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Literature / 11/22/63

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11/22/63 is a Historical Fiction novel written by Stephen King and published in 2011.

Jake Epping, a divorced high school teacher, discovers from his dying friend a time portal to a date in 1958 at the back of his friend's diner. His friend proposes that he go back in time to stop John F. Kennedy's assassination. There, Jake lives a different life and falls in love all while preparing for the eventual date that will change history.

A television series by J. J. Abrams and Stephen King starring James Franco as Jake aired on Hulu in 2016.


This story provides examples of:

  • The '50s: Technically straddles the 50's and 60's, but Texas wasn't exactly known for being on the forefront of social trends at the time.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the TV series, The Guardians never explain that the timeline changes are damaging reality, and Harry only offers the briefest of explanations when Jake meets him in the Bad Future. The viewer is left with the impression that Kennedy just sucked that badly.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the book, Deke reminisces about Minstrel Shows, obviously indicating that he's racist. In the show, however, he and Ms. Mimi (who is African-American in the show) are romantically involved and the two keep their relationship under wraps out of well-founded fear of public backlash.
  • Age Lift: Bill Turcotte is noticeably younger in the series than he is in the book, most likely to go with his large role (see below)
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  • The Alcoholic: The mysterious Yellow-Card Man pre-suicide, as well as Jake's ex-wife.
  • The Alleged Car: When Jake tries to change the past, every single car he touches turns into this.
  • Alternate History: Jake creates a spectacularly bad future, where the Vietnam War went nuclear, George Wallace and Curtis LeMay became president, the Civil Rights Act never passed, racial tensions are even worse, and Maine has become a Canadian province. And that ignores the Earthquakes that will destroy the world...
  • Alternate Timeline: Jake creates two with his forays into the past, both of which are undone when he goes back.
    • In the first, all but one of the Dunning family survived thanks to Jake's intervention, but Harry was killed in Vietnam.
    • In the second, Jake kills Frank Dunning at the graveyard, stops Oswald from assassinating JFK, and creates a Bad Future.
  • And I Must Scream: The Guardians. They are not only confined to an extremely small area (in this case over a broken sewer pipe), but the Time Travelers' effects drive them all insane.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Jake Epping is Jimla.
  • Arc Words:
    • "JIMLA!"
    • "Life turns on a dime."
    • "The past harmonizes."
    • "The past is obdurate."
    • "Dancing is life."
    • "Little by slowly" during Sadie's recovery in the hospital, and later Jake's.
    • For the television show: "You shouldn't be here."
  • Artistic License – History: One of Jake's friends tells him to stop wasting his time and bet the Bears to win the NFC in 1963. The Bears did win the title that year, but it was still the NFL. The NFL/AFL merger (which led to the creation of the NFC and AFC) would not be agreed to until 1966, and was not consummated until 1970. This was changed in at least one later edition of the book.
    • The prize fight that Jake and Sadie go to was entirely fictional.
  • Ascended Extra: Bill Turcotte has a much larger role in the miniseries than he had in the book. In the book, he only appears during the part set in Derry. In the series he becomes Jake’s ally in his quest to save Kennedy, and moves with him to Jody, posing as Jake’s little brother.
  • Axe-Crazy: Johnny, Sadie's obsessive-compulsive ex-husband who tracks her down and nearly kills her but for Jake and Deke's timely intervention—at least in one timeline.
    • Not to mention Frank Dunning, who brutally murders his wife and children with a sledgehammer.
  • Bad Future: The result of Kennedy being saved.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted. Sadie is disfigured and given a Glasgow Grin on one side of her face by her crazy ex-husband. She gets better by the end of the book but still retains a scar.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jake finds out that not only did stopping the Kennedy assassination make a world far worse, it will eventually destroy the fabric of time. Jake is able to undo this easily, but sadly he can't ever meet Sadie again. Thankfully, she turns out to still be alive in modern days, albeit wounded by her crazy ex. Ultimately, the only thing he changed was that he aged the years he spent in the past (albeit around five).
  • Bookends: Jake makes his first trip in time because Harry Dunning tells him the disturbing history of his life, and Jake realizes he can fix it. He makes his final trip because Harry Dunning tells him the disturbing history of the new world his time travel has created, and again Jake knows that he can fix it.
