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The Dark Tower, book 7: Spoiler discussion

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
Well, i just finished.

Hoo...what a ride.
I'd like to talk about the book, and the series as a whole...if anyone else is up for it. There's a lot to chew on, especially given the audacious ending.

If you havent finished/started the seventh book, don't read further. Forgive the jumble of thoughts, but I'm writing as they come:

The ending blew me away. While King continues to frustrate in terms of knowing how to wrap up his own books, and in terms of having his villians built up and built up, only to bring them down too suddenly, and too easily (the trend continues with the narrative thrust deflating Patrick Danville and his amazing disappearing Crimson King trick), I thought the real ending, the one beyond the cozy hearts n' flowers reuniting of Susannah, Jake and Eddie, was a cracker.

What is King saying here? Why is Roland doomed to repeat his quest? Why is there deliberately less a chance of redemption for him, given that he's only turned back into the desert each time he wins the tower?

Mordred was a gruesomely realized villian that almost fell prey to King's "kill the monstrous fiend with a magic peanut brittle snake cannister" tendencies, saved (in my exceedingly ordinary opinion) only by the amount of love we'd invested in the character of Oy, and Roland's guns.

I was heartbroken by Eddie's senseless, sudden shooting. Less so by Jake's swift demise, possibly because it came barelling in on the heels of the first death. I was shocked by how quickly King swept them both from the board.

I confess to some disappointment, as well, because Susannah has always been my least favorite of the Ka tet. While she's had a terrific character arc, and Drawing of the Three used her incredibly well, I'm just less taken with her. I think, honestly, that I'd have been even more emotionally affected had she been the one to be shot, with Eddie grieving and following Roland, only to be reunited with Jake and his love on that strange alternate New York. Which raises another question: if Roland is condemned to repeat this loop endlessly, does that mean that Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy are also suffering the same fate? If so, are they different Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oys each time, from a different when? Or is it the same Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy? THe book seems to say the latter, because Roland's quest would not repeat the same way each time without the specific knowledge each had of their worlds. Such knowledge helps them out on their quest (Eddie's riddling, for instance). If that's the case, the tower seems even less of a positive force, and becomes almost malevolent.

What else?

Was Dandelo supposed to be IT? At one point, King writes that the old man's face looked like a psychotic clown, and it ends up transforming into an insect, which I think Pennywise did at the end of IT, though the memory i'm coming up with is of John Ritter and Harry Anderson fighting a giant ant underground. So, the book might be different.

I liked Roland's encounter with the middle aged woman, and thought it played out naturally and sweetly. Also, a whole Zahn style spin off series could be written on the intrigues and happenings in the Tet corporation. That whole concept was very nice, and well executed.

In short....the very ending capped the series perfectly, I think. It's ambiguous, frightening, and mystical in a way that allows the taking of the tower not to be a let down. That was a huge relief for me, and I'm glad King was ballsy enough to go there. Had the book ended any earlier (with Roland defeating the CK like an etch a sketch and disappearing into the tower, or with the Susannah feel good chapter) I would have been more than a little disappointed. As it is, i'm almost totally satisfied, with a nagging voice saying that the CK could and should have been a little more thought out, and at least partially threatening, for the book to have acheived true greatness.

As it is, he's a crazy old guy in red who throws evil harry potter bombs.
post #2 of 42
Dandelo was absolutely Pennywise from It, I think.

I think the fact that the Crimson King turns out to be such a worthless humbug plays nicely into the whole Wizard of Oz theme that King has been playing with ever since Book 4. By that point, you KNOW that Roland is going to reach the Tower, and you know there's nobody left to kill that we care about, so I'm kind of glad that King didn't try to drag out the ending when the Crimson King's eventual defeat was so obvious.

And the more I think about the ending, the more I love it.
post #3 of 42
I don't think that Dandelo was supposed to be Pennywise (though there's certainly enough evidence there to argue it). Instead, remember the Tet Corp's statement to Roland that King was writing books as a "message in a bottle." By this rationale, IT was a message warning of a creature that fed on emotion, with the character of "Stuttering Bill" as a marker of that warning. This is probably just me rationalizing this, though, as Pennywise/IT is probably my favorite King villain, a true "eater of worlds" (and much closer to what the Crimson King should have been), whereas I thought Dandelo kind of sucked.

I've got to say that I was disappointed in the characterizations of two of the major villains (Mordred and the Crimson King) and the deaths of three (the aformentioned two plus Flagg/Walter--what a waste). And in the non-appearance of Parkus, Jack and the rest of the Black House crew. And in the general disavowal of the other "linked" novels, particularly Insomnia.

All that said, I was satisfied when I read the last line. And a quick read of the first few pages of the revised Book 1 prove very satisfying. As was the revised palaver with Walter.

Here's a question to wrap your mind around--how did the Crimson King get into the tower in the first place?
post #4 of 42
Up until the last 200 or so pages, I felt that this book was the best of the Dark Tower cycle. Then came the mad, old coot that King turned the Crimson King into. Yikes. Why was this character so built up if he was only to be a minor speed bump on Roland's journey? Sorry, the Wizard of Oz explanation doesn't wash with me. The Oz thing was finished up in Wizard and Glass. I think this was a case of King having *no* idea what to actually do with the Crimson King (much like Flagg and the top of the Tower) so instead of a showdown with a truly menacing opponent we got a freaking bumhug.

