Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance

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9780743297349: Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance

The complete concordance for Stephen King's bestselling epic Dark Tower series—soon to be a major film.

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 Dialects

Mid-World Rhymes, Songs, and Prayers

Political and Cultural References

References to Stephen King's Other Work

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About the Author:

Robin Furth was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended the University of Pennsylvania. While enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the University of Maine, she was introduced to Stephen King, who needed a research assistant. Her work with King as he completed the Dark Tower series produced the Dark Tower Concordance. Furth has since written the story lines for Marvel’s bestselling comic book spin-off series The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born. She divides her time among Maine, the south of England, and Mid-World.

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Sleeping Beauties (co-written with his son Owen King), End of Watch, the short story collection The Bazaar of Bad DreamsFinders KeepersMr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and now an AT&T Audience Network original television series), Doctor Sleep, and Under the Dome. His novel 11/22/63—a recent Hulu original television series event—was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures. He is the recipient of the 2014 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

FOREWORD

BY STEPHEN KING

The tale of Roland of Gilead’s search for the Dark Tower is a single tale, picaresque in nature (think Huckleberry Finn with monsters, and characters who raft along the Path of the Beam instead of the Mississippi), spanning seven volumes, involving dozens of plot twists and hundreds of characters. It’s hard to tell how much time passes “inside the story,” because in Roland Deschain’s where and when, both time and direction have become plastic.1 Outside the story—in what we laughingly call “the real world”—thirty-two years passed between the first sentence and the last one.

How long were the lapses between the individual books that make up the entire story? In truth, Constant Reader, I do not know. I think the longest lapse might have been six years (between The Waste Lands and Wizard and Glass). It is a miracle the story was ever finished at all, but perhaps an even greater one that a second volume ever followed the first, which was originally published in a tiny edition by Donald M. Grant, Publishers.2 The manuscript of that first volume, wet and barely readable, was rescued from a mildewy cellar. The first forty handwritten pages of a second volume (titled, as I remember, Roland Draws Three) were missing. God knows where they wound up.

Will I tell you what happens to a story when it lies fallow over such long periods of time? Will you hear? Then close your eyes and imagine a vast department store, all on one level, lit by great racks of overhead fluorescent lights. You see every kind of item under those lights—underwear and automotive parts, TVs and DVDs, shoes and stationery and bikes for the kiddies, blue jeans and mattresses (Oh look, Herbie, they’re on sale, 40% off!), cosmetics and air rifles, party dresses and picnic gear.

Now imagine the lights failing, one by one. The huge space grows darker; the goods so temptingly arrayed grow dimmer and harder to see. Finally you can hardly see your hand in front of your face.

That was the kind of room I came to when it was finally time to write The Drawing of the Three, except then the store wasn’t so big—the first volume was less than three hundred pages long, so it was actually more of a mom n pop operation, do ya not see it. I was able to light it again simply by reading over the first volume and having a few ideas (I also resurrected a few old ones; I hadn’t entirely forgotten what was in those handwritten pages, or the purpose of the tale).

Coming back to write the third volume (The Waste Lands) in the mid-eighties was harder, because the store was once again almost completely dark, and now it was much bigger. Once again I began by reading over what I’d written, taking copious notes, and filling paperback copies of the first two books with yellow highlighted passages and pink Post-it notes.

Another four years passed . . . or perhaps this time it was six. The store had once again grown dark, and by the time I was ready to write Wizard and Glass, it was bigger than ever. This time I wanted to add a whole new annex (call it Roland’s Past instead of the Bridal Shoppe). Once again out came the books—three of them, this time—the yellow highlighter, and the packets of Post-it notes.

When I sat down to complete Roland’s story in the year 2001, I knew that just rereading and writing myself Post-it notes wouldn’t be enough. By now the store that was my story seemed to cover whole acres; had become a Wal-Mart of the imagination. And, were I to write three more volumes, I’d be adding dozens of characters (I actually ended up adding more than fifty), a whole new dialect (based on the pidgin English used by the natives of West Africa and first encountered by me in Richard Dooling’s extraordinary White Man’s Grave), and a backstory that would—I hoped—finally make Roland’s wandering present clear to the patient reader.

This time, instead of reading, I listened to Frank Muller’s extraordinary audio recordings of the first four Dark Tower stories. Unabridged audio forces the reader to slow down and listen to every word, whether he or she wants to or not. It also lends a new perspective, that of the reader and the audio director. But I knew even that would not be enough. I needed some sort of exhaustive written summary of everything that had gone before, a Dark Tower concordance that would be easy to search when I needed to find a reference in a hurry. In terms of the store metaphor, I needed someone to replace all the fluorescents, and inventory all the goods on offer, and then hand me a clipboard with everything noted down.

