Multiverse (Stephen King)
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Fictional history, structure and worlds of Stephen King's multiverse
In the beginning, there was a magical presence known as the Prim - also referred as the "darkness behind everything" - from which Gan arose. When All-World was created, Gan appeared in metaphysical form as a giant edifice known as the Dark Tower, alongside six Beams which are protected by twelve Guardians.
It is said that one of the Guardians, Maturin the Turtle, vomited out a universe as the result of a stomach ache. This universe is the location of the Keystone Earth, which is a reflection of the "real world" and also includes a fictional version of Stephen King himself. It is the location of the Rose too.
Some people have the ability to travel between universes by "going Todash", other ways are through rare artifacts like the Wizard's Rainbow, the Talisman and the Lil Pink.
Gan uses Stephen King as a facilitator to tell the tale of the Gunslinger, so Roland Deschain could successfully go about his task of reaching the Tower. If the author died before completing his task, Roland would not have "known" how to further proceed on his quest to the Tower and, without any significant remaining opposition, the Crimson King would have finally toppled the Dark Tower and initiated "Discordia" - the event which all universes would have ceased to exist - and there would be no story created.
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. To this end, Ka resonates with the concept of Karma.
The official Dark Tower site (see below) describes ka as the following: "Ka... signifies life-force, consciousness, duty and destiny. In the vulgate, or low speech, it also means a place to which an individual must go."
Concepts involving ka
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: 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. 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.
References in other works by King
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 about 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. However, in this context it appears that "ka" refers to the Egyptian word for life force.
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. This may be compared to Kurt Vonnegut's "karass".
|Look up ka in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
The Random and the Purpose
The Random and the Purpose are like the red and the black squares on a checker board, defining each other by contrast.— Lachesis
The Random and the Purpose 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 forms 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 Purpose and 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 Purpose and Random need to be in balance.
The Higher Random and the Higher Purpose
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 Louis.— Clotho
List of worlds and universes
|All-World||The Dark Tower|
|Eddie Dean's home Universe||
||The Drawing of the Three|
|The Stand Universe||
|The Regulators timeline||