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All hail the Crimson King.
~ The Crimson King

The Crimson King is the overarching antagonist of the Stephen King mythos.

He serves as the main antagonist of the novels Insomnia and Black House. He is also the main antagonist of The Dark Tower series, specifically as the unseen overarching antagonist of The Gunslinger, Wizard and Glass, and Song of Susannah, and the main antagonist of The Dark Tower.

He is a transdimensional demonic were-spider who wishes to remake the multiverse in his own image so he can rule it all in chaos. He is the master of Randall Flagg and Atropos, and the ultimate enemy of Roland Deschain, the Last Gunslinger. His last setback of killing his own court and his own physical body seems to be what finally drove the King irredeemably insane, and while a creature of pure nightmare, he is able to be defeated by mortals.

Biography

Background

The Crimson King is described as a demonic creature who rules over evil and everts demonic creatures (with some notable exceptions such as Tak and possibly It) as their "king" in several universes of the Stephen King collective multiverse.

It is revealed in Marvel Comics' comic book adaptations of The Dark Tower series that he was born of a union between a female elder demon of the primordial Prim (the chaos/nothingness before the cosmos formed), only known as the Crimson Queen; and the difficult-to-place icon of Roland's world, a male human named King Arthur Eld. Arthur Eld was seemingly the first unified ruler of the world since the Great Old Ones had caused an apocalypse on many levels, destruction so thorough, all was thought lost. This is likely what was meant by him being mentioned as born from chaos.

Whether Eld was supposed to have any connection to the legendary and historical Arthur of our time and place is never spoken of. Celebrating his united crown, Eld and his court threw a celebration that was stated to be open to anyone. Using this opening, the Spider Queen demon and her followers assumed pleasing Human forms and reveled with the Human celebrants, with the Queen seducing Eld and producing the Crimson King. Since Roland is also a descendant of Eld, the two are distantly related, and he even referred to Roland as his "cousin".

Insomnia

The Crimson King selects Susan Day to be killed in a mass slaughter alongside many of her followers and sends his own follower Atropos to convince Ed Deepneau to create it, as part of a plan to spark chaos in the universe he's in. Over the course of the novel, Ralph Roberts and Lois Chasse become aware of the Crimson King's existence, with Ralph getting a vision of the Dark Tower, which holds the entire multiverse together.

Soon, the King manages to drive Deepneau insane, causing him to crash an airplane right next to the Derry Civic Center, and the attack kills Day and her followers as the Crimson King had planned. As Ralph races against time to save Natalie, Deepneau's daughter, he and Lois discover that the success of Deepneau's attack could determine the fate of the entire multiverse and that the King's real target is none other than Patrick Danville, a young boy who is prophesized to play an important role in saving the Dark Tower, and the entire multiverse along with it.

The Crimson King is now finally able to undo the prophecy because the story takes place in Derry, a town with convergence. However, his plot is ultimately foiled as Clotho and Lachesis manage to save Patrick and his mother, and the multiverse remains intact.

Black House

The King sends out a demonic being known as Mr. Munshun, or the Fisherman, to hunt down and capture children Breakers, or people with psychic powers. These children are enslaved so that they are forced to work at the Big Combination, a power plant where disharmony is unleashed from and the Breakers' powers can be utilized in the Crimson King's goal of toppling the Dark Tower and remaking the multiverse as he sees fit. Upon the capture of Tyler Marshall, Munshun's fourth victim and presumably the most powerful Breaker to have ever lived, Jack Sawyer, now in his thirties, realizes that the boy may be the key for the Crimson King to finally achieve his goal. Unfortunately for the King, Tyler destroys the Big Combination, foiling his plan once again.

The Dark Tower series

Background

The King supported the rise to power of pawns such as Randall Flagg and John Farson in his quest to drive All-World to its final ruin, and the collapse of the Tower. Through a particularly twisted and convoluted scheme, he caused Susannah Dean, apprentice gunslinger under Roland, to become impregnated with a child who would be both his own and Roland's, giving this child access to the Dark Tower, the King could never have. The child (tellingly called "Mordred") was all his fathers were, squared and cubed, but their flaws were also magnified in him, and he in essence self-destructed.

