Nineteen Times?? Or just Rambling me? *Spoilers*

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Sep 28, 2014
19
84
33
New Zealand
#1
Unless im missing something obvious (and yup i know how much SK likes the number 19) but I like to think its the 19th time Rolands been on his journey - hence the significance of the number. Maybe that would also explain one more reason the Ka-tet were all so mentally connected - coz theyd been through it all several times before? A version of something similar to the residue that Jake's strings of reality left in 11/22/63 - he can change them but theres always residue, which would leave a kind of 'telepathy'?
Perhaps on another level of the tower if SK wrote this series it would be Rolands 20th go round and the number 20 would be the significant one throughout?
I have only read the series once though... its possible I've missed a vital explanation.... wouldnt be the first time hah!;;D
Just my rambling thoughts Id love to hear what everyone else thinks?
 
#12
Perhaps. The problem with some of the theorizing is that certain rules are put in place dealing with the touchstone world, i.e. that time only flows in one direction there. There is no reason whatsoever, in my opinion at least, to assume that Eddie, Jake, or Ms. Holmes have ever traveled with Roland previously. It is my own personal theory that Roland draws different people into his adventures each time and fights different monsters and deals with different problems on his journey. Whatever force, the Dark Tower itself if you like, that controls his destiny is picking his companions. They do not, at least not in my reading, suffer from the cycle starting over and over again. Roland alone appears to be punished or blessed (depending upon how you look at it) this way. The Dark Tower remains at the center of things, but I don't think Roland is simply replaying the same journey over and over again. I think each turn of the wheel is different.
 

GuesssWho

Active Member
Feb 11, 2013
30
68
Gone Todash
#13
Which means, with any luck, that there were times that Tremas Became, Mordred was allowed into the circle of firelight, and Lamla o' Galee didn't fall down dead. Pimli Prentiss died clean, there was never a car accident or a rusty nail, there was no door in End-World and perhaps there was, eventually, an answer at the top of yon dark Tower.
 
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Pucker

We all have it coming, kid
May 9, 2010
2,906
6,209
56
#15
The Dark Tower remains at the center of things, but I don't think Roland is simply replaying the same journey over and over again. I think each turn of the wheel is different.
I'm more inclined to believe that each turn of the wheel could be different, but might not be. My recollection of Roland's last reaction is that he recognizes what is happening (indeed, has been happening over and over again) only as it is just a moment too late. This might indicate that he knows in that singular "out-of-time" moment in the doorway exactly what comes next, or it might not. I've only read the thrilling conclusion (the last two volumes) once, and I would have to look at it again to be sure, but what I believe -- based on what I remember -- is that Roland may be able to retain certain knowledge from his journeys, but he does not retain the knowledge that he's trapped . . . and hence is having trouble learning how to free himself from his obsession.
 
#16
I'm more inclined to believe that each turn of the wheel could be different, but might not be. My recollection of Roland's last reaction is that he recognizes what is happening (indeed, has been happening over and over again) only as it is just a moment too late. This might indicate that he knows in that singular "out-of-time" moment in the doorway exactly what comes next, or it might not. I've only read the thrilling conclusion (the last two volumes) once, and I would have to look at it again to be sure, but what I believe -- based on what I remember -- is that Roland may be able to retain certain knowledge from his journeys, but he does not retain the knowledge that he's trapped . . . and hence is having trouble learning how to free himself from his obsession.
Roland's realization isn't that he must do it all over again, but rather that the quest isn't over for him. His memories fade out of kindness, not as part of the punishment. The show must go on. It will not be Jake he finds at the way station this time. It will not be Eddie Dean that he pulls and through and whose soul by the quest saves. More to the point, it isn't Roland's obsession that is trapping him, at least not exactly. Consider where Roland restarts. It isn't in his wild youth. There were many mistakes there too (but of a different kind). His obsession began long before he followed the man in black across the desert. Roland is a being who has done many things which have caused himself and others pain. Why the desert? Why is it exactly at that point where he returns?

I would point out that the the many painful mistake and experiences that Roland endures prior to the desert do not repeat because he was still "standing and was true" while engaging in them. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. Sometimes the good guys still suffer when they do the right things. In fact, doing the right thing leads to more suffering than not. The reason Roland doesn't restart begin his journey the Tower all over again from Jericho Hill or by the clean sea (or any point of your choosing prior) is because it is with Jake under the mountain where he did NOT stand and be true. It is there that he let his obsession take precedence over the will of the white. Prior to that (at least in what we can see) Roland does many dark and painful things, but he did them all by the code and with intentions that were pure. I would argue that saving the Tower and redemption did allow Roland to take a step toward ending his quest (however that will fall out), but that he was doomed to go around the wheel again the moment he chose to let Jake fall. Roland knew it himself, just as King knew it too.

