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Old 11-23-16, 12:53 PM   #76
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
Sisyphus was doomed to repeat the same task unending and unchanging. Roland's journey has changed, so it's not Sisyphean.

Also, you're expecting the horn to have a practical impact on the journey somehow, which I don't think is the significance. Instead, it's a reflection on how Roland himself has changed. Previously, he was a person who left the horn where it lay without hesitation. He later regretted that. This time around, he took the horn with him, reflecting a change in his character this time around. He's slowly becoming a better person.
Sisyphus's task was unending but not nessessarily unchanging, I mean sometimes the rock might have rolled back down on his right side, sometimes on his left, sometime over his foot. It's possible.

And I think you are projecting what you want on Roland. You say that taking the horn this time means he is somehow slowly becoming a better person. Maybe it just means he's a hoarder and he just likes stuff. Either are as likely as the other.

We could go on and on about this and there would still be no resolution. And that's the problem. King should have resolved it, not two people discussing it 10 years after he wrote it.

I am willing to look at what you are saying and say that it is possible. But nothing in the story says that you are right in what you want it to mean or that I am wrong when I say that it is just wishful thinking and speculation on your part.

Stephen King is one of the two best story tellers I have ever read. The other being Tom Clancy. But King should have had an ending to this story. I invested alot of time and some money in seeing where the story would go. The journey was great, but if he would have been within reach of me when I finished this story, I would have strangled him right there.
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Old 11-23-16, 01:16 PM   #77
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
Sisyphus's task was unending but not nessessarily unchanging, I mean sometimes the rock might have rolled back down on his right side, sometimes on his left, sometime over his foot. It's possible.
This is just semantic nitpicking. the point is that Sisyphus always started the same, there was no change to how he started his task, and no hope that his journey would change in any significant manner or any hope of redemption. It was a punishment. In contrast, my interpretation of the ending of the Dark Tower allows for the chance of redemption via his changed beginning.

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
I am willing to look at what you are saying and say that it is possible. But nothing in the story says that you are right in what you want it to mean or that I am wrong when I say that it is just wishful thinking and speculation on your part...
There is nothing in the text that definitively states my interpretation is the correct one. But since I find my interpretation more satisfying than yours, and by your own admission they're at least equally supported by the text, I'm going to opt for my interpretation.
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Old 11-23-16, 01:59 PM   #78
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Re: The Dark Tower

OK, so I pulled out a copy of Dark Tower and looked at the ending. Here's the relevant passage, and I've bolded the important line:

Quote:
He shifted his gunna from one shoulder to the other, then touched the horn that rode on his belt behind the gun on his right hip. The ancient brass horn had once been blown by Arthur Eld himself, or so the story did say. Roland had given it to Cuthbert Allgood at Jericho Hill, and when Cuthbert fell, Roland had paused just long enough to pick it up again, knocking the deathdust of that place from its throat.

This is your sigul, whispered the fading voice that bore with it the dusk-sweet scent of roses, the scent of home on a summer evening-O lost!-a stone, a rose, an unfound door; a stone, a rose, a door.

This is your promise that things may be different, Roland -that there may yet be rest. Even salvation.

A pause, and then:

If you stand. If you are true.
So the text actually explicitly states that the horn is a sign that Roland's quest isn't an unending Sisyphean endeavor, but that there's the potential for change, and even an end to his quest.
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Old 11-23-16, 06:30 PM   #79
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
OK, so I pulled out a copy of Dark Tower and looked at the ending. Here's the relevant passage, and I've bolded the important line:



So the text actually explicitly states that the horn is a sign that Roland's quest isn't an unending Sisyphean endeavor, but that there's the potential for change, and even an end to his quest.
And you made me go and pull me copy to take a look. You are correct in the quote but once again we differ on the meaning. You look at it as a promise that he MIGHT be able to find an ending. But I read back a chapter before the one you quoted and in the context of what I read it sounds more like a Siren promise. The tower promises him that there MAY be an end just like the Sirens songs promised joy and happiness and a good time to sailors if they would only sail their ships onto the rocks and swim to the Sirens.

Nothing in what you quoted above is a promise of anything. It is a coaxing to make him keep trying and trying.

Read the chapter prior to your quote, the end of that chapter after the door with Roland on it.

He opens the door and realises what is happening. Knows that he has done this many times before. Here is a quote for you.

"How many times had he climbed the stairs only to find himself peeled back, curved back, turned back? Not to the beginning (WHEN THINGS MIGHT HAVE BEEN CHANGED AND TIME'S CURSE LIFTED) but to the moment in the Mohaine desert when he finally understood that his thoughtless, questionless quest would ultimately succeed? How many times had he traveled a loop like the one in the clip that had once pinched off his navel,his own tet-ka can Gan? How many times would he travel it?

Oh,no! He screamed. Please, not again, have pity! Have mercy!

The hands pulled him forward regardless. The hand of the tower knew no mercy."

And a paragraph further,

"And each time you forget the last time. For you, each time is the first time."

That tells me it is endless. Despite the false hopes and promises being made.
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Old 11-23-16, 08:31 PM   #80
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
And you made me go and pull me copy to take a look. You are correct in the quote but once again we differ on the meaning. You look at it as a promise that he MIGHT be able to find an ending. But I read back a chapter before the one you quoted and in the context of what I read it sounds more like a Siren promise...
You seem hung up on Greek mythology, when it's obvious that the book series is referencing eastern mythology and philosophy, especially Karma and reincarnation.