  • Butterfly of Doom: The "butterfly effect" is explicitly mentioned (multiple times) in the novel. Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder is named. It's impossible to make a completely positive change to the past. Positive changes will be accompanied by some negative effect—and a large enough change can unravel the very fabric of the universe.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: Zigzagged on the FBI. After saving Kennedy, the FBI agent in charge is content to help Jake disappear and gives him a large amount of money to do so. However, in the Crapsack Future, it is revealed that Hoover actually ordered the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • During his stay in Derry, which is also the setting of IT, Jake runs into Richie Tozier and Beverly Marsh, two of the "Losers Club", visits the storm drain where George was killed, and hears Pennywise calling out to him at the ruins of a local ironworks.
    • Later on, he moves to Jodie, Texas, where he hears of a rival football team from nearby town of Arnette, where Stu lives at the beginning of The Stand.
    • The number 19 crops in a few places. An example would be Jake's safe deposit box number being 775. This may make this book fit in with The Dark Tower series. June 19,1999, the day King was hit by a car and nearly killed, is mentioned as the day nuclear war broke out.
    • One of the cars seen in the Bad Future is a Takura Spirit, also from The Dark Tower series.
    • Plymouth Furies keep turning up as the past harmonizes, particularly a red-and-white one driven by Sadie's ex-husband.
    • Jake fears killing Frank Dunning could result in his imprisonment in Shawshank State Prison.
    • In the series, the past throws up hallucinations to confuse and disorient Jake. In the Book Depository, you can see the phrase "REDRUM" spraypainted on a wall and in the Bad Future, you can see "Captain Trips" painted in the background.
    • It has a blink and you'll miss it mention of a Frati Brothers Pawn Shop in the 1958 section. Jake runs into both of them in the course of his mission: one in Derry, and the other in Fort Worth.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Lampshaded. Situations keep repeating for Jake as the past "harmonizes."
    • In the series, Sadie not only happens to be visiting Lisbon on the exact day the portal drops you off, but she is actually passing in a car at the exact moment.
  • Cool Car: The portal happens to dump travelers out near a dealership with a killer Ford Sunliner for sale.
  • Cool Old Lady: Mild-mannered librarian Mimi Corcoran, who secretly holds a great deal of clout in the actual running of the school—enough to get Jake hired. She also manages to figure out he's a time traveler. When she's diagnosed with cancer, she goes to Mexico with the intention of either getting the best medical care available or committing suicide while she's still able to do so.
  • Crapsack World: The alternate present day created by Kennedy's survival is a very unpleasant place. The Civil Rights Act was never passed and Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by the FBI, so race relations in the United States remain bad. The Vietnam War was ended by the United States nuking Hanoi, resulting in nuclear weapons being used frequently in warfare, so much of the world is radioactive. President Hilary Clinton is now trying to hold the remains of the country under Martial law. Gang warfare, pollution, poverty, extremism, famine, and hate are commonplace.
  • Cutting the Electronic Leash: In the tv-adaption, Jake is seen throwing his cell phone in a pond once he gets to the past and begins to adjust to his life there.
    • In the book, the threw his phone and all his post-1958 change into the pond behind the motel.
  • Cyberpunk: The horrific 2011 Jake encounters is a downplayed version. It has both devastation and futuristic electric cars.
  • Deconstruction: Of romanticizing the so-called "good old days". As noted below, there is quite a lot of Deliberate Values Dissonance and aversions of Politically Correct History, not to mention the fact that trying to change the past to better the future ends up leading to disastrous consequences for everyone.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: It's very frequent. From Sadie not knowing anything about OCD, to Deke, one of Jake's elderly friends, reminiscing about Minstrel Shows.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In the Bad Future, Kennedy runs the Vietnam War the same way Bush ran the second Iraq war, with even worse results.
  • Domestic Abuser:
    • Oswald is one. Frank Dunning is worse.
    • Johnny Clayton's abuse of Sadie is more emotional and psychological, especially his putting a broom between them. At least until he comes to cut her up.
  • Doorstopper: The hardback edition is 850 pages.
