Multiverse (Stephen King)

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Many of the novels and short stories written or co-written by Stephen King take place in a multiverse created by the author.


Ka is a plot element in Stephen King's Dark Tower series. It is a word of the fictional language High Speech.

In the books, it is a mysterious force that leads all living (and unliving) creatures. It is the will of Gan, the approximate equivalent of destiny or fate, in King's fictional language of High Speech. Ka can be considered to be a guide, a destination, but is certainly not a plan—at least, not one that is known to mortals. Ka is not necessarily a force of good or evil; it manipulates both sides, and seems to have no definite morality of its own.

Concepts involving ka[edit]

Because of the importance of ka to the world of King's Dark Tower, many phrases in the High Speech use the word ka, such as:

  • ka-babbies: young ka-tet members.
  • ka-tel: a class of apprentice gunslingers.
  • ka-mai: ka's fool.
  • ka-me: ka's wiseman; the opposite of ka-mai.
  • kas-ka: a prophet
  • ka-shume: a unique feeling that a ka-tet is destined to break soon.
  • te-ka: ka's friend.
  • Can'-Ka No Rey: the red fields of none, where the Dark Tower lies.
  • tet-ka can Gan: the navel (specifically, the navel of Gan).
  • kas-ka Gan: singer of Gan's song/ prophet of Gan.
  • ves-ka Gan: the Song of the Turtle.


A ka-tet is a group of beings brought together by ka. "We are ka-tet. We are one from many," says Roland Deschain on the day before the Battle of Algul Siento.[1] Ka-tet is the belief that a group of people can be tied together by fate, or ka. It is said that a group has shared "khef" or the water of life. Sometimes the symbol of water is used literally, as in a ritual Roland and his ka-tet performs the night before the battle of Algul Siento. In the seventh novel, Susannah Dean, who ends up understanding ka maybe more than Roland himself, comes to the understanding that in simple terms, "ka-tet" means family.

Roland's ka-tet includes himself, Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean, Oy, and Jake Chambers. Roland's previous ka-tet included himself, Cuthbert Allgood, Jamie De Curry, and Alain Johns.

References in other works by King[edit]

Ka is mentioned in some of King's other books, including Hearts in Atlantis, Desperation and Insomnia. The characters James Eric Gardener in The Tommyknockers and Rosie McClendon in Rose Madder also ponder ka. It is mentioned in The Stand by Judge Farris when he observes a crow outside his window that he believes is Randall Flagg shortly before he is killed by Flagg's men.

The ka-tet concept has been frequently used by King, even in books that do not use the terms ka or ka-tet, such as It, The Stand, Desperation, Insomnia, Dreamcatcher, and Duma Key.

The Purpose and the Random[edit]

The Random and the Purpose are like the red and the black squares on a checker board, defining each other by contrast.

— Lachesis

The Purpose and the Random are concepts elaborating the "grammar" of All-World introduced in Insomnia. The Purpose and the Random are driving forces on the different levels (worlds or realities) the Dark Tower connects. There are even stronger forces, like the Higher Purpose and the Higher Random. It is not totally clear whether these higher forms are multiple individual beings sharing a common aim, or if they are underlying forces not bound to personal forms. Both the Purpose and the Random have so-called agents, middlemen between ordinary human beings ("Short-Timers") and the god-like All-Timers. Clotho and Lachesis are agents of the Purpose, while Atropos is an agent of the Random. Central is the idea that the Purpose and the Random need to be in balance.

The Higher Purpose and the Higher Random[edit]

For each field exist higher beings which seem to be god-like. While arguably Gan or Maturin would belong to the Higher Purpose, the Crimson King or It are beings of the Higher Random.

[...] beyond the Short-Time levels of existence and the Long-Time levels on which Lachesis, Atropos and I exist, there are yet other levels. These are inhabited by creatures we could call All-Timers, beings which are either eternal or so close to it as to make no difference. Short-Timers and Long-Timers live in overlapping spheres of existence – on connected floors of the same building, if you like – ruled by the Random and the Purpose. Above these floors, inaccessible to us but very much a part of the same tower of existence, live other beings. Some of them are marvellous and wonderful; other are hideous beyond our ability to comprehend, let alone yours. These beings might be called the Higher Purpose and the Higher Random...or perhaps there is no Random beyond a certain level; we suspect that may be the case, but we have no real way of telling. We do know that it is something from one of these higher levels that has interested itself in Ed, and that something else from up there made a countermove. That countermove is you, Ralph and Lois.

