TowerWiki Main  Crimson King
Once the ruler of the land beyond Thunderclap, he presided over his Court Can-TahAbbalah at Le Casse Roi Russe. He is rumored by some to be of the line of Eld, which was confirmed in DTVII? by Rando Thoughtful mentioning that both of Mordred's fathers were descended from Eld.

At some unknown point in time, he became obsessed with destroying the nexus of the worlds (The Dark Tower) and ruling the darkness that will come after, or at least influencing the recurrance of the prim. To this end, he used his minions to gather the Breakers from all worlds to destroy the Beams holding the Tower up.

Some time before Roland's quest began, he went mad and used his power to scar and destroy the lands along the Beam of Shardik and Maturin to the northwest of the Tower--this is the source of the time and space disturbances that plague Roland's world. He later slew nearly all of his court, and fled to the Tower and attempted to mount to the top, but became imprisoned on a balcony, shut out forever.

He controls many minions, such as The Wolves, Walter O Dim, the Low Men most of the Taheen and The Breakers.

Once powerful beyond comprehension - As seen in Insomnia - the Crimson King has become obsessed by his hatred of Roland and his desire to conquer the Tower before the gunslinger does. What happened to all this power (or if all that power had really gone at all) remains a mystery, for when we are introduced to him in The Dark Tower he "appears" to be a babbling red robed lunatic who screams "EEEEEEEEEEE!"

His title in the language of the unformed is Ram Abbalah, and Los' appears to be his given name. (Very interesting side note--in the mythology of the British poet William Blake, the god named Los represents the imagination, and love and forgiveness, as opposed to Urizen, who is the destructive and evil god).

His story roughly parallels that of Lucifer. He falls out of harmony with The White and, after eons of ruling from afar, is determined to ruin the way of the White and rule in the chaos that ensues afterward. Roland, when he finally sees his physical form, perceives him as "Hell incarnate."

His sigul is that of a red eye. _______________________________________________________________________________ One possible reason for the loss of the power he had in Insomnia could tie in with perhaps the strongest connection found in Black House. It is possible that the Forge of the King, described in The Dark Tower as the source of the Crimson King's power, could be none other than the Big Combination that was destroyed by Tyler Marshall. This Forge is viewed several times at the crest of End-World, but is not mentioned again. The "when" in End-World that Black House leads to could be during Roland and Susannah's long trek across the frozen lands of Empathica; the fact that Flagg has the hat from Black House at the beginning of The Dark Tower does not contradict this - Flagg is, after all, apparently able to jump through time and space.

It is possible that this is Jack Sawyer's role in the story of the Tower: to weaken the Crimson King so Roland (or a certain other character) could kill him.

Many fans have come up with a theory that both the Crimson King in Insomnia and the one in DT7 as separate halves of the same entity. Regardless of what the Tet-Corp says about Insomnia, most do not think that it negates the book in the DT mythos. After all, since SK is the facilitator of Gan, what he writes that has ties with the DT world is a new parallel reality on to itself ala Robert Heinlein's Pantheistic Solipsism theory from his novel "The Number of the Beast."

Anyway, to continue with the current topic:

The theory Parkus in Black House defines it all about the background of the Crimson King. He says the Crimson King's physical manifestation is trapped at the top of the Tower; this would be the one that appeared in Insomnia against Ralph Roberts having found a one-time temporary doorway into Derry but was banished back to his confinement by Ralph. This is also the same CK that appears towards the end of Black House sitting in a chair on his high faraway confinement feeling pain from the ramifications of the destruction of the Big Combination. And somehow or other this is also the eye that watches from out of Black Thirteen because Black Thirteen we are told ultimately represents the Dark Tower itself. This physical manifestation is pure chaos incarnate: THE Ram Abbalah.

The CK in DT7 is the other manifestation that Parkus refers to, one that is "every bit as real" and resides in the Court of the Crimson King. Court also means Castle. And in the Castle of the CK there are many monsters i.e. Walter/Flagg, Mr Munshun, John Farson, Dandelo and perhaps Maerlyn the old rogue Wizard of legend who created the thirteen Wizard's Glass. They are Legion, one of many, the ka-tet of the Red in other words. And of course their lower minions: the Low Men, the Taheens etc. The fact that this manifestation is a descendant of Eld makes sense. He was originally from the White but may have fallen to the dark side after obsessing too much on the Tower and finally obtaining the Wizard's Glass and ended up being possessed by the essence of the pent up King through Black Thirteen (shades of LOTR where Saruman is corrupted by Sauron through the Palantir, and why not since LOTR is one of the inspirations for the DT cycle). Which is why he was so convinced he could rule through the ensuing chaos after the Tower falls. Mia said he was promised his own kingdom, perhaps by himself. Himself meaning his other half, the one trapped at the top of the Tower.

