Friday, 9 January 2015

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came

The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. So begins and ends the masterpiece that is The Dark Tower

(I know this is completely irrelevant, but whatevuh)

Last night I finally finished Book VII of the series, after beginning two years ago. I will admit that this is nothing compared to the people who have stuck with it from the very beginning, when Part I: The Gunslinger was released in 1982 (or when the first part of this book was published in 1978 in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Ficiton): In a way I'm quite relieved that I did not have to wait the 20 years it took King to finally complete it! I'm not including The Wind Through the Keyhole here - I have yet to read this, which is some consolation to me. 

Michael Whelan

Stephen King was one of my favourite childhood authors - when I was about twelve, I picked up The Green Mile, I think it was, and then went on a spree, picking up whatever King book I could find - and luckily for me, every god-damn newsagent, even grocery shops out in the shticks, had a bloody Stephen King novel. So I flew through The Shining, Misery, Black House, Carrie (still one of my favourite novels and films), Salem's Lot, along with numerous others. And then all of a sudden, I just stopped reading them. And then two years ago, I looked up Stephen King on Goodreads and went through the reviews of his books, and found that The Dark Tower got amazing reviews, so I said, sure feck it anyway, and went ahead and bought The Gunslinger

And I must say - this is probably my favourite series that I've read...maybe ever. That doesn't say much when I haven't read many series, but, the story is one of the best I've ever read. I can say that I've never gotten so attached to fictional characters as I did with this. I honestly thought by the end of it I was falling in love with Roland Deschain of Gilead. And I will admit, that in the final book, I cried numerous times - and I do not cry from books. In fact the last time I cried from reading a book is either when Dumbledore died in the Harry Potter series, or maybe even when I was in fourth class of primary school and that damned horse, Pegasus, died in Lauren Brooke's series Heartland (in the third book if I remember correctly!). But The Dark Tower made me cry. Stephen King made me cry and fall in love with his characters. And because of this book especially, I will defend him until the end of time, and rebuke any muhfah' that says he writes unworthy lowbrow crap. I'll go Detta Walker on their ass. 

Michael Whelan

One thing King has received some criticism for, is the ending of this series. But...I think it ended quite perfectly really. Y'know, after all, ka is a wheel. And as King says in the final chapter, the story is about the journey, about Roland's quest for the tower, and if we are here just for the ending, then all you have to do is read the last few pages. And I do love how he gives us the choice, one may call it, of putting down the book and not finding out. But like Roland, we can't stop ourselves. I had no idea how this was going to end, and I certainly did not expect how it did end up, but damn, it really makes me want to re-read the series again! And maybe one day I will. Because it was actually heartbreaking saying goodbye to it, to Roland and Jake and Eddie and Susannah and Oy.

May I add that Susannah Dean is one badass female character. One who actually has depth, which I think many female fantasy characters lack.

And another thing - the references to other books and films. So many of King's other works tie into The Dark Tower, and so many of the characters from other books appear in it. Like Pere Callahan from Salem's Lot, and Dandelo, who is of the same species as Pennywise from It. 
And as well as that, the references to Harry Potter - I loved these bits. 

There have been talks (for a looong time) about turning this into a number of films, but it keeps seeming to fall through. But it better happen - because Russell Crowe is apparently in talks to play Roland, and I think he would be perfect. I love Roland and I love Russell Crowe. So, happen already!

And for those of you who haven't read the series, read it. And for those of you I have forced to start it and ye gave up, then screw you. 

Long days and pleasant nights, stranger
There are other worlds than these

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