The Dark Tower Series

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The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:47 pm

As Ringo is trudging through book 3, and I have picked up book 4 again, I felt it would be appropriate to start a thread where we can discuss all things Ka.

I did read about 50 pages last night, and have made it to the half way point and interlude of Wizard and Glass. So far I feel that what is about to happen in the second half of the book is fairly obvious, which is unfortunate. But this entire books is Roland telling the Ka-tet a story from his young adulthood. Although this book feels like a chore, the fact that I was able to read so much last night has made me more determined to finish it than ever.

After I get through this, only three more books until what some have considered the most disappointing ending to Stephen King's magnum opus. Very Happy Razz
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Sep 28, 2014 4:07 pm

Good idea, Bungo Very Happy I haven't spoiled the ending for myself, but I've got a bad feeling that
Spoiler:
Roland will be faced with a choice between the tower and his friends at the end, and choose his friends so we never find out what the tower is all about
. The build-up so far seems to be leading to such an ending, though I strongly hope I'm wrong. But what else could have caused such disappointment among his fans?

You've said before that book 4 is mostly a long flashback - I quite like that idea. I'll find out for myself soon enough, but I always want to know more when Roland mentions episodes from his past, he never goes into detail about it.

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Sep 28, 2014 7:29 pm

From what I've heard about the ending/inferred from things that happen later in the series, I think that the ending has some sort of meta quality to it that is disappointing to most. But this is just my guess. I'm just glad I've gone about four or so years without spoiling the ending for myself.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:00 pm

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:13 pm

Perfect Eddie Very Happy I had no idea about these plans of making it a movie, so this was all news to me. Not so sure about Russell Crowe as Roland, though. I picture Roland like John Marston from the game Red Dead Redemption, both his voice and his looks are very Roland-y Nod But who knows, Crowe could probably be a great Roland. I wonder who they'll cast as The Man in Black..

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Sep 28, 2014 9:20 pm

I had forgotten to mention that the movie is currently in development hell. pale But Aaron Paul would be perfect for Eddie.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:12 pm

I can live with that for now, gives us time to finish the books Smile

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:15 pm

That's a good way to look at it. I remember hearing back in the day that they were considering Javier Bardem for Roland. There's really only one person who can play him, Clint Eastwood 40 years ago. Nod
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:31 pm

" There's really only one person who can play him, Clint Eastwood 40 years ago" - Bungo

My thoughts exactly Laughing I've only seen Javier Bardem in Skyfall, so I don't know enough about him as an actor to say whether he's a good or a bad choice.

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Oct 06, 2014 5:39 pm

Did you know about this one, bungo?
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007C6LI2O/ref=pe_975390_124732580_em_1p_4_lm

The Wind through the Keyhole - a stand-alone novel set in the universe of The Dark Tower. Apparently it bridges a gap between books 4 and 5 (I recommend reading the customer review at the top). Seeing as you're on book 4 I thought maybe you'd like to look into this before you move on to book 5 Smile

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Mon Oct 06, 2014 7:45 pm

Hmm, yes I was aware of it. Smile I was thinking about going straight into book five and read them in order of publication. I'll look into it further and let you know what I decide once I finish book four.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:02 pm

Not decided what approach I'll choose myself yet. Probably in the order they were published Smile Liking book 3 more and more by the way - the pace really picked up once Jake was drawn. Not that I didn't like the first part (loved Roland as a teacher Very Happy ), it was just a little slow.

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Mon Oct 06, 2014 8:45 pm

My favourite scene so far in the series, illustrated and read aloud Smile


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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sat Oct 11, 2014 4:24 pm

Finished book 3 today, bungo - I take back whatever negative stuff I've said about it Very Happy Having read all of it, I think the slow pace at the beginning works as a nice build-up for Lud. And Lud was pretty damn good Very Happy Loved Blaine the Mono, who would've thought that a 
Spoiler:
talking, evil train
could be such a brilliant idea. Now I'm looking forward to book 4 and getting to know more about Roland's past, but I hope it won't be flashbacks - I'd like to know more about that Ageless Stranger as well.

