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Stephen King The Dark Tower series, and other writings

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Old 28th February 2008, 01:47 PM   #106 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

I've been halfway through the last book for about a year and a half and can't bring myself to finish it as I know I'm going to be disappointed, but then why should his opus end any differently from a lot of his other books - badly.

I do love King's style and imagination but often feel let down at the end of his books and not sure I'm ready for yet another one.
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Old 8th March 2008, 09:34 AM   #107 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

Perhaps if Susan had survived, he would've succeeded that time around. He loved her, not quite the same kind of love that he loved Eddie, Jake, Susannah, and Oy with, but probably much mroe intense and blinding.

I didn't love the ending, but I didn't hate it either. I did feel like it was the only thing that could've happened, and it does make sense.
Perhaps next time he will save his friends, and instead of leaving them, he will climb the Tower with them. perhaps not though. Perhaps instead of skipping some rooms in the Tower, he will look into them all, discover something about himself that he didn't know before, and perhaps would make him worthy of not having to complete the journey again, and again.
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Old 4th December 2008, 12:26 AM   #108 (permalink)
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When I first finished the series, I had a "man, that SUCKS!" (for Roland to be in that position, not the ending itself). The more I think about it, the more I agree with King that it couldn't really end any other way. I originally read the first 4 books on a friends recommendation (this was just before the last books were released) and then gobbled up the last ones as they were released. Just today, I finished listening to the whole series on audiobook and during the whole last section where he's almost at the Tower I was just thinking..."dude, just stop now and RELAX!!" I wasn't insulted by King's 'stop now or you're not going to like it...' I feel that if you're insulted by it, it's more a reflection of your self-esteem than his intention. Too often we (myself included) rush through life/books/etc. instead of appreciating the journey and he was just pointing that out. When I first read the book, I guess I didn't notice that he had the horn when he had to start over, I took it as his curse is to just keep doing it and doing it and he never learns. His whole reason for existence is to reach the Tower... well actually, it seemed to me that ORIGINALLY it was to save the Tower from falling so the world wouldn't end, but at some point it became just to go there and reach the top. I mean, he looked in the first couple of rooms and then he didn't even look at any more of them, he just charged to the top, opened the door and "DOH!" If, let's say, he did it and didn't have to start over, what is he supposed to do? Let's say he goes into the final room at the top, takes a look says "cool" and puts his hands on his hips and thinks "now that THAT'S done, I can finally open up that beauty salon!" and then he mellowly trots down the stairs and starts to walk back to...??? Just doesn't work... I've been rambling for a while and I can no longer recall everything I wanted to say (if I didn't already say it all)... So, rip into me if you wish.
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Old 11th January 2009, 10:24 PM   #109 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

at first i hated the ending with Susanna, eddy and jake, however now that i think about it, one of 2 things has happened,
1. she either went insane, or
2. she died

if king intended for the ending to be literal as this, then its cheesy to please the reader, and screw that. it is my opinion that she died when she crossed through the door, and this is her last thought as she slipps to her end.

all in all i love the series, thinking of the joruny helps the ending remembering his friends and loved ones whom he is responsable for the death in some manor or another, him walking to the doors and seeing the items from his life left in the rooms

how lonely it can be at the end if you dont take the proper percausions during the journey. remember how he talks about how lonely mordrid is at the end, and how mad the king is when he is there,
i think there are 3 options that the tower represents,
1. walter/the man in black, is rolands tower,
2. the tower signifies death, which is why he doesnt reach it yet.
3. roland actually reaches the tower, but what roland truly wants is to be in search of the tower. thats why the tower sends him back to near the begining of his search. it implies it has done this before, and he does not remember.

or one last option, maybe if he had not climbed to the top of the tower, but actually went to a room, one that he wanted to change, such as susan's death then he would be there, but instead he is so goal set on the top of the tower,
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Old 13th January 2009, 01:54 AM   #110 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

