The Dark Tower Wiki
“It is wise not to trust the untrustworthy.”
   — Abel Vannay

Abel Vannay was one of the tutors assigned to train apprentice gunslingers. He was the riddle master of Gilead and prepares riddles for the riddling competition which takes part during the feast to celebrate a gunslingers coming of age.

The name of "Vannay the Wise" is one of the names that Roland calls out as he approaches the Tower.


As a young child he was always inquisitive and set out upon a never ending quest for knowledge and understanding and quickly began to excel in his scholarly pursuits often surpassing the knowledge of his tutors. Most people thought he was an eccentric because of this but Cort quickly became a trusted confident as he too had a thirst for knowledge.

During his adolescent years he forsook the Gunslinger way of life, believing the violence caused more problems than it solved and so began travelling abroad. He went from village to village, following the magnetic Beams but eventually old age caught up with him and he became afflicted with arthritis so returned to Gilead becoming a philosophy tutor.

Role as a Teacher[]

Vannay taught the young gunslingers the science that was left over from the old days, including physics and chemistry. However, he also taught of the world's magic. While Cortland Andrus taught the apprentices how to fight, Vannay provided the mental training, although both taught the Way of Eld. He taught Roland Deschain about the Dark Tower, Maerlyn's Rainbow, and todash. He gave Roland the nickname of "Gabby", reflecting the close-mouthed nature of Roland. He stopped using the name when Roland turned eleven.

Soon after his return he fathered a son with a women several years his younger who died in childbirth, he named his son Wallace but unfortunately he died young which caused Vannay to throw himself into his lessons, becoming a father-figure to the many gunslinger apprentices in order to cope with his grief.

He is constantly trying to devise new ways to impart his knowledge on these apprentices as he knows some do not wish to learn what he knows.

Role in the Dark Tower Series[]


He carries out a riddling competition, confused when Kingson knows all the answers, thinking the answers he gives are wrong.

The Fall of Gilead[]

Abel with Cort and Steven Deschain realize Kingson was there for Maerlyn's Grapefruit, Steven then instructs them to search his room for clues. Abel leaves Cort to search returning he realizes that the book Cort has found is poisonous but he is too late to save his friend. He watches over his friend as he dies informed by Laird De Curry it cannot be cured, asking that all gunslinger apprentices come to say their goodbyes. He is the one who prepares Corts body for burial but is killed by Gilead's Guards before he can finish. His body is found by Roland Deschain and Aileen Ritter.