This comparison is meant to be a guide while you are reading, or to point out any changes you might have missed the first time through. It is not meant to be read in place of the new version.
There is hardly a page (or paragraph) that hasn't received attention from King during his revisions. I'm not going to bore readers with every grammatical, structural, or dialogue change. Instead, I'll point out changes that impact the plot, characters, or introduce new ideas into the book.
The first page number given refers to the New English Library paperback edition of the original The Gunslinger. ISBN: 0 340 70750 x.
Page numbers in [brackets] refer to the revised New English Library paperback edition. ISBN: 0 340 83223 1.
The section numbers follow the numbering in the revised edition.
* Chapter One - The Gunslinger
* Chapter Two - The Way Station
* Chapter Three - The Oracle and the Mountains
* Chapter Four - The Slow Mutants
* Chapter Five - The Gunslinger and the Dark Man
Chapter One - The Gunslinger
11  - The size of the desert is changed from "parsecs" to "eternity".
11  - "Buckas" are told to have run along the abandoned coach highway Roland is following.
11  - The first important addition in the revised edition is the start of the third paragraph. King adds a few sentences describing a feeling of dizziness that washes over Roland. This particular sensation "made the entire world" appear thin, as if you could see through one world to another. This is similar to how Eddie and Jake describe their first trip to todash New York , and might also provide a clue to the ending of the series.
11  - While talking about the different levels of the khef and how it affects Roland, he attributes the ability to ignore one's thirst to a Manni holy man instead of at the "seventh or eighth" level. This places the Manni on the first page of the series rather than at the beginning of Wizard and Glass .
11  - Roland's idea about his current situation in the desert is changed from being just "romantic" to being "what the country required." Also, King says that Roland is particularly adaptable.
12  - Roland's guns now have a metal plate added to each to add weight. This is needed because Roland inherited these guns from his father who was a larger man.
12  - King removes three lines about how much fighting Roland has done and replaces them with a simple statement saying he now has fewer bullets in his belt.
12  - While describing Roland's clothing, King adds that Roland lost the horn he used to carry along with a good friend. This is a reference to the battle of Jericho Hill (5:170) where Cuthbert died and lost the Horn o' Deschain, also called Eld's Horn.
12  - Signs of Walter's camp now affirm his "possible" humanity rather than his "essential" humanity. This suggests that the character of Walter (and his other aliases) have changed from what King originally envisioned thirty years ago.
13  - Roland assumes that Walter buries his dung.
13  - The possible messages in Walter's campfire ideograms are changed from being slightly humorous to ominous.
13  - King expands on how/why Roland feel's he is gaining on Walter. He introduces the saying "there will be water if God wills it," which is first mentioned in The Wastelands (3:26) and quite a few times in Wolves the Calla .
13  - King says that the coach highway is running southeast - the same direction as the beam which the ka-tet follows in book three. He goes on to say that moving in this direction was more like magnetism.
13  - Roland stops for water and contemplates his dizziness from earlier. This change reinforces the todash feeling that King added on the first page. Roland's mind is briefly transported to another when as he remembers the battle of Jericho Hill. He wonders why this feeling should make him think of his old friends. Also, Roland's possible damnation is briefly touched upon. He is forced to wonder if his quest is worth all the bloodshed and betrayal, which foreshadows his choice to sacrifice Jake under the mountains.
13  - The sun does not set in the true west anymore.
14  - Cort is mentioned for the first time when Roland hears Cort's voice in his head.
14  - Roland says a nursery-rhyme while starting his fire.
14  - The fabled star, "Old Mother", is mentioned for the first time.
14  - Roland remembers seeing a Taheen .
15  - Roland and Brown exchange a different greeting: "Long days and pleasant nights."
15  - Brown says that the bird-man ( Taheen ) was on his way to a place called Algul Siento, a place of importance in book five.
16  - Roland mentions that Brown speaks much like the Manni and Brown says he used to live with them and that they were "always looking for holes in the world."
16  - Roland gets defensive when Brown asks if he is the last of In-World.
17  - When Brown asks if Walter is a sorcerer Roland changes his answer from "yes" to "among other things."
18  - Ka is mentioned where it previously wasn't.
19  - Sheemie is mentioned for the first time.
20  - Billy-bumblers are mentioned for the first time when Brown says that talking animals don't make good food.
21  - Roland's tobacco is said to have come from Garlan.
22  - Roland no longer accuses Brown of doping him. Instead, Brown openly says that he means Roland no harm and only wants to be alive when Roland leaves.
