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The horn of Eld (Spoiler Alert)

Discussion in 'The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower' started by Jon Prior, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Jon Prior

    Jon Prior New Member

    I just finished reading the entire Dark Tower Series for the first time (minus The Wind Through the Keyhole) 3 nights ago. I can't stop thinking about the ending. I loved it! But I'm trying to make sense of it.

    There are a lot of posts I have seen online that talk about the ending. There are a hundred different theories from readers about what the ending means, which I believe is a great reason the ending is done so well. Questions that I pose here are: What is the significance of the Horn of Eld? Did Roland go back in time every time he starts the loop or does he start further in the future? Does he draw the same three every time? And what are the implications of the answers to these questions?

    Start with the question about whether or not Roland goes back in time or not. I believed that he did. I believed that when he came back to the desert chasing Walter, he was back at whatever time it was in the beginning of the first book. Some people don't believe that is true. But I have a question then. If he advanced in the future (or started with the present time he entered the tower), wouldn't Stephen King's life in this world already be over? Would Roland then draw a different three people?

    On the other hand, I can see why him going back to the past is also questionable. If he is only to draw the same three again, in their same when and where, then what's the point of Eddie, Susanna, and Jake living together at the end? If he starts all over again, then there is no point in including that part of it because they'll just be re-drawn and have no future together in the "other" New York.

    Remember that in The Wastelands, they come to River Crossing and the town folk talk about how there was a gunslinger who had come through about a hundred years ago. Was that Roland?

    I also want to know what your opinions are on the significance of the Horn of Eld. Does this mean it is Roland's last time he has to do this? Does he learn something new every time he does this loop until he finally gets everything right? Does he simply need the right pieces when he arrives at the tower?

    I'd love to hear your opinions on the horn, whether you think he goes back in time every time, whether he draws the same three, and whatever other thoughts you have about the ending! I eagerly await your responses.
  2. kingricefan

    kingricefan All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.

    Best ending ever! I am one of those who believe that King gave us the best ending. Why? Simple really. He left it up to us (you) to decide what Roland's fate will be. I believe that Roland starts at the same point as where the first book The Gunslinger starts. This time, tho, he has the Horn Of The Eld with him. This time things will be different. This time he might actually fulfill his quest. Remember, Ka is a wheel, which is a circle. Remember, also, that there are other Worlds than these. I think that King ended the series the way he did so that he, too, can go back and revisit (rewrite) the story. I don't feel that he is completely finished with Roland's tale. I think there will be more stories to come.....
  3. Walter Oobleck

    Walter Oobleck keeps coming back...or going, and going, and going

    I don't know. The only thing I know for certain is that each time I've read the story I recognize the path from the previous journey...the path is the same...my impression has changed. At no time while reading have I assumed that elsewhere another was also reading at the samepace as me. But he is somewhere in time for each reader. Roland is on the path for someone some where some time always and forever.
    doowopgirl, Cowboy, Neesy and 8 others like this.
  4. skimom2

    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

    I loved the ending, too (if you can count sitting there with a silly grin, then bursting into laughter, slamming the book shut at the end, and yelling, "That son of a b**ch" as love. I do. :D). My take on it is that Roland has to replay this game with Ka until he gets it right. Who knows how many times he's done it (GREAT pick up on the old lady's memory--I've never considered that as Roland, but who knows?), but each time is a chance to get it 'right'. This time, he's actually learned something and changed (and maybe he does it every time, but we only know about this one)--he picked up the horn. My hopeful heart is positive that this time Roland is right, and after going through his journey again (and who knows how it changes each time, this time because he has the horn, or if each journey takes place on another world), he will reach the top of the tower and be at peace.
    trisch, doowopgirl, Cowboy and 11 others like this.
  5. Tery

    Tery Dreaming in Middletown Moderator

    I really don't think it should have ended any other way. :)
    Louangel, doowopgirl, Cowboy and 5 others like this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...no other ending would have been honest...
  7. taylor29

    taylor29 Well-Known Member

    This is my take on the Horn of Eld.

    What the horn represents. It's just one of the many things Roland is going to have to get right before he actually completes his quest. Until he begins to break away from all that he thinks he knows, he will repeat the quest for eternity. The horn represents the old ways and days, his family, and in some ways, Roland's virtue and he left it on by the wayside. I think King is saying that the small choices we make matter. The decision to do one action (or avoidance of that action) can change the course of your life.

