terrible danger. We know the beast is trying to destroy/control the tower so maybe he is attempting to control the rose as well. -- Matt

A. (first answer) It is earth... but not "our" earth. It's hard to explain really. Let's just say that it's exactly like our own world, but with obivious differences. It may be in a future time, but a future time of it's own reality. An easier and simpler explaination is that it's NOT "our" world in the future. It is its own world. The fact that pieces of "our" world appears randomly around Roland's world (like the items you listed above) are only there maybe because they were brought to Roland's world via the thinnies... the borders between ALL worlds are breaking down and things are just getting "shuffled" around, so to speak... moving from one world to another.

(second answer) Correct. In "our" world, the rose (I believe anyways) IS the Tower. In all worlds, the Tower manifests itself in different ways. In our world it's a rose, in Roland's, it's a Tower (hence "The Dark Tower"). So (and this idea might be hard for me to get across to you) in essence, the linch-pin that holds all worlds together isn't really a Tower at all... it just looks like a Tower in Roland's world... and of course, it's hard to fathom this linch-pin as anything else espcially when you've always (in the world of Roland) known it to BE a Tower.

Am I explaining myself well? It's hard to do especially by typing it... if I were to hold a conversation with someone face to face, it would be much easier! haha!

Q. Is it possible that the thinnies have a different intensity/strength on different levels or in different wheres/whens? That perhaps certain thinnies have only made holes into certain parts of space or time, and at the edges of these holes, they are weaker, whereas at the center they'd be stronger? -- Kristie

A. You are very close to it! The reason some thinnies (atleast THIS much I know!) are stronger or weaker than others is because those are the places were the boundies between worlds are wearing away at different rates. The stronger the thinny, the more damage is done to the borders between two or more worlds.

You know, come to think of it, by replying to your e-mails, I've come across a new idea about the thinines. Remember our last e-mail were I said that I was unsure why there are differences between thinnies? We were wondering why they are physically different from each other even though their natures are the same? The reason people were killed by walking through the Mejis thinny was simply because it was more powerful that the ones that either Blaine rode through or the ones that the ka-tet ran into in Topeka! Wow! Cool! I never thought of it that way before!

Q. OK pal better brew the coffee because we're going to be here a while! -- Vin Lunney

A. You ain't kiddin', huh? I don't drink coffee, but I think this won't take too long... hehe! (*looks like I was wrong on that point! haha!*)

Q. First: you say Flagg disappeared in the form of a crow in The Stand, that's not true, the hand came down and he just disapeared and was reborn on that island at the end of the book, rememeber?

A. Sorry... I suppose that's my bad. I've only read the book once, but I've seen the movie 5 times... I guess that part in the movie must have just stayed in my mind better. I know I don't need to ask this question, but are you sure he just disappeared? Might he have turned into the crow to fly away and then disappeared? Just wondering...

Q. Second: If Walter served Marten why was Walter so much more powerful? "I could have never sent that vison to Marten", "I made your father and broke him," and "I came to your mother through Marten." Furthermore Roland believes he has been chasing Marten so obviously Marten had pulled some sort of escape while he was "being dragged through the streets" I still want to know if Marten was the main guy, why was Walter the more powerful sorcerer? King not paying attention again?

A. Of course, this is all speculation on my part (King hasn't actually said anything to the contrary), but I've gotten the idea -- thru reading the books of course -- that Walter didn't know who Marten really was... Marten, to me, seems like the kind of being who keeps his true identity really secret (hence the reason for Flagg's continuous "R.F." identity)... even from those who he seems to trust. I think it would have been in Marten's/Flagg's best interest to keep his real identity secret. Of course, by doing so with Walter, it only backfired against him.

Walter thinks he's more powerful than Marten (because he doens't know who Marten really is), and so Marten would continue to let Walter think so... or make Walter think they were on the same level anyway. Just because Walter says he could have never sent "that vision" to Marten, doesn't mean that he could have sent him that vision (of the universe, of course). I hope I'm explaining myself correctly here... it's late and I've been up for hours! haha!

Q. Third: WHERE did you get the idea Roland only is supposed to bring the others to the tower? Could this be why Jake was brought back?

A. I never really got the idea all at once, but through a series oh little "hints" so to speak. I may be wrong in that idea, but again, it's just speculation at this point. And is that why Jake was brought back? Could be!

Q. Fourth: Farson is not Flagg and couldn't be because, as he is desribed by one of the Coffin Hunters in Wizard and Glass, "no matter who he looked like, he always stays the same height", and Farson is supposed to be "six feet wide in broad".

A. If I'm not mistaken, you're getting the discription of Walter and Farson mixed up. Walter, no matter who he looked like, was always the same height. It was Farson who was "reported" to be over 6 feet tall and wide in both brace and basket (meaning chest and stomach). Hence, for those of you who might have tought so, Walter wasn't Farson.

Q. Fifth: And are we going to find out that Roland's dad was whipped by Walter because he was emotionally shut down by the death of his first son? Might have Walter caused the death of the baby?

A. I'm not sure what you mean by "whipped by Walter". Why do you think Walter had anything to do with the baby's death? If anyone, I'd suspect Marten, not Walter. And it could have been a natural death too...

Q. Sixth: I have posted the idea on another board that Suz's baby is the baby of Detta and the demon and I have just found out that either this is the case or it is a human baby infected. Is another sacrifice in the picture?