I was thinking about it today, i think that its great that the poem from browning was at the end of the book, i think its kings way of saying the end is the begining again,
i also think that reading the series again would provide a much diffrent view of the books.
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Old 29th January 2009, 09:39 AM   #111 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

Quote:
Originally Posted by webejamn View Post

or one last option, maybe if he had not climbed to the top of the tower, but actually went to a room, one that he wanted to change, such as susan's death then he would be there, but instead he is so goal set on the top of the tower,
Webejamn, that was a brilliant insight. I think the lesson may be that Roland should stop at each room in the tower and consider what he could do differently instead of running to the top room. If he is able to incorporate those lessons as he goes up the tower (and thus reassess the journey of his life step by step) then he is released.
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Old 1st February 2009, 05:32 PM   #112 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

Where is the ending to the story though? Roland had a life before the beginning of the series. As he hasn't relived that part of his life in the journey taken through the series, is The Tower the end or beginning of the end of his search? Will he be released from this continuing cycle whilst he searches to get back to the beginning? Does The Tower really need saving or is the rose strong enough without his intervention? Has he kidded himself that his destiny is to save The Tower whilst his true journey is to save himself from the love he inflicts on others that leads to their ultimate sacrifices in his name?
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Old 6th February 2009, 01:44 AM   #113 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

OK, you people are having some trouble, so here's how it is:

In the begginning of the first book, the gunslinger, it says that roland lost the horn long ago at jericho hill. At the end of it, it says that some day he'll approach the tower, winding his horn, to do some unimaginable final battle.
At the end, when he's back in the desert, he has the horn, which, to me, means that he's gonna go through it all again, only this time to do some unimaginable final battle, which is why he cant give you a real ending - it's unimaginable.
Every other time he went to the tower, he didn't allow himself to love, but this time, he fell in love with jake, eddie and sussannah, the ka-tet. The last time around, when he finally allowed himself to love, the horn was a gift, because of that.
So, it's resolved, and it's all about redemption. I hope I've provided good insight or something....

PS. I'm fifteen yrs old.
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Old 6th February 2009, 01:45 AM   #114 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

Sorry, I forgot one thing: one possibility is that the reason he's going around the cycle of the tower is because maybe thats the trap the man in black left him.
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Old 6th February 2009, 04:05 AM   #115 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

It got so sad toward the end. I think the time leading up to and the event of Susannah's departure was the saddest bit of reading I've ever done.

Yes, Flagg's death was exceptionally weak. Also the Tick-Tock man's. I was hoping the other pieces of the wizard's rainbow might play a role in the later books. Flagg was my favorite of The Man in Black's identities and he died too easily. He should have been the one at the tower, not the CK.

The CK's death was just as bad. Whenever I started to realize that he was going to simply be erased, I was like "NOOOOO!!!!" and it happened. Should have been a major confrontation. I did like the screaming, though. EEEEEEE! Brutal.

And the tower was disappointing, too. I don't know what it should have been. The regathering of the ka-tet was also unsatisfying. They're too different. It's not the same people.

I think some of you are over-interpreting the series. Randall Flagg is the tower? What? I doubt there is really much to be found below the surface.

Nonetheless, it was a good series. I read them all in a little less than a year. There wil be something missing from my life for a while now. I'm definitely going to lose sleep over the ending tonight.
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Old 10th March 2009, 11:51 AM   #116 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

