What is The 'Dark Tower' In Stephen King's The Dark Tower?

Roland Wants to Save the Tower

Now we have a clear picture of why Roland thinks it's so important to keep the Dark Tower from falling down. Makes sense, right?

Roland Deschain of Gilead, played in the film by Idris Elba, is the last gunslinger. Roland's world is a post-apocalyptic land that fuses Western settings with those of medieval-style fantasy. Before the world "moved on," the gunslingers were an honorable order of knights, born of noble blood, and trained from early childhood. Now, all of them have died, but Roland remains. The gunslingers, and thus Roland, were raised by this mantra, which he speaks at the end of the trailer:

I do not aim with my hand. He who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my hand. He who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father. I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun. He who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father. I kill with my heart.

Why is the Man in Black Trying to Destroy the Dark Tower?

The Crimson King The Dark Tower

The character that Matthew McConaughey plays in The Dark Tower is Stephen King's single most popular villain, a demonic sorcerer and otherworldly being known as "the Man in Black." Just as the beams cross into every world, the Man in Black has appeared in countless different Stephen King books, wreaking havoc across numerous time lines, always with a different name. In The Stand, he called himself Randall Flagg, or "the walking dude." In Hearts in Atlantis, he is Raymond Fiegler. He's also been Walter O'Dim, Marten Broadcloak, the Covenant Man, and more.

But why does he want to destroy the Dark Tower? What could he possibly gain from such a thing?

Well, the Man in Black is actually the emissary of an even more powerful being who calls himself "The Crimson King," who in the trailer is hinted at in the red graffiti sprayed onto the wall. In the Dark Tower mythos, the Crimson King is the embodiment of all evil and chaos. The Crimson King believes that if the Tower is destroyed, the resulting chaos will allow him to remake the entire multiverse in his image.

Roland is Destined to Reach the Tower

Since the gunslingers all died and the world moved on, Roland has spent years — centuries, actually — pursuing the Dark Tower. This goal has consumed his life, his personality, his energy, and everything he ever loved. Though saving the Tower will certainly prevent the Crimson King from destroying reality, there's something more to Roland's quest as well: something that one might call obsession. In the books, one character repeatedly refers to Roland as a "Tower junkie," claiming that Roland's single-minded fixation on the Dark Tower is much like heroin addiction. And this obsession, though it may originate from a noble cause, has caused tragic consequences to befall those brave enough to stand by Roland's side.

There's a line that the Man in Black ominously states in the trailer: "Did you tell the kid that everyone who walks with you dies by my hand?" This statement isn't an empty threat. It's the reality. It's what happens to people who join the gunslinger. The friends who ally themselves with Roland are walking in the footprints of many, many skeletons.

Now, it must be said that reaching the Dark Tower is more than just a personal goal for Roland: it's his destiny. Or, as destiny and fate are referred to in the Dark Tower books, it's Ka. No one, not even Roland, knows what will actually happen when he reaches the Tower. No one understands what mysteries lie inside it, or if Gan is really at the top. And when Roland does finally make it there, after centuries of walking in the beam's shadow... there is no guarantee that the answers will be what he wants them to be.

NEXT: Is The Dark Tower Setting Up a Stephen King Shared Universe?

Key Release Dates
  • The Dark Tower (2017) release date: Aug 04, 2017
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