22  - Tull has burnt out electric lights along its roads.
22  - "Pokeberries" are said to be a crop growing in the prairie country between Tull and the northern forests.
24  - Details are added about the three boys playing marbles in the livery's yard. One has a scorpion's tail in the band of his hat. Another has a blind eye.
27  - Allie says that the meat at Sheb's is threaded stock. Roland thinks otherwise to himself.
28  - King makes a reference to the commala, which Roland dances in Wolves of the Calla .
29  - Nort is said to address Roland in the High Speech of Gilead.
29  - Sheb's name sounds familiar to Roland.
30  - Roland knows there is no use in even considering to refuse Allie's "price." He realizes that Ka is at work.
32  - Pumpkin carving on All-Saints Eve is changed to pumpkin and sharproot carving for Reap.
33  - Kennerly is given a first name - Jubal.
33  - Special attention is given to Walter's characteristic grin when riding into Tull - a detail that is not present in the original edition.
34  - Zachary is painting reap charms on Amy Feldon's knees instead of zodiac signs.
35  - Walter makes reference to "the world next door."
39  - After racing away from Nort's resurrection, Allie begins to wonder what mysteries he saw while dead, and would he talk about them?
39  - Again, a new reference is made to Walter's characteristic grin.
41  - The passage about life returning to normal over the few days after Nort's revival is preempted with a scene where he delivers Walter's "19" note to Allie.
41  - Walter signs his note to Allie as "Walter o' Dim." In the previous version as well as the first four Tower books we never hear Walter referred to as this.
41  - Allie ponders over what it will be like when she speaks Walter's magic word to Nort and how long until she can no longer control her urge to do so.
41  - After telling her story, Roland warns Allie that Walter may be many things, but he is not a liar. He says that if she values her sanity she must never say nineteen to Nort. Roland falls asleep and she stays awake wondering who and what he really is.
42  - Walter's path across the desert is changed from south to southeast (along the path of the beam) "and the gunslinger knew why." Adding to this, Allie remarks that "the clouds all go that way. It's like something sucks them."
43  - When Roland leaves the bar for the stables, Allie turns and weeps quietly to herself. Originally she cries because Roland decides to stay in Tull for a while. In the new version she cries because it has been so long since someone has cared enough for her to say "thank you."
43  - We learn that Kennerly has buried two wives.
43  - King says that Roland has very little sense of humor if any.
43  - King introduces Sylvia Pittson earlier in the story when Kennerly says mentions that she has been preaching about Last Times coming.
44  - Roland questions about what is south-east of Tull rather than just south.
44  - Kennerly says that there may be a speaking ring on the other side of the desert.
44  - Kennerly makes another reference to Pittson, the "preacher woman."
45  - Originally, Roland leafs through old magazines to pass the time in Tull. This reference has been removed in the revised edition.
46  - Roland realizes that he knows Sheb from the saloon in Hambry.
46  - Roland confronts Sheb about his time in Mejis.
48  - King adds to Roland's feeling of déjà vu and has him wonder if maybe he knew Pittson from Mejis.
49  - King inserts a reference to Samson using a jawbone into Pittson's sermon. This foreshadows the jawbones Roland takes from the Way Station demon and from Walter at the Golgotha .
50  - Pittson warns her congregation that it was the Interloper "who made the machines with LaMerk stamped on them, him! " While Roland only has some vague recollection of this name, readers know that LaMerk Industries is the mysterious corporation that created Shardik and Andy. They also have ties to Sombra Corporation.
51  - Roland compares the demon Walter left inside Pittson to the word he left inside Allie as a trap.
52  - Pittson makes reference to "the place of burning darkness beyond the end of End-World."
53  - Once again Roland makes reference to the path of the Beam running Southeast and wonders if Pittson might have taken a train during her travels.
54  - Pittson tells Roland that the man in black spoke to her in the High Speech.
55  - An interesting change is that Pittson refers to the child growing inside her as "the child of a great king" rather than the original line: "the child of an angel." This is an allusion to the Crimson King (formally mentioned on the next page), Roland's final nemesis in End-World. This child also serves as a mirror image of Roland, who is the last descendent in the Line of Eld - the great king of All-World from long ago. The Eld is often referred to as The White, which is in constant struggle against the forces of the Crimson King.
55  - King throws in a new saying from Roland's world about the game called Watch Me.
56  - Pittson officially refers to the child as being the Crimson King's.
58  - King adds that the man in black "had spoken of a King's child, a red prince."
