I'm surprised no one has posted their thoughts on this. I took my time in reading it (the urgency kind of faded after Roland and company left Fedic), and thought for sure someone would've beaten me to the end. Anyway, I truly did enjoy the book, and felt it was probably the best one of the series so far. I read through both the Epilogue and the Coda, and was not disappointed (though I think King was a little foolish with his plea... this tale started with Roland and if he'll see it to the end, so will I, be it for good or ill). In fact, there are only two things that I now dislike about the whole series:
1) The rewriting of The Gunslinger. That's how I started this eight year journey (which is small compared to others') and I feel it's unfair for King to try and take that away from me. Inconsistencies be damned.
2) Stemming from that same issue: Walter was originally a servant of Marten. Marten was also Randall Flagg. With the rewriting, Walter and Marten/Flagg became the same character. So Walter's portrayal (and death) in the last book left me very unsettled. Randall Flagg was THE DEVIL ON EARTH in the Stand. And he somehow morphs into this moronic bumbler... how ridiculous. Friends, I know Randall Flagg... and Walter O' Dim is no Randall Flagg.
Besides that - Great book, Great Series. I'm glad I've finally reached the Tower.
Just finished moments ago. I'm honestly having trouble even comprehending the fact that I actually finished The Dark Tower. It just never seemed like something that really would end someday. I'll refrain from spoiling the ending, but while I can understand how some might not like it, I can't think of a better way to end it - and a more perfect final line to go out on.
Originally posted by JaguarWalter was originally a servant of Marten. Marten was also Randall Flagg. With the rewriting, Walter and Marten/Flagg became the same character. So Walter's portrayal (and death) in the last book left me very unsettled. Randall Flagg was THE DEVIL ON EARTH in the Stand. And he somehow morphs into this moronic bumbler... how ridiculous. Friends, I know Randall Flagg... and Walter O' Dim is no Randall Flagg.
I agree with that. Randall Flagg went out like a punk. (The whole sequence, in retrospect, seemed like King finished the story and later realized that Walter/Flagg was still lurking around somewhere out there and had to write him out of the story. The whole sequence felt tacked on and cheap.
That's really the only complaint I have for the entire final volume. A case can be made that this is the best thing sai-King's ever written, and taken as a whole, The Dark Tower truly is his masterpiece.
(Oh, and on the subject of the revised Gunslinger - for the most part I liked it, if only because Roland now actually seemed to remember his past more clearly because, you know, King had actually thought it up by that point. The only thing that still bothers me is what the hell freaked out the weed-eater in the bar about the number "19". Obviously, it meant a great deal throughout the quest - or at least the last three volumes of the quest - but certainly knowing the number of stairs between floors of the Dark Tower wouldn't have driven him to madness, would it?)
I read the first two or three books of this series and I was less than impressed. Does it get better after that point or is this just not my cup of tea?
I usually like King's books and I love reading series (Wheel of Time, Darksword Trilogy, etc.), but I was just incredibly bored by the whole thing and I dropped it. And I never drop a book or series-- even when I don't like them. But I have heard a lot of people say how much they like it and I can't help but wonder: how come not me?!
The question of whether computers can think is like the question of whether submarines can swim. -Edsgar Dijkstra
Just finished it - I totally agree about hotshotting the death of Flagg. King definitely could have done better than that. I've never read the revised Gunslinger - I probably should I guess. Should I also read Insomnia?
I also always kind of thought there'd be another "Jake or the Tower" moment for Roland that there never was.
I still haven't quite digested my thoughts on the whole thing. More later. Favorite chatacter: Oy.
Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe. - Euripides
Very, very good. best book in the series, possibly the best book King's written. Only the Stand could be better, and I can't pick one over the other.
That leads in to my big complaint, which is the same as everyone else's: Flagg went down way too easy. The Flagg from the Stand would NEVER have gone out like such a punk. I think King jobbed Flagg to Mordred to get the new bad guy over as a legitimate badass (gotta love the wrestling references). But why?
In retrospect, with Walter and the Crimson King in the mix, was Mordred really necessary to the story? Yes, the Susannah-Mia pregnancy subplot was great, but the end result, Mordred, didn't live up to the hype. I would have preferred a showdown with Flagg/Walter, who's not only been in the Dark Tower since the first sentence, but also was THE Stephen King bad guy in The Stand. However, we did get that heartrending scene of Oy sacrificing himself to save Roland from Mordred. I thought Eddie and Jake's swan songs were heartbreaking (especially Eddie, he was my favorite), but the Oy scene was the saddest damn thing.