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:32 am

Ringdrotten wrote:My favourite scene so far in the series, illustrated and read aloud Smile


That was nice. Nod I like how King's writing has inspired such great art. Always loved the imagery of the rose growing in the vacant lot from book 3.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Sun Oct 12, 2014 5:01 am

Ringdrotten wrote:Finished book 3 today, bungo - I take back whatever negative stuff I've said about it Very Happy Having read all of it, I think the slow pace at the beginning works as a nice build-up for Lud. And Lud was pretty damn good Very Happy Loved Blaine the Mono, who would've thought that a 
Spoiler:
talking, evil train
could be such a brilliant idea. Now I'm looking forward to book 4 and getting to know more about Roland's past, but I hope it won't be flashbacks - I'd like to know more about that Ageless Stranger as well.

I really like the entire Lud sequence, too. And Blaine is a much more imposing riddle-contest opponent than Gollum. Wink I'm surely getting through book 4, and I'm glad you're reading too because I think it's a good motivator for me. I've been reading my paperback copy of book 4 for the longest time, but tonight I decided to purchase the kindle edition, so I've been reading on my kindle tonight and I was surprised that I become a much faster/less distracted reader on my kindle {{{plus it's harder to look ahead and spoil what's going to happen}}}.

I've got about 40 percent of book 4 left to go, and I think when I'm done I'll just go straight in to book 5, and eventually read Wind Through the Keyhole when I finish the entire series.

I know I've had a lot of problems with book 4, but I haven't done a very good job of articulating them beyond "it's just one big flashback." I'll try to better explain what I didn't like after I've finished it. Although there was one moment reading tonight when I sat up in bed, surprised at the appearance of a certain man in black. I don't think it's that spoilery to give away the fact that he appears in book 4.

Although I feel like a bad Stephen King fan going forward, because I haven't read Salem's Lot and Father Callahan plays a big role in book 5.

I feel like I've been reading this book forever. I hope things get better, and I hope I like the ending.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:05 pm

" And Blaine is a much more imposing riddle-contest opponent than Gollum."

He sure is Laughing I'm reading it on my kindle as well. It's strange how much more I read after I bought that thing - I read everywhere now. I did read some reviews of book 4 on amazon, and many of them were favorable,, so I choose to be optimistic Nod

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Mon Oct 13, 2014 10:23 pm

70 percent through. Metal
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:40 pm

Think I'll be finishing up book 4 tonight or tomorrow. Getting excited. Very Happy

We need a Dark Tower hype train.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Wed Oct 15, 2014 8:43 pm

Make that a hype monorail. Wink



Blaine is a pain.
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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Wed Oct 15, 2014 9:54 pm

And that is the truth Nod Cool picture! A pain indeed, but a very entertaining pain at least Very Happy I'm on page 80-ish (14%) now. Let me know what you think of it when you're done Smile

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Thu Oct 16, 2014 6:30 pm

Book 4 done. ✔

Thoughts will be up in a day or two. They're going to be spoiler filled, so you'll probably want to hold off reading them until you're done with book 4.

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:03 am

Ka like the wind.

I think I'll start with some general remarks that are spoiler free.

This was a tough read for me. To put the entire quest on hold for 700 pages is a bold move IMO, and while we do learn some important things about Roland, I feel like the execution of it is a bit off. There might be a better way to incorporate Roland's past into the story without putting a halt on everything else; maybe introducing bits of the story in a piecemeal fashion instead of dumping it on the reader all at once. Perhaps deliver the important information within the story and make a fleshed out version in an entire book that is optional to the series. Shrugging These are just suggestions, and I'm sure King has a better idea about what he's doing than I do.

Roland just never seemed like the type to just lay it all out for everyone to know. He always seemed private and more reserved, cold. So him exposing this important part of his past to the ka-tet seems out of character. But perhaps it is because they are now ka-tet he feels he can share it with them.

Spoilers follow.

Spoiler:
Cuthbert has a great line towards the end of the novel.
"Waiting," Cuthbert said. "That's what most of our time in Mejis has been about, and it's the thing I do worst."

