Stephen King: The Long Walk: Losing a Warning

Return to Stephen King home page
Return to The Long Walk home page
Return to Warnings
Return to 2-Minute Timer
Return to Getting a Ticket
Return to Back-tracking

What happens when a walker loses a warning?

The novel is not explicit about what happens to a walker's 2-minute timer when they lose a warning, but one of two things happens.

Option #1: 30 seconds is added back to timer to undo the last warning
Option #2: Timer gets reset back to 60 (2 warnings), 90 (1 warning) or 120 (no warnings)

The problems with Option #1:

Scenario #1: walker has 3 warnings and their timer is 1. When they lose a warning, their timer is 31. They are now back to 2 warnings but are 1 second to warning 3 again (96% of the way).
Scenario #2: walker has 1 warning and their timer is 45. When they lose a warning, their timer is 15. They are now back to 1 warning but are 15 seconds to warning 1 again (50% of the way).
Scenario #3: walker has 2 warnings and their timer is 60. When they lose a warning, their timer is 90. They are now back to 1 warnings and are 30 seconds to warning 2 again (0% of the way).

Each scenario has very different buffers to their next warning.
If their timer was under 30, they'd have to walk 4 hours to get their timer back to 120.

Why Option #2 makes sense:

Excerpt #1: But if you had three warnings and could manage to walk for three hours, you were back in the sun again.
Excerpt #2 (Garraty has 2 warnings): It was twenty to nine. At twenty to eleven-eight miles down the road-he would be free again.

The key phrases are back in the sun again and be free again.
I interpret those to mean that you have 30 seconds until your first warnings.
You'd hardly be free if you walked 3 hours with no warnings, and your timer was only 91.
Option #2 makes much more sense based on those two excerpts. Each time you lose a warning, you are 30 seconds from getting another warning.

Date Created November 3, 2019
Last Updated May 20, 2021
Contact: patcoston@gmail.com