colleen the convivial curmudgeon's Reviews > The Dark Tower

The Dark Tower by Stephen King
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's review
Sep 13, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: dark-fantasy, weird
Read from March 16 to 23, 2011

So, the first time I read this book I rated it 3 stars, and that was probably a bit high for it, because I hated the ending. I hated it so much, left such a bad taste in my mouth, that it sort of spoiled my thoughts of the whole series. I wanted to reread it, been meaning to for awhile, since there were details that escaped my memory entirely, but I was afraid to - afraid that I would end up still hating it as much, if not more than before.

(Allow me to specify. (view spoiler)

But this time I went in with a purpose, and I fanwanked. Oh, I wanked like nobody's business to make this thing make sense, and to make me not hate it so much.

And I did it with such aplomb that I ended up actually being quite at peace with the ending.

And I'm glad that I did because, honestly, it's a good series. Oh, there are some parts that aren't quite as good as others (Waste Lands and Song of Susannah, for instance), and there are parts within individual books which get a bit bogged down, or don't entirely make sense, or have some continuity issues - but, overall, I liked it, and I wanted to like it more. I liked the world(s), and the characters. I loved watching them develop as people and grow as a tet. I love the many sides of Roland. There was just so much to like about the series, that I didn't want it to end on such a bad note.

Besides, the start of this book is pretty damn awesome. I was caught up in the whole thing from the get-go, even though I was hesitant to pick it up and start it because of my fears of impending doom. The whole first third of the book is pretty much non-stop action and awesomeness... and we couldn't just let that all go because of King's inability to write an ending some crap at the end.

So - here's my wank.

(view spoiler)

There - now isn't everything ever so much better?

I'll do you one better. I'll tell you how the final loop could go, and how everyone could live happily ever after:

(view spoiler)

So, there you have it.

But, really, it's not that much fanwank. Some of it actually makes a lot of sense, all things considered. I still think some of the ending was weak, and I'm not going to say it was perfect - but maybe it wasn't quite as bad as I thought it was the first time.

(Sort of like how I liked 'Order of the Phoenix' much more on the second read, and 'Deathly Hallows', too, for that matter. Of course, I rationalized those a bit, too. I have a grand gift for it, it seems. LOL)
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Reading Progress

03/16/2011 page 33
4.0% "Hile, gunslinger."
03/16/2011 page 113
13.0% "Stupid stub of a snout. Heh."
03/17/2011 page 166
19.0% ""So much you did and so much more you would have done, aye, and all without a check or qualm, and so will the world end, I think, a victim of love rather than hate. For love's ever been the more destructive weapon, sure.""
03/17/2011 page 189
22.0% "Yum. (Blech.)"
03/19/2011 page 308
36.0% "Things have slowed down since the reunion..."
03/20/2011 page 420
49.0% "And so... The beginning of the end."
03/20/2011 page 530
61.0% "O Discordia..."
03/23/2011 page 760
88.0% "O Susannah, how I hate thee..."
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Comments (showing 1-22 of 22) (22 new)

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message 1: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Wow. I'm so totally going to have to finish this series so that I can click on your spoiler links. I'm itching to click away anyway...*glares at mouse finger*.

colleen the convivial curmudgeon Heh. Well, instead of glaring at your mouse finger, go read more. ;)

message 3: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Colleen ~blackrose~ wrote: "Heh. Well, instead of glaring at your mouse finger, go read more. ;)"

*whines* I'm at woooooooorrrrrrrrk

Becky *clicked on all the spoiler links* :P

Good review, Colleen. I agree with your "wank" of the loop.

Marc Pretty good theory on how the next/last loop would go.

Felina Loved this! I agree with you about the horn.

Awwww you're my smart friend.

colleen the convivial curmudgeon Felina wrote: "Loved this! I agree with you about the horn.

Awwww you're my smart friend."

Glad you liked it. :>

And it's good to know you have at least one smart friend. ;)

Felina Teehee.