This really struck a chord with me because I really felt I had been waiting this whole book for something to happen. The story is mostly predictable once the basic parameters are set up:

  • Roland meets Susan.
  • Forbidden love.
  • Attempt to resist temptation.
  • Forbidden love is consecrated.
  • Everything goes to hell because of it.

It's terribly obvious from the start that Susan will die. Or at least it was for me. It's just a matter of getting to it. There's just no tension there. We know Bilbo survives The Hobbit movies, no tension. I also found it difficult to care for her character. The "young-and-oh-so-pretty" type are rarely interesting. And I think the fact that it is mostly a romance story turns me off.

From the Afterword:
I knew that Wizard and Glass meant doubling back to Roland's young days, and to his first love affair, and I was scared to death of that story. Suspense is relatively easy, at least for me; love is hard.

I do like reading suspense, which is why I like King, but I don't like love stories.

Now for specific things I did not like:

-Too many characters. I imagine that this is roughly what it's like to read Under the Dome. Too many characters and not enough happening.

-Long sections without action, or at least an attempt to move the story forward. This was a big problem for me during the first half of the book, after the middle section when the narrative returns to Kansas for a few pages, things to tend to pick up. And the last couple hundred pages went by fairly quickly. But just that opening and middle were quite dull IMO.

-Underdeveloped characters making strange decisions. Notably Olive Thorin helping Susan escape at the last minute. Where the hell did that come from?

-Smart characters making dumb decisions. Roland has Susan stay with Sheemie in the Bad Grass was probably one of the worst options they could have chosen. A better option would have them take fast horses, ditch the mule, and ride toward Gilead at night before Roland, Cuthbert, and Alain ride out to meet Farson's men. Instead they're literally sitting ducks.

-The angry mob. This is a tired King trope. A group of what is typically rational, kind people (typically led by a complete loony, in this case Rhea), turned blood thirsty. Off the top of my head I can name at least three other King stories with angry mob scenes: The Mist, The Stand, Under the Dome.

-The MacGuffin. Let's be honest with ourselves, it's basically a palantir.

Note that the last half of the book is fresh in my mind, which is why my examples are coming from there. So although the pace picks up in the second half, there are still things there that I don't like.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Things I liked:

-Tying the story of The Stand into the books current events. The Stand is my favorite King book, so to see the world ravaged by Captain Trips was really nice. It felt familiar, and like I knew something that the characters didn't. And to have the Walkin' Dude be called Randall Flagg sent a little shiver down my spine. It's pretty clear by now, to me, that he's some sort of embodiment of evil within King's universe.

-The Wizard of Oz and other cultural references. I like when Stephen King brings in elements of pop culture into his writing. It makes it uniquely American, IMO. Loved the red shoes for the entire ka-tet, even Oy. Very Happy Even little things like Arthur Eld = King Arthur, Maerlyn = Merlin add a little bit of depth to these worlds, as if there is a shared mythology. Also noted in references to the Man Jesus's cross, etc.

-Getting back to our original ka-tet at the end. It felt like returning to old friends I hadn't seen in years. And there's such a strong camaraderie between them at this point. They will do anything for each other to get to the journey's end. Which is also why I'm afraid for them. I'm scared about what could happen in book 7. I don't want to lose any of these characters. Sad

-King is good at establishing strong relationships between characters. Roland's first ka-tet felt natural, like ka was really drawing Roland, Cuthbert, Alain, Susan, and Sheemie together. I really liked when they formed their ka-tet near the end of the book. Too bad it didn't last.

So overall it wasn't bad. If I had to grade it, I'd say 3.9/5. Doesn't quite make a 4/5 for me, but it's close. King is a good story-teller and I can't knock him points for that.

"Hile! Hile!" he screamed in a ringing, carrying voice. "To me, gunslingers! To me! Ride them down! No Prisoners!"

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by bungobaggins on Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:23 am

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Re: The Dark Tower Series

Post by Ringdrotten on Fri Oct 17, 2014 3:42 am

Will have to get back to this post when I've read it Smile

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