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The Dark Tower #4.5

The Wind Through the Keyhole

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Goodreads Choice Award
Winner for Best Fantasy (2012)
Stephen King returns to the rich landscape of Mid-World, the spectacular territory of the Dark Tower fantasy saga that stands as his most beguiling achievement.

Roland Deschain and his ka-tetJake, Susannah, Eddie, and Oy, the billy-bumbler—encounter a ferocious storm just after crossing the River Whye on their way to the Outer Baronies. As they shelter from the howling gale, Roland tells his friends not just one strange story but two . . . and in so doing, casts new light on his own troubled past.

In his early days as a gunslinger, in the guilt-ridden year following his mother’s death, Roland is sent by his father to investigate evidence of a murderous shape-shifter, a “skin-man” preying upon the population around Debaria. Roland takes charge of Bill Streeter, the brave but terrified boy who is the sole surviving witness to the beast’s most recent slaughter. Only a teenager himself, Roland calms the boy and prepares him for the following day’s trials by reciting a story from the Magic Tales of the Eld that his mother often read to him at bedtime. “A person’s never too old for stories,” Roland says to Bill. “Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them.” And indeed, the tale that Roland unfolds, the legend of Tim Stoutheart, is a timeless treasure for all ages, a story that lives for us.

King began the Dark Tower series in 1974; it gained momentum in the 1980s; and he brought it to a thrilling conclusion when the last three novels were published in 2003 and 2004. The Wind Through the Keyhole is sure to fascinate avid fans of the Dark Tower epic. But this novel also stands on its own for all readers, an enchanting and haunting journey to Roland’s world and testimony to the power of Stephen King’s storytelling magic.

~from first edition jacket

322 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 21, 2012

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About the author

Stephen King

2,678 books819k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,921 reviews
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
September 4, 2022
The headline here is that I almost never read a book in 3 days - but I did this one and I was up past my bedtime turning pages.

Stephen King has written this series across the whole span of his adult life & both the character and quality of the series change across the decades (and also between front and back cover). For me Dark Tower as a whole is often spectacular, sometimes a bit weak, but mostly very good.

The Wind Through The Keyhole (TWTTK) is set just after my favourite of the series 'Wizard and Glass' and focuses on the Gilead days (my favourite part of Wizard and Glass) so there was always going to be a good chance I'd like it.

This is a story within a story within a story, and most of the book is spent at the deepest layer of this Russian doll. King is returning to ground he last trod 15 years ago and it's as if he never left.

There's nothing in TWTTK that is particularly important to the Dark Tower story, no great insight into the ending of the grand tale or really into the characters - it is what it is, an exciting and imaginative tale told using characters (well really only Roland as the rest of his ka-tet feature only very briefly) that we know very well and want to see in action.

For me the pacing, atmosphere, and balance of mystery vs menace in this tale just hit perfectly and I got exactly what I wanted - hence the 5 stars up top.

Will everyone love this book? No - but I don't think many will hate it.
Can you read it cold, without having read the other 7. Yes, but you'd be missing out on a lot. If you read it before book 5 and after book 4 (as the #4.5 indicates) then that would be fine too. But certainly it's a must for all Dark Tower fans, and if you've not read King's masterwork ... then get to it!

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Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,820 followers
July 30, 2015
Shenanigans! I cry shenanigans on Stephen King!

King put me through years of mental torture with The Dark Tower series, but I was able to forgive once he finally delivered a fitting ending to that saga. So I had a lot of concerns about him returning to the story of Roland. I worried that King had come down with a vicious case of Lucasitis that was going to have him tinkering with this story repeatedly.

However, King’s public statements indicated that it would not change the core Dark Tower story and that it would just explore the long interlude between the fourth and fifth books. I’ve always had a big question regarding that since the end of Wizard & Glass had young Jake still being a new arrival to Mid-World and completely untrained as a gunslinger while Eddie and Susannah still had a lot to learn about carrying the heavy iron. When Wolves of the Calla picked up, all of them were stone cold bad asses after being on the path of the Beam for a good long while. It seemed like King was going to fill in that gap, and that was a story that I would have been interested in reading.

I have to note here that Wizard & Glass is my least favorite of the Dark Tower books. This was mainly for three reasons:

1) After years of waiting, it didn’t advance the core story at all and instead focused on a flashback to young Roland.

2) It involved a long tale with a character who really didn’t have anything to do with DT after that book.

3) It was filled with fucking Wizard of Oz references.

So what do we get in The Wind Through the Keyhole?

1) A flashback story to young Roland.

2) A flashback inside another flashback that tells a long tale about a character that has nothing to do with the rest of the DT story.

3) A couple of Wizard of Oz references.

Adding insult to injury, the main reason I read this wasn't addressed. Even though it’s supposed to be shortly after the ending of the fourth book, Jake is suddenly carrying a gun and going off ahead of the others and no one is worried because “He can take care of himself.” WHEN?? WHEN THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN? BECAUSE AS FAR AS I KNOW HE’S STILL THE KID WHO GOT KIDNAPPED AND NEARLY KILLED IN LUD, YET A WEEK OR TWO LATER HE’S JUST A GODDAMN GUNSLINGER WITH ABSOLUTELY NO TRAINING!!


So instead of getting the one damn question I wanted answered in this, the gunslingers are used as a framing device for Roland to tell them a story about his past that turns into him telling some little bastard a tale about another little bastard wandering off into the woods.

Seriously, this could have been a fun offshoot short story or stories in larger collections someday, but putting them in a hardback and calling them Dark Tower just seems like the worst kind of bait and switch.

I’m going to sell this one to a used book store and pretend it doesn’t exist.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews856 followers
January 12, 2021
Commala come come, back to the trek to the Dark Tower, say thankee sai. A story within a story within a story! En route to Calla Bryn Sturgis, like in Wizard and Glass, Roland shares a story with his ka-tet, this time as they hide from a storm. A story set not too long after Roland's story in Wizard and Glass, within which is an Eid legend 'The Wind Through The Keyhole'.

Above is the best thing about the version of the book I read, the scrumptious art of Jae Lee. The legend recounted, that takes up most of the book felt a lot like The Eyes of the Dragon, in which King crafts a fairy tale like story with nods to the horror genre. The story is OK and captures Mid-World prior to any sign of Farson and co., but I just feel it would have been better placed as a stand-alone tale like The Little Sisters of Eluria. The legend is sandwiched inside the tale of an interesting serial killer case being investigated by Roland Deschain and Jamie De Curry. All in all the book feels like exactly what it is, a 'filler' addition to The Dark Tower series written after they end of the original series. 7 out of 12... I would go as far as to say, that anyone reading the Dark Tower series for the first time shouldn't bother with this!
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
311 reviews1,329 followers
May 12, 2019
The first fantasy series that I ever read was Stephen King's epic The Dark Tower. Looking back, it is by no means my favourite fantasy series however it opened the door for me to this wonderful genre that I've loved for 7-years. In similar fashion to the Russian doll-esque tale featured in The Wind Through the Keyhole, there is a story within a story with reference to my experiences too.

