Movie News

Quint checks out Stephen King's newest Dark Tower novel THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE!

Published at: March 21, 2012, 2:57 p.m. CST by quint

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. If you’ve been reading AICN with any regularity you’ll probably remember that I’m kind of obsessed with Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. It started in middle school as I was plowing through all of King’s books. The school library had the paperbacks of the first three Dark Tower novels (all that was released at that time) and I read them in a marathon.

The second book, The Drawing of the Three, in particular grabbed my imagination. It had the perfect mixture of science fiction, fantasy, pulpy crime stories and horror. There was also that feeling of electricity in the air. A storm was building. It took three books for Roland Deschain to gather his posse, his ka-tet, for the grander adventure through the horror show of a post-apocalyptic alternate universe towards his destiny: the Dark Tower, a structure that is lynchpin for all realities, including our own.

Through all seven books King has been able to work towards the moment that Roland sets eyes upon his White Whale while still giving each book its own tone and feeling. The Gunslinger is a western, The Drawing of the Three is a sci-fi fantasy, The Wastelands is a sci-fi adventure, Wizard and Glass is a tragic romance, The Wolves of the Calla a samurai tale, The Song of Susannah kind of a horror show in all possible readings of that phrase and The Dark Tower an oddly melancholy epic conclusion that fits every aspect of the previous books into one narrative.

If you’ve read the series you know that King announcing a new Dark Tower book is a bit of head-scratcher. The final Dark Tower book had a pretty definitive ending, afterall.

The Wind Through The Keyhole fits neatly between Wizard and Glass and The Wolves of the Calla, prompting some King fans to call it book 4.5 in the Dark Tower series.

 

 

I ordered the Grant Books limited Artist Edition of The Wind Through The Keyhole for a few reasons… the professional binding and slipcase are great, you get Jae Lee art that won’t be in the trade edition, it’s autographed by Lee and, most importantly, you get it a full two months before Scribner’s trade hardcover. Which is why I have a review ready now even though the book doesn’t come out until April 24th.

I remember the same thing happening with Grant’s Wizard and Glass, which I did order and read, but back then it wasn’t really a race. “I better read it early so I don’t get spoiled!” didn’t enter my mind. It wasn’t until the last few years that I noticed I wasn’t alone in my Dark Tower worship. As a kid, these were the King books people didn’t know or give a shit about, even my grown up friends who read King didn’t give these books much attention.

Now the fanbase has grown to quite an impressive level, with websites dedicated to the series and talkbacks full of educated opinions every time some iteration of a feature film version of The Dark Tower series rears its head and we post a story on it.

Grant Books’ printing is spectacular, with a turtle shell-like hardcover pattern and high quality paper and binding. If you’re a fan I highly recommend getting a jump on your friends by ordering the Limited Grant Edition which will run you $75.00 plus shipping, but for that money you get a quality level you won’t get in the trade edition. And you’ll likely get it pre-release, just like I did.

So the wrapping was nice and all, but what about the story? Did King slip effortlessly back into Mid-World? How does this book fit into the series as a whole? And what the hell is the wind going through that keyhole for? Doesn’t it have anything better to do with its time?

King dedicates the book to Robin Furth and the team from Marvel, who have been working on adapting Wizard and Glass and have been telling some previously unknown stories of Young Roland after the tragedy at Mejis. Right off the bat that should tell you where this book fits.

It’s like King was coming up with ideas for Marvel’s books and then was hit with this one and just couldn’t give it over to the comic guys.

The book starts with Roland, Jake, Susannah, Eddie and Oy on the road to Calla Bryn Sturges after the events of Wizard and Glass and I gotta tell you it was pretty emotional to slide back in with the group. I missed those guys and it was clear that King missed them too because their voices rang true. Eddie was his usual big hearted, smart-ass self, Jake and Oy the best “boy and his dog” pairing ever and the little glimpses of Odetta peeking through Susannah’s more controlled personality had me clutching my sizable gut with laughter once again.

It was like a family reunion in a weird way and if I had any complaint about the book it’s that we don’t get another adventure with these guys. I just miss them and miss the energy of King’s writing when he’s working with them.

When the ka-tet gets trapped by a hellacious storm, Roland gathers them around and tells them another story of his youth. Narratively, this is an odd book because it’s basically a guy telling a story about a younger version of himself telling a story. The Wind Through The Keyhole is a Gilead fairy tale that, of course, crosses over into the main story in The Dark Tower series.

Young Roland is sent to investigate the violent murders in the countryside. His father believes it to be the work of a “skin man,” or shape-shifter as we’d call it. So, Roland and his buddy Jamie de Curry take off to investigate as Roland is in an emotionally delicate place after the events of Wizard and Glass.

 

 

The only witness that could solve the mystery of the identity of this shape-shifter is a scared young boy that resembles young Jake in personality and description, so this protective relationship seems to foreshadow Roland and Jake’s in the books. Ka is a wheel, right?

In order to calm this boy down, Young Roland tells him this fairy tale and I’d say it comprises at least 75% of the book. The thing about this fairy tale, though, is it isn’t just us reading this old timey text… this is Roland telling the story, so he tells it from his point of view, adding in little flourishes that could very well have been influenced by his adventure so far.

The Man In Black figures into the story, about a small child whose father is killed and he’s put on the path through a deep dark forest in order to save his mother. There are dragons, enchantments, mutants, magic and all types of Mid-World iconography sprinkled throughout.

The Wind Through The Keyhole feels a lot like The Eyes of the Dragon, King’s pure fantasy book with a lot of tangential Dark Tower connections, and it’s a great note to strike. King is really good at fantasy and doesn’t play in this universe a lot. While I would have loved to have a book that enlightened me a bit more about Roland as a character or given us another adventure with the ka-tet at their peak, I gotta say I was quite happy with this book.

 

 

There’s an ease here that I haven’t felt from King since The Wolves of the Calla. I’ve liked many of his novels since, including his more recent 11/22/63, but this one just feels like he’s in his element, even more so than the last two Dark Tower books, which had some amazing things in them, but also felt a bit cluttered and jumbled. This is a quick story that touches on many of the elements that made me fall in love with King’s Dark Tower series to begin with.

You have the close-knit family relationship with Roland, Susannah, Jake, Eddie and Oy, the horror story of Young Roland hunting down a shape-shifter that’s tearing a small community apart (literally) and the Grimm’s fairy tale of little Tim Stoutheart who ventures into the dangerous Ironwoods at the prodding of a familiar man in black with nothing but his dead father’s hand-ax, a lantern and a child’s determination to save his mother to see him through.

The Wind Through The Keyhole section is the most fleshed out and the most complete, with a solid pace and nice payoffs. The Skin Man section feels a little more rushed. King doesn’t milk the mystery of the set-up as much as I was hoping he would. This could have been a great The Beast Must Die style reveal, but instead it feels like the conclusion happens too quickly and with little consequence. Adult Roland and his ka-tet really only serve as the book ends, but even our little time back with the group was enough to make me happy.

Jae Lee’s art is beautiful and further strengthens my theory that this was almost a King-dictated story for the Marvel books that he decided to just write himself in novel form (since Lee does the art for the Dark Tower comics, ya’ ken?). His black and white work, in particular, is striking. However, his color stuff… I don’t know, it looks overly cartoonish to me. As much as I like Lee’s work overall and dig the comics, he’s never captured the Mid-World I imagine when reading.

