Friday, December 18, 2009

2 - Over view of The Dark Tower (Spoiler Warning)

First let me say that while I hope to draw some allusions between Lost & The Dark Tower, I don't believe that the Dark Tower characters and plot will mirror the plot and mythology of Lost. I do believe it to be possible that Lost is in the same 'universe' of the Dark Tower books (both the 7 in the series and the 16 other Stephen King books with relations to the Dark Tower universe) and that some themes of the Dark Tower may reverberate very strongly in Lost.

Irregardless, I believe that the comparison of Lost to the Dark Tower will help highlight the underlying mythology of both. I will also tie in characters and plot from The Stand which has been quoted as a reference of biblical proportion to the writers of Lost.

So Who is the Gunslinger in the Dark Tower Books?

Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert! Spoiler Alert!

Key plot elements and the ending of the Dark Tower are revealed below.

The Gunslinger is main character in the Dark Tower Books. His name is Roland Deschaines, the last gunslinger. A direct decendant of Arthur Eld (King Arthur in a parallel universe or multiverse). He faced an early initiation test, goaded on by the affair of his mother with one of his father's counslors (Marten Broadcloak/Walter O'Din and also known by various other names including Randall Flag the antagonist in The Stand) who is secretly a traitor helping to bring about the downfall of Gilead to the forces of John Farson. Roland then discovers that his mother is plotting with Marten to kill his father. He reveals the plot but protects his mother, only to kill her when witchcraft fools him into thinking she is an old enemy. Roland's mother is dead by his own hands. His father dies and his country is overthrown and all his friends die. He alone survives.

With the destruction of all Roland knows and loves, in addition Roland's entire world has 'passed on'. In many ways it is erroding, sucumbing to the forces of entropy. Natural laws and time are irregular at best and in some areas gone entirely.

The Dark Tower begins with the gunslinger pursuing the 'man in black' (Marten Broadcloak/Walter O'Din/Randall Flagg) across the desert. As the story of the Dark Tower unfolds (repleat with many flashback stories) we learn that Roland is a hard, bitter man who saw the death of his family, his country, his loves, his friends. He pursues 'the man in black' but his real quest and only motivation is the reach the Dark Tower. But along the way he has many encounters which show that he has not forgotten his duty as a gunslinger. His overarching belief is in Ka or Fate. He knows his duty, he has his guns, and his actions show that he 'has not forgotten the face of his father'.

Ka/Fate draws 3 companions to him and in the adventures that surround them they become loyal friends and discover the mysteries of their universe. They learn of a dangerous conspirouscy trying to bring about the destruction of all realities in order so that a powerful being known as the Crimoson King can rule in the gray, ghostly nether world, called Todash Space, that connects the various realities. This conspiracy is attacking the '6 Beams' of energy that connect 12 focal points. The Dark Tower itself is a place of power over all these focal points. Within it though is in fact, the Crimson King, but having reached the center of power, he fell into a trap and is imprisoned there. But even within his prison he directs the actions of his minions toward the destruction of the Beams.

A counterpoint to the Dark Tower is 'The Rose'. It is discovered in the most unlikely of wastelands in a discarded alley in New York City. And if the Dark Tower is a focal point of power and sorcerous control and domination, the Rose is it's counterpoint and antithesis. The Rose is 'the' Source of life giving energy for the Dark Tower universe. It appears as a single wild rose but contains the energy of uncounted suns. Those near the rose perceive 'the song of the rose' and are filled with 'positive vibrations', are envigored and enlivened. Rolands band draws others to help protect 'The Rose' as it also becomes a target for destruction by the minions of the Crimson King.

A final plot twist shows that there exists a prime reality, and while events in the alternative realities can sometimes be manipulated through interactions between worlds, in the 'prime' world events only happen once and with finality. Within this world, is an individual who has unwittingly tapped into the power of the rose and uses it to write stories. Unbegnonst to the writer these stories written in the prime world are embued as reality in the other realities. Indeed, Stephen King is revealed as this writer and it is his Dark Tower series which Roland's band are living. They discover that King's death before the completion of the Dark Tower story will spell doom for the universe. Well, safe to say that Roland's group wins out (Stephen King survives a nasty accident while taking a walk, to complete the series) and Roland reaches the Dark Tower. He enters in, bypasses the traps within (each room in the winding tower reflects different portions of the life of the man who enters the Dark Tower and it is possible for him to relive any portions eternally) and reaches the topmost spire of the tower, only to re-emerge 'pursuing the man in black across the desert' with no knowledge of what has befallen, he loops back to the beginning.

It is alluded to that these repeitions can alter somewhat and that Roland has gained with each repetition. Saving the lives of his ka'tet and living a more ethical life through small evolutions of the choices they all make. King then has a special ending for anyone unsatisfied with the turning of the wheel of ka back to the beginning. We discover (if you turn the page) that his friends have been drawn into an alternative world and one passes through a portal to discover the other two in joy (and a happy ending).

So which character in Lost could be the Gunslinger?
well, its been a long day and the snow is falling fast, so it looks like I'll have a peaceful Saturday to ponder this question and choose among the three most likely of candidates, but are there just three candidates.
Til tomorrow, take it easy, it ain't all half-badd
mr badd

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