Ask yourself, what is the point of the "siren promise"? Roland isn't going to remember the promise, and as you pointed out from the passage, he always forgets. He'd go headlong back into his quest, promise or no, because without memory of his past journeys he'd be just as determined as ever. So it's not a "siren" promise because it doesn't lure him, and it's not necessary. If King wanted it to be clearly a relentless, unending loop of an ending, he'd have left out the horn completely, and it would've fit your interpretation better. As it is, you have to deliberately take the negative interpretation that the Tower is lying to Roland about the promise of change and end, even though such a lie serves no purpose.

The lack of memory of past journeys doesn't mean the loop is endless anymore than the fact that people don't remember past lives means that the reincarnation loop is endless. It doesn't matter whether people remember their past lives, what matters is their actions in it determined the type of life they were currently born into. The progression is in the new conditions in the new life, just like the addition of the horn signifies that Roland's life has changed.

The Tower is merciless, but that doesn't mean it's cruel. His loops have a point.
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Old 11-23-16, 10:28 PM   #81
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
You seem hung up on Greek mythology, when it's obvious that the book series is referencing eastern mythology and philosophy, especially Karma and reincarnation.

Ask yourself, what is the point of the "siren promise"? Roland isn't going to remember the promise, and as you pointed out from the passage, he always forgets. He'd go headlong back into his quest, promise or no, because without memory of his past journeys he'd be just as determined as ever. So it's not a "siren" promise because it doesn't lure him, and it's not necessary. If King wanted it to be clearly a relentless, unending loop of an ending, he'd have left out the horn completely, and it would've fit your interpretation better. As it is, you have to deliberately take the negative interpretation that the Tower is lying to Roland about the promise of change and end, even though such a lie serves no purpose.

The lack of memory of past journeys doesn't mean the loop is endless anymore than the fact that people don't remember past lives means that the reincarnation loop is endless. It doesn't matter whether people remember their past lives, what matters is their actions in it determined the type of life they were currently born into. The progression is in the new conditions in the new life, just like the addition of the horn signifies that Roland's life has changed.

The Tower is merciless, but that doesn't mean it's cruel. His loops have a point.
Isn't it sad that after 7 books we have to debate what the ending of this means?

But let me turn this back on you, you quoted the promise and used it to point to the fact that it helps make your argument. Then you say it isn't needed. If as you say, I deliberately take the negative interpretation that the Tower is lying to him, aren't you deliberately taking a positive interpretation that the Tower is telling him that there is an end and that he might someday reach it? There are alot of ifs and mays in that promise and as you say, he won't remember it.

On top of that, there seems to be a misunderstanding. I do not think that that every time Roland has gone thru the loop he does EVERYTHING the same or that every event is the same. I think there are many differences in each and every loop that he has travelled. Sometimes he saves Jake, sometimes he can't or doesn't. Sometimes Eddie dies, sometimes he doesn't. Many evolutions and many differences. There has to have been. Otherwise, what changed in this specific evolution that now allows the Tower to grant him the horn? If each iteration is exactly
the same as the one that we have seen, has he somehow magically reached a certain number (congratulations Roland, you have been thru the tower 50 times and have won a new prize, here's your horn)?

So we have proof positive that at the very least, this go around was somehow different than any other that he has gone thru. My personal believe is that they are all different. Which once again begs the question, what makes you think (other than the un-needed promise from the Tower and for that matter what makes you think this promise isn't made in every loop) that this new loop will be the one that leads him home (Quantum Leap reference)?

Last edited by MScottM; 11-23-16 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 11-24-16, 05:29 AM   #82
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by Jay G. View Post
. . . He's slowly becoming a better person.
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Old 11-24-16, 08:18 AM   #83
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
Isn't it sad that after 7 books we have to debate what the ending of this means?
I don't think so, people debate things all the time, especially if it's somewhat ambiguous. Hell, there's a recent thread in Movie Talk debating the ending of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which most people think is a pretty unambiguous ending:
http://forum.dvdtalk.com/movie-talk/...ng-ending.html

It speaks to the passion to work generates that two people are arguing the ending after so long.

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
But let me turn this back on you, you quoted the promise and used it to point to the fact that it helps make your argument. Then you say it isn't needed...
I wrote it isn't needed as a siren call, your interpretation. It being a false promise to lure Roland to continue doesn't make sense as it's:
  1. Unnecessary, Roland isn't going to remember the promise, and would continue on regardless due to the lack of memory.
  2. already partially delivered, by changing the past and giving him the horm.

Technically, the voice telling Roland that the horn is a promise of the possibility of change and redemption isn't necessary for him, since even if true, he'll forget it. Which is why it supports my interpretation, since that means it's explicitly there for us, the reader, so that we know what the horn signifies. It's partly why I forgot that the book so explicitly stated that the horn signified a promise, because such an explicit statement is only for the benefit of the reader, not Roland.

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
On top of that, there seems to be a misunderstanding. I do not think that that every time Roland has gone thru the loop he does EVERYTHING the same or that every event is the same...
No, but you've suggested that any changes were based on random chance, and could be undone the next time around, which to me is the same as your "Sisyphus may have to dodge a rock one time" argument. You're arguing it's still endless with no sign of progression or meaningful change. I'm arguing that the horn is implying a progression based on Roland becoming a better person on each iteration.

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
Which once again begs the question, what makes you think (other than the un-needed promise from the Tower and for that matter what makes you think this promise isn't made in every loop) that this new loop will be the one that leads him home (Quantum Leap reference)?
I don't know why you wrote "once again," since this is the first time you've written this question. The answer is: I don't think this new loop is his final one. I do think the promise has been made before, possibly with other objects Roland now carries, or other changes to his past more subtle. The idea is that he's on a path towards becoming a better person, with each loop affording him another chance, and the Tower rewarding him as he incrementally improves himself, putting him in a position to do better, as a person, this time around.

