Dark Tower discussion

sai Kings Offer not to read the end

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message 1: by Jak (new)

Jak (blindjak) **contains spoiler do not read if you've not yet finished book 7**

So the door at the base of the Tower slams shut and sai King stop and offers the constant reader the chance to opt out there and then. The chance to imagine your own ending, or indeed leave matter there as they stood. Or the constant reader could open Pandora’s Box and risk an ending not to their taste.

After wading through several thousand pages I can’t imagine that even one reader did opt out. Can anyone prove my assumption wrong?

message 2: by Coreena (new)

Coreena Turner | 2 comments There was no option for me :) I could no less stop there then stop breathing! And, by the way, I loved the way it ended! It made me go back to the beginning and start the adventure again!!!!

message 3: by Cindy (new)

Cindy (nycindyloo) | 3 comments I agree with Jak. I can't fathom anyone not going forward through the absolute last page.

I was disappointed with the ending, frankly. Although I can see why King did what he did...I was a little upset that there wasn't some sort of "TA-DA" ending.

I will probably re-read the series at some point. But after almost a year of reading the series...I need a break!

message 4: by Jak (new)

Jak (blindjak) I guess the ending is going to be like Marmite. You either love it or hate it. I'm one of those who really liked it.

message 5: by Tamara (new)

Tamara (tj_haddock) | 9 comments the ending i feel was the best ending. it isn't about what's in the tower or what the tower may represent, it's about the journey. it's about how roland changes not about what he actually finds. because the roland at the end is not the roland at the beginning even though he seems the same. it's about wandering what the next cycle will bring and knowing that only your imagination will ever answer because the world has moved on and there are more stories to be written and told.

message 6: by Tamara (new)

Tamara (tj_haddock) | 9 comments it took me longer to read the last pages than it took me to read the entire series because i would stop and pace every few words, i didn't want it to be over.

message 7: by Jak (new)

Jak (blindjak) cal wrote: "I did not read past the first ending for three weeks.

Then I read the second ending. And laughed.

I prefer the first ending.


Blimey, I'm surprised anyone waited that long!! I could not have even if I’d wanted to give it a try. In a lot of ways don’t you think the second ending is much like the first? It’s all about leaving it up the reader’s imagination as to how it all ends.

message 8: by Craig (new)

Craig | 3 comments ***spoiler alert: this post references events in the final (7th book) of the Dark Tower Series***

I'm really torn as to how I'd prefer the series to end... tho, I don't feel to change what King has offered.

I see 3 endings in the storyline.
1) Roland reaches the tower and King lets the door shut behind him. My reaction = "Oh, come on. You can't just let it end like that!"

2) King explains that this tale was about the journey--which I accept, but still with "So, what's in the tower!?!" (BTW, another good 'journey' tale is _Glory Road_ by Heinlein)

3) So King takes me inside the tower and I watch Roland reach the door at the top. My reaction = "HuH? Really?" I felt a little ripped off. Yet, as I chewed on it over the next couple of weeks, I really warmed to it.

I feel the King endings are perfect for a few reasons.

1) Roland continues his quest--with one measure of Hope, one measure of Hell. He seems condemned to continue the pursuit, but now he has the Horn of Eld--not that that's a big deal in itself--but it implies that other things might come out differently [happier:].

2) King shows why he is a master storyteller. By this part of the story, I am begging for the next word, another glimpse at Roland. He's the pusher and I'm the junkie... and King delivers. Tho, what he offers both satisfies and enlarges my hunger. The only comfort I have is that the wheel of Ka continues to turn and Roland may yet find redemption in "other worlds than these".

3) Sometimes the story is about the audience/reader, not the character. In Greek tragedies the protagonist dies to solidify the lament in the hearts of the audience, who then go home and cherish their lives a little better. I don't feel like King was going for social reform thru art here, but I do feel inspired by Roland's Ka-Tet. I am certainly changed. For one thing, I smile when I see the number 19 all over the place. Anybody else?

