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In the books, it is a mysterious force that leads all living (and unliving) creatures. It is the will of Gan, the approximate equivalent of destiny or fate, in King's fictional language of High Speech. Ka can be considered to be a guide, a destination, but is certainly not a plan - at least, not one that is known to mortals. Ka is not necessarily a force of good or evil; it manipulates both sides, and seems to have no definite morality of its own.
The official Dark Tower site (see below) describes ka as the following: "Ka... signifies life-force, consciousness, duty and destiny. In the vulgate, or low speech, it also means a place to which an individual must go."
Concepts Involving Ka Edit
Because of the importance of ka to the world of King's Dark Tower, many phrases in the High Speech use the word ka, such as:
- ka-babbies: young ka-tet members.
- ka-tel: a class of apprentice gunslingers.
- ka-mai: ka's fool.
- ka-me: ka's wiseman; the opposite of ka-mai.
- kas-ka: a prophet
- ka-shume: a unique feeling that a ka-tet is destined to break soon.
- te-ka: ka's friend.
- Can'-Ka No Rey: the red fields of none, where the Dark Tower lies.
- tet-ka can Gan: the navel (specifically, the navel of Gan).
- kas-ka Gan: singer of Gan's song/ prophet of Gan.
- ves-ka Gan: Song of the Turtle
A ka-tet is a group of beings brought together by ka. "We are ka-tet. We are one from many," says Roland Deschain on the day before the Battle of Algul Siento. Ka-tet is the belief that a group of people can be tied together by fate, or "ka". It is said that a group has shared "khef" or the water of life. Sometimes the symbol of water is used literally, as in a ritual Roland and his ka-tet performs the night before the battle of Algul Siento. In the seventh novel, Susannah Dean, who ends up understanding ka maybe more than Roland himself, comes to the understanding that in simple terms, "ka-tet" means family.
Roland's "ka-tet" includes himself, Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean, Oy, Jake Chambers, and Donald Callahan. Roland's previous ka-tet included himself, Cuthbert Allgood, Jamie De Curry, Alain Johns and Susan Delgado.
This a concept frequently used by King, even in books that do not use the terms ka or ka-tet, such as It, The Stand, Desperation , Insomnia, Dreamcatcher, and Duma Key. This may be compared to Kurt Vonnegut's "karass".
References in other works by KingEdit
Ka is mentioned in some of King's other books, including Hearts in Atlantis and Desperation. The characters James Eric Gardener in The Tommyknockers and Rosie McClendon in Rose Madder also ponder about ka. It is mentioned in The Stand by Judge Farris when he observes a crow outside his window that he believes is Randall Flagg shortly before he is killed by Flagg's men. However, in this context it appears that "ka" refers to the Egyptian word for life force.