This also presents an irony: in trying to free the physical manifestation of the Abbalah trapped at the top of the Tower, this mad King got himself trapped as well on the lower balcony of the same Tower. How fitting.

The Temporal Theory

Here is another theory that could explain the discrepancies between the Crimson King as described in Black House (see above) and The Dark Tower. To explain:

Patrick found it difficult to capture The Crimson King on paper at the end of The Dark Tower. The reason he gave Roland, "He darkles and tincts". This appears to mean that he exists in all times simultaneously. Hence, when Patrick captures his form on paper, all he is capturing is the 3 dimensional representation of The Crimson King in the present. To capture him in his entirety, to capture his very essence, Patrick had to colour the pictures eyes red using a dye made from the petal of the roses mixed with Roland's blood, the blood of Eld (which also ran in the veins of Los The Red remember).

Hence if we follow this argument through, if The Crimson King exists in all times then he exists in the tower in all times. Or rather he did before Patrick rubbed him out. Hence, before he left his castle he might appear to an outsider to be both simultaneously in his castle and imprisoned on the Tower balcony. Hence Los's attempts to break the beams and bring down the Tower might look like an attempt to set tower-pent Los free.

Problems with this theory: If the Crimson King exists in all times, then wouldn't Roland and Susannah encountered 'temporal echoes' of him throughout his route from his castle to The Dark Tower? Is that how it would work?

A possible counter-argument could be that his facility to darkle and tinct is linked to being located in the Tower rather than something intrinsic within himself. I.e. if one is in the centre of time and space, then would one then exist in all time? After all, Roland is said to darkle and tinct as well, although in his context it seems to refer to the cyclic nature of his quest.

Another possible problem: The version of the Crimson King (Ram Abbalah) described by Parkus is supposed to be trapped at the top of the tower rather than in a balcony.

Possible answer: Parkus was wrong. It's unlikely that Parkus has ever seen the Crimson King himself, or even the Tower (except perhaps in a vision from afar). Therefore if he heard that the King was trapped there, it makes sense that by the time the news came to him there would be some exaggeration. Hence the Crimson King could have been promoted from a mere balcony to the top of the Tower itself, all on hearsay.

So what about Parkus's description of the duality of the Crimson King, i.e. the physical being and the part in the court of the King?

It's unlikely that an outside viewer would understand that Los the Red in his castle is the younger self of the chap in the tower. Hence it makes sense that they would come up with theories accounting for the apparent duality of the King.

It should be noted that this theory is not prevalent or particularly popular on the board. Considering it's down right confusing and paradoxical nature this is hardly surprising. It would however explain a lot, and thus is worth its inclusion here.

The "Twinner" Theory

One of the more interesting (but less popular) theories concerning the Crimson King is that the King, Flagg, Mordred, IT, and many other villains are all iterations of the same archetypical evil, the ultimate representation of The Red - the "true" Crimson King, in other words.

In order for this to be reasoned out, certain thematic elements have to be established between each villain, or at least enough to make the point clear.

Villainous Links

  • The Crimson King as seen in Insomnia and It as seen in IT are both presented as hideous, godlike entities who are later revealed to be both female and pregnant.
  • The King, Flagg, and It are all obsessed with creating heirs, a way of continuing their legacies. All of their children are treated with a reverence and fear like unto that of the anti-Christ, though Mordred is the only one to have ever been born.
  • Mordred Deschain and It share similar "true" forms in that both of them are actually hideous, spider-like entities. Both are capable of metamorphisizing into different shapes, though this is far more pronounced in It than in Mordred.
  • Mordred and Flagg seem to share a more or less exclusively held power to take control over another person's body, in Flagg's case so completely that the person does not even remember being possessed. The chief difference between them is that Mordred's skill does not seem quite as refined as Flagg's - even though, at the end of the Dark Tower series, Mordred is capable of possessing Flagg himself.
  • Flagg and It both have tendences to leave messages in bright red paint (or blood, if paint isn't readily available), typically with cheery overtones.

Such thematic links, however, can probably just be attributed to an unspoken or underappreciated tendency on King's part to keep certain similarities between his characters. In order for the theory to be represented, one must have precedence for the existence of similar relations on different levels of the Tower, and how their fates are linked.


The idea of "Twinners" originates most clearly in King's original collaboration with Peter Straub, The Talisman. In the book, characters of significant importance have Twinners, who are essentially different versions of themselves on different levels of the Tower - in this case, just the Territories. In general, the Territories seems to be a lot more selective concerning Twinners than the rest of the Dark Tower, in which entire worlds can be looked at as carbon copies of each other except for who's face is on the dollar bill.