Bottom Line: I had to have the last ending (therefore favorite), for my own sake. So that I (too) could "move on" and let Roland go on by himself.

message 9: by Jak (new)

Jak (blindjak) I guess it’s just a matter of opinion but I don’t see any resolution in the second ending and think it’s so open ended that it’s left to the reader’s imagination as to whether Roland is any more successful now he has the horn of Eld. Which was my point, I think both endings are similar in that they don’t resolve anything and need the reader’s imagination to decide what happens thereafter. Needless to say they are different in context etc.

message 10: by Jak (new)

Jak (blindjak) cal wrote: "I don’t see any resolution in the second ending

Exactly my point. I'm pleased you agree.

More to the point it seems you are now agreeing with me. You said “There is nothing left to the reader's imagination with the second ending.” Which I disagreed with stating that I thought the ending was open as it lacked any resolution. With the story starting again there is nothing to say that it is 100% recursive and could differ in a thousand ways from the story we’ve just followed.

I think both endings are similar
I should elucidate upon that statement. This is in the aspect, as stated above, that ultimately both ends leave the reader to decide what happens from there. Neither says, ‘...and they all lived happily ever after” and ties up every lose end. Which was all my original point was.

You may think that, but look at it this way: if only the second ending were there, and the first were absent, would it work? Obviously, it would not.

The first ending with or without the second works; the second ending only works with the first ending in place.

I disagree with that. Whether you consider the second ending to be poor, tacked on, or that it doesn’t work very well the point is it does work. If King had Roland walk up to the door and through it without pause for the offer to end it there the ending that so many dislike would still work. Why wouldn’t it?

message 11: by -uht! (new)

-uht! | 1 comments Spoilers, Mel. Don't read further!!!

The 2nd ending made the series for me. At times, I can't find an argument to solipsism. If the universe exists, and I am made up of the "stuff" of the universe, then I am essentially the universe contemplating itself.

A nice little loop.

Quantum physics would say that my observation of the universe actually changes the universe so on each loop (1. universe creates me 2. i contemplate the universe 3. universe is changed... back to 1), i, slightly different, am actually thinking about a slightly different universe. The anthropic principle (the universe exists because I am here to observe it) confuses the relationship between dog and leash.

So... solipsisticly (I think I made up that word), if I am the universe contemplating itself, what exists outside of me? Nothing, of course. When Roland finally finds the tower, it is simply him. And when his quest is over it simply begins again, slightly changed. A perfect metaphor for the loop of consciousness or, if you prefer, the universe chasing its tail.

Further, I am starting to wonder if, when life is over, it doesn't just start back and the beginning, only slightly changed by the ripple of my last time through. I wonder if I, the universe, am continually creating myself. To what end? Well, to the same end as Roland's quest.

I truly think this was one of the most profound endings to any book I've ever read. And an absolutely perfect mind fuck.

And now imagine that every time I said "I" in the book, that I am a figment that you, the reader, created to remind you that you know this and have always known it. That you've heard this many, many (19 * 99?) times before but are for some reason continuing to react in disbelief as you did every time before when you read this the first time.

... Nah!

message 12: by Kim (new)

Kim (durgin19) | 6 comments Tj wrote: "the ending i feel was the best ending. it isn't about what's in the tower or what the tower may represent, it's about the journey. it's about how roland changes not about what he actually finds. be..."

I completely agree. The whole purpose of this series was a journey, and once it ends for us, it begins again for another. It reminds me of how I came upon this series. My husband read it (Roland finds the tower,) then I did (Roland finds the tower again,) and then my father read it after me (Roland comes full-circle again.)

message 13: by Tamara (new)

Tamara (tj_haddock) | 9 comments -uht! wrote: "Spoilers, Mel. Don't read further!!!

The 2nd ending made the series for me. At times, I can't find an argument to solipsism. If the universe exists, and I am made up of the "stuff" of the universe..."

you just made my head hurt a little.

message 14: by Cheri (new)

Cheri Lefkowitch (rnhealer) | 1 comments I was so incredibly miffed that sai King chose that cop out ending to the tale for his readers after investing thousands of pages and near to thirty years in completing his tale. And anyone who was immature enough not to finish the story after that point in the story must have missed the point of it entirely. Dangling a carrot in one's face is goading them to do it!

