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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1)
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Dark Tower Series > The Dark Tower series (spoilers)

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message 1: by Danielle (new)

Danielle i'd love to talk with anyone who's read the gunslinger books. i just finished the series and now i'm trying to read the books that supplement the story. since that's about half of the books king has written, i'm trying to get to the more important ones. any suggestions? and what a crazy ending!

Steve | 247 comments Insomnia is not so important...neither is From A Buick 8...Hearts In Atlantis introduces the important concept of the "low men"... Rose Madder, the Stand and It are only tangentially important, but it was neat to see the connection. The Little Sisters of Eluria is a great stand-alone story to the saga. I might have more on this later.

Thee_ron_clark | 17 comments I'm on the fifth in the series now. It was reading the Black House that led me to finally starting the series. I would definitely suggest that as a novel that connects somewhat to the Dark Tower series.

Shane (themre) Congrats Danielle on finishing the series! Did you read to the first ending or did you go ahead and read on to the very end?

As for the other books... I would highly recommend The Stand, and obviously Salem's Lot (Callahan). I also enjoyed The Talisman and Black House which were both directly tied in.

message 5: by Danielle (new)

Danielle i've read through to the end of the 7th book. i appreciate the suggestions- i just finished hearts in atlantis- i liked the development of ted as king only hinted at the depth of his character. it sounds like most of you feeling the Stand and the Black House would be good reads next. i know nothing of Little Sisters of Eluria, but i may as well pick that up, too. i'm itching to talk about what happened at the end of the series, but don't want to spoil it for anyone.
my favourite book was Song of Susannah as it split the characters up so we could see more of them. least? wolves of the calla. i didn't like the distraction away from bulk of the story.

Thee_ron_clark | 17 comments I am nearing the end of the fifth book in the Dark Tower series and it just introduced another major connection between The Black House and The Dark Tower.

Matthew | 5 comments The Dark Tower connection is the only reason to read Black House. As for the connector series, i liked the Stand, and Tears of a Dragon as it gives us deeper insight into the evil of Flag, and the crimson king. And in regard to the ending, it could not have ended any other way. I will admit, i even cried at times.

Innerpeace1081 I have read the read the DT series but have only read the Stand, Eyes of the Dragon, and Sister of Eluria. I plan on reading 'Salem's Lot, The Black house, and Hearts of Altantis because I think they will be helpful.

message 9: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
There is an excellent website out there for Dark Tower junkies.. it is it is being moved to a new server right now... but the website has been around for years and stephen king even has a link to it on his website. Anyways, it has a GREAT breakdown of all the books that relate to the dark tower and how they relate... even what they mention so you don't have to read that particular book. Give it some time to get on the new server and then check out that site, it is a fabulous place for people to go and learn more about the dark tower series.

Shane (themre) It's true, that is a great website about the Dark Tower and all the tie-ins it has to his other stories, but the site is also chock full of spoilers, so maybe wait until you've read the whole series before taking a look.

message 11: by Danielle (new)

Danielle i'll have to check out the website. i'm not a fan of randall flagg, and question how important it could be. the way his story ended in the dark towers series was disappointing, to say the least. i'm very curious about the red king, however. has anyone come across a book that goes into more detail about him?

message 12: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
The book Eyes of the Dragon has alot of info about Randall Flagg. Also there is a fun comic book series based on the dark tower. King just made it into a hard cover graphic novel that can be found at places like barnes and noble and has all 7 comic books in one book. even if you don't read comics it is a neat take on the dark tower and worth looking at the art.

Chrystal714 | 17 comments I loved loved loved the ending. I thought it was perfect.

I have read The Stand, The Talismon, and Black House. I had never heard of Eyes of the Dragon until this thread though. I see there are a few books I need to check out.

Shane (themre) I'm not a fan of comics, so when they were releasing the Dark Tower series last year I was planning to buy them but wasn't going to bother reading them - just have them as collector's items. But of course I had to read the first one, and it was GREAT. The comics are not parts of King's story made into drawings - they are completely new stories about Roland and his ka-tet when he was younger. We've read ABOUT these adventures, but the stories in the comics were written by King's long-time assistant Robin. They really are great stories regardless of whether you have read the books or not.

message 15: by Danielle (new)

Danielle did you really like the ending, chrystal? i didn't when i first read it. but when i let it settle, and i thought about it for a day or two, it really got the brain cogs moving and i liked that. i'm someone who likes things tidy, and the gunslinger did not end tidy. but the more i think about it... perhaps it did.


i was impressed that king was able to write about himself so objectively. it takes a lot of gumption for a writer to make his own characterization disliked by his own audience. (referring of course to the Accident in which one of our faithful favourites was tragically banded from the story for way too many chapters

Chrystal714 | 17 comments I am not some huge literary critic or anything. I just read what I like. Yes though, I can't imagine it ending any other way. There were hints all through the story too.


