Maerlyn’s Rainbow

The Maerlyn’s Rainbow (or Bends o’ the Bow, Wizard’s Rainbow), are a group of magical objects that play an important role in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. It is made up of 13 talismans (crystal balls), twelve representing the Twelve Guardians of the Beams, the last representing the Dark Tower. Some show Mid-World, some show All-World, and some have the power to transport.

They are also referred to as “Bends in the Rainbow” by Roland’s father. The Bends as a group are referenced at least twice in the series: first, when Roland is talking with his father just before leaving for Mejis and the Outer Arc; second, when the ka-tet are standing in front of the glass gate (in Wizard and Glass). Those identified are the Pink, Black, Blue, Green, Orange, Yellow and Purple. Each Bend is associated with a terminus of one of the Beams, plus Black, which stands in the middle of the Rainbow for the Dark Tower.

According to The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #2 (March 7, 2007) the thirteen bends are: Crimson, Orange, Yellow, Pink, Dark Blue, Dark Green, Indigo, Lime, Azure, Violet, Brown, Pearl Grey, and Black.

It is also stated in the same issue that six of these Bends are in the possession of the Crimson King. The only one mentioned by name in the issue is Black 13. The other five appear to be Blue, Lime, Yellow, Orange, and Purple. The Crimson King uses Black 13 to communicate with Walter O’Dim. These events occur around the same time that the Pink Bend is given to the witch Rhea of the Cöos.

Origin

The sorcerer Maerlyn created the objects from “The magic of the Prim”. He created them to bring chaos into the world, and he also created demons for every sphere, as seen in the comic “The Sorcerer”. Randall Flagg, the bastard son of Maerlyn, has an affair with the demon of the Pink Bend of the Rainbow.

The Pink Bend

Also known as Maerlyn’s Grapefruit, was in the possession of John Farson, but was left with Rhea in Mejis when Roland and friends were sent there. Roland managed to take it home with him to his father, but it was stolen after the death of Gabrielle Deschain. Roland and his new ka-tet come across it in the Green Palace after a confrontation with the man in black at the end of Wizard and Glass.

The crystal acts like a conventional crystal ball within the scope of the written stories, although more diverse uses are implied. When looked upon, it can show a single person visions of current and future events elsewhere, presumably only in the same world. Like the monkey’s paw, the visions can be back-handed, lying through reflection or other tricks to manipulate the viewer towards evil actions. By showing a vision cast in a mirror, the Pink Bend was able to confuse Roland into killing his mother. Additionally, the glass can entrance the viewer and cause a severe addiction to being viewed. A prime example of this was Rhea, and later Roland as well.

The Black Bend (Black Thirteen)

Black Thirteen was given to Father Callahan by the man in black while Roland was chasing him. Callahan was transported to Calla Bryn Sturgis by it, and subsequently hid it away after settling down in the Calla. When Roland’s ka-tet arrived in Wolves of the Calla, he offers it to Roland as incentive for their aid.

Mia steals it after the showdown with the Wolves and uses it to escape to the New York of 1999, where she planned to give birth to Mordred Deschain. Jake Chambers and Pére Callahan follow and retrieve Black Thirteen, then store it in a locker beneath the World Trade Center. It is not known precisely what happened to it afterward, though the implication is that on September 11, 2001, the building it was stored in fell on top of it and destroyed it or that the tons of rubble and subsequent new building would have buried Black 13 underground, leaving it inaccessible forever.

Other bends

The Green and Orange Bends are reputed to be in Lud and Dis respectively. The Blue Bend was last seen with a band of slow mutants who called themselves “The Total Hogs”; however, they are said to have lost it.

In The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower, Rando Thoughtful tells Roland that before killing himself, the Crimson King smashed the rest of the Bends in his possession – presumably so that no one else could have them, or out of thoughtless anger.

4 Responses to Maerlyn’s Rainbow

  1. SolielRose says:

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  2. Joseph Miller says:

    Funny that you mention the Talismans. There’s a book that alludes to one of these balls in another story of Stephen King. It’s called the “The Talisman.”

    • seemykids99 . says:

      Incorrect. The Talisman was not a bend of the rainbow, it was an encarntation of the Dark Tower itself.

      The Talisman was “the Nexus of all possible worlds”

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