A. I'd say that Suz's baby is the demon's baby, not Eddie's. Ye Gods... can you imagine the turn out of THAT scenario??!!

Q. Seventh: Consider the fact that Roland's father knew and allowed the affair between Marten and his wife to go on. In any medevil type society, like Gilead seems to be, this wound have been grounds for IMMEDIATE execution! Look at Henry VIII for God's sake! And they didn't even cheat on the psycho! Marten is obviously very entrenched in his castle, clearly runs the roost, so to speak, and in no way fears the fastest gun in the west. Would YOU try to f**k the wife of the guy who could shoot like Roland's dad? He had to have some kind of hold on him.

A. Steven knew of Marten's seduction of Gabrielle... and was using it to his advantage... to lull Marten into a sense of security and power. Steven was just waiting -- bidding his time -- till it was time to strike. I guess in someways it didn't make him a good husband, but it did make him someone who knew what was going on around him and who wasn't a fool. Someone, in the end, you wouldn't want to make an enemy of. Sometimes you have to sacrifice the ones you love to get the job done...

Q. Eighth: So, Roland tries to kill Marten, he pulls off some kind of escape and Roland still thinks he's chasing Walter? Only if he didn't witness the escape but clearly he did by the passage "and even that fruit had been bitter".

A. Marten escapes (probably something like how Flagg disappears/escapes in both The Eyes of the Dragon and The Stand), so Roland sets off after him and the Tower... hoping to find both, but unsure of being able to find Marten again. And the part of "and even that fruit had been bitter", could mean something like "although Roland won, he paid a price in the end" (my idea, anyway)... I'm thinking along the lines that one of Roland's pals died during this showdown... or because of it. Maybe Alain? Jamie? Hmmm.....


Q. I've got a question for you that I hope you can answer. I think it's blatantly obvious, but I could be wrong so here goes. When the ka-tet gets off of Blaine are they in the "when" of The Stand? If my memory serves me correctly (unfortunately I don't have my copy of Wizard and Glass with me... a friend is borrowing it) one of the ka-tet picks up a news paper that says something about the superflu. There are also a bunch of deserted cars and such all around. Does my memory serve me correctly or am I just a moron? Thanks for your time and for answering my question. Oh and by the way, you have the best Dark Tower Site on the web! Ever consider covering all of Stephen King's books? -- Jason

A. Close... very close. But the Topeka, Kansas that Roland et al arrive in is not the same as the one that was in the world of the Stand. I tend to think of the world of The Stand is EXACTLY like ours except we didn't got through the superflu. "Our" world could be considered like Jake's, Suz's, and Eddie's. You see in the the Topeka that Roland and the others came to, there was also samll differences like the car "Takuro Spirit" and the Kansas City Monarchs... which is just different enough to call a separte world... different from any other world, but close enough that they even experienced the superflu. "Right next door" you could say...

And thanks! haha!! But I think I'm having enough trouble keeping up with just the ones I've got outlined on my website, never mind ALL of King's other books! hehe! Besides, I kinda like to concentrate on one area of King's works than all of them. *smile*

Q. I know that there are two main powers, the Random and the Purpose... they supposedly oppose each other, and each has agents working for them. In Insomnia, King makes it seem like Roland is an agent of the Purpose and the CK is an agent of the Random. Can you describe a little more about these two powers and tell me which side Roland is on? -- David

A. Well, I think you answered part of your own question here. Yes, Roland is working on behalf of the Purpose (whether he knows of the "Purpose" and the "Random" or not doesn't necessarily matter) just like Ralph in Insomnia was. But Roland is the most important agent of the Purpose EVER!!

Is for explaining what the Purpose and Random are, well, that should be pretty straight forward. BUT... don't necessarily think that the Random is evil... in a way, it has a job to do just like the Purpose does. The Random HAS a "purpose"... it's just the opposite of the Purpose, that's all. Kinda like "light" vs. "darkness" or "good" vs. "evil". Each is necessary for the other to exist. It's just that in the context of the Dark Tower, the Random wasn't doing it's job... it wanted to do something that was only meant for the Purpose, and hence what it's trying to do (having it's agents destroy the Tower) isn't "Random" at all...

Get it? haha! A bit confusing, yes, but I'm sure you'll understand it more as the story unfolds.

Q. I just finished Insomnia today and I have a couple of questions regarding it and the Dark Tower. First, its been a while since I've read the Dark Tower series, where does it mention the Beast? I can't remember at all, also, how do you know the CK is the Beast? Is it because of the drawing the child made at the end of Insomnia? My second and more important question is: Who is the Messiah child that Ralph had to save at the end of Insomnia? I guess what I'm asking is, who are the two people he is supposed to save when he dies? Does this happen in another book or could it be that in a future Dark Tower book he saves Roland or is it just a loose end? Hopefully Antman you can set me clear on these issues. -- Ryan

A. In answer to your first set of questions, it is partially because of the picture the child in Insomnia drew, but it's kinda been a "given" that the Beast is just another name of the Crimson King. The CK (in so many words) is the big guy at the top of the Tower trying to gain control of it. In the first book of the DT series The Gunslinger, Walter talks about the being that is even greater than his own master, the Ageless Stranger. This being Walter refers to as the Beast... being the all and mighty powerful one who is at the top of the Tower. Now it has never actually been said that 'yes, the Beast IS the Crimson King', but it's infered throughout the books (including Insomnia)... and most people have never even questioned the idea of the Beast not being the CK.