The whole series we thought it was about Roland saving the Dark Tower, while the ending reveals he's saved the Tower countless times, and it's really about the Tower saving Roland.


BTW, Happy Thanksgiving!
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Old 11-28-16, 11:12 AM   #84
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Re: The Dark Tower

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

So, to be straight here, you think that the Tower is working to make Roland a better person so that he can achieve some kind of Nirvana or the equivalent? If that is what you believe then i can see why we are looking at this differently.

I personally think that Roland is a good guy, I dont think that the Tower or anyone else needs to change him. He is just a normal person with good points and bad but mostly good. He is doing what he believes he should/has to do. And he isn't letting anything get in the way of what he believes is right. That does make him a "HARD" man but not a bad one. So I can't see where the Tower wants to change him. In my opinion, if he changes too much, he wont be effective and wouldnt make it to the tower.

I don't understand how we went from discussing the ending of the story to pulling up the theory that the Tower is trying to make him a better man but if that is truly the goal here, I am not for it. He is fine how he is and the Tower will only weaken him in changing him. my opinion.
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Old 11-28-16, 01:12 PM   #85
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

So, to be straight here, you think that the Tower is working to make Roland a better person so that he can achieve some kind of Nirvana or the equivalent? If that is what you believe then i can see why we are looking at this differently...
Roland is on the side of the good and the light, but he's not necessarily a "good man." He may be "good enough" for you, but not for Nirvana. That's the whole point of re-incarnation, that you keep living over and over again until you get it "right."

Also Roland let his obsession with the Man in Black and the Tower cause him to let bad things happen to good people. He let's Jake die in the very first book just so he doesn't lose his chance at a meeting with the Man in Black, a meeting where the Man in Black escapes (in the revision). Roland obviously regretted letting Jake die, since he later takes the effort to rewrite history, but it's still an action he originally took. I don't think the Tower is trying to turn him into a goody-two-shoes, but he obviously has room for improvement.

An alternate interpretation though could be that the Tower isn't necessarily looking to change Roland, but to change his journey. It could be a Groundhog Day scenario, where he has to keep repeating it until he gets it "right." So eventually there will be a journey where he arrives at the Dark Tower, not alone, but with his ka-tet, intact and together.

However, the main point is that the book clearly is showing that the loops aren't endless and random, but there's progression towards a goal. If you dislike that ending, that's fine, but it's a different ending than what you originally proposed. It's not "eternal punishment," and there's hope of rest, even salvation.

Last edited by Jay G.; 11-28-16 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 11-28-16, 04:27 PM   #86
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Re: The Dark Tower

Well, we are just going to have to agree to disagree. I dont think that this was the goal of the book nor do I get that from my reading of the book. You say that the "book clearly is showing that the loops arent endless and random" but I disagree with that. They are not CLEARLY showing anything of the sort or we wouldnt be having this discussion.

I am familiar with the concept of Re-incarnation but this is the first time I have ever heard of it being used to try to explain why the SAME person (not soul) would be repeating the same situations and circumstances over and over again to try to improve that person. I will admit it would be closer to Groudhog Day then and what was achieved in that movie but the big difference there was that Bill Murray KNEW he was repeating the day over and over. As did Tom Cruise in Edge Of Tomorrow. The knowing made all of the difference in those situations not the fact that they were repeating. They could learn because they had something to build on, Roland doesnt have that information to build on and to change. He is literally in an INSANE situation, repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Since we dont and will never know the significance of the horn, what it means, how it is used or how a situation might change now that he has it, there is nothing to base your hope/faith in that there will be a change.Telling someone something with the knowledge that that person will lose that information within moments is pointless. To base your hope on that one phrase which Roland will not remember, basing the premise of the ENTIRE book on that single phrase, is blind hope and nothing more. We do not know how many times he has been thru this loop. We do knot know if he has had the horn multiple times that he has been thru the loops. We do not know that the same phrase wasnt told to him countless times before. We do not know that there will ever be an end to his journey.

Those things are what "the book is clearly showing". Anything else you think you get from it is speculation.

I dont know how many times he has been thru the loop and I couldnt even guess how many more time he may go thru it. But I understand that for you, the horn and the whisper are all you need for you to think that it will end at some point. It is just not enough to convince me.

Perhaps if we knew this was his first time with the horn, or knew what he did differently this time that earned him the right to the horn that he didnt do on any other time, or if we know what the horn does or did or changes then it may be enough for me. But we are not provided with any of that. And so for me, this is an endless loop and I hate how this "ended".

There is a saying that I always have found troubling, "If I were him, i would have done differently". Clearly this is a false statement, if you were that other person, you would have done exactly what they did. However, if you were the other person and knew what YOU did, you may have done something differently. The knowing is what is important. Placing the same person in the same situation 100 times will result in the same answer or action 100 times. Informing that person with the correct answer/action will change it the second go around.

Roland isnt getting the information he needs to make a change.
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Last edited by MScottM; 11-28-16 at 04:41 PM.
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Old 11-28-16, 04:54 PM   #87
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
Well, we are just going to have to agree to disagree. I dont think that this was the goal of the book nor do I get that from my reading of the book. You say that the "book clearly is showing that the loops arent endless and random" but I disagree with that. They are not CLEARLY showing anything of the sort or we wouldnt be having this discussion.
Again, from the book:
Quote:
This is your sigul, whispered the fading voice that bore with it the dusk-sweet scent of roses, the scent of home on a summer evening-O lost!-a stone, a rose, an unfound door; a stone, a rose, a door.