This review features one major spoiler for the series yet is referenced in the novel's forward by King himself and a few minor spoilers.

When I was a wide-eyed 9-year-old, my grandfather read Stephen King's Wizard and Glass to me, the book that chronologically precedes this entry. I remember adoring those times and they remain one of my most beloved memories. A train that challenged it's passengers to riddles? It was amazing. Instead of that book, I decided to re-experience this narrative as an older, wiser and uglier person.

Here, the Gunslinger Roland presents a tale to his ka-tet (mid-world terminology for his crew) about a younger Roland who had just received his guns and the esteemed title of Gunslinger.

"None of us can sleep," Jake said. "So tell us a story."

Many years prior he meets a young lad called Bill who is about the age I was when my grandfather would read to me. Things are not looking great for Bill at present. His father has just been brutally murdered by a skin-man. This being is similar to what we are aware of through the myths and stories of werewolves but this version can change into many different animals as and when it deems necessary, such as a bear or a crocodile. This nightmare of a being has savagely attacked and mutilated far too many people in this quaint little town. From the minors to the working folk. Nobody is excluded from this creature's wrath.

The skin-changer is the reason that 16-year-old Roland and his gunslinger companion Jamie DeCurry are here. They have been assigned a task to find and eliminate this threat. Bill escaped the massacre and witnessed the beast in it's changed, grotesque form. Roland wishes to question the young gentleman but if things couldn't get any worse a Starkblast is on the horizon. This is a behemothic tempest and storm concoction that can obliterate all and rip entire settlements to shreds. To keep Bill calm during the event after they are safely secure Roland promises to present one of his favourite tales that his mother used to tell him when he was a little lad called The Wind Through the Keyhole.

"The stories we hear in our childhood are the ones we remember all our lives." - That's why I picked up this book again in memory of my grandfather as I felt it was fitting.

It's not the finest The Dark Tower outing. I would say however though that it is definitely in the top-4. After the events of Wizard and Glass when the ka-tet leaves the land that was not Oz and before they arrive at Thunderclap and End-world, this story takes place. About 80-pages, comprising of the beginning and the end of the narrative is dedicated to the 'current day' Roland. These set the scene and then wrap up the happenings nicely before the gang is seen next in The Wolves of the Calla. To me, this was simply 'bubble-gum' reading and easy going rather than the sort of depth that comes later. It's great to be back with Eddie, Oy, Susannah, Roland, and Jake again. The banter between the ka-tet is as fluent, tight, humorous and natural as ever. It brought me many smiles after a long time away. Oy was always one of my favourite animal companions in fantasy books up there with Ghost (ASOI&F) and Storm (F&TF). It's a nice touch that Bully Bumblers are important throughout with the many upcoming storms.

About a 100-pages are regarding younger Roland who has wisdom beyond his years. The rest of this metaphorical story cake is the portion about the magically haunting fairy tale that features Tim Stoutheart.

The first story within a story is when Roland is sent on a mission with Jamie by his father, the legendary Gunslinger Stephen Deschain. A descendant of the line of Arthur Eld. There are a couple of neat sections here that enhance Roland's fathers already exceptional reputation. His body is a map of scars. This is the segment that grimdark fans will enjoy the most. It features a few heads being ripped off and devoured, also absolute catastrophic bloody murderous destruction, and a sometimes confused young Gunslinger. Naturally gifted, of course, but in these early escapades lacks the finesse during certain choices yet at the same time blows the metaphorical doors off with other intense analysis that then leads to very fine decisions. He's still a flawed work in progress and is living with the demon on his shoulder regarding the fact that he murdered his mother.

The main meat on the narrative is the story within the story within the story. This section is a hauntingly beautiful dark fairy tale, yet even though terrible events happen throughout there is always an underlining degree of hope. This segment reminded me of the writing King did in one of his other fantasy endevours The Eyes of the Dragon and the Yarnsworld series by self-published author Benedict Patrick. I'll try not to say too much in detail about this part other than it features true love between family, betrayal, alcoholism, murder, a dragon, a forbidden forest, a mischevious fairy, and a couple of magicians. Readers of the main series will know one of these very well. It also features a Starkblast as do the other two storylines and to conclude, this section is enlightening, fulfilling and magical.

I truly enjoyed reading this book again and devoured it within a handful of days. King states that this entry should be placed between book #4 and #5. I agree chronologically, yes, but to be read in that order, no. The reason being is that the majority of Wizard and Glass is a Roland flashback tale from his younger days, as it The Wind Through the Keyhole. As a first time reader, I would not wish to spend approximately 900 pages away from the main narrative. I read it originally after I had completed the main series and it sat well there. I'd either read it first or last in the series if I knew what I know now. A fine entry point but also a good final goodbye to the world to those who found the finale of The Dark Tower unfulfilling, leaving a bad taste in their mouth. In the latter order, it might make things seem a bit better.

Thankee Sai for reading.

Final note:- The few pages of artwork by Jae Lee, as it is with the graphic novels is absolutely spectacular!
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,105 followers
March 30, 2017

No one said that the path to the beam, on the way to the Dark Tower was going to be this hard... I was promised rainbows and unicorns, from my fearless leader- Stepheny.... She CAN be kind of a liaaaaaaaaaar- and she is sort of insaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaane- so I should have known this wasn't going to be easy.

...but sweet 8 pound 6 ounce baby Jesus- I had nooooooo forewarning that one of my beloved Ka-tet was going to fight tooth and nail..not to read 4.5. Getting everyone on board for this one especially- Dan 2.0 ...was somewhat...difficult- and it kind of went like this.

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I won't mention any names- but there was a big obstacle to overcome...okay maaaaaybe I will mention a name...Kemper. Kemper you are a worthy opponent- We won the battle...this time- I have yet to see who will win the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar. Let me just say- I am glad you liked the rest of the series, because I don't think I would be strong enough to take you on- for books 5, 6, and 7....

On with the review:

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Roland and his Ka-tet arrive at a river- and an elderly man- Bix- that operates the ferry assists them across the river.

A starkblast is coming and they will need to find shelter to wait out the storm. Roland tells them of an adventure in his youth to keep them occupied: The story of The Skin Man...and a story within the story- a tale that was told to Roland by his mother long ago.