Mordred offing Flagg was another big letdown. Roland was supposed to faceoff with him but instead... a were-spider (oy vey) eats him. There are people that say it was necessary to show that Mordred was a real threat. Right. That's why he's maimed by a bumbler and then gunned down in 2.5 seconds by Roland. If it really was King's intention, he failed miserably.

Now the ending. I've changed my opinion on this one twice so far. Initially, I hated it. Felt it was a major copout. Then, it started growing on me. I don't know why really. Now I'm back to hating it. How much more can Roland redeem himself (if that's the point of him being stuck in the loop)? He grew tremendously over the course of his journey and I think it's lame that he misses redemption because he failed to pick up his horn. Feh.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey (thanks for the condescending afterword, Steve) but the final book was a letdown. I thought I'd re-read these books over and over but now... I dunno. I don't really like the idea of Roland being turned into a half-arse version of Neo. If King truly had this loop in mind from the get-go (I've got my doubts about that) then why not give us the final loop? What's the point of showing the (maybe) next-to-last time through?
post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Custer: Carnivale Roustabout

What is King saying here? Why is Roland doomed to repeat his quest? Why is there deliberately less a chance of redemption for him, given that he's only turned back into the desert each time he wins the tower?
I think the point is that Roland, once he discovers the true nature of his quest (save the Beams) and accomplishes it, must cry off the Tower. As it is, it's pure hubris that keeps him going after his palaver with the Minister of State. And that hubris keeps him stuck in the loop. It's really no different than the King being stuck on the balcony.

Of course, I have no idea how the Horn of Eld plays into that scenario.

Possible plot hole: Walter, in the revised Book 1, seems perfectly aware that the Gunslinger is caught in a loop, signifying that Flagg does/can stand outside of this loop. Which, based on his characterization in everything other than Book 7, seems appropriate. But how does he get offed so easily, then? That really burns my ass worse than the lame-ish character of the Crimson King. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
post #6 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I think the point is that Roland, once he discovers the true nature of his quest (save the Beams) and accomplishes it, must cry off the Tower. As it is, it's pure hubris that keeps him going after his palaver with the Minister of State. And that hubris keeps him stuck in the loop. It's really no different than the King being stuck on the balcony.
That's brilliant, and I'm an idiot for not realizing it. Thank you, muchly.


Quote:
Originally Posted by PodBayDoor
I don't think that Dandelo was supposed to be Pennywise (though there's certainly enough evidence there to argue it). Instead, remember the Tet Corp's statement to Roland that King was writing books as a "message in a bottle." By this rationale, IT was a message warning of a creature that fed on emotion, with the character of "Stuttering Bill" as a marker of that warning. This is probably just me rationalizing this, though, as Pennywise/IT is probably my favorite King villain, a true "eater of worlds" (and much closer to what the Crimson King should have been), whereas I thought Dandelo kind of sucked.

I've got to say that I was disappointed in the characterizations of two of the major villains (Mordred and the Crimson King) and the deaths of three (the aformentioned two plus Flagg/Walter--what a waste). And in the non-appearance of Parkus, Jack and the rest of the Black House crew. And in the general disavowal of the other "linked" novels, particularly Insomnia.

All that said, I was satisfied when I read the last line. And a quick read of the first few pages of the revised Book 1 prove very satisfying. As was the revised palaver with Walter.

Here's a question to wrap your mind around--how did the Crimson King get into the tower in the first place?
Yea, I'm with you on Dandelo. Where's the King of old, who would have had him creepily playing off their fears, or going all burblingly monstrous on them?

As far as Walter/Randall/Marten's death, I actually thought it was the perfect way to show Mordred's power against someone who'd been so formidable against King's heroes in the past. But then offing MOrdred (who's a-hungry quite a bit, it would seem) with the bumbler and the guns seems too easy. I think it ultimately works (far better than the crimson king, see below) but only cause Oy's become, at least to me, just as much a member of the Ka-tet as the human beans.

As far as the CK goes, I understand SLater's point about the Wizard of Oz, and thematically, it does tie in, but its still a tremendous let down on my end. This is a villian who's been menacing Roland in serious ways since the beginning, whos been menacing characters in other King books, quite effectively, and his introduction and subsequent vanishing (literally) just isn't a satisfying pay off. There were a lot of ways King could have gone with a final confrontation, almost all of them just as good as, if not much better than, what he wrote. From a meeting and clash of the minds, where the philosophies of the King (death, violence and chaos) and Roland (all things serve the beam...ka is a wheel...the tower is good..) are tested.
Or, a final gun battle for Roland not involving sneetches...

Ah, Im making a bigger deal out of it than I should. That ending...good stuff.

I hadn;t thought about Parkus and the Talisman connection, but you're right..a little more connecting would have been nice. But then, as it is, those other books that relate in some way to the tower are unexplained...and that's kind of cool.
post #7 of 42
Quote:
What is King saying here? Why is Roland doomed to repeat his quest? Why is there deliberately less a chance of redemption for him, given that he's only turned back into the desert each time he wins the tower?
When we see Roland has the Horn of Eld this time in his trip, it shows that he changes every cycle. With each cycle he comes closer to realizing that once the tower is safe, he need not abandon his friends. This is why he decided to pick up the Horn of Eld this time, and hopefully won't get his Ka-Tet killed on the 20th cycle.