Secondly, this child is not considered a Messiah... but just a person who will, in some future date, have a chance meeting/encounter with Roland and his friends. This boy is to save the lives (how or why is yet unknown) of two men... of whom one of them must not die... at any cost. Who exactly these men are have not been clearly outlined as of yet by King, but almost all DT fans I've ever talked to agree with the idea that the one who must not die is probably Roland himself. The other man could only be either Jake Chambers (further on in time as he gets older could be the only way Jake would be consiered a man), or Eddie Dean. This boy who saves these two men is named Patrick Danville... but at the time when he saves these men, he will no longer be a boy, but a young man himself. I believe -- and anyone please correct me if I'm wrong... it's been a year or two since I last read Insomnia -- that he will be about 19-21 years old when he saves them. At what point in the DT series will Patrick save them? That's an unknown -- only King can decide than one -- but I'd be willing to bet that it's either in the next book, 5th DT book, or the 6th book (there will be seven in all).

Questions Last Updated: January 19/2001

Q. I am trying to find out if there is a connection between Roland of Delain and the gunslinger Roland. Do you happen to remember the gunslinger's father's name? I was wondering if it was one of King Roland's sons, either Peter or Thomas. With soooooo many years in between books I tend to forget things! --

A. Nope, sorry... King Roland and Roland Deschain are of no relation. Delain IS a kingdom in All-World, but FAR away from Gilead. Roland's (the gunslinger) father's name was Steven, and Roland's grandfather's name was Henry. However, Roland Deschain DID meet both Thomas and Dennis from The Eyes of the Dragon. I can't pinpoint the page in the book, but it was in DT2 that they met (but it was brief). Check out The Nitpicker's Guide under DT2 for more info.

Q. How could Roland (in The Gunslinger) have shot up 58 people and still have ammo left over for the rabbits he shot? The average gun holster of the 1800's held about 40 rounds. Ammo is also pretty heavy and bulky, you can't just put it in a pocket and the narrative doesn't mention anything about carrying it around. What do you think? I know it's not critical, but it kind of ruins it when he appears to have an endless amount of ammo, don't you think? -- Gary

A. Roland did carry a "purse" with him at all times... it's kinda like a shoulder-slung tote bag, but just a bit smaller. This of course, is where Roland would keep all his extra travelling equipment... including extra bullets.

Q. 1.[Book I] At the very first section, Roland was mentioned to be a "level 5" gunslinger, and something about being more powerful at level 8. Since then, there's been no more mention of this. What comes to mind for me is the level-progression of characters such as in Dungeons&Dragons role playing games. Any thoughts? Anyway it'd be nice to have an idea of whether Roland's improving still, perhaps getting higher levels until he's on level terms with R.F. and eventually (?) Crimson King. --

A. We might hear more about the levels of the khef and how Roland has progressed through them over his journey (I'd bet he's at level 6 or 7 now), but in the scheme of things, it's probably not all that important. I don't know anything about D&D, so sorry, I can't give an opinion about it.

Q. 2.[At least two books, from I-III?] Who could Aileen be? I recall a section where Roland attended a grand ball or something in Gilead, if I'm not mistaken, arm-in-arm with Aileen. (Um, a gal right? *wink*) A previous love interest?? No way I guess, what with Book IV and the Susan affair... this is killing me slowly...

A. Aileen is Roland's second love... after Susan. He met her in Gilead and the two became romantically linked... however, there is a part in DT1 where Roland remembers having to leave a girl in a place called King's Town... I'd be willing to bet all my money that Aileen was that girl.

**This was a question posed to me by a DT fan that contains two questions and two replies...

Q. In your nitpickers guide for The Drawing of the Three, you say there is an editing error on pg. 33, but that is not necessarily the case. By definition (at least in our world) a sea is landlocked, so it must have a western-most bank. Walk north along this beach and look left, do you see the Sea? It would be the same if you were to walk east along the US-Canadian border, North Dakota would be on your right side, or to the south, but that doesn't change the fact that it is still North Dakota. --

A. Sorry, but I'm not quite following you here. Think of it this way:

Suppose you're walking north up the western coast of North America; you'd be walking along the Pacific Ocean. Face north then look left; you see the ocean. Look right... well, you'll see land. This is supposed to be the same type of reference in DT2. For arguements sake, the Pacific Ocean is the Western Sea. How can Roland be walking/facing north, then look to his left and then see the mountains? It just doesn't work...

*second part*

Q. Ok, riddle me this Antman: If you want to suppose that the Pacific Ocean is the Western Sea, and suppose you are walking up the eastern coast of Australia. Face north and look left, what do you see? What made you choose the Pacific Ocean for your example? Because it fit the picture in your mind? Why didn't you let the Atlantic Ocean be be Western Sea? Then facing north on American soil would leave the entire Western Sea to the east. All I'm trying to say is that there may not be an editing error, assuming that world is round. I had a perfect example in my first e-mail but you were so sure you had me beat that you missed it. You are Canadian (Thank you for noticing! *wink* Antman.), so from Manitoba you have to look south to see North Dakota, so why can't you believe that Roland could have been looking east to the Western Sea?

A. Why am I so sure? Well, if this type of "location dislocation" ran constant throughout the book, I'd be willing to believe your type of theory... however, in about 80% of the rest of the book, when discussing direction (or when King talks about it), everything else matches up correctly with my example. However, there are noticable errors (just a look at The Nitpicker's Guide can tell you that) that are not constant (people's names and ages for two BIG examples) throughout the books. And for something as trivial as direction (most people don't pay attention to direction more than names or ages), I can't believe that at one minute, the Western Sea is on Roland's left, and then magically it ends up on his right.