The Dark Tower

The Crimson King enslaves many powerful psychics known as the Breakers to destroy the Dark Tower, an eldritch monument that is the base of every existing universe, so that everything in existence would collapse with, being replaced by chaotic darkness that he could rule and manipulate forever.

The Crimson King first appears as a menacing, dangerous, and intimidating dark lord, but he fittingly becomes more and more insane as the story progresses, ultimately murdering everything around himself and ultimately himself. After his demise, he becomes an undead abomination who attacks the protagonists and is ultimately defeated as he is erased from existence through a magical picture that represents him being created then erased.

Even after his erasure, the King endured as a bodiless wraith, reduced to a set of eyes, becoming his namesake sigil, the "Crimson King's Eye" or "Crimson Eye", and because Roland's journey was revealed to be a cyclical one, it is unknown whether he defeats the King the same way in each iteration.

Personality

The Crimson King himself is portrayed as an intelligent creature who is bent on destroying the multiverse by knocking down the Dark Tower, so he can remake it in his own image. Despite his intelligence, over the course of the The Dark Tower book series, he seems to grow more insane and his homicidal urges seem to happen more often.

He tends to promise his allies power and prestige, but also tends to demand that they serve him with no questions. He is shown to have no problem of having anyone including young children murdered, as he is known to of ordered his servants to have children murdered in order to secure his plans go without fail.

The Crimson King also seems to be a rather pretentious and paranoid creature who fears a prophecy that he will meet his end to the point he eventually kills all those around him and later himself, so he can become an undead abomination that retains not only his mind but powers. This is done so no conventional means could kill him and he could continue his mad quest to remake the multiverse into a chaotic void to rule for all eternity.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The Deadlights

    One of the Crimson King's many deadly arsenals at his command is writhing bright orange lights called "Deadlights", a dangerous and eldritch form of energy, which composes the very life essence of another inhuman Stephen King villain known as It.
  • The SCP Foundation's mythos includes a similar eldritch demon called the Scarlet King, who is presumably based on the Crimson King.
  • His downfall embodies Stephen King's idea that while true evil seems alluring and seductive from a distance, up close, it is usually quite pathetic.

External Links

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Carrie
Billy Nolan | Carrie White | Chris Hargensen | Donna and Mary Lila Grace Thibodeau | Helen Shyres | Margaret White | Mortimer Snerds | Rachel Lang | Ralph White | Ruth Gogan | Tina Blake

Salem's Lot
Kurt Barlow | Richard Straker

Children of the Corn
Children of the Corn (Isaac Chroner | Malachai Boardman) | He Who Walks Behind the Rows

Trucks
Westway Refrigerated Truck | Bulldozer

Jerusalem's Lot
Philip Boone | The Worm

The Mangler
Bill Gartley | Lin Sue | The Mangler | The Mangler Virus

Quitter's Inc.
Mr. Donatti | Quitters Inc.

The Boogeyman
The Boogeyman

The Shining
Jack Torrance | Hotel Caretaker | Lorraine Massey | Overlook Hotel

The Stand
Barry Dorgan | Bobby Terry | Harold Lauder | Julie Lawry | Lloyd Henreid | Nadine Cross | Randall Flagg | The Kid | The Rat Man | Trashcan Man | Whitney Horgan

Rage
Charlie Decker | Mr. Decker

The Long Walk
The Major | Gary Barkovitch

Roadwork
Barton George Dawes | Sal Maglorie

The Running Man
Damon Killian | United States of America

The Dark Tower
Dark Tower Villains

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption
Bogs Diamond | Byron Hadley | Elmo Blatch | Samuel Norton | Sisters

Apt Pupil
Kurt Dussander | Todd Bowden

The Body
John "Ace" Merrill | Milo Pressman

Christine
Arnie Cunningham | Christine | Repperton Gang

Cujo
Cujo | Joe Camber | Stephen Kemp

Cycle of the Werewolf
Lester Lowe

The Dead Zone
Frank Dodd | Greg Stillson

Firestarter
Captain Hollister | Doctor Herman Pynchot | John Rainbird

It
Alvin Marsh | Bowers Gang (Belch Huggins | Henry Bowers | Marcia Fadden (novel only) | Patrick Hockstetter | Peter Gordon | Vic Criss) | Butch Bowers | It | Richard Macklin | Tom Rogan