He din't know HOW to end it, so he took the easy way out to reset time.

message 15: by Tamara (new)

Tamara (tj_haddock) | 9 comments I have to disagree with you. It may not be the ending that most would have chosen. The entire point of the ending is that it's about the journey not the destination. Stephen king knew that people would not like the ending. He even said in the last chapters to stop if you thought the ending was the important thing. That wasn't part of an ending that was an entirely serious comment from the writer to stop before being disappointed.

message 16: by Doug (last edited Mar 05, 2010 07:16AM) (new)

Doug (spaceclownstudios) | 16 comments Mod
I've read through the string of posts and seen the smae quibbles and positions that have been bouncing around since the book was released, and i do have some additional food for thought that I can add...something folks in this thread have overlooked, but before I get to that I guess I should share my opinion on the ending(s).

For my part, after Roland stepped into the Tower i did put the book down. Not for very long...just a couple of hours or so (and mostly because I was just tired. I picked up the book as the Tet were beginning thier assault on Agul Siento, and put it down when Roland stepped into the Tower....a long session of reading).

In my time away from the book, I digested all that had happened, and tried to see into the Tower myself. What I imagined wasn't so different that what King presented in the Coda. I saw a kind of judgement of Roland...with the Tower standing in for St. Peter or Hades, weighing Roland's life and deeds against the ends he achieved.

After I was satisfied with that in my head, I read the Coda, and initially I was miffed that Roland hadn't succeeded to the point where the Tower would allow him to rest from his journey...but as I mulled it over in my head, I beleived that it was appropriate and correct for Roland's character. He relentlessly pursued the Tower for his entire long life, and his single-minded determination was the foundation of his character...so it was the foundation of the Tower; after all...the door at the top was "Roland." They need each other, they rely on each other. The Tower stood as Roland's goal, and (and this part gets kinda meta, but so much of the series was that I don't feel bad about doing it myself) should Roland win through and end his journey, there is no reason for the Tower to be there anymore. If one falls so does the other, if one retires, so does the other.

Now I'll bring it around to the additional bit of discussion fodder I mentioned at the top of the post. Everyone is considering the two endings to The Dark Tower...but there are three endings.

Roland is placed back in the Mohaine Desert...at the point where he is sure that he will catch the Man in Black, and thusly sure that he will achieve the Tower, but with the addition of the Horn. (this is the biggest sticking point for me...why did the Tower send him here and not back to Jericho Hill, or Mejis? Why here with the horn as a gift, and not to the Hill with the compassions and empathy he picked up in the previous loop...enough to let him choose to take the horn from 'Bert's corpse? The only answer I can settle on is...that's where the journey started for the readers, so that's where the journey started)

After that King included Browning's poem. This is the third ending. At the close of that poem, Roland sounds the horn and presumably enters the Tower, but it isn't explicit in the poem that he does if memory serves.

People commented that the Coda was added to satisfy people who would not accept the natural ending of Roland stepping into the Tower, but if that is so, hasn't King gotten the last laugh by placing the poem at the end of the series? Leaving Roland outside the Tower, announcing himself but not entering? Including the poem at the end, and looking at that as the actual ending to the series leaves the reader with the same ending King had in mind, but grants the reader the hope that this is when Roland finds his peace. It was a brilliant maneuver in my opinion.

Overall I was satisfied with the series. I'm in the process of re-reading it again, having finally gotten around to picking up the revised Gunslinger. Knowing what is coming, or what fate ultimately awaits the characters has so far not dulled my enjoyment of the books (I'm back in the Wastelands right now). It's only enhanced them.

message 17: by Petey (new)

Petey (peteypetrelli) | 1 comments I loved the ending. When I re-read them earlier last year I realised that I initially hated it the first time becuase after spending the summer reading the books I wanted that damn tower more than Roland. I was amused that King decided to stop me having it, as mental as that might sound >.>