I’m a fan of the Dark Tower art by Michael Whelan, Phil Hale, Ned Dameron and Bernie Wrightson. That, to me, is the world of The Dark Tower. Rough, but beautiful.

I felt content when I turned the last page of the book and had a strong compunction to pick up Wolves of the Calla and follow my ka-tet on their adventure. I’d love it if King would continue to fill in gaps of time in this story or tell parallel stories whenever the mood strikes him. Like I said above, he just feels at home in Mid-World. Damn near everything he has done and continues to do ties into this world in some small or large way, but there’s nothing like a true-blue Dark Tower King story. I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I was about 2 pages into The Wind Through the Keyhole.

 

 

Scribner’s hardcover trade edition hits April 24th and will run you about $16, but if you’re impatient and have a little extra dough to drop the Grant Books Limited Edition is a solid option. Those are shipping now.

-Eric Vespe
”Quint”
quint@aintitcool.com
Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback

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  • March 21, 2012, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Quint

    by Rob

    You talked with Howard in an interview on this site regarding possible Roland's, prior to Bardem being cast. Can you reveal who else you both talked about??

  • March 21, 2012, 3:07 p.m. CST

    enrico

    by Quint

    That was Capone's interview. I have no idea who else was considered. I just hope Guy Pearce's name was in there somewhere.

  • March 21, 2012, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Quint

    by Rob

    My bad mate. Good looks on the review though and co-sign on Guy Pearce!

  • March 21, 2012, 3:12 p.m. CST

    The typography on the Grant cover is disgusting.

    by blackwood

    I'm really appalled.

  • March 21, 2012, 3:19 p.m. CST

    You know what you want...

    by Randy_of_AFTimes

    ...the story of Roland's dinh. The ascent of one Stephen Deschain! A story that "fills in the blanks" but doesn't mess with the original story. Thanks for the review! (What about Timothy Olyphant for Roland?)

  • As I understand, King could go back and spruce up the first few books to make them tie in really well to the series overall, the language slang and so forth, and I think it'd be nifty to have a collected edition too. But that does not exist, does it?

  • March 21, 2012, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Thankee sai and START WITH THE HORN AT ROLANDS SIDE

    by CharyouTree

    Daniel Day Lewis for Roland Have the meta with Ron Howard making the movie's.

  • March 21, 2012, 3:31 p.m. CST

    "Pretty definitive" must mean "pathetic, lame cop-out" now.

    by Buck_Futt

    C'mon, Quint, even if you liked the (lame, cop-out) ending to DT7, you'd have to admit the only "definitive" thing about it was the implicit admission that King's imagination completely failed him in the last book. As Walter O'Dim (before he was retconned into Randy Flagg--which was also lame, to say nothing of cheap) said in the original text of Book 1, "You dare not" enter that room at the top of the Tower And indeed, after all that time and work, King dared not. He'd have been better off leaving the work unfinished--since that's essentially what he did in the first place, except by leaving well enough alone, he'd have preserved at least some of his dignity. I won't even go into the horrible tacked-on, heroism-nullifying "happy endings" for the rest of the Ka-Tet. I'm still trying to erase the second half of that last book from my memory... so far without success, I'm sorry to say.

  • March 21, 2012, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Dark Tower's ending was as shitty as BSG and Lost!

    by Judge Briggs

    So true.

  • STFU

  • March 21, 2012, 4:14 p.m. CST

    I love the majority of Kings work...

    by Kill List Hammertime

    ...but I just couldn't finish the Dark Tower series. I tried, but I found it really hard going. Got up to Song for Susannah and that was it. However judging by comments made about the ending, I'd already read the best books. I heard Kings next book is going to be a return to pure horror, a sequel to the Shining I think? Now that I'm looking forward too. And I say this in every book tb, I want a movie version of Dan Simmons The Terror. Someone somewhere make it happen! It's a classic movie waiting to happen.

  • March 21, 2012, 4:19 p.m. CST

    Should I read it?

    by sc84

    I like majority of King's work. I loved It, Dolores Claiborne and others. But I'm really on the fence about reading The Dark Tower series. I know how it ends and I just don't know if I want to commit to thousands of pages for that kind of ending. Can anyone here give me some advice.

  • March 21, 2012, 4:24 p.m. CST

    11/22/63

    by sc84

    I loved this book. I even loved all the stuff where George/Mike is teaching at the school and the play. And for once, I don't think King missed the landing on the ending. It was bittersweet and I like those kinds of endings. I would like King to write another book about time travel.

  • March 21, 2012, 4:27 p.m. CST

    @drstrangerlove

    by sc84

    How was The Tommyknockers? I started reading it but stopped before the 100 page mark. Would it be worth it to pick it up again?

  • March 21, 2012, 4:27 p.m. CST

    As the physical size of King's name increased on his books

    by BenBraddock

    so did the quality of his writing shrink. His big shiny, gold-embossed name completely dominates the covers of his books nowadays, so you are often hard-pressed to find the novel's name, but few of them are worth reading.

  • March 21, 2012, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Loved the ending of DT7.

    by Fico

    I thought Song of Susannah was terrible, and I hated how King wrote himself into the story. But most of DT7 is great.

  • March 21, 2012, 4:32 p.m. CST

    Loved these books when I was 11

    by brad meyers

    I remember thinking the wait for Wizard and Glass was unbearable. It must have been, since I totally forgot about the whole series until now. I'd pick it back up again (i'd have to start over) but i worry that I have to be 11 again to really get into them

  • March 21, 2012, 4:32 p.m. CST

    I'm with Blackwood

    by Mattman

    I wouldn't be able to stand that font on the LE cover. This does sound like a cool story, though. I'll pick up the regular version.

  • March 21, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Just curious

    by Blu Gilliand

    Have those of you dismissing this book as a "fart in a jar" actually read it? Personally, I'm only interested in someone's opinion of a book if they have a basis for it. There were things in the last three DT books that I didn't care for, and there were things in them that I loved. I thought the actual ending to the series was brilliant, and as ballsy a move as the "fade to black" ending of "The Sopranos." I don't think King, with all of his warnings, was saying "I've given up" - I think he was saying "This is where the work has led me, and it's going to piss a great many of you off, so here's a nice place to get off the train before the last stop."

  • March 21, 2012, 4:56 p.m. CST

    @ drstrangerlove and sc84

    by ghost_matt

    @ drstrangerlove The Gunslinger is the worst book in the series. I almost couldn't get through it, and almost everyone I've recommended the series to almost couldn't get through it (my wife actually skipped to the last chapter, then read the synopsis at the beginning of Drawing of the Three). As I tell everyone, you have to get through the first book and then the rest is AWESOME. @ sc84 I personally LOVED the ending of Book 7. I think the people who complain about it didn't understand it. I don't know what you've been told but *SPOILERS* No, it isn't that he wasn't worthy or anything like that. My reading of it is, there is no universal meaning to everyone's lives. It's different for everyone. What you find at the top of the Tower is whatever was most important to YOU, and for Roland -- that was his quest. So that's what he finds, and he just keeps repeating it over and over and over again. Some people think he just wasn't worthy and has to keep doing it over until he gets it right, but I don't think that's what it is at all.

  • March 21, 2012, 5:03 p.m. CST

    DT 7 couldn't have ended any other way, imho...

    by Jaybob

    ...but I'll always think there is that last trip Roland takes with everything he needs...might be better left to the imagination.

  • March 21, 2012, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Motion Comic 'N' from 2008...one of King's best...

    by Jaybob

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXwZYc3fyLk

  • March 21, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST

    madeyemongo, the blood vessel in your forehead just burst...

    by Mattman

    Might wanna, I dunno, put some peroxide on that or something.

