Crimson King

Fictional Biography

According to The Dark Tower comics, The Crimson King was created as the result of a creature of the Prim, the chaotic primordial void that the universes arose from, known as the Crimson Queen and Arthur Eld whom the creature mated with through deception. The main protagonist of the series, Roland Deschain, is also descended from Eld, thus making them distant cousins. This is the key through which Roland can defeat the King, as stated in prophecy laid out during the course of the series.

The King is introduced in the Stephen King novel Insomnia, where he is depicted as a powerful and mysterious entity that forces others to do his bidding. He seeks to kill a child named Patrick Danville who is prophesied to aid in bringing the King down; he is defeated during a confrontation with that novel’s main protagonist, Ralph Roberts. He makes his next appearance at the end of Black House, where he is revealed to be responsible for the events of that novel and is seen to have been weakened by the actions of protagonist Jack Sawyer and his allies. In the Dark Tower novels, the King is revealed to be behind the destruction of the beams that hold up the Dark Tower which holds reality and all of the universes together. He is shown to have gone insane and his intentions are not quite clear beyond that he wishes to destroy the Tower and possibly rule the darkness that would follow. He rules from the lands of Discordia and, as his insanity worsens, he kills nearly everyone in his employ and even kills himself. He thus becomes undead and possibly immune to Roland’s guns. He reaches the tower before Roland, but is trapped on a balcony on one of its lower levels. When Roland finally meets the King at the climax of the final Dark Tower novel, he appears as an old man with a white beard and blood red eyes who throws grenades from his imprisonment on the Tower. As previously predicted, his downfall is wrought by Roland and Patrick Danville.

Characteristics

The Crimson King has taken many forms throughout the series. He has the ability to shapeshift as evidenced in Insomnia, where he takes forms that terrify those that confront him the most. When he is injured by Ralph Roberts, he reverts first to a handsome, blonde man, and then to a creature Ralph is unable to properly see, suggesting that like It, the King’s true form can’t be comprehended by human beings. In the Dark Tower series he has the appearance of an old man with white hair and fangs, but in the comics he appears both as a monstrous entity with spiderlike characteristics much like his son Mordred, as well as a bald man with a large tusk or horn on his head. Throughout all of his appearances his one defining characteristic is his blood red eyes, which fascinate anyone who looks into them. Patrick Danville also mentions that the King fades in and out of view due to his transcendent magical powers.

The King prefers to work from the background and his sigil, that of glaring red eye, is seen throughout the books he has appeared in. He employs others to do his bidding, such as Randall Flagg, Atropos, Mr. Munshun, Dandelo, John Farson, and a number of minor characters including vampires, low men, and the taheen.

In other King works

The Crimson King is also mentioned in the Stephen King novel Hearts in Atlantis.

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