And what's up with the Crimson King? I didn't think he had enough time. Hell, I don't even know what he was. I don't think he was human, but he needed conventional weaponry to take on Roland.
My last quibble is The Artist. He seemed tacked-on. I thought Roland should have approached the Tower alone, and shouldn't have needed help to take out the King.
Anyway, all this is being written without much reflection time. Now I have to read the whole series start-to-finish and see how it holds up as a complete work. I'm thinking pretty damn well. I really only have minor quibbles, and those are matters of personal preference rather than something glaringly wrong. Everything regarding Roland and his ka-tet was handled perfectly, and brought out more emotion than I can remember feeling from a novel before.
Kudos to Sai King.
What the hell's he gonna do now? I don't know how he can top the Dark Tower.
"Are you- are you sad?"
"But your- your songs are sad."
-My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is in you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells.
Originally posted by JakegnosisWhat the hell's he gonna do now? I don't know how he can top the Dark Tower.
He's saying that's it. He may keep writing, but he doesn't intend to keep publishing, if that makes any sense.
"Finally someone stood up to the little oil pimp... This guy who somehow has managed to combine Yale intellectualism with the American cowboy myth and be completely inauthentic in both roles. That's what I see in Bush... He's an empty suit." ---George Carlin
I have to say, I'm disappointed. I thought the story and series read well as a character study. It's essentially about people learning about family and love. I kind of dug the melancholy, resigned kind of feeling in the last half of the book - part of love and family is losing them, and we go through these feelings and mood with the characters just as we've gone through the feelings and moods of discovering love and family with them.
As the plot climax of an epic series though - I have to say it sucked. My big complaints:
It wasn't Mordred who was extranious - it was the Crimson King. Mordred was a cool character who had some villanous character traits that were absent in other villans, and served a good plot and character purpose. The Crimson King had no character, and no real plot function. Walter/Flagg could have easily taken on all the plot responsibilities of the Crimson King, which would have been a million times better. And I think if King had it to do over again, he'd write it like that - I mean, he's already merged Walter and Marten in the re-write, so you know he's kind of got his villans mixed up from the start.
But jobbing out Flagg was unforgivable - and his backstory and motivation kind of sucked too - and totally ruined the whole story for me. I mean, even if he's not the ultimate baddy, he's your main antagonist. You don't job out Darth Vader to the Emperor's new kid halfway through Return of the Jedi.
As for the ending itself - come on. It was a combination of a Deus Ex Machina (more than usual) and a cheap Nintendo game. I can think of million better endings - the most obvious of which Roland facing a choice between Jake and the Tower (choosing Jake? The Tower? It could go either way) and my favorite of which involves everyone dying at the end and just when you believe the forces of evil have won - you realize you forgot about Oy, who sneaks in the tower and saves the Universe, much to the consternation of the bad guys. And while I agree with King about the journey being more important the destination, I still think the ending is a cop-out.
In addition, the "Ka" thing (it's Ka, no you're beyond Ka, no you're not, who knows what Ka holds) as well as the whole "complete King Universe thing" (All these other books are all part of the Tower world, no they're not really, well they kinda are, well, nobody really knows) really annoying and distracting.
Man's most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe. - Euripides
I'm going to delve pretty heavily into spoilers. If you're a fan and you haven't read the book by now, shame on you.
I had the ending spoiled for me about a month before the book came out, so I knew what to expect. I was dreading the ending the whole time when I was reading the book. Funnily enough, it made sense to me when I got there. I ended up loving how it all came together. I loved his screaming the names of his fallen comrades at the tower. That gave me serious chills. I liked how he realized at the last second what was going to happen and begged for mercy. Now that he's got the Horn of the Eld, there is hope for him and he may finally achieve redemption.
The rest of the book was fantastic, except for the whole Flagg thing. I mean, it was obviously done to show us all how powerful Mordred was, but come on! He's freaking Flagg.
Other parts I loved were the death's of Eddie, Jake, and Oy. Each part was written tenderly and were treated with the respect they deserved. Roland's eulogy for Jake was especially well done.
The art was amazing, as well. Whelan's picture of Callahan's last stand is freaking awesome.
Fantastic book, and a fantastic ending.
"Oh, I'm a sad little man? I've thrown a bloody kettle over a pub...what have you done?"
I did check out Cerebus' thread http://the-w.com/thread.php/id=28280 which was very helpful, but I'm also looking for some individual attention. Below is a post I made on another comic book board, but I'd like to get The W's take: