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Guardians of the Beam

The Elephant, Bear, Wolf, Rat, and Hare guardians aid Arthur Eld and his fellow gunslingers in their time of need.

The Guardians of the Beam are twelve powerful creatures born of magic and fused with the technology of the Great Old Ones in the form of large cybernetic animals. They defend the Dark Tower and its many worlds from the forces of the Outer Dark.

When children in Mid-World are old enough to draw, they learn a rough map of the earth that resembles a clock-face. Around the outside edge, an X is placed marking a portal into and out of Mid-World. Each of these portals has a Guardian which starting at the top and working clock-wise are the Elephant, Rat, Bat, Eagle, Dog, Turtle, Wolf, Fish, Hare, Lion, Horse and Bear. Each Guardian is paired with the one on the opposite edge (Elephant & Wolf, Rat & Fish, etc) and between them stretches a Beam which holds together gravity and the proper alignment of time, space, size, and dimension. At the intersection of the six beams, and the center of the map, stands the Dark Tower, the nexus of the entire space-time continuum.[1]

Known Guardians:[]

Maturin the Turtle:[]

After Gan created the world, it rolled off the edge of existence and would have been lost had Maturin not caught it on his back. Maturin is undoubtedly the guardian most often mentioned in the Dark Tower books, and the guardian most significant to the plot of the story. He is named after a character named Stephen Maturin in Patrick O'Brien's Maturin/Aubrey series of novels, in which Stephen Maturin discovers and names a new species of tortoise.

Garuda the Eagle:[]

Little is known about Garuda. However, he is named after Garuda, the eagle who serves as the mount of the Hindu god Vishnu. In The Wind Through the Keyhole, Tim Stoutheart flies home on a magic dibbin (a magical cloth that serves him as a flying carpet) with the help of one of Garuda's feathers.

Aslan the Lion:[]

Named after the character in C.S. Lewis's Narnia series, in which he serves as a Jesus metaphor. Almost nothing is known about Aslan as a guardian in the Dark Tower series.

Shardik the Bear:[]

Named for the titular character in Richard Adams' novel. Adams is best known for writing Watership Down. The robot version of Shardik, sometimes called Mir, goes insane and is infested with parasites after thousands of years of service; when he attacks Eddie, Susannah finally puts the 70 foot tall creature out of his misery.

Role in the Dark Tower Series[]

Eddie Dean, Susannah Dean and Roland Deschain are attacked by Shardik, the cybernetic incarnation of the Bear Guardian in The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands. By this time, Shardik has almost completely broken down and much of his flesh is rotting.

While Roland Deschain is in Maerlyn's Grapefruit, the voice of the turtle, Maturin, speaks to Roland in Wizard and Glass. Maturin informs Roland that the Tower will be shut against him because he will end up killing everything and everyone he ever loved in pursuit of the Tower.

A scrimshaw carving of Maturin, called a Sköldpadda by a Swedish diplomat, appears in The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah which has the ability to entrance and convince people to help Roland's Ka-tet.

In The Wind Through The Keyhole, Tim Ross uses the tail feather of Garuda to fly back to his home to give his mother his dad's axe and the eye droplets.

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Notes and references[]