First I should say that I have enjoyed reading all the posts, Pro and Con, there were a lot of great points and Ideas brought up. about the ending and this will be my first time posting to discuss any novel and I'm excited.
Like all of us I assume from the first book I was hooked on the series. I got the first novel shortly after Christmas this year and blew through the books(not because I was racing to a finish, but I was truly captivated by the tale). Through the first 4 books I felt like the books were steadily getting better and better.By the time I finished the 4th I was thinking OMG(lol) this is one of the most amazing stories I've ever heard. And I guess I'll always have a special place for The Dark Tower in my heart. However I will say that from book 5(Wolves) on I slowly began developing a sour taste in my mouth.
Along time ago in my High School english class we had a discussion about Literary Criticism and Theory.Or who has final authority over what the meaning of the book. After talking about some of the major view points on the subject my Professor brought up one way of thinking on the issue that I particularly liked called reader response. The way reader response differs from the other forms of criticism is that it places the power to form conclusions in the hands of the reader. Which I feel is the way it should be, after all were the ones that fell in love with the characters (Oy has to be my favorite) and story and can't help feeling invested in it. To me who is Sai Stephen King? Just a man who clearly told me he did not want a visit from me( obviously I wasn't planning on making a trek to Maine, but after The Journey so many have talked about and shared to get to the DT, this little warning just felt ODD's lane and out of place, as well as SK telling me that If I wanted, after all this, to get a glimpse of what was in the Dark Tower I was some sort of dullard who believes sex is about the climax?)

Ok, where to begin about the last three novels. I guess to start out I should say that I'm glad to have read them for better or for worse. SK warns of being heart broken if we finish to the last page, but to be honest I began to feel heartbroken way earlier in the series than right at the end. The first for books to me were MAGIC. There's no other way to put it than that(especially number 4 Wizard and Glass). For some reason I felt that that book kinda encapsulated what I loved about the DT adventures and mythos. I would have gladly followed Roland, Cort, and Alain on many more of their adventures, but sadly after Wizard and Glass they never really come back on the page. This sort of leads to one of the main things that frustrated me about the last three books. I felt that in only two books(numbers 2 and 3) SK was ably to establish and attach us to the Characters of Susannah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy, and in only one novel (Wizard and Glass) he did the same with Cuthbert and Alain. However I felt that in the last three books, lost surely somewhere during the countless exploits of Pere Callahan and SK himself, the hearts and souls of the main characters disappeared. Especially Eddie Dean, and Susannah. There was a time in the story when if anything happened to either of them I may have even teared up , but come Eddie's death and Susannah's strange departure I was sad to feel that somehow King had lost a lot of my affection for them. It felt like in the last Eddie and Suze were there but not really. It was like he was too busy introducing new characters i.e. Callahan or talking about himself to worry about two of the most important ones.
Throughout the last three I slowly became annoyed with all the Stephen King self references and such. In my heart I just felt gipped. It was like all the awesome cool things we had to wonder about, when you finally got there it was some bland SK reference or loophole. For example all this time I had been wondering about the mystery of the CK's castle. What was there? What would happen when they got there? And what happens when they get there we don't get to go in and take a look around, but we meet three SK's. What? What happened was it to hard to think about what lurks in the castle or what it looks like inside? This is just one instance of being let down about the things that he made us wish to see on their adventures and didn't end up showing. Was anyone else curious as to what happened during the fall of Gilead. I would have been much more interested in reading that tale then hearing 1000 pages about Pere Callahan's endless travels on the highways.
Some Specific things that bothered me:

The end of the book summed up my disappointment throughout. I felt like (like the LOTR) this whole saga was resting on the fact that few stood against many against the destruction of all that was good. I felt like the whole quest was about them fixing the beams, and saving the multiverse. Don't get me wrong I love Roland, but I felt that the story was supposed to be about more than Roland, it had this sense of being bigger than them all. And I guess to find out that it's all about Roland's journey over and over just felt weak in context of the scope. I can't agree that it had to end this way, and feel a huge sense of hypocritical behavior coming from King. He tells us that it's Damning to race to the finish just to get to the end, but I feel that's exactly what he's done.
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Old 10th March 2009, 12:25 PM   #117 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

I'm looking forward to responses and counter-arguments, but please I will not respond to being told I just don't understand the books. I undertsand the books and what was intended to work, but I just don't swallow all of it.

- STEPHEN KING TAKES SOME ADD SPACE OUT IN HIS OWN OPUS TO RANT ABOUT THE MAN WHO HIT HIM WITH A MINIVAN. DUDE YOU WERE HIT BY A VAN STOP TALKING ABOUT IT ALREADY.