We must glean from this (and what the Man in Black says) that Roland has continued his quest on the wheel of Ka many times. What we don't know is if he always restarts in the desert. Think of it as a Ground Hog Day (the film), like experience. Perhaps Roland is always going to restart his next turn of the wheel just before the point where he failed. With this dreadful knowledge, we can speculate that Roland's previous turns of the wheel likely involved many other people who were chosen by the Tower, dealt if you will. I expect that each time in the past, when Roland failed to stand and be true but still reached the Tower the wheel turned over, and a new set of people would be drawn into his life. It would not be the same people because their needs have already been met. Do you see where I'm going with this? It would also not be the same story because time in the keystone world only moves in one direction. That part of the Roland's tale, where the Tower is saved in the keystone world, is set and immutable. What will he save next time? That is the big question I suppose, but it would be something different, just as I expect his companions will be different too.

We must also accept that we may never know the answer to these questions. While I suspect King will live a long, long life and be writing books until the day he suddenly wakes up in the clearing at the end of the path regretting he didn't get to finish just "one more"... he might choose to not answer these questions. Roland's quest is an end in and of itself. We take solace from the fact he is out there and that he might one day know peace, but we know that the Tower and all the levels of reality it upholds needs Knights, or Gunslingers if you prefer, to sustain it and thus us.
 
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Likes: Dana Jean

Aloysius Nell

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2014
306
995
46
#17
It is there that he let his obsession take precedence over the will of the white. Prior to that (at least in what we can see) Roland does many dark and painful things, but he did them all by the code and with intentions that were pure. I would argue that saving the Tower and redemption did allow Roland to take a step toward ending his quest (however that will fall out), but that he was doomed to go around the wheel again the moment he chose to let Jake fall. Roland knew it himself, just as King knew it too.

We must glean from this (and what the Man in Black says) that Roland has continued his quest on the wheel of Ka many times. What we don't know is if he always restarts in the desert.
Three things:
1. (First 2 sentences) How do you see Roland's choosing the Tower over Jake to be any different than choosing the Tower over Susan? Morally speaking, I mean.

2. (Third sentence) Whoa, whoa, whoa! A step toward ending the quest? OK. Redemption? Perhaps. But I don't think you can just throw out there that he SAVED THE TOWER. I didn't get that at ALL. I completely saw it as a failure to do so. The great tragedy, in fact, was that however he might have acted to correct the problems of the Tower, his obsession caused him to rush through and be drawn back before he can complete the job. The redemption you mentioned, I think, is completely in the next iteration, which is revealed by the presence of the Horn.

3. Why do you say Roland knew he was doomed to go around again? Or do you mean at the very end, he realized it only too late? I understood you to be saying when Jake fell, Roland knew about the loop. That makes little sense with the following 1.5 million words; I bet you meant the former!
 
#18
Three things:
1. (First 2 sentences) How do you see Roland's choosing the Tower over Jake to be any different than choosing the Tower over Susan? Morally speaking, I mean.
They are entirely different. Roland didn't take a deliberate step to sacrifice Susan. He had, in fact, taken steps to put her out of harms way while he and his fellow Gunslingers went to fight. He did not know that she would be taken anymore than he knew she would be burned alive if she were taken. Jake, by contrast, is a sacrifice that the Gunslinger senses is coming and even contemplates. He knows the right of it and chooses with knowledge of what is to come (and does come to pass) a route which violates the very code which he was raised to fight for. He deviated from the will of the White. More to the point, there are two realities which come to pass later (the warring memories) which prove the sacrifice of Jake was not required. In one set of memories there is no boy and yet he STILL catches the Man in Black and draws Eddie and Odetta/Detta. There is another memory where there is the boy. I trust you see my point. Roland made a calculated, dishonorable choice to sacrifice Jake to achieve his ends. Susan he failed because hindsight is 20/20 not out of intention.