Basic rules governing "Twinners" are as follows:

  • Every person in the Territories has a twin somewhere on Earth (in most worlds of the Dark Tower this is true of every person, so for the sake of argument we will assume every person has alternate versions of themselves in different worlds).
  • These twins, called Twinners, are by nature extremely similar - if not physically then psychologically, financially, philosophically, etc. For all intents and purposes one twin could be incredibly different from the other (one might be an overweight businessman while the other one is a physically fit sorcerer), or the two could be so similar that they are more or less interchangeable.
  • In general, the fates of Twinners are intertwined - if one dies, then the other tends to die in a similar fashion. The only cases where this isn't true are the deaths of the Twinners of Richard Sloat and Jack Sawyer, where their counterparts on Earth survived the events that were supposed to kill them. In other worlds of the Dark Tower this also tends to hold true - in the case where Jake Chambers was saved from the death shared by other versions of himself, he was nearly driven insane.

The Crimson King is arguably the single most important entity in the Dark Tower, and has on at least one occassion had a different iteration in at least one other level of the tower (see Insomnia). Considering that in every world shown in the Dark Tower, save for the Territories, there is at least one iteration of important people, it can be assumed that most worlds have some iteration of the Crimson King's archetype.

Twinner links between the Crimson King and others

Establishing that the Crimson King has Twinners (not literal Twinners, as that only indicates two people, but in this case we will continue to use the term just for the sake of ease of reading) is simple enough, but the identities of these Twinners has to be established through drawing some links in their basic fates. An incomplete list follows:

  • Flagg's apparent loss of power in Wizard and Glass, at least compared to his apparent power in The Stand, coincides more or less completely with the Kingfish's defeat in Insomnia.
  • It (Pennywise) lives after his apparent death in IT - this is signified in Dreamcatcher, in which a sign painted with Pennywise's trademark red paint claims "PENNYWISE LIVES". Pennywise apparently dies in It, though it is not unimaginable that he survives - two possible explanations are that It and the version of the Crimson King that lives in Derry are the same entity, or that It died when the rest of the Crimson King's Twinners did not, contributing to their slow fall from power and the King's spiraling into madness.
  • Flagg's apparent death and rebirth at the end of The Stand {Actually, Flagg takes the form of a shadow creature and flees a second before the bomb hits. Apparently he didn't have control of that form for when he wakes up he doesn't know where he is} (reminiscent enough of Jake Chambers' death in The Gunslinger that parallels can be drawn) would appear to coincide, in terms of time, with the first erratic behaviors of the Crimson King as chronicled in The Dark Tower VII.
  • Susannah Dean's becoming pregnant with Mordred Deschain coincides with Flagg ceasing to try to have an heir of his own. This brings into question whether Flagg felt an empathic satisfaction of that need because the King felt it, but no other explanation seems to make much sense when compared to how vehemently Flagg was trying to have a son in The Stand.
  • As Mordred matures, he generally becomes more like It - he is able to control the minds or bodies of lesser people, his true form becomes less human and more spiderlike, and in general his spider form becomes more unnatural and grotesque.

Though there are more examples, they would take too long to list here. Taken in context, none of these seem to be any more than coincidence, but if they are grouped together and looked at in the light of King's tendency to link together everything significant in his books (ala the number nineteen), they reveal something interesting - Flagg, the Crimson King, Mordred, It, and countless other King villains may have all been different iterations of the Red, embodiments of a single evil force. Essentially, this means that they are all the same person.

Such a claim would mean that several things are more readily made clear: Flagg's apparent fall from power, the Crimson King's spiraling into insanity, Mordred's apparent quest to kill one or both of his fathers, all of this would come from the same set of events. Flagg's apparent death in The Stand, the events at the end of Black House, It's apparent death, the Kingfish's defeat in Insomnia, even the death of Barlow in Salem's Lot could all contribute to the Crimson King's fall from power, his descent into insanity, and his eventual inability to protect his place in the Dark Tower from Roland.

This also throws Mordred in an interesting light - it's arguable that, in killing Flagg and absorbing his power, Mordred was actually working towards the goal of re-establishing the dwindling power of the Crimson King. The final step of this most likely would have been a meeting with the King himself - whether this would have resulted in Mordred killign the King, or the King killing Mordred, or some other exchange of power, is of course never made clear.

This theory is less accepted by the Dark Tower fandom at large, but is recorded and preserved for its uniqueness if nothing else.

The Keymaster says: It is also possible that the King lost his powers after being cast into the Deadlights by Ralph Roberts in "Insomnia". This can be proven by Flagg in "The Dark Tower" when he takes credit for ruining the King. In "Insomnia" a "Green Man" who talks like Flagg tells Lois to give Ralph her earings, which ended up being essential to his battle with the King. Lois also says that she thought the Green Man was good, but that she may have been tricked. Plus, one of Flagg's aliases given on this site is "the Green Man".

The Tower Theory

Some also believe that The Crimson King originally was one of the line of Eld, sent into the west. After a long journey, through wich he spawned a lot of evil, he finally found The Tower. Then, using the powers of The Towers connection through the different worlds, he came to his omnipotent power, as described in the books mentioned above.
Artwork by Michael Whelan

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