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First story:

Following the death of his mother- his father sends Roland and his friend Jamie De Curry to the town of Debaria on a mission to capture the Skin-Man.

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Second story:

Tim Ross lives with his mother Nell in a village who's property taxes are collected by a mysterious man called- The Covenant Man. Tim recently lost his father- who supposedly was killed by a dragon....but dragons may have been given a bad rap....read the book and you can decide for yourself....

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I looooved THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE!!!! Sorry Kemper...I really did. For those of you that didn't like book 4....you may not like this one- but for those of you that did...this will be a pleasant journey.

The rest of the not so resistant buddies/Ka-tet- Bev, Jeff, Jason and Evgeny- Onward and upward....let the buddy-read continue.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,925 reviews10.6k followers
April 30, 2012
While taking shelter from a storm along the Path of the Beam, Roland tells his ka-tet a story from his youth, about going up against a skin-man with Jamie DeCurry, in which he tells a frightened youth yet another story to bolster his courage...

First off, it pains me to give a Dark Tower book less than four stars but I thought this one was on par with Wizard and Glass.

The Wind Through the Keyhole is really three tales nested within one another. One features our beloved ka-tet, somewhere between the green city from the end of Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla, the second a tale from Roland's youth, and a third a fable from Roland's world. Since The Dark Tower is one of my all time favorite works, my expectations were extremely high and this book didn't live up to them.

It isn't a bad book, though. Roland and the ka-tet are true to form. It didn't feel forced or tacked on. Rather, the stories felt natural and fleshed out both Roland's background and the mythology of Mid-World. I liked the Covenant Man quite a bit and the tale of the skin-man held my interest. If they weren't part of The Dark Tower, I probably would have rated them higher. Tim's tale reminded me of Eyes of the Dragon, one of Stephen King's more underrated works.

I guess my main gripe was that there wasn't much in the way of gunslinging action. Sure, Roland got to strut his stuff a bit but I was hoping for something to explain the ka-tet's transformation between books four and five.

Despite my gripes, I did enjoy The Wind Through the Keyhole and I was quite pleased that King left the ending open enough that he could stick another book or two in before the gang gets to the Calla. That'll have to satisfy my Dark Tower jones for now.
Profile Image for seak.
429 reviews473 followers
May 31, 2012
Welcome to flashback town, population - Wizard and Glass and The Wind Through the Keyhole.

(It's a terrible ride btw, unless you enjoy your head getting bashed over and over again.)

Wizard and Glass may have the record for length of flashback, but Wind Through the Keyhole goes Inception* on that flashback with a flashback** within a flashback.

*It's still accepted to reference Inception right?

**Okay, really it's a story within a flashback, but the story is a flashback to an even younger Roland technically so...I'm going with it anyway.

As someone who has been reading this series chronologically (i.e., I've read the first four in the Dark Tower series, but have yet to read the last three), I'm having a really hard time picturing what it's like for a Dark Tower book to have plot progression with the main Ka-tet.

This book's been quite the divisive one and to be honest, I can't really disagree with what a lot of people have said who didn't like it nearly as much as I did.

So, having only read the first four books, reading The Wind Through the Keyhole was just a continuation of the last book, Wizard and Glass. I'm sure there are some things in Wind that I missed having not read the last three, and knowing this, of course we know our friends are going to be okay...right? Or are they? (yeah, they're fine)

And yet, that doesn't mean there's no dramatic tension. If you've read any of my reviews, you probably already know that I really don't know what I'm talking about. I didn't major in English and I've easily forgotten anything I've ever learned in high school or undergrad.

Given that, I want to talk about literary devices for a sec. Just because we know the ending already (well, not me), doesn't mean a story lacks tension. While we know they'll be "all right," one, we don't know how other characters will fair, and two, we're still looking for how they get back to "all right" because they're not at this point. So, it's really just a focus shift.

Okay, I'll quit talking about things I know nothing about...well, probably not.

We pick up just after the events from W&G as our fearless Ka-tet is on their way from the glass tower in the first section titled "Starkblast." This doesn't last long, as you can imagine, and we're back into a flashback story from Roland's youth, which actually takes place just after the flashback from Wizard and Glass. This flashback is called "The Skin-Man."

Roland is sent on anther mission to another remote area of the world where a gunslinger is needed. Sadly, he takes another young gunslinger with him, not Alain and Cuthbert. I was SOOOO disappointed, I thought for sure we'd get those guys back.

(Not sure if those are even Alain and Cuthbert, but the picture's pretty cool anyway.)

But wait, there's more...flashbacks that is. During the flashback in "The Skin-Man," Roland tells the titular tale, "The Wind Through the Keyhole." This tale actually makes up the bulk of the book and was easily my favorite part.

In "The Wind Through the Keyhole," King is in top form writing-wise. The story is independent and only mildly relates to either of the two other stories, but it's still a great one and I loved every minute of it.

It's a great old-timey adventure story about a kid who braves impossible odds to help his family. I have to say this again, the writing is top-notch (or tip top as the Swiss would say). He fits it to the story perfectly and puts me in awe at the talent this man possesses. He is the King in name and writing.

And just like a Matryoshka (or Russian nesting) doll, we head back to the first flashback in "The Skin-Man Part 2" and then back to our Ka-tet.

In summary, the story goes like this (not necessarily using the given titles): Ka-tet > Flashback to Young Roland > The Wind Through the Keyhole (main story) > Flashback to Young Roland > Ka-tet.

As much as I loved the main story, I didn't love the ending to the Young Roland flashback and the ka-tet portion was just a reference point if anything.

As someone who considers Wizard and Glass one of his all-time favorite books, I love me a good flashback. Not everyone does and I'll even admit that I thought this book would be a tale of the Ka-tet, not another flashback within a flashback. I'd still recommend this to readers of the Dark Tower and even non-readers may not be too confused.

4 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)

Worth checking out: Here's a detailed list of all of King's books from worst to best with semi-detailed descriptions of why the article's author thinks so.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,263 followers
February 23, 2020
“The stories we hear in our childhood are the ones we remember all our lives.”

The story within a story within a story format is something that would put me off a book, yet it works so perfectly in The Wind Through the Keyhole. In what is effectively an additional backstory book within The Dark Tower series, we learn of another story from Roland’s younger years, of when Jamie De Curry and himself are sent to a town called Debaria to look into what has become known as The Skin-Man.

The Skin-Man is absolutely terrifying, a shapeshifter who takes on the form of numerous animals and goes on murderous rampages, easily wiping out entire families without breaking a sweat. I love these parts of the story, as Roland and Jamie try to narrow down who the culprit could be.

