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Literature / Doctor Sleep

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“FEAR stands for Fuck Everything and Run.”
— Opening quote

Doctor Sleep is a 2013 novel written by Stephen King and a sequel to one of his most famous novels, The Shining. Danny Torrance is now an adult struggling with alcoholism. He works at a hospice where, aided by a prescient cat, he is able to use his "shining" to give aid and comfort to the dying. He meets Abra Stone, a young girl with a "shining" of her own, who is being stalked by the True Knot, a group of psychic vampires who sustain themselves on children like Abra.

A film adaptation directed by Mike Flanagan of Oculus and Hush fame and starring Ewan McGregor was released in November 2019. In an interesting case of Alternate Continuity, while King went out of his way to make clear the book is a sequel to his own work and not the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation which he famously dislikes, the film is in turn very much a sequel to that film.


This story provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents:
    • Andi's rapist father, whom she later murdered.
    • Deenie is a good example, although it's more out of neglect and addiction than anything.
    • Danny also warns Abra about her anger problems by relating his grandfather and father's own abusive tendencies.
  • Affably Evil: The True Knot may be horrible people, but their point-of-view chapters treat their evil so casually and matter-of-factly that you might not even notice it if you read them out of context. They love each other and essentially treat each other as family, and it doesn't help that they suffer so many blows and setbacks throughout the novel that towards the end they almost come across as victims rather than predators.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Dan sees two members of the True Knot embrace each other before they die and, despite all they had done, is moved by the sight. Snakebite Andi screams for mercy, from "Daddy," when Dan tortures Crow Daddy's location out of her as she's dying.
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  • The Alcoholic: Danny is one, but starts attending AA meetings after he arrives in New Hampshire. By the end of the book, he's celebrated 15 years of sobriety.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of the ghosts that Danny locks inside the 'lockbox' in his mind.
  • As You Know: The prologue functions as a summary of the events of The Shining for people who haven't read the original, first with a newspaper story of the hotels destruction, which is believed by everyone to have been an accident and Jack's death was caused by a "heroic attempt at averting the disaster", and by Danny's monologues and conversations with Halloran.
    Narrator: On the second day of December, on a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the white house, one of Colorado's great resorts burned to the ground...
  • Asshole Victim: The members of the True Knot survive through torturing and murdering children, and have long since lost any ability they had to feel empathy for anyone who isn't one of their own. It's very hard to feel sorry for them.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Unlike the rest of the True Knot, Rose singlehandedly puts up one heck of a fight against Dan and Abra and ultimately the spirit of Jack Torrance has to get involved to help them take her out.
  • Band of Brothers: The AA group. More specifically out of that group: Danny, Billy, and John.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: The psychic combat between Rose, and Abra and Dan.
  • Berserk Button: For Rose: do not touch the hat, and do not call her a coward. For Dan: Rose nearly succeeds in using Dan's unresolved "bottom" moment to trick him into killing Abra in a rage.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Silent Sarey, who talks very little and with a severe speech impediment, can make herself almost invisible. Once Dan and company start killing members of the True Knot, she expresses a savage desire for revenge. She never gets to act on it, though, as the ghost of Horace Derwent kills her before she can come to Rose's aid in the final battle.
  • Big Damn Heroes: It's implied that Rose is pushed to her death by the ghost of Jack Torrance, who appears at the end to give one final farewell to Dan.
  • Big Damn Villains: During the climax, one of the last True Knot members is killed by the ghost of Horace Derwent, whom Dan had locked away in his mind previously.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: Concetta, Abra's great-grandmother, and Dan have a conversation where she speaks mostly in Italian and he in English, but they both understand each other perfectly. Justified, since Danny's shine allows him to read minds, and Concetta is an accomplished poet who probably knows English better than he does.
  • Body Horror: Abra discovers that she can transport herself into someone else's head...and can feel when someone else is trying to do it right back. The turnings and deaths of the True Knot members cause their bodies to gradually become transparent, apparently one layer of tissue at a time.