  • March 21, 2012, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Never Made It Past WOLVES OF THE CALLA

    by CHRISTIAN_BALE_TRASHED_MY_LIGHTS

    It's a shame because, up to that point, King totally had me. I thought WIZARD AND GLASS, in particular, was amazing. And then, about half way through WOLVES OF THE CALLA, I just closed the book and never went back to it. It just didn't sing to me like the others had done and I began to find excuses not to read it. Still, I'm glad he has written another. I hope those who made it all of the way through the series get what they'd hoped for.

  • March 21, 2012, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Jaybob is a Constant Reader and

    by Jaybob

    refers to himself in the 3rd person. He disagrees with you , too. Who DO you read Madeye?

  • March 21, 2012, 6:09 p.m. CST

    We need a map of Mid-World

    by Scorchy

    And all of the others areas in the books. I could never really work my head around direction in them. "Eyes of the Dragon" is fantastic, BTW. I'd love to see that made into a quality movie. Good stuff.

  • March 21, 2012, 6:47 p.m. CST

    The only problem with that scorchy...

    by ghost_matt

    ...is I recall somewhere in the book it saying that the geography was changing due to the beams breaking. Some distances were much longer than they used to be.

  • March 21, 2012, 6:47 p.m. CST

    As much as King bungles his endings...

    by PhineasFlynn

    ...DT7 ending was perfect. Dude nailed it. He tipped his hand in the short story "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is In French" in the collection "Everything's Eventual". After reading that story (as well as the other with more obvious DT tie-ins in that collection) and the revisions he did with Book 1 ahead of DT7, how could anyone think the ending would be anything other than what it was. That said, I'd still like to have my money back on the last few chapters of "Under the Dome". I can live with "The Stand" and "It", but the end of "Under the Dome" was egregious.

  • March 21, 2012, 7:27 p.m. CST

    I liked a majority of books 6 & 7 . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    The Mordrid climax was as anticlimatic as hell, but I liked the story all the way up until Roland met the artist. After that it was pure garbage. I loved the Dandelo part. Didn't even mind King writing himself in...

  • March 21, 2012, 7:43 p.m. CST

    I have like 50 complaints about everything post-WaG

    by maelstrom_ZERO

    . . .but there's at least two brilliant moments in DT7. One is that showdown in the creepy restaurant where Father Callahan finally receives a measure of redemption by finding the faith he's been looking for since his fall. And the second brilliant moment is when Roland finally reaches the foot of the Dark Tower and lists the names of all the allies and friends that he's lost to make it there. I got geek chills during those two moments. But sadly, those two moments of greatness were pretty much overshadowed by everything else being rather terrible in the worst sort of way.

  • March 21, 2012, 7:45 p.m. CST

    Tommyknockers and "Eye of the Dragon"

    by Hipshot

    A famous writer whose name you would all recognize, and a friend of Kings, says that King never wrote Tommyknockers, that he was so coked out at the time he couldn't fullfill his contract, and a ghost was brought in to do it. I believe the story. ## On the other hand, at the time "Eye of the Dragon" came out, I shared an agent with King (believe me, I was a minor client). When my daughter was born, I asked for a copy of "Dragon" inscribed to her. King agreed and sent it, signed: "To (my daughter's name), Welcome to life, sweetheart. Steven King." What a lovely man.

  • March 21, 2012, 7:45 p.m. CST

    i've been a king fan for most of my life

    by snaredrum

    and i love the DT links throughout his work, but i just can't get into the DT books themselves. Trust me, as my favourite book is Insomnia, i wish i could.

  • March 21, 2012, 8:01 p.m. CST

    I read 1-4 in one straight clip, am saving 5-7 for the summer

    by MrEkoLetMeLive

    So I can do the same. Hopefully, I'll have finished "Atlas Shrugged" by then. I do believe book 7 has a longer page count than Ms. Rand's hefty tome.

  • The complaint seems to be that it was a "cop out" ending, that King didn't know how to end it and they seem shocked and dissapointed with what he did. If you honestly feel that way then frankly you didn't understand the series. Both myself, my girlfriend and my best friend guessed what was in the dark tower somewhere around book three when the whole "Ka is a wheel" stuff starts coming in ( might have been later, certainly comes before the last book ) Not only is it a natural conclusion, it's a signposted conclusion and more importantly its a fairly classic literary trope, the tortured hero who must live his life over and over, forced to make the same mistakes and hard decisions, in the hope of redemption. Hello ? Monkey ? Quantum leap ? Buddhism ? How did you not see it coming ? more importantly how can you be dissapointed with what is essentially a "classic" ending ? King didn't "run out of ideas" , I'll admit that there is plenty of crap in the series and some pretty ( in my opinion ) terrible story choices that really do hint at him getting a bit lost in his own fiction ( literally ) But the ending is not one of them. For goodness sake, the protagonist says "Ka is a wheel" like a million times, he literally states that existence repeates itself. It's the central philosophy of midworld. I can understand you being dissapointed with the ending but if you don't "get" the ending or don't "understand the ending" or worse still think King pulled the ending out of his arse at the last minute you have completely forgotten the face of your father.

  • March 21, 2012, 8:26 p.m. CST

    madeyemongo - You have to be kidding

    by CptBlood

    King is one of the few writers who absolutely does not have to "pinch out a book when he needs a few bucks" Do you have any idea how rich that guy is ? You can say what you like about him but the idea that he does it for money is just stupid. Read some of his non fiction, he is pretty explicit in talking about why he writes, and it's not the cash. And you know what ? I believe him. He was prolific before he sold a single story. He's still prolific even though he could spend the rest of his life sitting on a paradise island sniffing cocain of supermodels butt cheeks. He's tried to retire twice. Failed. He tried writing under a pseudonym in an attempt to find out if he was just "pinching out" novels and trading on his name. Failed that too, ended up being another successful writer with a different name. You can level so many legitimate criticisms against the guys writing, don't stoop to the over used and frankly ridiculous suggestion that he's a hack. It's just not true.

  • March 21, 2012, 8:58 p.m. CST

    I think you meant glimpses of 'Detta peeking through...

    by cobrakinte

    Odetta's personality was pretty boring.

  • March 21, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    Agree about Dan Simmon's The Terror being turned into a movie.

    by Clabog592

    I would love love love to see that. If it captured the realistic feel of Master and Commander and blended that with the mysterious horror of the book, that would be one damn good movie. Has the potential to be a classic horror film

  • March 21, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    Scorchy, there are maps in Robin Furth's compendium books.

    by cobrakinte

  • March 21, 2012, 9:08 p.m. CST

    paid advertisting

    by Rupee88

    that one was especially obvious

  • Actually, this is the best article AICN has posted in months.Maybe even years.

  • March 21, 2012, 9:22 p.m. CST

    Yeah, for all the stumbles along the Path of the Beam...

    by blackwood

    ...King stuck the landing. It is incredibly, bracingly mean -- and at the same time as hopeful as anything. King doesn't always 'get' endings like he does character and action and setting and mood. But I think DARK TOWER ends the best way it could. I was not in the least disappointed closing that book. And I'm excited to pick up this one -- EYES OF THE DRAGON is my secret favourite King. It was my Christmas book for a decade -- the one I would always pull out when the first staying snow fell. It's one of my favourite stories of all time. King in that mode, wrapped in Dark Tower twice over -- I have a feeling I will love this book.