Though I did warn two of my friends not to read it becuase they get pissed with that kind of thing, one did and one didn't. The one who didn't was a whole more disapointed than the one who did :/

message 18: by Tamara (new)

Tamara (tj_haddock) | 9 comments well Doug I have to say you have a wonderfully good point. I have not actually read the Poem *slight blush*

message 19: by Matt (new)

Matt K | 1 comments Count me amongst the lovers of the second ending; I thought it was nearly perfect. After all, "ka is a wheel" as Roland was so fond of saying.

message 20: by Erica (new)

Erica (bookpsycho) Doug has pretty much summed up everything I could say. Loved every bit of the series, bummer ending and all!

message 21: by Aimee (new)

Aimee (ashling51) | 6 comments The closer and closer I got to the end, I was worried I wouldn't like the ending. And I will admit the first time I read the ending I hated it. In a way I felt cheated. However the second time I read the series I loved the ending, and loved it every time since then. It seems like every time I read the series I notice something new I didn't catch the time before. Now I love the ending.

message 22: by Aimee (new)

Aimee (ashling51) | 6 comments I was very tempted to stop at the first ending, but after that journey I had to know what happened. I thought it over for about 15 mins then decided I had to know, the urge was too strong to resist.

message 23: by Dan, Lobstrocity Enthusiast (new)

Dan (akagunslinger) | 97 comments Mod
Since I'd spend years re-reading the first four books in the void between books 4 and 5, there was no way I wasn't entering the Tower with Roland. I read the revised Gunslinger a couple days after finishing the Dark Tower and it's littered with clues about how The Dark Tower was going to end.

message 24: by Kemper (new)

Kemper | 33 comments I've always felt that King pulled a good one on the readers with that warning and then the ending. You could tell he had become frustrated with years of readers demanding that he finish the story, and that some (many?) only cared about the ending, not the story itself.

So he dangled a carrort and said, "You can stop here. It isn't the ending you wanted, but you could stop and just enjoy this story for what it is. If you keep going, you're not going to like what you get."

And by doing this, he kind of turned all of us into Roland. We were warned. We knew deep down we should stop. But we couldn't. We HAD to know. We couldn't be satisfied with knowing that Roland reached the tower. And like Roland, we took the extra step, the one that damned us right along with him and took us back to the beginning of the cycle.

Books-treasureortrash (bookstreasureortrash) | 16 comments I did not hesitate, I read every last word. I have now just finished reading this series for the second time. The first time I was really disappointed with the ending that I felt was not an ending. But this time I found it to be very satisfying.

That could be because I knew what was coming. However, I had forgotten that Roland will now start his journey with the horn. Once I re-read that I realized that Roland is a different person and has changed from the previous story.

It made me think that he would do things differently this time, perhaps he will not let Jake fall and the story will go in a completely different direction. Perhaps he will not let Jake fall and will still approach the tower blowing his horn and find the salvation for the world.

In any event I am really looking forward to the next book in the series which will be written sometime in the next year.

message 26: by Jonathan, Shameslinger (new)

Jonathan (cullister) | 10 comments Mod
I treated King like a guy on the corner holding up a sign warning that the End is Nigh and shoved him to the floor and sprinted up the Tower baby! He was still yelling the warning at me as I climbed skyward.

message 27: by [deleted user] (new)

I think a big part of the ending is that we have it in mind from the beginning. I mean the story is all about Roland's journey to the tower, so from an early point in the story, we start to think about what is in this tower and why is Roland driven to find it. I found that both endings were necessary, for me anyways. After King said the story was over, this is it, the door closes on Roland, I thought okay, now what. I read the disclaimer and like many I pondered what to do. Brilliant, King had finished the story, I knew it was done, yet I still had a dilemma facing me, do I go on or do I leave it as is. Of course it did not take me long to decide to move on and in the end, I thought the ending was what it should be. Now, as I mentioned, from the beginning, the tower was in my mind, what is in there, what is going on in there, who will we find, and as Matt mentioned, Ka is a Wheel, here we go again. I almost picked up The Gunslinger and started over. Anyways, say what you will, debate as much as you can, but in the end, the end is the end so there we end it.

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