  • Drop the Hammer: Frank Dunning uses a sledgehammer as his weapon of choice on Halloween night when he murders (or attempts to murder) his family.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: In the series, Bill asks a number of good questions that Jake doesn't have answers for.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Averted when Jake tries to pull it on Sadie to put the brakes on their intimate tryst. She simply says, "Laura!" with a grin and continues undressing.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: When Jake tries to change the past, ever more significant calamities befall him. When he gets close to making a big change, the universe stops dicking around and tries to kill him repeatedly.
  • Evolving Credits: After going unchanged for most of the series, the opening for the final episode changes things up. Given its rather foreboding imagery, such as the drooping red strings, the diner being on fire, and the overturned car, the missing clock on the wall, it's an early tell that something has Gone Horribly Wrong.
    • In the opening to the second-to-last episode, the news paper headline also changes from "Kennedy Killed" to "Walker Lives!" This change is reversed again in the last episode.
  • Fallen States of America: The US ends up like this by 2011 as a result of Jake preventing the Kennedy assassination. It gets so bad that Maine votes to leave the US and join Canada instead.
  • Flanderization: In IT, Mr. Keane is a civilized man with just a bit of a nasty edge to him, exemplified by him telling Eddie the truth about his supposed asthma but at the same time seeming to enjoy the distress this causes Eddie a little too much. In his appearance in this book, he's an all-out Jerkass. The same can be said to have happened to the city of Derry as a whole, with the subtle wrongness from IT having turned a great deal more overt.
  • For the Evulz: George de Mohrenschildt basically confesses that he baited Lee Harvey Oswald into shooting at Edwin Walker for fun.
  • Freudian Excuse: Oswald has these.
  • Grandfather Paradox: Hand Waved. When Jake asks about it, Al just asks what kind of sicko would even want to try? As Jake goes on, it becomes evident that if possible, it would at the least be very, very difficult.
  • Gray's Sports Almanac: Al's notes. Some of which are actual sports scores for betting purposes.
    • Deconstructed; placing big sports bets is a surefire way to draw the attention of organized crime, which happens to Jake on three separate occasions. Also, Al leaves behind the results of a boxing match that took place after he left the 1960's (and could not use himself) just in case Jake needs extra cash. Jake not only uses the match results to pick up more money, they also serve as a bona fide to Sadie that he is in fact a time traveller.
  • Historical Domain Character: A chunk of the book is Epping keeping a close eye on Lee Harvey Oswald and monitoring his life and relationships with friends and family.
    • Deke and Mimi hire Doug Sahm and his band (thought by Jake to be the Sir Douglas Quintet, but they wouldn't be formed for another 3-4 years) for their wedding reception.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Extends it to every major event in history. It turns out that changing such events can and often will lead to a slow-but-certain Time Crash, other nasty side effects notwithstanding. Jake finds this out the hard way.
  • Idiot Ball: Three major ones, two relating to the fact that every trip through the time portal is a Reset Button.
    • Al wants to prevent the Kennedy assassination, but he only feels 95% sure that Lee Harvey Oswald is the real killer and acted alone, so he (and later, Jake) spends five years in the past attempting to make sure. Why not just track down and kill Oswald right away, head back through the portal, and spend five minutes on the Internet checking to see if Kennedy was still killed? You can always just hit the Reset Button and try again if you got it wrong. note 
    • By the time Al gets back from his mission to save Kennedy, it has become clear that the timeline resists change, that the resistance is proportional to the magnitude of the change, and that it will resist a large change like preventing the Kennedy assassination with near-irresistible lethal force. Being too ill to complete the mission himself, he passes it on to Jake... who proceeds to go on a potential suicide mission without informing anyone else what he's up to. Okay, granted, he wants to keep the time portal a secret, but surely he could have found ONE trustworthy person to sit outside the portal with instructions that if Jake is not back in two minutes (meaning he has died in the past), to find ANOTHER trustworthy person to wait while the first attempts to complete the mission that both Al and Jake have failed.