Quote:
don't really like the idea of Roland being turned into a half-arse version of Neo. If King truly had this loop in mind from the get-go (I've got my doubts about that) then why not give us the final loop? What's the point of showing the (maybe) next-to-last time through?
The absolute best theory I've heard is that the 20th cycle of Roland's quest is the poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came". The idea may give King a bit too much credit, but to think he left the true final chapter (it even closes the book) to a great writer like Browning is a fabulous idea. The final lines of the poem seem to show Roland climbing up and blowing his horn, but in honor of his friends, not his conquest of the tower.

There they stood, ranged along the hillsides,met
to view the last of me, a living frame
For one more picture! In a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all.* And yet
Dauntless the Slug-Horn to my lips I set
And blew."Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came."


Dandelo does come off as It but I don't see some cosmic horror turning into a fat smiling guy. I see it as nothing more than a very obvious homage to a character King obviously loved (he mentions him so much). Stuff like Stuttering Bill goes to show that he's definetly influenced though.


Myproblem with the whole ending sequence is that we see Roland at his worst since the first book during the final run to the tower. Him trying to force Susannah to stay and his reaction to her leaving, yelling at Oy, wanting to hit Patrick Danville, he came off as kind of a crochety old man rather than the noble knight/Gunslinger we learned to love.

The Crimson King was rather dissapointing too. The whole "He ate a spoon, then died" thing came out of no where and didn't make much sense. This mostrous being we see hyped up through multiple books ends up being nothing more than a crazy old man with a box of futuristic hand grenades. It fits with the Wizard of Oz theme, but still was rather dissapointing. I was hoping for another cosmic mindpunch like at the end of the Gunslinger.

Something that bothers me about the overall story is that King basically retcons everything and writes off very important leads we've been following as "a mindtrap" or not mentioning things ever again. For the keystone work that ties everything he's written together, the series fails in some areas.

*This seems to hint that Roland has come to a realization of his friends at the tower. Even though he realizes his quest is over, he still blows the horn in memory of those who past.
post #8 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufus Rockefeller XIII
When we see Roland has the Horn of Eld this time in his trip, it shows that he changes every cycle. With each cycle he comes closer to realizing that once the tower is safe, he need not abandon his friends. This is why he decided to pick up the Horn of Eld this time, and hopefully won't get his Ka-Tet killed on the 20th cycle.

The absolute best theory I've heard is that the 20th cycle of Roland's quest is the poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came". The idea may give King a bit too much credit, but to think he left the true final chapter (it even closes the book) to a great writer like Browning is a fabulous idea. The final lines of the poem seem to show Roland climbing up and blowing his horn, but in honor of his friends, not his conquest of the tower.
I thought the same thing. Though, to be fair, he does honor his friends in the cycle we see, too.

I'm not completely sold on this being the 19th cycle, though. It's a cool theory, but I don't think there's a ton of evidence to make it much more than that.
post #9 of 42
God damn.

This is about as close to perfect as a DT finale could ever be. I loved it just about all the way through (though it dragged in the Badlands and White Lands segments).

The only major problems I had with it were Walters demise, the "showdown" with the Crimson King, and the Epilogue. The Epilogue especially sort of feels too happy considering the REAL ending. It would have been better had it mirrored what happened to Rolands original ka-tet (Cuthbert, Alaine etc...). I doubt THEY ever got to reunite with other versions of each other. I also hate that Suze is forgetting about her adventures in Mid-World. Shit like this is ALWAYS happening at the end of King books, and I ALWAYS fucking hate it.
As far as Walter and the Crimson King go, how is it that Roland managed to NEVER have any real fight with his two biggest foes? Also, why did both of them go from all-powerful immortal beings to absolute dumbshits (Walter, he's always been one step ahead..what gives?) or total weaklings (Crimson King, what was so terrible about you again?)

Dandelo sucked. I did like the note, though, "Relax! Here Comes the Deus Ex Machina!".
That line from the Browning poem, "My first though was, he lied in every word", that was originaly used to refer to Walter (I think it was on the opening page of The Gunslinger and the Man in Black section of the first book). This sort of pissed me off because it seems like King just totally dropped Walter from the story, not knowing how to fit him in anymore. That would explain his quick, lame death.

Also, there are ...unanswered questions. One that bugs me is, what does it mean for a being to be at one or the other "level of the Tower", as is talked about in Insomnia? The Dark Tower certainly didn't seem to be the hub of time and space, didn't seem to be a focal point for all possible worlds.

I was also kind of pissed that nobody from Black House showed up. Though it WAS a neat surprise to see Ted and Dinky have major roles. That was pretty badass.

I still don't get the exact importance of King himself in the story, and why he has to write, and whether or not he created worlds or just recorded them. That whole thing seemed to come out to very little.

Yea, I know i'm sort of bitching alot for someone who LOVED the fucking thing......but there was definately more good than bad:

- Blue Heaven. Absolutely perfect; I especially loved the way that you can kind of sympathize with the guards and staff...more so even than the breakers. The setting was a nice surprise, too. I was sort of expecting them to be in a more traditional prison.

- John Cullum coming back for a bigger part, and the whole idea of the Tet Corporation. Just great. I could read a whole book about their war with Sombra and NSP.

- The Dixie Pig. I fucking hated Callahan in V and VI, but he was damn great here. Also dug the way Jake turned to face his pursuers, ready to "die well" when the door to Fedic wouldn't open. Switching bodies with Oy was pretty silly though.

- Ted's backstory. Far more interesting than Callahans from V, maybe because I already liked Ted.

