How the Movie (or an HBO series) could fix continuity issues, Better Ending

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New Member
Aug 4, 2017
This is a post that is comprised of some comments I made on youtube. I really liked the idea I had as how the movie (or, preferably, an HBO game of thrones style series) could reconcile and fix some of the problems with the book series.

The first part was in response to a question about what the continuity issues were. The second part was an idea of how this could be resolved that, IMHO, would be awesome and satisfy fans who were disappointed with the ending of the Saga in the books.


In "The Gunslinger", which was originally five short stories which were the beginning of the Dark Tower saga, in the fifth and final story, Roland finally catches up to the Man In Black, whose name is revealed to be Walter, and "holds palaver" with him. Walter then gives Roland a vision of the Dark Tower/The Rose in New York, after which Walter talks some more and then vanishes in a flash. Roland apparently goes into some kind of suspended slumber and wakes up several years later.

This is a very memorable scene, and we learn several things. For most of that book, we only had vague hints of who Roland was, what the Dark Tower was, who the Man In Black was, and what this was all about.

We learn a bit about the Fall Of Gilead.
The Gunslinger's kingdom was some of the last of civilization to fall. The Gunslingers were descended from Arthur of Eld (Of the camelot legend) ans were sworn to protect the Dark Tower. The guns were apparently made from an alloy that was part of the melted sword in the stone.

The "Good Man" John Farsin was leading a rebellion against the Gunslingers. Marten was some sort of wizard/adviser who had risen in the ranks, and it was hinted was having an affair with Roland's mother. A memory is described where Roland saw a waltz where Marten danced with his mother and everyone but the gunslingers clapped.

Marten of course, was a traitor, and was in fact in league with John Farson, and giving Gilead Bad advice.

There is a part where Walter says something like "but what's the question you really wanted to ask?"

Roland asks, or Walter says the question he wants to ask, is "Have I seen you before/Do I Know you from somewhere?"

Walter tells Roland that he has, that he was the person who helped Roland escape from the final battle (whose name I forget) where Gilead fell and the remaining Gunslingers, save Roland, were slaughtered.

Walter explains something about the hierarchy of those who serve the eye. He says Marten was the lowest on this hierarchy, that marten would not have survived the vision Walter gave to Roland. He says Walter is above Marten. Then there is someone called the "Ageless Stranger" who is the main servant of the Crimson King. The Crimson King is next, and above him, something Walter is afraid to mention, The Beast.

The comics, which weren't written by King but approved by him as Cannon, fill in some of the details of what is hinted in the books. Wind in the Keyhole does this as well.

The Beast is likely not so much a person, but the "god" of evil that exists on another plain of existence- the god of the prim, which is sort of a primordial chaos where the monsters come from, the thing that is trying to swallow the multiverse and wants to destroy the tower and the beams to do so.
So originally, Walter, Marten, The Ageless Stranger, the Crimson King, and the beast were all different people/entities.

Now, in Book 4, Wizard and Glass, which tells of an adventure from Roland's youth and the first vision which made him obsessed with the Tower, Walter plays a part in events there. Walter is sort of an ambiguous figure. He clearly serves the Eye, the symbol of the Crimson King, yet he seems like sort of a wildcard. It's implied he doesn't much care for Marten, and he seems to help Roland at times, during those events and later when he rescues him, for reasons that are never made clear. He says something like "My agenda and Marten's aren't necessarily the same."

However, at the end of that book, we meet Marten, and he is revealed to be Randall Flag/the Walking Dude(from the Stand)/The Ageless Stranger.

This contradicts what Walter told Roland in the first book, but we can say that perhaps Walter was lying for some reason, or Walter had been fooled, thinking Marten was less important then he was.

What's key here is, Roland CLEARLY recognizes Randall Flag as Marten.

Flash forward to the last three books. Somehow, Walter, Marten, Flagg, the Ageless Stranger are now the SAME PERSON. This doesn't make sense. While one could by Marten/Ageless Stranger as the same, having them all be the same person makes no sense, and is never even addressed. Walter/Marten were CLEARLY separate characters.

Sure, you could come up with some hoky "the lines of reality are blurring so now they're the same person" but this is never even addressed.

Instead, King went back and retconned (retroactive continuity) the first book to change Walter's speech. He also went back and made everybody speak in the New Englandy dialogue from Wolves of the Callah, despite the fact that in that book, this was clearly described as an odd local dialect that the ka-tet and Roland had never heard before.

King then realized that was stupid, and retconned the book a third time, and changed the accent backed but kept the altered Walter speech to preserve the continuity.

These changes outraged the fan base, so eventually they re-released the original version of the book.

So there are at least three different versions of "The Gunslinger" with significant differences. (I'm not sure, but when he compiled the original short stories into a book, I think he also made some changes, although I read the first book version, I heard that somewhere but I don't know for a fact.
Now, King wrote the last three books in a marathon after his car accident, as that really changed his perspective on life and he realized at the pace he had been writing them, he might not live to finish the epic. It's largely thought that during that period, King's writing took a dip, although he eventually got it back.

