Scrimshaw Turtle in The Dark Tower
In Stephen King’s The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah, Susannah Dean finds a scrimshaw turtle, or Sköldpadda. The scrimshaw turtle earns the name, Sköldpadda, after Ms. Dean uses it to hypnotize Mathiessen Van Wyck, or Mats, a Swedish diplomat hard at work in New York.
Is Sköldpadda a real word?
Long days and pleasant nights.
Dark Tower vernacular is surprisingly deep! Sai King mixes a host of real words, ancient or outdated-sounding vocabulary (folken, ken), and meaningless clusters vowels and consonants that just work, like ka and dan-tete.
So, is Sköldpadda a real word? Yes!
The word is made of two components. Sköld means shield; padda means toad.
If you haven’t done it already, let me show you what happens when you type Sköldpadda into Google translate:
What actually is Scrimshaw?
I was wondering about at the scrimshaw definition myself. What is scrimshaw?
Scrimshaw is a kind of ivory carving. As a matter of fact, tusks, cartilage, or bone carvings all count as scrimshaw (ivory is basically a bone after all). An artist who carves scrimshaw is a scrimhander, a word so uncommon that my spellcheck software doesn’t even recognize it. Guess I will have to stare at that squiggly red underline now.
Scrimshaw is illegal today. The ban on whaling made sure of that. But one is still allowed to buy, sell, and trade scrimshaw made before the ban. There are actually a whole host of surprising rules, including one on ancient mammoth ivory up to 40,000 years old, which is totally legal. You can read more on the Wikipedia page.
Who Found the Scrimshaw Turtle?
Susannah Dean found the scrimshaw turtle. She found it in the bowling bag that says “Nothing but Strikes at Mid-Town Lanes” in the keystone world and “Nothing but Strikes at Mid-World Lanes in Mid-World.
What Happens to the Scrimshaw Turtle?
After Susannah uses the Sköldpadda to hypnotize Mats and take his money, she eventually leaves the Sköldpadda outside, for Jake and Father Callahan to find, before entering the Dixie Pig.
In The Dark Tower book 7, Father Callahan loses the turtle along with his life at the Dixie Pig. However, his death leaves us with a sense of redemption. To me, I think that is a part of the wonderful power of the Sköldpadda, which makes everyone feel blissed out whenever they see it.
You may be sad that Callahan lost the scrimshaw turtle. Well, if you are, don’t be. Fret not! For Callahan had to lose the Sköldpadda. Because when he regains his powers and grace of god, he realizes that the cross Barlow broke all those years ago was nothing but a cheap object. He realizes that god’s true nature has been inside of him.
In other words, in his redemption, Callahan transcends the need for material objects to represent goodness and faith in “the white.”
Is the Skoldpadda Really Maturin?
The Skoldpadda is not Maturin. Rather, Maturin is the force which powers the Skoldpadda (Source: https://darktower.fandom.com/wiki/Maturin).
In other words, the Skoldpadda seems to be some sort of sigul through which Maturin can operate his magic.
Also, according to the books, Stephen King is an incarnation of Maturin himself. Which makes sense when you think about it. After all, the Skoldpadda is just a device to move the story, which is basically another way of saying that it’s a toy that lets him, well, operate his magic.