Within this back story, Roland then tells a different story to a young kid as they are waiting in a jail cell - and this is the story given the name of The Wind Through the Keyhole. And it’s yet ANOTHER fascinating story that is essentially a dark fairy tale, full of magic and adventure. It actually reminds me a lot of The Eyes of the Dragon by King, although I would enjoy this one more!

The format of this book works surprisingly well, and it helped that I was fully invested in all the different tales that were being told. Although this novel is not necessarily crucial to the main storyline of the series, it does of course teach us more about Roland, and I love the poignancy of the story with regards to Roland’s relationship with his mother. It always brings a tear to my eye.

I also loved revisiting this at the end of the series. It was such a joy to be reacquainted with the ka-tet, even if only for a short spell, and it has really beautifully rounded off my reread of the series this year. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,967 followers
January 28, 2020
Re-Read 1/28/20:

Reading this in the official order of the Dark Tower series is a smart move. While little in Wizard and Glass or Wind Through the Keyhole can be appropriately called Plot Forward, the tales and tales and tales within tales across campfires are freaking appropriate. Murder and evil dudes are not all that a western is. :)

It helps that the tales in-between are pretty awesome, and these in Wind fit the bill perfectly. I think I liked Tim's tale more than the Skinwalker tale that framed it, and Roland's Ka-Tet was just another frame, but a pleasant one. :)

Original Review:

I've been a long-time fan of the Dark Tower series and I admit I was hugely curious to see a "middle" story pop out, long after the last book had been written. I was pleasantly surprised to find fully fleshed and embedded stories, three deep. It could have turned very complicated and burdensome, but it just worked. I really wanted to see a novel, even a 4.5 novelette, deepen and expound upon Roland's strange "more real than real" land, but while I was disappointed in that regards, what I did find were characters I really enjoyed and a "soft" exploration of the world and its honor, (or lack of).

It was a fairy tale (for a kid who's Pa had been gored by a shapeshifter) within a fairy tale (to pass the time while weathering a hellish storm) within a fairy tale (for us). It was by no means a series of epic tales, although it was still couched within the longer progression of the Dark Tower, so you could make the argument.
Could someone enjoy this book without reading the rest of the series? I think they can do so, very much. There was little enough spoilers for the rest of the tale, nor elements that needed to be built up and explored very thoroughly indeed or it loses the climatic flavor.
The novel was simply fun and enjoyable. :)
Profile Image for Jeff .
912 reviews693 followers
January 4, 2016
This is the chilling prequel to my review of Wizard and Glass.

Inside the adobe the temperature dropped noticeably. If it weren’t for the fire in the hearth the ka-tet would have been shivering uncontrollably.

Outside the winds from the starkblast reverberated off the dwelling like the screams of a banshee in heat. The crack of exploding trees sounded like water balloons bursting against concrete.

The tall blonde turned to the strapping man, a Cheshire smile painted on her face, “You know, I have a surprise fer ya when we get to the end of the Beam."

The man shook the cob webs out of his head. “The only beam I care about has a first name and it’s Jim. Jim Beam.”

“Oh, this surprise’ll captivate ya, ya brawlin’, boozin’ sidewinder.” She laughed maniacally to herself and turned away from the man.

After feeding branches into the fire, the tall blonde strode around the adobe for a few minutes and then announced that it was time for a story.

The strapping man groaned.

“What was that, my cully? Didn’t quite catch that”

The man’s face fell. “Another story? I’m tar’d! The last damn story ya done told, lasted fer days and we had ta beg ya fer bathroom breaks. No, I ain’t listenin’ to no stories. No sai, I ain’t.”

The sound of a pair of pistols cocking at the back of head, almost made the man soil himself.

“Is there a problem here, Quick Draw?” The second smaller woman’s voice cut through the chill and flickering shadows like an ice pick.

“There ain’t no problem, Rootin’ Tootin’.” She turned to the man. “Is there?”

Rootin’ Tootin’ eyed the man. “Cause if there’s a problem, I can get the ball gag and hand cuffs outta my saddle bag.”

“There ain’t no problem,” muttered the man.

“Good, cause yer gonna like this story, cuz it’s two stories in one, it’s clever like one of them there Russian Matryoshka dolls.”

The tall woman sighed and started her tale, “Picture a peach. Down on the farm. Times are tough…”

The man put his head down, hat over his eyes and started to weep softly and then drifted off into sleep, until he was awakened by a hard kick to the ribs…

Both women cackled.

Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
May 12, 2019
Stephen King concluded his brilliant epic Dark Tower series in 2004. In 2012 he returned to this universe to add The Wind Through the Keyhole, set in the story between the events of Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla.

This is a story within a story being told as a recollection of Roland. While many fans of the series lamented and were even angered by King’s failing to add a substantive chapter to the series, this succeeds in adding colorful detail to Roland’s past – which truth be told is a big part of my fascination with the series.

The first story has Roland recounting an adventure from his past, shortly after his mother was killed and where he and Jamie are on the trail of a murderous skin changer.

The second tale is of this earlier Roland telling a legend from their past to a young boy who is scared. This is about Tim, a semi-legendary figure and his adventures with a dragon, a tiger and of a mysterious magic user.

King’s depiction of a world that “has moved on” with golden references to pop culture and myth and legend and literature is, to me, the best part of his storytelling. I also love the way he uses recurring characters throughout his canon and fans will note some important connecting scenes in this one.

Profile Image for Andre Gonzalez.
Author 35 books233 followers
March 10, 2017
The writing was stellar in this book, telling a story within a story has to be pretty difficult. While the story was entertaining, I'm having trouble seeing why it was necessary. I'm reading the DT series through for the first time and thought I would respect the order where this book fell, and feel like I could have done without this pitstop that takes away from the main journey. That being said, I look forward to starting Wolves of the Calla to get back on track!
Profile Image for Ɗẳɳ  2.☊.
159 reviews292 followers
January 15, 2021

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Whoops! Wrong quote, but it seems somewhat appropriate for such a polarizing book. I must say, I’m shocked at how mixed the ratings are on this one—even amongst friends whose opinions I trust. All of those one-star ratings were not especially encouraging, but then I typically skip .5 stories anyway, since they’re usually just pointless filler. However, when our fearless leader insisted that I tag along, I caved to peer pressure. Boy, am I glad that I did!

“Time is a keyhole, he thought as he looked up at the stars. Yes, I think so. We sometimes bend and peer through it. And the wind we feel on our cheeks when we do—the wind that blows through the keyhole—is the breath of all the living universe.”

This novel is structured as a story within a story within a story, but, thankfully, it’s not as confusing as it sounds. It picks up right where book four left off with the ka-tet still following the path of the beam. But soon a powerful storm forces the group to wander off the path to seek shelter. And, while they wait out the storm, Roland recounts an adventure from his youth to pass the time.