  • Book-Ends / Meaningful Echo:
    • The book starts with an old AA saying, "FEAR stands for fuck everything and run." It ends with another old AA saying, "FEAR stands for face everything and recover."
    • At the very end of the story, Danny catches a glimpse of his father's ghost.
    • Rose nearly succeeds in tricking Dan into killing Abra in a rage, in a way his father tried to kill his mother.
    • On a more literary level, the first book began with an older Shiner taking a child Shiner under his wing. Danny takes on the role Halloran held for him for Abra.
  • The Bully: One of the orderlies at the hospice Danny works at is an ex-biker who handles terminally ill patients roughly and borders on abusing them. When Danny finds out he cows the man into not being a rampant asshole.
  • Bullying a Dragon: After learning how strong Abra really is, Rose becomes more enthused about hunting the motherload of steam.
  • Butt-Monkey: The True Knot, in particular Rose whom Abra easily provokes and effortlessly manipulates, orders around, tricks and ultimately kills, taunting her all a while.
  • Brass Balls: The aforementioned Band of Brothers, along with Abra's father, Dave, get the jump on the True Knot. They shoot without concern (and, in some cases, experience). John even slams himself into a True Knot member who was about to kill Dave. Later, Billy Freeman rams his truck into a lookout platform to distract Rose, injuring himself in the process.
  • Call-Back: Danny's job interview with Kingsley is directly compared to his fathers interview with Ullman 20 years earlier. Danny even thinks of Kingsley as an "officious little prick" when he is momentarily frustrated at Kingsley telling him to not show up late, drunk or high, but quickly pushes it aside.
  • Cats Are Magic: Danny works at a hospice where he befriends a cat that is able to predict when people are about to die. Based on a real therapy cat who had the same ability.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The ghost of Horace Derwent is captured in a mental lock box by young Danny early in the book. He is released by now adult Dan when they reach the final battle at the former site of the Overlook hotel. Derwent kills one of the True Knot hiding in ambush in a shed.
  • Comfort the Dying: After finally overcoming his alcoholism, Dan Torrance finds work in a hospice, where he uses his psychic powers to provide comfort to dying patients. This is what acquires the nickname "Doctor Sleep."
  • Compelling Voice: Snakebite Andi can cause people to fall into a deep sleep by asking them if they're feeling sleepy. The title Doctor Sleep is also implied to be about Danny. His shining ability is to help patients pass on, when he tells them to go to sleep.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture/Cruel and Unusual Death: The True Knot's victims are put through long, excruciating torture before finally being killed. According to Rose, it's because pain purifies their steam, although she seems to take some pleasure in doing it.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Danny and Abra absorb the Cancer of Abra's grandmother which they release into the True Knot, killing them almost immediately due to their bodies being weakened by the Measles.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Hallorann has some strange ways of communicating with Danny.
  • Definitely Just a Cold: The True Knot get the measles from a boy they murdered in Iowa. Most of them just brush it off because they can't catch "rube diseases." Then they start dying...
  • Didn't See That Coming: Rose's plans accounted for Abra being the motherload of steam. They accounted for Abra being strong. They did not account for Abra herself. Or Danny.
  • Does Not Like Men: Snakebite Andi, who was repeatedly molested by her father as a child.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: When Abra is a baby, she senses the horrors of 9/11 the night before the attacks, and gives her parents nightmares of herself bawling amid graphic scenes in a plane and a burning lobby with the numbers of the flights that hit the Twin Towers cut into her stomach. This wakes them up to find her screaming constantly, and she doesn't stop until hours after the attacks are over.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Alcoholics Anonymous features heavily in this book.