59  - A major change between the two editions is how Allie dies. In both versions she is held as a shield and hostage by Sheb as the residents of Tull attack Roland. However, originally, Roland kills her out of pure instinct. His trained hands react quicker than his mind. She screams at him not to shoot, but it's too late, and the guilt of her death sits on Roland throughout the rest of the story. In the revised edition she begs Roland to kill her because she has spoken nineteen to Sheb and can't bear the horrors that he whispered back to her. As she dies King says that "the last expression on her face might have been gratitude."
59  - Not much of a change, but I found it amusing to see that King changed the way one of Roland's victims dies. Instead of hearing his teeth click together as his dead body falls to the street, "his false teeth shot out as his chin struck and grinned, spit-shiny, in the dirt."
61  - While reloading his guns King says that instead of having spent twenty-five years mastering this skill Roland "had spent a thousand years learning this trick and others." This emphasizes the idea that the world has moved on and Roland has been on his quest for much longer than the reader suspects.
63  - King adds that Roland began shooting the townsfolk in their backs even as they began retreating.
64  - As Roland cuts Nort's body down from the rooftop where he had been crucified King remarks that common people "only have to die once."
65  - "the gunslinger" is changed to "the man Allie had called Roland."
66  - As Roland lies dozing by his campfire, King remarks that Roland is a romantic at heart and guards that secret closely. He says that Susan, the girl at the window, had been one of the few people he shared that secret with.
66  - In the original edition, Roland does not know where Cort is. (Although in DTII we learn that he "might have been poisoned.") In the revised edition Roland plainly says that Cort is dead.
Chapter Two - The Way Station
71  - The second stanza of the nursery rhyme Roland remembers has been changed from:
The ways of the world all will change
and all the ways remain the same
but if you're mad or only sane
the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain
Time's a sheet, life's a stain
All the things we know will change
and all those things remain the same
but be ye mad or only sane
the rain in Spain falls on the plain.
71  - King adds that Roland doesn't know what a "plane" is.
72  - Roland remembers Cort and his lessons about pride.
75  - Jakes mentions that he has a "friend" who calls him 'Bama. We learn in The Wastelands that this friend is really his parent's housekeeper.
76  - Roland looks at Jake and guess him to be ten or eleven rather than nine years old as he did in the original version.
77  - King uses the word "jilly" for the first time.
77  - When Roland asks Jake to describe the man in black, Jake compares him to a priest he saw in a Times Square Zorro movie. This is the first reference back to "our" world.
78  - Jakes says that he has lots of bad dreams, and Mrs. Shaw blames them on all the horror movies he watched on TV. Roland gets confused and asks what a "teevee" is.
80  - King expands on Roland's self-loathing.
82  - King makes reference to Jake bowling once a week at Mid-Town Lanes. In book five Roland, Jake, and Eddie come across a very special Mid-Town Lanes bowling bag in the vacant lot.
82  - Another reference to Walter's characteristic grin is added.
84  - King mentions the city of Lud for the first time.
85  - While examining the water pump in the Way Station, Roland observes that it was manufactured by North Central Positronics.
86  - "Aileen" is changed to "Susan".
86  - "Paul" is changed to "Alain," and Roland reminisces about the Drop and the fisherman working the Clean Sea . He also mentions Sheb playing the piano at the Traveller's Rest in Hambry.
88  - Polaris and Mars are renamed Old Star and Old Mother.
88  - A memory of Aileen is changed to one of Cuthbert and Jamie.
90  - The Way Station demon gives Roland a new warning: "Watch for the taheen."
92  - As Roland and Jake leave the Way Station, Jake turns around and waves goodbye. He then gets a strange sensation like they are being watched - as if someone had been hiding there all along. Book give tells us that Jake's feeling is correct. Father Callahan has just arrived at the Way Station where he faces Walter. They peer out into the desert and can see Roland and Jake as they move towards the mountains.
93  - A new saying is attributed to Cort: 'Ware the man who fakes a limp .
94  - Jake asks Roland if the evil man from Gilead (Marten) is the same person as the man in black. Originally, Roland said "No, but the two of them had some relationship, I think now. Maybe even half-brothers." However, in the revised edition he has a new answer: "Well, sometimes I wonder about that, tell you true. If they were two, I think now they must have been brothers. Maybe even twins. But did I ever see 'em together? No, I never did."
94  - Roland mentions Arthur Eld for the first time.
95  - Cuthbert and the Horn o' Deschain are mentioned.