This is your promise that things may be different, Roland -that there may yet be rest. Even salvation.
You tried to dismiss that as a "siren promise," but that doesn't make any practical sense as the promise is forgotten and thus doesn't have an impact on whether Roland will continue or not. The only reason for that promise to be made is if it is true.

So, the book explicitly states that there's a goal, a finish line, although Roland's not guaranteed to ever cross it.

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
I will admit it would be closer to Groudhog Day then and what was achieved in that movie but the big difference there was that Bill Murray KNEW he was repeating the day over and over. As did Tom Cruise in Edge Of Tomorrow. The knowing made all of the difference in those situations not the fact that they were repeating. They could learn because they had something to build on, Roland doesnt have that information to build on and to change.
Except in those movies, they retain their memories but otherwise start in the exact same condition/position each time. In Roland's case, he doesn't retain the memory, but he's in a different condition/position. His past has changed, he has the horn. So while unknowing, he's not unchanging. He's literally a different person than he was the previous time around.

Again, it's like reincarnation. The premise is your good efforts in a past life puts you in a position in this life to do even better, even though you don't remember what you did in a past life. And just because you haven't heard of reincarnation being used to explain the ending doesn't mean it's a bad explanation, or that it hasn't been used before:
https://www.reddit.com/r/TheDarkTowe...y_its/cjbdmpa/
Quote:
The ending has always made me think of the buddhist/hindu/etc. idea of reincarnation, as if Roland (and every one else) suffers through samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death, and as we see him (very well) reach the room at the top of the tower sans the horn he comes one step closer to ending the cycle, and one step closer to salvation.
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...mment_85739451
Quote:
It's similar to reincarnation. The quest is one of enlightenment and you keep going until you get it right. Roland hasn't gotten it right yet. Maybe this time he will.
http://www.tor.com/2014/07/21/a-read...nd-coda-found/
Quote:
Not reincarnation exactly because he comes back as himself. Ka dictates that he work through to some sort of perfection until he is allowed to reach some kind of resolution and find the clearing at the end of the path.
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Old 11-29-16, 11:32 AM   #88
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Re: The Dark Tower

As I said, we have to agree to disagree.

Here is what we KNOW. The iteration we read and the next iteration are different from each other. We can ASSUME that the iteration we read is also different that the iteration previous to it because in the iteration we read, he did something that earned him the right to the horn for the next iteration. What that something was, we dont know. Nor do we know that the horn will make any difference at all because even the whisper doesnt say it will, just that it might. We also don't know what the difference if any will do, perhaps it will just mean that in the iteration following the horn , he now get something else that he may want from his past. And so on and so forth. There may be an end somewhere in the future be it in the next iteration or the next 1,000 or the next million. Or there may not be.

You say "Except in those movies, they retain their memories but otherwise start in the exact same condition/position each time. In Roland's case, he doesn't retain the memory, but he's in a different condition/position. His past has changed, he has the horn. So while unknowing, he's not unchanging. He's literally a different person than he was the previous time around." We are exactly opposite on this analysis. I think that Murray is a totally different person each day BECAUSE he retains him memories. People are defined by their experiences and memories. Those are what make us who we are. If you have two identical clones and awake them at the same time, they become different people at the moment that they awaken just by virtue of the fact that they do not exist in the same space and so will see things from different perspectives starting at that moment. If they experience the same events and the same lessons for 10 years after that, they will be seeing them from different places and so will be different people.

Murray woke up in the same bed, listening to the same music, but each day he CHOSE to react to his environment differently based on the knowledge he retained from all of the other times he woke up there. His retaining that knowledge made him a different person each and ever time he woke up there. He made those changes and eventually changed for the better because he came to realize that being selfish, vain and self-serving was a bad way to face eternity and the only way to happiness was to be kind and help others.

On the other hand, Roland has not changed. He is the same person that walked across the desert in the iteration we read. And his situation has only slightly changed. With the addition of the horn. And for all we know, since he has no knowledge that the horn is important or that he didn't have it the last time thru, he MIGHT have taken two steps forward on this journey, said "what the hell am I doing carrying this stupid horn", and thrown it away right they. Since he has no knowledge of its importance (if any), why not.

I see that you found a forum/room where someone else shares your opinion that the story shows that this is a redemption story for Roland and that he is working toward some sort of progression. I was aware that there are many people that think this. But even if there are MILLIONS that think this, I still dont read it that way.

The "ending" sucks.
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Old 11-29-16, 11:48 AM   #89
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
Here is what we KNOW. The iteration we read and the next iteration are different from each other. We can ASSUME that the iteration we read is also different that the iteration previous to it because in the iteration we read, he did something that earned him the right to the horn for the next iteration. What that something was, we dont know. Nor do we know that the horn will make any difference at all because even the whisper doesnt say it will, just that it might. We also don't know what the difference if any will do, perhaps it will just mean that in the iteration following the horn , he now get something else that he may want from his past. And so on and so forth. There may be an end somewhere in the future be it in the next iteration or the next 1,000 or the next million. Or there may not be.
I think you're falling into the trap again of thinking the horn must have some practical application. It doesn't. It's just a symbol of the change that has happened, that Roland is now a person that took the second to pick up the horn, instead of leaving it in blind pursuit of his quest.

Also, yes it's only the chance of salvation, and not guaranteed, just like re-incarnation. That's still a different interpretation than your original "eternal damnation" reading.

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On the other hand, Roland has not changed.
Except he has changed. His past has changed, possibly in a million tiny ways, with the horn being a physical representation of that. So on this new journey he can potentially build off that change, as he's a different person than the one we witnessed go through the journey.