His story takes place soon after the Susan Delgado flashback from book four, when a “skin-man” or shape-shifter was plaguing the small town of Debaria, not far from Gilead. Roland’s father doubts the rumors—thinking it more likely to be a mad man wearing animal skins to disguise his identity—but nevertheless sends Roland and his friend Jamie, another young gunslinger with a bit of dead fish personality, to investigate.

The day after they arrive in Debaria the gunslingers are taken to the scene of a grizzly mass murder. Roland devises a plan to flesh out the perpetrator and sets Jamie and the local Sheriff to the task. He returns to town with a boy, the lone survivor, and waits for the others to complete their mission. To pass the time, and keep the boy’s mind off the horrific events that he witnessed firsthand, Roland recounts another old tale.

The Wind Through the Keyhole is a very old story, indeed, that Roland learned from his mother. It took place once upon a bye, back in the days of dragons, and endless forest—a time when the wizard Maerlyn himself walked the earth. It essentially revolves around a brave young boy named Tim, the lengths to which he would go to save his mother, and the mysterious Covenant Man scheming behind the scenes.

Wind is the central theme that connects all the tales; from the starkblast, to the simoom, to the wind through the keyhole. As someone who hasn’t finished the series, I thought this book held a lot of intrigue and provided some juicy tidbits that added to the Dark Tower lore. We met Maerlyn and learn more about the Red King, but, as feared, it didn’t really advance the ka-tets ultimate quest. However, the world-building and folklore were superb, and the story itself was engaging, start to finish.

I’ve read plenty of those negative reviews, and most of the complaints seem to revolve around a few key issues. One, this story didn’t address the long gap between books four and five. Two, the ka-tet was almost entirely absent from the tale. Three, Jamie was a fairly dull individual to waste any time on. Four, the Wind through the Keyhole section of the novel was filled with characters that are largely unimportant to the Dark Tower.

Essentially, this novel felt like bait-and-switch to King’s diehard fans that were promised another Dark Tower book but given something entirely different. I get it, I do, and I understand that frustration. But, setting aside the disappointment and judging the story strictly on its own merit, I couldn’t label this novel as anything other than a success. And, frankly, I enjoyed the hell out of it. I’d even go so far as to say it was the most fun that I’ve had in Mid-World since book two!

It just goes to show, that when he writes concisely and cuts out the needless filler, uncle Stevie can still spin one hell of a yarn. This novel renewed my enthusiasm for the Dark Tower series, and I can’t wait to see where it all goes from here. I may even have to rethink my policy on .5 stories if there are more out there like this.

“Stories take a person away. If they’re good ones, that is. It is a good one?”
“Yes. I always thought so, anyway.”
“Then tell it.”

The rest of our ka-tet, Stepheny, Jeff, Delee, Jason, and Evgeny jumped in for one book only. Karly sat this one out, and Kat & Bev are apparently lost somewhere along the path of the beam.
Profile Image for Trish.
1,931 reviews3,402 followers
January 28, 2020
This is one of the "short stories" that flesh out the world(s) and characters of the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. It was written much later, but I'm glad that my buddy-reader and I are reading it in chronological order nevertheless.

Just like in the 4th volume of the series, this is a story-within-the-story that features yet another story within that.
Roland and his "new" Ka-tet are on their way to the Outer Baronies when they have to seek shelter from a storm after crossing a river. In order to pass the time, Roland tells of another adventure he had as a young man.
Thus, the first story-within-the-story takes place shortly after Roland had been tricked into killing his mother. He and another member of his old Ka-tet, Jamie, are sent to Debaria where a shapeshifter keeps killing people - and in horrible ways. There is one survivor of the newest massacre, a little boy, and the night before he's supposed to identify the murderer, Roland calms the terrified child by telling him a story from Magic Tales of the Eld, bedtime stories Roland's mother used to tell him.
This way, the reader learns of Tim Ross/Stoutheart and his trials and tribulations after his father's death that include an abusive stepfather, a tax collector, fairies, dragons, wizards, white as well as black magic and a very special tiger.
Afterwards, we are briefly back to identify the killer and see Roland getting a very special message that he also discusses briefly with Susannah, Eddie and Jake before they continue on their way to the Dark Tower after the storm has finally passed.

This is the cover of another edition and I think it's the prettiest thing ever. REALLY love that tiger's look and details such as the pendant.

After having read the previous book, I must say that this clearly shows that King is able to get to the point much more quickly while still fleshing out a full world. Yes, there are once again three layers of stories told (the present with the new Ka-tet, the flashback to Roland's old Ka-tet and the bedtime story), but it works and engages the reader, the events didn't drag and I found myself puzzling over the shapeshifter as much as about what happened to Tim.

Very nice addition though it didn't add anything to the flow of events in the actual series. Sometimes it's nice to just stay in one place for a while and immerse yourself in some crime and/or mythology (and yes, there was yet another puzzle piece about Walter/Marten/...).
Profile Image for Stepheny.
381 reviews542 followers
June 3, 2019
*My shiny new updated review for my re-read*

As I look back on our long and treacherous journey I am not shocked to see that there have been some casualties. I wish I could say I was, but the Quest for the Dark Tower has claimed many of lives. Aye, so it has. We lost one to demon sex, one to Japanese comics, one who ran so far ahead of us without looking back and one just kind of backed slowly away… ( I get that last one a lot…I can’t imagine why!) But as we have lost some, we have also gained some. And we have one who has tried her best to keep up but is now playing catch up instead.

Dastardly Dan was by far my hardest battle. I think I would have had an easier time pulling the teeth of a toddler while stealing the poor thing’s candy too. I thought for a while he wasn't going to commit but in the end I managed to gently persuade him into it. Clearly, this is a victory. 4 stars from Dan is not an easy feat!

Evgeny decided to join us for this adventure! There is also, of course, Rootin' Tootin' Pistol Packin' Ass Whuppin’ Virgin Blood Drinkin' Delee, Jumpin’ Jeff and our favorite newbie, Black Jackin’ Jason!

This book is one of my all-time favorites. It is so beautifully written and so intricate. As it has been explained in 827320821 other reviews, this is a story within a story within a story. Roland and his Ka-Tet are waiting out a Starkblast and Jake wants to hear a story from Roland’s childhood. Roland obliges and explains what happened to him after leaving Mejis. His father sends him on a quest- a quest believed to be a bunch of smoke and mirrors; a skin-man is terrorizing a nearby town and he sends Roland and some friends to investigate to get them out of his hair.