2. (Third sentence) Whoa, whoa, whoa! A step toward ending the quest? OK. Redemption? Perhaps. But I don't think you can just throw out there that he SAVED THE TOWER. I didn't get that at ALL. I completely saw it as a failure to do so. The great tragedy, in fact, was that however he might have acted to correct the problems of the Tower, his obsession caused him to rush through and be drawn back before he can complete the job. The redemption you mentioned, I think, is completely in the next iteration, which is revealed by the presence of the Horn.
We will have to agree to disagree. This trip around the wheel of Ka he did prevent the Tower from falling. Who knows what he did the previous trip. Only time will tell what his next great quest will be. While Roland is very important, his personal redemption is not the Tower's salvation. The Breakers, without his intervention (and that of his companions) would have eventually (sooner than later) taken out beams until the Tower fell. The only real "job" Roland has to do is his own redemption. Ultimately the Tower stands or fall by the will of Ka, and the chamber at the top of the Tower is not empty. Would it truly have fallen had Roland and his Katet failed? There will be water if God wills it.

3. Why do you say Roland knew he was doomed to go around again? Or do you mean at the very end, he realized it only too late? I understood you to be saying when Jake fell, Roland knew about the loop. That makes little sense with the following 1.5 million words; I bet you meant the former!
Roland knew. Return to the start of the second book. Think about Roland's dream prior to his rude awakening by the sea. He knew he had strayed from the will of the White. He knew he had done something horrific and it was finally fully sinking in. Right in the dream he thought it was better to drown as Jake (whom he was in the dream) than live as the man he had become. He welcomed death in that lucid state before he woke and his pragmatic nature and immediate danger and obstacle put him back on focus. When we look at Roland's actions in regards to Jake, first he violates the code he was raised to believe (although he contemplates it beforehand and knows it is wrong), then he agonizes over it because he senses that was the turning point. Do you want proof? Why is it with Jake (and only Jake) that Roland doesn't hesitate to put his entire quest in danger for when he prevents Jake from getting run over as he knows it should be. With (and for) Jake he takes several actions that he would not for the rest of the Katet. Does Roland remember? No. Does Roland know? Yes. On some fundamental level he knows. One could speculate (and I will here) that we pick up with Roland right where the saga began in the sand and moving towards the the place he met Jake. Perhaps he always starts there, but it could also be that where Roland returns to the wheel from the Tower because that is shortly before he went wrong. Food for thought. Throughout the books there are small bits that seem to indicate that Roland sometimes senses the cyclical nature of his existence.
 

Aloysius Nell

Well-Known Member
Apr 1, 2014
306
995
46
#19
They are entirely different. Roland didn't take a deliberate step to sacrifice Susan. He had, in fact, taken steps to put her out of harms way while he and his fellow Gunslingers went to fight. He did not know that she would be taken anymore than he knew she would be burned alive if she were taken. Jake, by contrast, is a sacrifice that the Gunslinger senses is coming and even contemplates. He knows the right of it and chooses with knowledge of what is to come (and does come to pass) a route which violates the very code which he was raised to fight for. He deviated from the will of the White. More to the point, there are two realities which come to pass later (the warring memories) which prove the sacrifice of Jake was not required. In one set of memories there is no boy and yet he STILL catches the Man in Black and draws Eddie and Odetta/Detta. There is another memory where there is the boy. I trust you see my point. Roland made a calculated, dishonorable choice to sacrifice Jake to achieve his ends. Susan he failed because hindsight is 20/20 not out of intention.


.
Points taken, except for this one. Toward the end of W&G, Roland relates to Alain and Cuthbert what he saw in the glass. He was given a choice: life with Susan, or the Tower. He chose the tower. You can say, as he did, that he wasn't sacrificing her life, but I don't buy that. She would have been turned out of that society for breaking her oath to Thorin, at the VERY least. Being put to death would be a distinct possibility. When he said she could live a nice life with someone else, he was blowing smoke up his own butt as well as theirs. Just my opinion.
 
#20
Points taken, except for this one. Toward the end of W&G, Roland relates to Alain and Cuthbert what he saw in the glass. He was given a choice: life with Susan, or the Tower. He chose the tower. You can say, as he did, that he wasn't sacrificing her life, but I don't buy that. She would have been turned out of that society for breaking her oath to Thorin, at the VERY least. Being put to death would be a distinct possibility. When he said she could live a nice life with someone else, he was blowing smoke up his own butt as well as theirs. Just my opinion.
The Ball did not make it a choice between her life and the Tower. It made it a choice of a life with her versus without. Roland did not know she would die. He had every reason to believe he had put her out of harms way. He knew Jake was going to die. I think it is a mistake to conflate the two as if they are the same ethical choice.
 
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