Someone tells Roland he won't die. I can't remember the exact words but they say something along the lines of its the tower for you, always the tower. It also touched the part of me that is constantly striving for the next thing. Instead of stoping and enjoying happiness, I am off to the next thing.

message 17: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
I really enjoyed the ending.... I don't think it could've been any other way. Stephen's book "On Writing" is also a great read and explains why sometimes he does what he does. If you are more interested in him and how he writes, you should really pick that up. It is a very informative read. I loved it.

message 18: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
by the way.. i read that the hard cover comic book series is missing all the additional information on Flagg, Rhea, and that stuff. So if you want to read everything you have to actually get the comic books.. here is my source:

message 19: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod

Here is artwork from the new dark tower comic books coming March 5th.

Shane (themre) Awesome! Thanks for the reminder Angie. Love that artwork. That is one creepy rendition of the Charyou tree.

message 21: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
Yea that rendition of Charyou Tree is very good. I thought they did an excellent job. I've always liked the artwork, kinda dark.

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

I spent days moping around about the last in the Gunslinger series - "The Dark Tower." Then, when I tried to figure out how he could have had a better ending, I realized that his ending was brilliant!

Though not one of the best in the series, I thought (that would be "The Drawing of the Three" and "The Wolves of Callas") I can't ever remember anticipating a book as much as "TDT," an over-20 year investment of time in the characters!.

Thee_ron_clark | 17 comments Phew. I finally finished this series.

After seeing tons of negative reviews, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Unfortunately, I was left with some questions and disappointments with the series as a hole.

*Possible spoilers below*

*Possible spoilers below*

1. Randall Flagg seemed to have a much smaller part than he deserved. He was involved in the battle that killed all the Gunslingers remaining, aside from Roland and was a conqueror of worlds under the flag of the Crimson King. His death seemed quick, as did much of his history.

2. The Crimson King's part seemed tiny. Who was he? Where did his powers come from? After hearing about him for how long, we get a few pages with him and that's it...

3. I wanted more history as to the fall of Roland's original Ka-Tet. I thought that would all be filled in, but it was somewhat rushed in my opinion.

4. I thought it was odd that Jake and Eddie survived in another world. I thought dead was dead for them.

Eh. That's all I can think of for now. I'm still trying to digest all of it.

message 24: by Danielle (new)

Danielle **more spoilers**

**more spoilers**

i would agree with everyone else about the ending of the series. at first it seemed too convenient a way to end. sort of like the dream sequence and everyone wakes up and can do it all over again. but then i realized it offered the story even more substance- would have other companions on subsequent trips to the tower? would many of the adventures happen again? food for thought.
i thought that jake's death was a horrible way for him to go. but once you adjust to it, you move on. bringing him (and eddie) back seemed a cheap way of appeasing people who didn't want them to go. then again, you can always chalk it up to the mystery of parallel worlds and, not being much of a comic book reader, i suppose it can be believable. still- i was disappointed by roland's treatment of oy! toward the end of the series. throughout the series he had varying degrees of respect for the little guy, and for him to consider him as anything less than ka-tet was a bit of a stretch.

Thee_ron_clark | 17 comments *Spoilers below*

*Spoilers below*


I agree about Oy. Personally, he was one of my favorite characters and it was hard to see him off. I was getting upset when I thought he was going to die in Lud too and guess I'm glad he made it nearly to the end.

As for the idea of him having different companions in the future, I don't think so. The stories mentioned that things were as they had been and would be again. Maybe he would take Mort "The Pusher" with him in the next chance as a companion or something. Perhaps he could have gotten Mordred to side with them, as he considered at one point. Maybe turning them to the White would prove Roland to the Dark Tower. I felt the concept was that he was destined to repeat it again and again until he finally got it right.

My take was that it was something of a hell for Roland and he would need to be a better person and do things in a different manner until he got it right. It seems a bit odd that he would begin in the desert though, as he already did some evil things by that point.

Lastly, why didn't Patrick simply draw himself with a tongue?

message 26: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
Spoiler alert:

Personally I liked the ending. It gave me a sense that this time Roland will do it right. It has been a long time since I read it (I finished it right when it came out), but didn't Roland take the horn with him this time. Something he's never done before? That tells me that this time he will get it right.

message 27: by Danielle (new)

Danielle !spoilers below!