  • March 21, 2012, 10:46 p.m. CST

    King is King. Period.

    by kele nitoto

    You want better. Write it.

  • March 21, 2012, 10:51 p.m. CST

    Can't wait for this, by the way.

    by kele nitoto

    If I were richer, I would get the limited edition. As it is, I am just glad I don't have to keep making up DT stories in my head.

  • That's news to me.

  • March 21, 2012, 11:56 p.m. CST

    Re: ghost matt

    by WizardandGlass

    I really like your take on the ending, but I do think there's room for both your idea and the one you seem to disagree with. You basically said that what was most important in Roland's life was the "quest" itself, so the Dark Tower gave him exactly what he wanted and he just keeps re-living what's (to him) the most important, fulfilling part of his life. But, in a way, I also think that's what the Tower was showing by making his next "quest" slightly different. If the whole point was just to have him repeat this journey over and over again, then I don't think King would have thrown in the bit at the end about what Roland is carrying with him this time around. I agree that the Tower is giving him what he wants...but I also think it's trying to make him question his priorities and his belief that he somehow "deserved" to see what was in that room despite the choices he mad to get there.

  • March 22, 2012, 12:16 a.m. CST

    Meant to say "made"

    by WizardandGlass

    Meant to say "made" there at the end. Oh, and just for the record, I absolutely loved the first four books, thought five was poor, six was an improvement but never felt like a standalone novel to me, and seven was quite good. Actually, my biggest complaint about seven was Roland meeting the people who lay out for him all the connections in the Stephen King books, but how he's yet to meet the artist from Insomnia. Seriously...did we really need that? I mean, how anti-climatic did that make it when he finally DID run into him? And who are these stupid fucking bookstore nerd Lone Gunmen "travel guides" anyways? For me, that was the point where the whole "Stephen King writes himself into the story" thing just got a bit ridiculous for me.

  • March 22, 2012, 12:25 a.m. CST

    The Ending

    by Vitruvian_Man

    ...of the DT series is brilliant on several levels. But it does require you to think and I realize that's a problem for many. It's already been said by cptblood and a few others very well, so I'll just add my voice to them saying it was set up beautifully and is indeed a classic ending. I strongly considered something like that happening towards the end and it came to pass. There were more than a few rough spots in the last three novels. Too much was written and not enough editing done, but it's a monumental effort that's worth undertaking. If you love King, you have to love this also I think.

  • March 22, 2012, 12:47 a.m. CST

    I've read every damn thing King has written

    by Fuzzyjefe

    with the exception of CARRIE, and I'll say this: King dropped the ball. The END of the DARK TOWER series is great. I can totally get behind it. Ka is a wheel and all that. HOWEVER......he totally bungled he 'confrontation' between Roland and the Crimson King. C'mon.....anyone who has read the damn thing has to admit that there was NEVER any actual payoff. Roland didn't give what-fer to Flagg NOR the CK. King went with yet ANOTHER deus ex machina. I read INSOMNIA. I read IT. I also read SEVEN GODDAM Dark Tower books. I can't be the lone voice in the wilderness that expected some epic showdown between Roland and his enemies instead of what was given. Hey....sketchy guy. Why don't you draw a pic of the CK, erase it, and let me get to the tower.....'cause obviously YOU are the hero that King wrote about in numerous books that spanned decades. Why should Roland actually have to EARN the tower himself? I called shenanigans then, and that call stands.

  • March 22, 2012, 6:27 a.m. CST

    Pretty definitive ending?

    by dancetothebeatofthelivingdead

    I want to get this book and slip back ito that world that held me in awe for over 20 years, but the sting of that ending will never go away and I just don't want to put my mind back there. I know it's just a damn book, i know it's not life, but I have never been so invested in a series as I was Dark Tower for so many goddamn years. Then King gets hit by a van, fears that he's gonna die before wrapping it up and squirts out those last few books in rapid fire succession, only he forgot to bring along his imagination. All detractors of King can go fuck themselves the only reason to not like his writing is to try to impress people with a nose-in-the-air opiniated rant about how King is just a cheap 20th century fiction writer. Those who have read the majority of his work know definitively that he is the absolute definition of the great American author writing the great American novel over and over and over and over again. He disguises his greatness in cheap fiction, and it works because the masses have been eating it up for almost 40 years now. However, the lazy and unforgivable ending of The Dark Tower has spoiled me for what may end up being forever. I was just like you, Quint. Had each book the day of its' release at the LATEST. Since the final DT book came out, the only King books I have read are Lisey's Story and Cell, and I don't really have any desire to read the ones I've missed. That cop-out ending truly hit me that hard. Now he wants us to follow him back into that world, and he wants us to trust in him and the Ka-Tet? Can't do it, won't do it. By the way, Guy Pearce would be fucking awesome as Roland, great fuckin call, Guint. And why don't we get Eyes Of The Dragon instead of Wrath of The Titans? Or The Long Walk instead of The Hunger Games? Or Rage instead of anything. That one was actually in pre-production when Columbine happened. Bastards. Anyway, I just felt compelled to respond and once again voice my disapproval with the story's end or should i say beginning? Or end? Or beginning? Compared to Dark Tower, Lost had a fantastic ending!!! Compared to Dark Tower that is......

  • March 22, 2012, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Just finished my artist edition of Keyhole, and loved it

    by Katet19

    I met King in Whelan in CT when the DT VII was released both very gracious and engaging guys. I dig Jae Lee's Comic art and I like the look of his Young Roland but I'm with Quint as far as hum not capturing the world the way I imagine. I'd say Whelan is the definitive for me. I do enjoy the warped feverish art of Drawing as well.

  • March 22, 2012, 8:30 a.m. CST

    hipshot-If that was true about Tommyknockers

    by Samuel Fulmer

    My guess is it may have been his wife.

  • March 22, 2012, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Say thankyee

    by warp11

    Thank you for the review. I am excited!

  • March 22, 2012, 8:43 a.m. CST

    As much as I love the Dark Tower series

    by Chris Sorrentino

    I really really hope that they are never adapted into a film or tv series (or both)... Hollywood could never grasp the complexities of these books or the characters... I just don't want to see another "property" that I love get ruined is all... But a video game, that would be an entirely different thing! Imagine a young Roland adventure done like Red Dead Redemption by Rockstar games!!!

  • March 22, 2012, 9:03 a.m. CST

    hipshot, he autographed it and spelled his name wrong?

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

  • March 22, 2012, 9:05 a.m. CST

    I don't know if I buy that, or if the alleged ghostwriter

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Tabitha or otherwise has an attention to detail. If I recall King's name itself, or was it "that horror writer up in Maine" was mentioned in the book. I do remember the part where one of the crew going to get batteries thought they were losing it because one of them saw a clown in a drain. That's King's style. So either the alleged ghoster caught it, or that part was already written.

  • He may have had some similar themes throughout but anyone who can look at this man's resume and say that his early work (which was as diverse as you can get anyway), The Dark Tower series, and more recent work like Under the Dome and 11/22/63 are all alike? Ignorance is bliss I suppose...

  • March 22, 2012, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Josh Holloway

    by pumaman

    For Roland !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • March 22, 2012, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Sean Bean for Roland, just cos Sean Bean should be in everything.

    by Kill List Hammertime

  • March 22, 2012, 10:10 a.m. CST

    I loved the first three books, but stopped.

    by MisterManReturns

    Someday, I'll restart, but I just can't stand the "Old World" stuff. Somebody tell me...did the "final" book in the series, really tie most of King's various novels "together"?