I feel it does show, especially in the last two books. It's not that there bad, they just feel a little rushed and don't quite live up to the promise of the first five. (I think the fifth one was something he was already working on and had the major outline for before the accident, so it fairs beter)

A big theme of the final book was deliberate anti-climax. All this stuff that had been built up was undermined. It was part of the whole "it's the journey. not the destination" and mirrored the idea that Roland's single minded obsession, the thing that made him so strong, was also his undoing, a common theme in Greek Tragey. He loses all his friends, and though he saves reality and defeats the Crimson King, the Tower just shows him memories of his life. It points to the events of the Gunslinger when Roland when too far, became too dark to "truly" enter the tower- that his whole life had been leading up to this moment, and he had been so focused on it, he let his everyone and anything important to him be lost, till finally he gets to the top floor, and for a horrible moment, realizes he's been there countless times before, an he's doomed to repeat this forever. (I think this was always the planned ending, as it would make too much sense for Roland to actually be the "Ageless Stranger"- in some way also a servant of the Beast, who can never be killed as he's a part of reality. The struggle transcends reality, and Roland never truly wins, he just keeps the forces of evil at bay.) There is a note of hope at the end, as Roland has the horn of Eld this time, something he left at the final battle of gilead before. This connects to the original poem the sage was inspired by, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came", where Roland travels through all kinds of damned landscapes to reach the Dark Tower, and when he gets there, blows a Horn for the memory of his fallen comrades who didn't make it, implying this somehow frees their souls from their failure.

The end note suggests that there's something Roland needs to do to be able to get the "Real ending" and it somehow involves going down a different path with better outcomes for the people in his life. Since the re-entry point is the beginning of the first book, it would seem too late to save Cuthbert, Alain, and the adult gunslingers.. but maybe not.

With that in mind, let's get to the problems of Book seven as far as continuity....

So although we understand we're dealing with deliberate anti-climax, there's a few things that wind up becoming contradictions. Thunderclap is originally described as place the Ka-Tet will have to travel through to reach the Tower. It is implied this is where the Prim has most broken through the boundary of Worlds. It's described very much like "The mist", a place filled with literal Mist and unspeakable monsters. It's also implied that it is the home of the monster from It, and there are other of it's kind. Also supposed to be the homeplace of the Low Men. (From Hearts in Atlantis and others) The "Deadlights" which are referenced in IT, and elsewhere, are supposed to some horrible endpoint where the monsters and all the evil in the KIngverse originates from, possibly equivalent to The Beast.

Instead, Thunderclap is a post-nuclear desert, a place that hasn't regrown from the nuclear war that destroyed or poisoned large parts of midworld, when the ancient (or future, from our perspective) civilization that "built the beams" (what?) and their robotic guardians (or the manifestations of those guardians, who are implied to be cosmic entities on par with the Beast) again.. what?...

By the way, though I'm not as familiar with the comics, I'm not sure that part was ever explained... there is a corporation that exists in the other worlds researching advanced tech, which is implied to serve the eye, which supposedly built much of the tech in midworld and somehow (I think "accidentally on purpose") destroyed much of Midworld in a nuclear holocaust... although did Arthur and Maerlyn come after that? I guess it's an alternate dimension where realities are bleeding through but whatever......

Anyway, thunderclap instead of the hell dimension promised is a desert where mutants live, and there's a city guarded by low men (fairly small scale given the interdimensional reach of these forces) where people with psychic abilities from all the realities (such as characters from Hearts in atlantis and Everything;s Eventual, presumably where Danny from the Shining would have wound up,others) are forced to use their powers to break the beams, which is what will lead to the dark tower falling and what is making the "world move on" and the dimensions collapse into each other.

Yeah, prett anti-climatic. Also, it's sort of weird that the beams that hold up reality were built by a corporation that serves the crimson king, and that they were built AFTER The dark tower, but whatever.

Of course, you could explain it by saying, since Roland didn't get the "real ending" this time, this version of reality wasn't the one that had the real crimson king and the real thunderclap, and the anti-climax stuff was a result of crossing into and Endworld that wasn't the final Endworld.... That would actually work if they wanted to make a series that changed some things... and supposedly this movie is the version where Roland has the horn, although it doesn't look very good. Hopefully that could just be a case where the trailor is misleading and isn't doing a good job of representing the story.

Here's an idea I like:

Originally, it was clear that Walter and Flagg were two separate characters (Marten was as well, but that's more forgivable)

What if the anti-climatic stuff in Book 7 came because when Roland and the Ka Tet crossed into Endworld, it wasn't the REAL Endworld, since Roland had ****ed up and wasn't getting the "real ending" but a pale shadow of that created by Roland's mind.

Walter was originally an ambiguous character, who served the king but was at odds with Marten and at times helped Roland.

What if this was because.....

Walter was always the REAL Crimson King, and ROland was the ageless stranger, and the Vision he sent Roland at the end of"The Gunslinger" was a way to trick him into going down the wrong path so that he would arrive at a lesser version of Endworld created from Roland's mind so he would never be able to stop the Real King. This would make so much in the saga make more sense.
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