  • Dwindling Party: The True Knot start off strong, with several numbers and a well-connected support system. Devouring Bradley Trevor's steam results in Grandpa Flick catching the measles, which kills him and spreads throughout the rest of the group. The True Knot gradually start dying off via the disease. Then the raiding party - including prominent members like Barry the Chink, Jimmy Numbers, Walnut, Snakebite Andi, and Crow Daddy - that was supposed to abduct Abra are all killed off either via measles or gunshots. On top of that, several members abandon Rose when they realize the situation has gotten out of control. Abra even taunts Rose over how many people she's losing. By the time of the final showdown, the True Knot has only the small group waiting/dying in the lodge, Silent Sarey, and Rose. The first is killed off en masse by Dan using Concetta's spirit and cancer, the second is taken out by Horace Derwent, and the third is killed by Dan and Abra, with an assist by the ghost of Jack Torrance.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: What members of the True Knot leave behind when they cycle out.
  • End of an Age: The True Knot are worried that this is happening. As the world modernizes and both grows and shrinks at the same time, it becomes harder and harder for the Knot to operate as they always have. Not only are children with the shining seemingly becoming rarer and rarer, the globalization of society means that the Knot's vagabond nature becomes increasingly difficult.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The True Knot cares for one another and mourns the loss of their loved ones. More specifically, Rose goes off the rails after Crow Daddy is killed.
  • Eldritch Location: The site where the Overlook once stood is revealed to be a meeting ground for the True Knot, just because it is so saturated with supernatural energies.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Dogs can sense that the True Knot are up to no good. It's mentioned as something that sets them apart from normal "RV people."
  • Evil Gloating: A heroic example; as monstrous as the Knot are, Dan is still a little disturbed by just how vicious 13-year-old Abra gets when she goes up against Rose. See Tame His Anger below.
  • Evil Is Petty: In the last quarter of the novel, several members of the True Knot leave when they realize how out of control the situation has become. Rose responds by letting them go, then planning to drain their bank accounts and cancel their credit cards.
  • Evil Old Folks: Dick Halloran's paternal grandfather was a sadistic paedophile who was almost certainly mixed up in black magic. He regularly sexually abused his grandson and knew Charlie Manx. He lorded over his relatives, knowing they'd put up with anything if it meant they had a shot at inheriting his money— which he ended up leaving to an orphanage. Even his death didn't stop him from terrorizing his grandson. Luckily, Dick's maternal grandmother Shined, and taught him how to beat his grandfather once and for all. The True Knot qualify as well, as many of them appear to be middle-aged RVers.
  • Evil Overlooker: The woman on the cover of the book is Rose the Hat, leader of the True Knot.
  • Eye Scream: The last things to disappear when a True Knot member cycles out is their eyes.
  • Forced Sleep: Andi's power, that attracts Rose to bring her into the True Knot.
  • Foreshadowing: Abra has a habit of wiping her lips with her fingers that readers of The Shining might find familiar...
  • Freudian Excuse: The True Knot has this coming out the ears for why they're justified in their monstrous actions, mostly shown with Andi who was molested by her father, and Rose, who compares what they do to humans as what humans to do cattle.
  • Happy Ending Override: The prologue shows that the ghosts from the Overlook have followed Danny home despite the Overlook's destruction, though he manages to stop them from doing any major damage. Later on, Danny falls into alcoholism like his father before him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Referenced by name, even. When the True Knot feed on Bradley Trevor, "the baseball boy", what they don't realize is that Bradley was incubating a case of the measles, and it starts to make them sick and even kills some of them. However, the real point at which it is referenced is referring to how Dan defeats most of the remaining True Knot members: he holds the spirit of Concetta, Abra's recently deceased great-grandmother who died from cancer, in a lock-box in his mind, and releases it against them. They absorb it as steam, but it kills them all.
  • Honorary Uncle: Dan becomes this to Abra. Moves into Cool Uncle territory when the family link is uncovered.
  • Humanoid Abomination: It's revealed that the True Knot are this, as a result of consuming Steam. It's only briefly touched upon, but the description of their "Lizardy Thoughts" and of Rose's brief transformation into a being with pinhole eyes and a jaw that distends to her chest is quite enough to qualify.