  • March 22, 2012, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Guy Pearce, FTW.

    by Fawst

    Absolutely. It is criminal that he isn't in more (good) films.

  • Well, duh, given that many of King's protagonists are... writers with mental issues who are experts at controlling them and leveraging them to the benefit of their careers. Like, you know "The Dark Half." "It." and so on.

  • March 22, 2012, 11:49 a.m. CST

    There's a scene in The Tommyknockers...

    by flax

    ...where the main character (Gardener) is trying to figure out how to break into a shed, and he makes a bizarre reference to a certain Stanley Kubrick film. =He stood in the New and Improved Workshop, sweat on his forehead and sweat on his balls. No key. That was great. So what was he supposed to do? Grab Bobbi's ax and make like Jack Nicholson in The Shining? He could see it. Smash, crash, bash: Heeeeere's GARDENER! Except that might be a bit hard to cover up before the pilgrims got back from The Viewing of the Sacred Hatch.= I could never wrap my head round this one. Why is King making a reference to a film that he hates? And what really bugs me is that Dick Hallorann from The Shining actually appears briefly in IT, while Pennywise from IT actually appears briefly in The Tommyknockers. If all these books are supposed to take place in the same universe, how the hell can the characters co-exist with films based on their own lives? How does the Dark Tower series fit into this?

  • Now listen, I'm not a 100% King apologist. I put down Dark Half halfway through and never finished. I think some of his new stories are a bit bloated. But holy shit, the guy is a genius. When you read his work, you can tell that you're watching a master of his craft. Reading 11/23/63 is like seeing Michael Jordan in 97, a veteran that's so far above everyone else that he makes it look easy. Any creative soul in the world should envy his imagination. But his biggest strength, in my opinion, is creating characters. No one is better. I can vividly remember characters from every King book. I know their personality. Dark Tower has some of my favorites, and I can't wait for this book.

  • March 22, 2012, 11:54 a.m. CST

    And Quint, I must say...

    by Tim

    You perfectly summed up each Dark Tower book.

  • March 22, 2012, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Sorry Quint, Have to side with the Masses.

    by Mooly

    I too loved...LOVED, the hell out of the Dark Tower series when it started. Even after I started to move past King and actively disliked his books, I still came back to the first 3 Dark Tower books and still loved them. Then the 4th finally came out and it was meh...and it rapidly tumbled down a cliff from there. King lost any idea of what the point of the story was supposed to be and each book became the same: 1) Group enters new magical town (when first three books were mostly wastelands and distopian) where everyone is friendly and instantly loves them and makes friends, 2) The group spend 90% of the book telling stories with no real purpose other than to ignore the real story, 3) After telling their pointless stories, the gruop suddenly realizes they have new magical abilities that they had forgotten about all this time and thankfully they remembered NOW because those abilities will amazingly help them win the problem of the book. Then the formula repeats for each book. I almost threw the final book out a window, not because of the ending, but when one character is unsure of how to sovle a problem and the book literally says, "Then her rememberd he had picked up the ability to impersonate other people perfectly after only just meeting them...so he did that." WHAT? That literally is just pulled out of King's ass. But since that is how the last 3 books were written from begining to end, that i So I'll be passing on this new book since it sounds like exactly the same. Pointless.

  • March 22, 2012, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Can't wait! Rereading the series my 2nd time now.

    by Flip63Hole

    Going to read this after #4 Mooly: The 4th is many people's favorite book Mine, too.

  • March 22, 2012, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Can't wait for this. I loved "The Dark Tower".

    by ChickenStu

    Read all seven books one after the other in October 2010. Amazing.

  • March 22, 2012, 1:46 p.m. CST

    I might read this one

    by auraboy

    Books 1-4 I rank as King's best work, though whoever the fuck wrote the last 3 should be hunted down and shot. I know some people like the final 3 books and some people think book 4 should be counted amongst the shit - but I have to apply my own patented logic to these - Books 1-4 the Dark Tower is inexplicable, massive, awe-inspiring and everything is leading UP. Books 5-7 the Dark Tower is made less and less, the magic is explained away, the notions best left to imagination are nailed down and made into paltry little events, like King was working down a list of bits he had to tie up from earlier hints. Everything gets SMALL. There is absolutely no scope in this. Even the tower itself ends up being fairly average sized and what was with the immense final battle? Some geezer on a balcony throwing stink bombs. I actually tore a page out when reading that. It was a fucking slap in the face of the kid I was when I started these. So I might check this 4.5 one out. I still happily read books 1-4 and imagine my own mysterious epic from there on.

  • my question: Should I read this book between books 4 and 5? Or should I read the series in order of release? Should I read the comics before the books? Don't they serve as a prequel?

  • March 22, 2012, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Anyway, I'd rather see The Talisman and Black House made into movies/tv.

    by Kill List Hammertime

    Those are seriously brilliant books.

  • March 22, 2012, 3:57 p.m. CST

    cekma

    by flax

    The Wind Through the Keyhole is set chronologically between books 4 and 5, and according to some reviewers, it helps to bridge the tonal gap between them (which was caused when King got knocked down by a van in 1999 and went a bit crazy), so that's the order I'd recommend. The Gunslinger The Drawing of the Three The Waste Lands Wizard and Glass The Wind Through the Keyhole Wolves of the Calla Song of Susannah The Dark Tower As for the comics, they started out with the distant flashback that makes up the bulk of book 4, and have only recently made their way up to the beginning of book 1. There's a lot of new backstory exclusive to the comics, but it's not written by King himself, and it's not necessary to understand the eight novels.

  • March 22, 2012, 4:47 p.m. CST

    madeyemongo - you're dismissed

    by CptBlood

    That's pretty much all I needed to hear. You liked night shift but felt the extended edition of the stand was dross. I can understand not liking popular authors. Tolkien does nothng for me. Harry Potter can get bent. I've started reading Terry Pratchet in the hope that his brain tumour might turn him into some sort of hilarious Mervyn Peake. But that's all personal taste. I understand that my subjective opinion doesn't gel with popular opinion. You however seem to dislike Kings books based on critical analysis, but your critical analysis is simply awful. It doesn't gel with popular, academic or objective criteria. You don't like it and that means it sucks but your critical objections are too flimsy to warrant your vitriol. You should probably leave the debate. Most polite way I can say it.

  • That sounds an awful lot like a summary for The Talisman. Are there other similarities, too, and do you think it was intentional, what with so many similarities between Mid-World and our own, and his penchant for inserting himself into this series? Too, The precedent has actually been set already by King with The Regulators and it's mirror Desperation...??

  • March 22, 2012, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Grammaton

    by Hipshot

    Oops! Good catch. I always forget how he spells his name! Pretty sure that that book is with my daughter now, 3000 miles from here, dammit.

  • March 22, 2012, 6:52 p.m. CST

    re: wizardandglass

    by ghost_matt

    I agree with you. I think *SPOILERS* Roland got the horn at the end because, while his quest was the most important thing to him, it shouldn't be. His friends/companions/loved ones, etc SHOULD have been more important. The Tower was telling him that he never should have let Jake fall in The Gunslinger and he never should have let Susan die in Wizard and Glass. Until he realizes that there are more important things than the quest, the quest is what he will find every time he reaches the top room of the Tower. Maybe one day he'll learn this and will open the door and find his friends & family waiting in the top room instead, or maybe the cycle will keep repeating until he saves the Tower, defeats the Crimson King, and then leaves well enough alone and doesn't even enter the Tower. I agree too about the group of people in the last book that KNEW Stephen King's story was REAL and studied all his works. I did really like King putting himself into the story and thought it was really well handled, I just didn't like that group of people.