    • Al is aware of the Butterfly Effect, as is Jake. They talk about it at some length. And yet, it never occurs to either of them that making such a fundamental alteration to world history as they are planning would necessarily result in millions of people dying or never existing simply as a result of countless things happening differently than they actually did. In Al's case, he's an idiot because he completely disregards the possibility that the changes might be very negative, and Jake is an idiot because he has five years to think about the repercussions and never really does.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: A weird, non-lethal subversion: While Jake blames Sadie getting stabbed in the face on his mucking around with the past, when he eventually fixes the Bad Future his saving Kennedy caused, he finds out that Sadie gets stabbed anyway... because the past really does harmonize.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Jake apparently believes this. He is certain that Johnny is a danger to Sadie's life, even though he just seems to suffer from some kind of obsessive-compulsive disorder that, while it certainly makes him behave like an emotionally abusive control freak and caused him to slap her in the face once, should not immediately translate into being homicidal. He turns out to be right, mind you. He also refers to Oswald as one of "the crazies," who he seems to consider violent per definition.
  • Irony: While in the past, someone mentions that having Kennedy for president will lead to the end of the world, with people living in pollution and open sores on their bodies. This is exactly what happens after Jake saves Kennedy and travels back to the future to see how things have changed.
  • It's All About Me: While Sadie is recovering from Johnny's attack all Sadie's mother can talk about is how they look in front of Johnny's family. Sadie appropriately throws her out.
  • It's for a Book: Jake's original cover story as to why he was traveling to Dallas. Eventually, he actually starts writing a book.
  • John F. Kennedy: Saving him from death is the main plot point.
  • Just in Time: Jake stops Oswald at the very last minute.
  • Life Will Kill You: In the original timeline, Harry Dunning is the Sole Survivor of his family's massacre at the hands of his father, but was injured in the attack, leaving him walking with a severe limp. After saving most of the family on his first go-round and going to check on them in the present, Jake finds out that without his handicap Harry was eligible for conscription and died in Vietnam as a young man.
  • The Mafia: Jake wins a few long shot bets from them to fund his time in the past. It burns him when he doesn't account for their interstate connections.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: In the series, Jake hits Johnny in the head with a fire poker, driving the spike clean through his skull. Perhaps as a result of the amateur lobotomy, Johnny just stares at him blankly, looking a bit confused. Then Sadie, to everyone's immense relief, blows Johnny away with the handgun he dropped.
  • Mister Sand Man Sequence: An unmistakably late 50s scene greets Jake everytime he goes through the portal, scored with Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs 1960 hit "Stay."
  • Mondegreen: One of the characters Jake meets is called "Silent Mike", because when he was little, he misheard the song "Silent Night", thinking that it was all about him.
  • Mundane Utility: Al Templeton initially uses the time portal to get meat at a cheap price in 1958 to make a profit in the present.
  • My Beloved Smother: Oswald's mother, Marguerite.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After Jake comes back after having saved Kennedy, when talking to Harry.
  • Mystery Meat: Subverted. It's assumed by everyone that the reason why Al Templeton's meat is so cheap is because he's using roadkill. In reality it's because he's getting it from 1958.
  • No Communities Were Harmed:
    • Like in It, Derry is meant as a stand-in for Bangor, Maine.
    • King never states outright exactly where Jodie, TX (or Denholm County, in which it is located) is meant to be but it is close enough to Dallas/Fort Worth, where Jake moves to in order to spy on Oswald.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Al believed preventing the Kennedy assassination would lead to a better and brighter future, and recruits Jake's help in doing just that. Instead, this causes serious damage to the fabric of time, and creates an even bleaker future.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Jake hears cheerleaders chanting "Jim-La!".
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Bill wants to be the one to kill Frank Dunning for what happened to his sister and nephew, both of whom he believes were murdered by Frank. During Jake's first trip back through time, he gets his wish.
  • Outside-Context Problem: Jake is this to the FBI, who can't figure out how this man has the information he says he has or why there seems to be no record of his existence prior to 1958 (this is the FBI we're talking about here). The Yellow Card Man is this to Jake.
  • Phony Degree: Jake has a genuine degree... from 2011, and knows better than to produce it to get a job in the late 1950s/early 1960s. So he gets a second degree from a diploma mill. It only works for so long, as the school officials in Jodie take time to investigate his background. A state law requiring vaccination records for all schoolteachers ultimately undoes Jake's ruse, although he's garnered enough goodwill that he's allowed simply to leave once his contract expires rather than forfeit all pay and possibly go to jail.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Jake has to observe Frank Dunning and Lee Harvey Oswald but avoid actually interacting with them at all costs due to the very real danger of altering their behavior in a way he won't be able to predict. Because of this, for the overwhelming majority of the book, Jake just follows his targets around and does almost nothing to progress the plot himself.