95  - King has removed a paragraph from the original version which read: "Perhaps, though, in some final accounting, David the falcon had been closer to Marten than to anyone else.and perhaps his mother, Gabrielle, had known it."
96  - King says that springtime is called New Earth.
99  - Cuthbert's last name, Allgood, is mentioned for the first time.
100  - Roland, Cuthbert, and the other young gunslingers are said to have started "the way of the gun" instead of "The Training."
101  - King adds a bit of foreshadowing about Hax's death that wasn't included originally.
101  - The town of Farson has been changed to the town of Taunton . Also, the Farson Road (where the gallows are located) has been changed to the Taunton Road . Now, "Farson" only refers to the good man.
102  - Robeson says that Farson is "ready to start making a new world."
103  - Roland understands that Ka caused him and Cuthbert to discover Hax's plans.
103  - Roland's father, Steven Deschain, is mentioned by name for the first time.
105  - A little bit of racism is added when Roland yells at his father about Hax: "I wanted to kill him - both of them! Liars! Black liars!"
105  - Vannay, Roland's teacher, is mentioned for the first time when Steven says that he will never be as quick as Vannay's son.
106  - The rarity of paper in Roland's world is mentioned when Cort carefully folds and saves two notes from Roland and Cuthbert's fathers.
107  - Gilead is referred to as being part of In-World. Also, the Forest o' Barony is mentioned for the first time.
110  - Roland marvels at the fact that he used to think "open lands and long rides" would be a good fate.
111  - The Gunslinger who executes Hax is given the name Charles son of Charles. Also, he pulls the lever while Hax is still talking.
112  - Roland thinks that Cuthbert might "not finish as a diplomat after all."
112  - King says that Gilead fell to Farson five years later instead of ten years as said in the original version.
Chapter Three - The Oracle and the Mountains
118  - Susan and Vannay are mentioned. Roland remembers that one of Vannay's old saying had been "Time's the thief of memory."
120  - King has made quite a few changes to Roland's dream of Susan's death. Her last name, Delgado, is mentioned for the first time. Also, Roland's memory of being held back in chains as he watches Susan burn is said to be a dream instead. King says "this wasn't the way it happened - he hadn't even been there." Other elements from Wizard and Glass are spoken of for the first time: Charyou tree , the Reap Festival, the Drop, Rhea of the Cöos, and the song "Careless Love."
122  - King adds that operating on pure instinct is "the best and truest place for" Roland.
123  - Roland compares his love for Jake to the instantaneous type he felt for Susan.
124  - Originally, Roland called Mescaline (LSD) the "Philosopher's Stone." This reference has been removed. It's interesting to note that the British title of the first Harry Potter novel is The Philosopher's Stone . King is obviously a fan of Rowling's stories (there are Harry Potter references in book five), and some people believe King removed the phrase because of this.
127  - The Manni are mentioned again. This time they are said to be living north of the desert "among machines that usually didn't work.and which sometimes ate the men when they did."
128  - Susan and the Drop are mentioned again.
129  - The Oracle says that "Three stands at the heart of your quest. Another number comes later. Now the number is three." This other number is a reference to 19.
130  - The Oracle adds that Roland must "watch for doorways. Watch for the roses and the unfound doorways." Also, during its final prophesizing, the Oracle says "Death.but not for you" instead of "In chains" when Roland asks about the third person he must draw.
131  - The Oracle tells Roland to turn back, renounce his quest, and head north-west. Originally he was told to go just west.
131  - After visiting the Oracle, Roland wonders if the knowledge he gained was worth the defilement he suffered.
133  - Roland is stunned when Jake recants an old rhyme from Gilead while trying to spark the fire. Jake says "Spark-a-dark, where's my sire? Will I lay me? Will I stay me? Bless this camp with fire." This prompts Roland to wonder how he can justify having to sacrifice Jake.
133  - Roland again feels Ka at work.
135  - When Roland mentions the Bible to Jake, he no longer says that the book is lost as he did in the original version.
137  - Aileen Ritter's full name is given for the first time. Also, she is no longer Roland's love. She is just "the one his parents had chosen for him."
137  - Originally, King says that it had been twelve years since Roland left Gilead . The revised edition says "unknown years" instead.
140  - A large paragraph is removed where King talks about all those who had died during the last twelve years since Roland left Gilead.
140  - Roland and Jake are now heading southeast (along the path of the Beam) instead of southwest.
141  Jake accuses Roland of knowing that he is going to kill Jake.
Chapter Four - The Slow Mutants
149  - Jamie's name is replaced with Alain.