  • March 22, 2012, 6:59 p.m. CST

    My two cents

    by toshiro-solo

    I got this in the mail on Saturday. I read it all in one day, and I have to say that it felt more like "real" Dark Tower than 5, 6, and even 7 did. And that's coming from someone who liked book 7 quite a bit. Sure, there's no real progression of our ka-tet's story, but the story, and especially the story-within-the-story all felt like those old trips into Roland's world. Really can't recommend highly enough.

  • March 22, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Wizard & Glass = Best novel of the series! QED

    by obijuanmartinez

  • March 22, 2012, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Under The Dome was great but with a weak ending

    by gotilk

    I'm still reading 11/22/63 and loving it. Riveting. I don't get the hate. Ultra-critical stuff. Over the top. I still plan to tackle The Dark Tower series and can't wait to see how it ties into the other books of his I've read. I think a lot of struggling writers like myself are slightly envious of King for building such a huge, fascinating, rich fictional universe. That may explain some of the unrealistic hate, really. Some of the envy might not be slight in any way.

  • March 22, 2012, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Anyone who likes __ is an __.

    by gotilk

    Again, your shame is showing.

  • March 22, 2012, 9:19 p.m. CST

    The Waste Lands

    by Van_Dammes_Forehead_Lump

    Is right up there with IT and the Stand as the best book King has ever written. Wizard and Glass was mediocre and the last three books are just bad. The series ended with an enormous THUD. So bad that some King fans still can't bring themselves to admit it was crappy. The Crimson King was an old guy, powerless, with a box of grenades from Harry Potter world? Really? Flagg was killed by a stupid spider bite? Really? I'm a King fan, but the accident ruined his Dark Tower series. Before it, a great book every 5 years or so. After it, 3 books of crap in 3 years.

  • March 22, 2012, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Jae Lee is on his own level

    by Autodidact

    The artwork he did for GI Joe vs Transformers, of all things, completely blew my mind.

  • March 23, 2012, 7:40 a.m. CST

    Oh shut up about the ending to TDT

    by Rex Carsalot

    You weren't going to like it no matter what he did. It's the perfect ending and has been set up for a long, long time. "Ka is a wheel," remember? He even gave you a chance to opt out, and it sounds like you didn't. Wah. The Dark Tower is a quest narrative about the nature of narrative quest narratives. When you reach the goal of the quest, the entire issue is was it worth it? What do you do now? And often, what price needs to be paid to get there? In all of these ways, Roland's moments when he finally does climb the tower are perfect. That last book has a TON of problems, but the ending isn't one of them.

  • March 23, 2012, 7:41 a.m. CST

    madeyemongo - no, you stated it all as FACT, dick.

    by Rex Carsalot

  • March 23, 2012, 8:03 a.m. CST

    hipshot, I was just wondering if you typed it wrong or if

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    King was being a jerk. I doubt he was since he took the time to sign it.

  • March 23, 2012, 9:49 a.m. CST

    @madeyemongo

    by Mooly

    What I found hillarious about the last few DT books was they were just a waste of time so King could tell other, side stories. But as I was getting impatient the books themselves are full of references to Rolan twirling his fingers as if to tell other characters to hurry the hell up and get on with it. To stop wasting time with their pointless yammering and get to the point. You talk of King getting bored, and it appears even his own characters were bored. Yet King couldn't help himself and pretty much wrote the last 3 or 4 books using the same method that even he seemed to be bored with.

  • Simply because there was so much momentum at the end of "The Waste Lands" and it ended on a killer cliffhanger. I ripped into "Wizard And Glass" all guns blazing wanting to know what happened next - and WTF? A flashback tale? I was glad to come to "Wolves Of The Calla" cause it put things back on track. "Song Of Suzannah" and "The Dark Tower" were good... but a little over-reaching.

  • March 23, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Quint, I love ya' but . . .

    by Insidious_Bastard

    A definitive ending The Dark Tower did not have. There's nothing "definitive" about it. Hell, even King was ambiguous about it. I love the series and I've already pre-ordered The Wind Through The Keyhole, so I'm not hating on the series. It's just that the ending is EXTREMELY frustrating. (I don't want to give anything away to those who are new to the series.)

  • March 23, 2012, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Also . . .

    by Insidious_Bastard

    I don't know about Guy Pierce. For some reason, I pictured a dirty version of Dylan McDermott as Roland.

  • March 23, 2012, 2:11 p.m. CST

    gave up

    by ScaryJim

    At song of Susannah, bearing in mind I was reading since the books were only a trilogy and waited AGES for Wizard and glass. i got my girlfriend into it and she was along with me waiting for the next books- was so glad when he announced how many books were going to finish it off but by song of Susannah i was totally uninvested, it was poor and I neither got through that or read the final Dark tower book- the mrs did and was really, really dissapointed. George RR Martins series is going the same way too..

  • March 23, 2012, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Dark Tower never recovers after Book 4 (SPOILERS)

    by spire_walk

    I think it comes down to the people who started reading the DT series prior to Wizard and Glass's release are a different set of fans than the ones who came after. The books change in tone drastically, and the only ones who picked up on it were the old fans. Not trying to do the whole, we liked the DT before it was trendy shit. I just know a lot of jaded fans who wondered what the hell happened to the series from books 5-7. Each book got better and better from Gunslinger to Wastelands. Wastelands was quite possibly King's best book. Period. Wizard and Glass was at a disadvantage because most of the whole fucking book is a flashback. However, it still felt like a DT book and it had a lot going on for it. At its worst, the world of Roland's youth and even the Emerald Palace with the confrontation with Flagg were what the series was all about. Visiting fantastic and at times terrifying locales on the way to the final destination. Wolves of the Calla And that is the problem with books 5-7. The locales are not imaginative at all, and don't even belong in the same fucking universe. The Calla was out of place. They go from the desolate world that moved on to a populated old west town with boring fucking people with a literally retarded problem. The wolves were dressed like Dr. Doom with lightsabers and Harry Potter Sneetches (No shit. They actually identify the weapons as exactly that), and were boring fucking enemies that never once made me feel like the ka-tet was in any sort of trouble. Song of Susannah This shouldn't have even been its own book. Once again, Susannah goes batshit crazy, and the whole fucking book is about her psycho baggage. Believe me, I've dated some psychos in my time and there is nothing fascinating about a derailing the whole Dark Tower narrative to give us another crazy Susannah episode. The enemies?? He had to dust off Jack Andolini and the other mobsters. King completely demystified the Low Men in the Yellow Coats from Hearts in Atlantis by making them into undercover ferrets and shit. Fucking lame. Dark Tower 7 Fuck Mordred. No really, fuck this douche bag. King all of a sudden creates the NEW ULTIMATE ARCH-ENEMY to Roland, like the Crimson King and Randall Fucking Flagg weren't enough already. Randall Flagg, the best villain King had ever created, the man since book three who had been built up to give Roland one fuck of a battle, dies in five minutes. It's what, the first time since book 4 anyone's seen him, and he shows up and dies in one fucking paragraph?! And then, as he's dying, King points out that he was never this great demonic Nyarlothotep analogue, but some kid that got ass-raped one day and ran off to find magic. WHAT...THE....FUCK?!? Mordred, who killed Flagg in five minutes, must be some kind of badass, right? No not really. He gets a bad case of the shits, kills Oy, and is in turn killed by Roland. And then there's the Crimson King. Waiting for Roland at the tower!!! OMG!!!!11111 Yeah, he's waiting at the tower, because, no shit, he's locked out on the tower's balcony and can't get in. When Roland shows up, he starts throwing Sneetches yelling EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! He's then killed by a basket case with magic eraser. The actual ending where Roland enters the tower itself and meets his destiny was the least offensive thing about this whole train wreck. I'm fine with the ending, honestly. It's the last leg of the journey where King takes an apocalyptic shit on the Constant Reader. My theory is, after King's accident, he was either so fucked up on pain killers to be writing his great epic or Robin Firth ghost-wrote the last few books based on King's notes and fragments.