Do you think two men with two different pasts will behave the same way given the same situation?

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
But even if there are MILLIONS that think this, I still dont read it that way.
That's fine, that is your right. I just provided the links because your "I never heard of that before" statement appeared to be a way to dismiss the interpretation as invalid in some way.
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Old 11-29-16, 02:19 PM   #90
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Re: The Dark Tower

So long as a being exists, there is a chance of anything. The likely hood of that chance varies but the possibility of if is always there.

That being said, there is a chance that you are correct in your theory, there is also a chance that I am right about his eternal damnation, which would be more likely than his chance of salvation. If there is only one or a few paths to salvation, the the odds of him making it there are less than the chances that he wont.

As for your horn argument, I see now where you are going with it. Since he didnt have it before, you postulate that having it now means that he stopped to pick it up in the past which would have meant that the seconds used to do that would have changed all future actions up to the point where we see him in the desert and those changes will influence his future actions in the story we read. That is a possibility I hadnt considered. I had looked at it as if he was just giving something new at the start of the journey where we enter. It opens possibilities. But I dont know that you are correct if that is how you are interpreting it. Im not saying that is wrong but I dont know that it is correct. It has the possibility of making him a entirely different person. Who could possibly say?

The entire story would be different if that is what happened. He might or might not do anything that we have read. And you somehow think that this is a better ending? I think I may hate it more than the thought that he is eternally damned to continuing the loop. That Roland I know, that Roland I liked.

The new, changed and different Roland that you postulate I do know know nor do I know if I would like him. Which means that the story I read is so much wasted time because that Roland would no longer exist in the future you foresee. Wow, I think I do hate that more than if he was just eternally damned to continue his quest.

You probably think I am kidding but I am serious. That possibility sucks worse for me. And I didnt think the "ending" could get any worse than it was. I can stand the possibility that "our" Roland might be doomed to continue his quest forever. I dont like it but I could stand it. But to find out after reading all of the story that the Roland I came to care about is not the Roland that MAY or MAY NOT find an ending really sucks. It may be worse than when my Grandmother got dementia. She was still grandma but not really. And now that is the fate that awaits Roland. WOW. God I hope you are wrong. Roland should be judged on who he is not on what the Tower wants to turn him into.

Last note, you said,

"Do you think two men with two different pasts will behave the same way given the same situation?"

No I dont and that is exactly what I was saying to you in the Groundhog Day scenario. Every single day Bill woke up he was a different person than the day before. He was different because he retained the his memories from the day prior. He never woke up as the same person.
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Old 11-29-16, 04:05 PM   #91
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Re: The Dark Tower

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So long as a being exists, there is a chance of anything. The likely hood of that chance varies but the possibility of if is always there.
It's not random chance though. Roland's actions define his journey.

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Originally Posted by MScottM View Post
As for your horn argument, I see now where you are going with it. Since he didnt have it before, you postulate that having it now means that he stopped to pick it up in the past which would have meant that the seconds used to do that would have changed all future actions up to the point where we see him in the desert and those changes will influence his future actions in the story we read.
I still feel you're looking at it far to literally. For Roland to have picked it up, there must've already been changes to his life, and thus to his personality, so that he would pick it up. Any future changes are based on him already being a different person, not on a chaos-theory idea of those "few seconds" causing changes in the universe.

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The new, changed and different Roland that you postulate I do know know nor do I know if I would like him. Which means that the story I read is so much wasted time because that Roland would no longer exist in the future you foresee.
It's not wasted time because the journey was a necessary step for Roland to take to proceed towards salvation. I think you feel the loops are "rewriting" history each time, when they could really just be another level of the Tower.

I feel the altered past is a reflection of who Roland was at the end of the journey. The Roland we met at the beginning of The Gunslinger is a man who couldn't spare a few seconds to grab the horn, the Roland who entered the Tower is now the kind of man who would spare those few seconds. This is reflected in his new loop and new past.

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Roland should be judged on who he is not on what the Tower wants to turn him into.
Again, look into reincarnation. The idea is to become the best version of the person you are, and to keep trying until you do.

And what should "being judged on who he is" entail? You prefer the idea of eternal damnation or salvation based on only one go round on this Earth? Doesn't the whole idea of "being judged" mean that there's someone or something that has an idea of what you should be, and whether you reached that ideal or fell short?

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Old 11-30-16, 10:11 AM   #92
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Re: The Dark Tower

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Again, look into reincarnation. The idea is to become the best version of the person you are, and to keep trying until you do.

And what should "being judged on who he is" entail? You prefer the idea of eternal damnation or salvation based on only one go round on this Earth? Doesn't the whole idea of "being judged" mean that there's someone or something that has an idea of what you should be, and whether you reached that ideal or fell short?
I dont believe in re-incarnation. I do believe you only get one chance at it to get to right. Not some "do as much evil as you want because sometime, you can make it up and still reach Nirvana" theory. that I dea only truly works if you KNOW that you lead a shitty live previously. If you dont know that, then there is no reason to try to attain a better life in this or any of your next incarnations. So what you will be a work or bug or gold fish your next life. the one after that you will be something else and then something else then then something else. Nope, one chance to do it right so dont mess it up. If you do, you have no one to blame but yourself.

And the idea that now the Tower is some kind of God or Supreme Being that is controlling what Roland does ( and that is what changing him is doing) kind of sickens me. It means that Roland has no free will. That he can only do what the Tower is manipulating him into doing. And it he doesnt get it right this time, then he will be sent around for another chance to not get it right. If the Tower is a god and if the Tower expects something form Roland, then it should tell him what it expects, not just keep toying with him. Either way, it should let Roland's journey end. In paradise or damnation it should end. Even for the brief moment we see that Roland realizes what is happening, he begs for it to end. This isnt being done for Roland benefit, it is being done for the Tower. It has some malevolent reason to torture Roland.