Hi I'm Bob Thanks for making me not hate the seventh book so much. There is some awesomeness in it that really can't be ignored, especially at the beginning. But I was so angry about Walter. Especially when CK was such a crappy stand-in for him at the end. Whatever, I loved the first four books. The fifth would have been just as good without 150 pages of needless Callahan back story (I am skipping ALL that shit next time around). I'll have to make some allowances so I can go on loving this series like I did before I read the finale.

colleen the convivial curmudgeon You're welcome. :)

I, too, had a sour taste in my mouth the first time I read book 7 - and it soured the whole thing. I really did like the ending much better the second time around, but, as you say, it requires some allowances. (I like that. Think I'll steal it.) ;)

Andrew I actually wasn't that disappointed in the way that the CK was taken down, since, as you noted, Roland had been chipping away at him for a while. But what really bothered me was the death of Flagg. Flagg's been a baddy since the late 70s. Flagg went from being an avatar of Nyarlathotep who does what he does for evil and chaos to... Someone who's evil because he was molested as a child. Now then, I like humanizing villains as much as the next guy, but that's on par with the sudden, "Oh, Hannibal Lecter is actually a cannibal because he saw an act of cannibalism when he was a child."

Good review.

message 12: by Adam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Adam Great idea of how it could go this time around. I think to put meaning behind the death that Roland deals, he seeks the tower-- kind of like the end justifies the means? At first I was pretty bummed; I thought Roland needed to end up more dignified or something. After giving it some thought, I now know that it was a pretty decent ending that can teach a valuable lesson. As he began his journey again, he thought of what Cort said, something like "you will never change if you don't learn from the past." I liked the ending for this reason.

colleen the convivial curmudgeon @Andrew - I'd meant to reply to you back in June and then totally spaced. Apologies. :>

The death of Flagg bothered me a bit, though the CK bothered me more. Granted, part of my lack of care was because, not being a huge King reader, I haven't followed Flagg through the various stories... but now that I'm a bit more familiar with it, I understand your disappointment with that aspect of the story.

But I guess a lot of my thinking is that I don't think Flagg is dead. I don't think Flagg can die. (For that matter, I'm not sure the CK really can, either. Not for ever, anyway.)

The Flagg that we see in this story is just one Flagg, and, obviously, not the strongest one. Just one body taken over by the force of Chaos... just one story...

And, hell, who knows if the story's even true? It's like the Joker in Dark Knight telling how he got his scars. Maybe it's just a story?

But, even if it's not... Flagg's not dead. Not really.

And if this one embodiment of Flagg is dead well, then, so be it. He's not a very good one anyway. ;)

@Adam - Yes, there is a lot in these stories about learning from your past and fixing your mistakes. At first Roland seems to just build on his mistakes... but he learns, eventually.

As they say, his mental wheel grinds slow, but exceedingly fine.

Andrew Hrm. I totally didn't see this comment until today. (I haven't quite figured out to to use Goodreads in the way I use That Other Social Network.) I think that your interpretation of this--Flagg of Dark Tower as just one manifestation of a larger extra-dimensional evil that never quits--makes his abrupt death at the hands of Roland less infuriating. So I'm going to assume that it is so. ;)

message 15: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Finally finished the book and allowed myself to click all the spoiler links. Agree Agree Agree. But I too, drank the Kool-Aid, so I too, try not to let the little things bother me. Hahaha

I love your synopsis of how the final loop will go.

Brooklyn Ann Could we have a fanwank where the Mia/Mordred thing doesn't happen at all? (I HATED that subplot) I think I'll come up with one during my next reread of the series.

Tatjana Wiese Yes!! I love your idea for how the story could end!

Brooklyn Ann Did any of you hear that King is considering rewriting the series?

message 20: by Mike (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mike Interesting. Waste Lands is a fan favorite by most DT readers. I thought Wolves was the weakest in the series.

message 21: by Mike (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mike Thank you for the plan for the last "Loop". I had no issue with the ending, but some of the character deaths, Mainly Jake and Oy, realllly bothered me. To the point that I stopped reading for a few days after Jake, and would have done with Oy if I wasn't determined to finish. Your ideas make me feel as if my favorite characters aren't lost. And I would be fine if there is still some way Susannah dies in this final loop, I realllly hated her.

colleen the convivial curmudgeon Mike wrote: "And I would be fine if there is still some way Susannah dies in this final loop, I realllly hated her. "

Whenever I discuss this book with hubs, I've taken to referring to Susannah as "that bitch" or else metaphorically spitting whenever I say her name...

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