- EVERY. SINGLE. DEATH. I've never read a book that left me so emotionally fucked. I always saw it coming about a page before it happened, but that only made it worse. I like how they're weren't any major "Death Speaches" as well. Just saying what matters. I got more than a little misty probably 5 or 6 times during this god damn thing (especially for Oy!)

- The ending(s). Well...two of them, anyway. I would have been let down but satisfied if the story ended with the door to the Tower slamming shut. I would have been pissed, but I would have 'understood' why it happened that way. But man....the real ending was just something else all together. I didn't see that shit coming literally until Roland himself realized what was happening.
The last line may be the best in the entire series.




But, yea. I was pretty much blown the fuck away. Bring on the Fall of Gilead, History of the Old-People, Geography of Mid-World and End-World, and whatever the fuck else he can think of to flesh (and stretch!) this out.

- Fate
post #10 of 42
I'm not quite done yet, so I haven't read the thread, but I just had to comment:

Stephen King is trying to kill me with this book.

I'm serious. On page 380 or so, he punches you in the gut with Eddie's untimely demise and his final words (that's what really got me). And right when I think I'm gonna do ok, and I'm gonna be able to keep going, not but 60 pages later and then he goes right for the heart. Jake's death just about made me sob like a little girl. That.....dammit!

I'm on page 529, and I'm staring to see the end in sight. It's a little intimidating to see see the final chunk of the book before you, within another day or so of reading.
post #11 of 42
I liked it on the whole, though I thought it was seriously flawed (like the last 2 books).



Complaints:

Way too much unnecessary ESP/magic visions shit. Roland talks through Callahan mouth, he and Eddie appear to Susannah while she's giving birth, Jake and Oy switch bodies, etc. Every time something like this happened, I would think of a way less out-there way to accomplish whatever it did.

King the character- I don't care how self-deprecating you are when you do it, if you include yourself in your stories by way of saying that writing them is responsible for saving the universe, that is incredibly goddamn pretentious.

John Cullum, Moses Carver, Mrs. Tassenbaum, Patrick Danville- I got really tired of new characters coming out of nowhere and having huge, important roles.

Dandelo- Love the idea of including It. Hate how it came out nowhere at the end and was dispatched so quickly.

Eddie's Death- Goddamn you, King. Eddie is my favorite character ever. That was such a huge blow.

Flagg's Death- Grisly, deserved, and well-written, but so obvious that King was throwing away a character he wasn't sure what to do with. If he was done with him, I wish he would have let the kids from Eyes of the Dragon finish him off.

Insomnia- So he changed his mind about Patrick Danville's role. Did he have to undermine all the DT-related books to do it? What used to be a sprawling, subtley connected body of work now is written off as a bunch of failed experiments.




Good stuff (with a few complaints thrown in)

The Dixie Pig- Everything up until the mind-trap was awesome.

Blue Heaven- The Breakers and guards were portrayed well, and the assault was good, despite being the most painful read of my life because I knew Eddie was going to die and there was nothing I could do about it.

Jake's Death- Roland's reaction and the burial were very well done.

Susannah in New York- Made life a little easier to deal with, even if it was fairy-talish.

All the gunfights- I was hoping for several shoot-outs, and I got em. I especially liked Sayre getting what was coming to him, right between the eyes.

The Thing under the Castle- King can still create a great monster.


Mixed Feelings:

No more background on Mid-World- I knew it was too much to hope for, but I wanted more Cuthbert and Alain, and even a little Jaimie de Curry.

Resumption- I like the idea that the quest for the Tower is a kind of purgatory for Roland to atone for his sins (and that he keeps recommitting them on the way), but I don't think that it was fleshed out enough. I found myself wondering what sins he had yet to make up for. I thought of a few, but they weren't really glaring. I think if a bigger deal had been made of certain things, like Roland fearing the breaking of his tet more than the actual death of Susannah (WOTC), his selfishness about trying to keep her with him later, and most of all, going on out of pride after the beams were saved, the end would not have been as puzzling. I do really like the idea that this was his 19th loop. That is a much more satisfactory explanation for the 19 business than I had hoped for.

Some cool ideas that weren't followed up on- What happened to the Crimson King being locked in the Tower the whole time? What about Legion? What was the point of the vagrant dead? What about the lightsabers/sneetches? I had an idea that the low men were somehow creating the weapons from the Breakers' imaginations, which could still be true, but why no explanation for all that?


All in all, I love the series, but I wish King would have done the last 3 a bit differently.
post #12 of 42
First of all, great ending although not totally unexpected. The loop theory has been bandied about for the last year (maybe longer) but it still plays out beautifully. For one thing, the story loops on itself but there is also hope. Roland now carries the horn as other times he hasn't so maybe things will be different. It seems to break the cycle he needs to cry off the Tower. As someone on another board said, expect lots of fan fiction following the end of this story.

One clue that in retrospect should have jumped out at me was the poem by Robert Browning. Perhaps he had a similar role as Stephen King on another journey to the tower? Also, what if the dreams of the tower were really memories of past visits? Great book overall and a great series.
post #13 of 42
Thread Starter 
I'm declaring October Dark Tower month. It just seems right.

Your mission? Get one person to read the first book before months end.
post #14 of 42
You want to know how to be a perfect emotional mess when you reach the coda? Have the Once Upon a Time in the West score playing in the background. Through some weird divine coincidence, right when Roland began crossing the fields of roses the track Finale began to play. You wanna talk about tears.