But when Roland gets there he meets Bill- a terrified child whose whole family was brutally murdered and eaten(for the most part) by the alleged skin-man. While Roland waits for suspects to be gathered he decides to tell Bill a story. This story was one that is older than time itself, according to Roland, a tale told to Roland by his own mother. The name of this tale you ask? Why, the Wind Through the Keyhole, of course!

“Once upon a bye, before your grandfather’s grandfather was born, on the edge of an unexplored wilderness called the Endless Forest, there lived a boy named Tim”

And so begins my most treasured adventure. Wind tells us about Tim Stoutheart. Tim must go on a quest of his own into the deepest parts of the forest in hopes of finding some answers… Will he find what he’s looking for? Will he be able to get back to his poor mother in time? Is the magic real? Are the dragons really gone? And what truly happened to Maerlyn?

But more importantly, will we find out what happened to Bill’s family? Is the skin-man truly able to change from one animal skin to another? Or is it just some sick twisted game for a bored mine-worker? Will the killer be brought to justice?

And not to be forgotten- will our favorite Ka-Tet be able to withstand the wind of the Starkblast?

I know that not all of my Tet was originally on board to read this book with me but I am glad that the ones who chose to did. Sharing a favorite book is by far one of the greatest feelings in the world. And the icing on top is when they love it…even if they don’t love it as much as I do! I do understand that my love obsession over certain books/series is a taaaad ridiculous sometimes. But there are times that books change who you are as a person. And this is one of those books.

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes.

“In the end, the wind takes everything, doesn't it? And why not? Why other? If the sweetness of our lives did not depart, there would be no sweetness at all.”>

“A person’s never too old for stories. Man and boy, girl and woman, we live for them.”

And lastly,

“Time is a keyhole, he thought as he looked up at the stars. Yes, I think so. We sometimes bend and peer through it. And the wind we feel on our cheeks when we do - the wind that blows through the keyhole- is the breath of all the living universe.”

Profile Image for Jonathan.
714 reviews80 followers
November 16, 2021
This was a delightful romp in the universe of the Dark Tower. I enjoyed the lore if you will of the story and of course the ending is just an added oomph to the ending that was Wizard and Glass.

I can see why people may not like it but I think folks at times forget that even in books it's not always about the destination as it is about the journey.
Profile Image for Christina.
537 reviews37 followers
May 9, 2011
OK ... This book has nowhere near come out. SO HOW IN THE HELL CAN PEOPLE RATE IT ALREADY? I'm giving it five stars just to counteract the negativity.
Profile Image for Markus.
472 reviews1,523 followers
September 2, 2019
A captivating ode to storytelling.

Stories within stories, appropriately recited around campfires on dark and treacherous nights by the gunslinger Roland of Gilead. Told in different times, to different audiences, and by a different Roland.

The Dark Tower series will always hold a special place for me. As a whole, it is a masterpiece of literary craftsmanship, but there are many low points. The high ones, to me, are the ones emphasising the reiteration of powerful stories through the memory of the series' terrifyingly fascinating protagonist. Like Wizard and Glass, and like The Wind Through the Keyhole.

Full review to come.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews755 followers
March 24, 2022
I think this is honestly my least favourite book out of the Dark Tower series. Now that doesn't mean that I didn't love it, I just didn't love it quite as much as the rest of the series. I find in some places that it gets a bit long and my mind constantly wandered and thought of the next book rather than focusing on this book and what it had to offer. I feel like I'm making it sound like a terrible book and that's definitely not the case, I mean I did give it five stars! I just find it lacks a little bit of a punch, that's all. I can't say which way I prefer reading this one now that I've done it both ways. Reading it after reading the original 7 books has its merits but so does reading it between books 4 and 5.
Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,416 followers
May 24, 2012

Sigh. Well, it's finished. I will now try and express some of my deep disappointments here even though it will hurt me to do so. Kemper's review captures much of what frustrated me and left me feeling cheated by the whole affair. To be promised another Dark Tower installment and offered this underwhelming book in its place, so loosely tethered to the source material as to feel as if someone else wrote it, a comical pastiche in parts that tries too hard to be Dark Tower worthy -- well, it just leaves a girl wanting to cry.

I guess I should have read the dust jacket more closely. Maybe if I had gone into this knowing full well that this IS NOT a Dark Tower story, but rather a bedtime story from Roland's youth (ripped from the pages of Magic Tales of the Eld) my disappointment could have been more tempered.

As it stands, we get a paltry 35 pages of Roland, Jake, Susannah, Eddie and Oy (that's not even a story -- it's just used as a framing device for the rest of the book). We get about 100 pages of a Young Roland Adventure -- a monster of the week story that reminded me of Sam and Dean Winchester and an episode of Supernatural set in Mid-World (awesome idea and if Stephen King ever wants to write the Winchesters into the Dark Tower landscape I would probably die from fangirl shock syndrome). In this context however, it didn't work for me. I'm not the biggest fan of Young Roland anyway, and Young Roland in the first person is barely recognizable. It could have been anyone telling that story.

The remaining 160 or so pages is a fairytale featuring a young boy on a quest to save his mother, that may be vaguely set in Mid-World, but has so very little to do with ANYTHING Dark Tower or ka-tet as to leave one itchy and sore. It's a pleasing enough story, but all while I was reading it, all I could think about was 'the gang' and wishing I were back with them, walking with them, adventuring with them. When Stephen King announced he had another Dark Tower story to tell, I believed him, why wouldn't I? It made sense to me that there would be LOADS of smaller stories of ka-tet adventures that did not make it into the 7 book magnum opus, but nevertheless deserve to be told anyway. I want those stories, dammit! Pretty pleeeeeeease, can't I have those stories?
Profile Image for Ron.
387 reviews89 followers
November 16, 2020
”A person's never too old for stories, Bill. Man and boy, girl and woman, never too old. We live for them.”

That would be Roland Deschain speaking, just before he tells a young Bill the story, “The Wind Through the Keyhole”, the very one his own mother had told him many a time before bed, some years earlier.

Slipped between Wizard & Glass and Wolves of the Calla, the Dark Tower novel 4.5 didn't feel like a transition between those two bigger books at the time, but of course it had come later. Like most everyone else, I hadn't been inside the Gunslinger’s world (or worlds) with Roland for nearly ten a decade. Still, I adored this little book at the time, and I think the “going back” was a big part of the why, just as it is now with each book I return to. The idea of the Starkblast seized me, in a similar way it does Roland and the others. As they batten the hatches and hunker down to wait out the storm, they listen to the second story Roland would tell over the span of two books. Once again, it is the days of the young Roland they hear about, but which then evolves into another story wrapped inside of the first. The second story is where this book gets it's title “The Wind Through the Keyhole”. For the reader then, this book is three stories in one. Each grasp me, or you, in their own way. One is a bookends, another is an intro leading back to the past, and the third is the heart. It's the reason for the telling, but the way it's told and who about is why I like it. The Starkblast becomes memory's trigger for both the elder and younger Roland here. As it rolls over our Ka-tet in hiding, so will it do within that middle story where we meet a young boy named Tim. He's a boy who would face any fear out of love for his mother, and the storm is not the only fear he will face. A child against the odds is a story King tells very well, and don't we know it.
”And so it happened, once upon a bye, long before your grandfather's grandfather was born.”
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,354 reviews123 followers
August 11, 2021
Once upon a bye, before your Grandfather's Grandfather was born, Roland, Susannah,  Eddie, Jake and Oy got stuck in a starkblast. When they found a safe place to settle for the night Roland told his ka-tet some fireside stories.