— Clotho

List of worlds and universes[edit]

Designation Notes First appearance
  • Homeworld of Roland Deschain, Randall Flagg and many others.
  • Divided into three regions; In-World, Mid-World and End-World.
  • Was once highly advanced, but war and other calamities reduced society to Old West standards.
  • Place of the Dark Tower (Gan), the linchpin that connects all realities.
The Dark Tower
Keystone Earth
  • The readers of Stephen King's The Dark Tower series would recognize as "the real world."
  • It includes King himself as the author of the Dark Tower novels and is the universe in which the Dark Tower itself is represented by a Rose growing in a vacant lot in New York City.
  • Place of the Rose, the gate to access the Dark Tower in All-World. Jake discovers the Rose in the vacant lot, and so also originates from Keystone Earth. As Jake follows Eddie to the haunted mansion, we must assume Eddie also lives in this reality.
  • That Eddie lives in the Keystone Reality, and that in Eddie's reality Co-Op City is in Brooklyn, suggests that we ourselves do not actually live on Keystone Earth.
Prime Earth Carrie
Eddie Dean's home universe
  • The case for this universe relies on the idea that our reality is the Keystone Reality, but in Eddie's world there was longer US involvement in the Vietnam War and the location of Co-Op City is in Brooklyn instead of the Bronx, therefore he could not have come from Keystone Earth. Eddie also mentions in The Wastelands that the song "Velcro Fly" by ZZ Top was not released as a single in his world. However, as Jake follows Eddie to the haunted mansion, the two must live in the same universe. Jake also finds the Rose in the abandoned lot, known to exist only on Keystone Earth, so both Eddie and Jake must also live in the Keystone Reality. For further evidence that we ourselves do not live in the Keystone Reality see the above table section on "Keystone Earth".
The Drawing of the Three
The Territories
  • A parallel dimension that Jack Sawyer can enter through his innate connection to the place.
  • Populated by "twinners."
The Talisman
Boo'ya Moon
  • A dream world where Lisey's late husband, Scott Landon had traveled to.
Lisey's Story
Rose Madder
  • A world behind a painting.
  • Homeworld of Dorcas.
Rose Madder
The Null
  • A dimension of chaos serving as an afterlife for humans, who are enslaved and tortured for eternity by giant Ants, who in turn serve insane, Lovecraftian beings. The most powerful of these beings is known as Mother.
The Stand universe
  • This timeline features a post-apocalyptic world where most of the people were infected and killed by a man-made virus called the "superflu" or "Captain Trips". Roland and his ka-tet visit this reality in Wizard and Glass, where the plague occurred in the 1980s.
The Stand
Cell universe
  • This timeline features a post-apocalyptic world where a terror attack caused anyone who used a cell phone to be reduced to a zombie-like state.
The Regulators timeline
  • A realm altered by Tak with the help of autistic boy Seth.
  • There is a dimensional portal (an ini) that is connected to Tak's prison and the city of Desperation, located in the mainstream universe.
The Regulators
UR 17000
  • William Shakespeare lived until 1620, writing two additional plays – Two Ladies of Hampshire and A Black Fellow in London
UR 88416
UR 117586
  • The Amazon Kindle that Wesley Smith received in 2009, the Lil' Pink, came from this universe.
UR 1000000
UR 2171753
UR 4121989
UR 6201949
  • Ernest Hemingway was a crime writer who published It's Blood, My Darling. Along with his crime novels, he also published A Farewell to Arms.
UR 7191974
  • Ernest Hemingway was born in 1897 and lived until 19 August 1964, writing four more novels than he wrote in UR 117586.
  • One of his novels exclusive to this Earth is Cortland's Dogs.
Todash space
  • The limbo between dimensions populated by monsters; e.g., Cthun ("N.")
  • A military experiment performed in Shaymore, the "Arrowhead Project", apparently intended to create a trans-dimensional window with which to peer through into other dimensions.
"The Mist"

See also[edit]


External links[edit]