  • I Am Not My Father: Danny attempts to stray from the demons that plagued his father. Said word-for-word in the final confrontation with Rose, where she manages to briefly trick Dan into strangling Abra, while he says "Come and take your medicine!"
  • Imaginary Friend: Tony is back...and he's not just communicating with Danny.
  • Indy Ploy: A lot of Dan's assistance takes this form. While he's not as strong in the Shining as he was as a kid, through quick thinking and improvisation he's able to outclass both the True Knot's superior experience with their lesser powers and Abra's Unskilled, but Strong abilities.
  • Invisible to Normals: This is Silent Sarey's power, making assassinations much easier. It has no effect on the ghost of Horace Derwent, who is also invisible to normals, and is far more powerful and dangerous.
  • It Runs in the Family: The shining seems to run in the Torrance family, as do anger management problems and alcoholism.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Dan tortures Crow's location out of Snakebite Andi by grabbing her broken jaw as she's cycling.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Dan and Abra pull one of these on a classmate of Abra's who seems likely to interrupt one of their early meetings. Rose the Hat is capable of it as well.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Rose tries to force Dan to choke Abra, even when one of them is not physically present. She almost succeeds.
  • Life Drinker: The True Knot consumes the "steam" of children who have the shining.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to The Shining, partially because Daniel's sobriety is going much better than his father's. In a way, this book is one of the strongest testaments to King's evolution as a writer when thrown into contrast with its predecessor; where The Shining is brutal, clipped-toned, and almost unpleasant to read, Doctor Sleep is written in the casual, personal style for which Stephen King would become known from about the late 80s onward - which, fittingly enough, neatly coincides with King's own recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction.
    • In a shocking way, the book is also this to the movie, thanks to its graphic content and edgy tone.
  • Little Miss Badass: Abra. Most people would be terrified at the prospect of being abducted and tortured to death by a roving band of psychic vampires. Abra is no different, but she gets over it and develops some serious anger problems and a desire to avenge Bradley Trevor and the other kids who were murdered. She has so much raw power, and can use it very creative ways. She sets a psychic trap for Rose, because she knew the latter would come snooping in her mind eventually. She pretends to be a normal, dreaming little girl, then changes into Daenerys from Game of Thrones to attack Rose and get into her mind. She manages to maim Rose's hand before the latter can escape. Abra becomes far braver and more competent and ruthless as time goes on, culminating with her calling Rose and telling her that she's coming, taunting her about all the dead True Knot Members, and mocking her for her cowardice.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Abra's mother is Dan's half-sister, the result of a fling between Jack Torrance and her deceased mother.
  • Male Gaze: Lots of attention is paid to Rose's appearance, usually her legs.
  • Marked to Die: Danny sees flies crawling on a person's face when they are about to die or are suffering from a potentially fatal illness. In one case, Danny is able to prevent his friend's death by telling him to go to the hospital at the first sight of the flies. He later sees the flies on his own face when he looks in a mirror, after he has absorbed Concetta's spirit and the cancer that killed her, but he recovers after releasing it against the True Knot.
  • Meaningful Rename:
    • Members of the True Knot go by names that have to do with their appearance or actions. Rose the Hat is known for her stylish top hat. Snakebite Andi has a snake tattoo. Jimmy Numbers handles the group's finances. Silent Sarey is a Shrinking Violet. With rare exception, their original names are never revealed.
    • Also Danny Torrence preferring to go by "Dan" as an adult. And, by the end of the novel, by "Doc," his parents' nickname for him.
  • Misidentified Weapons: Dan and Billy have "Glock .22s" (as in the caliber, not the model number), which apparently have safeties they can flick off with their thumbs.note 
  • Mythology Gag: Dan has kept his room at the Overlook as his safe place within his head, except he's added huge windows that couldn't possibly be there - much like the windows in Kubrick's The Shining.