Thee_ron_clark: Oy seemed an unnecessary sacrifice. it was as if king had to get rid of him because he knew roland was going to have to start over. i wish there was another way he could have 'misplaced' him. i agree with angie and feel things may have been altered now that roland has the horn. but i can't remember if the story indicated that time repeated itself, or if it continued forward but with roland repeating parts of his life. i found it strange as well that he would begin again in the desert. the concept of the entire story (with the same characters) feels so exhausting to me. i would like to think new people could be just as vital to this story. and who's making his life repeat? all throughout the story it seemed flagg (and later the scarlet king) had ultimate power. now it seems... no one did? the tower? the whole hierarchy seems a bit off.

and i wondered why patrick didn't draw a lot of useful things. i can see why he didn't draw a tongue- he probably ceased to need it after living so long in isolation. but couldn't he have drawn roland fingers? some superweapon? oy?@!??!

Chrystal714 | 17 comments I honestly wonder if anyone who hasn't finished these books is still reading this thread. Every post is a spoiler. Just in case though....

More Spoilers....

I got the impresion that Roland could stop at any time. That Roland himself by choosing to continue on and on and on is the reason he is stuck. In the tower on the different floors were different happy parts of his life, but he chooses to run right by them to the top of the tower. So he consistantly chooses his own doom. I also got the impresion that he could at any time choose differently. As someone said earlier that this time may be different. I agree that him having the horn lends itself to that theroy. Although, I don't think he will choose differently. I think he is to stuck in his ways. His character is too set.

Janice (i-see-clowns) | 7 comments I read The Gunslinger several years ago but then did not read any more. I wanted to wait until they were all out. Then he came out with that revised edition of The Gunslinger that is suppose to be more indepth. I have not bought it yet though. Your opinion: Is the new revised edition a 'must' in order to get the full King effect? (I have not read your post here..spoilers) lol

Thee_ron_clark | 17 comments *More spoilers*

*More spoilers*

It seems to me that Oy is a constant character no matter what Roland does in retrospect. Looking back to Wizard and Glass, Roland witnessed Oy's passing at that point. Perhaps the others drawn could differ. I don't know. I suppose the main thing that bothers me is that Roland begins so late in the game.

By that point, he has already killed Alain by accident, led his mule to die, made possible mistakes to lead to the death of his original Ka-Tet, allowed Suasan Delgado to die, and killed off an entire town right before coming to the desert. I agree that he made numerous negative choices that lead to death after that point, but it seams he was already on the path of evil.

As for the horn, what might it change? It seemed that when Roland mentioned or thought of the horn he felt it was a silly relic with no real purpose. In my opinion, Roland felt Cuthbert was foolish for holding onto it. Would the horn cause Roland to be a bit softer this time around? I suppose his having it in general insinuates one change; that he did hold onto it as Cuthbert requested.

Maybe each time Roland reaches the Dark Tower, a positive change is made in his past as well to help him do it right. Who knows?

Also, I picked up the Gunslinger Born graphic novel and read a few pages into it. I'm not a big fan of graphic novels as a hole, but I was really craving some additional knowledge on the world of the Dark Tower.

message 31: by Dan (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dan Schwent (akagunslinger) Chrystal714's impressions of the ending are similar to mine.

In the years since I finished the series, the books feel more and more like a metaphor for addiction and/or obsession.

I bought the Gunslinger Born comics as they came out, more out of the sake of completeness. I'm looking forward to the Long Road Home (I think that's the title of the next series of comics) with great anticipation.

Also, I recommend reading the revised edtion of The Gunslinger after reading the final book. Roland's palaver with Walter is filled with foreshadowing.

message 32: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
Don't forget on the 5th the new comic book comes out.. and there will be some stores that sell it at midnight. Looks like it will be good!

Chrystal714 | 17 comments A few people have stated that they didn't like that Jake and Eddie came back for Susan. I think it was Susans reward. I mean if the whole thing is Rolands Hell what about Jake, Susan, and Eddie? Maybe they were there for the same reasons as Roland but made the right choices so they got thier happy ending.

I don't know to me it really seemed as if it was about them, they got to escape and roland didn't.

message 34: by Robert (last edited Mar 01, 2008 05:08AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Robert (restlessstranger) | 37 comments I was hoping(and still am) That them going to another life later on as brothers would lead to an 8th tower book some time in the future but with other elements(like the ending for instance) I doubt it but who knows....

well they are just thoughts of possibilty and i think SK put elements in the ending. Patrick(will eventually get to the calla), New life for jake, eddie and susan etc...all elements for possible 8th book

do it SK!

message 35: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
"As many of you have noticed there are some Dark Tower things going on. Over at there is a teaser up for something that is coming in November.