  • Politically Correct History: Averted. While traveling through the Jim Crow-era South, Jake notices that the "Colored" toilets at a gas station are a stump over a stream surrounded by poison ivy. He mentions that he thinks about it every time he starts to romanticize the past.
  • Portal to the Past: At the back of a diner. Turns out that's where the owner is getting an amazing deal on meat.
  • Race Lift: Ms. Mimi is African American in the series, as is Jake's ex-wife (whose race isn't identified in the book).
  • Regional Redecoration: In the Bad Future, Harry mentions that Hokkaido and three smaller Japanese islands sank sometime in 2007 thanks to the earthquakes.
  • Reset Button: Anyone who travels through the portal overwrites the actions of the previous person. Zack Lang, a.k.a. the Green Card Man, hints that there may be a lot more work involved offstage.
  • Revolvers Are for Amateurs: Jake's choice of .38 revolver hints at his inexperience with firearms. Since he's learning as he goes, he chooses it due to its compactness and simplicity.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: When in Derry, Jake makes use of a .38 revolver. He becomes fond of it and purchases a second one when he moves to Dallas. Ultimately averted, as the limited effective range on the .38 results in Jake missing Oswald and Oswald having a chance to retaliate and kill Sadie.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Affects anyone in immediate proximity to the portal. Although having to reconcile multiple alternate realities can be bad for your mental health.
  • Russian Girl Suffers Most: Lee's Russian wife Marina certainly has it the worst.
  • Series Continuity Error: While in Derry in 1958, Jake is told the body of Patrick Hockstetter, one of the victims of Pennywise, has recently been found in The Barrens. However, in "IT" Patrick was dragged into the tunnels underneath Derry by Pennywise and remained there undiscovered for decades. The Losers encounter his (skeletal) remains down in the tunnels in both 1958 and again in 1985. Likewise, by this time Henry Bowers should have been apprehended by the Derry Police, and under intense pressure from both police questioning and severe psychological strain from what transpired in the sewers, falsely confessed to the murders and sent off to Juniper Hill. The townspeople of Derry don't seem to be aware of this, however, even suspecting that the killer may still be out there, or even unsure that the murders have stopped for good. Justified in that Jake's changes to the timeline with each visit may have made subtle changes to events in Derry which altered the narrative for that timeline.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: That's the plan at least.
  • Set Wrong What Was Once Made Right: After saving JFK results in The End of the World as We Know It, Jake has to go back and let him die.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Jake rescues President Kennedy at the last moment, but Sadie is killed. When he returns to the present, he finds out that this only made things a lot worse, and changing history always does. So, he goes back in time once more, which resets the whole thing.
    • Jake's attempts to save the Dunnings become this. The first time he does it, one of the Dunning children still ends up dead, and in that timeline, Harry died in Vietnam. In the spectacularly Bad Future created by saving Kennedy, Harry is still alive, but still paralyzed, this time in the Vietnam War.
    • Made even worse when you consider that the result of a change doesn't even matter, since it always damages the fabric of time, so any attempt was doomed from the beginning.
  • Shout-Out: The rogue FBI agent who kills Martin Luther King in the Bad Future is named Dwight Holly. Dwight Holly is the name of an FBI agent in James Ellroy's Underworld USA trilogy.
  • Shown Their Work: King did extensive research on what life in the 1950s was like (helped by the fact that he grew up in the fifties; he would have been eleven in the year the story is set) and even interviewed historians about what life may have been like had Kennedy not been shot. The appendices even include recipes from the period.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Jake and Sadie.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Sadie stands about 6'1" and earns admiring glances from plenty of men at the party where she meets Jake.
  • Stupid Evil: Johnny, even though you were holding a loaded gun, it was a really, really bad idea to serve a man a tall glass full of powerful bleach, tell him that it's bleach, order him to drink it, threaten to kill the woman he lovesnote  if he doesn't drink it, and finally, when he's actually holding the glass in his hand, lean across the table at him but not so close that anything that hits you might splash back on him, and scream at him that he'd better drink it or else.