Creepshow
Creepshow Creep | Crate Beast | Nathan Grantham | Richard Vickers | Upson Pratt | Wilma Northrup

Creepshow 2
Creepshow Creep | Creepshow Bullies | Lake Blob | Sam Whitemoon | The HitchHiker

Creepshow 3
Creepshow Creep | Rachel

Cat's Eye
Cressner | Mr. Donatti | Quitters Inc. | Troll

Thinner
Tadzu Lemke | Billy Halleck | Richie Ginelli

The Tailsman
Heck Bast | Sonny Singer

The Mist
Mrs. Carmody | The Mist

The Monkey
The Monkey

Cain Rose Up
Curt Garrish

The Raft
Lake Blob

Word Processor of the Gods
Richard Hagstrom | Roger Hagstrom

Maximum Overdrive
Bubba Hendershot | Camp Loman | Happy Toyz Truck | Ice Cream Truck | M274 Mule | Vending Machine

Misery
Annie Wilkes

Pet Sematary
Church | Gage Creed | Rachel Creed | Ellie Creed (2019 film only) | Wendigo | Timmy Baterman | Renee Hallow | Gus Gilbert | Clyde Parker | Zowie

The Tommyknockers
Tommyknockers | Nancy Voss

The Langoliers
Craig Toomey | Langoliers | Roger Toomey

Secret Window, Secret Garden
John Shooter

The Dark Half
George Stark

Dolores Claiborne
Joe St. George

Gerald's Game
Gerald Burlingame | Moonlight Man | Tom

Needful Things
Danforth Keeton | John "Ace" Merrill | Leland Gaunt

Gramma
Gramma Bruckner | Hastur

Crouch End
The Entity

Dolan's Cadillac
Jimmy Dolan

The Green Mile
William Wharton | Percy Wetmore

Sleepwalkers
Charles Brady | Mary Brady | Sleepwalkers

Storm of the Century
André Linoge

Dreamcatcher
Byrus | Mr. Gray

Bag of Bones
Max Devore | Sara Tidwell | Roggete

Rose Red
Professor Joyce Reardon

Insomnia
Atropos | Crimson King

Rose Madder
Norman Daniels

Desperation
Sheriff Collie Entragian | Tak

The Regulators
Seth Garin | Tak

Lunch at the Gotham Café
Guy

From a Buick 8
The Buick

Cell
Phone Crazies | Raggedy Man

Lisey's Story
Andrew Landon | Long Boy

Black House
Charles Burnside

Duma Key
Perse

Under the Dome
Christine Price | Dawn Sinclair-Barbara | Jim Rennie (TV series version) | Junior Rennie | Phil Bushey

11/22/63
Lee Harvey Oswald | Frank Dunning

A Good Marriage
Robert Bob Anderson

Big Driver
Lester Norville | Ramona Norville

Blind Willie
Raymond Fiegler

Mr. Mercedes
Brady Hartsfield | Morris Bellamy

Doctor Sleep
Rose the Hat | The True Knot | Crow Daddy | Grandpa Flick | Barry the Chink | Snakebite Andi

Gwendy's Button Box
Richard Farris

In The Tall Grass
Ross Humboldt

The Crate
Crate Beast

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer
Ellen Rimbauer

The Gingerbread Girl
Jim Pickering

The Ledge
Cressner

The Night Flier
Dwight Renfield

The Outsider
The Outsider

Why We're In Vietnam
Ronnie Malenfant

1922
Wilfred James

           Dark Tower Logo.png Villains

Humans
Bern Kells | Big Coffin Hunters | Cordelia Delgado | Detta Walker | Eldred Jonas | Enrico Balazar | Gasher | Hax | Hitler Brothers | Jack Andolini | Jack Mort | John Farson | Rhea of the Cöos | Tick-Tock Man

Non-Humans
Crimson King | Dandelo | Kurt Barlow | Man in Black | Mia | Mordred Deschain

Machines
Blaine the Mono | Wolves

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