The Dark Tower is the backbone of Stephen King's legendary career. Begun more than thirty years ago, seven books and more than three thousand pages make up this bestselling, epic fantasy series. Previously published in two separate volumes, The Complete Concordance is the definitive encyclopedic reference book that provides readers with everything they need to navigate their way through the series. With hundreds of characters, Mid-World geography, High Speech lexicon, and extensive cross-references, this comprehensive handbook is essential for any Dark Tower fan.
Characters and Genealogies
Magical Objects and Forces
Mid-World and Our World Places
Portals and Magical Places
Mid-, End-, and Our World Maps
Timeline for the Dark Tower Series
Mid-World Rhymes, Songs, and Prayers
Political and Cultural References
References to Stephen King's Other Work
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July 27, 2003
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Excerpt from Stephen Kings The Dark Tower: A Concordance, Volume I by Robin Furth
INTRODUCTION PART ONE
VOLUMES I -- IV
ROLAND, THE TOWER, AND THE QUEST
Spoiler's Warning: Read this essay only after you have read the first four books of Roland's saga. Otherwise, you'll get more than a glimpse of what is to come . . .
To any reader of the Dark Tower series, Roland Deschain is an instantly recognizable character. As I write this, I see him in my mind's eye, striding across the yellowing grasses of the River Barony savannah, his black hair threaded with gray, his body tall and lanky, his holster and gun belt strapped to his hips. Only one of those fabled sandalwood-handled six-shooters is with him; it rests against his left thigh. The other is back at camp, secure in the docker's clutch strapped to Eddie Dean's side. As I stare, Roland turns his head and regards me pragmatically. If you need to talk to me, he says, then come. Time may be a face on the water, but in Roland's world, water is scarce.
Roland watches as I pass through the doorway of the page. His pale blue eyes really are like those of a bombardier, both cool and assessing. By necessity, this meeting will be brief. I'm another one of Roland's secrets, and he thinks it better to keep me that way. He's not certain what level of the Tower I come from, but he knows one thing. I am mapping his travels.
Finding some shade, Roland hunkers. I hand him one of the rolling papers I've brought, and he accepts it silently. Unlacing the leather thongs of his traveling purse, he removes his tobacco poke and rolls a smoke. Despite the missing fingers on his right hand, he works the paper dexterously, licking the gummed side with a grimace. He strikes a match against the seam of his jeans and lights his cigarette. For a moment his face is illuminated with an eerie glow that makes his features look drawn and more than a little haggard. He has a few days' worth of stubble on his cheeks, and his lips are chapped. Once again I try to show him this concordance, but he waves the bound manuscript away as he exhales a cloud of smoke. As always, he thinks that my constant revisions waste paper. Besides, he's only interested in the maps. But today I've brought a short piece, and this he has agreed to hear. It's my interpretation of his epic journey. Taking another deep drag, Roland rolls his hand in that gesture which means only one thing, in any world. Get on with it. So I clear my throat and (rather nervously) begin.
ROLAND, THE TOWER, AND THE QUEST
Roland Deschain is Mid-World's final gunslinger. Like a knight from the Arthurian legends of our world, Roland is on a quest. His "grail" is the Dark Tower, the linchpin of the Time/Space continuum, and his goal is to climb to its very top and question the god or demon who resides there. Roland's world is unraveling. The Beams that maintain the proper alignment of time, space, size and dimension are breaking down and the Tower itself is foundering. This structural instability affects all worlds, but in Roland's, the symptoms are dramatic. As the fabric of reality wears away, thinnies form and spread. These squalling mist bogs swallow all those that stumble into them, letting their captives fall into the dark no-places between worlds. As the landscape stretches, directions drift. What is west today may be southwest tomorrow and southeast the day after. A goal that lay only fifty miles away can suddenly become a hundred, or even a thousand miles distant.
As the direct descendant of Arthur Eld, King of All-World-That-Was, and as Mid-World's last dinh, Roland must rescue his land from annihilation. But his task is gargantuan. He must find a way to safeguard the framework, the loom, upon which the interpenetrating realities are woven. But in order to do so -- in order to shore up that central Tower and the Beams which radiate out from it -- he must find his way across a landscape so fragmented that neither map nor memory can help him pinpoint his destination. In fact, Roland does not even know where the Tower stands. He realizes that he must head toward a place called End-World, but where does that land lie? How can he find it? During the early stages of his journey, Roland the warrior chooses the path of the ascetic. Believing he can only reach his goal as a solitary traveler, he sacrifices all human relationships, even when it means betrayal, because he thinks such sacrifice will speed him along his way. Comrades and lovers are left behind like abandoned waterskins.
Roland believes that to climb the Tower he must have no ties holding him to Mid-World. He must be isolated, self-sufficient, cut off from the nurturing tides of relationship. Thinking in terms of conquest and battle, Roland follows the duplicitous Walter across the deserts of Mid-World, believing that this enemy will eventually lead him to his goal. Similarly, as a boy, he followed the path set for him by Maerlyn's Grapefruit, a magic ball whose evil, distorting visions tricked him into first sacrificing his lover, Susan Delgado, and then murdering his own mother.