  • Take That!: Jake is thoroughly creeped out by Dallas and flees to Jodie because he can't spend another night there. He finds Dallas ugly, smelly, racist and utterly miserable. And he can sense a great evil in the city, as he did in Derry. King noted in the afterword that some thought he was too hard on Dallas, but claims that, if anything, he was not nearly hard enough on the Dallas of the early 60's. And King made clear that he doesn't think the Dallas of the 2010s is much better.
    • The treatment Dallas receives is mild compared to how Fort Worth is portrayed. In particular, the Mercedes Street neighborhood where the Oswald family (and Epping during his surveillance) lived is described as a Wretched Hive.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: When Jake and Sadie first meet, their introduction involves her tripping, him catching her, and his hand totally unintentionally landing on her breast.
  • Time Loop Fatigue: Played with. Jake can take advantage of a time portal to go back in time to approximately five years before the JFK assassination. However, every time he returns to the present only a few minutes have gone by, and if he goes back then everything resets like he was never there. So if he prevents JFK's assassination, if he goes back it resets so he'd have to stop it all over again. He goes back and lives there five years in order to prevent JFK's murder, but loses the woman he loves and preventing JFK's murder resulted in a Crapsack World. He can go back, but then he'd have to live the five years again, but he's already five years older, he's tired, he doesn't want to go through those five years in the past again, and he was already older than the woman he loved in the first place and doesn't know if she'll still be attracted to him as an even older man.
  • Time Police: There are "guardians" of respective time portals. Drastic changes to the past make them, along with the time-space continuum itself, worse for the wear.
  • Time Travel: The MacGuffin behind a diner allows a modern person to go back and forth in time.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: Al Templeton used the portal to get meat from the same day in 1958 and make a profit selling it for cheap in the present. As a result, everyone assumes that he's using roadkill in his burgers.
  • Time-Travelers Are Spies: In addition to the questions that increasingly pop up over his past, Jake worries that his proximity to figures involved in the Kennedy assassination may implicate him in the plot as well, especially if the FBI finds Al's diary. The FBI agent who questions Jake after the attempt on JFK ultimately assumes he is a spy given his murky background, and arranges for his 'escape' in exchange for staying quiet about how the FBI dropped the ball on Oswald not once but several times. Jake's mysterious disappearance and assumed identity eventually become part of the JFK conspiracy theories in the Bad Future he unwittingly created.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: How time travel works can be rather... confusing at times.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Jake feels this hanging over him all during the time he spends in Derry. On the other hand, Jodie, TX may be the first small town to ever appear in a Stephen King novel which isn't an example of this.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: In addition to stopping Kennedy's assassination, a large chunk of the novel is spent on Jake's life and various relationships while living in the '50s.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Poundcake" is Jake and Sadie's euphemism for sex.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: In the TV version of the Bad Future, Harry mentions that George Wallace had become president, and Jake reacts with horror. While Wallace was a transformative political figure in the US, he did not appear and wasn't directly referenced in the series. He had been dead for nearly twenty years and off the national stage for nearly forty by the time the show was aired, so they assume a good deal of knowledge about US political history.
  • Who Shot JFK?: One of the reasons why Jake just doesn't kill Lee Harvey Oswald right off the bat is because of the conspiracy theories surrounding Kennedy's assassination and the possibility that another person may have been involved. In the end, it's just Oswald working alone. In the afterword, King notes that after reading all he could on the subject, this is the situation he considers by far the most likely.
  • Why Couldn't You Save Them?: After Jake's initial attempt to save Harry's family—in which he rescues all but one sibling from his father's rampage—he decides to check up on them in the present, getting in touch with Harry's sister Ellen. Not buying his excuse for calling her, she figures out that he's the "guardian angel" who saved her family and immediately demands to know where he was when Harry died in Vietnam.
  • Wretched Hive: Jake takes an instant dislike to both Derry and Dallas, regarding them as depressing, violent places.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds Jake becomes this briefly after seeing the Bad Future, even calling himself the Jimla, in order to save Sadie despite knowing he needs the reset to be total, saying he doesn't care what happens. Eventually the mental anguish of even causing harm by saving her forces him to reset the past completely.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: No matter how long you spend in the past, returning through the portal dumps you two minutes after you left.


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