Also, why do I believe the Pacific Ocean is a good reference for the Western Sea? Well, about 99% of all fans I've talked to believe that although Roland's world is different from our own (his world IS round... just like every other world), the land mass that Roland's world (ie: Gilead, Hambry, Tull etc..) exists on would be considered the "North America" of his world. And of course, for the fact that there are no far-sailing ships/boats in his world (Roland thinks that when he sees the Western Sea for the first time, that no man has ever seen such a body of water such as this), there are no other far-off discovered (by his people anyway) land masses such as, for example, an "Austrailia" or "Africa". This being so, a large body of water -- ANY body of water -- such as the Western Sea, would be named so because of it's directional relationship to everything else in their known world. North is North, South is South, East is East, and West is West. By facing north, any sea or ocean located to ones left would naturally be considered a "western" sea. In Roland's world, they just so happened to have named it that.

Sorry, but I can't be swayed on this point. I've studied these books way too long and way to hard to change my views on this particular topic... but thanks for trying anyways! *wink*

Questions Last Updated: January 15/2001

Q. Do you think Roland has already achieved his quest for the Dark Tower? I remember a conversation between Roland and Eddie in one of the books, (sorry I don't remember which) where Roland tells Eddie that for once in his life he might have "found something more important than the Tower." Do you think King will bank on that when he writes the next novel in any way? What are your thoughts on that? -- Adam

A. The following is ONE theory of mine:

Do I think he's achieved his goal yet? No. Is his goal to reach the Dark Tower? Yes. Is his goal to save the Tower? Well... yes and no. His goal is to reach the Tower, but not to save it. That's the job for one member of his ka-tet. Roland's goal/job (in my opinion) is to bring the person or persons who are responsible for fixing the Tower to the Tower. Kinda like a guardian or protector of sorts. Without Roland to help and guide them, they haven't a chance of winning. So, when Roland gets his ka-tet to the Tower, his mission will be complete... or atleast very close to being complete. After they get to the Tower, he may still have to help them, but his role in doing so is still unclear in my mind.

Questions Last Updated: October 11/2000

Q. What is "The Little Sisters of Eluria"? Where can I get it? -- MANY PEOPLE HAVE ASKED THIS QUESTION!!

A. The Little Sisters of Eluria was a short story written by King back in '98... and it was a Dark Tower story! As you may or may not have seen already on my website, there are a few sections that talk about it and show pictures from the story.

Anyways, it's a Dark Tower short story that appeared in the anthology called LEGENDS: Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy published by TOR Fantasy. In the story, it deals with Roland (yes! Roland!) BEFORE the events that occur in The Gunslinger... but AFTER the flashback sequences that occur in Wizard and Glass. Basically, it's a stand-alone adventure that Roland has as he is still searching for the trail of the man in black.

I highly recommend that any Dark Tower fan should read this story... I'm sure that most of you will be enthrawled and captivated with more information about our most favorite character... the gunslinger!!

For more info about this story, click on the following links:
The Nitpicker's Guide to The Little Sisters of Eluria
The Fottergrafs: The Little Sisters of Eluria
Reviews: The Little Sisters of Eluria

Also, if you'd care to buy this book, in either Harcover, Paperback, or Audiobook, here are links you can use to go straight to the best site on the interent for prices and reliability...!!

The Little Sisters of Eluria -- HARDCOVER --
The Little Sisters of Eluria -- PAPERBACK --
The Little Sisters of Eluria -- AUDIO BOOK --

Q. In The Little Sisters of Eluria, what did that ending mean with the "Doctors" forming a curl? Why did Jenna disappear? Did she run off? Was it because she was damned? -- Big Coffin Hunter

A. The Doctors were, in part, controlled by Jenna... so she made them form a curl to show Roland that she was still "there". She disappeared because she could no longer support her human form any longer... not being able to feed and too much exertion during the day would basically kill her (her being a vampire type creature). But I guess she kinda did "run off" I suppose... she just gave into the inevitable sooner than later.

Q. In The Gunslinger, I don't quite get why the man in black impregnates Sylvia Pittston with a demon in the first place. What does that achieve? -- Mark

A. I think he impregnated her just because he could, and because she would allow him to (to Sylvia, Walter was an angel). It also served as a good way to obtain Sylvia's support in helping him stop Roland from catching him. However, I also believe that Walter knew that he wouldn't be able to stop Roland with just that little ploy... so he told Sylvia to do everything she could to stop him... by sending the town's people out after Roland. Walter also knew that that inturn wouldn't stop Roland either, but it would make him responsible for killing all those people. Maybe Walter hoped the guilt would "hurt" Roland in some way. It's all the workings of a twisted mind my friend!

Questions Last Updated: Sept 26/2000

Here's a question that I found on another Dark Tower website that was answered by that site's owner. This Dark Tower website owner -- figuring that he knew the answer -- tried to explain his reasoning, but all in all, probably confused the hell out of the poor fellow asking this question. To put it simply, he had no idea what he was talking about, and it showed. I just couldn't resist answering this guys question... correctly. Following this question will be my answer to this persons question:

Q. Now, it's apparent that both Marten and Walter seem to be interchangeable; one is the other's master, and vice-versa, this you already know. But (and I hope you haven't already covered this....)

