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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.
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".
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.
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
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.
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.
- 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.
- Crimson King at the Stephen King wiki
- Crimson King at the The Dark Tower wiki
- Crimson King at the Devil wiki
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Secret Window, Secret Garden
The Dark Half
Storm of the Century
Bag of Bones
Lunch at the Gotham Café
From a Buick 8
A Good Marriage
Gwendy's Button Box
In The Tall Grass
The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer
The Gingerbread Girl
The Night Flier
Why We're In Vietnam