There has been speculations flying high and low since that teaser was posted. Some thinks it’s an ad for the last story arc in the Dark Tower comic. Some think it’s going to be an interactive game based on The Dark Tower and then there is this theory that I’m hoping for. " Lilja's Library

Martin Maher (martin87) | 72 comments *Spoiler alert*

Like a lot of you who hsve read the Dark Towers series in it`s entirity, I didn`t know what to make of the ending. But after given some thought, I think the ending was a brave move on King`s part, but a good move. We all make mistakes in life, ones which we wish we could take back. God knows Roland made a few in his own past! The fact that Roland goes into the dessert with the horn seems to me to be a sign of hope. That this time he will make things right. Like not letting Jake fall while running after `the man in black`. Maybe I`m wrong, but that`s my personal take on the ending.

message 37: by Angie, Constant Reader (last edited Oct 01, 2009 09:58AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod

I have always wondered... do I like the end or do I not? I always believe Roland's journey went right the next time.

message 38: by Lori (last edited Oct 01, 2009 01:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori (barfield) I'm like Annie Wilkes i'm his number 1 fan. But i was sooo not happy with the ending. I've read them all at lest twice. The first one half a dozen times. When i read the last one again i still wasn't happy with the end. I would have loved to know that Roland could die in peace knowing he set things stright.

IMO it has something to do with the horn. He didn't have it with him at the end. And the way it ended makes me think this was not Roland's frist go round. Him repeating the whole story over again and again till he gets it right seems to be a punishment of some kind. And i don't believe he'll get the same group of people again. I got the feeling that Eddie, Susannah, & Jake are where they should be. When Roland goes through it again he'll be helping another set of people & hopefully he gets it right the next time. But that's just what i think. :)

Tim (Mole) The Gunslinger (Mole) | 128 comments Your right about the horn if you remember originally the horn was dropped when cuthbert and jamie died at boot hill was it I believe thats what it was.

And I also agree with the multiple trips but I disagree on getting new companions they may be a little different but as a whole I think there as much a part as Roland is but thats just my opinion!

message 40: by Lori (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori (barfield) I do think it was at Boot Hill when the horn got lost.
And you may be right about the companions, but to me it feels like the three of them are where they should be.

Kandice | 4186 comments I'm halfway through DT 7, and it occurred to me, that the experiments The Shop were performing in the book Firestarter could have been an attempt to create Breakers. I haven't run across any references to that, but it makes perfect sense. Just like The Shop having Low Men behind the scenese makes perfect sense. Does anyone else agree?

message 42: by Lori (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori (barfield) It makes for a good sound theory. I'd have to agree with you.

Benjamin (ben21) The only thing that really bugged me about the series was King inserting himself into the books. I didnt care for that bit at all.

Becky (beckyofthe19and9) I thought it was very well done, actually. Considering the fact that Callahan makes an appearance in Wolves of the Calla, and reads about himself, there was really no other way to explain that other than to explain the telling of the greater story, which requires a teller.

I don't feel that King inserted himself into the story to stroke his own ego - in fact he made himself a very unlovable and selfish character. But he was necessary to the story in order to tell it.

Kandice | 4186 comments I was also struck by how unflatteringly he painted himself. It was almost painful to read, loving the guy the way I do. He made himself out to be a lazy coward. I think that must have been hard, and I didn't think it was anything to do with ego. I felt he just had to make the significance of the numbers really hit us in the face with reality. I know the series is fantasy, but fantasy is always better when there's a realistic ground wire.

message 46: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
Benjamin wrote: "The only thing that really bugged me about the series was King inserting himself into the books. I didnt care for that bit at all."

Yes I was kinda not liking that either. Though I don't know how the story would've gone any other way.

Kandice | 4186 comments I just finished and feel emotionally drained.

I feel the same as some of you (not all) that THIS time Roland will do what he needs to do! It just struck me that there are so, so many decisions he could have changed by repeated trips already! Only one, is not forcing, or taking the time to convince Patrick to pick the rose himself. Maybe this is a decision Roland made wrongly in the past and was one of the reasons he had to start again. There were many times during the series where Roland looks at a decision he has just made and sees that had he chosen differently things would have gone badly. Perhaps this was foreshadowing all along? Showing us possible things he's fixed on subsequent trips. Just a thought.

I thought Roland's ending was perfect. I had a few little twinges with the rest of the Ka-Tet, but Roland...perfect. I only wish he had stopped in a room with a lock of Susan's hair or something so he could have breathed in the smell of his love once more. Maybe next trip. Or the last one.

Benjamin (ben21) I dont know how roland will know what to do this time around. As he traveled back to the desert from the top of the tower, he loses all his memory of the trip.

Lonnie I feel like this storyline is very similar to some of those videogames you play where you have to make the right choices in order to progress to the next level or die. If you die you start all over again.

message 50: by Angie, Constant Reader (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2605 comments Mod
OK this is great... possible dark tower video game???

Check out this trailer!

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