If your theory is correct.
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Old 11-30-16, 12:06 PM   #93
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Re: The Dark Tower

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I dont believe in re-incarnation. I do believe you only get one chance at it to get to right. Not some "do as much evil as you want because sometime, you can make it up and still reach Nirvana" theory.
Well, to be fair, almost every religion has some way to make up for past transgressions. Christianity allows for confession to absolve sins, so you can do as much evil as you want as long as you're really sorry about it in the end.

Also, re-incarnation does provide punishment for a life lived badly, by giving you a worse life the next time around. It's not random, there's a progression (or regression, in the case of bad actors).

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And the idea that now the Tower is some kind of God or Supreme Being that is controlling what Roland does ( and that is what changing him is doing) kind of sickens me...
Well, the idea that the Tower is Gan, or an aspect of Gan, is mentioned a lot in the books.
http://darktower.wikia.com/wiki/Gan
http://stephenking.wikia.com/wiki/Gan

And the struggle between free will vs the will of God, or gods, exists in all religions. I mean, if God is omnipotent and omniscient, and thus created you knowing exactly what you'd do, do you still actually have free will, or is it an illusion?

Edit: However, the Tower isn't controlling what Roland does, it's just rewarding or punishing him based on his actions, and having him go through again. If he never becomes better, or even becomes worse, he's doomed to eternally loop, the "eternal damnation" of your philosophy. However, if he becomes better, there's the chance of salvation.

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Either way, it should let Roland's journey end. In paradise or damnation it should end. Even for the brief moment we see that Roland realizes what is happening, he begs for it to end. This isnt being done for Roland benefit, it is being done for the Tower. It has some malevolent reason to torture Roland.
I'm sure souls suffering eternally in Hell beg for it to end too. Is it a malevolent God that allows them to suffer so?

While Roland begs to not have to do it again, it doesn't mean the Tower is making him do so out of malevolence. I mean, I often didn't want to go to school when I was a kid, but my parents made me go every day I wasn't sick. Were they just jerks for making me go to school, or were they doing so because they thought it was for my own good?

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Old 11-30-16, 04:34 PM   #94
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Re: The Dark Tower

I think you have a bad grasp of what Christianity believes. I am not a Christian as I do not follow the teachings of Christ but I was raised in a Christian household. It isnt about being able to do as much evil as you want and then confessing it and it makes it all good. Its about realizing that you have committed sins, accepting that nothing you can do will ever atone for them, rejecting/repenting them and committing yourself to not doing them again. This means accepting that Jesus, the Son of God, God Himself has paid the price to atone for your sins and accepting him as your Savior. So in that you are right, even Christianity has a way to make up for past transgressions. Its to accept that Jesus paid for them. Not a sermon, just straightening out the perceived misconception.

Yes you do have free will. If you have a close friend or family and you get into a situation where you can truthfully say, " I knew you would do that" or "I knew you would say that". Does that mean you took away their free will? Knowing what will happen doesnt mean that they arent free to do as they want, it means that someone know what theywill do. If on the other hand you are saying that God made them do that, I would have to see how you came to that statement.

Its sort of like that stupid thing people say when questioning if God exists. If he is all powerfully can he make a rock that even he cannot pick up? If he cannot pick it up, is he all powerful? The obvious answer to that question, is the Shroedingers Cat answer. Yes he can make a rock he cant pick up, by simply refusing to pick it he he in effect cant' pick it up. And then when questioning if he is all powerful he chooses to pick it up. He both can and cant at the time time. Its all about choice. This is just my opinion.

The problem I have with your analysis of what the Tower wants from Roland is that he isnt told what is expected. He has no idea against what he is being measured so how can he ever reach some mysterious "goodness" level if he doesnt know what is expected. Roland, as with everyone else, is a product of his environment and society. To expect him to reach some level of goodness that he does not know about would be the equivalent of expecting an ancient Aztec to not do human sacrifices. It is part of their culture and it is what their society expected from them, they know that because of how they were raised and how society reacted to that behavior. However, we being raised in a different environment, know that human sacrifice is evil. How do we know that? We have been told so and we have seen how our societies act when people are killed/executed. So to expect an Aztec to think that is bad/wrong to sacrifice enemies is unrealistic. To expect Roland to be anything other than a product of his society is unrealistic.

You can however teach anyone a new or better way to do thing. But it requires communications. To take that Aztec, plop him done in our society and do nothing but hit him whenever he sties to do a human sacrifice would teach him nothing. Communicating to him why we dont do that or allow it will teach him. He may not take the lesson. He may resort back to his previous behavior (free will), but he will know that he will be punished because he will have been taught how this society treats that behavior.

If in the past Roland has failed to measure up to this unstated "goodness" level that the Tower expects, then there is no reasonable reason to expect that he will measure up to it this or any other time around, EXPECT by fundamentally changing who he is. Reincarnation does that. It changes you physical form, it changes how you live it changes the societies you grow up in. Changing minor circumstances in his life probably wont change him into what the Tower wants.

Souls eternally suffering in Hell do beg for it to end but they also realize it wont because they understand they have earned this punishment for their actions. Is Roland supposed to realize that he deserves this punishment? If you tell someone what the punishments for certain actions are and then they choose to commit those actions and you punish them as you said you would, are you malevolent for doing so? If the punishment is communicated and still they chose that action thru 'free choice", are you then bad for punishing them for their free choice? Roland is still waiting for the communication part of that. he hasnt been told what is expected.

