This question helps illustrate my question. In The Waste Lands, book 3 of Stephen King's "The Gunslinger" series, the ka-tet end up at the end of the beam guarded by Shardik, the bear. Now I assumed that the gunslinger's world was circular and that the end of the beam were at the edges of the world.

This means that during Roland's years of wandering he's managed to end up at the edge of the world i.e. as far from the Dark Tower as it is possible to be.

Given Roland's knowledge of the Beams, the guardians, the tower and the geography of his world, why did he not simply travel towards the tower from Gilead (or from wherever he started) until he picked up a beam and then followed that?

I'm currently listening to the books again and have studied the map on the linked questions and can find no logical explanation.

It may well be that events have simply conspired to guide Roland towards the Western Sea (his pursuit of the man in black, perhaps, taking precedence over his quest for the tower) and the doors from which he is to gather his ka-tet.

Ka - ka like a wheel...

  • There are many different maps, though. You seem to be talking about this one: img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20130602191810/darktower/images/… But according to this other one, he did actually move more or less towards the Tower as he chased the Man in Black: img2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20120618022020/stephenking/images/8/… (both maps are unofficial)
    – tobiasvl
    Feb 6, 2017 at 21:38
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    There's no good map and maybe even can't be as series got into severe continuity problems. King got whole beams idea much later than he wrote first book.
    – Mithoron
    Feb 6, 2017 at 22:16
  • That first map doesn't look right - I can't see how the ka-tet ravel so far between the last door and coming across Shardik (especially as they practically passed Gilead), unless a large part of the journey was omitted. The map I was originally referring to was this oe i.stack.imgur.com/YTts8.png. I've never seen any of these maps before, despite being a King/Dark Tower fan, and the consensus of them appears to be that Roland was more concerned with the perrault of the man in Black, and then by the gathering of the ka-tet before setting off on the quest for the tower properly.
    – Steve Ives
    Feb 6, 2017 at 22:16
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    Uh, IIRC, it just says of the Beams that the "ancients" ordered the world, not specifically how, so assuming it's at the edge doesn't fly. The Beam is also proven to travel through multiple worlds and back through Roland's at points, so maps ain't gonna cover it anyway.
    – Radhil
    Feb 6, 2017 at 23:07
  • He was following Walter/Marten/the Man in Black, then he woke up on a beach and had to find the doors. Once he did, he spent several weeks in the woods training his new ka-tet.
    – Wad Cheber
    Feb 9, 2017 at 7:55

1 Answer 1


It is common knowledge Roland fought during the fall of Gilead. It was during these events that the Lion-Eagle Beam on which Gilead was situated snapped. Presumably because of the Breakers.

Now Roland mentioned after the Calla Bryn Sturgis Beam-Quake that following a beam's snapping, the land suffers cataclysmic events, and I quote: "birds of fire falling from the skies".

Disregarding Stephen King's notoriety for plot holes past a certain level, it wouldn't be any less credible to assume that Roland walked towards the closest Beam. The Bear Turtle Beam that is.

Another detail people tend to forget is Roland's own account of Jericho Hill. He states that he was fighting, his friends dying besides him, when he found himself falling through Todash Space only to end up in the Mojave Desert. From where he journeyed to the Bear Turtle Beam. I like to interpret this as Roland's inabilty to remember his first cycle, his memory or Ka putting things together so they somewhat fit.

Also, Roland's world wouldn't make sense to be "circular". We know they had satellites, went to the Mon and stuff. It's pretty clearly a vanilla Earth with a twist of "Hold my sausage, who left the cows loose?"

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