    That said, I was pissed off about that horn and still am. I can see it's relevance but not why it's put in Roland's hands in the desert. I wasn't invested in that horn. I can buy into the whole idea that history repeats itself when lessons aren't learned, but that horn had maybe 3 sentences in the whole series and there was never any actual mention of a deliberate decision to not get that horn. Why not make it another mistake, one that we could have made a real connection with...like not letting Jake fall to begin with or like letting the ka-tet in on some of the many things Roland kept so tightly to his chest?

    What's the horn really about? I could see the value in the horn as symbol and that it never seemed to matter until the end--but maybe that's the point? I thought the point was thatRoland should have valued the horn for what it represented, for all that was lost with the horn, and that he must choose to pick the horn up and bring it with him this go around. However, if the horn is a symbol and CHANGING history is the purpose, why then don't we even get to see Roland decide to pick up the horn when he's back in the desert. Is his choice to get the horn implied or is the horn being given to him? It's perplexing.

    If it's about choices, I think that Roland will have to go back and change a lot of things and there might be many more journeys to the Tower left.
    Louangel, doowopgirl, Cowboy and 3 others like this.
  8. taylor29

    taylor29 Well-Known Member

    Skimom2 - I think it's about choices and learning. As maddening the ending is in so many ways, I think there's hope for Roland yet. Maybe none of us find peace but we keep trying. Roland could lay down and die at any time, ka be damned, but he does choose to plod on.

    doowopgirl, Cowboy, Neesy and 2 others like this.
  9. kingricefan

    kingricefan All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.

    The Horn Of The Eld has alot more significance than what you are giving it. To me, it represented a piece of The White and with it in his possession Roland will have much more power over the evil that resides in his world/when. Not much was written about when Roland picked up a jaw bone in the first book but it certainly had alot of power when he had to use it.
    Steffen, doowopgirl, Cowboy and 3 others like this.
  10. taylor29

    taylor29 Well-Known Member

    I see your point. There are lots of references to "siguls" in the series. I hadn't thought of the horn as out what you're saying makes sense and might very well offer Roland strength against the dark forces threatening all whens and wheres. One thing that sticks out, though, is there a place at the end in which Roland indicates he always thought he'd have the horn when he approached the tower. The only reason he didn't have it is because he chose to leave it in the dirt at Jericho Hill. It seems such a dismissive reference to the horn that I did not read it as a sigul but rather a symbol.
    doowopgirl, Cowboy, GNTLGNT and 2 others like this.
  11. Jon Prior

    Jon Prior New Member

    These things gave me a lot to think about. That's what makes the ending of this series so great! King did such a good job letting us, the reader, decide Roland's fate. He does give us hope that Roland will end his journey on a positive note. I'm trying to decide how long to give it to read The Wind Through the Keyhole. I want this ending to sink in for a little while before I start it.

    I hope King eventually continues this series. He left the door open.
    doowopgirl, Cowboy, GNTLGNT and 3 others like this.
  12. taylor29

    taylor29 Well-Known Member

    You know, Jon Prior, the Wind Through the Keyhole helped to ease my grief over the end the series...I missed the characters and was happy to visit them on their journey again.
    Sal, doowopgirl, Cowboy and 3 others like this.
  13. RandallFlagg19

    RandallFlagg19 Well-Known Member

    I am tired after just finishing the “The Dark Tower” (I started reading it 5 days ago)
    I will need to think more on the horn of Jericho; but in response to the question if Roland draws the same three every time: I think he does in a way. Eddie, John Jake chambers, and Susannah, are in partial twims to Cuthbert Allgood, Allain Johns, and Susan Delgado.
    doowopgirl, Cowboy, Aija and 4 others like this.
  14. Andrew_James

    Andrew_James Member

    I don't think he draws the same three every time, but rather, perhaps a different version of the same 3. I think this because the 3 were chosen based on the tarrot cards that the man in black drew during Him and Roland's palaver on the western sea. I don't think he goes back in time either at the start of his quest. If I recall correctly, Roland had an understanding that he was 1,000 years old...and a constant feeling of deja vu. The world is constantly moving on and he is just re-inserted into it. I don't know how many of you guys are from California, but the CA desert is a perfect place for him to have to restart his quest (assuming that the Mohaine desert is another name for this where and when for the Mojave desert). In the middle of the desert things don't change much. Its pretty much how it looked 500 years ago. Like everybody else, we know he has done this journey many more times....but I don't think the journey is the same every time.