As for your parents, if they gave you no explanation of why you had to go to school, then yes they were being jerks. If they explained that it was for your own good and would benefit you throughout life, then they were being good parents. Communications is an awesome thing.

There are two ways of doing anything, I can call you to get up out of bed or I can take a baseball bat to you to get you up. Either method works. But would you say one of them is good and one "evil"?

And as for controlling Roland, that is exactly what the Tower is doing. It has total control, Roland has zero. If it informed him what it wanted and let him retain the memory, then you could say it is benevolent and that everything Roland did from that point was free choice. If it just changes him on a deep level, how he thinks, how he acts, his motivations and expects anything from him other than what he produces, then it is malevolent.

I dont know if you are a man or a woman, if you are a man and have dated a woman or married one, it is sort of like that. When they look at you expecting that something that is entirely obvious to them and totally oblivious to you should mean something to you. Thats how Roland has to spend his entire existence. The Tower keeps expecting something from him and never tells him what that something is. It sucks and there is no other way to say it.

Maybe its just that I am a straight-forward kind of guy. I like endings. To me, there is no ending, and that sucks.
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Old 11-30-16, 05:15 PM   #95
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Re: The Dark Tower

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I think you have a bad grasp of what Christianity believes.
I understand Christianity fine, I was raised Christian myself. I was just rephrasing the religion in a reductionist, dismissive way, the same way you phrased reincarnation.

If you agree that people can make up for past transgressions, why does it have to be done over one lifetime instead of many?

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Yes you do have free will. If you have a close friend or family and you get into a situation where you can truthfully say, " I knew you would do that" or "I knew you would say that". Does that mean you took away their free will?
'
That's prediction, not knowledge. A better example would be programming a robot with a rudimentary AI and then designing a maze for it to navigate in a way that you know exactly how it will decide to navigate it. Even though at each intersection in the maze the AI "decides" what path to take, is it really a free decision since you designed both it and the maze and knew exactly the outcome?

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The problem I have with your analysis of what the Tower wants from Roland is that he isnt told what is expected. He has no idea against what he is being measured so how can he ever reach some mysterious "goodness" level if he doesnt know what is expected.
If he's a good person, he will become a better person over time due to wanting to be better during his lifetime. His chance for learning and growth exists, but only within a single loop. This is why it's important that the loops change his past, so as to reflect the growth he experienced in the previous loop.

In the series we read, Roland first lets Jake die. We then see him take a risk and change the past so Jake doesn't die, even though he knows it could break his mind trying to reconcile the different timelines. So we see Roland grow as a person, to become someone better, and the new loop reflects that change, with the horn as evidence.

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Souls eternally suffering in Hell do beg for it to end but they also realize it wont because they understand they have earned this punishment for their actions.
Except Hell also includes heathens and pagans, those who didn't worship the right faith. Your Aztecs that are just "products of their society" are suffering there. There's flaws in every religion's afterlife scenrio.

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As for your parents, if they gave you no explanation of why you had to go to school, then yes they were being jerks. If they explained that it was for your own good and would benefit you throughout life, then they were being good parents. Communications is an awesome thing.
The Tower communicated, both to Roland and to us, that he has a chance for salvation if he makes the right choices, if he "stays true." He knows what that means based on a lifetime of experience, and we know what that means from reading the books.

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And as for controlling Roland, that is exactly what the Tower is doing. It has total control, Roland has zero. If it informed him what it wanted and let him retain the memory, then you could say it is benevolent and that everything Roland did from that point was free choice.
If The Tower had Roland retain his memories and told him exactly what to do in his journey to reach Nirvana, that wouldn't be actual redemption because he wouldn't be doing those actions because he decided it, but because the Tower told him to do it. It'd be the opposite of free will, and Roland wouldn't grow as a person.

Again, in Groundhog Day, nobody told Phil Connors how to break the loop. what the "correct" way to live the day was. He just kept reliving the day until he realized that the best way to relive it over and over was by improving himself (taking piano lessons) and being selfless and helping others. He figured that out on his own, and the universe rewarded him by giving him a girlfriend and breaking the loop. Now, would you consider that experience as one done by a force cruel and malevolent? I mean, Phil does reach a low point where he commits suicide several times, he clearly wants out.


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I dont know if you are a man or a woman, if you are a man and have dated a woman or married one, it is sort of like that....
This is incredibly sexist, and you shouldn't say things like that to anyone, male or female.


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Maybe its just that I am a straight-forward kind of guy. I like endings. To me, there is no ending, and that sucks.
Oh, I definitely had my own issues with the non-ending ending, especially after I first read it. I'm not entirely happy with my interpretation of what the ending means, but I do believe it's the correct one, and better than your interpretations.
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Old 11-30-16, 06:53 PM   #96
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Re: The Dark Tower

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I9 understand Christianity fine, I was raised Christian myself. I was just rephrasing the religion in a reductionist, dismissive way, the same way you phrased reincarnation.

If you agree that people can make up for past transgressions, why does it have to be done over one lifetime instead of many?
I didn't say that people can make up for their past transgressions. I said that Jesus paid the price to atone for all of them. That is different.
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Old 11-30-16, 07:10 PM   #97
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Re: The Dark Tower

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That's prediction, not knowledge. A better example would be programming a robot with a rudimentary AI and then designing a maze for it to navigate in a way that you know exactly how it will decide to navigate it. Even though at each intersection in the maze the AI "decides" what path to take, is it really a free decision since you designed both it and the maze and knew exactly the outcome?
The scenario you outline is the exact opposite of free will. If you program a robot it will do exactly what you program it to do. That seems to be incredible close to what the Tower is doing to Roland. It tweaks the program and changes him in little ways to try to get a result the Tower wants whether Roland wants that or not.