  • Muggles: The True Knot refers to anyone outside of their circle as "rubes", even people who Shine. For bonus points, as slang terms "rube" and "muggle" mean basically the same thing.
  • Mugging the Monster: Rose enters Abra's mind when she's asleep, fully intending to discover everything about her to track her down.
    Abra: (you came back Dan said you would and you did)...(GOOD)
  • Nervous Wreck: Lucy seems to be constantly on the verge of a breakdown.
  • No Body Left Behind: True Knot members "cycle out" when they die—their bodies partially fade away, then come back, repeating the process more rapidly and more completely until they finally disappear.
  • Older Than They Look: The True Knot is made up of a range of ages, but most of them appear middle aged to elderly. Many of them are much older, with one claiming to remember when King Henry VIII started killing his wives. They even vary in appearance during the book, as when they take steam they look decades younger.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Abra is a supporter of this after receiving the psychic backlash of the horrendous torture and murder of the "baseball boy" the True Knot fed on. Even Danny is slightly disturbed at how excited she is at seeing the vampires' horrible deaths in the finale. He also released Horace Derwent against the True Knot in the finale, who killed Silent Sarey.
  • Pitiful Worms: The True Knot to Abra.
  • Properly Paranoid: Danny goes to great lengths to make sure he doesn't look like a pedophile when meeting up with Abra. They even come up with a story in case someone she knows happens upon them. Doesn't stop her father from assuming the worst when he's introduced to Dan, though. This is actually a Call-Back to a similar scene in the first book, when Young!Danny stepped into Halloran's car, alarming his mother.
  • Psychic Children: Danny starts the story as one, Abra is one, they're sustenance for the True Knot.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Because of all the trauma he went through in the Overlook Hotel and complicated feelings towards his father who tried to kill him, Dan didn’t grow up to be the most stable of adults.
    • Despite devoting himself to remaining sober and regularly attending Alcoholics Anonymous, Dan does feel the temptation to return to the booze several times. Remaining sober is a battle all former alcoholics have to endure for the rest of their lives and it isn’t instantly cured no matter how many years have passed.
    • The True Knot's strategy of wandering around America and kidnapping children while posing as a group of middle-aged/retired travelers is much more difficult in the post-9/11 world. If they stay in one place too long, they'll just attract attention due to people being more suspicious now. Their anonymity and ability to blend in is what makes them so successful, so public transport is out of the question. Even if they didn't suffer from severe altitude sickness from flying, they'd still need to go through security checkpoints, have their faces on camera, show ID, have registered seats, etc. That means they're stuck in the United States, which results in their potential food supply being limited. They even took a risk to visit Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, but going south of the border would look even more suspicious now than when the book was written.
    • Additionally they manage to catch measles from Bradley Trevor, one of their victims; while they believe that they can't catch 'rube' diseases, likely few to none of them have been vaccinated, plus they were absorbing the disease directly from someone suffering from it.
    • Concetta's gradual decline and bone-shattering fall at home and agonizing final weeks will be all too realistic to any reader who's helped care for elderly family members.
    • As Rose the Hat notes, "long-lived does not mean immortal". The members of the True Knot still have to be careful about what they do and stay under the radar, and it also means that having medical knowledge will come in handy. Several of the Knot members get measles when they kill one of their victims as a result of not being properly vaccinated against it. Grampa Flick even dies from measles as a result.
    • Even if you have psychic vampire powers and are part of a well-connected, centuries-old band of killers, abducting and murdering someone is much more difficult if your targets know you're coming and have their own plan. The True Knot finds this out the hard way when Abra tricks them into coming after her. Once the deception is revealed, Billy and Dan promptly blast the hell out of the Knot with high-powered guns. And once again, "long-lived does not mean immortal", as all of the Knot members who are shot die as a result of the injuries.