I didn't care much for this story within a story, perhaps it becomes relevant further along in the series but I wasn't feeling it. 

Am looking forward to getting back on track with the main plot in the next book.
Profile Image for Kevin Michael.
31 reviews9 followers
April 10, 2012
It was good to be back in Midworld, if only for a short visit. This book is three stories in one, and those looking for an expansion of the quest for the Tower will be disappointed. Only the frame story contains Roland and his ka-tet from our world. Roland tells Jake, Eddie, and Susannah a tale from his days as a young gunslinger, but even that story is just another frame for the true story: The Wind Through the Keyhole, a fairytale Roland's mother told him when he was a young boy. The fairytale tells the story of young Tim Ross, who must brave a dark forest, a possible encounter with a dragon, magic, and worst of all, an abusive stepfather--all during a quest to save his mother. The story is beautiful, magical, and terrifying, and Constant Readers will quickly recognize The Covenant Man for who he really is.

I am both happy and sad to say that this is far better than the last three "official" books in the Dark Tower series. It's a shame that King didn't wait for inspiration to strike before concluding Roland's quest. "The Wind Through the Keyhole" is proof that he still has plenty of brilliant stories to tell, and that he is at his best when he writes for himself, not out of obligation to his impatient fans. I would welcome a dozen more of these Midworld tales from one of the greatest storytellers of our time.
Profile Image for Mitchel Broussard.
235 reviews207 followers
January 3, 2013
As a bridge between Wizard and Glass & Wolves of the Calla, this book couldn't be more perfect. It draws on the dark, down-to-earth nostalgia of growing up in a harsh, mean world that Wizard did beautifully, but it also introduces the bat-shit crazy, heady material of alternate dimensions and dense mythos that Wolves began introducing in its later pages. So it may not move the overall plot forward, but it's not supposed to. That plot already ended eight years ago. This is a bridge book. A book meant for newcomers to the series to read as The Dark Tower 4.5, and in that head-space, it's up there with the best of King's work.
Profile Image for Chris  Haught.
576 reviews214 followers
November 23, 2015

Uummmmm. What do I say? For as long as I've been on GR, I've seen the debate on the Dark Tower. Which story era is more enjoyable? The "present day (sorta)" ka-tet of Roland, Susannah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy. Or the "Young Roland" era when he ran with Alain, Cuthbert, and Jamie?

So as I'm about to start this book, I find out that many of the "present day" crews are disappointed because we get a little time with the ka-tet, only to have the story shift back in time with Roland telling another story of his youth, much like Wizard & Glass. That book seems to be either a least favorite or a most favorite with everyone. With me, it was a most favorite. So while they were lamenting the return to the early Roland days, I was excited.

But in the end, Ka got me too. King pulled a double switch on us, giving us a little Roland story within the Ka-tet story, only to have THAT one shift to a storytelling situation about a kid we never heard of from even further back. And I'm like, wtf? It's ok for a little bit, but it takes up half the damn book.

The actual story "The Wind Through the Keyhole" is this thing, a fable about a kid disguised and sold as a Dark Tower novel. Ok, so there are some Midworld references and sayings and society stuff built in, so I can see that. It was Midworldian. It was rather interesting to see some stuff in the long ago, before the world moved on.

But if it's always like that, I can see why it moved on. It was boring. That story didn't even feel like a King story. It wasn't bad. It started out alright. By the end it was even engaging. But the middle slogged on quite a bit to the point that I found my mind drifting.

Then we switch back to Young Roland and get a quick wrap up on that story, which was very intriguing and enjoyable. And finally, we switch back up to modern Roland and Ka-tet, getting a wrap up on it too. Which wasn't a wrap up as much as a "ok, we're done screwing around, let's get on with it" that leads into Book 5.

Crap, it was like reading Inception. Only not as good.

Half this book is 5-star material (Young Roland story, Modern Roland interlude). The other half of the book is 3-star (with some boring 2-star fairy chasing in the middle). We'll average it out and call it 4. I'm being generous, but it IS a Dark Tower related book. I won't call it part of the main series though. It's an extra, like The Little Sisters of Eluria or the graphic novel series.

ETA (1/27/2013): The more this book has settled in, the more I am bothered by my overly generous 4-star review. It simply doesn't deserve it. A 4-star should not leave a bad taste in my mouth 8 months after I've finished it.

It's worth reading, but simply does not measure up to the rest of the series, period.
Profile Image for Metodi Markov.
1,304 reviews298 followers
March 14, 2023
Разказ за младостта на Роланд - "Преображенецът", в който е втъкана чудесна приказка - "Мразовей", предадена напълно в стила на Нийл Геймън. Кинг е имал нужда да си начеше крастата връщайки се в Средната земя и този път определено е успял!

Ако нямате желание за цялата поредица, "Вихър през ключалката" може да се прочете спокойно и самостоятелно.

Хареса ми и преводът на Адриан Лазаровски.

Моята средна оценка за двете истории е 4*, приятно ми беше да ги прочета.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,339 reviews1,629 followers
August 25, 2016
3.5 Stars
Believe it or not, there was a time when I hadn't read the Dark Tower series... but we don't talk about that. It's a painful time in my history, and polite company lets me keep my shame to myself. But I mention it because since stepping foot into the Tower multiverse, everything changed. I thought I was a Stephen King fan until I read the Dark Tower series, but I had no idea how much I could love King and his books. I adore this series. No other series or book can claim a higher spot in my heart (not even Harry Potter, though that's a very close second), so when I learned that there would be a new book in the series, I SQUEE'd all over the damn place. Messy clean-up, but so worth it.