Some Specific things that bothered me:
-The ending
-The Last Three books felt like he had laid all this foundation and was unable to weave it all together because he was to busy on side tangents i.e. Callahan, and the many SK SK SK SK
-Throughout the books he builds up this driving force and need to expel what ever evil plagues the DT in order to save creation, and in that sense I feel at the end he was just like, " surprise guess what the whole story never really was about all these characters working together to save the multiverse, it's just about Roland's never ending circle." I felt it was supposed to be about more than any individual one of the tet.
-He builds up Mordred for three whole books, and while I see losing Oy is one of the biggest losses to my heart, Mordreds impact on the entire story felt weak
-Too much Pere Callahan backstory
-Tick Tock man was an amazing villain wiped out upon a whim in a few pages ( wait a minute so was Flagg).
-The first line of the book is "the man in black fled..." but where's the man in Black's impact on the end of the saga he's barely there.
-Mia and the Chap. I may be the only one, but I felt that the whole Susannah Mia pregnancy was way drawn out and just plain handled weird. I mean it was like it didn't make sense and King decided to make it force fit by squeezing it in. I mean come on the baby being faxed over to Mia was just ridiculous. It felt like his No Outline, Just Type policy backfired and he didn't know how to start something he started.
-I'm not a romance fan, but if your going to decide to have romance in your story it has to be believable. King did an amazing job on Roland and Susan's romance it was believable, but Susannah and Eddie's was simply not there.
-OOH THIS IS A BIG ONE...TY SK I understand what a Dues Ex Machina is, but I didn't want to find one on every page, or read what one was again. It's like his later novels in the series are not a journey like so many have talked about but just an endless chain of Deus Ex Machina that shoots you out a door right to the foot of the tower. Why not just have Roland walk through a door when he reaches the Callas and shoot straight to the tower.
- I found myself feeling disconnected from Suze and Eddie during # 7
- anyone remember the thinny, probably just remembered it as I did because of an overuse of Todash, not quite Todash etc... to much of the same not fully explained
- Ok so Ka is a Wheel we get it, but that doesn't mean I want to be in an endless state of deja vu its like he thought he couldn't prove the point. How many robots 3P0's do I need to see before I get the point that there's house keeping droids running around. I thought they were cool, but seeing them on every corner gets boring.

Man as I right this I really realize that just like Lucas King took a saga I loved, and slowly destroyed it through arrogance.


...

- CK erased from existed using a pencil eraser, I could swear I have seen this somewhere but probably blocked it form my memory.

-SK self reference felt like The Never Ending Story -THATS BAD

-No matter how hard I tried to ignore it I couldn't help, but feel Kings condescending tone throughout the later books.

-When an author creates something of this scope they have a responsibility to the reader, and story to do it justice. Is anyone else not buying this BS SK saying that he doesn't decide the stories he just uncovers them. I smell something fishy that would be a great defense if you felt that you had ruined your shot at something epic.
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Old 10th March 2009, 01:30 PM   #118 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

To those who haven't read the books yet.Imagine for a second reaching the end of the Harry Potter Series. Hermoine, Ron, and Hagrid are murdered, by death eaters, Voldemort is blanked out of existence by a pencil eraser, and Professor McG sends harry through a portkey back to the cupboard under the stairs seven years ago. Then maybe you would understand the frustration of someone who traveled with these characters on their epic journey all the way to the end. Only to fall into betrayal.
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Old 10th March 2009, 01:39 PM   #119 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

Right *cracks knuckles* Let's see if I can address some of this.

Firstly, I'd like to see anyone get hit by a van, particularly as badly as King was, and breeze through it without any psychological effects. He suffered some pretty horrible injuries, especially with his hip. Plus, as a writer, this was probably a good cathartic outlet for him; also, the accident was apparently the moment that made him realise that he needed to finish the Dark Tower series, as it was a reminder that something like the incident could happen at any time and kill him off.

I've already whittered on about the ending (seeing as this is a thread about such) so I won't go over that again. It's here somewhere.