As for the actual ending, I realized what it was right when Roland did. And like King said, this was about the journey, not the prize. I think, maybe, somwhere along the way it was about the prize, but over time and ka it became about Roland's journey and less about the actual Tower. I think that may be why Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla seemed to be less about the pursuit of the Tower and more focused on Roland and his ka-tet.

And I do like to think that maybe because in this iteration, because Roland did stop to pick up his horn, maybe in the 20th cycle he will find Resolution.
post #15 of 42
I really liked it and can't really ask for more from this book than what was there, but I did have gripes with it too. As with every king book, I was ready for the next book and am fairly pissed that there's not going to be one. I want to see Roland do the right thing by his friends, especially Susan Delgado and Oy -- the two characters whose deaths hit me hardest.

I didn't have a problem with Patrick Danville and his easy dispatching of the Crimson King, or Walter's quick death either, but I did think Mordred's demise was unsatisfying -- although maybe that's for the next cycle. Maybe someone will show Mordred some sympathy.

But I did not like the contemporary Tet Corporation, other than Susannah's godfather. It's just such a leap of faith, the whole thing. How did they know how to speak with Roland's dialect? Their chapter seemed totally baffling and unearned.
post #16 of 42
Finally finished it, and I'm sad it's over. After having some time to think the ending over I'm pretty happy with it. I felt sad in a way for Roland being trapped in the ongoing cycle, but at the same time glad to know he's still going on. I like to have a not-so-happy ending occasionally but I think I would have taken one here, the characters deserved it in my opinion.

I would've been very happy to see Oy survive, but as I said in another thread, SK is no Koontz. He doesn't have a problem with killing off the cute furry critters.

The only thing that IS bothering me is Patrick Danville. I'll have to go back & check but in Insomnia, didn't either Clotho or Lachesis say he would not live a long life but was needed to save 2 others who were vital to the order of things? Was that Roland & Susannah? A lot is left for us to draw our own conclusions, and that's not a bad thing I suppose.

OK, maybe 2 things bother me. The Crimson King. All these years we've been wondering who he is, and he seems to be just a red-robed lunatic. I can't see any clear connection with any other SK characters, although his cries of " Oh you don't dare!" seem VERY familiar. Anyone have any ideas? Time to go back & read some more I think.....
post #17 of 42
I'm currently reading The Road to the Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen Kings Magnum Opus. It's pretty fucking good. It helped make a lot of connections in the story that I'd missed (mostly from revised Gunslinger). It also helps clarify the overall story to have this one single book that discusses the series as a whole.

Also some interesting sidebars like who the FUCK is "Bango Skank" and that kinda thing. I highly recommend getting it if your like me and just....can't....quite let go yet.

- Fate
post #18 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cogs of Fate
I'm currently reading The Road to the Dark Tower: Exploring Stephen Kings Magnum Opus. It's pretty fucking good. It helped make a lot of connections in the story that I'd missed (mostly from revised Gunslinger). It also helps clarify the overall story to have this one single book that discusses the series as a whole.

Also some interesting sidebars like who the FUCK is "Bango Skank" and that kinda thing. I highly recommend getting it if your like me and just....can't....quite let go yet.

- Fate
I picked it up and leafed through it in B n N the other day. It seemed pretty heavy on simply recounting the storylines of each book, rather than examining the stories themselves. Did you find that to be the case?

And I did catch something in it that interested me. According to Robin Furth, King's assistant on the books, the Skeleton Crew story that ties into the DT is The Mist.

My theory on how Roland's world got the way it is? The events in The Mist occur in Roland's world. Somehow, the company in the book (North Central Positronics?) rips open a hole into the dark between worlds, letting out the creatures that live there. Along with them, magic seeps back into the world (The Prim?) The creatures that come through in the Mist spread, necessitating the use of military force. Nuclear weapons are deployed, destroying vast sections of America, leaving behind mutants and unthreaded stock. The war reduces men to primitive times, and they evolve into the society we see in The Gunslinger, almost feudal and knightly.

Is the book really worth picking up? I'm not ready to let go, either.
post #19 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Custer: Carnivale Roustabout
I picked it up and leafed through it in B n N the other day. It seemed pretty heavy on simply recounting the storylines of each book, rather than examining the stories themselves. Did you find that to be the case?
I'd say about 95% of the book is spent recounting (and re-recounting) the happenings of each main Dark Tower book. Very little analysis or inside dope to be had. The only neat thing in the book is the inclusion of the afterwords King wrote for The Gunslinger's first appearance in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine.

If you want to save yourself the effort of re-reading all 7 main Dark Tower books and the other major tie-in books (Insomnia, Black House, etc.), then get this. If you're looking for something meatier, save yourself the money.
post #20 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emu
I'd say about 95% of the book is spent recounting (and re-recounting) the happenings of each main Dark Tower book. Very little analysis or inside dope to be had. The only neat thing in the book is the inclusion of the afterwords King wrote for The Gunslinger's first appearance in Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine.

If you want to save yourself the effort of re-reading all 7 main Dark Tower books and the other major tie-in books (Insomnia, Black House, etc.), then get this. If you're looking for something meatier, save yourself the money.
Muchas Gracias. There's a lot to be written about the DT series....its inspirations, nuances, connections, etc....guess this isnt that book.
post #21 of 42
How was the first volume of the Dark Tower concordance, while we're on the subject?
post #22 of 42
Man, this book hurt. I've been following this saga for ages and King delivered an emotional jackhammer, with Eddie's death then Jake's right on the heels of Eddie. Even Callahan managed to get a decent send off and he was one of my least favorite characters.

The ending, though, that pretty ballsy and it makes total sense that Roland should start right where he began as the tower is his never ending pbsession, he's a tower junkie. I liked how King ended Suze's part in the saga, reminding us that although it was a happy ending it wouldn't always be happy.

Mordred as a villain was ok, his dispatching of Walter was intended to show how Walt underestimated Mordred, he thought he was dealing with a child but it turned out he was dealing with an adult in a child's body and the ability to turn into a spider. One thing that did bother me was, why didn't mordred use his mental powers to keep roland still while he attacked, he did it with Walter or could he only do that in human form.

I think the final goodbye between roland and susannah was kind of tragic in that he sacrificed nearly everybody in his quest and he still couldn't let go which was the whole point I think, still, I found it pretty sad.

'A kiss for eddie and Jake but not for you Roland, never for you'

Roland just couldn't let it go even at the end, that's the biggest tragedy of all. I think all the death's were taking a toll at the end with Roland apologizing to Susannah for not seeing something he should've or being taken in by Dandelo's charm. He almost felt like a broken man who clinging to Susannah for support and when she chose to reject the tower he began to sulk even manipulating Oy and Patrick to stay with him, you could almost hate Roland for that.

In the end though, it was a perfect end to the DT series.
post #23 of 42
Given the fact that Roland is destined to repeat his quest time after time, with only slight variations that might lead to his eventual redemption, does this mean King will release further editions of each Dark Tower novel with revisions detailing these variations, eventually leading up to an edition of the Dark Tower series with Roland being redeemed?

And there's a Lucas joke here somewhere.
post #24 of 42
The Browning poem is the loop in which Roland succeeds.
post #25 of 42
OK, just finished it (Yes, I'm behind the times, I know.)

This book is basically Stephen King saying, "OK, so I don't really know how to write endings. Sorry."

For 800 pages.

Even as the first two segments were rocking my socks off, we get Flagg going down like a bitch, which just slapped me around and called me Grandma. In a bad way. King's uber-villain, killed through an asinine mistake, by a villain who was only introduced a few chapters before (though I don't actually have any problems with Mordred...the fact that HE goes down like a bitch later on doesn't hurt much, since he at least has an arc and hasn't been building as a villain for TWENTY YEARS). Oh dear God.

And does it bother anyone else that Flagg being Walter AND Marten is such a massive violation of continuity? I mean, if Roland had been hunting for the man who slept with his mother for so long, wouldn't he, y'know, recognize him in the first book?

But never mind. I'll add to the chorus of groans at how inexpressibly lame the Crimson King was, too. But the thing that's really frustrating is that King (the writer) could have avoided these problems all at the same time.

In the previous books, and even earlier in THIS book for criminy's sake, we're presented with the image of the Crimson King as being bound in the tower for all eternity, like the Devil consigned to hell. I even got the impression that the Tower was built, at least partly, to contain him.

Well, forget that...continuity? Ha, who needs continuity when you've got a jillion dollars. Instead we suddenly learn that the CK got stuck in the tower mere WEEKS before Roland came by. Lame, lame, lame.

The CK should have remained an offscreen presence. I know King doesn't like to do that, but he had at least the sense not to KILL the CK (being the embodiment of chaos and entropy) so why make him a physical threat at all? Why not make him a force of pure malevolance bound helpless by the tower (which, again, is what he was SET UP TO BE) and have the physical threat, the big sneetch/gunfight, come from someone else, like, say...WALTER?!? Come on, if you'd replaced the Crimson King with Walter (tried to make it to the top of the tower and become God, got stuck on the balcony with the sneetches) it would have given us a real climactic confrontation, and it wouldn't have been lame at all for him.

There are more problems, for me. Ditching the elaborate mythos he'd built up in other books was a real tooth-grinder, especially since he'd been faithful up to then. No Jack Sawyer? Argh!!! I liked the Tet corporation, but I wanted more flashbacks to his adventures with Cuthbert and Alain--they would have been perfect for fleshing out the endlessly bloated yet thin final segments. I really would like to see a "prequel novel" of that stuff.

Anyhoo. I just see so many missed opportunities and it drives me nuts. I hate the metafiction stuff too, way too navel-gazing, though the third section of the book actually feels more or less right. The last two segments, though, are a patchwork of great scenes (I loved the Thing beneath the castle and Fimalo/Fumalo/Feemalo) held together by almost no narrative. The momentum just dies with Jake, which is very strange. The White Lands were totally extraneous, and yet he goes on about them for hundreds of pages. Then the book peters out with that lame confrontation, and then...

For all King's protests to the contrary, I really do think the first book was his best, and it was his best because he had designs on literary ambition. And to my amazement, King pulls out something remarkable at the very end. I LOVED the Coda. PERFECT ending. Ambiguous, yet satisfying, and totally representative of a story that King was unable to end properly. It's so much in the spirit of the first book that I can't help but think this has been in the back of his head for 30 years. I'd been puzzling over the lack of a Horn (which is such a prominent feature in the poem) and this ties it up very neatly. I didn't even mind the prior fairy-tale epilogue, because dammit, I wanted Susannah, Eddie and Jake to live happily ever after.

So a mixed bag. King pulled it out of the fire at the last. It's frustrating because I think if he'd just applied more focus and effort it could have been staggeringly good, instead of being a really powerful, but flawed, story. I know King says this story bubbles out of him and he obviously didn't want to mess with that, but he almost seems to be not taking himself seriously as a writer.

