Lindsay's Reviews > Wizard and Glass

Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
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's review
Jun 17, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: stuff-by-the-king

** spoiler alert ** "The Wastelands" goes off the rails and straight into crazy-town, but "Wizard and Glass" pulls the series back. Overall, it's a huge improvement from "The Wastelands," but it still drags in places and is predictable.

In "Wizard and Glass," we see part of Roland's tragic past. He's sent off to a small town called Hambry to avoid the wrath of Marten the sorcerer. In Hambry, he meets the gorgeous Susan Delgado. She becomes his One True Love, and, as a result, is ruthlessly crammed into the fridge. The Gods (or King) deem her the most useless member of Roland's Ka-Tet because his love for her would just distract him from his real mission: find the Dark Tower. What he's supposed to do when he gets to the Dark Tower is anyone's guess, but Susan is killed off. Her brave "sacrifice" allows Roland to escape, and although she's burned at the stake, she dies with a smile on her face, loudly proclaiming her love for Roland.

Susan's death is predictable. We know from the instant we meet her that she is destined to be Roland's One True Love, and that because of him, she is destined to die. She's a fairly meaningless character; although she rescues Roland and his friends on several occasions, she doesn't do much else aside from look pretty. Her death "frees" Roland from the confines of a wife and child, allowing him to seek the Dark Tower. You could cut Susan from Roland's backstory and it wouldn't really be any different.

What saves "Wizard and Glass" from being boring is the minor characters. Hambry is embroiled in some sort of conspiracy to get weapons to John Farson, and men in Farson's employ lurk and pose a threat to Roland and his Ka-Tet. The big coffin hunters are an interesting, threatening presence in Roland's journey, and I was more curious about their backstories than I was about any of the other characters. Another great character was Rhea, the withered old witch who takes an immediate dislike to Susan and decides to screw her over.

The most tragic aspect of Roland's backstory isn't Susan's death, but his difficult and complicated relationship with his mother. I feel that the character of Susan could've been cut out completely. Roland's ultimate tragedy and turning point as a character -- Roland accidentally killing his own mother -- is overshadowed by Susan's tragic and meaningless death. Like Gwen Stacy and countless others before her, Susan's only purpose is to adore her boyfriend and then die. It's kinda shitty.

The end of the book rips off "The Wizard of Oz." After telling his tale, Roland and his new Ka-Tet (Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy) put on fancy red shoes, enter a green palace, and encounter a man behind a curtain masquerading as a wizard. Of course, the real wizard (Marten) does show up for a little bit at the end. The gang is left with a new magic maguffin -- an enchanted crystal ball -- and a renewed interest in the Dark Tower.

I can't believe I've got three more of these books to slog through.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 17, 2007 – Shelved
June 19, 2007 – Shelved as: stuff-by-the-king

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