Sunday, April 22, 2012

R is for Roland (and Rand)

The names of the main protagonist in my two favorite series begin with the letter R.  Roland Deschain of Gilead from Stephen King's The Dark Tower, and Rand al'Thor, The Dragon Reborn from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time. While Roland is an anti-hero Rand is more of a tragic-hero.

Roland is The Gunslinger Born from Marvel Comics
Roland has many features which are the opposite of what you would expect to find in a true hero.  He is impatient and angry much of the time. He is condescending to those he consider weak willed.  He is above all selfish. Though Roland gladly risks life and limb for those he believes need his protection, he will not hesitate to abandon them if it took him another step toward his ultimate goal of reaching and climbing the Dark Tower. Over the course of the story Roland becomes softer and more caring but ultimately reaches his goal after sacrificing almost everything he ever cared about, damning himself in the process.

Rand however was the unwilling hero at first.  He denied being the Dragon Reborn until there was no doubt left that he was indeed the Dragon.  He tried running from his destiny, tried to escape but eventually gave up and accepted his fate. He sacrifices what he thinks he must in order to fulfill his destiny, in order to save the world.  His sacrifices include his family and home, his friends and even parts of himself, both physically and spiritually. Rand looses much never trying to retain anything for himself unless it is needed in his fight against Shai'tan, The Dark One.

Rand al'Thor on the Sun Throne of Cairhien
While these two characters a far apart in terms of their character arcs the two men eventually become very similar in personality and drive. They are both forced to become very hard men.  Hard so they can withstand the forces pushing and pulling and attacking them, preventing them from accomplishing their goals and meeting their destinies.

Another obscure relation between these two is their connection to King Arthur.  Both Roland's Mid-World and Rand's Randland have their King Arthur analogues.  Roland is directly descended (30th generation) from Arthur Eld, a great king of his realm.  Rand has many things connecting him to Artur Paendrag Tanreall, Artur Hawkwing, The High King. Among others Rand is compared as being even more strongly Ta'veren than Artur Hawkwing.


  1. Interesting comparison. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month. My alphabet is at

  2. Nice Rand drawing. Whoever drew that is probably pretty awesome.