In Wizard and Glass, when they finally enter the castle and see the man who is obviously Randall Flagg, Roland says "Marten. Marten Broadcloack. After all these years, after all these centuries. Finally. Finally in my sites" but....


In The Gunslinger, on page 140, here's the quote: "-the endless hunt for the man in black through a world with neither map nor memory. Cuthbert and the others were gone, all of them gone: Randolph, Jamie De Curry, Aileen, Susan, Marten (yes, they had dragged him down, and there had been gunplay, and even that grape had been bitter)." Now, am I nuts, or does this indicate that Roland killed Marten? I think it all boils down to King not truly paying attention to the stories he has previously written. A lot of time has passed between the first and last story. During the palaver between Walter and Roland, it seems that Marten (Maerlyn) is Walter's master. Yet, Walter talks of delivering Marten to Roland. Also, when Roland speaks with the Oracle, she says that Marten is no more. The man in black has eaten his soul. Like you said in your site, very confusing. Well, thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope someone can shed some light on this DARK subject (sorry, I couldn't resist.)
-- Michael

Now here's my answer...

A. Well, first of all, let's clear up one very important fact here... Roland did not kill Marten. Plain and simple. But, you might ask, in the above quote (DT1 pg 140) it says that "yes, they had dragged him down, and there had been gunplay, and even that grape had been bitter". True. Absolutely. However, it never said nothing whatsoever about Roland killing Marten... it only said that they had dragged him down. And yes, there had been gunplay...

So, to explain my reasoning, we have to look at the past history of Marten (who was also really Flagg) and to how this whole "gunplay" bit came about.

First fact; Marten was really secretly John Farson (the Good Man), who in turn, was the leader of the civil uprising in Roland's land. Marten/Farson was the spring bolt who led this uprising and revolt, and was the one who had plans to basically "take over the world". As noted within the series (sorry, I can't come up with the page number at this momment), Roland stated to his friends that his band of gunslingers had won every battle that they had fought against the Good Man, but lost the war. Now, some people would say that that in-turn meant that the Good Man won the war against the Affiliation/gunslingers. Wrong. The Good Man also lost too... but just not as badly. Marten's/Farson's goal was to destroy all the good and civil workings of the Affiliation's society -- everything that was good with the world -- and to create anarchy (of course, all under a veil secrecy that is!) in it's place. In this he succeeded. However, he failed to take care of the one last thing that stood in his way to complete victory. Roland.

Now, going back just a little bit, we also remember that it was also said that Walter delievered Marten into Roland's hands. Of course, this was true. Walter, who had sided with Marten, betrayed him and probably led Marten into an ambush created by Roland and his gunslingers... therefore, placing Marten in Roland's sights. It was also said that there was gunplay between Roland and Marten (this fact could be disputed; the fact Marten used a gun against Roland was not specifically stated, but makes no difference in the matter anyways) and that Roland had "dragged him down". This part also doesn't say specifically that Roland killed or shot down Marten... it just says that he was "dragged" down. Now I believe that that meant Roland "dragged him down" as in he spoiled Marten's victory... by wounding him and making Marten "disappear", so to speak. And here's why I think so:

For those of us who have read The Eyes of the Dragon and The Stand, do you remember what happened to Flagg at the end of both stories? In the end of EOTD Thomas "shot" Flagg in the eye with his father's own special bow and arrow. Flagg was wounded (emensely so!), but was not killed by the shot that would probably have killed any other ordinary man. Flagg then diappeared, only to have Thomas and Dennis set off after his trail. Flagg was defeated, but was still not killed. He had escaped. Now in The Stand, what happened to Flagg in the end? (You'll have to forgive me here, it's been a while since I've read the book). Flagg was defeated by "the hand of God" when it came down and set off the nuclear bomb. Flagg transformed into a crow and took off, obviously escaping the wrath of the A-bomb, but probably, in some way, was wounded too.

So, the same can be said for the encounter between Roland and Marten. Roland probably shot Marten, wounding him, which forced Marten to scurry off, escaping the full vengence of Roland and therefore surviving. We also read that the Oracle tells Roland that "Marten is no more. The man in black has eaten his soul." And of course, this is also true. The man in black, Walter, betrayed Marten to Roland in which Roland defeated him; Marten "being no more" simply meant that he was no longer Marten now, but Flagg; the persona of Marten being of no more use. The man in black having "eaten his soul" meaning that by betraying Marten, Walter in essence destroyed the "Marten" persona Flagg had used.

WHEW!! Man, was that a mouthful or what?! haha! Anyways, I hope that explains more properly to those of you who have wondered about this same question. I know a lot of you out there have probably been wondering about this for sometime... I know I've been asked this question once or twice in my time! hehe! Any other questions?

Q. I'm a little confused as to the order of the beings in the Tower. I thought that Flagg was at the top. I guess that by looking at your Casting Call I could tell Flagg is the Ageless Stranger. Would the Beast then be above him, and the Crimson King at the top? -- Ssruggiero

A. Flagg would probably be considered as a second in command (but all in all, he's still a lowly puppet in the scheme of things). The Crimson King (also known as the Beast) is the highest dude of them all. He's the one trying to control the Tower. So in order, it's the Crimson King/the Beast, Flagg/Marten /the Ageless Stranger (all one in the same character) and then Walter/the man in black.