Dark Tower is bittersweet. It is. But that's one of my favorite things about King; he makes it real. So I couldn't wait, nay... COULD. NOT. WAIT. to read the shit out of this book and finally see the ka-tet again. To go on another adventure with them, to see what this new interlude holds... despite knowing ka-shume is coming down the path of the beam for them. But then... I admit to feeling a bit cheated after I started. Maybe that's not fair, probably not, because had I read the book description, I'd have known that likely wasn't going to be what I'd get... But those of you who know me well, those who share my khef, do it please ya, will know that I wouldn't want to know, that I'd want to just go where Ka's wind blows. And so I did... but I can't help wanting more of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy.

As a ka-tet book, low marks for this one because there's just so little of them here... but as a Mid-World/multiverse book, high marks, because there's a lot here in that regard, and it's quite interesting to piece together.

What we have here is a story within a story within a story. Not my favorite thing. I love Wizard and Glass, but the Mejis flashback storyline is long. W&G is my least favorite of the series for this reason, and I always get to a point where I'm ready for the Young Roland story to be done so I can get back to Present Roland. But saying it's my least favorite is not saying much, because every book in the series is fantastic in its own way.

So coming on the heels of Wizard and Glass, in internal story setting order, is The Wind Through the Keyhole, where our ka-tet takes shelter from a starkblast and has another episode from Roland's seemingly endless cache of Adventure Stories From My Youth and Other Relevant Tales from Before The World Moved On.

The first story Roland tells is of being sent on another mission by his father to take care of what's rumored to be a Skin-Man (a shapeshifter) terrorizing one of the baronies. Within this story is the story from which this book takes its title, which is the story of Tim Ross and his encounter with the Covenant Man, whose horse is called Blackie. Just sayin'. This story ties into both the Young Roland story, and the Present Roland story... in different ways, which was interesting.

These two stories make up the bulk of the book, which is short (for King) to begin with. But these are interesting, particularly Tim's The Wind Through The Keyhole, because of how other multiverse books might, and probably do, connect with it. I counted quite a few references to other books in the three stories, including Eyes of the Dragon, The Talisman, and Desperation, just to name a few.

I won't go into much more detail, since everyone should read it for themselves. Overall for me, this was worth the read, although my heart still wanted more of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy. Maybe... Maybe Gan will bless King with another Dark Tower book?

A girl can dream...
Profile Image for Kyriakos Sorokkou.
Author 6 books195 followers
August 2, 2019
DTProject2017 | Book 4.5

Many people didn't like this book mainly for two reasons:

1] It resembles the previous book (4) which is mainly a flashback in Roland's youth and many people hated that book because it was mainly a flashback, so they hated this book as well.
2] The main story of the book is actually a fairy tale and doesn't add any progress to the core narrative, which is something I don't mind since I'm more interested in Roland's past than his quest to the Dark Tower.

This book reminds me a lot of Cloud Atlas which was a babushka book.
Here we have 3 instead of 6 stories. The first time I read it (2013) I haven't read or heard of the Cloud Atlas so I didn't see any resemblance.

It is a story, within a story, within a story, or to make it clearer,
It is a fairy tale, within a flashback, within a main story, or to make it even clearer :)
It is The Wind Through the Keyhole within The Skin-Man within The ka-tet's quest to the Dark Tower.

What reminded me also of Cloud Atlas was that the 1st 2 stories were cut in half by the middle (3rd) story and were continued at the end.
The core (Dark Tower) story is actually only 46 pages.
The Flashback to Roland's youth (Skin-Man) is 120 pages.
And the fairy tale (TWTTK) is 168 pages.

The book starts just after they left the Green Palace (book 4) and a deadly blizzard (Starkblast) is coming and they need to find shelter. They eventually find it and while waiting for the storm to end Roland tells them a story from his youth.

Just after his return from Mejis (book 4) Roland is sent to yet another quest. A skin-man similar to a werewolf but with multiple shifts/skins and much more dangerous, massacres a farm and Roland goes to investigate. A young boy is the sole survivor and Roland in order to calm him down tells him a bedtime story he remembers from his childhood;
this story is The Wind Through the Keyhole .
It contains fairies, swamps, dragons, wizards, swamp people, a man in black. It is an adventure of a young boy looking for a way to cure his mother's illness.

I liked both stories (fairy tale & flashback) and I'll say it again: I feel the core story is complete.
I need more stories from Roland's youth (Battle of Jericho Hill, his father's fate, his original ka-tet etc.)

Many people ask if this is a stand alone book. Well if you read the fairy tale in the middle yes. If you also read the Skin-Man maybe, if you read the whole book a little less and in this case I would recommend to read the previous 4 books if you are more interested in the core story.
4 stars from me.
Profile Image for Nad Gandia.
167 reviews36 followers
January 5, 2022
`Es obligación de todo pistolero. Y a medida que avanzaba, adquirí mayor soltura y naturalidad. Porque oía la voz de mi madre. Comenzó a hablar a través de mi propia boca; cada entonación, cada acento, cada pausa.
Advertí que el chico se sumergía en la historia, lo cual me complació, es como volver a hipnotizarle, pero de una mejor manera. Una manera más honesta. Lo mejor, sin embargo, fue oír la voz de mi madre. Era como tenerla de nuevo a mi lado, emergiendo desde lo más hondo de mí. Dolía, por supuesto, pero por lo general las mejores cosas lo hacen, según he descubierto. Uno no creería que fuera así, pero, como se solía decir antaño. el mundo está inclinado y hay un final para él.´

´El tiempo es un ojo de cerradura— pensó mientras contemplaba las estrellas— . Sí, eso creo. A veces nos agachamos y atisbamos a su través. Y el viento que entonces sentimos en la mejilla, el viento que sopla por la cerradura, es el aliento de todo universo viviente. ´

Me ha gustado mucho esta historia. El interludio entre dos libros de la torre oscura, bien escrito e hilado. Conforman tres historias en una, que al final terminan por darle sentido entre sí. Una situación que lleva a narrar un cuento, el cuento que nos lleva a otra historia, hilada directamente con la saga de la torre.
Teniendo en cuenta estas tres historias, la que más me ha gustado ha sido la del cuento, que le da título a este relato, una historia sobre la valentía, el engaño, las ambiciones y humillaciones por las que puede pasar un personaje para reconocer la verdad.
Leyendo este libro, he decidido, al fin, terminar con la saga de la torre oscura de una vez. He leído lo que considero las obras troncales para entender el contexto de la misma, Y con esta novela me ha llegado el chispazo de terminar, diría que la historia que conforma el título, es de las mejores historias cortas que he leído del autor. La influencia de Dickens es obvia, ya lo era, pero esta vez se ha dejado llevar por este estilo dickensiano.
Al final, el maestro nos demuestra, como siempre, que las pequeñas historias conforman toda una historia de vivencias, sean buenas, malas, o simplemente pasajeras. Siempre me ha hecho creer en la magia de lo sencillo. Simplemente, Gracias.

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