Oh well. The quest reached a conclusion that is acceptable, and even great in many ways. I kind of have to concur with King's own sentiments, though. I wish this story had fallen to a different writer.
post #26 of 42
I cried like a baby when Eddie died because he was my favorite and it was so unexpected, the way he died. Jake didn't surprise me particularly much beacuse i was still in shock. I could see Oy on his way to dying and I got fucking PISSED when he didn't go with Susannah. I am pleased that I now know how it ends, but I won't say that it was one of my favorite books. I was really pleased to see Dinky return, he was almost like a secondary Eddie. It took me forever to figure out who he was, until they mentioned something about him being an assassin...

Can someone answer some questions for me?


WTF was the point of the black 13 if they just left it in a locker at the WTC?

What specifically happened to Cuthbert? Was this detailed in a book and I just missed it?
post #27 of 42
Black Thirteen will either be destroyed or never found (and therefore never being a problem) due to the towers collapsing.
post #28 of 42
Black 13 was used to get them between the worlds. They were done with it, so they left it in a storage locker in the WTC where they hoped it would never be found, but the implication was that it caused 9/11 (which I thought was in pretty poor taste, myself).
post #29 of 42
The way I read it was not so much that it caused the attacks, but the attacks themselves served a purpose in that Black Thirteen being buried under so much rubble, there's little to no chance it would ever be found again.

So since 9/11 was going to happen anyways, fate, or Ka, or maybs some underlying psychicness in both Callahan and Jake compelled them to store Black 13 in the storage locker, thus having the inevitable attacks taking care of it.

I guess you could say that's just in as bad of taste though.
post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jujubes78

What specifically happened to Cuthbert? Was this detailed in a book and I just missed it?
He was killed at Jericho Hill, according to I think Wolves of the Calla. His killer was Walter/Flagg, who shot him through the eye with an arrow.

- Fate
post #31 of 42
I loved his character in Wizard and Glass so I was always a little surprised they didn't go into detail about how he died. In retrospect, I was kind of glad because it would have really hurt for me to read about his death.
post #32 of 42
I already said this in my first post, but to reiterate, I REALLY think King should have gone on at more length about Cuthbert, Alain, his parents, Marten, John Farsen, and Gilead. That was the best part of the series--my two favourite books are The Gunslinger and Wizard and Glass. I was really hoping that the final book would be jammed full of flashbacks, if only to that big final war that led to Jericho Hill. In fact, to be quite frank, it feels like the Metafictional stuff with the characters meeting and rescuing Stephen King muzzled out the flashbacks, which makes me hate them all the more.

I hope King does write a novel about the fall of Gilead at some point. The series will feel incomplete until then.
post #33 of 42
K- I got another one. What's the Horn of Eld? Why could it help Roland on his next journey? Where was it all the time during this journey?
post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Custer: Carnivale Roustabout
I picked it up and leafed through it in B n N the other day. It seemed pretty heavy on simply recounting the storylines of each book, rather than examining the stories themselves. Did you find that to be the case?

And I did catch something in it that interested me. According to Robin Furth, King's assistant on the books, the Skeleton Crew story that ties into the DT is The Mist.

My theory on how Roland's world got the way it is? The events in The Mist occur in Roland's world. Somehow, the company in the book (North Central Positronics?) rips open a hole into the dark between worlds, letting out the creatures that live there. Along with them, magic seeps back into the world (The Prim?) The creatures that come through in the Mist spread, necessitating the use of military force. Nuclear weapons are deployed, destroying vast sections of America, leaving behind mutants and unthreaded stock. The war reduces men to primitive times, and they evolve into the society we see in The Gunslinger, almost feudal and knightly.

Is the book really worth picking up? I'm not ready to let go, either.
I thought the DT/Mist connection was that the Mist creatures were the things that lived in Todash. Not specifically stated anywhere, but that's my feeling.
post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jujubes78
K- I got another one. What's the Horn of Eld? Why could it help Roland on his next journey? Where was it all the time during this journey?
The horn is important because Roland blows it at the conclusion of Browning's poem, which many believe to be the final loop Roland goes through. It offers hope that the 20th time, Roland will succeed.

The 19th time, though, Cuthbert dropped it when he died on Jericho Hill, and Roland always regretted that he didn't take the time to pick it up.
post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by yt
I really liked it and can't really ask for more from this book than what was there, but I did have gripes with it too. As with every king book, I was ready for the next book and am fairly pissed that there's not going to be one. I want to see Roland do the right thing by his friends, especially Susan Delgado and Oy -- the two characters whose deaths hit me hardest.

I didn't have a problem with Patrick Danville and his easy dispatching of the Crimson King, or Walter's quick death either, but I did think Mordred's demise was unsatisfying -- although maybe that's for the next cycle. Maybe someone will show Mordred some sympathy.

But I did not like the contemporary Tet Corporation, other than Susannah's godfather. It's just such a leap of faith, the whole thing. How did they know how to speak with Roland's dialect? Their chapter seemed totally baffling and unearned.
My guess is that the Tet Coprporation knows about the dialect because they read Stepehen King's Dark Tower novels. Also, it's mentioned that they employ psychics who can see between worlds...it's how they know about Roland's very recent past when the meeting occurs.
post #37 of 42
Oh, and I can't get the ending out of my head. As soon as Roland's name above the door popped up, I started freaking out because I knew the hell he was in for yet again.
post #38 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeball kid
Oh, and I can't get the ending out of my head. As soon as Roland's name above the door popped up, I started freaking out because I knew the hell he was in for yet again.
Once he started up the spiral staircase, I knew what was happening, although my soul was begging for it not to. Talk about crushing. Still, when you read the stories, there was honestly no other way to end it.