Q. Are you going to release this book (my own proposed The Dark Tower Compendium/Companion. Ed.) before the 5th book is published or wait for the completed Dark Tower works?? -- Ssruggiero

A. Thanks for showing your interest in my book! Looks like I underestimated the attention people would pay to the idea of my book! Lots of people seem really interested!

I'm planning on releasing my book in 2001... hopefully just before DT5 comes out (and with the looks of the info we have of King's progress, we'll be waiting till 2002 for DT5!), and then after DT5 comes out, I'll do a revision of my book and add all the new info into it. And then of course, after every new DT book, I'll do another release of my book with new info added into that one aswell. Probably in total, I'll have 3-4 volumes/revisions. It's the best way to make money on a book... just keep releasing new and updated versions of it every year! haha!

Thanks again for your interest! It's much appreciated!

Q. I am having trouble finding any info that tells how T.S. Eliot's "The Waste Land" is used in The Waste Lands by King. Most all of the web sites and books that I can find on the subject merely say that it was an influence, and that is as far as anyone will go. Can you help me understand more about this? -- Lee

A. Well, I don't know how much help I can be to you... I'm not much of a poet myself and rarely understand poems if they don't rhyme! haha!

But one thing I can tell you is that the whole poem doesn't have much to do with King's The Waste Lands. Only a certain section of it does, and not in the way of plot... only as in a descriptive term. In King's The Waste Lands, there is a part of the book that deals with his characters traveling through a "waste land" (the best descriptive term would be a nuclear waste land), and it was of this that King was thinking of when comparing T.S. Eliots's poem of the same name to his own work.

If you go to this specific section of my website, you'll see the parts of this poem highlighted in red that have to do specifically with King's work: Poetry - The Waste Lands

Other than that, the rest of the poem has nothing to do with King's work as in referring to The Waste Lands.

Questions Last Updated: Sept 18/2000

Q. Ok, my question is... in part 4 it says that Blaine must have passed through a thinny, but when Roland is telling about the box canyon (in Mejis), he said that anything that touches the thinny is destroyed, I'm confused... -- Josh

A.You know, a few people in the past have asked me that question too, and it's one of the only questions I can't answer... and I've mulled over this one for a LONG time. I don't know what King was thinking when he wrote those sections when he was refering to the thinnies... maybe he decided that there might be two kinds of thinnies; one that kills if you touch it, and the other kind warps you to another world... it doesn't make sense though, but only King can really give you an answer for that.

Questions Last Updated: August 8/2000

Q. I was wondering... DT3 softcover pg 467... When the group was in Lud, (Roland getting Jake back, and Susannah and Eddie were looking for Blaine), Susannah saw a building with the Totems of the Beam marching all around it, two by two. Each of the animals seemed to have words carved upon them. She thought what was written there might be knowledge worth having. She couldn't read them because there was no time to spare. The words she couldn't read were again mentioned on pg 470. Do you think they were important to the story? I was just wondering why King mentioned them. -- Cindy

A. Good question Cindy! Well, I just checked out that section, and while I don't have an absolute positive answer for you (only King could do that!), I think that maybe those parts of the story are a bit of fore-shadowing into future developements and what King has in store for us fans who've been paying attention. I'd really like King to delve more into the other Guardians of the Beam and what they mean. We can only hope, right? *wink*

Q. Dude, I've heard from a recommendation (BooksManKev) that you are a 'genious' on the Dark Tower series, so I really need help with my problem. {Questions to follow} -- Sean

A. Thank you, thank you. I do try my best. ;)

Q. I am wondering; that at one point in time (a long time ago, before the thinnies) that the Tower was good, keeping all of space and time in order. So who was running the tower at this time, was it the Beast?

A. Before "the world had moved on", the Dark Tower had been known as "the Bright Tower", and you are correct in your first assumption. However, it was not controlled by the Beast. The only close answer I could give you would be a "God".

Q. I think that, and that is I think, the Beast is bad right? I know the Crimson King is bad and trying to destroy/take over the tower, but what about the Beast? And who is the good guy?

A. "The Beast" is the Crimson King (and "bad" just doesn't discribe him well enough! haha!). Just another name for him. And who's the good guy? Have you read Insomnia? I'm leaning towards "The Green Man".

Q. Also, I was wondering your opinion on this: I am convinced that Flagg from EotD is Flagg everywhere else.

A. Correct. In one form or another. You've heard of the "Legion" reference? I think there is more than just one Flagg, but they're all the same entity. Hint: "Storm of the Century".

Q. Also, I was wondering what you think about "Tak" from Desperation being the Crimson King. Think of "the Good Man's" sigul. A red eye. And Tak's eye is red, and he is the ultimate evil.

A. Tak might be "close" to the CK, but I don't think that's him. Remember in Insomnia? The CK couldn't interact with "our world" or do any of his mischief himself. He has to get others to do his work for him. He's too high up the levels of the Tower to affect our world. He had to have Ralph Roberts "up" a few levels to talk to him. Remember the Ralph/Ed/airplane scene?

Q. Also, in Insomnia, it says the Crimson King jumps "from body to body, generation to generation" as we have seen some Tak do as well.

A. Another "likeness" I agree, but maybe that's just the power these creatures have over the beings on "our" level of the Tower. I know I'm not explaining this correctly... I know what I want to say, but I can't write it properly. Sorry!

