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Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4)
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Archive - Series Reads > Wizard and Glass - December 2013

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message 1: by Lynn, Moderator (new)

Lynn | 4151 comments Mod
The 4th book in The Dark Towers series, leading into our December BOTM starting on the 16th December.

Wizard and Glass (The Dark Tower, #4) by Stephen King

Wizard and Glass picks up where the last book left off, with our hero, Roland, and his unlikely band of followers escaping from one world and slipping into the next. And it is there that Roland tells them a story, one that details his discovery of something even more elusive than the Dark Tower: love. But his romance with the beautiful and quixotic Susan Delgado also has its dangers, as her world is tom apart by war. Here is Roland's journey to his own past, to a time when valuable lessons awaited him, lessons of loyalty and betrayal, love and loss.


- Discuss all the ways L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz colors and underlies the escapades of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, and Jake's adventures in Wizard and Glass. In terms of character and action, what are the explicit and implicit parallels established by King between Baum's novel (and its classic movie adaptation) and his own?

- Also, consider the myriad of ways King's forbidden love-match between Roland and Susan echoes and riffs on that of Shakespeare's archetypal doomed lovers, Romeo and Juliet.

- While Baum and Shakespeare serve as his explicit archetypes, King takes the imagery, themes, and motifs and veers toward destinations and outcomes that could occur nowhere but in a Dark Tower book. What are some of these destinations and outcomes?

- In what ways does the illumination of Roland's history in Wizard and Glass serve to fill in the blanks and spaces of Roland's enigmatic character? What, if any, are the limits to his determination to reach the tower? In what ways do the traumatic experiences with his mother so long ago underlie his haunted ruthlessness today? Discuss the stark disconnect between his large capacities for love and empathy on one hand and his unwavering devotion to the code of the gunslinger on the other.

- What was your reaction to the resolution to the standoff with Blaine in "Riddles"? "I held your jokes in contempt," Roland tells Eddie here. "Now they have saved our lives." In response to Roland's apology, Eddie makes a telling point about Roland's incontrovertible character. How does this key exchange, in the early pages of King's novel, underscore the overall portrait of Roland's nature that takes shape over the course of the flashback narrative that follows?

- Consider the telepathy shared by the members of the ka-tet. How does it work? What role does it play in the action of the story?

- Discuss the parallels linking the young Roland's ka-tet with his present one. Compare and contrast the natures of Alain, Cuthbert, and Susan with Eddie, Susannah, and Jake.

- What is it that has made Stephen King's novels (the psychology of the characters, the narrative arcs and plot structures, the liberal use of dialogue, and so on) such ripe sources for movie adaptations over the years? Ardent Dark Tower fans have said they would be very skeptical about the prospects for a Dark Tower movie. Is The Dark Tower saga "film-able"? Explain.

- What would be the greatest challenge involved in creating a successful film version of Wizard and Glass? If you were hired to be the creative consultant for such an adaptation, what would be your key concerns? What would it be most important to get right? What could be lost in the translation?

- Cast the main players in a Dark Tower movie. Who's your gunslinger? Who's your Susan? Who should direct?

- Describe the nature of Cuthbert Allgood. Though we do know for certain his ultimate fate, what do you see in store for Cuthbert? And, given what we can glean from the pages of The Gunslinger, what might be involved in his endgame?

- Describe the change Jake Chambers undergoes over the course of his participation in the quest for the tower. What specific roles do his various elders—from Eddie and Roland to Tick-Tock and even the darkly comic Blaine—play in his evolution?

- What is the effect of King's various juxtapositions in this novel: pop-culture-tinged humor crosses with fever-pitched suspense in some places, while artful, High-Speech-inflected dialogue crosses with quasi-Wild-West settings in others. How would you characterize the Wizard and Glass universe for someone unfamiliar with the oddities of The Dark Tower?

- Possibly the most complex and certainly the most heartbreaking character in Wizard and Glass is Susan. What is her story? Describe the hushed, hurried feel of the scenes King fashions for Susan and Roland.

- What were your reactions to Alain, and how did they shift as the novel progressed? What is the nature of "the Touch," the gift he seems to share with Susannah Dean? Describe Alain's relationship with Roland.

- Betrayal and treachery wear several faces in Wizard and Glass, and its legacy is enduring and severe, to put it mildly. Who betrays, and who is betrayed?