  • March 23, 2012, 8:27 p.m. CST

    Grammaton--

    by Hipshot

    No, it was my mistake. I've met King on a few occassions, and he is a hugely nice guy. Nutty, bright. Plays decent Rock guitar with a band called the Rock Bottom Remainders. They travel book fairs, pro writers who love music and have a party. I remember King singing "Werewolves of London" with Warren Zevon playing back-up at the Miami Bookfair. Very fun. Anyway, King seems to be a great guy, and I'm sure I simply misspelled his name.

  • March 23, 2012, 8:48 p.m. CST

    jaygarnham

    by shran

    Agreed, save for Black House. Didn't much like that one. But The Talisman would be EPIC and infinitely more do-able than DT.

  • March 23, 2012, 11:28 p.m. CST

    Got through all 7 books for the first time

    by Denty420

    I've been reading King since 1981 at the tender age of twelve (first book was Carrie), but never gave the DT series a second thought until November of last year. I went out and bought each book as I finished the previous one, and didn't have any major problems getting through any of them - they held my attention and the ka-tet slowly became people I cared about. I've started reading them again in time for the publication of TWTTK. Right now, the lobstrosities are asking their endless questions as Roland helps to free a prisoner. <br> I think people accusing King of writing these books on autopilot is doing the books and King himself a great disservice. The books may not be to everyone's taste, and I'm still undecided about the ending of Book VII, but the ride is an emotional and eventful one. You can't deny that King writes characters brilliantly, even if sometimes the narrative and story suffers a little.

  • March 24, 2012, 9:47 a.m. CST

    all these "hollow" endings...

    by DukieMichaelNamondRandy

    like on "Lost", or in DT7, or "The Soporanos", where its more an emotional pay-off than story pay-off, hopefully will end soon. "Breaking Bad" has done it right thus far, "The Wire" did it right (although I've heard that fans who watched it while it was on the air were INCREDIBLY ticked about the 5th season as a whole), and heck, even "Cheers" and "Growing Pains" did it right. Hopefully we get more concise endings in the future. I was okay with "Lost", "Sopranos" and DT7 ending how they did due to subversion of expectations, but that can only be used a couple times in big stories before it gets old now.

  • March 24, 2012, 12:42 p.m. CST

    So, this is like DLC right?

    by TheMark

    I bet it's awesome, but that's all I could think of...probably because Quint reminded me of my Mass Effect 3 coma i've been in. "Want more adventures with Roland and company?"

  • March 24, 2012, 6:44 p.m. CST

    Samuel Fullmer

    by Hipshot

    I have a couple reasons for thinking it might have been true. King's Agent was also my overseas agent at the time, and also represented my collaborator and mentor, a very big name SF writer. I heard that the agent (who, by the way, apparently was known to have really, really excellent cocaine. I never experienced this, sadly. but I'll bet Stevie did) asked my collaborator if he would be interested in working with King. Many years later, I was speaking with another SF writer who was a friend of King's (I think they may have fallen out since) and he mentioned the story about King being fuddle-headed from coke and being unable to finish his contract, and a specific ghost writer, a hack who has apparently made a good living behind the scenes, being brought in to finish Tommyknockers. The time period mentioned matched the approximate period where my collaborator was asked to work with King. The scenario fits. I don't remember the ghostwriter's name, but it definitely wasn't Tabitha, who hadn't published at the time.

  • March 24, 2012, 8:35 p.m. CST

    SC84: Totally agree..

    by gabbygall

    ..loved 11/22/63 - I would of been more than happy with JUST the stuff when George/Jake (not Mike) went back in time - in fact, loved it more than the LHO/JFK stuff.. But great ending and cracking book overall.

  • March 24, 2012, 8:39 p.m. CST

    Bev Marsh & Richie Tozier in 11/22/63

    by gabbygall

    Was a personal highlight for me - `seeing` them still chumming together after the events of IT was perfect, was hoping to see a few of the others in there..

  • March 25, 2012, 4:15 a.m. CST

    It's not the ending, it was the bullshit getting there.

    by Ringwearer9

    Really, it's not just about the ending. In fact, you had a version of that ending way, way back in the next-to-last chapter of "The Gunslinger" where you get the even harsher implication that the gunslinger is DAMNED, not just in a cycle of slow purgatorial improvement, for abandoning the boy Jake. Almost everything since then (including the late addition of the last chapter of The Gunslinger) was increasingly about padding out and milking the fans because of the excitement they felt for those first poetic gunslinger tales, which had been some old creative stuff King had pulled out of his trunk to try and run by the fans to see if he could sell it. You didn't need 7 books to get to that "cool" ending at the end. You didn't need all the bullshit, and the yamering about Ka, and the ridiculous racist caricature of Susannah. You didn't need to have the boy Jake torturously returned to the story. You didn't all that lameness that came while we were tapping our feet waiting for Roland to get to the Dark Tower. What sucks about it all is that King was cynically milking his fanbase for cash, while pretending he was riding some wild mystical muse, a muse that had pretty much deserted him in a brain damaging cocaine and alcohol induced excess that was ruining his stories around the time he was writing Tommyknockers and Wizard and Glass. The ending might have been cool, but it took about 5 seconds to think it up. The rest was marketing .... oh, look at the cool freaky artists illustrating the hardcovers, oh look at the special editions, sign up for them True King Fans! The Dark Tower was pretty much over in the first volume, and the rest was sometimes complelling, but mostly irritating repetition of that main idea, all in service of the mighty dollar and hyping leftover ideas from a man too substance damaged to come up with any new ones anymore.

  • March 26, 2012, 6:47 a.m. CST

    spire walk

    by flax

    =Randall Flagg, the best villain King had ever created, the man since book three who had been built up to give Roland one fuck of a battle, dies in five minutes. It's what, the first time since book 4 anyone's seen him, and he shows up and dies in one fucking paragraph?! And then, as he's dying, King points out that he was never this great demonic Nyarlothotep analogue, but some kid that got ass-raped one day and ran off to find magic. WHAT...THE....FUCK?!?= Apparently Stephen King agrees with you. When Robin Furth was writing The Sorcerer (a one-shot comic from Flagg's perspective), King sent her an email in which he basically told her to retcon Flagg's origins, making him the bastard offspring of the wizard Maerlyn and the goddess Selena, and also the brother of the thirteen demons that inhabit Maerlyn's Rainbow and (somehow) the cousin of the Crimson King. The reference to the arse-raping is removed, and Sam Padick the miller is now Flagg's adoptive father rather than his biological one. A lot of fans threw hissy fits over this change, but I saw it as a huge improvement.