I was trying to put into a scenario how I think you can know what someone else will do and not effect their free will and how God can do it also. Obviously as a human, I don't have all of the answers and what I think I have is probably more wrong than right. But I do believe we have free will and can choose the paths we take, otherwise, our lives would be pointless.
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Old 11-30-16, 07:39 PM   #98
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Re: The Dark Tower

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If he's a good person, he will become a better person over time due to wanting to be better during his lifetime. His chance for learning and growth exists, but only within a single loop. This is why it's important that the loops change his past, so as to reflect the growth he experienced in the previous loop.

In the series we read, Roland first lets Jake die. We then see him take a risk and change the past so Jake doesn't die, even though he knows it could break his mind trying to reconcile the different timelines. So we see Roland grow as a person, to become someone better, and the new loop reflects that change, with the horn as evidence.
I think you missed my point about the Aztecs. My point was that as far as the knew, they were good people. What they wre doing was the accepted thing in their society. Their priests that were killing hundreds or thousands were some of the most respected people in their society.

To say that If Roland was a good person, he would become a better person overtime is meaningless if he doesn't know he has to become a better person. If there is no goal or yardstick to measure himself against, how is he to become the better person. You bring the example of him letting Jake die first and saving him the second time as a good thing. But that is because you are using yourself and your believes as the measuring stick. I am not saying you are wrong about that but we don't know that is what got him the horn this time. Since the Tower isn't providing guidance about what is expected, we are attributing our beliefs to be its beliefs.

The changes that you are talking about that the Tower would have to do to Roland would have to so fundamental as to create a different person. He may not even be a male anymore, or a gun slinger, his story would have to be totally different to the degree that he might not take up a gun. He could be following the man in black in the desert to apologize to him for having hated him for years for killing his mother. Would that mean he was a better person? Your theory postulates a total different story. The goal is no longer vengeance, the goal of the story in now the changing of Roland to make him a good enough person that the Tower will let him end his journey.
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Old 11-30-16, 07:41 PM   #99
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Re: The Dark Tower

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I didn't say that people can make up for their past transgressions. I said that Jesus paid the price to atone for all of them. That is different.
But you still have to atone for it, you still have to ask for forgiveness. So Christianity doesn't judge based solely on whether you've done a lot of evil or not, you can still do a lot of evil and eventually end up in Heaven if you legitimately regret it. The Tower is similar in that Roland has to have regretted certain actions and become a better person in order for his next loop to put him a step closer to salvation.

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The scenario you outline is the exact opposite of free will. If you program a robot it will do exactly what you program it to do. That seems to be incredible close to what the Tower is doing to Roland. It tweaks the program and changes him in little ways to try to get a result the Tower wants whether Roland wants that or not.
You seem to consider the changed past on the new loop to be a reflection of the Tower changing him in the way it wants him to be changed. It's not, and it wouldn't need more than one loop to do that. Instead, the Tower changes his past as a reflection on who he is at the end of the journey, which is different than who he was at the beginning. It's a form of letting Roland grow for his past experiences without having to have a direct memory of those past experiences.

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I was trying to put into a scenario how I think you can know what someone else will do and not effect their free will and how God can do it also.
It's still not a good comparison, since, again, it's just a prediction and not knowledge. Sure, you may say "I knew you were going to say that," when you predict accurately, but that's ignoring the 100x more common situations where you didn't know what they were going to say, and you said nothing.

Again, the idea is that, if God is both omniscient and omnipotent and created you, and thus knows at the point of creation everything you will say, think, and do, is that really free will? I mean, he could've just tweaked your creation a little bit and sent you on a completely different path, one he also would've completely known. And then he rewards or punishes you based on the actions he set you up for and knew you were going to do. It's a basic problem with having an omniscient deity.
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Old 11-30-16, 07:59 PM   #100
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Re: The Dark Tower

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I think you missed my point about the Aztecs. My point was that as far as the knew, they were good people. What they wre doing was the accepted thing in their society. Their priests that were killing hundreds or thousands were some of the most respected people in their society.
I don't think this applies in this situation, since Roland knows about The Tower and The White and Gan, and follows the teaching of the religion around it. He's been living his life trying to follow the ideals of The Tower, so for it to judge him is entirely fair.

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To say that If Roland was a good person, he would become a better person [over time] is meaningless if he doesn't know he has to become a better person.
What good person doesn't try to become a better person over the course of their lifetime? I don't need any knowledge of any past lives to know that I should do good in this one, and strive ever to do better.

Roland knows this too, hence the actions of saving Jake. Hence his regret at not retrieving the horn. He was incredibly flawed, but was generally on the side of good and wanted to do good, hence the change in the loop and the hope that he may ultimately reach salvation.

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The changes that you are talking about that the Tower would have to do to Roland would have to so fundamental as to create a different person. He may not even be a male anymore, or a gun slinger, his story would have to be totally different to the degree that he might not take up a gun.
I have no idea where you came up with this idea, and I never suggested changes of the degree you're mentioning as necessary. And also, the book itself suggests this isn't true, since the loop always starts back at the desert, with Roland in pursuit of the Man in Black, "to the moment in the Mohaine desert when he finally understood that his thoughtless, questionless quest would ultimately succeed." Roland's story may change in some incremental ways, but never the core of it.

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The goal is no longer vengeance...
The goal in a life should never be vengeance. Roland has to protect the Tower, and the Man in Black, The Crimson King, Mordred, and others have to die to protect it.
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