Parallels in LOST and Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” – Part 2 – The Temple and The Tower

Last time, I said that the Dark Tower was “in the most essential terms, [. . .] the center of all possible realities, a hub where parallel dimensions exist as levels of the Tower itself. As one climbs the Tower, the different floors contain doors leading to different worlds. It has been held standing for eons by focused energy called Beams which Roland Deschain eventually follows to reach the Dark Tower itself and complete that leg of his quest for redemption.”

In LOST, there is a structure that is possible will equate to this—the Others’ Temple. Even though the series has not yet shown what the Temple actually is, characters have mentioned it as being a sanctuary that must be protected from outsiders. This leads me to assume that there is something inherently special about the Temple itself; there is something it has that the rest of the Island does not. There are aspects of the Island and The Dark Tower that I believe equates it with being LOST’s analogue of the Dark Tower itself.

First, the name. Being called the Temple automatically denotes sacredness and a level of exclusivity among those who are allowed access. In The Dark Tower, only those chosen by the Tower (or by ka, a destiny-like force which regulates the universe) are able to reach its base, and even fewer are allowed access inside. Most who hear about the Dark Tower consider it a myth or superstition, relegating its true nature to only those who are willing to believe. So in a way, the two structures represent the most sanctified location in their respective universes.

Secondly, and more importantly, both the Temple and the Dark Tower are centrally located in a circle of what can best be described as focal points. In The Dark Tower, these focal points are portals leading to separate worlds, other levels of the Tower, or parallel dimensions. Roland and his companions find one and fight its guardian, Shardik, a giant mechanical bear. In the opposite direction from the portal, a Beam leads directly to the Dark Tower itself. There are Twelve of these portals along six Beams, with the Dark Tower dead center between them. Only those who are attuned to the Beams can see them, but once they are seen, a person cannot unsee them. That person will always have a direct route to the Tower outlined for them.

Stephen King.com has a chart with a visual representation of each Beam as well as its respective portal and guardian. Take a look at what I’m talking about.

turtle

During LOST Season 2, John Locke finds a similar image inscribed onto the Swan Station’s blast door. This image maps each Dharma Initiative science station surrounding an unknown location in the center. This map was able to be seen only during power outages in the hatch, paralleling the difficulty in discovering the Beams.

lost-blastdoordvd

This unknown station is likely the Others’ Temple, and the Dharma Initiative built their science stations at specific places around it to tap into whatever special properties the Temple possesses. These properties are most visible through the electromagnetic anomalies at The Swan and The Orchid, and they have functioned similarly to The Dark Tower’s portals at the end of Beams. Where Shardik’s portal was able to function as a gateway Roland and his companions could take to another level of the Dark Tower, The Swan gives Desmond Hume the ability to see the future and inadvertently re-experience his past, and The Orchid works through harnessing latent electromagnetism to open a portal through space-time which has resulted in John Locke and Ben

Linus (and at least one polar bear) traveling to Tunisia.

If I extrapolate this out, then the analogy becomes more pronounced. In The Dark Tower, the portals at the ends of Beams possessed a fraction of the Tower’s actual power and could transport someone to a single alternate world, while the Dark Tower at the center of the Beam could transport them to any alternate world, and in fact, was the scaffolding on which all of the alternate worlds were built. From this perspective, the LOST stations, then, possess only a partial amount of the power inside the Temple itself. If The Orchid can transport someone to Tunisia a year into the future, and The Swan can grant flashes of future events, then the Temple can be assumed to have properties along those same lines, only more pronounced. It might possess the ability for sustained clairvoyance, controlled time-travel, or even the ability to alter reality itself.

The lattermost of these abilities is shown in the finale of LOST Season 4 when Ben moves the Island by harnessing The Orchid’s electromagnetic properties. When he does so, he proves that the Island is not bound by the same laws of physics as the rest of the world. In the fifth season, viewers find that not only is the Island able to be forcibly moved in space-time, but its location is naturally in a state of flux. Eloise Hawking introduces Jack Shephard and his companions to the Lamp Post station in Los Angeles that the Dharma Initiative used to find the location of the Island at any given point in time, taking into account its constant movement. The procedure involved a swinging pendulum which left unique marks used for triangulation on a map on the floor of the laboratory.

lamppost

The marks on the floor are very much in the same pattern as the Beams which lead to the Dark Tower or the Dharma Stations to the Temple. If the Swan map is accurate, then it can be assumed that the Temple is roughly the center of the Island, which would also make it the central spot in the Lamp Post’s calculations, therefore leading me to conclude that it is the largest locus of power on the Island, much like the Dark Tower is in its world. It is not just the Island’s unique scientific properties that the drew the Dharma Initiative’s attention, but the Temple itself because that is where such properties emanate, and access to it has consistently been denied to them by the Others.

The Temple, like the Dark Tower, must be protected from those who wish to do it harm. Ben mentions in Season 5 that an outer wall has been built a half-mile around the Temple in order to keep people from coming anywhere close to it. The Dark Tower, too, is protected from a distance, but instead of a wall, by a field of roses called Can’-Ka No Rey. The price of having a location of such phenomenal capability is that it must be constantly watched by dedicated guardians, and both the Dark Tower and the Temple possess these. Parallels can be drawn between Roland’s ka-tet and the Others, Shardik and the Monster both serving as security systems, and structures such as the outer wall and Can’-Ka No Rey.

While the Temple has not been shown to audiences, enough is known about the Island itself and the mythology behind it to extrapolate what it could be. This is what I think it could be. I have no idea what it could physically look like, though I do wonder if it will be as aged as the rest of the ruins on the Island. With the series’ penchant for time-travel and blending architectural styles (Dharma + Jungle + Suburbia, for example), I truly wonder if the Temple could be a modern or otherwise out-of-place structure built initially to harness the Island’s power and focus it into a workable form. I am curious if the Egyptian-inspired décor of the Island’s ruins is but a façade for something much more unique and out-there than the rest of the series so far.

With the Temple being the Dark Tower’s analogue in this theory, it leads me to conclude that LOST’s penchant for course correction and The Dark Tower’s notion of ka run the same course. Since ka is known to emanate from the Tower itself, does that mean the Island’s will is served through the Temple itself? I’ll cover that in Part 3 of this series.

Next up: The Island, Destiny, and Ka.

Comments

  1. Jennifer

    Ooh-la-la indeed.

    We do know of one power the Temple has that none of the stations (to our knowledge) have: the ability to heal someone who is medically beyond help.

  2. Beej

    That goes into directly what I was saying in that the Temple might possess enhanced abilities based around the Dharma stations. There was a medical station (the Staff, I think) where Ethan originally brought Claire for her prenatal kidnapping injections and where Juliet took Sun to give her an ultrasound. We don't know a whole lot about it, but it certainly thematically fits into my theory of possessing an enhanced trait from each station.

  3. Crazy Bearded Jack

    Great write-up!! I really enjoyed reading it. I agree with you that the Temple is going to be a quite different structure from those we've been used to seeing. My thinking is that it was there BEFORE the Egyptians arrived – so while the Egyptian heiros are significant in that regard they don't apply to the Temple's actual look and purpose. The only thing I don't agree with is the centralized unknown station – We've been shown that that station is in fact The Pearl.

  4. Beej

    D'OH indeed.

    I had completely forgotten the Pearl was the central Dharma station on the map.