  • March 26, 2012, 9:39 a.m. CST

    True KING... Hearts in Atlantis and The Talisman......

    by Micah fendley

  • March 26, 2012, 6:36 p.m. CST

    King's recent work

    by schadenfreudian

    has been extremely hit-and-miss for me, and I have some issues with the way he ended The Dark Tower series, but I want to be part of Roland's Ka-tet again. I've known them since junior high school. I just preordered The Wind Through The Keyhole.

  • March 27, 2012, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Never read the books but read the ending to DT7

    by Han Cholo

    SPOILER ALERT!!!! <p> <p> <p> <p> <p> So yeah, Roland makes it to the Tower and essenatially finds out he has to live his life over and over again, which is almost mirrors The Matrix when Neo meets the Architect. <p> Anyway, I seem to remember reading that Roland doesn't come away empty-handed. If I remember correctly, he repeats his life, only with something extra in his possession, which to me, means that he has to re-live his life over again up to the point where he gets it right, but it's obvious he has help from some unknown force or intelligence that puts him on the same path but with a better understanding of what he needs to do the next go-round. King can write a book about this being in a tie-in some day, maybe it's the same benevolent force from It or maybe The Tower is setting Roland on the right path, albeit, in mysterious ways like God. Perhaps his next life will be the true end and he gets it right or maybe we're just reading the books at the middle point of Roland's overall journey through multiple lives. I think it's brilliant that King doesn't hold the reader's hand and leaves it up to their imagination.

  • March 27, 2012, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Even as a huge King fan, I concede that....

    by Orbots Commander

    ...most of his best stuff seems to be behind him, not because he still doesn't have talent. He does. And his imagination is still wondrous. It's just that, no publishing house has the balls to edit his books any longer, and King badly needs a good editor. I'm one of the few who thought that the Stand, as it was originally, was superior to the longer re-issue in the '90's. When somebody finds the sack to tell him again, 'Steve, no, this part here doesn't work, it needs to go or change', his stuff will start to sing again.

  • March 27, 2012, 7:40 p.m. CST

    fuzzyjefe , couldn't agree with you more.

    by TheLastCleric

    I didn’t hate the end either and it certainly made for an emotional journey but the confrontation with the Crimson Kings was pitiful. I also think The Walking Dude cashed out way too easily.

  • March 29, 2012, 9:30 p.m. CST

    For those of you that haven't read the series (spoilers)

    by leroyspoboys

    Go ahead and just stop at Wizard and Glass. Think up something better for the rest of the books in your own mind, because it will indeed be better than what King phoned in. And this is from a life long King fan born and raised in Lisbon Maine. I'll save you the trouble: 1.) Randall Flagg (the Walking Dude, the best villain ever, who is set up for the whole DT series with the words "the man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed")...is killed by a spider. That's right, a fucking spider. And the guys who was 'following' him across the desert, the guy that was banging Roland's Mom as a kid and was the protagonist for the whole first three books....was no were near Roland at the time. No closure. 2.) As someone said above, the evil hoards in Wolves of the Calla, are indeed Doctor Doom imitations, with lightsabers. With Harry Potter sneetches. And it isn't even left to your imagination, it's spelled out in plain English. 3.) Stephen King was actually so bereft of ideas, he makes himself a character in the books. And he looks like the Gunslinger, forever spoiling that image in your mind for the rest of your life. 4.) "EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!" 5.) Everybody dies. Except Roland, who wakes up back at the beginning of the first book, but now he has a horn. You cant even make that kind of crap up. I could go on, but it makes me sad just typing that out.

  • ...but yeah, generally, I agree. Also a lifelong fan and I was HUGELY disappointed. Still love the series quite a lot. I just think SK got kind of lost somewhere along the way. I believe I remember once, many, many years ago, he said he wasn't even sure he'd ever finish the series (I'm talking way back at the beginning), and then he went and finished it up pretty damn fast, all things considered. I've always believed he just needed to take a bit more time with it, which is probably why he's writing "in between" books now.

  • March 29, 2012, 11:46 p.m. CST

    Has anybody here actually ever done coke?

    by Jaka

    You'd have to be really fucked up out of your head for a really long time for coke to stop, impede, or really even affect your writing. People have continued functioning at a very high level on coke for years, decades even. The biggest thing it takes from you is your money. Alcohol, on the other hand, will fuck up your ability to do anything clearly with a quickness. Just sayin'.

  • March 31, 2012, 5:15 p.m. CST

    King will always have my respect

    by Kammich

    My dad was an absolute diehard King fan when I was growing up. When I was 7 years old my grandmother prompted me to write Stephen King and tell him. It was for my Dad's birthday, and even at the un-jaded age of 7 I was fairly certain I'd never hear back. I scribbled out a poorly hand-written letter and thought that was the end of it. A few weeks later I got an envelope in the mail from King with a HAND WRITTEN letter back expressing personal thanks to my Dad for his fandom and compliments on having "one heck of a boy." He even included two signed prop plane tickets from "The Langoliers," which was in production at that time. Still the coolest celebrity encounter I've ever had, and probably will ever have. You can say what you will about the post-accident trajectory of his writing, but the man is one bonafide Cool Motherfucker in my book.

  • March 31, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Personally, I loved the ending of The Dark Tower.

    by Kammich

    I read the entire series over the summer of 2009. My drug-addled brain has already forgotten a lot of it, but I really really liked it for the most part. I found "The Gunslinger" to be very dry, especially having only read the revised rerelease of it(how the fuck am I supposed to know what a taheen is, when I'm on the first book?). And "Song of Susannah" was so forgettable that it might as well have been a prologue for the final book. But the rest of the series was golden. "Drawing of the Three" brilliantly introduces the entire ka-tet and forges a series-long bond with the characters. "Wastelands" is the best sci-fi that King has ever written. "Wizard and Glass" is beautiful from page 1 until the very end. And "Calla" has an awesome "Seven Samurai" vibe to it, even if it feels like a bit of a standalone tale. But I thought the ending to book 7 was brilliant. Roland had lost himself in the quest. It was all that mattered to him, and he sacrificed friends and loved ones time and time again in an attempt to reach his final goal. He got his just desserts, and the way King writes the coda is crippling up until the point that we realize he begins his "new" quest with Horn of Eld, giving us a brief glimmer of hope that maybe Roland will FINALLY realize what his important in his life: not the Tower, but his ka-tet and loved ones.

  • April 3, 2012, 12:35 a.m. CST

    The ending reminded me of The Myth of Sisyphus

    by lock67ca

    Just keep rolling that stone up the hill, only to have it roll back down, forcing you to do it again and again and again...for eternity.

  • April 3, 2012, 1:43 a.m. CST

    the tommyknockers story

    by Dis N. Chantment

    jaka: yah, i've done coke, and yes, i agree with you, especially the alcohol point. of course that's all the more reason why hipshot's story could be true. i'm no S. King expert, but i think he was a drunk. here, look, from his Wiki page: "Shortly after publication of The Tommyknockers, King's family and friends staged an intervention, dumping evidence of his addictions taken from the trash including beer cans, cigarette butts, grams of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, dextromethorphan... and marijuana, on the rug in front of him." so, to summarize (i) he probably wasn't in the best of shape at the time, and (ii) let's not blame the coke.

  • terrible ending... All I want is that when the movie/tv series whatever is made that Tim Curry play Dandelo. That's all I care about...

  • June 10, 2012, 7:54 a.m. CST

    No one has refuted my points.

    by Van_Dammes_Forehead_Lump

    Therefore I win.