- Describe the events that lead to the horrifying matricide. Do you believe Roland's mother, hiding behind the drape, had planned to kill her son? What is Roland's theory? What part did Rhea of the Coos play in the matricide?

- What are the circumstances surrounding Richard Fannin/Randall Flagg's appearance? Unravel the layers and allusions to other novels implicit in the figure of Flagg.

- Some reviewers hailed Wizard and Glass as the most complete and satisfying of the first four Dark Tower novels. Do you agree? Which of the Dark Tower volumes did you most enjoy? Why?

- Stephen King's prose is widely admired by readers and critics. The Dark Tower in particular holds a kind of cult status among many readers for whom the saga stands both apart from and above the rest of the author's work. What is it about King's writing in this series that struck you the most? What would you say are the specific qualities/techniques in his writing that inspire such deep identification and enthusiasm in readers?

- Discuss the writing style in Wizard and Glass in particular. To what degree is it a departure from the rest of his work? What are some of the stylistic patterns and thematic concerns that Wizard and Glass shares with other Stephen King works?

- In his Afterword, Stephen King reveals that three stories remain in The Dark Tower cycle. He has said elsewhere that, with each book, it becomes increasingly difficult for him to find the doors affording him entrance to Roland's world. What does he mean?

- After the release Wolves of the Calla, the fifth book in the series, 2004 will see the publication of volumes six and seven. The Dark Tower's culmination is at hand. What do you expect from this final trio of novels?

message 2: by Gale (new)

Gale (goodreadscomglredw) | 22 comments I want a copy mobi

message 3: by Lynn, Moderator (new)

Lynn | 4151 comments Mod
Is this some reference to the book as I have no idea what you're talking about :)

message 4: by Kristie, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kristie | 6088 comments Mod
Lynn - Mobi is a type of file that is used for Kindle readers. It sounds like she thought this was a giveaway post and is requesting a copy.

Gale - This is the thread for a book of the month read. It is just a conversational thread where we discuss the book, not a giveaway.

message 5: by Lynn, Moderator (new)

Lynn | 4151 comments Mod
Ah right lol

message 6: by Cathie (last edited Dec 10, 2013 06:02PM) (new)

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments is everyone doing with this read?

I'm so far behind; I'm still on the the third book and we start The Wind Through the Keyhole in 6 days!!

Is anyone reading this one now and if you are (or have read it) what are your thoughts on it?

message 7: by Sarah (new) - added it

Sarah | 1467 comments Ha ha - I hope to start The Waste Lands this week? Behind too, but I will get there.

Leslie Scales (leslielynn8) | 109 comments Cathie wrote: " is everyone doing with this read?

I'm so far behind; I'm still on the the third book and we start The Wind Through the Keyhole in 6 days!!

Is anyone reading this one no..."

I read it.. i didnt not like it. it was okaaay. i liked the beginning and i liked the end..but the huge susan delgado back story (a biig part of the book) did not like much. it draaggggeed.

i did like and appreciate the wizard of oz similarities

Annemarie (annenella) | 6 comments I was very impressed with the first gunslinger book and when Stephen King started writing this series, was very excited. Enjoyed Wizards and Glass but these books I agree is very dragged out. I still have not read the last one in the series as I lost interest in the story and got such an aversion to some of the characters that I do not even feel like reading The wind through the keyhole or picking up any of the books again.
I got all the books when they were published originally and should probably re-read one per year not to make the experience too overwhelming.
Yet this story is very drawn out.

message 10: by Lea (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lea (leaspot) | 101 comments I liked this book the best thus far. I liked the back story and did not expect the references to the Wizard of Oz. I was a little bit annoyed at the way The Wastelands ended, but have since forgiven Stephen King. I can see why others wouldn't enjoy Wizard and Glass so much. Stephen King writing a love story brings about all sorts of awkwardness, and there was a lot less action. Still, things that bugged me in the earlier series because they didn't make sense starting tying together for me and for that reason, this was my favorite in the series so far.

message 11: by Cathie (new)

Cathie (catitude) | 1511 comments I'm looking forward to getting to this one...(very far behind)

message 12: by Anima (new)

Anima Miejska | 1698 comments I'm behind as well, I hope to get to this installment before the end of the year, but I'm not sure whether I manage.

Leslie Scales (leslielynn8) | 109 comments this is a really long book. have fun all :)

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