  • Saw "Star Wars" 27 Times: briefly mentioned in passing; Pence Effersham, a boy Abra apparently knows, loves to brag about how many times he has seen The Avengers (2012)
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections! / Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The True Knot is said to have over a billion dollars in assets, a web of holding companies and company towns, and connections at every level of government, making them untouchable by conventional means.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At about the three-quarter mark of the story, when things start to look really bad for the True Knot (the measles are spreading through their ranks rapidly, the first attempt to capture Abra has gone horribly wrong and resulted in the death of 4 of their members, and Rose becomes more and more obsessive about getting her hands on Abra to the point that Captain Ahab would be proud of her) several members of the True Knot decide to leave the group and try to survive on their own, or join up with the other caravans of the True Knot.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There is a mention of Charlie Manx.
    • When Abra tries to attack Rose while she's trapped in Abra's mind, Abra makes herself over as a lance-bearing warrior on a horse, citing Daenerys Targaryen as her influence.
    • While the True Knot are traveling through the country, Jerusalem's Lot is mentioned.
    • At one point Dan says "There are other worlds than these," a phrase used several times in King's Dark Tower series.
    • One of John Dalton's patients mentioned in passing is named Fredrica Bimmel.
    • A powerful psychic named Abra? Sounds familiar.
    • During a conversation with Crow Daddy, Rose the Hat tells him to pass on a message of "There's no crying in Baseball"
  • Smug Snake: The True Knot can come across as this when dealing with Danny and company, looking down on them simply because they are humans. Their very first encounter with Danny's crew went south quickly since Danny's group brought guns and the True Knot group only brought syringes to sedate a child. Rose also underestimated Danny and Abra numerous times, resulting in her group being wiped out.
    • Even before Danny and Abra entered the picture, they managed to contract measles from a boy they ate.
  • Stronger Than They Look: Danny isn't described as being a large or strong-looking man, but he's held his own in a series of bar brawls. He even scares the crap out of one of the orderlies, a large man with full sleeve tattoos and a bad attitude who bullies the patients, by knocking him out of his chair and threatening to beat his face in. And Danny was completely sober at the time.
  • Student and Master Team: Danny and Abra Stone.
  • Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Not as abrupt as most examples of this trope, but since this story is set some 35 years after the original, both Wendy and Halloran have passed on, Wendy from lung cancer and Halloran from old age. The latter did manage to come back in a fashion.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Danny makes three of these. Two are for Horace Derwent and the woman from room 217, who have followed him from the Overlook to home. The third is for Concetta Reynolds' spirit, which she passes on to him as she dies. Also doubles as a Chekhov's Gun.
  • Tame His Anger: Much like his father and grandfather, Dan has anger issues. The alcoholism (not to mention the childhood trauma and the psychic visions of dead people) isn't helping. Abra has it too, big time.
  • Technician vs. Performer: Dan and Abra. Abra has what is likely the strongest Shining in the setting, dwarfing even Danny at his best, but Danny, with much more experience, was able to Shine more effectively and efficiently, as demonstrated when he and Abra swapped consciousness and accessed her vast power.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: The True Knot are described as looking harmless; "mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs".
  • Time Skip: About a third into the book, the plot skips ahead ten years, finding Danny a now-sobering alcoholic for 10 years, and Abra at the peak of her powers. The True Knot have been biding their time, waiting for Abra to become the best possible prey.
  • Totally Radical: Downplayed, but it can be a bit jarring to see a 13-year-old girl in 2013 describing how she chats with her friends as "IMing" instead of "texting." The use of "compu-chatting" in one instance when Danny uses text and e-mail to communicate with Abra, is even worse.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The True Knot has been doing their thing for a long, long time, so they've gotten used to taking advantage of rubes and easily slaughtering defenseless children. They think Abra will be no different, focusing only on the sheer amount of steam they could get from her. Even Rose, who has the most contact with Abra, never fully, truly understands the extent of Abra's intelligence, cunning, resourcefulness, or the capabilities of any allies the girl might have. You'd think that Rose, of all people, would want to know exactly what she's after, but she never makes that extra step. It's rather telling that she doesn't even know who Dan is until the final showdown in Colorado. Instead, she tries to intimidate Abra and goad her into a confrontation, resulting in the True Knot being on the receiving end of a Curbstomp Battle.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Basically the entire last quarter of the book.
