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The Dark Tower (Stephen King)


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It was only a matter of time before I made a thread for this...after all, I've been yapping endlessly about the series for a while now :p

The Dark Tower is basically an epic by Stephen King, which, when finished, will stretch over seven books. The first five books in the series have already been released (though, I think Wolves of the Calla is still only available in hardback) and the last two (Song of Susannah and The Dark Tower) will both be released later on this year.

I read the first book in the series, The Gunslinger, around this time last year. The Gunslinger [spoiler]follows the travels of Roland of Gilead, whom is tracking down the man in black in order to complete the next step of his journey to The Dark Tower. Roland's world is "moving on," which means that it is degenerating very slowly. According to Roland, The Dark Tower is the nexus of the universe and he hopes to find some way to slow or even reverse the degeneration of his world at The Dark Tower.[/spoiler]

The Gunslinger is a good introduction into Roland's world. It moves a bit slow at times, but it gets good near the end of the book. My favorite parts of the book are a tie between [spoiler]Roland's massacre at Tull and Roland's palaver with the man in black, Walter.[/spoiler]

Soon afterwards, I read the second book in the series, The Drawing of the Three. [spoiler]This one picks up right where The Gunslinger left off. Roland has emerged from his palaver with Walter with new information about his future. He knows he has to "draw" three people from another world into his world and they shall join him in his journey to The Dark Tower. He only draws two people in this book, Eddie Dean and Odetta Walker, but I'm not even going to try explaining all the crazy stuff that goes on with all that, because I'd be typing this post forever lol.[/spoiler]

I think The Drawing of the Three is leaps and bounds ahead of The Gunslinger in overall quality and it's my second favorite book in the series, behind Wolves of the Calla. My favorite parts of the book are [spoiler]all the craziness that happens as Roland enters Eddie's mind and Roland's jaunt in New York where he gets Keflex (to treat an infection he suffered from the bite of a "lobstrosity"), ammunition and kills off Jack Mort, a psychotic killer.[/spoiler]

The third book in the series is The Waste Lands and it's almost as good as The Drawing of the Three. [spoiler]This book picks up a few months after Drawing of the Three. The beginning details how Roland and his ka-tet draw Jake, the boy whom Roland sacrificed in The Gunslinger, into his world. The second part of the book details the ka-tet's journey to Lud to ride Blaine the Mono towards the next path to The Dark Tower.[/spoiler] Obviously, that's a [i]really[/i] simplified synopsis of the plot, but it's tiring typing all this out lol.

My favorite parts are with [spoiler]Blaine the Mono because he's just so damned creepy, heh.[/spoiler]

The fourth book in the series is Wizard and Glass. [spoiler]The book starts off with the riddling contest between Blaine and Roland's ka-tet. Obviously, you know Roland and the others will win. Most of the book is centered around a key time in Roland's life, where he met the love of his life, Susan Delgado.[/spoiler] Yes, that's a really, really simplified synopis, too.

I thought that Wizard and Glass was good, but it really dragged in a couple spots. It took me quite a while to read through the book because of this, heh.

The fifth book is Wolves of the Calla. [spoiler]In this, Roland's ka-tet defend Calla Bynn Sturgis (I think that's what the town is called) from the Wolves of Thunderclap, which happens to be where Roland and his friends are going off to next. In the town, they meet Father Callahan, another person from New York who found his way into Roland's mysterious world.[/spoiler] I'm a bit tired of typing, so I'll just tell you to read the book and find out what happens.

The Wolves of the Calla is definitely my favorite book in the series because it has the best mix of action, adventure and suspense of the books. Definitely worthy of a read (but only if you've read through the others, heh).

I know there are a few other fans of The Dark Tower here. What do you think of the books? How many of them have you read and what did you think of them? Are you looking forward to the final two books?
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I'm glad to see there are other DT fans here.

I, like Shinmaru, think Wolves of the Calla is the best yet. I loved King's little cameo when they find a copy of.....what book did they find of his again? Oh well. Also, the flashback to Jericho Hill gave me chills. That's how well he wrote that.

I'm a little worried at how fast King is coming out with the last two. I know I don't want to wait another 10 years (King started the series in the 70s), but this feels a little bit rushed, so I'm worried about the quality.

Do you guys/girls ever try to explain anything about the major plot/setting is to people who haven't read the books? Unless you're very a very charismatic person, you just can't! For goodness sakes, it took until book 5 to find out what the Dark Tower really is! And the rose. The rose is the truth.