Enter Robin Furth. She came to me courtesy of my old friend and teacher at the University of Maine, Burton Hatlen. Burt is a wonderful scholar of poetry and popular fiction. He has written about Roland for several scholarly journals, and was sympathetic to what I was up to with the books (indeed, he seemed to understand what I was up to better than I did myself). So I gave him my list of requirements with some confidence (some hope, at least) that he would find the right person.

Someone who was bright and imaginative.

Someone who had read a good deal of fantasy (although not necessarily the Tower books themselves), and was therefore familiar with its rather unique language and thematic concerns.

Someone who could write with clarity and verve.

Someone who was willing to work hard and answer arcane and often bizarre questions (Who was the mayor of New York in 1967? Do worms have teeth?) on short notice.

He found Robin Furth, and my wandering gunslinger had found his Boswell. The concordance you hold in your hands—and which will surely delight you as it has delighted me—was never written to be published. As a writer I like to fly by the seat of my pants, working without an outline and usually without notes. When I have to slow down to look for something—a name in Volume III, say, or a sequence of events way back in Volume I—I can almost feel the story growing cold, the edge of my enthusiasm growing blunt and flecking out with little blooms of rust. The idea of the concordance was to limit these aggravating pauses by putting Roland’s world at my fingertips—not just names and places, but slang terms, dialects, relationships, even whole chronologies.

Robin provided exactly what I needed, and more. One day I walked into my office to discover her down on her knees, carefully sticking photographs to a huge piece of poster paper. It was, she explained, a “walking tour” of Second Avenue in New York, covering the avenue itself and all the cross streets from Fortieth to Sixty-sixth. There was the U.N. Plaza Hotel (which has changed its name twice since I started writing Roland’s story); there was Hammarskjöld Plaza (which did not even exist back in 1970); there was the spot where Tom and Jerry’s Artistic Deli (“Party Platters Our Specialty”) once stood. That poster eventually went up on the wall of my writing room in Florida, and was of invaluable help in writing Song of Susannah (The Dark Tower VI). In addition to the “walking tour” itself, Robin had patiently winkled out the history of the key two blocks, including the real shops and buildings I’d replaced with such fictional bits of real estate as Chew Chew Mama’s and The Manhattan Restaurant of the Mind. And it was Robin who discovered that, across the street from 2 Hammarskjöld Plaza, there really is a little pocket park (it’s called a “peace garden”) that does indeed contain a bronze turtle sculpture. Talk about life imitating art!

As I say, her concordance was never meant to be published; it was created solely as a writer’s tool. But, even with most of my mind preoccupied by the writing of my tale, I was aware of how good it was, how interesting and readable it was. I also became aware, as time passed and the actual publication of the final three volumes grew closer, of how valuable it might be to the Constant Reader who’d read the first three or four volumes of the series, but some years ago.

In any case, it was Robin Furth who inventoried the goods I had on sale, and replaced all the dim overhead lights so I could see everything clearly and find my way from Housewares to Appliances without getting lost . . . or from Gilead to Calla Bryn Sturgis, if you prefer. That in no way makes her responsible for my errors—of which I’m sure there are many—but it is important that she receive credit for all the good work she has done on my behalf. I found this overview of In-World, Mid-World, and End-World both entertaining and invaluable.

So, I am convinced, will you.

January 26, 2003|INTRODUCTION PART TWO
VOLUMES V–VII
FOUR CHARACTERS (AND A BUMBLER) IN SEARCH OF AN AUTHOR: OR, A FEW REFLECTIONS ON THE SIMILARITIES BETWEEN FICTION AND REALITY


Spoiler’s Warning: This Concordance keeps no secrets. Read it only after you have finished all seven of the Dark Tower books.

For those of us who have traveled with Roland Deschain from the wastes of the Mohaine Desert to the Castle of the Crimson King and then beyond, to the farthest reaches of End-World, the journey has been a long one, say thankya. For many Constant Readers, it has taken more than twenty years; for sai King, the travels have spanned more than thirty. And for Roland, who is able to leap over whole generations in pursuit of his quarry and his quest, the pilgrimage has lasted more than three hundred.8 Yet as Eddie Dean points out at the beginning of Wolves of the Calla, time is elastic. Despite what we’ve been told about the accuracy of clocks, no two sixty-second periods are ever identical. Although a minute may move like dried mud while we’re waiting or when we’re bored, it speeds to the point of invisibility when we’re in the throes of change. And what is a novel but a tale of transformation and discovery?