OK, so they don't "expel the evil" in the story completely...this time. The implication is that Roland, as the last remainder of a time when the White was still strong and the beams were in good working order, will have to keep repeating his journey until he learns from his mistakes -- to trust his ka-tet, to learn to love, to remember his fallen comrades and most importantly that it's the journey and not the end that counts (which we see him starting to do, which leads me to believe that this particular journey is nearing the end of the huge cycle of circles that he's performed...especially as he has the Horn of Eld with him at the end. There's a lot of hope at the end if one can spot it).

As to the easy death of the villians (I have to agree to a certain extent, Flagg is amazing and his death is rather quick). The thing that I always go on about with King is his verisimilitude (yes, among all the supernatural, fantastical stuff he writes) -- his characters are always deep, with broad backgrounds; these are not just your typical bad guys, dressed in black and stroking their facial hair maliciously. Sometimes it's not fesible to have a long, epic battle between the good and the evil. Sometimes other things can befall them, on both sides. Sometimes accidents happen (SPOILER Alice and the brick in Cell, anyone?).

I've forgotten too much about the details of the pregrency to be able to really comment on it, I'm afraid.

What particular examples of dues ex machina were there? Also, again, one needs to remember that the story is a circle, and thus Roland the rest are all going to eventually end up in the same place. Not in identical ways every time, as we know, as Roland continually has to keep doing things differently, but roughly so.

I don't think a comparison can really be made between Susan and Roland's romance and the one that Susannah and Eddie have. They came to be under very different circumstances and have a very different 'feel' to them. Susan and Roland's is a very brief, passionate and secret romance of two adolscents just discovering such. Susannah's and Eddie's a much more deep, getting-to-know-each-other, finding love and solace in this crazy adventure they've been thrown into kind of love. They are older and wiser -- they've both seen a lot of crap in the world before meeting one another.

I'm starting to waste away through hunger, so I'll have to leave this now. I'm not saying that The Dark Tower is completely flawless, and I have my complaints with some of the parts (the rosy, happy ending of Susannah, Eddie and Jake was just too un-Kingly for me) but I've tried to address some of the parts where my opinions seemed to have differed. And it's always good to see people talking about King books, be it in criticism or in ardent love or somewhere in between.


Making such a comparison to the plot of Harry Potter isn't really helpful, though. When one puts it like that, then the Dark Tower series would sound flawed. But the similar events in the series happens within context of it, and has reason behind it.
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Old 13th March 2009, 01:56 AM   #120 (permalink)
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Re: Ending of the Dark Tower Series

Absolutely my favorite read. King's characters are so well fleshed out that you miss them more than the adventure.

As in most of his stories, King kills off a key figure (or three in this case) and that always hits me hard; but his really a testiment to his character development skills. Eddie's death hit me hardest because his character grew more than any other-whereas Roland remained the same throughout the series.

As for most of the grumblings I've read here; while Flagg is a pretty cool antagonist because of his apparent charm, I'm always surprised that his fans lose sight of the fact he is infantile and pretty damned stupid at times, and that his downfall was largely of his own doing. He sees Mordred and thinks, "Ooo a baby! I'll just kill him and hack off his foot then I'll get into the tower with no trouble." Not exactly a well thought out plan. (And I loved the fact King warned the readers not to laugh too hard at that scene)

The way CK was dealt with is another matter, I was dissapointed on how easily he was dispatched - but then again, it would be difficult to stage a battle royale and not have a stalemate.

The ending was fine and felt right, as others have said. I believed that Roland has been this way many many times before and has gotten closer and closer to the truth with each successive turn. Perhaps inthe first go he was killed in Tull, or even Mejas - and I don't think the horn is the key either. He is simply not meant to go into the tower. The scene with Femalo/Fumalo and the other is as close to the truth as the reader gets I think, when one of them says (paraphrase) "No prophesy speaks of you (Roland) entering the tower."

The part that bothered me most was how Suze left. She agonizes for a long while before deciding to stick it out until the end...then leaves after a series of dreams. Roland getting on his knees to beg her to stay angered me - way to far out character for him to be believed.
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