Questions Last Updated: January 21/2000

Q. Antman, thankee-sai for a wonderful page on the Dark Tower. Rolands efforts for the illusive Dark Tower may be long in the coming but your page has been a delight to read. Here's a question for you. In the forth book Blaine makes a passing comment about a certain instrument played on one level of the Tower. Any suggestions on its meaning? -- Anthony Watts, England

A. Hi Anthony! (geez, I don't say very often! LOL!)

To answer your question, the instrument was called a Way-Gog and was played on one of the upper levels of the Tower. As for it's meaning within the DT series, I think it's probably negligible. Kinda like the ZZ Top song used as the God-drums. Just a little "extra", so to speak. But who knows, maybe we might hear of some more of this Way-Gog music later as the series continues!

Q. I love your page on the Dark Tower series. Gary Oldman would be an awesome Martin Broadcloak as he makes a really good villian, but you would cast Jamey Sheridan as Flagg (which makes sense since he was Flagg in The Stand). Isn't Martin and Randall Flagg one and the same? I think the two are connected in DTIV. -- m022532

A. Thanks for the nice comments about my webpage! As for your question about Martin really being Flagg... well, yes, he is the same person/enitity. However, if Martin looked the same as Flagg did when Roland met up with Flagg (as described in DTII), it would stand to reason that Roland would have recognized him immediately. He didn't however, so I'm of the opinion that Flagg has the ability to change his appearance to some degree. Take for instance, do you think Flagg of "The Eyes of the Dragon" looked the same in "The Stand", or "Wizard and Glass" or even at the end of "Waste Lands"? I think he looked just a bit (or a lot!) different in each one. That's my opinion on it anyway.

Q. When we are introduced to the mob guys in book II we are told Balazar likes his cards & building towers. One of the bosses "yes" men sees magical things in one of those card towers at one point. What my question is boiling down to is this... What significance do you place on the card tower? It seems like The Leaning Tower would have to be in the vacant lot of Jake's when. This seems to be a magical place. Why would Baltazar be building magical card towers if his building didn't stand in a significant spot? Or rather how could he? What connection do you see him having/being to the Dark Tower? -- Dena

A. I my opinion, it's just a coincedence... another little sign that there really is a tower out there influencing life and the universe. But that Balazar's card tower is an important part of everything... I'm not willing to go that far. Like Roland once said, "sometimes it's just a coincedence. Ka doesn't affect everything." (or something to that effect! hehe!)

Questions Last Updated: Jan 04/2000

Q. Hi Anthony. Have you noticed that on page 43 of Book II, it states that Roland is the last of them all to march on toward the Tower, then goes on to say "Long after Cuthbert and the others had died or given up, committed suicide or treachery or simply recanted the whole idea of the Tower..." There are five acts listed there. We know that Cuthbert and Alain are both dead, and it's possible that Cuthbert may have committed one of the other acts, but what about the other three? Who committed them? -- Chyrel

A. Good eye for detail Chyrel! This question can only be answered partially. We know from reading book II, that both Roland and Cuthbert are responsible for the death of Alain (as seen on pg 410 in the signet edition) and by the details given, it appears both Roland and Cuthbert shot Alain purposely. The only reason behind this, while very little detail is given, must be because of treachery. For some unknown reason, Alain must have betrayed or turned against his brother gunslingers, and paid for it with his life. I'm sure we'll learn more as the series moves on. As for Cuthbert (on pg 265 in signet edition) we've read that Roland held Cuthbert and cried as he died. Roland even remembers Cuthbert died with a question on his lips (this part is later in book II when Roland thinks that Eddie and Cuthbert are much alike). It would appear that Cuthbert was killed by someone (not Roland himself) or because of something. So the open possibilities are:

a) he was killed in the line of duty,
b) he had given up the quest, or
c) he recant the whole idea of the Tower.

I believe it was "a". There were also other gunslingers in Roland's party as well (as many as 12, not including Roland himself). Possible others were Jamie DeCurry, Alan, Allen and Randolph just to name a few. What happened to them exactly is anyones guess, but of course they would have to have been the reasons for Roland's list of fate's from your quote above.

Q. Anthony, among the many pieces of the puzzle, here is one question that has bothered me. In DT2 Roland takes the guns and belts from the officers in Clemmens Guns and Sporting Goods store for the purpose of giving one each to Eddie and Susannah, yet, in the subway he makes no attempt to take them back through the door. Surely he could have. Even with the boxes of ammunition in Morts's shorts he could have held the barrels in some way... don't you think? We know they don't make it because all that comes across the door is the ammunition and the Keflex. And throughout the rest of the books, all they have are Rolands guns, until Jake is pulled through whith his fathers Ruger. So why? Do you think SK meant for them not to have guns of their own? What is your opinion? -- Julie

A. You know, that is a very good question! I never really thought about that one before. Well, your question piqued my interest, so I re-read over those parts again, and the only explaination I could come up with was:

a) Roland didn't have the time or the hands (the ablility to hold any more) to hold on to the guns as he jumped into the path of the subway. The most important stuff were the drugs and the bullets for his own guns.

b) He decided (of course to himself!) later that the cop's guns were sooner or later going to be useless to them when they fired all the rounds in the chambers and didn't have any replacement ammunition to use for these guns when they ran out (police officers don't carry a whole lot of ammunition on them... maybe a dozen rounds extra and the rounds in their guns). He probably thought it wasn't worth the effort for something that wouldn't last long. Maybe?

c) He just forgot. Hey, Roland is human too, right?! haha!

Q. Anthony, would you classify Gilead as a city, a country or a kingdom or what? -- Anders

A. Gilead would be considered a city (a great one at that!) and like a capital of a state or province. In Roland's world, it is the "Barony seat" of New Canaan.

Questions Last Updated: Sept 16/99

Q. Anthony, what is your prediction on whether or not King will let Roland reach the Dark Tower? At this point I think I would be heartbroken if the big man doesn't make it. -- bsnead

A. Well you know, I've been thinking about this same question myself for years now. Ever since I read the afterword in book II where King says to the Constant Reader that we should be prepared for the very real possiblity that Roland might not make it to the Dark Tower, I've had my own reservations about that little "hint", so to speak. I think that King was purposely jumping the gun a bit to get us Constant Readers to think a little more deeply about the journey that lies ahead of the gunlsinger and his ka-tet. What exactly might be the reason that Roland wouldn't make it to the Tower? Who knows. That is a question that has many possible answers... far to many for me to even consider trying to answer here in this Q&A section by one question alone.

However, here's what I believe -- short and to the point. I think Roland will make it to the Tower, and be triumphant in his battle (whatever type of battle it might be) with the keeper of the Tower - namely The Crimson King. He has also been given his own ka-tet -- of whom Roland will need the help of to win his battle... the many will become one. But I fear, this might be the last battle Roland will ever fight... he most likely will have to give his own life for this victory in the end. But with his honour and the face of his father firmly remembered in his mind, redemption will lie in the clearing at the place where his path ends. As he has always done before, he will stand and be true.

Q. Are Alan and Alain (I believe there's another similar-sounding name) the same person? -- Michelle

A. As far as I can tell, no. But there is more to this. Although Alain is not mentioned until book II (we all come to know him more in book IV), the character Allen is mentioned in book I. Allen is a young boy training to be a gunslinger and we met him briefly when a young Roland has just beaten his teacher Cort and Roland asks Allen to fetch a nurse for the injured teacher. But there's also another character by the name of Alan. One of Roland's childhood friends who might have also persumedly have started The Training. When Roland first glimpses a neon sign in New York City that was actually the name of Enrico Balazar's nightclub called The Leaning Tower, Roland began to shout the names of his old friends -- which included Alan -- as he looked in wonder through Eddie Dean's eyes in book II.

However, some people might want to argue that Alain and Alan are the same characters, just spelled wrong by King. Ummm... I don't think so. If you even pronouce the names correctly, they still sound a bit different. I can't believe King would make a mistake like that, but only King can really answer that.

Questions Last Updated: Aug 20/99

Q. Here's a question that's been bugging me for a while now. We know that the letter "H" was not one of the Great Letters of Roland's world (hey--they also continually refer to the Great Letters in EOTD--). So how in the heck could he read any of the Doors? I mean, the fact that the word "the" was on all of the Doors notwithstanding, what about "The Lady of the Shadows" and "The Pusher"? And how would Roland be spelling Cuthbert's name? And the town of Hambry? And Roland's own last name, Deschain, for goodness sakes! -- Cindy

A. Wow! That was a good eye for detail Cindy! Well, there are a couple of answers for your question. One answer, is that we are looking at and basing our assumptions of Roland's world on the artwork of other artists... who don't usually colaborate with each other they're working on the same type of project (ie: the Dark Tower series). Some artists who have worked on the Dark Tower series may not have actually read the books, but were just told what type of artwork was needed... which is not always the best way to render artwork for someone else's writing. So, simply, maybe some artists just didn't know that they were supposed to leave out the "H"'s in their artwork. But I must say, Michael Whelan did a great job of his artwork. If you look very closely at his last piece that appears in all editions of book I (the picture of Walter's hand throwing his Tarot cards into the fire), you will notice that "the Tower" and "the Hanged Man" are drawing correctly... leaving out the "H" in the, making it appear "TE TOWER" and "TE PENDU" ("Pendu" must be another word of some sort meaning "Hanged Man"). The amazing thing about this is that nowhere in book I does it say that the letter "H" was not part of Roland's language. Michael must have been told about this by King, is my best guess.

Secondly, for the actual words appearing in the writings of King with the letter "H" included, I would suppose King did this because of the fact that most readers (probably including myself in the very beginning) would not have any clue whatsoever what the word "te" meant if it appeared all throughtout the book, not to mention any other word that relied on having the letter "H" in it (which would be quite numerous to say the least).

Here are some interesting points to note: If you look at the drawings made by Dave McKean in book IV regarding Rhea's "notes", you will notice that the "H" has been left out in the word "Honest", making it look like "onnest". Also if you look at page 54 in the Signet version of The Eyes of the Dragon, you will read here that in Delain (and I will also assume all of Roland's world -- for Delain is part of that too!), there were only 15 Great Letters in their language. So in the English language of our world, 11 of our letters do not appear in Roland's world, making quite a few words in our langauge unreadable by Roland, which we read about in book II quite frequently.

Q. Concerning the whole North-South-East-West thing I got really screwed up trying to figure it out until I assumed that what King had written was all correct if the magnetic poles were reversed, which actually happens every million or something years. This would make a compass look like this:



              West - - - - + - - - - East



This is what I always thought but then again no one has ever accused me of being a genius. -- bsnead

A. Nope, sorry. Roland's world has it's north and south poles all in the correct places. If they weren't, and King planned on that fact, everything in Roland's world regarding the directions would have been changed. In most places throughout the books, everything is correct directional wise, but in a few places it appears to be wrong. See the first question on this page for the answer to that.

me with your questions!

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