    I too did a lot of research on the ending and heard a lot of different interpretations. Anywhere from literal interpretations that the tower is the center of everything, to interpretations that said the tower is just a metaphor for Roland. I was also curious about the other beams and their path's and maybe even each beam's own version of Roland.
  15. taylor29

    taylor29 Well-Known Member

    One of the things I have to remember is that for the whole epic that's contained in the DT pages, it is just a tiny taste of the story of the Tower and the Beams and Gan. The scale kind of gets away from you when you start to think about all the potential versions. I really appreciate that SK really grounds Roland in whatever world he's in while we are looking in on him. Time is expansive but Roland...well, Roland doesn't have much imagination and if anybody is firmly planted in the world, it's him. That's a good place for us to see him, too.
  16. Danyael

    Danyael New Member

    I have two theories about the DT ending.

    1. Every time he gets to the tower he is sent back to the same "where" which is the town from the begining of the first novel. The exact same everytime.

    This seem unlikely. The horn of eld was lost to Roland well before the events of the novels. So, if he returns only as far back as the where and when from the begining, how can he suddenly have the horn? This question leads into my second theory.

    2. He is sent back in time to the town from the first novel, but, it is the town from a different level of the tower where Roland, after having his memories of the journey from the series erased, either replaces or merges with his twinner. If this is the case it would explain why he now has the horn; on this level of the tower he never lost it in the first place.

    As for why he is in this time loop, I think it is because he has let his obsession with the DT become the guiding force in his life and has lost much of his humanity in the process. I think he needs to learn how to go on his quest while maintaining his humanity and the DT will keep sending him back until he finally gets things right. That is why, I believe, the horn of eld is so important. It acts as a tangible reminder of who and what he is.
  17. staropeace

    staropeace Richard Bachman's love child

    Maybe the ending left him a loophole in case he is drawn to write some more Tower.
    doowopgirl, Cowboy, GNTLGNT and 4 others like this.
  18. Kingfisher

    Kingfisher Well-Known Member

    Am I the only one who feels cheated about the end of the Crimson King? Flagg? Two of the most penultimate baddies defeated in the two of the most ridiculous ways. I had the Eye of the Crimson King tattooed on my arm before his defeat and now I feel ridiculous because it feels like King just wanted to shoehorn him out as quickly as possible.
  19. taylor29

    taylor29 Well-Known Member

    Crimson King...yes, absolutely.

    I can suspend rational thought for good fiction, but death by erasure? Sigh. Not only that...He throws some grenades, which the gunslinger dodges, and that's pretty much what it comes down to. He's the cause of the gathering forces of evil, for the world moving on in many ways, and he's mitigated to a bit part in the end. Maybe SK just ran out of steam for that one?

    The Man in Black is less of a letdown. I sort of like that he was trivialized in the end and just sort of an experiment in what the Spider Boy could do to someone. I might feel differently, though, if I'd felt I had more history with Flagg (I have yet to read The Stand).
  20. Aloysius Nell

    Aloysius Nell Well-Known Member

    Where is Roland? Where/when is Mid-World, and why are there so many relics of our world and yet so many inconsistencies? Why can Flagg, and Walter, pass between the worlds? Roland can't, not really; when he goes through the doors to draw his Three, he is not fully there (and yet there's the gunfight at Balthazar's, almost forgot that one).

    So, this doesn't answer all, not by a long shot, but consider 11/22/63 for a moment. Jake re-routes history every time he goes back (that's how I think of it, anyway). There are infinite strands of time which could be followed from any point, diverging ever further from each other. This is not a concept original to Mr. King, of course. The salient concept seems to be that the further you are from a "decision point," the more different the histories may be. Thus, the thinny they pass through in W&G that takes them to "Topeka" must have been not that strong of a thinny; it sent them to a Topeka that looked mostly right to Eddie, other than the brands of items. Compare to the thinny in Eyebolt Canyon that basically sucked people to Lord knows where (or when). So they're clearly not all the same.

    Now I have to wonder what a thinny really is. They are treated as just another plot point by Roland; it's a part of his world and that's that. You deal with them and go on. Really, W&G is the only book where they figure prominently. But it tickles the imagination. It seems clear to me (although I've only read 11/22/63 once, when it came out) that Jake was using a thinny to change the JFK assassination. So then, it follows that every time Roland (or really, anybody) goes through one, alternate histories are created, or maybe accessed is a better term.

    Or, maybe it's 2AM and I'm kinda loopy.

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