Over the course of the Dark Tower series, we witness tremendous transformation, both in our characters’ natures and in the parameters of their quest. What began, in The Gunslinger, as the story of one man’s obsessive pursuit of a goal becomes, in the final three books of our story, a tale of personal, and universal, redemption. By the time we reach the final page of our saga, we have witnessed so much. Roland, once a lone traveler willing to sacrifice anything and anyone to the achievement of his end, has drawn three companions to him9 and has trained them to be gunslingers. With his new tet-mates, Roland discovers the Bear-Turtle Beam and follows it to the haunted regions of End-World, where the Dark Tower sits. Along the Path of the Beam, the bonds of khef, which unite his new ka-tet, are tested and proved strong. And Roland, always an emotionally reticent man, rediscovers his ability to trust and to love. With this newfound knowledge, he can finally admit, and repent, all of his previous betrayals.

In many ways, the Dark Tower series falls into two parts: the adventures that Roland and his companions have in Mid-World (all of which were written before Stephen King’s accident in 1999) and those that take place in the borderlands and End-World, which were penned after our author began to recover from the accident that almost claimed his life. The adventures our ka-mates have in both halves of their tale are dramatic, but the nature of the changes they undergo as a result are quite different. In the first four Tower books, the transformations our tet experiences are, in large part, personal. As well as bonding as a group, united in their vision of one day reaching the Dark Tower, each member has to battle his or her own demons. Eddie overcomes heroin addiction. Susannah’s dual personalities of Detta and Odetta merge into a unified whole. Jake abandons his lonely life in New York to join his adopted father’s quest, and Roland, who up until this point has been a self-obsessed loner, learns to value his tet as highly as he values his search for the linchpin of existence.10 Yet if the first four Dark Tower books are about the khef11 that binds self to ka-tet, in the final three novels, the responsibilities of khef ripple outward, encompassing not just the debt the individual owes to his tet-mates but the responsibilities each of us has to the greater world—or, in the case of the Dark Tower series, to the multiple worlds.

In the final three books of the Dark Tower series, Roland and his friends extend the scope of their quest. While keeping their ultimate goal in mind, they set out to accomplish a number of specific tasks that, when taken together, simultaneously halt the erosion of the Beams, frustrate the apocalyptic plans of the Crimson King, and work for the common good. First, in Wolves of the Calla, they destroy the robotic, green-cloaked horsemen who have been stealing children from Mid-World’s borderlands for more than six generations.12 By so doing, they not only liberate the people of the Callas but undermine the efficiency of the Breakers—those prisoners of the Crimson King who have been forced to erode the Beams with the equivalent of psychic battery acid. Second, in Song of Susannah, Jake and Callahan manage to put Black Thirteen, the most evil of Maerlyn’s magic balls, out of commission. And third, with the help of John Cullum (their Stoneham, Maine, dan-tete), Roland and Eddie begin to lay plans for the Tet Corporation, a company created to undermine the powers of the evil Sombra Corporation and to protect both the wild Rose, found in New York City’s Vacant Lot, and our kas-ka Gan, Stephen King, creator of our tale.13

By accomplishing these tasks, our tet remains true to the Way of Eld, which demands that gunslingers protect the weak and vulnerable from those who would oppress or exploit them. Yet in defending the White against the ever-encroaching tide of the Outer Dark, our tet (like our author) comes under the shadow of ka-shume, the shadow of death.14 In The Dark Tower, Roland and his friends destroy the Devar-Toi, or Breaker prison, and free the Breakers.15 They halt the erosion of the Beams (which we are assured will regenerate), but Eddie Dean pays for this victory with his life. Not long after, when Roland and Jake travel to the year 1999 so that they can save their maker, Stephen King, from his predetermined collision with a Dodge minivan, Jake Chambers heaves his last breath. It seems that ka demands a life for a life, and though Stephen King survives his terrible accident, Jake does not.

And it is here, on Slab City Hill in Lovell, Maine, by the prostrate and profoundly injured body of our kas-ka Gan, and by the side of our gunslinger Roland, who grieves over the corpse of his adopted son, that I would like to pause. It is not a comfortable place to be—either for sai King, who lies bleeding in a ditch, or for us, who are unable to help—but it is an important place. Like Detta Walker’s Drawers, this little patch of road in the year 1999 (when the ka of our world and the ka of Roland’s world are united) is a place of power. It is a doorway between the rational and irrational worlds, a place where the veil is at its thinnest. And it is in this place where life and death meet that Roland accomplishes something worth discussing. By sacrificing what he loves above all else in order to save the life of the man who created his universe—a man who must live if the story of the Dark Tower is to exist in any world—Roland does what we assume is impossible. He stops the wheel of ka and alters its path.

Throughout the fina...

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