Stephen's self-character is a fascinating part of the story, clarifying and consolidating the DT's peculiar metaphysics of parallel universes. Still, I propose that the Stephen King character in the book is also there to misguide readers, so we can't see the author's real representation in the entire series. (Spoiler alert...) Spoiler Here's my theory: Stephen's true alter ego is actually the Crimson King. And it's not just because the "King" in both names, though this is also part of the disguise—"hiding in plain sight"—it's a common name, and kings common beings in fantasy, nothing to see there right? First off, the Crimson King is the most elusive character of the whole series. He's mentioned early and often, but never appears anywhere, until the very end of the final book. Still, the CK is the great creative energy of the whole story: since the beginning of the first book, it's by his initiative (or his many minions') that the world had moved on, Gilead was destroyed, the Tower will fall etc. Every important event of the plot has the CK's machinations behind it: he is the real protagonist of all the Dark Tower's timeline; our "heroes" just his antagonists, trying to stop him. The final fight between Roland and the CK is very enlightening. We have the confirmation that the CK is a madman: how else you would describe the author of all this craziness? And his power over that universe is almost God-like, but still limited when it comes to what he really wants, like destroying the beans, taking the Tower, or defeating Roland. His attempts to kill Roland with a bunch of sneetches is really pathetic, and this is on purpose, it's not that Stephen King wouldn't be able to create a more convincing showdown. Sneetches are toys, adapted from Harry Potter's books (where they are not even weapons); just a big hoax. And he needs Roland's gun to open the Tower because that gun represents the Tower's fictional universe, which his author can mess with as much as he wants, but he cannot really "enter"; it's a metaphor for the frustration of any fictionist, who creates a world only his creatures can fully experience... Then the CK is defeated by another Artist, who simply erases him off the universe. This closes a full circle in the maze of parallel universes, where some of them are manipulated by a creative mind from another. Notice also that Patrick, the artist, is another miserable, tortured soul whose single grace is his art; basically an idiot-savant, another exaggerated satire of the Writer himself. Which role the CK plays in the Tower's universe? Not his declared, superficial goals of domination. His real role is to make everybody's lives miserable. The Crimson King is the ultimate cause of all suffering from all other characters... to focus on Roland alone, every loss he suffers, every pain he feels, and every terrible sacrifice he forces himself to make—who is behind this lifetime of torture? The Crimson King is causing most of it. But the deep answer is, the story's author, Stephen King, is the true cause of all of it. And the suffering is not less real just because his characters are fictional. His invented universes have some kind of reality, even if its only the emotional reality shared by millions of readers who believe it... the Writer is the great villain. And the torture never ends. In the final ending, the Tower sends Roland is back in time, forced to live everything again. The Tower once again, represents the book; it even contains a "table of contents" of Roland's whole life. Roland will take the same beating from his unforgiving Ka, for every reader who picks a new copy of the Dark Tower... notice that Roland goes back to the point where the first book started, not to the very beginning of his life (it would seem more logical to start again from the day of his birth). The Author is kind enough to give him some hope that next time may be different, but it's false hope (maybe just a favor to his readers, so we don't get too depressed with Roland's horrible fate). Or maybe it's the faint hope that these books will not survive forever; some day in a really distant future, the last reader will close the last copy of The Dark Tower, Stephen King will be a long-forgotten artist, the wheel of Ka will stop spinning and Roland Deschains and his troupe will finally rest in peace.