I also used to be apart of a Dark Tower forum. You would not believe how many threads went up, showing connections between the books and the Lord of the Rings. Roland is Aragorn, the Crimson King is Sauron, Tick Tock is Saruman, etc....
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[FONT=Comic Sans MS]Gack. i haven't read Wolves yet...

i started out reading the Dark Tower when i was in a shelter and got it for Christmas. Of course, they gave me Wizard and Glass, but whatever.

i love the story of Roland, Eddie, Jake, Oy and Susannah. it's a good escape.

i've tried to explain the story and setting of the series to someone, and ended up writing a fifteen page paper about it. Got an A, but my teacher STILL didn't get it ^_^;;

if you look carefully, many of King's other books tie in to the Tower. The Talisman, Black House, Eyes of the Dragon, the Stand...[/FONT]
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[quote name='Radaghast']I also used to be apart of a Dark Tower forum. You would not believe how many threads went up, showing connections between the books and the Lord of the Rings. Roland is Aragorn, the Crimson King is Sauron, Tick Tock is Saruman, etc....[/quote]

Heh, I'm not surprised to hear that, seeing as Stephen King has said that Lord of the Rings was a definite influence on his desire to write an epic. While King said he didn't want The Dark Tower to have the same motif as The Lord of the Rings, there are quite a bit of similarities, a lot of which are probably intended.

And that's what I like about The Dark Tower: A lot of pop culture is subtly assimilated within the characters, events and places of Roland's world. It's always fun to spot the obvious and not so obvious pop culture references within the different books.
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[color=Sienna][font=Tahoma]I sadly haven't read any of these, but one of my friends is completely absorbed by them. We have similar interests in books, but it just seemed too stereotypical fantasy for me. Besides, when I grabbed the book from him and read a paragraph, one of the words I came across was 'chickenshit'. I found that a highly amusing new insult for some reason.

I've considered reading these for a while, but they seemed a bit old fashioned... I don't know why. Maybe I should try to read the first one and then see how it is.
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[quote name='Bio][color=sienna][font=Tahoma]We have similar interests in books, but it just seemed too stereotypical fantasy for me.[/font'][/color][/quote]

Believe me when I say this: This isin't a stereotypical fantasy. That was King's 'Eyes of the Dragon'. I read a little bit of it, but I didn't hold much interest at that time.

If you like those new curse words that you found, I would read some of his other stuff, you'd have some fun finding some of his other 'creations'.

I also remember the book that Pere/Father Callahan was in. 'Salem's Lot'.
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  • 9 months later...
*looks back at previous posts* Hm, it's been a while since I've been here. I used to say 'heh' way too damn much for my liking.

I finished [i]The Dark Tower[/i] about an hour ago. I got [i]Song of Susannah[/i] and [i]The Dark Tower[/i] for Christmas, and I used most of the remaining days of Winter Break to read [i]Song of Susannah[/i]. I got about 140-odd pages in to [i]The Dark Tower[/i], but then schoolwork distracted me too much to continue. But much like Roland, the pull of the Dark Tower proved too much for me, and I started my journey up once again on Tuesday, and it's come to a conclusion, after almost two years of reading the series.

In all honestly, I feel ridiculously happy and sad right now. The series is undoubtedly my favorite series of books (moreso than [i]Lord of the Rings[/i], [i]Harry Potter[/i], or whatever other book series you're likely to think up), and the hours I've spent reading them have been an absolute joy. From the bleak beginnings of [i]The Gunslinger[/i], to the dreary (but oh so [i]right[/i]) ending of [i]The Dark Tower[/i], I can't think of a single moment where I wasn't utterly enthralled with the Dark Tower novels, completely engrossed in thoughts of what would be coming next, what would ultimately be waiting for Roland of Gilead in the Dark Tower, and the adventures that he and his ka-tet would have along the way.

It's been a real treat. If I could, I'd walk up to Stephen King and thank him for every word of the series that he's written.

As for the actual novels themselves...I'd heard that a few people were disappointed about [i]Song of Susannah[/i]. I wasn't one of those people. I really liked the book. One of the shorter novels in the series, yes, and not quite as fantastic as the final book in the series ended up being...but it's still great. The writing is nice and tight, the story is good (even if the slight lack of focus on Jake and [spoiler]Pere Callahan[/spoiler] is a bit disappointing), and the reader is given more of a reason to sympathize with Susannah, to draw closer to her.