  • Vampiric Draining: The True Knot aren't vampires in the traditional sense, rather they feed on the "steam" that is produced by children with the shining after they die. Apparently they do enjoy licking the blood off of their victims as they torture them, though.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Rose goes through several over the course of the book, most notably when Danny kills Crow Daddy.
  • Villain Decay: The True Knot is hit hard with this. Their main strength comes with their ability to blend in and a wide variety of psychic powers. And when your targets are helpless, unsuspecting children, it's especially easy to win. However, it becomes abundantly clear that they lose that advantage if their target knows they're coming and is proactively trying to investigate, counter, and kill them. Despite knowing how powerful Abra is, they completely underestimate exactly how dangerous she and her allies are. Thanks to Dan's planning and Abra's raw power, the would-be abductors are killed off very quickly by Dan, John, and David. Crow manages to abduct Abra by getting the drop on her and taking a hostage, but that that predicament doesn't last long before Dan catches up with them. This results in the True Knot's plans going off the rails, because Rose sent some of their best people to handle the job:
    • Crow handled travel logistics, organization, and dealing with rubes, which makes getting around unnoticed more difficult without him.
    • Barry the Chink was their best locator after Grandpa Flick died of the measles, thus making it much more difficult to track down targets without him.
    • Jimmy Numbers was their tech guy and hacker, thus cutting them off from quick, much-needed information and easy access to websites and databases.
    • Snakebite Andi was essential in making targets and witnesses compliant.
    • However, the biggest loss out of that encounter was Walnut, the True Knot's doctor. His medical expertise would have been essential in handling the measles outbreak that was killing off the group.
    • This all drastically reduces the effectiveness of the group, especially after Rose's Villainous Breakdown when Crow is killed, which makes her increasingly unhinged and affects her leadership skills. This results in several of the True Knot abandoning her, leaving only Rose, Silent Sarey, and a handful of dwindling survivors for the final showdown. By the last quarter of the book, the plan has failed so miserably that Abra casually forces her would-be killers to meet her on her terms, and takes the time to mock Rose for all the people she's lost.
  • Was Once a Man: The True Knot are said more than once to no longer be human.
  • We Can Rule Together: When it's obvious she is going to lose to Abra and Dan, Rose briefly considers offering Abra the chance to join her and start a new knot together. However, she realizes Abra won't take it ("What teenage girl ever thought she wasn't immortal?") so she doesn't try.
  • Wham Line:
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Rose and all the True Knot members that remained loyal to her are eventually killed off, but what about the ones that left the group earlier? Did they get the measles or not? And Rose threatened to have their bank accounts emptied and credit cards blocked, but did she have enough time to go through with this plan? If the answer to both questions is no, they are still out there and at large. Hell, the members that left weren't even the only remaining members, just the ones that were part of Rose's group.
    • It's not revealed what happens to the ghost of Horace Derwent after Danny releases him at the Overlook. He kills Silent Sarey and is never heard from again.
  • Where It All Began: The final battle against the True Knot takes place in the area where the Overlook once stood.
  • Whole Plot Reference: To Dracula. Rose The Hat is Dracula, Abra is Mina, Danny is Van Helsing, The Baseball Boy is Lucy, The Rest of the Boys are Lucy's Suitors, Crow Daddy play the part of Dracula while in England, The True Knot is Dracula's Brides. Danny even got Van Helsing's scene where he went away from Mina and murdered Dracula's Brides just before the big finale.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The True Knot, who brutally torture children with the shining to death to sustain their immortality.
  • Your Vampires Suck: The Knot are nothing like the ones in Twilight.

FEAR stands for face everything and recover.

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