Dan Torrance probably thought he got through the worst of it when he was a kid living at The Overlook. However, as we learn in The Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep, that isn’t the case. In the Stephen King film The Shining, Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd) watches his dad Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) go mad, his sanity chipped away by the spirits who live at The Overlook hotel.
Danny, who has a psychic ability called “the shining,” has telepathic powers and can see into the future — and the future he sees when he gets to the hotel is not so swell. Doctor Sleep explores Dan Torrance’s adult life and the aftermath of what happened at The Overlook. In the film adaptation, Dan (Ewan McGregor) becomes a drifter, and spends years drinking and literally running away from his traumatic past. He eventually settles down in a small New Hampshire town and cleans up his act. He ends up meeting Abra Stone (Kyleigh Curran), who also has the shining, but her abilities are even more powerful than Dan’s.
Together, they must go up against the True Knot and the group’s leader, Rose the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson), who discovers Abra and wants to kidnap her for her powers.
What is the True Knot?
The True Knot is a group of semi-immortal, vampire-like beings who seek out people with the shine and essentially leech on their powers. Members of the True Knot extract their victims’ powers with “steam,” and this strengthens their life force. Usually, they go for kids or young adults, since they’re easier to find and their powers are stronger than those of adults, whose shine weaken the older they get. "These people. They hurt people like us,” Abra tells Dans in the trailer.
What Are The True Knot's Powers?
The True Knot members have powers of their own, too. Snakebite Andi (Emily Alyn Lind) for instance, can make her victims fall asleep. Silent Sarey (Catherine Parker), who, in the books, is Snakebite Andi’s girlfriend, can become basically invisible to those around her, which makes it easier to attack them. Other main members include Barry the Chunk (Robert Longstreet), Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon), and Grandpa Flick (Carel Struycken).
The Movie Changed The True Knot From The Book
In the novel, the True Knot members are described as looking ancient — they have white hair, are hunched over, and they aren’t too up-to-date on technology. In reality, King was inspired by RV drivers when he came up with the True Knot. The author told Entertainment Weekly in a 2013 interview:
“Driving back and forth from Maine to Florida, which I do twice a year, I’m always seeing all these recreational vehicles — the bounders in the Winnebagos. I always think to myself, ‘Who is in those things?’ You pass them a thousand times at rest stops. They’re always the ones wearing the shirts that say ‘God Does Not Deduct From a Lifespan Time Spent Fishing.’ They’re always lined up at the McDonald’s, slowing the whole line down. And I always thought to myself, ‘There’s something really sinister about those people because they’re so unobtrusive, yet so pervasive.”
But members of the True Knot aren’t old and wizened, nor are they RV drivers wearing cheesy T-shirt slogans, in the 2019 Doctor Sleep film adaptation. The film depicts the True Knot as average-looking folks you might see at Trader Joe’s. Even though they’re different from what King originally imagined, his goal of creating a villain who hides in plain sight is definitely achieved.
Director Mike Flanagan explained to CinemaBlend that the reason why he took the Doctor Sleep movie's True Knot in a different direction is because the kind of RV drivers King described probably wouldn’t work in movie and would come off as silly versus scary. Plus, making the True Knot younger gives them more incentive to go after kids with the shine: It keeps them young.
“...As cool as I thought it was in the story of these kind of silver-haired, plaid, geriatric vampires...it’s funny. And so, our cast is much younger because part of the appeal of that family as well, for me, is what if you can bring a family unit together like that with the promise of living young forever. Which is, I think, at the heart of all vampiric stories,” Flanagan says.
King seems to agree with this, because he apparently signed off on all changes made in the Doctor Sleep film adaptation.
Who Is Rose the Hat, The True Knot’s Leader?
Rose the Hat, whose real name is Rose O’Hara, is described as stunningly beautiful, yet cold and cunning. Her only goal is to take care of herself and the True Knot, and she will stop at nothing to do so.
Not a lot is known about her past, only that she was born in County Antrim, Ireland and that she’s been with the True Knot since the mid-19th century. It seems like she was chosen as their leader (or assumed the position) because she has the strongest telepathic powers and uses those powers to find kids with the shining.
If Dan was able to escape the clutches of The Overlook, then he and Abra, with their powers combined, will most definitely find a way to beat the True Knot. Especially if they’ll be getting help from some familiar ghostly faces from the past.