Eddie and Jake have given plenty of reason to sympathize with them, both based on their personality and what they've gone through during the course of the novels. This novel was Susannah's major trial, and I'll be damned if [spoiler]the whole ordeal with Susannah and Mia[/spoiler] doesn't draw people closer to Susannah. The cliffhanger ending is par for the course for the Dark Tower series, but it didn't bother me much, since I had the last novel of the series ready and waiting for me to read it.

[spoiler]I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention how cool I thought everything with Stephen King was. It just [i]fits[/i], you know? It's [i]ka[/i], is all I can say.[/spoiler]

[i]The Dark Tower[/i] - what can I say, it's brilliant, haunting, and beautifully written. The tale twists, turns, and weaves, and when you think it's going to fall off the track and unravel in an unruly mess, it picks itself back up again with the utmost grace. Just damn near everything is fantastic, and it's easily the best novel in the series - which really says something, because the rest of the novels are no slouches in the least.

[spoiler]Everything from the high-octane rescue of Susannah, to the freeing of the Breakers (and Eddie's death - that one hit me hard, because Eddie is my favorite character in the series; I love the guy), and saving Stephen King from his death in a car accident (and Jake's death - that hit me hard, as well). It's all done so damn well, and that's barely over half of the book![/spoiler]

Stephen King's handling of [spoiler]Mordred, the son of Mia and the Crimson King, and Roland and Susannah is quite interesting. In the beginning of the novel, he's ruthless, but as everything goes on, you begin to sympathize with him a bit, because he lets his human emotions out, as much as he hates them. Mordred can't help but feel bitter jealousy over Roland's ka-tet, and his own loneliness hits him hard. You don't mourn his death, as he's one of the main villains of the series, but you feel a bit sorry for him, as he's burning on the ground, another victim of Roland's sandalwood-gripped revolvers.[/spoiler]

And the ending. Magnificent. I'd like to know how many people King pissed off with that, because it would amuse me greatly. I wasn't pissed off, but I'd be lying if I wasn't a bit disappointed, at first. All of that wondering, all of the speculation that had gone into what exactly was at the top floor of the Dark Tower. What, or who, would it be? God? The ends of the universe? Another dark enemy for Roland to defeat?

And it ends up that [spoiler]in the end is the beginning. When Roland reaches the top of the Dark Tower, he finds that he must start over, he is yanked from his when to the when of [i]The Gunslinger[/i]. When he gets to the end, he goes back to the beginning.[/spoiler] Doesn't seem like a very good ending, seems very anti-climatic at first glance.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was [i]the perfect ending[/i], the ending that nary a person would have seen coming, yet seemed as plain as day. The ending that [i]fits[/i]. [spoiler]What good would having God up there have done? The ends of the universe? Anything else? The very object at the top of the Dark Tower happens to be Roland's obsession manifested. It makes perfect sense that Roland's quest is cyclical, that he barely realizes it before he enters the door at the top floor of the tower - Roland's never been the most imaginative person, has he?

It also makes sense, because Roland literally has nothing else left to go back to. His family and friends were dead at the beginning of [i]The Gunslinger[/i]. All he had left was his obsession with the Dark Tower, it's all he had to live for. When he draws Eddie, Susannah and Jake into his world, he finds friendship and love once again. But by the time he reaches the Tower, it's all gone. Eddie and Jake are dead. Susannah is back in her world. Oy is dead. Father Callahan is dead. Patrick leaves Roland at his request. All Roland has left is his obession with the Dark Tower.

Consider what Walter told Roland during their palaver when he drew the Death card in [i]The Gunslinger[/i]: "Death, yet not for you." Roland can't die, it is the will of ka. Yet, after he reaches the Dark Tower he will have nothing left to live for. His obsession with the Dark Tower is the only thing keeping him going. So, in a way, he's getting what he's been longing for. He still has his only reason to live.[/spoiler]

Any other ending would have been faker than the fleshy masks that the can-toi don. It's the only ending that works, the only ending that feels [i]right[/i], and that is why it's the perfect way to end the series.

Besides, didn't sai King warn you all not to read on after the epilogue if you wanted a happy ending? To anyone who complains about the ending of [i]The Dark Tower[/i], I say tough luck to you. :)

Whew. That was a long post, but I swear that this series has been totally worth it since the day I started it. I would encourage anyone and everyone to experience this series, and if you love it as much as I do, well, that's just a bonus.
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