I'd love to see what a film anthology/big-budget miniseries would do with these books. More specifically, I'd like to see what I could do with the filming of these novels. The first three translate fairly easy to the screen (this is easily King's most cinematic works), but once you hit Wizard and Glass, with its 500-page flashback to Roland's past, you have to wonder which would work better-TV or film. Wolves, Sussanah and the final novel would easily fit the miniseries structure, but something about these books demand a translation to the big screen. Imagine how awesome it would be to see a trailer for this? Just a stationary shot of a desert, with a small black speck barely visible on the horizon. "Man With a Harmonica" by Ennio Morricone playing. The words The man in black fled across the desert fades onto screen. They fade away, the music beings to cresendo. And the gunslinger followed. Right then, Roland's boot steps right into frame.

See? It demands a silver screen to appreciate, but needs the length of a miniseries to do the series justice. Le sigh.
post #39 of 42
While that would be a great teaser, I'd say we're definitely in epic HBO miniseries territory here. You'd lose far too much trying to adapt this for the big screen. Plus, I'd want to really get to know the characters over time, so that the ending packs the wallop it should.

Do we dare drift this into fanboy-casting fantasies? Shit, how can we not?

Roland: a stoic, craggy, badass. Looks like Eastwood in his prime, only witth even wearier, piercing eyes. We should be afraid of him, yet understand why the ka-tet choose to call him dinh, why Jake chooses to call him Father by the end. I choose...shit I don't know. It's the most important role, and I have no idea.

Walter/Flagg: David Warner
Eddie: John Cusack (too old?), Ed Norton
Jake: cast an unkown
Susannah: Not sure, but please not Halle Berry.
voice of Oy: Frank Welker
Callahan: I'm at a loss here too

Cameos/Small roles:
Gasher - Tom Waits

All I have so far...
post #40 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by g-dude
Once he started up the spiral staircase, I knew what was happening, although my soul was begging for it not to. Talk about crushing. Still, when you read the stories, there was honestly no other way to end it.

I'd love to see what a film anthology/big-budget miniseries would do with these books. More specifically, I'd like to see what I could do with the filming of these novels. The first three translate fairly easy to the screen (this is easily King's most cinematic works), but once you hit Wizard and Glass, with its 500-page flashback to Roland's past, you have to wonder which would work better-TV or film. Wolves, Sussanah and the final novel would easily fit the miniseries structure, but something about these books demand a translation to the big screen. Imagine how awesome it would be to see a trailer for this? Just a stationary shot of a desert, with a small black speck barely visible on the horizon. "Man With a Harmonica" by Ennio Morricone playing. The words The man in black fled across the desert fades onto screen. They fade away, the music beings to cresendo. And the gunslinger followed. Right then, Roland's boot steps right into frame.

See? It demands a silver screen to appreciate, but needs the length of a miniseries to do the series justice. Le sigh.
The sad thing is that even if the books were adapted, we'd never see anything nearly as cool as what you just described.

It'd only work as a mini-series on HBO, to echo a commonly held notion. Anythign less would be a tremendous let-down, and i'd just as soon they not do it at all if that wouldn't be the case.

Seeing a cut-rate or mashed-up version of Roland's adventures would just suck.
post #41 of 42

What I think

Here's how I felt about DT7

...It's like making an 18 hour drive with a girl you don't know that started out as cute. She may be a 6 of 10. You start talking and she's a great conversationalist, and you have SO MUCH in common. At about 17 sleep deprived hours later you think she's went from about a 6 to a 9.5. You talk her into a little mouth love, and right when you are about to blow your load, you realize she has a penis.

You finish the last hour and go your merry way.

Now, it is about the journey, not the prize. BUT, if on the last leg of the journey you can only taste that little bit of throw-up in your mouth because you feel like you've been lied to and violated...the entire journey is kinda spoiled.

That's how I felt. I read (and King pretty much TOLD US in the WnG afterword) that this was to be king's centerpiece...his culmination. And instead he changes EVERYTHING on us in the last 500 or so pages. Thunderclap is no longer a place, "where the ground vomits out the dead," FLagg's death is a cop-out, Roland reverts to his younger dumber self (what happened to the man who feared "the breaking of the ka-tet" most of all?), and the Crimson King is not only no longer at the top pf the tower, but he's a SENILE SATANA CLAUS. Seriously, my neighbors miniature pincher with a hard-on is more menacing than the Crimson King.

I had no problem with the ending. King wants to make it a lop, I dig it and eat that shit with a spoon. But, to turn his back on everything else he has built up...just...just...

Sucks.
post #42 of 42
Well, I know I'm late, but I just finished it. I, for one, loved it. It wasn't the greatest thing since sliced Jesus, but I liked the entire story. Of course, my least favorite member of the ka-tet was the only one who didn't die (I didn't hate Susannah so much as found her the least interesting and appealing). The deaths struck me hard, even though I always figured Oy would die, he's the one I wanted to live most of all. I also think that the true ending was Roland reaching the Tower, and the rest was a maybe or a what-if scenario. Oh well, it didn't all fit together as tightly as I hoped, but in the end it was worth it and I'm glad I read the series. And I think that's really all I wanted from it.
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