150  - King renames the Easter Night Dance in the Great Hall of Gilead the Sowing Night Cotillion. He also adds that it was sometimes called the Commala by the older folk. The Commala festival is of significant importance to book five. Spring is called New Earth or Fresh Commala.
150  - Susan Delgado and the line of Eld are mentioned.
150  - Roland looks down on the dancers and sees the young gunslinger who sprang the trap on Hax.
151  - Roland says that his father had taken control of the gunslingers - the Tet of the Gun - and was near to becoming the ruler of all In-World.
151  - Gabrielle's maiden name is Verriss. Her father's name was Alan.
152  - The subtitle of book one, Resumption , is mentioned.
156  - The Sowing Night Cotillion is mentioned again.
156  - Oddly enough, the handcar that Roland and Jake use to travel under the mountains with talks. Roland quickly turns off this annoying feature.
156  - Roland remembers all of the friends that have died during his quest. Cuthbert's death at Jericho Hill is mentioned again.
156  - The handcar suggests that Roland and Jake eat Crisp-A-La and Larchies.
158  - Roland tells Jake that he once saw a not-man (invisible man) hung for rape.
158  - Roland adds that he did not want to leave behind the girl from King's Town.
158  - Summer is called Full Earth.
160  - Gabrielle asks if Roland's studies are going well with Vannay and Cort.
161  - As Roland leaves his mother's chambers he hears Marten strike her and laugh, telling her to "shut her quack." This act of violence gives Roland more motivation for challenging Cort early.
163  - Cort says that Roland is at least two years too early when he calls for the challenge. Originally, Cort said he was five years too early.
164  - The term ka-babbies is used.
166  - Roland promises to shoot his guns into the sky in memory of David's sacrifice.
166  - Cort's predecessor is named Mark.
166  - Garlan is said to be west of Gilead before one reaches the Mohaine Desert (which Roland crosses in book one).
168  - A few more lines are added to the litany Roland and Cort speak before fighting.
170  - During their fight King adds a moment where Roland and Cort are facing each other in reversed positions - Roland on the teacher's side and Cort on the student's side.
170  - Baseball (or a game similar to it) is called Gran' Points.
174  - Roland notices that Jake may be gifted in the touch like Alain.
176  - Again Roland sees the touch in Jake.
183  - Roland tells Jake that the old people made a gas that would kill people (nerve gas).
185  - The Feast of Reaptide is mentioned.
188  - Roland and Jake share one last loving / comical moment when they play a game of Simon Says on the railroad tracks over the chasm.
Chapter Five - The Gunslinger and the Dark Man
197  - The title of the last chapter is changed from "The Gunslinger and the Dark Man" to "The Gunslinger and the Man in Black."
197  - Billy-bumblers are added to the list of animal bones in the Golgotha .
197  - Roland thinks that he has finally made it to Mid-World.
200  - The man in black tells Roland that he is resuming his quest.
201  - When Walter turns over the fourth tarot card and reveals the Lady of the Shadows he says that "she broke the blue plate!" Susannah's blue for-special plate comes up often in book two.
202  - On the seventh card Roland sees a field of roses or blood.
203  - Vannay is mentioned.
205  - Instead of saying "I could never have sent that vision to Marten" Walter says "I could never have sent that vision to your father."
206  - Walters says he came to Gabrielle as Marten rather than through him as said in the original version. He also says he is the furthest minion of the creature that rules the Dark Tower and that "Earth has been given into that king's red hand." This is a big difference from the first edition where it says the Earth is under Walter's control.
206  - Walter says that North Central Positronics was once one of the leading technological companies.
208  - When Walter asks what would happen if one should peck through the shell at the end of the universe King adds "or find a door".
211  - Walter says that Roland must first meet the Ageless Stranger before he meets the king that lies beyond him.
211  - The creature known as Maerlyn is renamed Legion.
211  - The Beast is no longer mentioned. Instead, Walter refuses to speak of the things in End-World.
212  - The world's oldest question, which Roland asks, is no longer "Have I seen you before?" but is now "Will I succeed? Will I win through?"
213  - King says that it was Walter who plotted against Roland's father rather than Marten (even though they are the same person).
213  - Walter recants how Roland was fooled into thinking Marten had left Gilead and gone west when really he only changed his form to become Walter. He also says that he and "a certain witch" (Rhea of the Cöos) left a trap for Roland, which he fell into.
215  - Roland doubts that the remains in the Golgotha are really Walter's.